Armageddon was a fast-action, disaster movie that came out more than twenty years ago. The film is about an asteroid, the size of Texas, headed towards the Earth. If it does hit, then the entire planet and all its inhabitants, will be obliterated.
Starring Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck, this “hold on to your seat” thriller is also famous for several high-profile lines, including the following:
“You know, we’re sitting on four million pounds of fuel, one nuclear weapon, and a thing that has 270,000 moving parts built by the lowest bidder. Makes you feel good, doesn’t it?”
Well, it did not. That line was purposely planted to add to the concerns and worry of the actors, wondering if they would ever survive the movie’s circumstances.
Further, this was at a time when there was criticism of most government entities, including the Federal government, because so many were required to accept the lowest bid when hiring contractors or purchasing supplies.
And not selecting the low bidder in government can be difficult.
For one reason, and as we discussed in another blog, if all the bids seem to be about the same, then it makes sense to hire the lowest bidder. But what we also added in that blog was that what looks good on paper may not always look good when put into practice.
While some government offices are no longer required to accept the lowest bid from a contractor, most still do. All too often, politically, it’s the easiest thing to do. Plus, if everything goes well, then it makes the politicians look even better.
But if it does not go well, then we may have an entirely new set of circumstances. For instance, when evaluating what went wrong with a major government construction project, an evaluation from KMPG, a U.S. consulting and auditing firm, concluded:
“The lowest bid was accepted. The project had been inordinately delayed. The quality has been less than desired, and the eventual cost escalated much beyond the original estimate.”
The consulting group went on to say, hiring low bidders is a “global phenomenon,” which they encounter frequently. They suggested that instead of just selecting contractors based on the lowest bid, what might be a more effective and cost-effective approach, would be “hunting [for] and hiring the best of the best.”
In other words, putting the entire emphasis on quality over price.
But, is that what private businesses do? After all, most are not required to hire the low bidder for products or services.
In fact, in private industry, hiring the low bidder can have profoundly serious ramifications if things do not go well. In our 45 years in business, we have witnessed building managers lose hard-earned reputation by hiring a low-bid cleaning contractor, whose work was sub-standard.
Instead, what many private businesses do and what the consulting firm recommends is hire the best of the best, but then work with that vendor to find ways to negotiate price. The process, they say, increases transparency and, if handled in a win-win manner, helps foster a solid working relationship that only becomes stronger over time.
This is particularly good advice the next time you are taking bids for cleaning. Cleaning bids are not necessarily written in stone. Once you have selected the cleaning contractor that you believe will best meet your facility’s needs, sit down with them, review the proposal, and see if some accommodations can be made that work well for both parties.
The Secure Clean blog is designed to help building managers keep their facilities cleaner, healthier, greener, and safer, in the most cost-effective ways possible. To learn more about us, please take a few minutes to explore our website at www.securecleanbsi.com, contact us here, or at 888-609-1410.