Subscribing To Public Bid Lists


From original questioner:

We are a small shop which does residential and light commercial work. A firm which provides listing service for public and private bid projects is hounding us to subscribe to their service. At $1200 a year is this the best way to get access to such projects. Are there obstacles I should be aware of as I pursue more private commercial work.

From contributor Al

You probally aren't qualified for a lot of public works projects ( many require bid and performance bonds) so you would need to set that up first through your insurance agent. Many specifications for public works require 5 years experience on similar sized jobs. A lot of us don't like public works, you really need to keep on top of all the documentation and for us it is at times an adversarial relationship with the customer based on the lowest price first.

California has laws the require GC's to use the subs they list at time of bid on public projects, many other states the GC will shop for a lower bid after they get the job. Other generals will call there favorite sub and ask if they can match your number at the last minute. It can be a real dogfight.

I think a local builders exchange would be a better investment, they will cost way less and give you exposure to small and large commercial jobs.

Most of the services that provide list will be exposing you to jobs that everyone is looking at so its the easiest work to find and is very competitive. A few years ago it wasn't unusual to see 40-100 bidders on a project. You will need to make the most mistakes or have the secret to low cost fabrication and materials and very fast prevailing wage installers.

If it was me I would pass on the $1,200 list until you have all your ducks in a row.

You could ask them for a free 15 or 30 day trial to see if you like what they provide.


From contributor ca

Follow Alan's advice. It is the best I have heard in a long time.