4 Ways to Streamline Electrical Contractors’ Bidding Process

Author: Brett Knox
November 9, 2023 - 4 MIN. READ

For electrical contractors, the process of soliciting multiple supplier bids for equipment and materials can be time-consuming and profit-draining. The added task of following up on these bids can compound the challenge. Thankfully, there is a way to make your bidding process considerably more efficient and less burdensome.

Understanding the Time Costs of Supplier Bidding

The bidding process for electrical contractors can be exceptionally time-consuming, involving substantial coordination efforts. Ensuring that bids are received on time can also present its own set of challenges. This is especially true when dealing with extensive and intricate paperwork, which is often the case with large corporate or government projects. Timely submission of the required documents is critical, as failure to do so can result in the rejection of an otherwise winning bid.

To successfully navigate this process, it's imperative to meticulously study the project plans and grasp the full scope of the work at hand. Furthermore, you must obtain bids from subcontractors and assess their capability to meet your quality standards.

Even with prior experience in similar work, breezing through the process is not guaranteed. While the disruptions caused by the pandemic in the supply chain are gradually resolving, cost estimates may still be subject to fluctuations. Beyond pricing volatility, errors in units, unintentional omissions of mandatory items, and inaccurate measurements can all lead to complications. It is crucial to allocate the necessary time to ensure that every detail is thoroughly addressed and that all aspects of the project are meticulously scrutinized, leaving no room for oversight.

Furthermore, selecting the appropriate subcontractors is paramount for project success. Implementing a prequalification procedure for subcontractors will provide valuable insights into their capacity to fulfill contractual obligations.

It is also advisable to seek multiple bids. Through a comprehensive comparison of the qualifications of each bidder, you can identify the ideal subcontractor best suited to meet the specific requirements of your project.

Ultimately, the profitability of a project hinges largely on your capability to provide precise estimates for both materials and labor costs. Opting for unreliable suppliers or subcontractors can lead to project delays, cost overruns, and financial deficits. It is imperative to make sound choices in this regard to maintain the project's profitability and success.

Strategies for Streamlining the Bidding Process

Streamlining the bidding process will save you time and money.

1. Digitize Your Bidding Process

Software and digital tools can be beneficial in pursuing your bidding process. These can manage:

  • Bid requests.
  • Electronic bid submission.
  • Bid tracking.

Bid management software empowers you to generate bids that exude precision and professionalism. This technology enhances your ability to track the progress of your bids, leading to improved predictability of future projects. Additionally, this software streamlines the organization of your essential documentation and expedites responses from your subcontractors. Moreover, it automates the creation of your contracts online, streamlining the entire process for greater efficiency.

2. Building Relationships

For maximum success cultivate connections with dependable suppliers who consistently provide top-notch materials, equipment, and service. To establish and strengthen these valuable relationships, consider following these six essential steps.

  1. Choose suppliers with a similar focus. If you strive for quality at the lowest possible cost, your suppliers should hold a similar view. Issues you may consider include company ethics, reputation, and positioning in the marketplace.
  2. Understand what your suppliers need. Be clear about your specifications and keep up with your paperwork.
  3. Don't be a deadbeat. Keep good records of what you receive so you don't duplicate requests. Pay on time.
  4. Keep in touch. Maintain regular contact in person if possible or communicate by phone or video conference.
  5. Provide useful feedback. Be direct, detailed, and polite when reporting problems. Also, to encourage repetition, praise what works exceptionally well.
  6. Be loyal. If you get a good deal, return for another one.

Other Things to Remember About the Bidding Process

With these points in mind, develop a standardized supplier bidding process. You should include clear communication protocols. Also, be clear about timelines for the supplier and your team. Fortunately, an automated bidding process can handle much of this for you.

3. Continuous Improvement and Growth

The world moves at an increasingly breathtaking pace. Your bidding process may have to grow and evolve with it. Continuous improvement involves these four components.

  1. Plan. Figure out any changes you need and make them.
  2. Make the change. Try starting with one type of supplier or subcontractor.
  3. Check your results. Use whatever data you can gather to assess your outcomes.
  4. Go bigger. If your change was successful, implement it appropriately across your bidding process.

Keeping your bidding process up to date will help to prevent your competitors from snagging the jobs you want. Continuous improvement will put you in good stead to win your own bidding wars.

Invest in ongoing training for your teams that ensures they can handle your bidding process. They should keep abreast of government initiatives that offer incentives affecting electrical contracting projects. They should learn to keep a finger on supply chain trends. They should also be aware of how the labor market may influence subcontracting costs.

Contractors may not need to train employees on RFPs or ITBs or even use them. It would depend on the nature of the work. If necessary, training may cover these four areas.

  • Crafting a Request for a proposal (RFP) or an invitation to bid (ITB). Whatever the request format, it should clearly state the specifications of the project or materials needed. Bidders should also learn what documentation suppliers and subcontractors should submit.
  • Reaching out to prospective bidders with the RFP or ITB. This may cover additional bidding sessions with subcontractors.
  • Evaluating the bids. The training should address not only selecting the lowest bid but considering the bidder's qualifications, reputation, and resources.
  • Making a purchase or awarding a subcontract. This stage may involve learning to negotiate these agreements.

4. Save Time and Money by Joining a Purchasing Program

Win more bids and increase your profits by lowering the prices you pay for equipment, materials and supplies for these jobs.

How? Join a purchasing program like Raiven. Companies like Raiven combine the buying power of all their members and negotiate deep discounts, service terms, and supply chain priorities so you pay less on all your everyday purchases. Since Raiven does all the supplier negotiations, you don’t have to spend time squabbling with suppliers.

Gain access to pre-negotiated discounts of 7%-30% from industry-leading manufacturers and distributors like Alpscontrols, Baker Distributing, Carrier, Ferguson, Grainger, Graybar, Home Depot, Koch Filter, Schneider Electric, Sunbelt Rentals, and more. This extensive network of suppliers can help you reduce out-of-stock situations and save money.

Raiven is dedicated to serving electrical contractors, offering the most competitive prices on equipment, parts, and maintenance supplies, along with a streamlined purchasing platform for swift and efficient purchasing. Other key benefits:

  • Stay informed with supply chain alerts that notify you of price fluctuations and changes in product availability for the supplies that matter most to your operations.
  • Simplify your purchasing process by accessing all your preferred suppliers in one private marketplace, providing you with easy access to your negotiated discounts. Say goodbye to the hassle of navigating multiple websites to compare prices.
  • Utilize our AI-powered purchasing tools, which automatically locate the lowest prices, ensuring cost savings even when your employees shop outside of your preferred supplier network.

Raiven is your all-in-one solution to save both time and money. Explore what Raiven can offer you by visiting the Raiven platform and discovering the benefits for your business.

Ready to win more jobs and make more profit on your jobs? Contact Raiven today to learn more.