COVID-19: Changing the Construction Bid Process

July 15, 2020

It comes as no surprise that COVID-19 has changed almost everything in the world, including how we do business. Those industries that are heavily focused on face-to-face interactions, such as the construction industry, are having to develop new ways to engage in processes that are vital in the industry, such as the provision of construction bids, in ways that allow for social distancing and the safety of all involved. It's important to understand what, exactly, has changed. Read on to find out how each stage of the construction bidding process has changed. However, due to technology already in existence and being used by many, changes in the construction bidding process may not be changes at all, but instead an alternative (and better) way to engage in the process.

Bid Solicitation

The first part of the bidding process is the bid solicitation through the invitation for bid or request for proposal. Frequently, these invitations and requests can be found through offline and online sources. Since construction companies likely have subscriptions to these sources, this part hasn't changed much in a COVID-19 world. You will still find the invitation or request and provide a bid. The only difference is it's not likely face-to-face meetings will occur. Telephone or video conferences are much more likely during this time.

Bid Submission

When you're done with the bid, it's time to submit it. Instead of dropping it off, you'll want to mail it. Due to technological advancements, it's likely that you'll be able to submit the bids through e-mail. However, you can ask the general contractor how they want the bid submitted. If they want it in paper form, you can prepay for and print the label and arrange a pickup by the post office or other messenger service. These can be scheduled to be contact-free or you can engage in social distancing. Remember that your bid is the first real impression the general contractor will have of your company and you will need to take advantage of this opportunity to increase the likelihood of your bid being accepted.

You can also submit bids through a construction bidding software such as PlanHub. PlanHub gives subcontractors access to multiple bid opportunities and allows for an easy bid submission process.

Bid Selection

It's likely that questions will arise about your bid. These can be answered using e-mail, telephone, or video conferencing. In fact, if the requester wants a presentation, you can do that using video conferencing. Software for the bidding process is helpful in this stage as some construction bidding software may allow for instant messaging. This allows for real-time conversations between you and the general contractor, just like you'd have in a face-to-face conversation. This step also helps all involved parties make final decisions on the bid and make requests for changes. For example, if the scope changes, you may need to alter your bid to accommodate these changes. Maybe you gave the general contractor an idea in your bid for a change that would improve the overall project.

Contract Formation

The instant messaging function of PlanHub’s software is beneficial in contract formation. This is because it can be used during negotiations. If, for instance, the general contractor needs to witness you sign the contract, you can use video conferencing to provide this. Contract formation represents the final step in the bidding process and is, potentially, the most impactful because it provides the scope of the project and the responsibilities of all involved parties.

During these changing times, PlanHub can help ease the bidding process for both subcontractors and general contractors. To learn more about our software and its features and benefits, contact us today!