In its strictest definition, the term negotiated work refers to the complete satisfaction of a client's construction needs. The contractor needs to be able to put together a construction package which meets the client's needs. In reality, most contracts have negotiated elements even if awarded from a bid list. Few clients always award contracts to the low bidder, but instead consider the bid price along with other negotiated factors.

The number one requirement for success in negotiating is that the contractor have something unique to sell. The contractor who wishes to negotiate his work must be willing to make a substantial investment in marketing to generate a perception of specialized services among potential clients.