Collecting and comparing multiple bids for your next painting project can be exhausting. Every bid looks, sounds, and feels different. So how do you make a decision that is in the best interest of your budget without sacrificing quality or predictability?
The following 7 tips will help:
1. Qualify your bidding contractors
You know what they say when you assume, so we won’t go there. Avoid assuming by doing your homework and taking the time to interview and select the right contractors for the project. We recommend selecting companies that specialize in paints and coatings. Specialists are more educated on their trade and will provide the most consistent on-site service. Not to mention, when that “out of the blue” problem does occur, a specialist will be more likely to provide actionable solutions to get the problem off your plate quickly and professionally.
2. The power of 3
3 bidding contractors are usually enough to get the right expertise, service, and quality, but only if you qualify the contractors ahead of time. Plus, you’re not running around all over the place trying to track down 15 different companies' bids.
3. Provide a detailed and thorough scope of work ahead of time
Have you ever asked for bids only to get such a large variance of pricing it makes your head spin? The way to avoid this is by providing a very clear scope of work. Not your job? Don’t have the time? Then contract your most trusted partner and allow them to assist.
Also, make sure each bidder has time to ask questions and then make sure all bidders see the answers to the posed questions. Online forums and work order portals are a great way to manage the question and answer process.
4. Provide detail on exactly which products and materials are to be used
If you don’t, the materials and products bid in each proposal will vary widely, and so will the pricing of each submitted bid. Some contractors will have your best interest and bid top-of-the-line products in each category. Others, however, will want to win on price and will bid the cheapest product possible. Be careful, because in the world of commercial paints and coatings you get the material quality you pay for.
5. Perform site walks
It never fails that somebody will use Google Earth to bid a project you’ve spent hours and hours putting together and getting ready to bid. Nothing against Google Earth, but in the world of commercial coatings you can’t see, touch and assess a building’s needs from Google Earth. By performing a site walk, you force yourself and the contractor to take the bidding process seriously and allow the scope, materials and questions and answers to be addressed ahead of bids being submitted.
6. Have clarifying calls
Once all bids are submitted, review them and create a list of clarifying questions you need from each bidder. Schedule conference calls or face to face meetings with each bidder and review your questions, concerns, and comments. Give the bidder time to respond and provide reasoning. If needed, and if allowed, allow all bidders to resubmit their bids based on all the feedback collected from these calls.
7. Select a winning bid
Remember, facts trump feelings. If you didn’t get the facts you needed from a particular bid, then throw it out and focus on the bids you did that are still viable. Take your time and make the decision that will get the job done right the first time. The last thing you want is to touch this project over and over again, every year, for the next 5 years.
As my football coach used to say, “Do it right, do it lite. Do it wrong, do it long.” When you make the right decision, you’ll get the expected results and a paint project that will last the expected duration.
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