How to Make Your Construction Proposal More Professional and Win More Bids

construction proposal

Construction is a highly competitive industry. Not only are businesses competing with other general contractors they also are competing with sub-contractors for the same business. Setting a business apart from the pack can require a lot of strategizing. 

Businesses need to be in the position to act on new opportunities. Join industry organizations and take advantage of an invitation to bid alert service. Being prepared financially and with the manpower to accept a job is always a plus.

Once a contractor has the invitation to submit a construction job proposal there are multiple items to include. Fulfilling all the requirements and still look professional depends on strategic placement.

The proposal must clearly express what is covered in the proposal and what it will cost the client. Answer if the price includes labor and material, and an anticipated start date.

Continue reading for tips on how to create a bid winning construction proposal. 

Choose the Right Template

A proposal is a document that is created to outline your understanding of what the client needs to have done. It also contains your bid (or pricing) to do the job. 

A smaller contractor will write-out the proposal and hand it off to the client. This lacks professionalism and could be a sign of the type of service the consumer can expect.

If you’re serious about your business only a professional proposal will do. Your construction proposal is a reflection of business and speaks to your work ethic. There are key elements that should be included when you respond to the proposal.

Your goal in designing a template is not only about appearances. You want the client to know the deliverables, how to contact you, and the terms of the contract if they choose to move forward.

With the right template, everything is covered. If you set it up as merge or fillable document, it makes doing multiple proposals easier. 

Create a Digital Version of your Construction Proposal

Digital is the name of the game. It saves time and also money on postal fees. Stay abreast of the technological advances and provide customers with the convenience of a digital construction job proposal.

Invest in software like Adobe that can guide you in the template process. The design will allow for electronic signatures and the insertion of links. You and the client can also take advantage of features that allow you to communicate on the document.

The proposal is housed in a secure cloud-based setting. This way there is a documented trail of requests and changes that have been agreed to. You also only have to email the document once. 

Use an Accounting Software Platform

A financial accounting software program is an alternative to creating manual proposals. With the software, you get pre-designed templates that you can customize to your specific needs.

What makes them even more useful is that they are integrated to help contractors tie together all of their accounting needs. Programs also integrate accounts payables, receivables, invoicing, and reporting. It starts with the creation of a stylish construction job proposal.

Have a Color Scheme

Every business regardless of industry needs to brand. With branding, you establish your identity. Many things go into building a brand including have a customized logo and a color scheme.

The same color scheme should carry through to everything in your business arsenal. This includes templates for letterhead, proposals, and estimates, Also use it on business cards, uniforms and displays for your company fleet.

Coming up with a color scheme is relatively easy. Most business owners go with colors that have some significance. Favorite sports teams, fraternity/sorority colors and alma maters top the list. Then there are favorite colors with no sentimental relevance.

Incorporate Your Logo

Logos are also important in building your brand. It is a recognizable symbol, often accompanied with a tagline that people immediately associate with your company. When people see a red bullseye they immediately think of the department store Target.

Your logo not only builds recognition in your area of service it also goes on all print materials. The more people see it the more likely they will associate your company with the construction industry. 

On the proposal template, place the logo in the top left corner of the header. 

Include Your Mailing Address

Some businesses have both a physical and mailing address. For the purpose of your construction job proposal, use the address the client is to mail correspondence or payments. Because time is of the essence, don’t use a PO Box if you only check mail once a week.

There are businesses that include both addresses. 

The address can be placed in several locations on the proposal. Insert it in the header along with the logo. Or you can insert it in the footer of the template.

The best recommendation is to place the business address in the body of the template. Placement is on the left side below the company logo.

Provide an Email and Phone Number

In the past, people were more likely to communicate with a business via the telephone. Today, they will choose email over a phone call. If a mobile number is available, expect to get a text.

For this reason, you must be deliberate in the information included in the proposal. Yes, it is important for people to reach you, but you have to set boundaries so you aren’t working 24/7.

Our recommendation is to include an email address that goes to a general inbox that is handled by an office personnel. When it comes to the phone number, do the same. It is okay to use a mobile phone, just not your personal one.

Below the business address, insert a space and drop in your main office number, office mobile number, fax, and the business email address. 

Insert Your License Number

Every state has rules governing the requirements to perform construction services. Contractors are either licensed or registered. 

Licensing involves passing exams and fulfilling other state requirements to demonstrate your knowledge in a chosen field. Having a general contractor’s license lends credibility to your brand. 

