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Professional Bullshioter
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Discussion Starter #1
I'll give you a little history.

I bid a remodel job for $98,000 to a GC. He did not get the package bid so I didn't get the job. I know the only 4 other plumbing bids.

120,000
125,000
140,000
175,000

I bid super tight to hopefully land the job. I only bid to the GC who didn't land the project.

After the fact. It crossed my mind to fax a bid of 115,000 to the low bidding GC. I know he used the 120,000 number.

I didn't do it. It felt unethical.

What's your opinion?
 

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I do not believe it to be unethical at the bid stage, once it goes to material, labor or just ramping up then my morales would stop me cold. until that point its business. I do not bid larger jobs anymore 12000 is huge for me and I would see it as business if someone comes in and undercuts my price until I have material or labor out.
 

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383 Posts
You did the right thing. Once you start crossing lines like that after a while the line disappears. Then you're just another dishonest contractor.
 

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So how long would it take to do the job, how many guys? I don't know about it being ethical, just more curious about a plumbing job that big. I've never come close to anything that large.
 

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Professional Bullshioter
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Discussion Starter #5
That's small $ for me. Or shall I say it used to be. Ive had a loooong dry stretch here.

Myself and one journeyman 40 days is what I bid. Plus material, mark-up, and tax.
 

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Good move, don't stoop to that level. Just because a GC will shop your price around doesnt mean you should. We have alot of GC's that we have 'blacklisted' because of shopping around our price.
 

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I'll give you a little history.

I bid a remodel job for $98,000 to a GC. He did not get the package bid so I didn't get the job. I know the only 4 other plumbing bids.

120,000
125,000
140,000
175,000

I bid super tight to hopefully land the job. I only bid to the GC who didn't land the project.

After the fact. It crossed my mind to fax a bid of 115,000 to the low bidding GC. I know he used the 120,000 number.

I didn't do it. It felt unethical.

What's your opinion?
Maybe I am not getting it, but I don't see an ethical dilemma. You bid $98 to help your GC land it. The cost was to him, no one else (maybe he pays better or you trust him, whatever). On bid day this is called 'help.' After bid day, EVERY GC shops every number. I worked for a GC for several years and watched games being played on bid day and after the job was won.

Now, you could send the $98 number to the GC, which he will use to beat your competitors down. Starting at $115, you are lowering your negotiating at the start.

If the ethical dilemma is providing a number after the fact, again low number will buy the job.

The GC I worked for did all the carpentry and we subcontracted the mechanical. Mechanical numbers all came in within the last ten minutes of bidding with some guys wanting to discuss scope. Due to the feeding frenzy and getting down to the wire, some mechanicals would call and say they couldn't get through or the other GC convinced them something was wrong with the bid and kept them on hold too long to get their bid out to everyone. I have no doubt the mechanical was not lying. GC play these games. GC's will bid a job at cost during tight times and make up their entire profit by beating up the subs.

If you can find a successful GC who uses you exclusively, you don't have to play the game. Otherwise, when in Rome . . .

We don't have to like the rules of the game, but you better know what they are.
 

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Water Whisperer
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I don't see anything unethical.

In my third year I had a boss who told me, "Never let anyone decide your future." I tattooed that on the inside of my eyelids and every time I get a call from a GC, I close my eyes and read, read, read. (I don't subcontract.)

If you work for GCs, why not be a GC your own self? At this point, there's nothing to lose...
 

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Professional Bullshioter
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Discussion Starter #10
I don't see anything unethical.

In my third year I had a boss who told me, "Never let anyone decide your future." I tattooed that on the inside of my eyelids and every time I get a call from a GC, I close my eyes and read, read, read. (I don't subcontract.)

If you work for GCs, why not be a GC your own self? At this point, there's nothing to lose...
I would be dabbling in areas that are not my expertise. Baaad idea in commercial construction.

GC's bid as the prime contractor. They generally bid the entire project from the basement to the roof peak.
 

