How long does it take for a bid you place to be accepted or rejected?

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by Tom Watson on May 3, 2015

When you finally get to place a proposal for your services it’s a real adrenaline rush. Your hard work is starting to pay dividends!

So you hand in the proposal and wait. Then you wait some more. You start to get nervous as the calendar turns the page from one day to another. The wait is just agonizing.

To everyone out there that is going through this now… “I feel your pain”. I have been in those situations time and time again in my career. I will say it gets better over the years, as you learn to not “live and die” over each detail in your business.

If you are looking for a short and concise, clean-cut answer to the question of “how long” you are going to be disappointed. There is no answer to this question. Every situation you encounter will be DIFFERENT. Every prospective customer has their own time-frames.

I will say that the wait can be as little as five minutes or as long as several months. It really depends on the person making the decision. I can say the wait on residential services should be short, as in a week or less. While the commercial account tends to take longer as they have more red-tape to cut through.

One way to help reduce your anxiety is to simply ask the following question when submitting your proposal… “When do you expect a decision to be made?”  This simple question will help clue you in as to the expected time-frame of a decision being reached.

Some may reply with a drop dead date that a decision will be reached while others will play coy. At the end of the day you have to just accept the answer they give you. If they don’t give you a clear answer as to “when”, then simply ask if you can follow up in a week or two to see where things stand.

I do have one more tip that will reduce the worry associated with waiting on a bid to come through. Ready? Keep marketing NON-STOP. Most beginners do the opposite and STOP marketing once they put one bid in. This is a mistake because if you don’t get that one bid you are hoping for it DEFLATES all the enthusiasm.

Your goal is keep your foot on the marketing gas pedal and work at getting to the point where you have SEVERAL BIDS at a time out there. Once that happens, you’ll be happy they don’t say YES all at the same time. It would be a LOT OF WORK if they did!

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 gary May 3, 2015 at 4:59 pm

I don’t write proposals, I do a walkthrough and tell them right then and there, you usually get a quick answer. Works for me anyway.

2 Keshia May 3, 2015 at 10:08 pm

Good information Tom!! Thank you so much. Do they have website where you can find contracts to bid on? Thanks.

3 Tom Watson May 4, 2015 at 11:16 am

Hi Keshia! thanks for the kind words. To your question… no there isn’t (at least not to my knowledge).

4 Tom Watson May 4, 2015 at 11:24 am

Hi Gary! Yea… I do the same on some of the easier ones. THANKS for commenting.

5 gary May 4, 2015 at 11:48 am

lol, I wish there was a website to bid on jobs. In a perfect world, maybe, you have to put the effort forth, to make it happen, it is no fun, but will make you appreciate success more. Every time I think about quitting, I remember I make great money in short amounts of time. No one else is gonna pay me this well without a college degree for mopping floors, lol.

6 Tom Watson May 4, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Completely agree. If there was such a bidding board, it would only drive prices down anyway, as it would be lowest price driven. And yea… pound for pound you can’t make better money for doing something so simple.

7 gary May 4, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Also, if you don’t plan on hiring any employees, you can do quite well for yourself. The sales game just takes time and patience and most of all persistence.

8 Tom Watson May 4, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Yea… pocket more of the money in the beginning by DIY, learn all the in’s and out’s then hire people slowly to do what you did. A great recipe.

9 Ron May 5, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Thanks again Tom for the great advice! I just place a bid after a walk though too.I think that’s the simple way which is to just be up front! Then you don’t got to stress over waiting for the answer.

10 Tom Watson May 5, 2015 at 12:51 pm

THANKS for commenting Ron. Much appreciated!

11 Gifty Araba Arthur May 6, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Tom thank you for your advice, but in this part of our country it take a very long time to get one bid,but never lose hope.Gifty from Ghana……i need more of your encouragement

12 Tom Watson May 9, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Hi Gifty! All you can do is KEEP TRYING. Things may move slower than you like, but as long as YOU keep moving, all will work out.

13 Trent Petty May 11, 2015 at 11:46 am

Hi Tom. It’s Trent, I asked you a bunch of questions at your house not long ago… I got my first cleaning bid approved and I bid low, to guarantee the contract because it was so conveniently close and just to get a feel for the business(and it’s 5 nights a week.) I’m still watching my daughter during the day, so it is not bad at all. Thanks for the tips and I’ll keep you updated.

14 Tom Watson May 11, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Hi Trent! Thanks for giving me the update. Keep me posted!

15 Gifty Araba Arthur May 12, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Hi Tom,where is the appropriate place to forward the proposal. Because i can’t wait to have my first contract.

16 Tom Watson May 13, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Hi Gify! You need to visit with companies to let them you are starting a cleaning business. Give them a business card and briefly tell them about yourself. Pick small places to visit at first then go from there. Try to just get hired for any small job to get experience.

17 Camelia Snider June 11, 2015 at 12:08 pm

I just recently started my cleaning service, and i must admit that it is much work, but however, i’m doing homes right now, but i really want to get on a contract, but from your experience, would connecting with Chamber Of Commerce be good for me right now as a new starter?

18 Tom Watson June 12, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Hi Camelia! I never had too much luck with the larger Chambers. Smaller networking groups was our sweet spot. It seemed like the big Chambers all focused just on big companies, and little folks got disrespected in many ways. I would investigate several networking groups that have 10 to 20 members at the minimum. It does work, but it can take a little time. Direct mail and flyers are the fastest way to generate money (along with going to real estate offices).

19 Mario July 2, 2015 at 10:44 pm

hi Tom! thank you so much for the informative discussions in your web site.. I believe this could be of great help for me because I am just starting my cleaning business…I am now subcontracting from established cleaning company just to study the ins and outs of the business but I`m on the way of securing bonds for my business so I can bid for my own contract…

20 Tom Watson July 3, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Hi Mario! I’m happy you found me, and if you need me, I’ll be here. Just email or call me and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.

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