Small Business Help

5 Tips for Winning Residential Construction Bids

Myranda Mondry | March 21, 2016

By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media & 

From websites and social media to online ratings and reviews, residential construction customers have more information at hand than ever before when it comes to selecting a contractor. That means the way you approach a residential construction bid can make the difference between success and failure. To improve your chances of winning the job, follow this advice:

Focus on your niche.

Every construction business has areas where it not only does the best job, but also makes the most profit. When each job is completed, examine the financials and you'll quickly see which types of jobs are the best fits for your particular construction business. For example, you may have developed a specialty in second-story additions, kitchens and bathrooms, or an in-depth knowledge of how the older homes in a particular neighborhood were constructed. Focusing on landing those types of projects will give you better results.

Streamline the process of creating an estimate.

Developing a bid takes time, which costs you money. The more you focus on one specific type of project, the easier it gets to estimate costs and the faster you can develop your bid. Using construction estimation software makes the process even simpler by allowing you to use information from past jobs to develop new bids. Don't forget to include estimates of the cost of your labor; using good time-tracking tools will help improve accuracy on this point.

Do your due diligence.

Before writing up a residential construction bid, always visit the home and speak with the homeowners. Ask questions and obtain any plans or permits from past construction that the homeowners may have. By doing a home visit, you'll be able to spot possible construction problems that could arise and factor them into your estimate. Equally important, you can get a sense of how easy or difficult the prospective clients will be to work with, as well as their budgets and expectations. All of this helps you tailor the bid to the prospect.

Build in adequate profit margins.

Even if you are using construction estimating software, go over all of your cost estimates after creating your bids to ensure you haven't forgotten anything, such as the cost of subcontractors. It's tempting to lowball the cost of a project in order to land the business, but, in the long run, this strategy is not worthwhile. Develop a strategy for dealing with cost overruns so that they don't eat into your profits.

Work on your presentation skills.

The in-person presentation of your bid to the homeowners is where it all comes together, so either put in the time and effort to improve your presentation skills or hire someone who is already a good salesperson. Including sketches, samples or photos of similar projects you've handled in the past will help too, as well as providing references your prospective customers can talk to. Residential construction is a nerve-wracking process for homeowners, and being able to explain the details of your bid, answer any questions, and suggest options such as different materials will improve your chances of getting the job. By following these five steps, you're sure to boost your odds when it comes to residential construction bids.
RievaRieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports. 
A little about Myranda Mondry

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