System Change

Chapter 165: Sealing the Deal

Chapter 164: Bidding War

“Shall we begin the bidding?” Wendy asked. The three contractors all nodded their consent. “Very well. Let me explain how this is going to work to the client.” Nobody protested, so she continued. “You have met each contractor. Are you confident about hiring any one of them?”

Derek nodded. “I am.” Even the sleezy guy in the suit seemed to be serious enough about the build. He would trust the man not to try to pull a fast one because of the contract with the city. Looks and personality didnt matter, only skill.

“Great.” Wendy said. “Each contractor has been given the materials and general blueprints to review. They will bid against one another until the lowest bid wins or until you find an acceptable bid by a contractor you want to work with. If there is a tie, you will choose between the contractors. Is everything understood?”

Derek nodded. “Simple enough.” The only thing that Derek was worried about was the cost. The materials and building cost were going to cost him an arm and a leg. He only had a bit over 20,000 gold, and he would hate to have to go to Stella and beg for a loan. He would hate it, but he would do it. If he needed to, he could renegotiate for less of the Void Beast meals or blood.

With the layering cost of the Oak, the building cost was going to be even more. Derek sat back, not showing his anxiety on the outside, hoping the bid would go in his favor.

“Please begin.” Wendy grabbed her pen and waited.

Billy was the first to raise her hand. “The cost of the materials should be around 13,500 gold, more or less. So, with the layering, cost of manpower, and the speed at which you need the building completed… you need it build within the week?” She asked.

Derek nodded. “If at all possible.” He said.

Billy looked at the ceiling as if doing some mental calculations, which she most likely was. “We can do it for… 36,500. It will be completed in four days.”

The quote wasnt unexpected, but it still made Dereks gut churn. Still, he didnt show any expression.

“Bah! Youre overcharging on the layering. Ill do it for 30,000 even.” Lewis cut in.

Derek felt the urge to jump out of his seat and cheer at the huge price cut. Billy seemed to be just as surprised as Derek was. She stared at Lewis with wide eyes.

Derek examined the facial expressions of Wendy, Lewis, Billy, and Geoffrey. Wendy said uninterested, writing down everything she heard. Lewis was looking at the surprised Billy with a smug grin on his face. Geoffrey, however, was acting as if he wasnt even part of the discussion. He was looking at Derek with a sly smile on his face. The man didnt seem like he even planned on joining the bidding war.

Billy hit the top of the table with a clenched fist. “Fine! 28,500.”

The number was slowly approaching affordable. Derek was happy he decided to call in multiple contractors at once. There were so many in the book that there were clearly people who would take even a slim profit margin.

Lewis narrowed his eyes and ground his teeth. He stared daggers at the woman. “I dont think your crew would be able to complete the job in four days. Are you sure you can do it?”

“Of course we can!” She replied.

Lewis smiled. “28,500 and I will have the building complete in three days.”

“Thats low!” Billy yelled. “Just because you have more workers than me…” She took a deep breath. “I cannot offer less than four days.”

“Ha!” Lewis exclaimed in victory.

“I didnt say I was finished!” Billy said. “I may not be able to complete it in less than four days, but I can do it for cheaper.” She tensed. “26,000!”

Derek mentally went through everything he had on him. I think I can afford 26,000. I have a bunch of junk on me that I could probably sell for a few thousand, and with what I already have, I should be able to afford that without taking out a loan or waiting for the income from this months coffee. He could almost sigh in relief.

“You!” Lewis began. “Will your crew even be willing to work for such a margin?”

Billy went as far as sticking her tongue out at the rough man. “Like I said before. I dont have as many workers as you do, therefore, I dont have to split the profit as many ways. Theyll do it, and they will be happy. Can you say that for your own employees?”

Lewis snorted. “Of course I can. They get paid a rate based on work. Im the employer, they are the employees. We dont split the profit like yourcrew.”

Derek could see the wheels turning in Lewiss head. He was hoping the man would decide to drop the price even more. It would be for the best if he could have some walking around money once everything was said and done.

Still, Derek noticed Geoffrey sitting to the side like he wasnt even listening. What is up with this guy? The sleezy man already gave Derek the chills, but his current demeanor was causing Derek to be concerned.

“26,000 and three days.” Lewis finally said.

Billy hit the table so hard that it cracked.

“Careful!” Wendy chided. “You will repair that before you leave.”

Billy cast a spell, and the crack slowly disappeared. “Sorry.” She said. “I can go to 23,500.”

“Youre insane.” Lewis said. “You could go to the job board and find something that pays that much.”

Billy smiled. “But then I wouldnt get to see that look on your face. Its priceless.”

Are all bidding wars like this? Derek wondered. This is more like a giant argument with them constantly trying to one-up the other. Its kind of childish… which is good for me. I like it! A smile almost broke out on Dereks face at that moment.

“Thats 23,500-gold with completion of construction three days after beginning. Is that correct?” Wendy asked.

“Yes.” Billy spoke quietly, like her bid was finally setting in.

“Your crews going to be so pissed.” Lewis said.

“23,500 going once… going twice…” Wendy began.

“Thats if I was going to let you have it.” Lewis let out a feral grin. “Same price, but in three days.”

Wendy actually widened her eyes at that. “Really?” She asked.

Lewis nodded. “Yes.” He didnt bother to explain himself.

Wendy shook her head. “Very well…” She began the count again. “23,500 with three days of construction going once… going twice…”

“You must be wondering why they are trying so hard to outbid each other.” A new voice, directed at Derek, finally spoke up, stopping the count.

Surprised, Derek looked at Geoffrey. “Not really.” It was true. He wasnt wondering what was going on, he was just happy that it was happening. In fact, he hoped that they would do it some more. The more they argued, the more he gained.

Geoffrey snorted. “No… I guess you wouldnt” Then, he looked to his left at the two arguing contractors. “Are the both of you finished?” He asked.

“Whats it to you? Jeff.” Lewis bit back.

“I was just checking to see if the entertainment was over or not. It is fun watching the two of you bicker at one another. I didnt even know you knew each other so well.” Geoffrey commented.

“Dont lump me together with him. Hes just an asshole.” Billy said.

“I cant argue with that.” Geoffrey said.

Lewis sent a glare at Geoffrey, just like he had been before the meeting began. Geoffrey did the same, then scoffed. “I dont even understand why you would even think to compete with me after my last job.”

“Bastard.” Lewis said.

Geoffrey looked back toward Derek. “Mr. Hunt, I have to thank you for providing todays entertainment.”

“Youre welcome?” Derek said.

“Please get to the point.” Wendy said.

Geoffrey chuckled and waved his hands. “Fine, fine.” He said. “The reason that this was entertaining was because I was able to watch them both fight so hard for the contract, even though I knew the whole time that neither one of them was going to end up with it.”

“What?” Billy and Lewis spout at the same time.

“Youre saying that youre going to offer a price lower than 23,500?” Wendy said.

“Hmmph…” Lewis snorted. “22,000… Lets see you beat that.”

Billy sat back in her seat, not even bothering to bid again.

Geoffrey smiled. “You see… I knew what I was going to bid before the bidding even started. Therefore, I knew that you would never be able to win.” He turned back to Derek, showing the same creepy smile he had during Billy and Lewiss bids. “Mr. Hunt… I am willing to build your business at cost.”

Derek raised his eyebrows. “Really?”

Geoffrey nodded. “Yes. I will build it for the price of materials at market value, and it will be finished in two to five days. I cannot guarantee the time until we get started.”

Derek frowned. “Why would you do something like that?”

“For the same reason that these two were willing to go so low.” Geoffrey said, then pointed to Dereks arm. “That badge.”

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