How to Write a Risk Management Plan

It’s Risky Business for Trades to Rely on PM Software Designed for GCs

The day to day operations of trade contractors and General Contractor (GC) differ greatly and because of this, their needs for project management software differ as well. By choosing the software platform designed specifically for them, a Subcontractor can eliminate many of the risks riddled with relying on the GC’s system alone.

Typically, GC software focuses solely on protecting the GC’s profits and pushing paper. Instead, Subcontractor software focuses on tracking, documenting, streamlining and standardizing processes related to project delivery. Therefore, trades should avoid using software designed for the GC because the software doesn’t protect the subcontractor’s best interest.

Yes, it may be a requirement for the subcontractor to use the GC’s system to work on a specific project but what happens when the project is over should be of greater concern for the subcontractor. What if there is a lawsuit? What if you need to get paid for lost hours or prove delay? Where are all the files, documents, emails, images, etc., stored and readily available?  You simply have very limited protection.

Construction material

Before you decide to rely on your GC’s project management solution, please continue to learn about the risks and dangers:

1. You need to mitigate risks and protect profits.

Subcontractor software is specifically designed to mitigate risk and shield trades from construction claims. eSUB offers specialized features that make tasks more manageable and efficient to track, manage and process. They include resource management, scheduling, document management (statuses: submitted, pending, approved), all of which help to mitigate risk brought about from undocumented work and manual processes.

Many of the above tasks are specific to Subcontractors and are not built into GC software. For example, submittals (i.e., receiving documents from the Sub) are very important in a GC solution. However, trade contractors need to asses labor efficiency and manage the status of daily work. If a trade sees they are falling behind on labor, they can add more people the next day, preventing a costly schedule delay. If the Subcontractor sees expenses are above budget, they will have documentation to understand why and they can get paid for the additional expenses. If they are under budget they can reduce estimates in the future and be more competitive.

If you rely on a GC solution, what system of record will help you mitigate these risks and protect your profit margins?

2. Subs must track lost hours during projects to:

— Get paid for them if it not their fault
— Leverage as a favor done for the GC to avoid adding extra favors from GC
— Provide GC with information about problems at the jobsite
— See if there are patterns which could be avoided in the future

3. Subs need real-time visibility of daily activity on the jobsite for:

— Cost to complete reports
— Percent of Efficiency reports
— Hours lost reports
— Time cards
— Internal collaboration

4. Protect your business with improved documentation and automated workflow tracking:

– Daily Reports
– Costs Reports
– Photographs
– Payment Records
– Change Orders
– Video recordings
– Schedules
– Labor and Productivity Costs
– Email Correspondence
– Phone Conversation Logs
– Requests for Information
– Status and Progress Reports
– Bid Worksheets

5. Records of these docs allow you to tell your side of the story

Along with documentation, Subcontractor software also encourages better communication between the GC and the Subcontractor. With better communication, Subcontractors and GC’s can resolve issues or misunderstandings quicker and keep projects on schedule. Subcontractors need to know if they are on track on a daily basis so they can make corrections and avoid costly mistakes.

6. Affordable software based on your seats not off revenue

With today’s unpredictable construction market, Subcontractor’s budgets are tight. In choosing a project management and document control software, Subcontractors should not have to worry about hidden fees, or having to pay against their project revenue which can adversely affect profitability. Because of this, Subcontractors should take time to clearly understand the different payment models, and know exactly what they are purchasing.

GC Project Management software tends to be more expensive than expected for Subcontractors, so it’s recommended to perform an ROI analysis or forecast model on future fees before making the decision to purchase a new program. With eSUB, the price for the software is based on the number of users instead of based on revenue which frequently changes and is hard to predict. Subcontractors should choose a construction management software that has a flat rate, and focuses on helping the business instead of penalizing it when it does well.

7. Key benefits to using eSUB:

1. Documentation management, collaboration, and communication across all project participants.
2. Easy to use mobile app for field supervisors to create daily work reports that are instantly visible to office personnel.
3. Field supervisors can report hours by system, phase and cost code and even take pictures and record notes with text to speech.
4. Issues can be noted and tracked as threads with the option to attach any future correspondence or field notes to the original issue.
5. Automated workflows are built in for creating, emailing and tracking RFI’s, COR’s, submittals and other project correspondence with company-wide standardization of documents.
6. Track budgeted cost versus actual cost including schedule of values and AIA billing.
7. Transparency, accountability, and convenience of information from the field staff to corporate management.

8. Ways to protect your business:

1. Due diligence in the documentation.
2. Standardization of process and documents.
3. Tracking of milestones and budgets to actuals.
4. QA/QC to make sure all work performed and conditions affecting the project contract, scope, schedule, and cost, are easily documented and submitted.
5. eSUB’s overall process is built around risk mitigation and claims avoidance.
6. Automating the collection of all communications and field data into a web-based searchable database
7. Seamless integration between accounting and project management
8. Eliminating point solutions not integrated with your system of record.

9. Utilize unique features such as the correspondence toolbox

eSUB software has a built-in correspondence toolbox which makes it easy for users to create and format letters. The correspondence toolbox contains dozens of pre-formatted letter templates, any of which can be customized for specific business needs. Once created, all correspondence is stored in a searchable database. The toolbox provides over 50 legal advised templates, streamlines the correspondence process and allows for better traceable communication with the GC.


Subcontractors should be careful when considering to rely on their GC’s software provided on a project. They should be acutely aware that software is designed for the GC and lacks several features crucial for a Subcontractor to protect their business and manage projects effectively. They should be aware that some software may also include hidden fees that balloon over time. Remember to select software designed and protects you – the Subcontractor. Not the GC.