You hear it time and again: construction is a relationship-based industry. Because of this, many subcontractors think general contractors prefer a personal touch and forgo bidding on projects online for the more traditional route of phone calls and face-to-face meetings. While those things still hold weight, those methods alone aren’t sustainable with the direction the new preconstruction process is headed, and it’s changing the qualities general contractors look for in their subcontractors.
With a high project volume and tight headlines, it’s more important than ever for general contractors to have their data centralized. Here’s why general contractors prefer subcontractors to submit their bids online.
The old way of doing things isn’t sustainable anymore
“We used to have to create an FTP site through Dropbox or our shared file system and email that to subcontractors. We didn’t know whether the subcontractor had read the documents or whether or not they intended to bid. We were left in the dark, and that resulted in a lot of cold-calling subcontractors — which could take hours. If we’re reaching out to 10 subcontractors a trade, then that meant we were calling hundreds of subcontractors. That system just wasn’t sustainable for us anymore. Bidding online cuts the process in half.”
– Stanley Abbot, Lead Estimator at Plaza Construction
More control over the bidding process
“We used to have a plan room where we invited subcontractors to come in and review the plans before confirming that they wanted the job. Those days are gone. It’s so much easier now to go online and download the information. The process has accelerated tremendously because in the past there were so many more steps involved to initiate the bid process, but submitting bids online allows us greater control over the outcome of the bid.”
– Don Tiefenbrunn, VP of Preconstruction at BCCI
It improves relationships with general contractors
“When you spend all day on the phone with subcontractors, you build strong relationships. But everyone is busy nowadays. When bids are submitted online, you don’t have to bother them by calling the wrong person or asking if they’ve gotten the bid invite. It’s more direct — and I think people appreciate that. We’re able to communicate all the necessary information they need in a much more succinct way, and it definitely improves our relationship with subcontractors.”
– Colin Skaggs, Cost Engineer at Truebeck Construction
A centralized process makes things easier on the subcontractors, too
“Having a centralized system easily saves us 20 hours a week. Being able to spend less time sorting through emails gives us more time to decide on which projects we want to bid on. I can see everything in one place on the bid board and know where we should be spending resources and where we shouldn’t be wasting time. It’s making us a lot more efficient and successful.”
– Dax Larsen, Estimator at Chisholm Industries