Who is responsible for obtaining work in your company? Inevitably, most will answer that the estimator, owner, or some senior manager must find and win work. Yet, the responsibility of procuring work lies with everyone in the company.
Management’s Role in Winning Projects.
- Ensure that the estimating team has the right resources (including software) to accurately price projects.
- Select suitable projects for the company to price, discarding unsuitable projects. It is pointless pricing projects which the company doesn’t have the resources to construct.
- Talk to prospective clients to ensure that the company will have the opportunity to price their next project.
- Understand the construction marketplace to better select the profit that can be added to the estimator’s price, which will still ensure a winning price.
- Develop new markets and clients.
- Check all the bid prices to ensure that they are an accurate assessment of the work, that there aren’t excessive risks for the company, and that the construction schedule is achievable. This review process could include developing alternate proposals which could result in a more competitive price.
The Project Manager’s Role.
The project manager plays an important role in securing projects which includes:
- Ensuring that they deliver their project safely, on time, with minimal fuss and with the right quality. The best source of new work is from:
- Returning clients. Indeed many of my projects have been with returning clients. On some projects, we completed up to 5 phases, while we became the preferred contractor for other clients. This was a huge advantage as we were often awarded projects even though we didn’t have the lowest price or better still, the client negotiated the project price only with us, which meant we didn’t have to go through a competitive pricing process. In fact, some of our clients enjoyed working with particular project teams so much that they insisted that we would be given their next project only on condition that the same team worked on that project.
- Word of mouth. There are simply hundreds of contractors out there. How are clients to determine who should be asked to price their project, and who should be awarded the project? Being recommended by a satisfied client helps get a contractor to the bidding table. Then, when clients are trying to differentiate between 2 or more prices, a glowing recommendation from their friend or colleague, who has worked with your company, or even a good recommendation or review from your previous clients, may just tip the project in your favor.
- Providing constructive feedback to their estimating department. All project managers are quick to tell their estimating departments when they’ve made a mistake with the price that has cost the project money. Yet few (indeed possibly none) will tell their estimating department when their price was too fat, usually rather be claiming all the kudos for a profitable project because of their own project management skills. But, if the estimator is aware that some of the rates they used in their estimates are higher than they should be, they could be in a position to cut these which may mean that more of their future project prices are successful.
- Informing the estimating department of suppliers and subcontractors who’ve performed well and should be called upon to supply prices for the next project estimates.
- Interacting and talking to clients, designers, engineers, subcontractors, and suppliers. This interaction would include uncovering leads to potential new projects, while also developing good working relationships for possible future projects.
- Understanding their clients. Knowing a particular client’s needs may help the company win another project with the same client if they are able to incorporate ways to satisfy these needs in their price submission.
- Delivering a project with the efficient use of resources, so that the company has a lower cost base to use when calculating the price of future projects.
- When assisting with the pricing of projects, seeking ways to enhance the bid to ensure its success, while maximizing the profitability of the project.
The Employees’ Role
Every employee has an important role to play in finding and winning projects.
- Delivering a project safely, on time, with minimal fuss and with good quality is essential to the company’s reputation. A good reputation can ensure recurring work from clients and it is a good advertisement for potential future clients. A poor reputation could be the death knell for a construction company, with them not winning projects even when their price is the lowest.
- Any employee could hear about possible new projects from their friends, relatives, and acquaintances. It’s important that our employees are encouraged to inform management of likely new projects and clients so that these leads can be pursued. Indeed some may be dead ends, but, even having a few turns into a new project can make a huge difference to the fortunes of your construction company.
- Advertising the company to potential clients. This might seem a strange concept. But, some employees habitually ‘badmouth’ their employer, either on social media or to friends and acquaintances. Sometimes these comments are overheard on the bus, at the pub, or at sporting events by potential clients. Bad news spreads, no matter if it’s true or false. Employees who tell others what a wonderful company they work for are an asset, and they can contribute immensely to the company’s good reputation.
I wouldn’t like to be an estimator, submitting countless prices, usually with little success, then, always being blamed when there are mistakes in their price which cost money, seldom being praised for a good price. Yet, everyone in the company should be playing a part in winning projects for the company. This includes; building relationships with clients, designers, subcontractors, and suppliers, delivering a quality project on time to a satisfied client, and acting as the eyes and ears of the company looking for leads to the next project.
Finding construction projects to price, and then winning these projects is a team effort. It is essential that all employees understand that they are an essential part of this team.
How do you contribute to your company acquiring work?
Does everyone in your team understand how they can contribute to the company’s success in obtaining work?