Excavation is a big part of the construction industry. After all, sites most times have to be prepared before the land is built up. Excavation involves large pieces of equipment like skid steers and backhoe, and that equipment must have a qualified operator. Jobs in excavation include bobcat, skid, and other heavy equipment operators.
When it comes to excavation projects, contractors tend to eat what they kill. It simply means that if you get out there and actively bid on projects, you will keep your business floating and your business successful. Take a conservative approach to the bidding game, however, and your business will likely wither. There simply aren’t many projects that just fall into your lap.
At its core, a bid is a proposal. It is your opportunity to explain to a potential client what you can do for them and how much it will ultimately cost. Since your bid will include your expenses and profit, it is quite different from a simple estimate, which usually just accounts for the costs of the job.
Sometimes, the most important thing in the bidding process is presenting the lowest price to the owner; in other cases, the contractor’s qualifications are just as crucial—if not more important—than having the lowest dollar amount. Understanding how to properly bid for excavation jobs can make the difference between success and bankruptcy for your business. A contractor who does not know how to bid on jobs, will have no chance of turning a profit.
You will need to ensure that accuracy and efficiency shine through every aspect of your bid, helping it rise above the pack. While cost may be king, it is indeed not the only preference. Carefully putting together a winning bid proposal, or even a competitive one, takes knowledge and skill. Indeed, it is a bit more complicated than just putting some numbers together and hoping for the best.
Good bid preparation for any job requires a lot of time and effort and involves everything from reading and properly understanding the plans and specifications to accurately estimating cost of labor, materials, and equipment. Making even the smallest mistake can mean the difference between submitting a winning bid and missing out on a coveted and profitable project.
Steps to Bid for Skid Steer Excavation Work in the United States
When competing for skid Steer excavation work, you are expected to bid for contracts. Knowing how to adequately price your services requires first considering how many jobs you will have to do, how much it’ll cost you to do the job, and how long the job will take. Pricing work fairly will help you win bids. The steps to take include;
- Take your time to find out how much work you will have to do. Inspect the site and take measurements of the area to be excavated. Carefully calculate the number of cubic yards of dirt that will need to be excavated. Note that this will help you with an idea of the manpower, machinery, and time needed to accomplish the job.
- Figure out how much it will cost you to get the job done with the machinery and manpower available. Extensively calculate the costs of operating the machine and paying each worker you will need on the job.
- Consider both internal and external conditions that may impair progress on the job or cause potential hazards. These might include the type of soil at the excavation site, the presence of underground or overhead utility wiring, and traffic patterns. For instance, excavating through rocky terrain would take longer and be more difficult than excavating a site where rocks are small and relatively scarce.
- Do some reconnaissance by estimating how much your competitors might charge for the project and finding out how much they have charged in the past for similar jobs. Note that this information may not be available for jobs done for private individuals, but it will be available for jobs completed for public agencies and governments.
- Determine a price for the job that puts into consideration your costs and time, yet is fair to the customer while remaining competitive with what you expect other contractors to bid.
- Create a written bid that lists all details of the job, including how long you expect to take to complete it, how many employees will be present at the site daily, and what the total cost will be. Have it in mind that your bid should also include a breakdown of costs for different parts of the job, such as permitting, the actual excavation work, and hauling away soil and other materials.
- Add terms and provisions. However, note that this might include any warranties to be offered on the work if your bid is accepted, as well as details about subcontractors to be used to get the job done. Include your company’s qualifications to perform the project, and list references of past customers. Provide a date or expiration. Like a quote, a bid should state how long the price you’ve provided is good for.
- Submit the bid to the potential client, either in person or by mail, depending on the preferred method listed in the client’s request for proposals, if one was issued.
How to Get Clients and Source for Skid Steer Excavation Works
In this age, seeking or acquiring clients is no longer just billboards, print media, radio, and television like in times past. Marketing now encompasses the whole world of traditional marketing and digital marketing plus facets of out-of-the-box thinking. To get clients or source works for your Skid Steer business, here are marketing tips to consider;
Building a Brand
One of your most important marketing objectives should be how to build your brand, both offline and online. First and foremost, your logo needs to be professional and unique. If you have a professional graphic designer from the beginning, you can create a functional, impressive brand from the start of your marketing strategy. Always remember that your brand behavior is critical to the success of your business.
Whether a customer is on your website, Facebook page, or driving past your office, they should be able to recognize your brand across all these platforms. Consistent branding will increase your reputation, seeing your brand represented in the same way will encourage potential customers to see you as a reputable, trustworthy brand.
If your excavation company doesn’t have a website, then that is a problem you need to look into. Every business in this modern era should have a website as a home base. In 2019, 78% of location-based mobile searches resulted in a purchase of some sort. It simply means that any of your potential customers within your operational area are online, searching for businesses that can solve problems they may have.
This includes searching for excavation companies and construction companies. Howbeit, on your website, you should be showing your brand, consistently, across your website as well as your services, clear contact information, and an impressive portfolio of jobs well done.
So many things can be said about visible billboards, well-designed brochures, exceptional business cards, and advertorials in local publications. And it is necessary that you focus some of your marketing efforts on these areas. A well-designed advert with a small editorial in a local magazine or newspaper can be an incredible tool for bringing in qualified leads.
You can write up a few great press releases on some of your latest projects, or an article on excavation tips and tricks. Then send this to some of your local magazines and newspapers, ask them to consider putting it into their next issue along with your contact details and some brand visibility.
Consider Strategic Relationships
Simply put, look for other businesses that are close to your industry, but don’t offer the exact services that you do, and investigate how you can create and maintain a two-way partnership. After excavation, the foundation is going to go in, and the walls are going to go up, and after the walls have gone up, the windows and roof need to be installed.
You can search and connect with companies that do these things in the areas that you operate in, and see how you can build a relationship with them. Note that this may be in the form of online content or putting out a shared brochure, or even sharing a stand at a local business expo.
Remember that these types of partnerships can be mutually beneficial, you may find that once you have passed on a lead or two to one of them, they will be doing the same for your business.
Focus On Social Media
Always remember that social media isn’t just about pretty pictures and enticing ads. One of the things you will want to focus on with your social media presence is getting reviews from past customers. According to reports, over 72 percent of customers won’t take action until they read a business’ reviews. Therefore, the more positive your reviews, the more likely you are to turn a searcher or browser into a customer.
The one important thing to remember about social media is this: It is not about the number of likes your excavation company’s page has, it is about how much valuable engagement you are getting out of your audience.
Just like the yellow pages or telephone books of years gone by, do some research into online directories! Your town or district may even have a website listing local businesses that would be of help to its residents. And this is where you will want your excavation company to be found.
In addition, many businesses will offer their clients business listing information if they have purchased land in the area or have recently moved in. An ideal place to start is local real estate agents, look at their website and see what information they are providing for residents in your area. Always make sure that your listings on these websites are detailed though, you will want to make sure that contact details are complete, and that your services are up to date.
Bids can be labor-intensive to prepare but many freelancers like Skid Steer operators rely on them to get new work. However, in the grand scheme of things, winning a job you’re not equipped for is worse than not getting that job in the first place. Note that it puts your crew in a bad position, and you will struggle to control your internal costs, risking your reputation in the process.
Therefore, never bother about walking away from a bid. If your due diligence reveals that you aren’t set up to succeed on the project or your profits may be compromised, respectfully thank the client for their time and move on. A bad bid match is a bad business for everyone involved.