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I would be dabbling in areas that are not my expertise. Baaad idea in commercial construction.

GC's bid as the prime contractor. They generally bid the entire project from the basement to the roof peak.
I guess you have to start bidding the big jobs instead of the floor-to-ceiling kitchen remodels?

The licensing requirements are probably different here. All you need to be a GC is a business license and insurance and away you go! That's why the carpetbaggers found so many marks here.

Everything is sure screwed up....talk about lack of ethics: http://www.plumbingzone.com/f21/when-g-c-s-run-wild-2345/
 

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Professional Bullshioter
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Discussion Starter #12
I guess you have to start bidding the big jobs instead of the floor-to-ceiling kitchen remodels?

The licensing requirements are probably different here. All you need to be a GC is a business license and insurance and away you go! That's why the carpetbaggers found so many marks here.

Everything is sure screwed up....talk about lack of ethics: http://www.plumbingzone.com/f21/when-g-c-s-run-wild-2345/
This particular remodel job was the historic restoration af a circa 1918 railroad depot currently operated by Amtrak. Total contract for the GC's was about 5 mil. I'm not liquid enough to get a payment and performance bond on 5 mil.
 

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Yeah.

The companies who survive the hard times are the ones who are able to switch ethics at the drop of a dollar....within the boundaries of the law, natch. :laughing:
 

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Also to bid public works projects, most areas require a GC to be prequalified with the County, City etc. Part of the prequalification is previous experience. You do not necessarily have to have the experience personally, but your key personnel must have it.
 

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Professional Bullshioter
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Discussion Starter #15
Also to bid public works projects, most areas require a GC to be prequalified with the County, City etc. Part of the prequalification is previous experience. You do not necessarily have to have the experience personally, but your key personnel must have it.

True. This was federal money. I think there will be MANY more federal money projects to come. I hope to get a little stimulation myself from the pres. I need it.
 

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Another thought, what makes you so sure you know the other four bids? It is not unusual for a mechanical to put out several bids depending which pony he hopes to ride to the finish line.

At best, you know what your GC told you. If he faxed them to you, at best you know what they quoted him. You have no way of knowing what contractor or number the winning GC used to secure the bid.

Am I right?

My husband ran a large mechanical estimating dept. for a GC/Mechanical Contractor for over 10 years. He was also Pres. of a Mechanical Contractor for several years.

I have worked for GC Contractor. The games, deals, and stories are legendary.

Our SIL is still in the commercial bid arena and things have not changed one bit.
 

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Bottom line is you have to look out for yourself (and family) and what you can live with. If you need work and trust the GC why not bid on the job. If you can sleep at night, that what really matters.
 

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Bottom line is you have to look out for yourself (and family) and what you can live with. If you need work and trust the GC why not bid on the job. If you can sleep at night, that what really matters.
Yeah, if the prez if half right with his Chicken Little routine, then a question like this will seem silly 12 months from now. We will be doing more than worrying about ethics.
 

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I'll give you a little history.

I bid a remodel job for $98,000 to a GC. He did not get the package bid so I didn't get the job. I know the only 4 other plumbing bids.

120,000
125,000
140,000
175,000

I bid super tight to hopefully land the job. I only bid to the GC who didn't land the project.

After the fact. It crossed my mind to fax a bid of 115,000 to the low bidding GC. I know he used the 120,000 number.

I didn't do it. It felt unethical.

What's your opinion?
I don't see why you should have a problem sending every general a copy of your bid. Suppose, every general contractor calls and asks for a bid. Your bid is only one small component. I have bid the same job to several generals and never felt guilty. That was about the same time I got burned by three generals, consecutively. I am a general contractor and if a contractor sent me a bid that he gave another general I would just consider in another bid to consider. Especially, if you have the best price, you would be doing me a favor. Call the other contractor and tell him you just caused him to lose $5,000 and ask if he would like you to send a bid on his next project after you send the bid to another contractor. Go with the winner!
 
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