trick or treating for bids?

Trick or Treating – For Bids?

Remember the days of your childhood? You’ve planned your whole school year around October 31 – the night you’ll collect a year’s worth of candy. You’ve determined the best costume and maybe you and your friends have planned to dress up as a group.

All of the details of this cold, autumn night have been planned down to the size of your pillowcase – hoping it will be filled with your favorites.

Yet, you’ve put those hopes and dreams in a random group of people.

What’s the return of investment on your costume when your loot is dumped out on the carpet? There’s no greater disappointment to a child, after canvasing and collecting for hours, when all of his candy-filled dreams have ended, and all that represents his hard work are Twizzlers and Pixie Sticks.

Fast forward twenty years.

You’re a business owner. You’ve developed and planned your concept, ideas, and brand for years. You’re finally leasing a space, you’ve got drawings from an architect, and it’s time to put them out to bid.

Will you rely upon random door knocks?

“Trick or Treat!”

Of course, we advocate the design-build method, but should you choose design-bid-build as in this scenario, why not choose contractors you trust?

The key is: you want a treat, not a trick.

Allow me to digress.

Trick or Treat - # 31 of 113 in 2013 "Halloween" by Austin Kirk on Flickr

Trick or Treat – # 31 of 113 in 2013 “Halloween” by Austin Kirk on Flickr

When I was a kid, though I grew up in a small, sleepy Central Californian town, there was a scare about razor blades in apples.

That’s when people really started passing out pre-packaged candy. Before that, you could get any kind of baked good, fruit, nuts, what-have-you.

Those Five O-Clock News stories were my downfall. That little bit of fear was enough for my mom to keep us home, well until we were in High School. And it wasn’t an unfounded fear.

We tend to dismiss fear these days — but some things you should fear like spiders, snakes, and unscrupulous contractors.

It’s true; there are contractors you should be afraid of. But we have great tools these days.

Do they have a license?

Look up your General Contractor on and check their license and insurance. Make sure you get certificates of insurance. Any job over $500 requires a contractor to have a license in California and only B license contractors can hire subcontractors. This is one of those things that should go without saying but needs to be said.

Who are their clients?

Ask for references and/or check out the client list on their website. Our tagline is true “Building Relationships since 1977.” We’re not fly-by-night. We still have active relationships for clients we’ve built buildings for twenty or more years ago. That’s a lasting relationship.

What do their reviews say?

Read the reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and/or their website. (We’d love you to read some of ours, too.) What are people saying? Call a few of the past clients up and ask them one simple question: “Would you use them again?”

Do they ask questions?

During the bidding process, your General Contractor should be asking questions, unless, of course, you hired an awesome architect who left nothing out of their drawings. (We hate to say it, but it’s rare.) Did they send you a RFI (request for information) for door hardware schedules or plumbing fixtures?

Questions are a good thing. It means your contractor is filling in holes to make sure you’re getting a bid for exactly what you expect. (Who wants a bag of Twizzlers at the end of a long, hard night?)

Set a fair bid due date for everyone.

Set a due date for the bids for everyone and share the RFI answers with all of your bidders. If you want to be able to compare the bids, then make sure the scope of work they’re all bidding is the same. (We call this apples-to-apples bidding. No razor blades here.)

Analyze the Bids

When you get the bids analyze them. Do they all list the same trades? Do some contractors leave out the scope (words actually describing the work)? Can you compare them? Go back to the contractor if you have doubt and make sure you are both speaking the same language.

If one bid is too low, it could be a suicide bid. You have to wonder if they’ll be able to afford to finish the work or if they’re going to hit you up with change orders.

Who are their subs?

We realize that when you contract with us, you’re loaning us your trust. We take that into our subcontracting philosophy. We don’t put out to bid all of our projects to just anybody, just like we wouldn’t expect you to either. We have a network of subcontractors for every trade that we’ve used repeatedly because they represent quality work over time.

We’ve built our business on relationships so that you feel confident your trust is secure throughout the entire construction process.

What’s so great about us?

Our philosophy at Riggins Construction & Management, Inc. is simple. Provide an accurate, detailed bid that reflects the scope of work the client expects, anticipating as many code issues that could come up during plan check or field inspections so the client knows exactly what they’re in for. Period.

And when you go trick or treating this year, vet the neighborhood – better yet, go to a festival or a mall. You’ve worked too hard building up your brand and reputation to come home disappointed.

2 thoughts on “Trick or Treating – For Bids?

    1. Bridget Willard

      B is a class of license it stands for builder.
      Most subcontractors are C followed by a number.
      C39 is roofing for example.

      In their description, CSLB says:

      CSLB issues licenses for the following classifications:
      Class “A” — General Engineering Contractor
      The principal business is in connection with fixed works requiring specialized engineering knowledge and skill.
      Class “B” — General Building Contractor
      The principal business is in connection with any structure built, being built, or to be built, requiring in its construction the use of at least two unrelated building trades or crafts.
      Class “C” — Specialty Contractor
      There are 41 separate “C” license classifications for contractors whose construction work requires special skill and whose principal contracting business involves the use of specialized building trades or crafts.

      PDF link:


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