To best utilize this type of bidding you must first know the rules on how the software works.
1. This does not supersede the current HUD specs.
a. If HUD has an entry that gives a listed price (allowable) and specifications on how and when a task should be performed, use the HUD price and description. The HUD specs supersede all estimating software pricing.
b. If HUD does not have an entry that gives a listed price (allowable) or specifications on how and when a task should be performed, use the estimating software.
2. Watch out for all inclusive bids vs. partial bids.
Estimating software assembles bids in bite size pieces. When bidding to install a new hot water tank you don’t just bid for a hot water tank. There will be several bite size tasks that need to be completed before you finish the job.
a. Remove and disposal the old H/W tank.
b. Install the new tank.
c. Install new feed lines.
d. Wire or install new gas lines.
e. Install new pressure relief valve.
f. Disposal of old H/W tank
3. Get your unit number right. Is the roof being bid by the square (10’x10’) or is it being bid by the sq.ft. (1’x1’)
a. Sometimes it takes a combination of two line items to make a whole. Grass cuts are a good example. HUD gives us specifications and a price ON SOME GRASS CUTS.
b. You will use estimating software for oversized lots and very tall grass.
4. Don’t change the prices, look for ways to enhance your bid or restate what you are trying to do.
5. The clients are asking for bottom line prices; don’t use the good-better-best prices just to increase your bid. If you have to use the better or best price there needs to be an explanation.
6. ALL MARK UP's ARE ALREADY BUILT IN. Both national and regional discounts are taken out of these prices.
7. Check out the “Good, Bad and the Ugly section” these are items that have been found to be priced well for the contractor and items that are not priced well. You cannot avoid bidding all items but you can do your best to manipulate and avoid some bid items.
8. Something to remember, estimating data bases are priced out according to zip code. The cost of doing business in San Francisco California is more than Mobile Alabama. So the prices you see as examples will probably not be the exact price you get when bidding, but they should be close.
9. Many shops do not like the idea of using estimating software because the bid is “caned” it is not actually coming from a bonified contractor qualified and capable of doing the work.
On big ticket items such as roofing it is strongly recommended that you state in your bid that this estimate is coming from estimating software and you cannot guarantee an independent roofer will honor this price.
10. Something that need to be seriously considered, it’s the contractors responsibility to have accurate measurements. Obviously it is not possible for a client to determine square footage of wall space when reporting mold but if you try to bill for a house thaw or a grass cut and you over state the size, a client can easily check this by using the assessor’s website. Remember, the client or HUD only audits work that is completed, that means the entire job will be back charged if you are caught overstating measurements.