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.
Minimize Manual Error with Technology
Bidding as a subcontractor is fast-paced and difficult, with a ton of information to keep track of. We all make mistakes, but the difference between May 15th and May 12th is a missed bid submission. The less information you need to manually update, the lower the chance you’ll have for manual error.
Technology is designed to support teams and increase efficiency by automating manual processes. Automating manual entry and connecting your tracking tools like calendar, files, and bid log in one place helps ensure information isn’t missed or incorrect. The goal is to be efficient so you can bid better and faster.
You’re already keeping track of your bid information somewhere. All you need to do is connect the dots and leverage the right tools. Identifying where you might be wasting time gives you the opportunity to improve your team’s productivity so you can get in front of more clients and win more bids.
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.
Establish Clear Ownership for Projects
One of the biggest productivity killers 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.
– Focus Your Efforts on High Probability Jobs
You can’t respond to every single bid invite you receive, so you need to prioritize jobs that will produce the most money for your time. If you only have time to submit one out of every five bid invites, then you need to recognize the proven characteristics of a quality bid invite to know it’s the best option.
Once you’re tracking bid information in one place, it becomes easier to consistently track key pieces of information like trade, general contractor, and building size so you can make decisions on your bid history. From your bid history, you can identify trends, key areas of success, and where you can improve so you can decide where to invest more resources or cut altogether. Teams that focus on the right jobs win more.