Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online
November 2013 Bidding & Estimating
dollars and cents money business

Going Beyond Price Alone

There is frequently more to successful bidding than dollars and cents.

November 11, 2013

Previously, I told you bidding was all about price, and it is — if the price isn’t right, you don’t have a chance of winning the bid.

However, there is always more to the story than is visible at first glance.

When it comes to bidding, you’re price must be right, i.e. in a range that is competitive and what the buyer is willing and able to pay.

But other things have to be right, too.

This month we are going to explore some of the other things that you must have right if you want to consistently submit the winning bid.


What you submit has to look good.

This normally means putting typed documents in some type of presentation folder or binder with color photos and numbered tabs.

It should have a table of contents, the pages should be numbered and everything should be logical and in order.

The response should be in line with what the customer has issued as a Request For Proposal (RFP).

It shouldn’t be too short or too long, it should be similar in length to the RFP.

If the RFP is one page, your response shouldn’t be more than one or two pages.

If the RFP is 100 pages or more, your response should follow suit and respond to each point of the RFP; that could be close to100 pages as well.

If there is no formal RFP, then it’s up to you to determine what is needed, and in most cases a simple letter, with some references, a set of specifications that outline what you will do and when, along with a price and a place for both of you to sign is about all that is needed.   


The numbers have to make sense and add up; this is no place of typos or miscalculations.

There has to be logic to your numbers, they have to be right and you better to able and willing to explain how you arrived at the prices and hours you put on paper as part of your proposal.


Don’t leave anything out.

If the RFP asks for something, you have to respond by providing it or you have to explain why you haven’t included it.

And there aren’t very many good reasons for not providing what a RFP asks for.

If you miss items or don’t accurately or completely respond, your bid will most likely be set aside as non-responsive or incomplete.


Whatever you submit has to be verifiable.

Phone numbers and names have to be correct and whoever answers the phone as a reference has to be willing to say good things about you, your company and the services you provide.

If not, don’t use them.

It’s best to call those you are listing as references, ask them if it’s okay to give their name as a reference and verify their contact information.


Something should set you apart from the competition.

Price is a good start, but customers today expect more for their money.

They want to know that you will bring more to the table than just a pretty face, good price and a clean mop.

Being aware of and providing information on new, yet solid and tested technology is a great way to get a potential customers attention, especially when it is presented in the framework that it will save them money and improve the level of service you provide. 


You have to be able to walk the talk.

You can’t promise the world on a silver platter and show up for a tour or meeting in a beat up truck and dirty jeans, smelling and looking like you just worked all night cleaning toilets.

You have to be able to do the job.

Be realistic.

If you can’t figure out how to accurately bid the job or you’re not sure what your costs, overhead or profit will be, how do you expect to staff the job, buy the equipment and supplies, pay the bills and exceed the customer’s expectations?

The reality is you can’t; not every job is for you.

Bid on accounts you are comfortable with and can do a good job on; over time, you will work your way up to larger accounts.

Besides, the smaller jobs are more profitable then the big ones, and that’s really why you are bidding on accounts in the first place.