The bid management process can be a stressful part of construction for general contractors. However, by utilizing construction bidding software, GCs can take the crazy out of bid day and supply their precon team with the tools to effectively communicate with subcontractors and manage project invites to save time and money. Below are seven of the top online bidding software features that help general contractors take control of the preconstruction process, so they can win more projects.
1. Simple User Experience
Bidding software must be easy–to–use for the whole preconstruction team – no but’s about it. In fact, the results of our 2017 SmartBid User Survey revealed that the most important feature to general contractors is a simple user experience. More than that – software should be easy to learn, with little training needed. This allows for more members of the team to understand the software, preventing bottlenecks that may occur with only having one proficient member. General contractor software should have an interface that easily allows every single one of the preconstruction team members to log in, get their business done efficiently and effectively, and log out to concentrate on other items at hand.
2. Private Subcontractor Database
One of the advantages of an online construction bid management software over manual processes, such as using excel sheets, is having one central place to store all project and subcontractor information that is easily navigated and edited. However, a number of different bidding software can make your projects and subs public for other general contractors (like your competitors) to see. It is a good idea to check that the software you’re looking into has the option to keep this information private to your eyes only, so you can keep your competitive advantage.
3. Messaging and Communication Tools:
There’s nothing more frustrating than needing to get information out to your subs immediately but not having the capability to do so. Construction bidding software allows you to make addendums and contact subs quickly so that everyone is up to speed on the most up to date project information. When recalling a situation where he worked with lackluster communication speed, one subcontractor said, “Nothing is more fun than doing the same thing 3 or 4 times. For example – I have some beautiful rosewood panels that are 108 inches tall based on approved plans (and field measurements). Would have been nice to know the ceilings are now at 120 inches tall! Who’s going to pay for this? No one ever wants to be caught in this situation.” Efficient and accurate messaging and communication tools means the job is done right – the first time around.
4. View and Download Document Tracking:
It can be difficult to keep track of who has the most current job specs, something that is crucial to having a successful bidding process. As a general contractor, you need to be up to date about which subcontractors have access to the most recent information and know that they are actually viewing it. Document tracking allows general contractors to see not only who has received the new information, but also if they have actually downloaded the document and viewed it.
5. Project and Invitation Reports
Bid management software also allows general contractors the ability to take information on document tracking, communications, invitation to bid statuses, etc., and view them in reports that help to better understand the preconstruction process. It is also possible to create custom reports on selected data, or standard reports such as minorities, duplicate companies, bad emails, and more.
6. Unlimited Project File Storage
It should never matter what size or format your documents are when it comes to storing or sharing them with your subs. When looking at options for general contracting software, look for one that allows virtual storage of any document. This will ensure that your preconstruction process can carry on without the hassle of finding a way to share or view documents anywhere and on any computer. For example, cloud storage sites such as Citrix Sharefile, Box, or Google Drive allow for plans to be shared and accessed from multiple devices across multiple platforms. It is a good idea to look at general contracting software that integrates with these or other cloud storage sites so that plans can be accessed anywhere, at any time.
7. Unlimited Customer Support
Even if everything goes right, sometimes you still might need a place to go to for help. Unlike manual processes, construction bidding software comes with live customer support that you can call with any question you may have at any point during the preconstruction process.
It is important to note that each of these bidding features are highly beneficial in the preconstruction process, however, not every construction bid software will include all seven. Some may have document tracking but no customer support or private subcontractor database. It is important to look into all the features before you decide on which software is best for you.
Luckily, SmartBid bidding software includes ALL of the seven features mentioned, among many more. For more information on using or switching to SmartBid, schedule a demo with one of our Business Development Managers. They’d love to show you what makes SmartBid the #1 Invitation to Bid Softwre. Click Here to sign up for a free demo!