If you’re like most mechanical estimators working in construction today, you’re forced to complete as many as eight estimates for every one job your firm wins. That means you need to hustle every single day, and there’s precious little time for analysis or improvement.
But, does that mean there’s nothing you can do to get better at producing quality estimates and bids?
Of course not. In this incredibly competitive atmosphere, no one can just keep doing the same thing over and over again, hoping to grow and evolve. So, let’s take a look at how a busy estimator like yourself can quickly and painlessly improve your bidding process.
Where your bids have room for improvement
Before we go much further, take a moment to think back over the last several bids you’ve handed in.
Can you see where the customer may have been left wanting in the way you researched, formatted, and presented your estimates and bid? Can you highlight what it was about each lost job that caused the customer to look elsewhere? Or, what it was about a given bid that won you the job?
This kind of “post-mortem” analysis of each bid can quickly surface gaps in your current estimating and bidding process, and each gap you identify provides an opportunity for improvement. And, it doesn’t need to take hours. If you’re experienced, you can probably answer most of those questions off the top of your head in a few minutes.
Customer and prospect interviews
Sometimes, however, it does need to go a little further. Rest assured, you’re going to get a healthy return on this time investment. One simple and effective way to gather information for these “gap analyses” is to interview at least a portion of the prospects and customers you’ve presented bids to, whether you won the job or not.
Just a few quick and simple questions, couched in a sincere desire to continually improve your process, can yield valuable information while also enhancing your firm’s reputation in the eyes of the prospect or customer.
Taking a more expansive view of the job
Another excellent opportunity for adding value to your bids and estimates is to seek out ways for your bid to enhance the work of others working on the project.
Are there any areas in the way you organise or implement your part of the project that can make someone else’s job easier, faster, more efficient, or less expensive? If so, include those value-added services or recommendations in your bid. That way, the customer can see you’re looking beyond just your own contribution, actively seeking out ways to add value across the entire project.
How can technology play a part in improving your mechanical estimating?
If you’ve read this far, you may very well be thinking, “what you’re suggesting is going to take even longer than what I’m doing already! How can I possibly complete the number of bids I need to if each one takes so much more time?”
The answer is simple: you can’t. At least, not using the same tools and techniques you’ve always used when putting together your estimates and bids.
But, by integrating high-tech tools into your estimating process, you can quickly and easily start producing bids of the quality level we’ve been describing, even faster than you can today!
Here are the tools we recommend you consider integrating into your estimating and bidding process:
Trimble AutoBid Mechanical or Trimble Accubid Enterprise Estimating
Trimble AutoBid Mechanical is the original full-featured mechanical estimating solution that facilitates the estimating and purchasing workflows, while seamlessly integrating with project management and billing solutions to carry the project through to completion. With this powerful, multi-layered solution, you can create a bid that offers exactly what the customer is looking for, but manages to do so quickly, simply, and even automatically, so you can produce more bids more efficiently every single day. Trimble AutoBid Mechanical is the go-to estimating software, ideal for commercial mechanical, piping and plumbing contractors. Providing you with on-screen takeoff and customised graphical tools, automatic fitting generation, prebuilt assemblies, multiple industry labour books and versatile reporting. You’ve never imagined a more efficient, accurate and easy to use estimating tool.
Trimble Enterprise Estimating is a robust, server-based, multi-user, spec-driven platform that includes specialised features for industrial mechanical , electrical and ICT contractors, which includes the full project lifecycle in one integrated package.
A large part of improving your process and consistently producing more competitive bids lies in how well you’re taking advantage of technology. Specifically, MEP estimating software and other BIM modeling and design tools can enhance your competitive edge during the mechanical estimating and bidding stage, and throughout the entire job workflow.
The thought of investigating in new technology may seem overwhelming. But, as always, knowledge is the key to making a smart decision.