Concrete Contractor Shares His Thoughts on the Art of Bidding

The economy has changed the way many concrete contractors find work. Companies are competing for fewer jobs for tighter margins. Weaker companies have shut their doors, leaving the strongest to struggle in highly competitive markets. Carolina Floors started to see general contractors from out of state bid jobs in its market and watched as existing customers' businesses change hands and generations. Recognizing a need to change the way it found work, Carolina Floors hired its first sales person in 2009.

"We needed to build new relationships and rebrand our company, and the addition of an outside sales person gave us the chance to get our name in front of people who didn't know us," says Jeff Rogers, president of Carolina Floors.

Since coming on board with Carolina Floors nearly three years ago, salesman Paul Blackwell created an online presence for the company and developed a series of focused marketing brochures that allow him to offer a job-specific pitch during a sales presentation instead of just a general overview of everything the company does.

The marketing effort fits well with Rogers' pragmatic philosophy on bidding. "I tell our salesman that when he is looking at a job he is thinking of bidding he has to look at it like he is on a hunting trip — Be careful what you shoot and kill because you are going to have to eat it," Rogers explains. "We look at the criteria for the job and decide if it fits our business. We ask ourselves if we really want a job."

This approach to bidding has helped Carolina Floors maximize its bid-hit ratio. "Contractors spend an incredible amount of money on work each year that they will never get; that is just the inherent nature of the business," Rogers explains. "But if you can limit your bidding on work you will never get and work you don't want, you can cut a lot of unnecessary bidding expense out and open yourself up to bidding more projects you do want, stand a chance of getting and can make money on."