Follow these simple guidelines to start winning service contracts


You did some searching online and you found a great job to bid on. Maybe it is for a nearby town, with a large quantity of toilets spread through a handful of parks. This work would really allow you to make your current routes more dense and keep your drivers busy. Even better, it would bring a steady stream of revenue during the next couple of months. So what do you do?

You follow my six steps for bidding contract work. Don’t mind if I pat myself on the back here, but I have a lot of experience bidding contracts. I have done everything from easy, small-town bids that just require you to fill out a price sheet, to bidding with our nation’s government, which requires filling out hundreds of pages of legal documents. 

No matter what type of bid it is, these steps will help you reach success.

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  1. This is the most important step. Call the offeree (the town or city) putting out the bid and ask for the previous bid pricing. There is no way that you can offer a competitive price without knowing your starting point.
  2. Read all the bid documents twice. There are a lot of little things that you might miss without doing this. Do the documents have to be submitted in triplicate? Do you need a bid bond? Make sure you don’t miss any of these important details.
  3. When you finally fill out all of the documents, have someone check your math. If the bid consists of a large quantity of line items, the numbers can start to run together. Having a fresh head check your math means you won’t make any mistakes.
  4. Always keep a copy of what you submit. I scan all of my bids to save on my computer for future reference. You never know when you will have to refer back to them.
  5. Always put the bid number, the bid title and the due date on the cover of your envelope. This guarantees that your package makes it to the purchasing office, on time.
  6. This is just from personal experience, but never trust the post office. They say they guarantee next day delivery or delivery by 3 p.m., but I have been burned a couple times by this. Now I only use FedEx when sending important documents. It may cost a little more money but I have never had a package delivered late.

Contracted work can be worth a lot of money to your company, and you would never want to be the lowest bidder and then have your bid be thrown out because you forgot to initial a page or submit a copy. Remember to take your time and always check your work. I know if you follow these steps, you will have success too.

About the Author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.


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