Navigating Bid Estimates and Controlling Travel Costs in the Construction Industry

May 22, 2024 | Tips & Resources

With persistently high inflation in 2024, the cost of materials and labor is expected to remain high for the foreseeable future. That means accurate bid estimates and efficient cost controls are more important than ever for the construction industry.

When travel needs to be factored into the project costs, a number of variables can change the accuracy of the estimate. Efficient management of these expenses is essential for maintaining profitability and bidding competitively.

What drives unexpected construction travel costs

  1. Gaps in travel policies. Many companies guide their team members to book accommodations on price and convenience, but the reality is that people don’t always make decisions that save the company money. And while travel managers are responsible for making sure that hotel reservations comply with these policies, this can be difficult if you’re juggling all of the other aspects of employee travel. In fact, one study found that 40% of workforce travelers admitted to booking outside their companies’ travel policies. Without clearly defined, pre-approved hotel guidelines, crews could be inadvertently driving up costs.
  2. Drastically different needs from project to project. Finding places to stay in new job locations can be difficult. When each project requires a new round of hotel negotiations by the in-house lodging team, you may not get the lowest available rate or the flexibility you need. Admin teams may not always have the resources or expertise to get the savings, locations, or flexibility that might be out there.

  3. The administrative burden of managing lodging. Comparing different pricing and negotiating with hotels to decrease rates adds time to the booking process, and travel managers sometimes may have to settle for a property that’s not near the worksite or safe for employees. In-house accounting teams may process hundreds of individual hotel invoices, which means they may not have time to look for errors and dispute inaccurate rates.

  4. Getting locked into an inflexible contract. If a project needs to start quickly, companies are often limited on choices and captive to whatever price a hotel demands. If a project ends early, they have to pay for rooms they don’t use.

  5. Lack of visibility. Without the right project codes and historical data to look back at the true cost of past projects, it can be difficult to budget correctly for future work. Expenses may have different project codes, which can make reporting a black box.

How a travel management partner can help

  1. Discounted, pre-negotiated rates and project-specific support. Travel management providers partner with hotels around the country to give members access to pre-negotiated and discounted rates, flexible cancellation policies, and the option to book the same day as the stay, including walk-ins. These rates and policies, which help businesses save money and take away the stress of last-minute changes, are not typically offered when booking online or directly with hotels.

  2. Visibility with all expenses in one place. A travel management solution offers consolidated, accurate invoicing with no surprises, errors, or missing job codes. Every transaction is audited and available in one place. These tools also allow companies to assign multiple codes to each project to help keep travel costs assigned to the right teams, divisions, projects, and locations. With all costs together in a single centralized platform, it's easy for administrators to reconcile expenses within the budget and ensure that travelers are following travel policies. Streamlining all travel and expenses takes away the hassle of viewing multiple platforms and portals to reconcile reports and figure out true costs. 

  3. Support and solutions for crews on the road. What happens when plans change at the last minute, or a traveler experiences a problem during check in? Workforce travel management companies offer support to travelers on the road when their trips are disrupted or they need to make a last-minute change. These companies can rebook travelers within a company’s travel policy and provide access to easy-to-use mobile apps that simplify trip management for travelers.

Build a lodging program to fit your project-specific needs

Over the past 45 years, we’ve seen firsthand that many companies are overpaying for their lodging program because of the complexity of managing everything that’s required to control costs.

CLC Lodging is built for construction crew travel:

  • Bid with lowest hotel market rates to help undercut the competition - backed by our Best Price Guarantee*
  • 4 ways to book and flexible reservations - without a monthly fee!
  • Search by different types of truck parking
  • Streamline billing and reporting
  • 24/7 Traveler support
  • Control costs with pre-negotiated hotels, project-specific negotiations, and travel policy controls

Companies are saving over $525 million a year on direct lodging costs alone using CLC Lodging. It’s free to join and there are no minimum or monthly usage fees. Join today!

**Terms and conditions apply. Read more about our Best Price Guarantee.

Recent Posts

Request Information

Our programs can meet the needs of any company with 1 to 10,000 business travelers. Let us know how we can help.

Thank you, your request has been sent!

A CLC Lodging Representative will be in contact soon.