Costly Sewer Bypass Estimating Pitfalls

You started with the best of intentions just eight weeks ago. You’d bid on a pipe replacement project your CEO really wanted—but you didn’t get it. Your main competitor did.

That left only three days to pull together the bid for your backup project. You vowed not to get beat again. You had to take a few shortcuts to get the numbers on time, but what really hurt you was not reading the specifications in their entirety. You assumed that the part on bypass pumping would be read, understood, and incorporated into the quote by your bypass pumping subcontractor. You expect no less from your subs.

You selected Newby as the sub for temporary pumping. They’d worked with the municipality before. Newby had less experience than your go-to subs, but they also had the lowest price. You didn’t have time to check their hydraulic calculations or to review their limitations and exclusions. You made some assumptions, allowing your decision to be driven by the dollar signs and potential profit. And you were so happy when you got the bid!

All went well, until it didn’t. That spring was the wettest in four decades. The hydraulic calculations didn’t factor in a heavy rain event, per the specifications, and the pumping system couldn’t handle the additional flow. Worse still, Newby didn’t have an emergency overflow response plan in place. You trusted the system would work and tried not to think about the consequences if it didn’t. You figured Newby would pay to fix anything that went wrong, but they won’t. They don’t have the proper insurance in place and aren’t willing to help clean up the mess. In fact, they’re unwilling to take any responsibility and are pointing the finger back at you.

But the DEQ guys who came out to determine how many gallons of sewage overflowed into the waterway didn’t care about Newby. Neither did the municipality. Your company was in charge and is responsible for the damages. Now you’re on the DEQ’s list. They’ll be closely watching each and every project that involves temporary pumping from here on out.

And now you’re sitting outside your CEO’s office waiting to explain why you would ever decide to use an inexperienced, underperforming subcontractor like Newby for a critical role and how your company can possibly make up for all the profit lost due to the sewer overflow cleanup and DEQ penalties.

To make sure you don’t ever experience a scenario like this,  download our complete guide to avoiding sewer bypass estimating pitfalls. Take these steps to win your projects at a profit—and without visits from the DEQ. 

Review our tips before you submit your next sewer bypass estimate. Bid with greater accuracy, win more business and avoid lost profits. 

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