The following article by Vince Bailey, an estimator at E&K of Phoenix, was originally published in Construction Dimensions, a monthly publication by the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry. Reprinted with permission.
They’re back. Activity in the commercial construction industry has been on the upswing for a couple of years now for most of us, and the reemergence of an unwelcome element in our midst was inevitable. It is an unfortunate but predictable phenomenon that when prosperity flourishes, the parasites appear, and so we should not be taken by surprise when an attack comes from below. The only trouble is, whether surprised or not, there is often very little that can be done to retaliate when a low-baller comes out of nowhere and bombs an otherwise righteous bid opportunity, shattering the prospects of valid and qualified bidders. The best we can usually expect to do is shrug our broad shoulders and wait for the bottom-feeders to self-destruct. But in the meantime, there is no question that they drag the level of the field down to a lower tier. Still, a general awareness (or, the dirty low-down) on the nature and development of these subcontracting scoundrels can be useful.
For the record, I’m not talking about qualified competitors who wind up on the low end of the number cluster on several successive bids. Read more » about Dirty Low Down