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How to Bid Jobs for General Contractors

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General contractors are those responsible for overseeing the construction of a building. They hire subcontractors, such as electricians, painters and plumbers, to help complete the project. These subcontractors are chosen through a bidding process, wherein they provide their price for a given scope of work, and the lowest bidder is awarded the job. Most general contractors are willing to accept bids from new companies that may be able to complete the work faster, better or at a lower price.

Visit the contractor's office and visit its plan rooms. Most general contractors set aside a space known as a bid room or plan room, which is filled with drawings of projects under bid. Typically, any contractor who wishes to bid on these projects is permitted to view the drawings and provide bids. Many times, the plans are also available online at the contractor's website.

Get on the contractor's bidders list. Contact its office and ask how you can be placed on its bid list. Generally, it will require you to fill out a "Contractor Qualification Statement," which contains financial information, services offered by your company and your company history. Having this information readily available can help you qualify as a bidder.

Prepare your bids carefully. When you find a project you are interested in, thoroughly review both the plans and specifications to ensure you understand what is involved. Check the schedule of the job as well, as overtime and off-hours requirements can have a big impact on your price.

Submit your bids to the general contractor. Typically, you can simply put your price on your company letterhead. Specify exactly what services are included or excluded from your price so that it is easy for the contractor to evaluate.

Provide bids on time and as specified. Every project will come with a book of specifications or project instructions that indicate when the bid is due, how it should be formatted and any other special requirements. Following these instructions carefully will show the general contractor your attention to detail and make it more likely to give you a chance at the project.


One of the most basic requirements for subcontractors involves insurance. When you bid a job, make sure you can meet the stated requirements for insurance, including liability, workers' compensation and automobile. No general contractor will give your bid a chance if you don't meet basic insurance requirements.


Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.