FREE Bid Comparison Template - 2024 Update

Written by Bridget Cooper

DateJun 10, 2024
Reading time8 min read

Construction project owners choose the most competitive bids when awarding contracts. They use a bid comparison template to streamline the process and promote transparency during bid evaluation. Bid comparison templates save time, especially when reviewing multiple bids. 

This guide examines the bid comparison template, how to structure it, and its benefits. Let’s start by explaining the construction bid comparison template. 

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What is a Construction Bid Comparison Template?

A bid comparison template is a spreadsheet used by project owners to compare multiple proposals side-by-side. It helps them analyze key bid details, including bid items such as deliverables and project prices. Project managers use bid comparison templates to choose the most suitable vendor or contractors. 

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The Best Bid Comparison Template Format

You can make a copy of our template here.

Now that we know what a bid comparison template is, and how to fill it out.

The format of the bid comparison template varies based on project requirements, evaluation criteria, and the level of detail.  However, the template itself has a core structure you can customize to fit any project requirements. Here are the most common details you’ll find in a comprehensive bid comparison template. 

Project Information Section

This section briefly describes key areas of the entire bid document. Think of it as a cheat sheet. Bid reviewers use this section to understand the bid without reviewing lengthy documents. Here’s a breakdown of what’s included in this section:

  • Project Name - It helps to identify the project.
  • Location - A general description of the project site or its physical address. 
  • Due Date - Bid submission deadline. 
  • Reference Documents - Key documents for bidders to reference, such as drawings, specifications, or key materials. 

This section helps bidders base their proposals on the same information and evaluators to understand the project context. 

Contractor Information Section 

Contractors indicate their company’s details to help reviewers verify the business’s legitimacy and identity. Bid reviewers also use this section to assess each contractor’s sustainability and qualification, helping them choose the most ideal candidate. This section contains the following details:

  • Contractor Details - The contractor includes the business name and contact details, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and website. This section gives the construction business its identity. Project owners use this information to communicate with shortlisted candidates and verify their identities.
  • Submission Date - It contains the bid submission date to ensure every proposal was received within a specific timeframe. The submission date must be before the predetermined deadline. Including each contractor’s submission date promotes fairness and transparency, especially during evaluation. Projects with tight deadlines are special cases where timely submission could be used as a tie-breaker.  
  • Insurance Information - Contractors mention and explain every insurance coverage they have to prove their risk management practices during construction. This section includes general liability insurance, which protects against bodily injuries or property damage caused by the contractor’s work. Worker’s compensation insurance is also crucial, covering lost wages and medical expenses for workers injured during construction. 

Cost Comparison Table

The cost comparison table is the heart of a bid comparison template. It allows reviewers to compare different bid prices side-by-side before selecting a winner. Here are the common elements found in this section. 

  • Cost Category - This column categorizes different construction costs, such as permits, labor, material, and demolition, required for every construction phase. It could be used to determine cost estimates for tasks involved in site preparation, foundation, framing, etc. It’s a breakdown of the entire project. This section facilitates cost control and ensures the project stays on budget. 
  • Item Description - It expands on each cost category, detailing specific materials and tasks needed to complete the project. It helps break down each contractor’s pricing, ensuring the client understands the reasons behind the bidding price. For instance, it's common to find information like excavation, grading, concrete footing, etc in this section. 
  • Unit of Measure - Contractors use different metrics to quantify materials or work. For example, they use linear feet to measure electrical wiring and cubic yards for excavation tasks. Project owners use unit of measure to calculate accurate costs by multiplying the specified quantity with the unit price proposed by the contractor. 
  • Quantity - This column contains the estimated amount of materials and work required to complete each item. The project owner often predetermines the quantity they use as a baseline for comparison. 

Bids for Additive and Deductive Alternatives

Every project has a pre-determined scope to help contractors understand key objectives. However, project owners allow contractors to modify and suggest scope changes. The bid comparison template has an ‘Additive’ row suggesting cost-saving ideas and a ‘Deductive’ row for project upgrades. 

There are two more elements under this section - Description and Alternative (ALT). The Description part contains the pre-determined project scope by the project owner. Contractors use it to understand project requirements and as a reference when creating bids. The ALT section contains the contractor’s suggestions, either additive or deductive. 

For instance, a contractor might suggest cheaper alternative construction materials without compromising structural quality. Others might suggest structural reinforcement techniques to strengthen the construction. 

Project owners use this section to analyze each contractor’s problem-solving and resource-management skills. This section is why we say that the lowest bid isn’t always the most valuable in the construction industry. 

Now that we know what to include in a bid comparison template, let’s see its significance in bid evaluation. 

Benefits of Using a Bid Comparison Template

A bid comparison template simplifies the proposal evaluation process, ensuring the project manager selects the most qualified contractor. Here are a few more benefits of using this spreadsheet. 

Effortless and Efficient Evaluation

Project managers would have difficulty evaluating different bids, each with a different format and cost breakdown. A bid comparison document provides a standardized bid format for speedy evaluation. 

A side-by-side bid comparison allows project managers to filter unsuitable candidates. For instance, project managers can compare specific aspects, such as prices, qualifications, and timelines, to select the right contractor. It saves them the time of reviewing lengthy documents before selecting a winner.  

Data-Driven Decisions

A well-structured bid comparison spreadsheet eliminates guesswork during decision-making. Project managers use the information to make decisions favoring positive outcomes. 

For example, project managers can consider the contractor’s proposed timeline, qualifications, and insurance instead of using price as the main determinant. The comprehensive evaluation helps project managers select a contractor that best aligns with the budget and requirements. 

Fairness and Transparency

Construction bids should be assessed based on similar pre-determined requirements to promote fairness. A standard template eliminates bias and ensures every contractor can win the contract. 

Transparency benefits contractors and project owners. It builds trust between contractors and project owners, facilitating a potential future collaboration. It also helps the project owner identify discrepancies between bids. 

For example, a project owner could follow up with the lowest-bidding contractor to understand their cost breakdown. Doing so eliminates misunderstanding and ensures they get the best value for their money. 

Risk Mitigation

Construction projects are complex and sensitive. Project managers use the bid comparison spreadsheet to identify potential risks and take corrective measures. 

For example, a contractor’s over-reliance on subcontractors and suppliers may raise concerns about quality control and schedule delays. Limited insurance coverage exposes the construction company to financial risks in case of a workplace accident.

Project owners use the bid comparison layout to choose a proposal that best balances project requirements with risk to ensure timely completion.  

Final Thoughts

Construction bid comparison is a complex and time-consuming process. The traditional approach is outdated and error-prone, so many people use templates. The pre-designed document saves you the time of creating the comparison template from scratch. It’s also straightforward to use, requires no experience, and you can evaluate multiple bids simultaneously. Construction managers use these templates to compare specific aspects, such as price, experience, and qualifications, from one spreadsheet to ensure they get the right people for the job. 

Written by Bridget CooperUpdated on Jun 10, 2024

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