The "Lowest Bid" practice has been around for a long time. Like most things, there are pro's and con's to this practice. On the positive side, this practice promotes a competitive market and ensures costs remains low. On the negative side, often times the urge to compete results in costs going too low. The result of this can lead to contractors cutting corners, even when it comes to safety. Almost every accident, injury and fatality in the past 100 years has occurred as a result of taking the lowest bid. If safety is truly our priority, we cannot guarantee to be the lowest bid. In fact, we would rather not be.
In the event of a workplace accident in Ontario, the maximum fine imposed is $1,000,000 AND 2 years in prison. This fine can be imposed on ANYONE involved in the work, including the buildings manager and the building owner. Typically the building manager and building owner receive the highest penalty since they are the leading decision makers and have the most to lose.
The reality is, things cost what they cost. There is a small margin between expenses and final billing. This margin is referred to as "profit". Expenses are generally the same for all contractors. There is not much room to maneuver here. Therefore, in order to cut costs, and be the lowest bidder, "profit" must be cut. There is a limit to cutting profit. And when that limit is reached, the danger begins.
The next thing that is cut, is quality. Contractors need to be payed. Therefore they understand that there is a limit to cutting quality. After quality, safety is cut. Things become more unsafe. Corners are cut to speed up the job. That's where someone gets hurt or killed.
In conclusion, the pursuit of getting the lowest bid is contrary to safety. This is why you don't want the lowest bid. At skyline, our objective is not to be the lowest bidder. Our objective is to be the most accurate bidder.
We have lost many opportunities with this attitude, but the clients we gained have remained for many years. It is very common for a client to contact us and show us they received a lower bid. Only to throw that same bid in the trash bin.
When a contractor tries to be the lowest bidder, they tend to cut their costs in the following order:
We are serious about safety. That's why safety starts at the moment we receive your call. Typically a clients first words are "can I get a quote for . . . ". For us, that's where the safety begins. Immediately, our intention is not to be the lowest bidder.
Taking all things into consideration, you can be assured that our estimate is the most accurate. We have 37 years of experience over various economic situations and geographical locations to ensure our estimated cost is the most accurate.
Our attitude about not being the lowest bidder has generated a unique relationship with our clients. Mutual trust and loyalty.
Our clients trust that the work will get done safely and successfully. In return, we trust our clients to contact us for all their building needs. Our clients are loyal even thought they constantly receive lower bids from our competitors. Our loyalty is returned to our clients. When you become our client, you have exclusive access to our long list of building maintenance services.
The safest thing to do is NOT take the lowest bid. This is where safety begins. It begins with the client. You now have the knowledge and information to choose wisely.
The first step in the safety process starts with the client. It starts with the first decision; "Do i look for the lowest bid, or do I look for the most accurate". By now you should already know that the lower the bid, the more dangerous the work will be performed.
I can't begin to tell you how many jobs we have turned down. Simply because we refuse to compromise quality and safety.
This is your assurance that you have come to the right place. We even put safety in our phone number.
There are typically 3 factors in determining which contractor to hire:
Unfortunately, this is the list, in order, when the "lowest bid" practice is used, quality and safety are compromised.
This is how that same list should be:
This is the same list, only reversed. Why? Because the "lowest bid" practice was not used.
Which one makes more sense?
Still not convinced? Ok, lets say we use the "lowest bid" practice. This puts safety at the bottom of our list. How important is safety anyways?
The Ministry of Labour has the authority to impose fines of:
Amazingly, some folks still think they are immune to these penalties. Simply because they weren't doing the actual work. This is simply not true. Here's who can get these penalties:
In other words, the Provincial Government offers no immunity to anyone. Not even themselves.
Still not convinced? Check out some of our videos where the lowest bid always results in accidents and fatalities.
We have put safety first for everyone. Our focus is on:
This conflicts with some clients where the "lowest bid" practice has become so ingrained.
How do we fix this? Through education, information and taking a little extra time to think about what we are doing. It might take longer to hire a safe contractor, but the rewards are much greater. The penalties for using the lowest bid practice have escalated to the point where the benefits no longer outweigh the punishments.
In the past, penalties were light. Meaning the benefits of the lowest bid practice and the risks far outweighed the penalties. Big changes in enforcement and higher penalties makes the lowest bid practice no longer beneficial when considering the risks and the penalties which can be imposed. Times have changed. It's just simply not worth it anymore.
So how do I find a safe contractor? It's simple, but it might take a few extra minutes. There are resources where you can search to see which companies have had a history of accidents or fatalities:
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