If you learn of a low bid fire sprinkler contractor learn what they do. They may have something for you to learn and use.
There are two types of low bid contractors. There are those who are consistently low and those who are soon gone after grandfather’s money is spent.
The first type stays alive because they can live on the earnings they make. They have an estimating format that each estimator - engineer follows. They can make estimates and job audits to prove their performance. From the audits they can make corrections on their worksheets and pass them on to other estimators-engineers. You may find they have a select crew of installers, superior field supervision, the best tools, great credit and other beneficial items and systems to learn.
There are some low bid contractors whose employees may be engaged in your company. If you can employ their installers you may find they are contracting with labor on performance. This practice often eliminates overtime payments and supervision. They often have serious consequences. For example, we found sprinkler heads screwed into adapters with solvent glue against the sprinkler head preventing them from opening. This installation required the owner to replace every sprinkler head. It caused the installing contractor his business and he was never seen again.
The fire sprinkler contracting company should be responsible for all aspects of his business including the safety of his employees and the professional operation of his business. I once had an employee who worked for a contractor that would cut all of his estimates in half telling his installers that’s all your going to be paid for this work. He would not pay for travel time, or installation errors or the errors that the sales persons made. He was soon gone and forgotten. Now we come to the real effort. If your having problems with the low bidder, get on the phone and give him some competition. I worked with a contractor who developed the skills to know his customers intimately to the point it became ridiculous but it got him profitable business. He was able to sell his business and retire.
You must understand the principal of a salesman. Their tools include a scale, pencil, and a pad of paper for notes always available to them. He must wear conventional dress as anticipated by the customer. Estimating software with a good format will eliminate the errors that once prevailed dealing with numbers. The accuracy of a good estimate will avoid embarrassing and costly errors.