By Steven Kobusch, Project Engineer

Staying competitive in our industry can mean many different things. Often times it’s assumed that low quotes are the most attractive way to stay competitive. On a recent project in Florida, Vogel Bros. was reminded that low bids from subcontractors do not always cost the least.

A subcontractor – who Vogel Bros. had not worked with before – provided the lowest quote for a portion of the project. After several clarification calls and face-to-face meetings a subcontract was issued. Vogel Bros. quickly learned the sub was a better salesman than subcontractor. Thankfully a very alert and observant Vogel Bros. superintendent noticed the work being performed was not to the level promised to the owner. In fact, work was not even being performed according to the contract drawings. Vogel Bros. was not willing to accept this level of craftsmanship, and thus re-work, damage repairs, and additional charges were incurred to bring the work to the expectations of the owner.

Vogel Bros. continually monitors the marketplace, and thanks to our excellent reputation for fair treatment of subs and efficient job management, we frequently acquire the best possible quotes. It’s very easy to get distracted by the lowest quote when isolating parts of the whole project. In this example, it’s true this sub provided the lowest cost for their trade. But when you add in the additional costs and damage repairs and the superintendent’s time spent managing subs like this, the “cost” can be greater than the quote provided by the second (or third or fourth) lowest bidder. Sometimes the lowest quoted cost is not always the lowest costing cost.