Despite the construction industry’s increasing reliance on software to work faster and more accurately, many specialty contractors still hesitate to get on board with bidding technology. It makes sense why software evaluation may not be every contractor’s number one priority. After all, many are understaffed, under-resourced, and pressed for time. With limited budget, cost may be an issue.
However, having an organized and efficient preconstruction process is what prepares a team for executing on the field. It also plays a significant role in determining long-term success. The right bidding technology can help ensure this success and transform a historically labor-intensive process into a well-oiled machine. It pays for itself in work won and efficiencies gained, making the technology well-worth the investment.
The Software Buying Process
Most specialty contractors start investing in new software when they realize their current processes no longer serve them. Signs that current practices are no longer working include:
- Losing man-hours on manual data entry
- Regularly missing bid invites
- Accidentally working on the same bids
While it might not feel like there’s a perfect time to change a process, it is better to proactively seek out a solution than to wait for a process to break down entirely.
So, what does the software buying process look like? We recently surveyed over 1,000 preconstruction professionals and found that most specialty contractors either don’t have a defined process or aren’t aware of their company’s process for buying new software.
[Does your company have a defined procurement process for software?]
In the absence of a formal process, software buying should begin with a focused evaluation. The following ideas can help build a more cohesive structure for evaluating and purchasing new software:
1. Propose an annual software audit.
Taking stock of the software and processes in place provides a forum for users to raise a red flag if they’re seeing issues and provide recommendations for solutions. That information provides a vital kicking-off point for making a case with leadership.
2. Provide concrete benefits of making a switch.
Take time to generate information around the benefits of implementing new software. Make sure to touch on the pain points of the current process and the improved efficiencies, lowered risks, and potential for a new competitive edge using proposed technology upgrades.
3. Involve all relevant stakeholders.
Engage the right stakeholders early in the process—and think beyond the immediate team. Identifying all affected parties during the evaluation process helps to ensure full buy-in.
4. Form an implementation plan.
Choosing the right technology is not enough. Thirty-seven percent of construction professionals said that their company has invested in software in past year that they haven’t adopted. A concrete plan for implementation and adoption ensures companies get the most from their technology investment.
The Importance of Pilot Periods
One effective method to ease into a new bidding process is to implement pilot periods. It is overwhelming for people to hear, “Everything is changing on this date.” It is much easier to hear, “We have a new process that we think can improve our workflow. Would you mind helping us test it out during a pilot phase?”
It’s important to identify key influencers to pilot the new software. By getting buy-in via actual use of a new system, it will be easier to translate that change to the whole organization. This period also allows teams to work out kinks, find solutions, and pivot training strategies, which will help foster long-term adoption at scale.
Spotlight: Bowman Flooring Contractor
Bowman Flooring Contractor, a Georgia-based specialty contractor, increased its win rate by 25% and revenue by $9 million by implementing the right bid management technology. Adopting a new solution transformed the business in a few different ways.
Bowman successfully replaced tools like Excel and email as their primary methods of managing bids. This helped the company get more organized and eliminate the manual errors that arose from bid data living in too many places. The new software allowed Bowman to quickly track and assign bids, as well as place a higher priority on jobs the company was more likely to win. They were able to pull up past project estimates, which translated to better estimates, as well as the ability to effectively distribute invitations to project managers for increased efficiency.
“Our new software totally changed the way we do business,” said Mike Adams, Senior Project Manager.
“I honestly don’t know where we’d be without it. It really helped Bowman Flooring Contractor become a leader in the space.”
Download Our New Guide to Learn More
In our latest guide, we break down the many benefits of going digital for construction bidding, plus three categories specialty contractors should focus on to successfully adopt a digital bidding solution.
- How to prove the value of investing in bidding software to leadership
- The best strategies to tackle internal opposition to technology
- How a streamlined bidding process will help you win more of the right projects
Plus, get insights from our survey to over 1,000 preconstruction professionals!