4. Tender Stage
The client will be looking at main contractors now, and those contractors will be pricing up the work and making their bids.
The tender stage is where the subcontractors can start to pick up the trail. It’s almost always too late for main contractors, but a good time for specialists to make sure they’re in the running for subcontracts – especially those first on site, such as groundwork or demolition companies. If you're a subcontractor who gets their business from contractors, you need to be in right away. The tender stage last only three to four weeks in most cases, so don’t wait around!
Building material suppliers are still in with a shot here too, whether they’ve secured specification from the architect or not.
Remember that the main contractor may only have a one in three or one in four chance of winning the work, depending on how long the shortlist is. That means there’s no certainty of getting the job and some subcontractors prefer to hold off until the contract is awarded. However, long experience shows that it’s well worth engaging with builders at the tender stage.
Builders know that subcontractors would prefer to discuss actual jobs won, but they still need competitive subcontract prices at tender stage. They will frequently want new subcontractors to prove their interest and stickability by pricing enquiries at tender stage. Don’t see this as a waste of time, see it as a way to build relationships and prove your good faith.
That's actually no inconvenience, if you are a subcontractor who has access to good tendering information. It can actually be a very effective way to generate more new contractor contacts and relationships very quickly. One tenderer you price for can easily lead to two or three others within days, and they are always happy for you to copy your price across.
The real prize is to track it right through to the contract award and make sure your price is under consideration. And of course, your courteous and friendly tracking of the job through numbers of contacts over perhaps six to seven weeks does you a huge amount of good in terms of the relationships you're building all the time.
What If There Isn’t Time to Quote?
Even the best researched leads from Emap Glenigan or Barbour ABI can come in a little late. Quite often there is not enough time to quote for your particular trade.
Don’t be deterred - these leads are still good intros and a lot better than ‘cold-calling’. Every estimator you talk to will have a stream of tenders coming though. There is almost always upcoming interest for you.