Avoid These 10 Subcontractor Construction Bidding Mistakes To Increase Your Bid-Hit Ratio

Avoid These 10 Subcontractor Construction Bidding Mistakes To Increase Your Bid-Hit Ratio


In construction, your bid-hit ratio is the number of construction projects you bid on divided by the number of construction projects you win. For example, if your company bids on 100 projects in a year but only wins 10 of them, your bid-hit ratio would be 10%.

Ideally, you’d want your bid-hit ratio to be as high as possible. The higher your bid-hit ratio, the more work your company will get to complete.

You can do many things to increase your bid-hit ratio, but in this article, we’re going to focus on one specific thing: avoiding subcontractor bidding mistakes. Let’s take a look.

10 bidding mistakes to avoid for a high bid-hit ratio

As a subcontractor, there are many mistakes you can make when bidding on construction projects that can decrease your chances of winning the job. Here are 10 of the most common ones.

  1. Not knowing your competition 

Before bidding on a project, you’ll need to know your competition. Find out what other subcontractors are bidding on the same project. You can adjust your bid accordingly with this information. 

  1. Bidding on the wrong projects

Let’s say you’ve been to the prebid meeting and have begun crunching numbers, only to find out you won’t be making much profit. There’s no need to go ahead and bid anyway merely because you’ve finished those prebid steps.

The best option is to leave that project and move on to the next one. However, you also don’t want to abandon so many bids that you don’t end up getting any work at all. Therefore, it’s important to find the right balance to maintain a profitable construction business.

  1. Not being prepared

When you’re bidding on a project, you need to be prepared. The last thing you want is to make a mistake with your calculations or overlook something important in the bid documents. This can have very serious consequences down the line. 

For instance, the cost of goods sold (COGS) is the direct cost of producing the goods or services you sell. In other words, it’s the cost of materials, labor, and overhead necessary to produce what you’re selling.

You’ll be unprepared if you don’t include all of your COGS in your bid. It could result in you losing money on the project or, even worse, not winning the bid.

  1. Filing incomplete bid forms or documents

When bidding on a project, the owner or general contractor will require you to fill out certain documents. Make sure you’re filling out all the required forms and that they’re completed correctly.

If you’re missing any information or make any mistakes, it could result in your bid being rejected outright. After all, how can a client trust a subcontractor with a million-dollar construction project when they can’t even be bothered to fill out a form correctly?

  1. Not having a contingency plan 

No matter how carefully you plan, there’s always the chance that something could go wrong. That is why it’s important to have a contingency plan.

It’s a safety net that can help you deal with unexpected challenges during the project. For example, suppose there’s a delay in receiving materials—your contingency plan could involve renting storage space to store them. Similarly, if one of your workers gets injured on the job, your contingency plan could involve hiring a replacement worker. 

You can use workforce planning software like Bridgit Bench to more easily oversee labor, including monitoring your utilization rates and managing certifications.

  1. Not visiting the site

It’s imperative that you’re familiar with site conditions before you bid on a project.

If site conditions are more challenging than expected, it could result in higher costs and a lower profit margin. The prebid meeting is usually conducted on the construction site, and this is the best time to scope out the area.

Therefore, it’s important to not miss the prebid meeting to obtain a full understanding of the project’s requirements.

  1. Creating arithmetic errors

Manual calculations are a huge no-no when it comes to bidding on projects. Arithmetic mistakes are one of the most common reasons why subcontractors lose bids.

Remember, even a tiny mistake can make a significant difference in your bid amount. So double-check all calculations and make sure you’re using a calculator or bid software. It also helps to have another pair of eyes check your figures for accuracy.

  1. Not reviewing the proposal criteria 

Be sure to review the proposal criteria before you submit your bid. If you fail to do so, you could be inadvertently disqualified.

For example, if the client requires a specific type of insurance that you lack, your bid will be automatically rejected. The same goes for not meeting the minimum qualifications required or not having the necessary experience or licenses.

If you’re unsure about something, ask the client during the prebid meeting or get clarification in writing.

  1. Failing to evaluate equipment needs 

When curating a bid, you must ensure that you have the equipment necessary for the job. Even if your company owns the equipment, it may be allocated to other projects or locations, so you must first check the availability of the equipment before you can include it in your bid. 

The last thing you’d want is to win a project, only to find out that you don’t have the necessary equipment to complete it. This only results in increased costs, since you’d then have to rent the equipment.

  1. Not assessing risks 

Every construction project carries some degree of risk. When bidding on a project, you must carefully assess the risks involved and factor them into your bid.

For example, if the project is located in an area with a high crime rate, you might have to factor in the cost of providing security for your workers. Similarly, if the job site is prone to flooding, you might have to include the cost of renting pumps.

The key is to identify risks early on and factor them into your bid to avoid any cost overruns later. Again, a site visit can help you in this regard.


To sum it up, avoid the mistakes mentioned above if you want to win more bids and make a healthy profit on your projects. Create a checklist and track your bidding practices routinely to ensure you’re meeting the client’s needs and are well-prepared to handle the job at hand.

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