Many subcontractors still use email, Excel, and whiteboards to manage the bidding process. This can create a labor-intensive process that leads to mistakes with manual entry, missed deadlines, and lost bids. Most subcontractors don’t know that there are tools built specifically to help track bids during the preconstruction phase.
Preconstruction management software enables subcontractors to manage their bid board online and see bid invites across the entire office in one place. You can see who’s responsible for what and track project files, deadlines, and more during each stage of the bidding process. It’s not just for managing bids; it enables you to organize your entire preconstruction process. But even if you’re ready to improve these processes with technology, picking the right software can be tough.
To help your company choose the right preconstruction management software, we pulled together a quick guide that breaks down three easy steps you should take to make sure you pick the right tool for your team.
Step 1: Audit your current preconstruction process
The first step is to take an in-depth look at your current process. Different subcontractors use different methods. Some already use software, while others don’t have any processes set up. Preconstruction management software doesn’t just help with bids or generating more leads, it can also help streamline and organize your entire preconstruction process. When auditing your current process, you should think about:
- How many bid invites do you get a day?
- How long does it take you to sort through invites?
- How often do you miss bid invites or deadlines?
- Is your bid information stored in different places?
It’s important to get a complete view of your preconstruction process, including what is and isn’t working. Look for inefficiencies or areas where your company is lacking. For example, lost bids are a telltale sign that something needs to change. There are a few common causes of lost bids, but 99% of subcontractors who track bids in email or Excel miss multiple bid invites a year. Find out what the weaknesses are in your process and choose software that helps fill the gaps.
Step 2: Figure out what your business goals are
The next step is to figure out your overall business goals. Preconstruction management software can provide you with valuable insights about the health of your business, such as hit rate, bid history, and team performance. For a lot of subcontractors, data and information are often siloed across different parts of the company. Think about what you want your business to accomplish:
- Do you want to grow and expand your business?
- Do you want more real-time data about your business?
- Do you want to hire more estimators?
- Do you want to improve your hit rate and relationships with general contractors?
Not every subcontractor is going to have the same business goals. Everyone wants to increase their revenue, but there are different ways to accomplish that. When evaluating preconstruction management software, look at how much real-time data and information it provides. Access to reports, leaderboards, and analytics can enable you to accurately forecast revenue and identify the right estimators for each bid. Pick a solution that tracks the right data for your business and helps you achieve your goals.
Step 3: Take the software out for a test drive
When getting new technology, you want to make sure everyone agrees on a solution they feel comfortable using. A great way to do that is by testing out different software. Having different employees try the software — especially the ones that are going to be using it — helps make sure everyone is on the same page. Ask yourself and your employees the following questions when trying software:
- Is the software easy to use?
- Do they offer onboarding and training?
- Will it be secure and protect your data?
- How much does it cost?
If you’re spending money on preconstruction management software, it needs to check all of the boxes. Software that’s easy to use increases efficiency and saves time, giving everyone time back in their day to produce higher quality work. But the only way you’re going to succeed is if you try the software first and get everyone in the company on board.
The old saying that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” doesn’t work anymore. The construction industry is changing. More and more companies are adopting technology to streamline processes that have been unchanged for decades. It’s time to sit down and go through the necessary steps ask to select the right preconstruction management software to take your business into the 21st Century and make more informed decisions.