1. If the item description includes a brand name (yours or a competitor’s), then the bid location is more interested in the level of product quality than the price.
  2. You should always send a product sample, when requested, to the dealer and to the bid location.
  3. Always ask your dealer if they intend to bid your product, or if they are just shopping your price against the competition’s. It’s a fair question that can often lead to a conversation about winning more bid business through that dealer.

CITY OF NEW YORK / NY
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA / PA
CITY OF LOS ANGELES / CA
CITY OF SAN ANTONIO / TX
CITY OF CHICAGO / IL
CITY OF SAN DIEGO / CA
CITY OF HOUSTON / TX
CITY OF DALLAS / TX
CITY OF PHOENIX / AZ
CITY OF SAN JOSE / CA
These locations may or may not purchase the largest quantities of every commodity. However, if you’re working to have your brand specified on upcoming bids, it’s always worth the effort with these locations.

The knowledge that a specific bid is coming up, with your comparable products, is valuable on several levels. As a manufacturer, you would normally just respond to a dealer’s request for bid pricing. However, when you are aware of the bid before it actually comes out, you have the additional time to take several actions that can give you a winning strategy.

  1. You can reach out to the bid location and request that your products be considered as an “equal to” or “specified brand” on their upcoming bid.
  2. You can look at the price points they currently pay for comparable competitive products and adjust your dealer pricing to encourage participation with your product.
  3. You can contact the dealers that participated on the previous version of this bid to make sure you work with them on the upcoming requirement.

These are fundamental actions that can provide a long-range strategy to reduce the volatility normally associated with bid business. It can also provide a plus-over-normal increase in your current bid business.

NYC DOE / NY
CLARK COUNTY SCHOOLS / NV
LOS ANGELES USD / CA
PHILADELPHIA SD / PA
CHICAGO PS / IL
ORANGE CPS / FL
MIAMI-DADE CS / FL
DALLAS ISD / TX
HOUSTON ISD / TX
HILLSBOROUGH CPS / FL
These locations may or may not purchase the largest quantities of every commodity. However, if you’re working to have your brand specified on upcoming bids, it’s always worth the effort with these locations.

Manufacturers, often enough, believe that the only path to more bid business is to lower prices. Lower margins follow. It’s true that the bid system is there to ensure the lowest price for the desired quality. However, if your brand is the desired level of quality, then it’s the lowest price for your product. This process of having your brand spec’d (specified) on school & government RFPs and bids has no downside. Generally, because of the cost involved in re-writing specifications, a brand may remain as part of the line item description for years before it’s re-evaluated. There are a few shortcuts that bid specialists understand, but it’s a continuing process that always pays off with reduced volatility, renewable business, and better margins.

It’s always important to remember that distributors often win contract business with the brand that is specified in the product description. However, when there is a generic description or a branded description that allows for an alternate or “equal to” alternate, then there are three things that you can do to help win more bid business with distributors:

  1. Product Packaging: Be sure it’s consistent with normal bid packaging.
  2. Bid Program: Offer your best price, terms, and lowest prepaid order amount.
  3. Comparable Brands List: Provide for your distributors to use when preparing bids.

If you have already won business on a bid through your distributor, you have a running start. You can, and should, request (from the bid location) that your brand be included in the next bid as approved equal or specified brand. This is a process and doesn’t just happen with a letter or a phone call. However, it can be done, and the ROI is worth it. Having your brand mentioned in the product specification brings you new profitable business in a variety of ways. Certainly, the opportunity to enjoy this same business again is now in your favor. Distributors that you may not currently be doing business with will often contact you if they compete on that bid in the future. This opens the door for you to develop a full bid program and resist a lowest price strategy…resulting in higher margins and reduced volatility. Contract branding consistently delivers the highest return on investment for manufacturers.

A bid is issued and the distributor asks for your pricing on specific items. At that point, if you want that business and similar business in the future, it takes more than just quoting a low price. In fact, sometimes it’s not about the price at all, but about avoiding the items listed here:

  1. No one sent samples: If your brand is not specified on the bid, always offer to send samples directly to the bid location.
  2. Your brand is not pre-approved on the bid: Don’t rely on your distributor or sales rep to have your product pre-approved.
  3. Your product is packaged for retail sales: Check with your distributors – contract or bid packaging is very basic bulk packaging – 12/box, etc.
  4. Your bid pricing is not comparable to your competition: You don’t need to be the lowest price but you need to be in the ballpark — know your competitors
  5. You don’t have a good distributor program: Bid programs, rebates, incentives are as important here as in any other marketing initiative.

Converting data into actionable information is the fundamental premise that has made us the leading resource for manufacturers’ business intelligence and predictive analytic models, in this market sector, over the past 29 years. Smart data is taking us, and our clients, into a more productive, pro-active and profitable future together.