EP 1 - Why should a subcontractor visit site during tender?

I’m a massive advocate of face-to-face communication, and the best way to kick off a relationship when you receive a tender from a new client is with a site visit.

Here are my six reasons why subcontractors should always arrange a site visit when tendering for a new client.


I’m going to give the SIX reasons why you must ALWAYS visit site when you receive a tender from a new prospective client:

TIME WASTERS: If this is a brand-new client you’re dealing with, you’re going to want to protect your valuable time and flush out the time wasters. You can do this quite simply by arranging a site visit; if the new prospective client is using you as a pricing tool, they’ll be reluctant to waste their time - so if you get the feeling that they’re not all that interested in meeting you, then this one probably isn’t for you.

RELATIONSHIPS: Business is done between people, and building relationships is key to winning new work. You cannot build authentic and trustworthy relationships via email, so to be successful, you need to arrange a site visit and build relationships with the key stakeholders. When done right, procurement isn’t a decision done in isolation, and there will likely be two or even three stakeholders involved in making the decision. One of these people will be the site or project manager, and this will likely be the person you’ll meet on site. This stakeholder is someone you’ll want to impress as, ultimately; this is the person you will be dealing with on a day-to-day basis if you’re successful, so building a strong rapport with this person will go a long way in their decision-making.

COMPETITION: It’s highly unlikely that you are the solitary contractor pricing this project, so how can you differentiate from your competition? The first and easiest way to do this is by arranging a site visit pre-submitting your tender. By doing this, you will subliminally paint a picture in the decision maker's head that you are more comprehensive than your competition who haven’t visited the site. Why is this? Well because you’ve visited site, you have a broader understanding of the access and restrictions of the site, so there’s no potential for uplift in costs for distribution and delivery. You’ve also likely discussed the attendances requirements with the site manager, so the prelims and items you include in your price are fully inclusive.

INSIGHT: Emails are protracted and are a poor substitute for obtaining the information the way you can with a face-to-face conversation. Before you’ve submitted your price, the client will be much more receptive to queries and favours, so you can use this to your leverage and access nuggets of information you simply wouldn’t be able to via email. The sorts of information you can obtain from the site visit are:

  • Are they open to product alternatives?
  • Are they open to Value Engineering opportunities?
  • When are they looking to make a decision?
  • When are you doing your tender analysis?
  • What’s the approximate budget?
  • Tender submission: can I have an extra week or two to return my price?

If you’re struggling for time, getting a pre-approved tender return extension could be really important, as the client will appreciate your openness and as you’ve made an effort to meet them, they’ll likely be willing to give you the extra time, and it won’t count against you in their decision making.

TAKING CONTROL: We’ve all been there, you’ve received a tender, priced it and submitted it and it’s now gone quiet. Don’t take this radio silence personally, you’ve given them what they wanted and something else more important may have come up, but at this point you’ve lost control over the process.

The way to keep control is by visiting site pre-tender and creating opportunities for further touch points after the submission. If you simply price and wait to hear back, you’re probably never going to hear from, unless your price looks very enticing to them. So, if you want to keep the dialogue going, you’ll need to take responsibility for the next touch point, this could be:

By creating these next touch points, you remain in control of the discussions, and this allows you to keep the dialogue going so you don’t lose touch with what’s happening with the package and will always be in the mind of the client.

SELLING: It’s extremely difficult to sell yourself and your business over an email, and when someone opens up your quote, they will glean very little else about your business other than some numbers on a spreadsheet – and at this point, it’s probably too late.

With a site visit, the prospective client gets to see you in person and more importantly, this is your opportunity to sell your business before you’ve sent in your quote.

Get this right and the prospective client will start to visualise what it would be like working with you and they’ll feel like they can make a more informed decision on whether you’re the right fit for the project.


Face-to-face communication is the most efficient way of winning new work and needs to be your number one priority when engaging with a prospective client for the first time.

By seeking a site visit, you’re adding a layer of filtering and selectivity to how you approach a tender. By doing this, you’ll spend less time chasing time wasters and more time cultivating relationships and converting work you have a genuine chance of winning.