How and when your bid-walk occurs is very important. In the interest of getting fair and accurate bids, consider scheduling the tour around the end of the workday, when conditions are similar to when the cleaning services will be performed. This way your bidders can get an idea of what their crews would be faced with at 6pm, as opposed to walking them through a freshly cleaned, unused facility at 8am.
Allow enough time for your bidders to get a good feeling for how the building is laid out, and be sure to visit all pertinent areas of the building. Try to keep the group together, so when one contractor has a question, all the others can hear the answer, and then all of your bids will be based on the same information.
Before the tour, review the requirements in your Bid Package so your bidders know what to look for. At the end of the tour, sit down with the group and field questions. This is a good time to get a consensus from them as to whether your specs need any fine-tuning. If so, agree on the new wording of the specs and be sure everyone gets it right.
Make it clear that if you don’t like any of the bids, you are not obligated to award a contract. Also make it clear that you are not obligated to reveal the results or the name of the successful bidder, or the winning quote amount, and, unless it’s company policy, that you are not obligated to accept the lowest bid. You might consider putting this verbiage in your bid package.
If you are so inclined, allow bidders to bring their bids in person for a 5-minute presentation. If you don’t like this idea, specify how you want the bids delivered.