Choosing Construction Bidding Software: A Guide 

guide to best construction bidding software

Construction bidding is a great act of orchestration on any project complete with a broad range of complexities and activities that happen before breaking ground. Whether you’re a subcontractor trying to win more work or a general contractor looking for the right team to execute your project, keeping all the balls in the air throughout the bidding process is an immense effort of collaboration. Thankfully, construction bidding software has been helping contractors streamline the process and improve efficiency in recent years.  

But with so many solutions available today, how do you choose the best solution for your teams and projects? Read on to learn why construction bidding software matters, how it works, and how you can implement the right solutions for your company.  

What we cover:

What is construction bidding software? 

Construction bidding technology enables teams to manage and automate various aspects of the bidding process. On a basic level, bidding tools will typically help teams perform tasks like creating, tracking, and managing bids from one place. Beyond that, certain solutions may also include advanced capabilities to discover and find qualified subcontractors as well as solicit bids. 

How bidding software is used today 

Bidding software is used by both general contractors and subcontractors but in different ways. Think of them as two sides of the same coin: 

  • GCs use bidding software to find subs, send out invitations to bid, share important project information and data, then compile all the bids in one place for each project. 
  • Subcontractors use bidding software to manage all their incoming bid invites in one place. Through it, they can communicate with GCs, open files, submit their bids, and so forth. 

Why is construction bidding software important? 

Alternative to manual spreadsheets and bidding processes that waste time, increase risk of mistakes, and ultimately open teams to risk, the right construction bidding software can improve efficiency and accuracy across the bidding process.  

Key benefits of construction bidding software include: 

  • Centralizes critical information: Software provides centralized bidding information, bid management, and file sharing. 
  • Improves decision-making with better insights: Top bidding software will leverage analytics and insights to help subcontractors win more business and general contractors choose the right team for the job. A data-driven bidding strategy enables you to make more informed decisions using real-time business insights. 
  • Increases accuracy and productivity: Bidding software streamlines bidding processes, reduces errors and manual entry, and saves time. 
  • Enhances communication and collaboration: Construction bidding software provides greater visibility and control over project details and timelines to all critical stakeholders. In so doing, it goes a long way toward building collaboration and de-siloing processes across the board by keeping everyone on the same page. 

How does construction bidding software work? 

As mentioned above, construction bidding software works differently for GCs and subcontractors, but it’s a virtuous cycle. When both are using it well, the other’s job becomes easier. 

GCs 

General contractors use construction bidding software to create custom templates for proposals, send invitations out to specific contractors, and collect bids for that project. Different software solutions accomplish this in different ways. 

For instance, certain ones will help you find qualified subs, which mitigates your risk upfront, with qualification capabilities. Other top bidding technology solutions allow you to compare bids side-by-side, access historical bid data to provide better estimates, and communicate easily between all stakeholders. 

Subcontractors 

As a subcontractor, bidding software lets you see all of your bid invites in one place, preventing redundant work and reducing missed bids that end up languishing in your inbox. It also allows you to increase transparency, so you can keep your team on the same page, manage workloads, and facilitate collaboration. 

Top construction bidding software will also include robust reports and analytics so you can see which GCs you’ve won the most work with and prioritize the projects you want to bid on. The fact that bidding software facilitates communication and collaboration between project stakeholders also works in favor of subs, who have an easier time getting access to decision-makers. 

Choosing the right bidding software for your business 

The right software for you will depend on several characteristics. 

These include the size of your business, your specific business needs, and the size and complexity of your projects. They also include your product features and capabilities, the ease of implementation, compatibility with existing tools, and cost versus value. 

Head spinning already? Here are some key features to look for: 

Cloud-based 

The right centralized bid management solutions are cloud-based, so they’re accessible anywhere and update automatically to share the latest information with anyone who needs it. Technology like this alleviates the problems caused by manual spreadsheets and helps subcontractors win more business. 

Plus, a cloud-based centralized solution offers a single source of truth. It’s where all the bids come in and where subcontractors get a bird’s-eye-view of the entire bid process. 

Additionally, cloud-based systems allow for constant access to bid management. You can assess bids in real time, and team members can determine and filter where bids are coming from and who’s working on what. 

Bid tracking 

Construction bidding software allows you to view all bid invites across your entire office or division from one place. Now you can track project files, job walks, due dates, and more. Know what needs to get done, who’s responsible for it, and when it’s due at all times. 

Subcontractor qualification 

By combining your bidding and qualification processes into one seamless workflow, risk data can instantly influence estimator decision-making and optimize the way you assess costs. It can also help you identify, predict, and mitigate potential risks early on.  

Construction network 

Good bidding software provides general contractors access to a huge network of crowdsourced construction professionals in real time. The software maintains them automatically, keeping data private and secure, yet simultaneously making it accessible from anywhere. 

For instance, to date, there are more than a million construction professionals available in BuildingConnected’s Builders Network. That represents huge potential to find subs in new markets, filter for required certifications such as DEI and DBE, and choose the best ones that work with your processes and business requirements.  

Advanced data insights 

Advanced data provides a ton of value. For instance, it’s important for subcontractors to know which GCs always invite them and which only do sometimes. That, coupled with your win rates, can tell you exactly with whom to prioritize relationships. 

On the other hand, static boards that don’t provide data analysis and trendspotting make it much harder for you to find the information you need to succeed. That impacts your team’s ability to make smart decisions now and in the future. 

Integrations with existing tools 

When you integrate bidding, estimating, qualification, and cost tools, contractors can reduce risk and make smarter decisions during the bidding process and beyond. 

Top construction bidding software 

So, what are some of the top construction bidding technology options available today? Here are a few solutions to know: 

BuildingConnected Pro

This software, geared toward GCs, relies on the simple concept that the success of any project hinges on the expertise and professionalism of the subcontractors involved. With it, you can crowdsource construction professionals to find the ones that meet your project descriptions, possess the right qualifications, and are looking for the kind of work you’re offering. 

Bid Board Pro

How many projects you bid versus how many you win is a basic numbers game: you’ll have to bid a lot to get a few. But if there’s anything that drives subcontractors nuts, it’s having to find and follow up on bids. Bid Board Pro takes the guesswork and spreadsheets out of it, giving you access to new job opportunities and previously bid projects in one centralized location. 

TradeTapp

If you’re a GC, then you eventually want to build your own network of qualified subcontractors. With TradeTapp, you can do just that by tapping into a crowdsourced database of professionals that meet your needs. Through this construction software, you can vet and compare the financial health of various subcontractors and ensure you work only with the best. 

Dodge Data & Analytics

Easily linking with other construction bidding software platforms such as Autodesk Construction Cloud, Dodge Data & Analytics provides an integrated solution to sharing and managing plans, project specs, and other necessary documents between GCs and subs

Start bidding smarter today with Autodesk 

At the end of the day, the right software won’t make or break your company – but how well you organize your bidding process certainly could. Why wouldn’t you find the top software to streamline your daily tasks, get better bids as a general contractor or win more bids as a subcontractor, and do right by your business? 

We’ve got good news for you: Autodesk can provide all the key features and benefits listed above, and then some. We’d love to tell you more about it and help you improve your bidding process. Learn more today! 

Grace Ellis

As Manager of Content Marketing Strategy at Autodesk and Editor in Chief of the Digital Builder Blog, Grace has nearly 15 years of experience creating world-class content for technology firms. She has been working within the construction technology space for the last 6+ years and is passionate about empowering industry professionals with cutting-edge tools and leading strategies that improve the quality of their jobs and lives.