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The Lowest Bid: Why Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

Author: Rich Marker | Updated April 22, 2024 | August 31, 2017

We all want the best value for our money. But when it comes to metal fabrication, especially large-scale construction projects, the lowest bid doesn’t necessarily always provide the best value.

All Metals Fabrication President, Rich Marker, tells the following story. “Years ago, when we were building our first house, we needed a mason to put up a rock wall. My contractor found three bids. We saw the lowest bid and figured it was $3,000 below our budget (heck yes, we thought, that will allow us to get heated tile in the bathroom).

What we were sad to learn, after the job was installed and bills were paid, is that the installation crews had dumped all their extra plaster-mix into one of our flower beds (which we had to completely dig out). They also wiped their trowels on our decorative landscape rocks, which I still have not completely fixed and now, ten years later, some of the rocks are falling off our house—worst $3,000 dollars I ever saved.”

As hard-working consumers, it’s a challenge to turn our back to the lowest bid. The biggest question to ask, however, is whether the lowest price is really the lowest price?

The Lowest Bid
The lowest bid is often a result of a bidders mistake—scope items may be missed, complexities may be underestimated or, worst case, craftsmanship may be undervalued. Any or all of these issues can lead estimators down a slippery path.

Ultimately—and particularly when quality is at stake—the lowest bid almost always leads to other hidden costs that present themselves when it is too late to change. Some of those include the following:

• Sloppy workmanship that leads to poor appearance.
• Poor craftsmanship that leads to failing outcomes (often times just past the warranty period).
• Slow or improper work that hinders other trades and slows the overall project down.
• Wasted management time trying to get poor performers up to speed.

Don’t Settle
We urge contractors to take more initiative with their customers to find sub-contractors that provide great craftsmanship, on time delivery of materials and goods, and effective project management infrastructure.

The combination of these strengths allows the buyer to race to the finish line with confidence rather than the opposite which is full of stops, starts, bumps and bruises.

No company is perfect, but high-quality companies make extra steps to overcome mistakes and, even more, prevent them from happening again. They learn and grow as each project runs its course rather than just muscling through each job for the check at day’s end.

Don’t Assume All Fabrication Companies Are Equal
Price quotes can vary for a multitude of reasons, and so can a company’s experience. When it comes to metal fabrication, and especially large-scale projects, you want the most qualified company for the job. A lesser-experienced company will often present a lower bid, and that inexperience is often reflected in lower-quality materials, shoddy workmanship, safety oversights and, ultimately, in the final product.

All Metals Fabrication has decades of industry experience serving both industrial and architectural fabrication of every size and scale. We strive to be the absolute best by amazing our customers with impeccable value, high-quality materials and craftsmanship. Our culture of improvement, team work, recognition, hard work and integrity creates a working climate that ultimately provides our customers with the best products and value possible.

Learn more about our methodology and how our talented team of engineers, project managers and fabricators work together to bring you the best. Give us a call at 1.877.433.1888 to get started.

About the Author


Rich Marker

All Metals Fabrication Owner and CEO

Rich Marker is an 18 year, skilled professional in metal fabrication and manufacturing. Co-founder, owner and principal of All Metals Fabrication, Rich has helped to sustain the company’s success over a variety of economic conditions. He has extensive background in continuous improvement, training and process improvement, and emotional intelligence—among other specialized proficiencies. He loves to learn, fly fish, watch college football and devour NY style pizza! He has the best family on earth, loves a good plan, great teaching and the opportunity to get better.

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