Let me blurt something out real fast, not every bid you perform will be spot on. There, I got that off my chest.
I bring this up because there are those that want to “bid perfectly” every single time out. While that’s a noble goal, it’s not going to happen. Sorry for the bad news.
The flip side is that you can learn a whole bunch from those accounts that you messed up on. I should know, as I’ve made my fair share of mistakes over the years. When I make a mistake, I do my best to learn from what went wrong. Then… I try to not repeat that mistake.
A doctor’s office that took almost twice as long as expected
One bad bid in particular was for a doctor’s office. It was early on in my career, and I was still really “green” as they say. To make a long story short, this one office called and walked me through the facility. It wasn’t small, but it wasn’t all that big either. It had about eight small exam rooms, some bathrooms, waiting room, kitchen, some offices and an area where they kept the records.
I took my best guess and came up with two hours per night to clean. I figured that because we were going to be there five nights per week, we could stay on top of it. As I look back, it was a terrible bid! The actual time to clean came in at roughly three and a half hours per night. So I was off by a good bit.
I did that account for several years without making any money off it. I had some employees that REALLY NEEDED THE MONEY, and that account gave them some hours to pad their weekly total. While I didn’t like to have jobs that gave me no profit, it did serve as a solid reminder to do a better job going forward.
What I learned from this account
This job taught me a few things. The first was to pay attention to HOW MANY employees work at a facility. What I didn’t realize at the time I performed the bid is that they had like twenty some people crammed into that office. That many people in a small office MAKE A BIG MESS. The kitchen was a disaster every single day. If half that many people worked there, my bid may have been workable.
The next thing I learned was to ask HOW MANY PATIENTS do you see in a day. This number can vary greatly from one type of doctor to another. For instance a general practitioner may see scores of patients per day, while a kidney specialist may see ten. Guess what office will be easier to clean?
The last thing I learned was to PAY ATTENTION TO HOW NEAT THE OFFICE WAS. Offices that are neat as a pin tend to be run by a strong office manager that runs a tight ship. While these type managers may be more high-strung and demand a higher standard, the offices they manage tend to be cleaner when you walk in at days end.
This is because the manager doesn’t let the employees run wild all day making messes as they go about their work day. This means the kitchen and break areas will be in better shape, there will be less trash tossed around the floor near desks and trash cans won’t be over flowing in each and every room.
The moral here is that you can make a big mistake bidding and still “profit” off the account when all is said and done. The profit just won’t be in cash you can place in your bank account, instead it will be profit you can put in your “knowledge bank”.