Be Ready for These Questions on Your Next Bid

Photo by Mikael Blomkvist:

Being a contractor is demanding work. Your profits are continually being squeezed between the customer and the project supervisor. Demands and questions come at you from multiple directions at all times, and that’s all AFTER you get the contract.

And now potential customers and clients are asking more and more questions – more and more work for you – even before they sign a contract.

So be ready for these 4 common questions on your next bid.

1. Can this bid be itemized?

Customers sometimes ask this because they hope to do some of the work themselves, or ask their uncle or close friend if it all seems to be a fair price. The best answer is to give an itemized price with your mark-ups already included in the price on each line. In the end, no one is in the business of doing things for free.

2. Is your bid an estimate or a fixed price?

Again this is a question designed to help the customer try to save their cost almost directly from your wallet. Your policy should make sense for the work you do, and your reliance on factors out of your control. For instance, if lumber prices or gas prices drive your costs, say it. And also clarify up front which sorts of late demands will incur extra costs on their end – and put it all in the contract.

3. How long have you been doing business in this town?

This question is simply asking if you are reputable. Work to put together a portfolio as soon as you can. If you are a new independent contractor, include references from previous employers and pic from previous job. Register as soon as possible at the local BBB. And if you get a complaint, work to resolve it effectively with the client.

4. Who are your main suppliers?

Like the question above, this can be a chance to look into your reputation. Do you deal fairly with trusted contractors? Do you save costs by dealing directly with manufacturers and suppliers instead of a middle man?

Each of these questions are important to answer for yourself and your company. Having a ready answer for these – perhaps including them on a FAQ page on your website – helps potential clients feel comfortable with your work. This will give you a foot in the door and a chance to keep your schedule full in the year ahead.