Bidding the Full Picture

By: Mike Gwizdala, EXCEPTIONAL Metals General Manager

How many times have you heard, “Their price was substantially lower than yours,” after a bid opening? How does that make you feel? Do you begin to build your defense mechanisms or do you simply accept that your product is overpriced, without making a case or earning a sale?

You’re not alone – many sales people face this same challenge until they learn how to combat this statement with a more complete picture. The skill to understanding how to face this challenge comes down to knowing your competition and their products, just as well as you know your own.

A perfect example can be taken from the clips used on standing seam metal panels. There are two types of clips that are commonly used, one is a two-piece sliding clip and the other is a fixed clip that can be used when installing metal panels that are 30 feet in length or shorter. Sliding clips generally cost twice as much per unit than the fixed clip option, which is why many contractors assume that they should bid their projects with fixed clips to win the job. This is where it’s important to know how to present the full picture though, because face value isn’t always what it appears to be.

When comparing fixed clips versus sliding clips, fixed clips are markedly less expensive per unit. However, fixed clips are required to be placed at every 2 feet on center whereas sliding clips can be placed every 4 feet on center. This means you would have to purchase significantly more fixed clips to complete an identical job using sliding clips, driving up the cost. Add to that the labor required to install the additional fixed clips, and contractors could actually be coming in at 10 to 20% higher than their competition that bid using the more expensive floating clips.

If you want to start winning more standing seam bids, learn your competition and what they bid on potential jobs. Don’t be afraid to bid using a higher-priced product if you can demonstrate that it’s the better option in the end. That’s how you win the decision-maker’s confidence and how you build a reputation as a roofer of choice!