Reducing Subcontractor and Supplier Costs

Reducing Subcontractor and Supplier Costs

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In this serie of articles, we will share with you valuable strategies to help you optimize your bids and secure your best chances to Win the Bidding War!

Strategy #2 – Reducing Subcontractor and Supplier Costs

When selecting a subcontractor or supplier, the price is a key factor that can serve as the criterion to compare bidders. Therefore, each detail in your subcontractors’ rates and bid contents should be considered.

Sending Invitations and Cumulating Data

By sending a maximum of invitations to bid and collecting data on prices previously obtained from your sub-contractors and suppliers, you will have a better idea of market prices and each subcontractor’s and supplier’s pricing positioning. This will help you to classify and select them based on the type of project for which you are seeking tenders.

If you are hesitant when selecting a subcontractor or supplier, receiving a larger number of bids and gaining simple, fast access to data on previous bids will help you to compare them and make the best informed decision. It is strongly recommended to look for new subcontractors on an ongoing basis. Expanding your network of subcontractors will help you to validate your current relationships. Some long-standing subcontractors tend to take business relationships for granted and subtly increase their prices.

However, new subcontractors often agree to reduce their prices to prove their worth. They know that any mistake would be unforgivable and would put an end to a new business opportunity. However, the quality of delivery might even be better than with older relationships.

To get the complete strategy guide for free, please click here.

Prioritizing bidding elements with the most impact

By | ConstructBuy | No Comments

In this serie of articles, we will share with you valuable strategies to help you optimize your bids and secure your best chances to Win the Bidding War!

Strategy #1 – Prioritizing bidding elements with the most impact

More time must be allotted to come up with accurate prices for the elements that vary most and are the costliest. Inversely, it is useless to waste time on low-impact details.

Ex. : It is not relevant to accurately calculate the cost of screws or nails. A flat rate can easily be provided for these materials within a range likely to change the overall bid by a mere 0.1% to 0.2%, versus 2% to 10% for other budget items.

From a strategic perspective, it is better to focus more particularly on specifying subcontractor and labor costs and overheads. On average, they represent 80% of the overall project costs and are likely to impact the bid price between 2% and 10%. Actually, it is generally within such a price range that the bidding game takes place to obtain a contract.

To help you identify your priorities and visualize more profitable budget items on which it is more relevant to invest time, review the pie charts below highlighting the average breakdown of costs involved in a construction project.

2017-02-02 13_07_22-eBook - ConstructBuy - ECC Team Space - Wiki ECC

To get the complete strategy guide for free, please click here.

Houses from trash: sustainable trend or pure hype?

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It first really hit the news a couple of years back, when Oakland, California artist Gregory Kloehn created tiny mobile houses for homeless people (as reported by Bored Panda, a collaborative online magazine).

These tiny houses – while very cute and noble in purpose – were so tiny that they could easily pass for dog houses.

Dog Houses

Still, Gregory’s purpose was noble and news outlets picked this up. Now, there are a number of individuals and companies creating housing from trash and recycled materials.

The scale and imagination of some of these undertakings are mind-blowing. Want a castle? Sure. A tropical island? Why not?

Trash Houses

This ingenious use of recycled materials is definitely inspiring. On a more sobering note, though, is this just a fad? Or does the construction industry have the will and incentives to use recycled materials and outright trash in projects on a truly large scale?

That question remains open: what do you think?

Recycling trash is an environmentally efficient way to build. For a cost- and time-efficient way, check out this quick demo here.

Garbage in, treasure out?

If that’s the case, if the cost of building materials would plummet, what kind of impact would that have on your quotes? Book a demo to see how ConstructBuy would lower your bids.

Minnesota Vikings’ stadium comes alive in a stunning time-lapse

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They say you can endlessly watch three things: the flames in a fire, the running of water, and someone else working.

Jokes aside, when truly amazing structures are built, one really can watch the marvel forever. Of course, some construction does seem to take an eternity to complete (Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension anyone?).

That’s when a time-lapse comes in handy, revealing all the magic of construction without taking a lifetime to view it. In particular, this time-lapse of the construction of the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium is nothing short of breathtaking.

Tens of thousands of fans will come here every Sunday without even realizing what a tremendous undertaking the construction was for the new stadium.

You wouldn’t know it from the time-lapse, but for a project of such size, managing bids and project communications took a large portion of construction time. See how to deeply cut communication time and cost in this quick demo here.

Lead your team to victory!

An A/C vest lowers body temperature for hours with just a quick soak

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Working under the sun is hard enough; try doing it in United Arab Emirates (UAE). That’s why it was such welcome news (as reported by Construction Week Online) when Emirates NBD distributed air-conditioned vests to construction workers in the region.

Of course, there isn’t an actual plug-in A/C system in each vest (imagine the weight and logistics of that). Amazingly, all one needs to do with the A/C vest is to soak it in water for no more than 10 minutes.

That’s it.


This simple act gives the wearer up to 8 hours of lower body temperature. How much lower? The company claims a reduction of 5-7°C. Naturally, that isn’t enough to make the worker in UAE feel arctic fresh, but it’s enough to make a difference between heat stroke and decent working conditions.

The vest works its “magic” by using a special fabric that doesn’t even need refrigeration to work – just soak in water and you’re good to go. One has to wonder, though, if the vest only help the upper body feel cool. Are there similar pants? What about A/C hard hat lining?

