The post tender interview for a subcontractor can be a make or break moment for both sides on a construction project. A post tender meeting happens after the project tendering phase has been completed.
Often the final scope and schedule for the construction project are defined during this meeting. Below we’ve brought you ten questions that you can ask – or you may be asked during a construction post tender interview.
Question One – What construction projects do you have on the go or do you have upcoming?
This is one of my favourite questions to ask right at the start of the construction post tender interview. The reason I ask this question first is that it’s a lob ball and gives people the chance to talk about their successes. By allowing the other party to talk about their successes it get’s them comfortable with their surroundings and the people they are talking to.
If you are a subcontractor this is an opportunity to sell to the client your work, but more importantly, how this project fits in with your current work load. Don’t be too excited to tell people about everything you have on the go.
[bctt tweet=”You don’t want your potential client to feel like you are too busy and won’t value their business.” username=”cnstrctrdotcom”]
Question Two – What relevant construction project experience does your company have?
This question is asked second because it ties in nicely with the first question and will help you to understand what experience the contractor has. The subcontractor will be forced to give you projects of similar work experience. Look for projects with similar quality requirements, complexities and for clients that are your competitors.
As a subcontractor you should enter the meeting knowing the answer to this question. You may have a project list of five hundred projects, but if the job is a shopping mall and the projects are all tunnel work it won’t help your case. Provide a list of work that most closely exhibits the project you are meeting for.
Question Three – Walk us through your approach and anticipated construction for the project?
I like to jump around in my post tender interviews a bit more than most people, but the reason for doing this is to keep people on their toes. This question is designed to get the person across from you thinking. It will show you if they prepared for the meeting or not because this isn’t a question that is answered without some forethought. Going into the interview you should have an idea of the number of crews and sizes the subcontractor will need to complete the project. If they are over or under by alot you should be concerned that they over or under estimated the project.
As a subcontractor know the number of man hours you priced into the job and discuss this. Discuss any critical phasing that was included in the construction bid documents and speak to it. If there will be multiple crews required in different areas discuss how you believe your construction crews will be applied. Even if you’re wrong it shows the contractor that you’ve put some thought into things and educated yourself. Always leave the conversation stating that you’ll work with the general contractor to satisfy their phasing and schedule requirements.
Question Four – Any further savings opportunities to help cut construction costs?
Everyone loves to save money. The construction industry is no exception to that rule. Depending on your construction contract you may want to phrase this differently but the intent is the same. How can you save me money? This question get’s asked for two reason, one is the actual question itself, the second reason is to help you guage the trustworthiness of the person. If you know there are obvious savings and the person doesn’t bring them up it might prove to you that you can’t trust the person.
As a subcontractor I’d recommend coming prepared with a list of different savings options. Even if some of them are outrageous (ie deleting scope) it shows the contractor and owner that you went the extra mile. Some of these don’t even need you to put a number beside them. Just by showing that there could be construction savings may intrigue the contractor enough to continue a conversation with you if you are not low.
Question Five – Are there any details or scope that you would do differently than what’s shown on the drawings?
Despite what architects will tell you, they don’t always know best. By asking if there are any details that could be changed, you’re asking the individual if they’ve gone through the drawings. This question could help to save money, save a costly request for information further down the road and speed up the project. In many instances contractors know a better way to build something, by asking them up front you’re not blind siding the architect and being pro-active. If they don’t have any suggestions chances are they don’t know the project that well.
As a subcontractor you’re the professional. Spend a half hour with the drawings and come up with some things you’d do differently to improve quality or make the project better. Even if this question doesn’t get brought up you should initiate it. It will help you to show off and show the contractor that you know your work and care about the success of the project.
Pro-Tip – Just Show Up
Show up to the interview, dress nice, present well and there’s a good chance that as long as your number is competitive you’ll get a call back. Post-tender interviews can be daunting on both sides, but be relaxed and look at it as more of a conversation than a pitch. Your level of comfort will show people you know the project and are prepared to tackle it.
What’s the last post-tender interview you were part of? How did it go? Share below in the comments some of your lessons learned.