Bids and Request for Proposals

April 2022

Does every contract or project a condominium corporation undertakes need to be bid out?

No.  Deciding which contracts or projects should be bid out should be an exercise in common sense.

Many business relationships are based on history or longevity, and offer more value than a new vendor competing solely on price.  Requesting a long-trusted vendor bid on services that are relatively simple to perform signifies some level of dissatisfaction or mistrust.

An existing provider is likely to know your building better than any new company that may be brought in.  They are more likely to provide cost saving and value-added services beyond what is included using a standardized bidding process.

For small jobs multiple bids are neither practical or justified.  In emergency situations time required to obtain multiple bids should be balanced against the time to obtain necessary products or services.

For larger or more complex jobs requesting bids through a request for proposal can be advantageous.  Putting requirements on paper and asking vendors to provide pricing based on specific requirements ensures no misunderstanding by either party.  Should discrepancies or conflict arise both parties refer to written documentation for resolution.

Experienced boards and management have sufficient insight to know when it is best to obtain bids, with or without preparing a request for proposal.  Lower-cost elevator maintenance or snow clearing may not include fast and reliable service.  A new engineering firm for reserve fund studies or other work requires time to learn about your community if they are to be effective.  A lawyer charging less by the hour may bill for more hours.

A better approach is to develop a transparent process for when to request a company bid for your business, and when preparation of a request for proposal is warranted.

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