- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 30 Jul 2020
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat.”
--Sun Tzu (544 BC – 496 BC)
When a contractor or other supplier wishes to secure work for its business, it will usually submit a proposal (a ‘tender’, 'quote' or ‘bid’) to a prospective client and in so doing becomes a ‘bidder’. The bid is a detailed description of how the supplier will manage and complete the works required if chosen by the client.
 Components of bidding tactics
Tactical decisions may come in the form of estimates or approximations of what materials, tools, personnel and other resources could be required for the project. For example, when working on a demolition project, a tactical question may be, ‘is there a need to include an estimate for a skip?’ The answer to this tactical question will be reflected in bid.
Having the ability to recognise important bidding tactics may require managerial skills and experience in the field. An effective project manager who can manage the process and make decisions on priorities, will ideally arrive at solutions that are advantageous for the project as a whole.
- The type of work.
- Project size and duration.
- The complexity of the project.
- The clarity and detail of the information provided.
- The type of employer: Public employers can be more process-driven and require more complex submittal procedures.
- The location of the project.
- Equipment availability: estimators should be mindful of the availability of expensive equipment across bids and projects.
- The availability of team and management: Projects may be bid with particular project team members in mind who may have specific expertise or experience.
- The number of bidders: Some projects will receive more bids than others. The odds of winning are greater on those with fewer bidders.
- Competition: only a few contractors will be likely to offer serious competition on any one bid. Being aware of their workload gives a better indication of which projects to bid for.
- The time of year.
- Whether the contractor has prior experience with a project that is similar.
- Confidence in the prices provided by subcontractors for the project.
- The state of the market - whether busy or slow.
- Whether there is an existing relationship with the employer.
- The opportunity for follow-on work from the same employer.
- Confidence in external events such as interest rates, inflation, and so on.
- How busy they are on other projects. Being busy may mean they enter higher bids, whereas if they are less busy they may enter lower bids that offer less profit.
- The amount and value of subcontracted work.
- Variations in productivity. As a trend, workers tend to be more productive when labour is readily available, whereas they are less so when labour is more scarce.
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