“Apples to Apples”…. bidding that’s not rotten to the core…. – Article by Greg Borzilleri



 Believe it or not when presented with a request for proposal (Sometimes referred to as a RFP) it isn’t as simple as throwing a number at the repair and seeing if it sticks.  There is a tremendous amount of work that actually goes into a putting together a proposal whether it is for a small leak repair or a large scale dry-rot project.  Most of which the HOA, the board of directors or the Property Manager never sees.  From the first moment that a work order request is generated, to the initial inspection, then the actual estimating of the repair, preparing the contract, then putting all the separate phases together into a presentation for the board of directors and oh yeah don’t forget the photo and written documentation for everyone’s benefit down the road. It’s not exactly going out and looking at the problem then writing a number on a napkin (at least not for everybody).

However there are some simple steps that can be taken that will not only expedite proposals but insure that the bids you are receiving will be competitive and comparative for the best decision making possible for Associations.

For smaller repairs arm your chosen vendors and service providers with as much information as possible. Just like reporters we need the Who, What, When, Where and Why. The more information you as the Manager or requesting board can provide us with the faster we can expedite the request and limit the amount unnecessary phone calls and emails back and forth that can quickly become overwhelming and time consuming. This is essential especially for water intrusion repairs.  The key information we truly need is:

  • Homeowner contact information:  The easier we can contact the homeowner to schedule an inspection of their property the faster we can stop your phone from ringing from the owner or resident.  Name, address, phone numbers (cells numbers are excellent) and email addresses.
  • Description of the problem:  Instead of just calling in a roof leak.  Try to give more detail such as “leak in the 2nd floor master bedroom” this will tell the vendor what he needs to even begin to address your repair.


  • Association Maps:  Some of these associations are built like Vegas casinos and addresses don’t always show up in a GPS device. These also prove helpful in planning a phased out project.


  • Gate Codes: The last thing you want is a vendor calling you saying “I’m here. What’s the gate code?” Or even worse is for us is to drive out to an association and not be able to gain access and not be able to reach someone to obtain a code or key.


  • Board packet due dates: This will allow your vendor to prioritize requests and let you know up front if he can meet your deadline. 

When dealing with a larger scale community project it is important to have a singular scope of work for all bidders to submit a quote to. There is a few ways this can be achieved.

  • For smaller to medium sized projects you can have your preferred vendor for that association develop the scope of work for all competitors to bid to.


  • The contractor who is most familiar with the property will be able develop the scope so you can then distribute the repair request quickly to the other bidders.


  • Hold fast to the scope as much as possible to ensure “Apples to Apples”.


  •  Assuming that your selected vendor is professional they would have developed a complete scope of work that will address the associations problem and not set the other vendors up to fail with a scope that is either too vague to follow or incomplete.


  • A complete scope of work will limit the amount of requests for information (sometimes called an RFI) during the bidding process and limit the amount of change orders to the association during the actual project itself.


Any time an Association is preparing to perform a construction project with multiple trades or items that are subjective such as dry-rot repairs a professional construction consultant can be the easiest way to have a true scope of work developed that will have no bias.

  • Over see’s the bidding process to make sure that you will have an even playing field and know you are receiving “Apples to Apples” quotes.


  • Having an independent third party can be beneficial during the actual project to validate change orders and field directives.


  • This can save the association not only money but aid in the project completion time frame.


  • Try and avoid consultants that also want to bid the project repairs as well. Although there are many professional companies who do both with no issues. Do you really want the person approving the scope of work to be the one billing for it as well?


There are several different ways to ensure a successful project. But by following some of these guidelines you can give yourself and your association a definite advantage in completing your necessary repairs or cosmetic upgrades.

– For additional information about PCW Contracting Service’s, click here

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    Amber Property Management 27261 Las Ramblas, Suite 100 Mission Viejo, CA 92691 General email mark@amberpm.com and or tracey@amberpm.com Office (949) 429-5831 Fax (949) 429-5933
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