Buy something on Amazon recently?  Purchased an airline or ticket and experienced upcharges for bags, seat selection, or a snack?  Want to drive on US 36 in the fast lane or been to Universal Studios in Florida and had the “fast pass” groups cut in front of you?  The current internet-generation is accustomed to this form of bidding and although many Gen Xs and older demographics feel nickel-and-dimed, the next generation of industry professionals currently accepts and sometimes prefers this pay-for-what-you-use approach.  What does this mean for the future of the industry?

Wember is often an integral party the discussion and final selection of the construction delivery method.  Over the first part of our last twelve years in providing Owner’s Representation to the public sector, projects in Colorado were primarily driven by hard bid.  As the economy picked up in 2003 negotiated work such as Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) work became more accepted and gained in popularity. Currently the AGC and the DBIA are leading a push on Integrated Project Delivery.  What’s next?

As the next generation works their way up the ranks into executive leadership positions, I ponder what will drive their decisions? Data supports that Millennials are proven to be more frugal than the Boomers and Generation Xers that precede them. Strapped with exponentially higher college debt, they are often financially strapped, yet they are less prone to work long hours in the interest of life balance.  Culturally they are bombarded with pay-to-play options, value-added upgrades, and bidding environments for the goods they purchase.  They have also been presented with a pay-to-be-expedited culture.  We are constantly barraged with the opportunity to upgrade for the convenience of quick-serve. At Universal Studios, and pretty much all major amusement parks, you can jump ahead in line by upgrading to a fast pass.  Can’t wait to get home from work? Take the quicker express toll lane–cash and credit accepted.

The internet has reinvented the shopping experience and it’s the norm for this generation. They get the modern meaning of “buyer-beware.” EBay, the original online bidding monster, was only saving you money if you ensure you know the shipping fee up front; final totals often exposing that the “deal” is not so great. Airlines get you too. A ticket on Frontier may seem to be $100 less than Southwest, until you go to check out and the add-on charges start coming at you. Don’t get me started with concert tickets.

The next generation will be comfortable in a hard-bid scenario. Bidding is what they have been doing most of their lives; don’t forget your roots; they may be needed before you retire.

~ Paul Wember, Owner’s Representative