How to Bid a Construction Job in 4 Easy Steps

Bidding on construction jobs is no easy task. Contractors need to understand the necessary costs, the state of the market and the ideal price point for jobs. On top of that, contractors also need to keep an eye on their competitors’ prices and sometimes need to bid on many projects at one time to stay afloat.

We’ve put together a quick guide to highlight the main steps to bidding a construction job along with other important information about the bidding process. Here’s how to bid on construction jobs.


Register through SAM

The System for Award Management (SAM) site is where all federal acquisition and awards processes are handled. You must register in the SAM system to follow opportunities, add yourself to a contract’s interested vendors list and use other functionalities of the site. SAM is free to use.

Learn about the GSA and bidding sites

The General Services Administration (GSA) provides workplaces in charge of construction, manage, and preserving government buildings. They also lease and manage commercial real estate. Federal construction projects go through the GSA, but you’ll need to register with SAM to view those projects.

SAM is not an exhaustive list and there are many sites you can use to find commercial projects. However, these sites vary in costs and features. Take some time looking through the different options before deciding what site or sites you’ll use to look for jobs.

Prepare a quality proposal

After picking out the project or projects you’d like to bid on, the next step is to put together your bid. You’ll include information like the overall project scope, work schedule, terms of payment and all related costs. Costs range from materials, labor, transportation and licenses to name a few. You may also consider the cost of subcontractors depending on the size of the job. You can use a construction bid template to ensure you include all of the important information and save some time on preparing bids.

Obtain the required surety bonds

Bid bond requests should be made to your surety agent as soon as possible with all required documents for review. This includes bid specifications, special bond forms, if any, bid bond request form.

It’s far too often that contractors wait until a day or so before the bid to submit these crucial documents to their agent, which is far too little time. It’s recommended that you submit all required documents at least 4 to 5 days prior to the bid so the surety agent and surety can review, approve and issue the bid bond in time for the bid itself.

What is Construction Bidding?

Simply put, construction bidding is the act of bidding on a construction job in an attempt to be rewarded as the company to fulfill the contract that's currently out to bid.

Plenty of Construction Job Bidding Opportunities Exist

State governments and municipalities also award millions of dollars in contracts to construction contractors on a yearly basis.

A significant number of these contracts is also set aside to small businesses such as women-owned small businesses (WOSB), small disadvantaged businesses (SDB), service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB), and to small businesses operating in a HUBZone.

This makes the federal government the largest customer of construction services in the country, and a fairly reliable one at that. Contractors who specialize in working on federal or state construction projects have long noted that one of the greatest benefits of this type of work is that it keeps coming in even when the private sector slows down. Examples of large construction projects include the recent border wall project and the Denver International Airport (DEN) Great Hall renovation.

And for those contractors who manage to get a grip on what’s required of them, and are able to follow all the strict regulations that come with working on public jobs, the payout is well worth the effort.

How Do Construction Bids Work?

Working on public projects begins with the bid (which will generally require a bid bond). For new contractors or for those who have so far worked strictly on private projects, the bid process may easily feel overwhelming.

The Beginners Guide to Bidding and Winning Public Jobs

If you're new to bidding on construction jobs, finding the proper jobs to bid on and winning them can be a daunting process. That's why we created the free comprehensive "Beginners Guide to Bidding and Winning Public Jobs". The topics covered in the e-book include:

  • The pros and cons of bidding on public construction projects
  • Bid solicitation procedures
  • What influences the bid process
  • How to bid on public projects
  • Surety bonds for bidding and construction
  • Why you need to understand bond clams

This e-book is intended to guide you along that journey of bidding on and winning public jobs.

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