Concreate, Inc. delivers concrete polishing and custom staining for both commercial and residential projects primarily in Virginia and Maryland (but also up and down the East Coast). We work hand in hand with with designers, architects, project managers, general contractors, tradesmen, and home owners alike from start to finish. We welcome the opportunity to serve your polished concrete needs in every way possible.

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Why Location Matters When Bidding Concrete Projects

Why Location Matters When Bidding Concrete Projects

An open map with a pin pointer directly above it.

Out-of-the-way bids can be big bummers for any concrete company. Don’t let contract fever cloud your common sense.

Key Takeaways:

  • The distance to a location and the layout of the project can help or hinder your operational ability
  • Having to pay excessive transport fees and generate ways to “make a site work” can quickly erode your profits
  • Booking jobs too far away can put added pressure on staff, which could affect their performance

It’s a new year, and that means the harsh competition to win new contracts is in full force. It is projected that bidding on concrete projects is going to be fiercer than ever. The Portland Cement Association has forecasted a 3.5% decline in demand for cement in residential and non-residential construction through 2023 due to factors like pandemic fallout, slow economic growth, and unemployment.

That percentage may not sound much, but it equates to a significant shift in business. Fewer available projects create a tighter bidding field. This increases the temptation for contractors, especially newer or smaller firms, to say “Yes!” to any job that pops up.

We get it. The hassle of going that extra mile can seem advantageous if it means nailing that contract and expanding your project portfolio. However, it might be worth considering the pros and cons of jobs that would take you and your team far away from home. Read our blog first to discover why making that boonies bid may be more trouble than it’s worth!

Unfamiliar territory can make it harder to obey the rules

Drawing fixed lines on a map to define your operational area does limit you in terms of bidding on concrete projects. Although, keeping to a specific territory does have benefits. One advantage is familiarity with roads and traffic patterns, which allows you to make accurate and reliable statements about when you’ll arrive at the job site.

An important benefit to staying within a specific operational zone is knowing exactly where the nearest safe disposal site for concrete waste like rubble, dust, and slurry is. The Environmental Protection Agency classes these as Construction and Demolition debris. Some of these waste products are toxic and corrosive. The greatest care must be taken to responsibly manage and dispose of it.

Operating in an unfamiliar area might make it more difficult to access a safe disposal site, especially if it is far away from the job. This can add time onto a project, hours onto staff pay stubs, and another zero onto those fuel costs. The other alternative is hiring a specialized debris disposal team that knows the area, which again bites into your profits.

Cutting corners or ignoring guidelines entirely can be tempting when you’re working in unfamiliar territory. However, the fines and penalties are steep. EPA fines tend to go up every year, so making those mistakes could cost you a great deal. Bidding on projects outside of where you are familiar isn’t worth possibly dealing with such severe penalties. Keep in mind, these penalties can be applied retroactively.

Concrete has its own agenda

Concrete contractors don’t always have the luxury of mixing the material on site. Sometimes it has to come from a mixing plant and the further away you get from one, the longer the concrete takes to reach you. This raises multiple issues. This could cause project delays, which understandably would upset the client. It could also mean the concrete could change its state between points A and B, being rendered unfit for its intended use.

Contractors willing to risk distant bids must make this time sensitivity a primary concern when calculating their timescales. The mode of transport (agitating or non-agitating, for example) will impact the concrete mixture alongside the constituents of the mix itself.

All these factors must be considered and prepared with precision when bidding on projects. Otherwise, the contractor could be left with an unusable mix. These concerns are more manageable when you know the area that you are working in. You can be better prepared to deal with possible delays.  

Your team may suffer along with the project

Working with concrete is already a demanding job. A bit of chemistry here, some physics there, and always avoiding ever-present health and safety hazards. Contractors often must work on short notice and put in overtime while accommodating client demands. Navigating new sites and possibly collaborating with other industry professionals as part of a construction/renovation team could also be part of the equation.

Adding a longer commute to get to the job site in the morning, and the same trek to get back home at night could cause burnout. Does your staff need that extra stress? Does everyone have a vehicle to get to work, or will some have to rely on public transportation?

Adding this burden of a longer commute is going to cost your people more to show up every day. This could lead to reduced performance or resentful attitudes from your team.

You may be working hard to damage your reputation

The road to customer review hell is paved with good intentions. The reality is that your Google and BBB stars never reflect how much you wanted to do great work. Instead, upset clients might inform the internet that you didn’t turn up on time (or at all), didn’t manage materials and waste well, or had to unexpectedly increase operating costs due to the unfamiliar area hitting you with unforeseen expenses.

Sometimes, you might just have to let that contract go if it’s too far out of your neighborhood. A bid you choose to pass on can sting for a while, but it will cost you far less financially, physically, and professionally than getting in over your head and struggling to manage.

We hope these considerations will help you with bidding on concrete projects. We’re not quite done with this topic, because we’ve also got nine other suggestions every contractor should consider to boost their bidding prowess!

Get more winning tips from Concreate

Our blog and This is Concrete podcast are packed with advice to help contractors and customers learn more about concrete and make the right decisions for their projects. From old-school solutions to modern technologies and how-to guides, our learning center is your source of expertise from across the industry.

Our team of professionals can also do every job involved with concrete (except pouring it) including surface preparation, polishing, and long-term protection. Just get in touch to learn more about how we can help.