Bidding on City Jobs

Just some FYI on a job I bid with the CIty of Columbia, SC. I only had 4 hours to get my bid put together and couldn’t do a proper job of estimating so I bid high ($0.15/ft2) to make sure I was covered.

I can’t upload the .pdf files for you to see how it all comes together but here’s the short version…

  1. 7 parking garages; 1,505,000 total ft2 to be cleaned (includes floors, walls, and ceilings)
  2. 90 days to complete

…and here are all the bids submitted.

As you can see from the other bids, it is highly unlikely that I will win this project but I hope this helps someone in the future.


I’m just shocked that someone can do 7 parking garages within 30 days for 65K. Are they a parking garage specialist in your area?

Its 90 days but they’re basically a franchise and probably pull equipment/personnel from other locations.

Hi Guys, got interested in this as I just finished a quote this evening over here in Cyprus for our local Municipality (local council) to clean a huge tourist walkway along the seafront. its 33,000m2 of basically sidewalk =355,000ft2. I quoted 0.35cents m2 = 11,550 for the job (euros) multiple up to same space as the garages = x4.23 so I would be just short of 50k. using 2 machines with surface cleaners I will get this done in 6 nights my main cost will be under 3000, staff ( 2 trained guys and 2 labor) fuel, chems, transport. just wondering how different cost are in the US than here that I can make 8.5k profit, if I extrapolated that and the same multiple on costs up to the same as the garages it would be 36k profit on just 50k revenue and I could get it done in a month … just ! is there a need to be at 225k ? are costs so high ?


That’s a serious wide range of bids.


Whats the plan for arsenal hill location, 80,000 square feet with no water access? Floors, ceilings, walls will chew up some water. Hydrant options?


The bids are all over the map lol

Does the city usually go with the lowest bidder? Or do they go with the middle guy?

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Yep…hydrant permit.

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Not really. I didn’t have time to crunch actual numbers. After the bid deadline I went back and recalculated with a much sharper pencil and came up with $120k

I have tried searching for this, but how did you find out about the RFP in the first place?

Google search…City of Columbia SC proposals. Then I had to register to gain access.

I have no idea what the criteria/selection process is. This is my first bid for work with them. I’ll find out on July 22.

Just wondering, in the US with City / local government dont you need to become pre qualified, in Europe most multinationals like gas companies or even MacDonald’s (to clean thier patios) or local government will go through a prequal process. The Quality Management System I wrote is 50 pages ! (with loads of additional supporting docs like recruitment and training , safety procedures ect ) it has to conform to ISO Standards.

QA Manual

Maybe this is why there is almost no other PW company here :rofl:


Yes. I didn’t load those images but it was only 5 or 6 pages for the registration/prequal.

Quarter million dollar bif and you only spent 4 hours on an estimate?

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That’s all the time I had from when I found out about it until it was due…and I was at work. If I had more time it would have been about a $120k bid.
" I only had 4 hours to get my bid put together"

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I’m still amazed at the price difference of $686,530 Between the highest and the lowest. It’s almost laughable.


I actually looked at that after you said you google searched. I had been making it way to difficult and had been trying to search state websites. I have since just started searching for each city around and looking that way. Thanks.

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