In the right corner of the header, prominently display your license number. There are clients that will check with the state to verify you are licensed and not using someone else’s credentials.

Verify you are Insured and Bonded

Contractors that are licensed, insured and bonded gives clients a level of security. These three words to the client mean they are dealing with a trustworthy responsible company.

States that require a contract to be licensed also have a bonded component. It means that the contractor agrees to follow permitting regulations and if they do not and damage occurs they will be legally responsible. Not the government agency that issued the license.

Contractors are required to have General Liability Insurance. This insurance protects the client in the event the contractor is responsible for damage, loss, or injury on their property. 

For your template, below the licensing number, insert “Bonded and Insured.”  Some clients will check to ensure you have this coverage. There will also be times when a client will require that you name them as an additional insured.

Write a Cover Letter or Email

Jobs that go out for proposal garner multiple responses. Set yourself apart from the competition by presenting your bid with a carefully crafted construction proposal letter.  

In the cover letter introduce yourself if it is your first-time bidding on a project for the client. Let the recipient know that you appreciate the opportunity to bid on their project. Follow with a brief statement on the company’s commitment to quality service.

The closing paragraph informs the client on how to respond to the proposal and include the proper contact information. Reiterate you are appreciative of the opportunity and available to discuss the bid if there are questions.  

Provide an Online Acceptance Process

The quicker you can get the proposal signed and back in your hands, the better. Provide electronic signatures as a means to eliminate a trip to the post-office. 

If the program you use does not offer online or digital acceptance signatures, consider integrating an app like DocuSign. Online signatures are legally binding and do not always include an actual signature.

Getting the signed contract proposal back in a timely manner allows you time to schedule and prepare for the job.  

Share Your Website and Social Media Links

When using an online template you have the option to include links in the document. Take advantage of the opportunity to share content about your brand. Give the client better insight into your business and what it represents.

Place the web address beneath your email on the left side of the template. The social media buttons go on the right side.

Details of the Proposal 

Following the information about your company, add the date, a proposal ID, and the name and address of the recipient. 

Now you are ready to add the scope of work. This is where using some form of software comes in handy. With software comes a template that allows you to create service codes with descriptions. The codes can include amounts and the template can auto-calculate based on quantity

When it’s time to plug-in data, you only need to choose the associated code. You are able to customize verbiage to fit any situation. There is also the capability to manually enter pricing.

This is a huge time saver. Moving away from manual templates cut down on errors and frees up your administrative staff to work on other projects. 

Include Your Terms of the Proposal

The terms of the construction proposal must be outlined in the template. Is there a deadline for acceptance of the proposal? Can the price change based on the cost of materials? Is a deposit required? 

Include a sign and return by date. Prefix it with a brief statement that pricing is good for 30 days.

If the fluctuation in pricing is an issue, at what point could the price change. Normally this occurs when a job isn’t set to start immediately. Construction costs continue to fluctuate. It’s reasonable to believe six months after the contract is awarded the bid will need to be adjusted. 

When a deposit is involved, set the amount and when it is due. Also, include the terms for future and final payments.

Add Verbiage about Your Warranty

Your proposal will also include a warranty or terms of service. Because these are legally binding declarations, strongly consider working with an attorney.

The construction industry will have different warranty terms than other industries. Sometimes there are requirements on the client’s part that can void a warranty. An example would include applying a sealant or painting new stucco within a specified time.

A contractor can also require the client to report issues within a specified amount of time. When an issue arises the contractor may request that they have an opportunity to fix the issue. Allowing a third party to remedy an issue before contacting the contractor is grounds for voiding a warranty.

Allow Clients to Pay Via an Online Invoice

Once the client accepts the proposal and the deposit is due, it is a good business practice to accept online payments. Working within accounting software like QuickBooks, clients can pay via bank transfer or credit card.

The client can click on a payment button within the digital version of the invoice. From there they are taken to a secure payment site to process the payment. The money is directly deposited to your designated bank account within 24 -48 hours.

The credit card option comes with processing fees that can add up on larger jobs, but bank transfers are at no cost.   

Does Your Current Proposal Measure Up?

Now that you know what to include in a winning construction proposal are you ready to impress the client? There are a lot of components to a proposal to consider. The objective is to provide the client with a clear outline of services that will be provided.

Click here if you are ready to start receiving new bid opportunities every day.   

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