My Story

I know you are busy, so I will make this as short as possible.

In 2015, as a commercial painting contractor, I got an invite from a GC to bid on a project. So I got into my vehicle, negotiated traffic for 20 minutes, and finally reached the ECA (Edmonton Construction Association) building in Edmonton. I signed in, went into the plan room, went to the plans shelves, and realised someone had already checked out the drawings. I looked around, and saw a guy in his late 50’s, sitting at a large desk looking at the drawings I needed to look at. I asked him how long he would need the drawings for, and he said in a very important voice “at least a couple of hours.” He was from some electrical or plumbing firm, I don’t remember. So, leaving him there with his foot ruler and a writing pad, I left. I would have to come another day to look at those drawings.

On another occasion, I thought, “The ECA plan room is always busy. Let me just go to the GC’s own plan room in their office, and try my luck there.” So the next time, instead of going to my jobsite first to instruct my painters, I left my home office a bit earlier, and drove 15 minutes to Carlson Construction’s plan room. I signed in, and sure enough, there was already another subcontractor looking at the drawings.

Fortunately, he was done after 15 minutes. So then I sat there with my laptop, went over the drawings, and started to take notes. No sooner had I started that, another subcontractor came, and he seemed very annoyed that I was looking at the drawings that he needed. He sat there, staring at me, and started to tap his foot impatiently . . . I will stop here.

The moral of the story is this: there has got to be a better way to bid on paint jobs (or drywall or flooring jobs for that matter). So, if you are even half as frustrated as I was with the measuring and bidding process, do yourself a favour:

Never ever waste your time again looking at those large blueprints that take your whole desk – you will make errors, you will miss items, you will waste time and you will not be bidding with confidence.