It’s not unusual for contractors to receive unfair treatment in bids and negotiations. Despite ample processes for fair negotiations, contractors still have to fight tooth and nail to be treated equally throughout the process.
Sometimes, businesses might not even realizing they’re treating participating contractors unfairly. Others do know, but they enjoy the competition it encourages, even if the end result might not be the best option.
Dealing With Biases
Usually, businesses already have contracts in place with various contractors. During negotiations, it’s difficult not to show some type of bias to the contractors you already know and trust. However, if you’re asking outside contractors to bid, you must treat them all equally. Instead of looking at previous work done for you, treat every contractor as if you’ve never worked with them before.
Sometimes, it’s better to create a team to handle negotiations that isn’t familiar with the contractors your company already uses. This creates a fair playing field and eliminates a sometimes unavoidable bias.
Don’t Always Get All The Information
Whether intentional or not, businesses sometimes don’t provide the same information to every contractor during negotiations. For instance, if terms are being updated, every single contractor needs to be notified. Otherwise, you’re creating an unfair advantage for the few contractors who were notified.
If anything changes during a discussion, notify all contractors immediately afterwards so they have time to adjust their bids as well. Sometimes, businesses use this tactic to pressure contractors into offering more competitive pricing, even if it’s unrealistic.
Bribes Might Be Expected
No one should ever have to pay in order to work. However, contractors are often treated unfair during negotiations unless they pay a bribe. The bribe is expected to show that a contractor wants the job over someone else. This isn’t ethical for either party.
In fact, if a contractor offers a bribe, they should be excluded immediately. Bribes don’t lead to better work. Instead, it may lead fewer contractors to participate, lowering the overall quality of work for the business in the long run.
Requirements Might Change Randomly
While it’s okay for businesses to change requirements during negotiations, contractors should be notified and given ample time to adjust any bids and details. Businesses may expect contractors to read minds and then knock them out of negotiations because of a random requirement change the contractor never knew about.
Requirements should be set upfront. It’s unethical to expect contractors to keep jumping through hoops with constantly changing requirements. Contractors might be seen as more of a freelancer versus an actual business. Businesses might not value their time as much, which isn’t fair. After all, contractors and freelancers are businesses.
Unfair Expectations Of Pricing
Since contractors might not be viewed by businesses as an equal, businesses might have unfair expectations of pricing. Businesses might not realize or care about all the costs a contractor is responsible for, including supplies, labor, insurance, etc. Negotiations should start with realistic expectations on pricing. Otherwise, it’s not fair to contractors from the start.
Contractors should report businesses that don’t treat them fairly during negotiations. If the business is being unethical here, they’re probably doing other things wrong too.