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How to make a construction bid in California

Contractors in California know that public works projects can be a very lucrative source of income. Some contractors may shy away from the public bidding process because it seems complex, but, in reality, getting lined up to bid for state and municipal projects may actually be more simple than many first believe.

The typical bid package will describe the project, the pertinent details and the contact information for submission of the bid. It will provide specific instructions for the bidder, as well as other information necessary for the bidder to complete the bid. There are generally several compliance forms required by state and local laws, such as certification of worker's compensation and drug free workplace certification. The bid package may also require a work history and good standing certification in which the bidder must provide information proving they are a responsible bidder. In some cases, there may be a pre-certification process in which the bidder must be able to provide documentation prior to receiving the bid specifications.

The bid application will require all bidders to provide very detailed information about the bidder, as well as the project specifications. These must be complete enough to fully and accurately describe the plans and must specify all costs. Additionally, if the bidder plans to utilize subcontractors for the project, these subcontractors must be named and certified as well. Finally, many bids will require a security payment, which acts as a cash bond that the bidder will complete the project if they are selected. This is known as a performance bond.

Before embarking on the bidding process, new contractors have a lot to consider, so they may want to consider consulting with an experienced construction law attorney about the process.

Source: League of California Cities, "Public Works Tips," accessed Jan. 24, 2015

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