Construction company bids 23 projects in two days using bid software

July 29, 2015

How many bids can one estimator submit in just two days? If that estimator uses HCSS HeavyBid, the answer is probably more than you think. 

Just ask Ed Bell Construction of Dallas. Vice President Doug Teter put the pedal to the metal a few years back, submitting 23 Texas Department of Transportation jobs in just 48 hours using only two laptops. 

“We have a rather extensive codebook and library estimate set up that allows us to assemble a pretty fair amount of estimates in a fairly quick manner,” said Teter. “It’s a lot of copy and paste, a lot of creating an activity once and copying it. Then we make tweaks to productions for each project.” 

Ed Bell Construction, which does primarily highway work, won three of the 23 jobs bid that weekend and came in second on a few more. 

“A couple of those jobs were very profitable jobs for us,” said Teter. “They were ones that we believe a lot of other folks just couldn’t get to. There were so many jobs to look at that they just picked a few to go after. But we got a competent number turned in on everything, and we got some very nice work because HeavyBid lets us cover a lot of ground quickly.” 

TxDOT does a monthly letting to release all new jobs, and Teter said two-day lettings are typical. Ed Bell, which has had HeavyBid for 20 years, was able to submit proposals on so many of them because of the way it has set up the estimating system over the years. 

“I have pre-populated the quote system with 99% of what I think I want in there, for what folders we have,” said Teter. “Every folder is already populated with vendors I know we’re getting a number from. Most of the overhead items that we carry in every estimate are pre-populated in the master estimate so that it’s all brought in and just has to be tweaked for each project.” 

TxDOT’s Contractors Desktop Application (CDA) allows companies to export all bid items for a project as well as electronically submit proposals, and HeavyBid allows Ed Bell to import those bid items into the estimate and export the bid to the CDA. 

Teter said the process of bidding 23 jobs wasn’t even all that difficult. The staff consisted of one estimator and four project managers to organize the incoming quotes and telephone calls. They hunkered down in a hotel room in Plano, Texas, on a Saturday afternoon to begin organizing for the letting, started bid review on Sunday morning and began receiving subcontractor numbers Sunday afternoon. Support staff made several runs during the weekend as well. 

“That used to be the only way you did it, getting estimates done,” said Teter of holing up in the hotel. “It provides some extensive focus time and keeps disruptions to a minimum.”

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