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Railroad Track Safety, Quality, Efficiency, Responsibility, Integrity


Bid Preparation

Bid preparation and estimating trackwork can be confusing without the proper training in terminology and methods of construction. Lack of understanding scope of work can lead to overlaps or missed items. Let the Track Guy assist you in estimating and pricing your track project.

Looking for a check number? Give us a call. We produce accurate Engineers Estimates.

The 3 E's of Trackwork

Estimating is how we get work, Execution is how we do work and Efficiency is how we make money doing the work. Contractors that have the best handle on the 3 E's are the successful ones. The first and the last E are the ones that involve money. The middle E involves planning and experience and that certain inborn talent of leadership. The other two E's require management. We will discuss managing an estimate in this section.

How do you manage your track estimates? Do you identify the Project Manager of the project before the bid goes in? Do you involve the field superintendents with the track estimate? Do you have a process for reviews of the track estimate? Do you use checklists? Do you do a formal risk analysis during the bid? Do you produce a schedule for the job with the track estimate? Do you perform a value engineering brainstorming session during the estimate? Do you strategize and identify your competition? Do you assign one person to put it all together? Do you do site visits? Do you get multiple quotes from subs and on material? Who is involved in assigning markup to the job? Do you have a war room? Does your safety, insurance, purchasing and financial departments look at the job and offer feedback? These are all basic questions involved with a proper track estimate. Some you need, some you don't -- but they should all be thought about along with dozens of other questions and thoughts.

A good track estimate involves many people and a formal hand off is absolutely a necessity. We used to write a check from The Bank of Fake Money and hand it off to the Project Manager at the "hand off" meeting. The amount was equal to the budget (not the bid) assigned to the job. The check went with a handshake and the words: "that's all you get, you get no more, good luck". It was a symbolic gesture that everyone participated in.
If you do the 3 E's right, then you will get a forth -- Effective. 

A Sample Checklist when Preparing a Track Estimate

  • Is sales tax included?
  • Is a Bid Bond required?
  • Is a performance bond required?
  • Mandatory personnel requirements?
  • Manager identified?
  • Is Survey included?
  • Risk mitigation of harmful clauses?
  • Is Insurance covered?
  • Is General Liability covered?
  • Are ALL documents in order?
  • A second opinion?
  • Has the big boss signed off?
  • Has Legal reviewed contract?
  • Did you do a Bid Schedule?
  • Are Labor rates correct?
  • All addendums accounted for?
  • Take Off complete?
  • Delivery method defined?
  • Union or Non-Union?
  • Are Subs required?
  • Is Railroad Protective required?
  • Are LDs accounted for?
  • Is ALL material covered?
  • Is equipment covered?
  • Is overhead covered?
  • Evaluate the competition?
  • Has Insurance Dept. reviewed?
  • A Production Schedule?
  • Risk Analysis done?
  • Review meetings set?
  • Field Review performed?
  • Scopes for subs equal?
  • Indirect personnel accounted for?
  • Is field office included?
  • Is DBE/MBE covered?
  • Is Workers Comp included?
  • Any Engineering requirements?
  • Escalation on Labor or Material?
  • Bid strategy meeting?
  • Jurisdictional agreements?
  • Has Financial Dept. reviewed?
  • Cash Flow analysis?

These are only 42 of the many questions that should be asked of every track estimate. Ask the Track Guy! Give us a call today at 973 222-1300!


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