To bid, or not to bid

I’d like your opinion on the issue presented in this article: “USC nixes bids; donor chooses architect.”

Firms spent $100K and months of labor to win a project and USC canceled the bid when the major donor wanted to hand-pick the Architect. Has your firm ever experienced this?

Architects, Contractors, Suppliers and others in the building industry are professional service providers, right? Could you imagine having a medical issue, lining up five doctors, and saying, "Okay, tell me what my problem is, how you're going to solve it, and how much you'll charge, then I'll decide who'll fix me." No, we do our research first, hopefully find the best service provider (medical professional), and pay them for the solution. If we don't like their solution or need clarification, we go pay another service provider for their opinion.

How did our industry get to a place - a place where we're really not trying to move away from - where we give away our hard earned knowledge and skills? Maybe the solution is not to get into a bid situation, but focus to positioning to negotiate a contract.

This may be easier said than done when bidding is still prevalent and in this economic climate, but it could be something firms could work into the business development plan.


Have You Seen the Competition?

New media makes it easier to follow your competition,- whether they're in the same city, across the country, or around the world - and find out how their running their business and communicating with clients.

1) Go to their website and review every page. What do they offer? How are they communicating their value message? What projects are on the boards, under construction or built? Who are their project partners?

2) Subscribe to their blog. You should know the message they are regularly sending to their audience (and yours).

3) Follow them on Twitter. No only can you see the daily feed, you'll find out who their audience is (followers), who your competition follows, and those you have in common.

4) Check search engines for press releases. Where are the sending their news so it's pushed out to a wider audience?