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How to Improve Your Custom Metal Fabrication Bids

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So your business is in the market for a metal fabrication company that can manage your next project?

It can be an overwhelming process to sort through all of the competition to try and find the right company for the job. You don’t want to put your project in the hands of just anyone. You need a company that is reputable and can effectively direct all aspects of the process. 

We totally get it! Your time is valuable and you need the right people in place for your job. Conducting a bidding process is a great way to find vendors who are interested in taking on your project. Competitive bidding creates a transparent environment that is both open and fair.

Ultimately this helps you keep your costs low and secure the most qualified candidates to do the work. The competitive bidding process is also a great way to ensure that the company you select is able to complete your project within the framework of your specified timeline.

Designing Your RFP

The first step in procuring competitive bids for your project is to create a Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP is important because this document provides all of the details about your project, which helps companies competing for your business understand what your needs are. To develop an effective RFP requires that you properly outline your project requirements, provide detailed specifications, and layout your timeline and other project logistics.

If you appropriately develop your RFP, you will greatly enhance communications between all of the relevant stakeholders on your project. Everyone on the team will be able to collaborate more efficiently, which helps reduce the risk of errors down the line. A great RFP ensures that the fabricator and everyone at your company has all of the crucial details needed to effectively execute the project.

Providing Project Specs

At the start of your project, it is important to provide proper drawings and specifications as a part of your RFP. Doing this helps any company responding to your bid provide a precise estimate. Without this information, the fabricators will likely have to pad the estimate to account for miscellaneous expenses.

Embrace Open Communication and Collaboration

You likely already have a clear idea of exactly what you want for your project and the more information you can give the better. Suppliers put in a significant investment in order to offer a proposal. Making yourself available and willing to have an open dialog will assure that both parties are on the same page and that the proposal isn’t missing any details. Additionally, be accepting of feedback and suggestions from the fabricators participating in the process, as they may have suggestions for innovation and cost-saving opportunities in your RFP. Doing so can create the space for value-adding activities that could greatly enhance the outcome of your project.

Having too many restrictions in your RFP may cause the bidding company to feel limited in what they can offer. Instead, embrace open discussion and collaboration. This can help avoid missing out on opportunities for cost savings for your project. Showing that you are open-minded is also a great way to create trust between you and the fabricator.

Establishing a great relationship with your fabricator ensures that you receive the best advice in regards to your project. For example, the fabricator may have suggestions for replacing a more expensive material in your RFP with one that is less expensive, and more appropriate for your project. These types of opportunities are what lead to increased efficiency and competitiveness.

Ask to See Previous Work

Every fabrication company you speak to will tell you they’re the best in the business. And why wouldn’t they? They want to get the job! That’s why it is important you do your homework to insure that the responding company is actually reputable.

Request that the fabricator provide references and past project profiles. Make sure they send over 2 or 3 examples of their work on projects that are similar to yours. It’s extremely important that you feel completely comfortable with moving forward in the bidding process.

The fabricating company should have no problem providing you with pictures and testimonials from past clients. If for some reason they are hesitant about getting you this information, this may be a red flag. Make sure you feel confident in your decision before you book someone for your project.

Developing Quality Requirements

Depending on your custom metal fabrication project, different quality certifications and requirements must be applied. Be sure to list out what those quality requirements are in your RFP so that responding companies can accurately provide a detailed overview of their relevant experience.

If you’re unsure about any quality standards related to your project, ask companies to share their knowledge of your quality requirements to help you gain insight to their expertise.

Be Clear about your Timeline

Make sure to be clear about the scheduled completion date for your project. This will help prevent companies from bidding on your project that are not able to meet your timeline requirements. Only companies that can accommodate your project’s time constraints should respond to your bid.

Clearly List Submission Requirements

Outline the details of how companies should submit their bid to you. Make sure to be clear about your submission requirements so that you can compare companies and check for missing information or inconsistencies.

Request pricing for materials in your RFP, and include any project safety and/or quality requirements. You should also state what the terms and conditions are for a company to accept your project. The more clear you are about your project requirements, the more quickly you’ll get the information you require to make an informed decision.