Why Subs should not use Project Management Software designed for General Contractors
The day to day operations of a Subcontractor vs. General Contractor (GC) differ greatly and because of this their needs in a software solution differ as well. By choosing the software platform designed specifically for them, a Subcontractor can maximize their return on investment. Typically, GC software focuses solely on protecting the GC’s profits. Instead, Subcontractor software focuses on streamlining and standardizing processes related to construction and increasing profits. Subcontractors should avoid using software built for GC because these programs do not provide solutions specific to issues that Subcontractors tend to encounter.
Below are reasons Subcontractors will benefit from using software specifically designed for them.
Software designed to mitigate risks and protects profits
Subcontractor software is specifically designed to mitigate risk and shield subs from construction claims. These programs have specialized features that make tasks more manageable and efficient to process. They include resource management, scheduling, daily reports, change orders, and submittals, all of which help to mitigate risk brought about from undocumented work and manual processes. Many of these 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, Subcontractors need to asses labor efficiency and manage to the status of daily work. If a Subcontractor 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.
Subcontractors should track lost hours so they can leverage them in these ways:
— Get paid for them if it not their fault
— Leverage as a favor done for the GC to avoid additional extra favors from GC
— Provide GC with information about problems at the site
— See if there are patterns which could be avoided in the future
Leverage what the field is already doing in the field with daily reports to automatically create:
— Cost to complete reports
— Percent of Efficiency reports
— Hours lost reports
— Time cards
— Internal collaboration
Subcontractor software protects your business with improved documentation and automated workflow tracking during the project lifecycle:
– Daily Reports
– Costs Reports
– Payment Records
– Change Orders
– Video recordings
– Labor and Productivity Costs
– Email Correspondence
– Phone Conversation Logs
– Requests for Information
– Status and Progress Reports
– Bid Worksheets
Records of these documents allow you to tell your side of the story in case something goes wrong.
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.
Affordable software based on your seats not based partly 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 project 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 Managing Construction Projects Better:
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.
5 Ways to Protect your Subcontractor Firm:
1. Due diligence in 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.
Utilize unique features such as the correspondence tool box
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 choosing software. They should be acutely aware that software designed for GCs lacks several workflow-driven features crucial for a Subcontractor to manage their business and projects. They should be aware that some software may include hidden fees that balloon over time. Buyer beware. Remember to select software designed for you – the Subcontractor.