Have you noticed that it seems as though your local hospital always has some sort of construction going on? That perception is really close to reality. Hospitals are constantly updating and expanding to stay abreast of changes in their industry.
As a result, securing bids for construction work in healthcare requires the right contacts that can take a long time to develop and find.
The unique and varied ways hospitals are structured combined with the ever-changing landscape of rules and regulations governing what hospitals can or cannot do and how they can or cannot do it makes it difficult. It takes research and key relationships to stay ahead of the medical curve.
In order to avoid spinning your wheels and going after bids that are not reasonably within reach, it is vital that contractors and subcontractors understand how their target hospitals are structured.
- HOSPITAL STRUCTURE
American Hospital Association (AHA) statistics show that of the 5,724 hospitals in the United States, 2,903 are non-profit. The remaining are for-profit (1,025) or state or local government entities (1,045). The structure governing a hospital has a lot to do with how they bid construction contracts.
For example, those which are government entities, likely fall under the rules of the governing body. Often, those rules include actually signing up to be what they call a “government bidder”. You should call your local development, planning or zoning office for specifics on how to do that.
Non-profit hospitals adhere to mostly the same bidding procedures as for-profit hospitals, although there may be some tax implications for them or for the bidder to consider.
- HEALTH SYSTEMS
Another consideration is whether the hospital is a member of a health system. This is important to potential contractors, subcontractors and vendors because it may mean that the decision-making process is removed from the local facility and decisions are made in a regional or even national office. This is not to say that local decision-makers should not be consulted – far from it. Local decision-makers are the people who can educate you on how their process works and how you can gain access to it. The same relationship rules to govern more independent hospitals should be followed until you are advised otherwise.
Another thing you need to stay current on is acquisitions and mergers. These are quite common within the hospital industry. With these changes in hospital administration come changes that ripple throughout the hospital; everything from patient-care to facility renovation and construction procedures. Just when you think you have it mastered and have a relationship with the person making bidding decisions, the rules could change. You need to stay current.
Bed-size is another consideration when part of your business plan is to facilitate hospital construction. Smaller, rural hospitals will logically not have the potential for job-bidding that larger, regional medical centers do. Perhaps your business is of the size that those smaller jobs are perfect. For larger contractors, devoting time and resources to developing relationships and monitoring expansion plans of regional hospitals will help you keep a vibrant, active pipeline.
Most hospital bid process representatives are more sophisticated than smaller businesses which do not have to often balance multiple construction projects at the same time.
- THE CORONAVIRUS IMPACT
Recently, like virtually every other business on the planet, the Coronavirus has thrown a curve into the process. In many places, construction jobs have been deemed “essential” and have continued without interruption. Or have they? Even though they have not had to shut down by government edict, many have had difficulty with supply lines and, as a result have had a tough time meeting deadlines.
Many hospitals themselves have been so overwhelmed by the pandemic and keeping Americans healthy that they have had to push back plans for expansion. The ripple effect of this has been to slow down and, in some cases, even cancel bidding procedures. How the impact of the Coronavirus shakes out in the long run remains to be seen. Some hospitals have been put in economic jeopardy. Others have been forced to rethink facility footprints and materials to address the evolving understanding of the virus and how it works.
- DATABASE LEADS FOR A FULLER PIPELINE
Despite any permanent changes that result from the pandemic, it is clear that technological advances in the construction bid process are giving contractors which use them huge advantages over their competition. Construct-a-lead is an example of a database service that stays current and gives contractors, subcontractors and vendors access to the latest projects and key people within the industry.
This is likely the single most effective way to improve the contracting bidding procedure for those looking to work with hospitals. Rather than assigning internal salespeople to do timely research through Google searches and scouring the newspapers, the intent is to have the latest information at your fingertips to valuable personnel that can be assigned actual bidding, sales and contracting duties. It’s a method that works well in concert with the technological advances which are constantly evolving.
An effective database management partner like Construct-a-lead will help you find the right hospital projects before your competitors do. Your database partner needs to have a proven record of keeping their projects list and key hospital contact information current. They need to have expertise in providing reliable information on upcoming projects in your demographic category. They need to stay abreast of public and private for-profit and nonprofit hospitals.
They need to be a partner that will listen to you and design a database management program that is going to help your company be more efficient so you can devote your personnel into other areas of operation. Construct-a-lead is a recognized leader in bringing together hospitals with their partners in the construction industry.
Your pipeline may have taken a hit recently – many have. Effective marketing to the hospital in your area can give you a lifeline of ongoing construction projects that will help carry you through the slow times. Getting hospital work is not easy. It is complicated, labor-intensive and usually involves a long-term plan to develop relationships. You can shorten the time by making full use of the technology that companies like Construct-a-lead offer. Your bottom line will be better off as a result.