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In the construction industry, the majority of contracts are awarded through a process known as bidding. Bidding allows organizations that want to build a new project or perform renovation work to find appropriate contractors at a fair price. The bid process starts when the project owner or developer issues a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quotation (RFQ). Contractors who see this RFP or RFQ can view the details of the project and provide a bid. The bid includes the contractor's estimated price to complete the work, including materials, labor, overhead, and profit.
For contractors, the problem with this bid process is often related to difficulty in finding appropriate RFP or RFQ opportunities. The contractor, who is busy running his company and dealing with current projects, does not always have the time to seek out bid opportunities. To help with this problem, the contractor may seek out a bid services company. Bid services companies are private firms that research and review RFP opportunities, then notify their clients of relevant RFPs or RFQs.
Bid services companies may be paid per lead or based on a subscription arrangement. The contractor can access bid opportunities provided by the bid service through email, fax, or online access. Some bid services may specialize in providing leads for federal and state government projects, while others may include private industry leads as well. In North America, one of the most widely used bid services is the Dodge Report, which is produced by McGraw Hill Construction. The Construction BlueBook also offers a free bid service through its BB-Bid program.
The leads provided by bid service companies can typically be sorted based on criteria selected by the contractor. For example, leads may be organized by region, project schedule, or size. Bid opportunities may also be sorted by trade, or type of work involved. Some bid services even provide highly specialized leads, such as those designed for green building companies or for contractors looking to bid on certain types of facilities, such as hospitals or schools.
These construction lead services offer a number of benefits to contractors. First, there is often a significant time savings when contractors don't have to seek out bid opportunities. Rather than spending time generating leads, they can devote their work hours to running the company and producing bids for future work. Bid services can also provide focused leads that are relevant to the needs of the contractor and eliminate time spent sorting and evaluating RFPs. Finally, these bid service providers are experienced with finding bid leads, and have the connections and resources needed to access hard-to-find opportunities.
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