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Construction News

What is a Bid List? June 26, 2018

Contractors (also referred to as “trades”) primarily rely on bids to get hired for jobs.  The bid list is a list of contractors and material vendors who are vying for a construction project.  The bid list is created and managed by the client (or a general contractor acting on behalf of the client) who is looking to get a construction project completed.  The client either manually manages bid lists or uses online resource. Typically, online resources (e.g.: are more convenient due to automation of the process (i.e. search, acceptance/rejection, and management functions) as well as ability to run project/bid specific reports allowing for robust analysis of information when making a decision to either accept or reject bids.  Depending on the project, clients may choose to send project details to specific contractors or post project details on the website for contractors to bid on.

The bids are not all about the cost.  They are fundamentally about quality of service/materials and timeliness of delivery of the service/materials.  As a result, effective bid list should be based on a comprehensive summary of the project, including timelines and detailed itemization of resources required to complete each aspect of the project; which, in turn, allows for a clear description of contractors’ qualifications as well as materials to be used to implement the project.  The following are some of the consideration points to think about when creating a bid list:

  • Describe qualifications clearly: when looking for an electrician, outline in qualifications that you are looking for a contractor with appropriate electrician license and experience working on residential projects when looking for an electrician to install electrical wires in a house.   This will help to narrow down the number of bids to only qualified individuals. 
  • Provide more information (not less): if exact materials or resources are not yet determined, it is best to include as much details as known at the time of posting the projectFor example, when building a home, the party responsible for choosing material vendors may only know that they want to use high-end materials.  Including this in the description of materials would help vendors to provide a more accurate cost estimate that may be adjusted as required once exact materials are chosen.
  • Describe exactly what work needs to be done: clearly state whether contractor is expected to “purchase and install” or “install only” any specific item.  This will help to avoid any misunderstandings where client may be looking for the contractor to “purchase and install” while contractor is providing a bid assuming that “install only” is required. 
  • Indicate timelines: construction is seasonal and often times contractors have multiple projects running concurrently.  In order to minimize conflicts and project delays, planned timelines should be indicated on the bid list.  

The bid lists can be an efficient and effective way for contractors to find jobs and for clients to find the contractors that best fit their needs for any given project. is an online resource that makes the bidding process fast and easy for clients and contractors.   

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