When you, as a Property Manager, go out to bid for new services or in an effort to replace the old, you have taken on a task that has increased your workload. If the bid process is not organized in a way to save you time, that workload can continue to increase throughout the bid process. How can you ensure that the bid process runs as smoothly as possible and that the end result is an “apples to apples” comparison of services and bid amounts? The two most valuable tools you can use during the bid process are the Bid Form and the Addendum.
The Bid Form allows you to list all contract inclusive services or materials in order to ensure that a Service Professional has included all bidding requirements when determining a total contract price. The things that have not been included may prove to be a costly mistake for all parties once the job has started, and may result in a bid amount that looked more competitive than it really was. For example, a Landscape Maintenance Bid might require Palm Tree Trimming, Street Sweeping, and Arbor Care as part of a total price. Some of these “contract inclusive” items may be overlooked by the bidding landscape contractor, especially if you have specifications or a bid package consisting of many pages and sections. Line item pricing can be used for each inclusive item in order to ensure that all bidders have considered the entire bid package and that you have an easier time comparing “apples to apples.”
The second most valuable tool when going out to bid is the use of an Addendum. An Addendum is intended to give Managers a means of answering questions or notifying all service professionals of changes to the bid package. Do not try to answer each question as they are asked, especially if the questions are asked verbally. You will find yourself answering the same question over again, and you have not provided yourself adequate documented insurance if a problem occurs in the future. If Service Professionals are aware that an Addendum will be utilized, they will be more likely to submit a question. Their input is essential to make sure that the bid package is understood. If there are any paragraphs or sections that allow too much room for interpretation, a question is likely to be asked. Some service professionals will ask a question that they may know the answer to in order to make sure that it is clearly defined in an Addendum and that all other Service Professionals are bidding the same items that they are.
The Bid Form should have an area that allows Service Professionals to acknowledge receipt of an Addendum by writing the Addendum Number and the date issued. This acts as validation that the Service Professional is bidding all the requirements and that all bids received are able to be weighed as competitive bids. Utilizing bidding tools such as a Bid Form and an Addendum can prevent future problems and more work in your already busy day.