A new podcast developed by the American Subcontractors Association (ASA) provides tips for construction subcontractors to protect themselves from the unethical business practice of bid shopping. ASA and others in the industry have condemned the practice of bid shopping, which occurs when a prime contractor uses the information in a subcontractor’s bid to secure a lower bid for the work.
In the free 13-minute audio podcast titled, “Can I Protect Myself Against Bid Shopping?” presenter Eric Travers explains: “Many subs feel helpless to do anything about what happens when their bid gets shopped. And in tight economic times, concerns about losing a job due to bid shopping, or concerns about being leveraged into reducing your bid price or the threat of being replaced by a competitor, are even heightened. So the question becomes: Is there anything that can be done to discourage bid shopping? And the answer thankfully is ‘Yes.’”
Travers says subcontractors can include language in their bids that creates a binding contract between the subcontractor and the prime contractor if the prime engages in or attempts to engage in bid shopping. Travers wrote an amicus brief for ASA arguing that subcontractors can use such “poison pills” to prevent bid shopping in the Florida court case of West Construction, Inc. v. Florida Blacktop, Inc. A model of bid-conditioning language to prevent bid shopping is available to ASA members under the “Members-Only Resources” section of the “Advocacy and Contracts” page of the ASA Web site. The free podcast is also available on the organization’s main page at www.asaonline.com.