There’s always that initial pause when you’re first starting up a new project. That momentary beat of mental preparation as you take the initial step of a fresh challenge. You have to walk before you can run, and before the first hammer falls or the first backhoe gets started up, you have to sort out those bids. Preconstruction shapes everything that comes afterward; it’s the skeleton that forms the foundation of your budding project. Before you can build any meat on those bones, you must first find the builders that match all of your needs. This is an intensive process that can often drag on through an extended search. Luckily, there are those who understand this process well and want to help whittle down these delays so you can get those work gloves on.
BuildingConnected, a cloud-based preconstruction bidding service, is changing the way you put together your team. They’ve set up a speedy, thorough database that helps you find ideal subcontractors and send out invitations to bid on your project. It’s quick and easy to set up a new project with BuildingConnected - you just fill out some basic contact and company information, and then start creating your bid packages. Within those packages, you can upload all of your files in one place. They’ve taken great care to make sure their file management system is effortless, and they host all uploaded files within their own cloud service, meaning they won’t ever be misplaced. You can also sync with Box to make uploads even simpler, and BuildingConnected offers you unlimited storage space.
Once your bid package is ready to go, you can dive into their ever-growing network of professionals to start sending your invites. There’s an ocean of over 200,000 general contractors, subcontractors, and specialty contractors for you to go fishing in to find your team. This database is their crown jewel, and it makes searching for the right people easier than it’s ever been. You can filter your search for contractors by a ridiculous amount of pertinent criteria: name, company, trade, location, distance, union or non-union, prevailing wage, and enterprise type (small business, minority-owned business, etc.), to name a few. BuildingConnected automatically pulls up search results within 30 miles of your location (which you can then edit for a larger or smaller pool), and the most historically-active bidders are displayed at the top in an effort to put some of the strongest candidates front and center. Bidders are generally tracked by trade and responsiveness, so you can gauge their potential based on their history.
If you see a contractor that you think is a great fit, simply click “Add to Bidders List” and he or she will be notified and sent your project information and package. The intuitive interface you’ll find at BuildingConnected makes it near impossible to get tripped up during the bidding process, so everyone involved will have an easy time navigating and understanding the system. Dashboards clearly arrange all of the important information and make it simple to manage everything, so you can keep track of each project and bidder. You can also duplicate past projects and packages to speed up future searches and invites. You’ll save countless hours and uncover a huge number of potential teammates without doing anything special.
For instance, when I began a search for union drywall subcontractors in and around San Francisco, BuildingConnected pulled up 71 available people for me to browse. Searching for union earthwork specialists yielded 35 results, while union painters reached 40. With each search I ran, I was presented with a sizeable, diverse group of candidates that I could choose from. I was also able to filter searches based around very specific types of work - intumescent painting, epoxy flooring, hydroseeding, flagpoles, pretty much any kind of job that I needed, so I could select the right person who could perform the more specialized duties in addition to the general ones.
Back in 2012, the folks over at BuildingConnected came together and set out to create a tool that would change the way people handled preconstruction. They wanted to simplify and accelerate team-building measures so you could assemble the right people quickly and confidently. In just a few short years, they’re well on their way to achieving that goal. So far, they’ve built a stellar bidding database, bringing together a great group of professionals in a natural system with a far reach. The fact that it’s 100% free to use is remarkable, although who knows if this may change down the road. Either way, they’re moving in the right direction.
If you feel like you’ve been stuck fishing in the same small pool of contractors for your past few projects and want to expand your options substantially, or if you have a very specific project requirement that you have no experience with, try out BuildingConnected. Seriously, there’s no downside. They do a great job of putting you in touch with potential building partners and keeping communication lines open. The next time you’re ready to embark on a new project, that breath before the plunge is going to be a lot shorter now that the bidding process is built with you in mind.