Today’s estimators find themselves facing a seemingly endless stream of tasks and deadlines. In a sea of bid invites, due dates, and job walks, how can they possibly keep track of it all?
Thankfully, there are a few strategies that can help subcontractors stay organized and better manage their daily workloads. Here are some of our favorites.
1. Move your bid board online
Subcontractors manage a lot of tasks. They’re bogged down in emails, manually enter hundreds of bids a month into an Excel spreadsheet, track addenda and changes, and manage contact information, to name a few.
An online bid board eliminates manual entry and consolidates everything needed to manage bids in a single, easy-to-access place. Having everything in one place means a more efficient process and a better chance of getting the job done. On average, subcontractors spend 40 hours a week managing their bid board manually through Excel or email, but automating the process saves over 8 hours — that’s an entire workday!
2. Establish clear ownership for projects
One of the biggest time-sucks for estimators is when two members of their team accidentally end up working on the same project.
“In the past, we missed some projects by not properly assigning them or understanding who was ultimately going to be responsible for the job,” said Alan Droutas, Estimator at Innovative Mechanical.
Any time you accept a new project, build a step in your process for assigning an owner — and be sure to communicate that owner to the rest of the team. You’ll avoid waste by ensuring you don’t devote additional time and resources to a job that’s already on someone’s to-do list.
3. Maintain an accurate calendar
Having an up-to-date calendar helps you better manage your time and promotes stronger, longer-lasting relationships with general contractors.
“The thing that frustrates me most about my job is dealing with subcontractors who aren’t paying attention to things like due dates. This work is extremely deadline-driven, and if we don’t get their numbers in time, that holds up the entire project,” said Cory Wilson, Estimator for BCCI Construction.
By continually hitting due dates, you can ensure you’re the type of subcontractor that general contractors want to work with. And it’s easier than you might think: with some preconstruction software, you can forward bid invite emails, then all those bids and details are automatically added to your calendar for simpler tracking.
4. Create a single source of truth
No matter which bidding system you’re using, it’s incredibly important that all of your documents, plans, data, and budget information lives in one place.
“We get hundreds of bid invites a month,” said Kevin Mortenson, Vice President of Preconstruction at Complete Millworks, “So trying to track them all — who they’re assigned to, where we are in the process, you name it — was downright impossible without a single system to help compile all that information. It made things really hard for our team.”
Keeping everything in one place helps subcontractors stay organized across their team and across projects: you’ll know what needs to get done, who’s responsible for it, and when it’s due. As a contributor, you’ll be more efficient, more informed, and ultimately better at your job.
“Organization is what makes a great subcontractor. There’s no confusion, and there’s no scrambling to find a document. If everything is kept in one place, it makes your workday so much easier,” said Cunich.