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A tale of two bids or why the low one?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by FIMCO-MEISTER, May 27, 2012.

  1. We had the most bizarre sewage problem. The sewage line was blocked by roots and us and a neighbor with a big empty building share this sewer line. For a year now sewage has been backing up into this building and started coming out the window. Finally somebody over there noticed and basically it was 2' high in sewage. So the plumber came out and managed to drill about a 2" hole through the rotts and it came blasting out. The mess is cleaned up now but I needed to get bids on replacing 90' of sewage line. The guy who cleaned up the mess (I was really impressed with the job they did as well) came in at 4100. Another company with a very good reputation came in at 6550.00. Pretty big difference. Little surprising because the high bidder will be out there to replace a sidewalk so this could just be an add on to his other job.

    Going with the lower bid but I'll be watching him like a hawk. He says it's a one day job. 91' of 6" sewer line plus a double clean out. Gravel fill as well.
  2. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Maybe one has more experiance than the other so he has better equipment and understanding to bid tighter.
  3. SSmith

    SSmith Banned
    Posts: 447

    Who's hungry? lol

    The low bidder may be more efficient or may just be a hack. Watch him closely.
  4. Both been at it awhile. Small town so word of mouth spreads fast and both had good reputations. I think s.smith hit it. Who's hungrier? I sat down and figured the material costs so I know both bids cover that part. At 4100 he'll make money but that is a pretty signicant difference for the same material same job. After cleaning up the sewage mess I was leaning towards wanting him to do it as reward for dealing with that Gawd awful mess. He could have come in at 6000 and still gotten the job.
  5. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    I have a client that had a sewer line replaced. It was less than 4K.
    House lower than the road, likely a 90 foot run.

    Connection likely close to 15 feet deep. I doubt he followed OSHA open trench but could have? Heck of a job for the money. He had the right equipment, older beat up F 250s and a dump pulling the excavtor.

    Me, I would have bid 10K LOL.
  6. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,431

    that's too much money left on the table not to ask for other bids....$2450?

    you also have to think of this pete, just because the other contractor is on-site doesn't mean he doesn't have mobilization costs.

    what type of pipe are each figuring? you are saying gravel but i know that the pipe must be sand-beded and sand is expensive.

    you're below frost line at the bldg, (2-3') so the connection to the lat at the main will require some shoring (you are liable as the owners agent)

    who's pulling the permit?

    small town? could ths be that you have a septic system? lots of questions pete :)

    i always fear the low bid
  7. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,974

    I think you've answered your own question. :clapping:
  8. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,431

    it has been my experience with large bid spreads (so you can take this as an opine) that i throw out the high and the low bids, i look closely at the middle of the board and ask why are these bids so close and the others so far out?

    time to check the materials (the contractor may be using a different but equal product) where the supporting materials are coming from (transite mix and bedding materials, safety, execution of work) some contractors have sources that make their jobs more profitable.

    one contractor may be using sched 40 pvc (rated dwv) at a lower cost than abs or c-6/900 pipe. you get the drift, apples and apples is what i look for. good luck with your project pete :)
  9. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,974

    Did I miss something? I assumed there was a spec call-out for parts & installation. :dizzy:
  10. I tracked the sewer line so they know exactly where I want them to hookup. I specified a double clean out to be installed at the point of connection. The pipe needs to be 6' deep. Already have a pretty good grade from the building to the manhole tie in. Pipe 6" SDR 35. They both have bedding material, packing, and excess haul off in their bids. lower bid guy will be doing the excavating himself. my plumber said he's the best digger in town. I think the higher bid guy doesn't get too involved in the actual doing of the work. Justs sends his guys out. Options for bidders is limited here. Probably could have found more bidders but needed to move fast because a new sidewalk is going in crossways to the sewer line path and I want to get this done before the sidewalk gets put in.

    One more thing I didn't mention. The higher bid guys father in law is on the board and while reviewing the bids he said he would go with the lower bid. Frankly everybody on the board was breathing a sigh of relief. They thought it would be over 10,000 and a special assessment would need to be done. I take some credit for that because i did the preliminary work so there was no mystery involved in doing the job. I'll take pics.

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