Bidding Strategies: A Comprehensive Guide for Winning Job Contracts

Bid on a job

What Is a Job Bidding?

It is a process in which employers need applicants already doing a job to compete for a new job position. The employer then selects the winning bidder for an open job.

According to Fast Company, many freelancers depend on bids to get new work, including trades and creative businesses for themselves. Well-known companies, non-profit agencies, and government agencies send prospective supplier requests for proposals (RFPs). The suppliers then bid back accordingly. 

This article covers:

Steps To Make Successful Bids On a Job:

We are sharing five steps of a bidding process for you to make a successful bid on a job:

  • Decision-making for choosing a project.
  • Arrange a meeting with the client
  • Calculate the costs of a project
  • Evaluate profit margins
  • Send and pitch your bid

1. Decision-Making For Choosing a Project:

A bid is a labor-intensive document you need to submit if you are interested in the project and can win and continue the job. Receiving the RFP doesn’t mean you have to bid on a job at any cost.

According to the Fast Company, you should bid for a job in the following situations:


  • You are a part of the company or familiar with its RFP.
  • You are the most eligible candidate for the job in terms of your expertise.
  • You need the money and not doing any project currently.
  • You find the project interesting, such as:


A content writer who specializes in commercial advertisement fits to bid on a branding job with an advertisement agency. Moreover, he knows the owner and finds the project attractive because he has to write the advertising agency’s content, including the commercial ads.

According to ‘The Houston Chronicle’ you should say no to the following projects:

  • Projects that are not easy to access.
  • Projects that require too much commuting.
  • Projects that involve unsafe and unhealthy environments, such as:
  • Extremely Hot weather
  • Extremely Cold weather
  • Difficult materials (materials or equipment that are difficult to handle)

2. Arrange a Meeting With The Client:

You should read the RFP very carefully and then arrange a meeting with the potential client. Get the details of a project before you bid for it. On meeting with your client, explain your work experience and expertise to win a job.

Meeting face to face is the best option, but if you are on a teleconference or phone call, that also works. Send an email to finalize the meeting time and duration. If the potential client refuses to meet you, it means you won’t get the job.

In case if you finalize the meeting, ask the following questions:

Why did you ask us to submit a bid?

If a client says they find you on Google, it’s not a good sign, but if they say they are familiar with your good work or someone refers you, that is a good sign.

How many companies did you ask to bid on this job?

If there are not many competitors, it shows they work with good quality firms only, which is a good sign for you.

Why this project and why now?

This question will help you know that how important the project is for the client. It also gives you the details of the project, its completion time, and its importance too.

If you think that you won’t fit in for the job, professionally tell the client to avoid any future trouble.

3. Calculate Costs:

Calculating the cost of the project is an important task. If you remain successful in calculating the cost correctly, you can easily estimate the project’s profit and success rate.

Procedure for calculating the costs:

  • List the material you need for a job.
  • Get prices for them and tack 10 to 15 percent as a service charge.
  • Multiply your hourly rate by the number of hours the job will take according to your estimation.
  • Add the material costs to the labor costs.
  • Add the percentage of overhead costs (if applicable), such as transportation and insurance, etc.
  • Add in the margin in case if something goes wrong.
  • Calculate the total cost.

The final amount should match the client’s budget. If not, you can add or subtract accordingly.

4. Check Profit Margins:

Material and labour costs can put you in trouble, so you must add a percentage of overhead costs to the safer side. (As per Capterra)

You can write off the overhead costs; it may include the cost of tools you need to buy or marketing charges you pay. Marking up the costs depend on the industry, such as builders usually mark up their costs by 15 to 25 percent.

You should not underrate your services. If you are successful in underbidding your competitors, you may win a bid, but it won’t help you gain profit and sustenance.

5. Send And Pitch Your Bid:

According to Capterra, you should not simply send a bid through email rather pitch it to be successful. Communicate with your potential client through a meeting or phone call to explain your services in detail. 

Give them complete details of your services, including costs and amount. It also allows your client to ask you questions of his concern to make a final decision.

How Do You Make a Bid?

The first step for making a bid is to make a bid document. You can take the help of a bid template for this purpose. You can get the construction bid template on MS Office and download it for free for Excel. You can also get a bid template from ‘’ It will help you get a bid on different jobs, including:

  • Construction job
  • Painting job
  • Cleaning job
  • landscaping

How Does Construction Bidding Work?

Here are the steps to bid for a construction job:

The prospective client sends a bid package to potential contractors. The package includes:

  • Project plans
  • Timelines
  • Specifications
  • Information on site
  • Building conditions

There are two types of bids:

Private bids:

The client only sends a package to specific suppliers.

Public bids:

Anyone can bid for the job.

  • Contractors determine the labor and material costs by using estimating software or apps.
  • Visit the location to estimate the potential problems such as difficult access, weather, local environment, etc.
  • Ask the client about potential problems you estimated after visiting the site.
  • Submit your bid document on time.

Some companies select the lowest bidders, while others may opt for the best contractor for the job. Incomplete documents and information may cause the rejection of the bid.

If you are looking for more helpful resources and guidance, then check out our resource hub.

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