Of course, Canada’s need for A/C vests is not as pressing as UAE’s. But the need to cut project time and costs is another matter. Click here to see how you could save time and lower project costs in this quick demo.

Stay cool!

Top 5 Mobile Tools for the Construction Industry

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When you’re on-site anywhere, there are invariably things you need to measure, calculate, estimate or record. Thanks to modern technology, there are some great mobile tools that construction professionals can use to get the job done on the run. Here are five of the best mobile construction apps and programs we’ve found, along with the reasons why we think they’re great.

  1. Fieldwire

With Fieldwire you can view plans from your mobile device and track thousands of issues, tasks and photos from the field. Communication between the project manager and the superintendent or foreman has never been easier. Everyone can stay up to the minute at the office and in the field.

  1. Timesheet Mobile

Timesheet Mobile is a time tracking app, but one that doesn’t require complicated software, hardware or other systems. Once loaded on a phone or tablet, it can be used from any site where your employees can make a call. All they have to do is call up the system, enter the information requested, and their time is logged. No Internet connection required!

  1. Safety Meeting App

The Safety Meeting App is exactly what the name suggests. It’s an app that puts everything you need for a safety meeting at your fingertips. It has customized features for 34 different trades; however, bear in mind that it’s made to comply with US OSHA laws, so you might still need to tweak the output to suit Canadian standards. Regardless, however, an app like this can help ensure that crews meet minimum safety meeting requirements.

  1. Photo Measures

Taking notes during a site inspection can be tricky. Photo Measures makes it simple, thanks to an easy-to-use interface. Literally take a picture and write dimensions right on it. Never lose your scribbled notes again!

  1. FTQ360

Finally, an app that helps you to finish projects right. This app is designed to make sign-off inspections easier, and punch list creation simpler. It’s designed to be a life cycle quality management platform, and it’s a great tool for tracking quality, safety and other critical elements on-site.

There are other great construction apps out there, and 2016 has just started, so expect more to come (including BIM 360 documents from Autodesk), but for now, these five apps should cover the basics and beyond for most construction companies.

Top 5 Tips for Bid Management

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For construction companies everywhere, bidding on private and government projects is a crucially important task. That’s a fact of life for construction firms and sub-trades. But while you can’t change that, you can change how you approach the bidding process. That can have a big impact on your success. Here are five key things you should be paying close attention to:

  1. Schedule bid searches

Successful bidding starts with knowing what bids are out there. Designate one person or department to search public and private bid advertisement platforms, and create a schedule that ensures they’re checked two or three times a week. If you have a fixed day and time to check, there’s less chance you will miss something important. Make sure you sign up for notices of addendum too.

  1. Have a system for sharing

Chances are that there are several people in your company who will need access to a bid during the estimating and proposal management process. Make sure they all have access to the relevant documents, drawings and information. Create a designated folder on a network drive, or use an online service to store common files. You may want to restrict access to some documents however, and create permission levels that allow viewing but not editing or deleting, just in case.

  1. Analyze everything

Long before a site visit happens or the estimating process begins, someone (or several someones) will need to analyze the bid documents, and look for specific contract instructions, time or scope issues, or specifications that need closer attention. Figure out what sub-trade or supplier pricing you need, and make extensive notes. Only once you’ve gone through the bid package from front to back should you start the estimating process.

  1. Get supplier pricing

Very often, the major delays in the estimating process don’t come from inside your organization. They come from suppliers or sub-trades that fail to price on time or at all. Make sure you figure out early on what pricing you need, and send your invitations to bid or quote out as soon as possible. Don’t forget to follow up either. Be sure you’re getting pricing back before your bid closes, or make alternate arrangements.

  1. Complete your bid on time

No one wants to be filling in rates on the day a bid closes. Make sure you set clear deadlines for gathering pricing, estimating and proposal documents, and for completing your bid document. And be sure to stay on track. Set reminders for everyone involved, to ensure they provide the information you need, when you need it.


Successfully completing a bid is one part estimating challenge, one part interpretation and one part project management. Make sure you get all three of those right, and you should enjoy greater success when you bid.

How Being at IIDEX Revealed a Great Opportunity

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When Export Quebec asked us at the last minute if we wanted to join them at IIDEX, we hesitated because the audience was outside our typical crowd. Still, going there would put us in a great position to showcase ConstructBuy’s benefits and new features to the general contractors present. “We can provide so much value to a general contractor”, we said. “What the heck, let’s go!”

So off we went! We arrived with branded pens, stress balls and polos, and with an awesome iPad giveaway contest.

And lo and behold, it turns out the architects and designers were way more receptive to our platform than we had anticipated. We talked with so many interesting people, and we quickly realized something: although many of them act as a bridge between the client and the general contractor—essentially ending up in a project manager role—they have no real management tool at their disposal. We obviously ended up presenting ConstructBuy’s features and benefits, and their response was overwhelmingly positive!

We had over one hundred designers and architects show interest in the tool. Three functions seem to have stood out to help them get better collaboration and better bids, while respecting their customer’s budget:


Sending bid requests to your entire network quickly and easily

Architects and designers can have a pretty big network, and sending individual emails can be pretty grueling when it’s time to ask for bids. ConstructBuy enables you to send one request to your entire network with a single click. You can even track who read the messages in real time.


Centralized communication platform

Having one place for all communications can save you lots of back-and-forth. The architects and designers we met got pretty reflective and curious when we asked them to estimate the time savings associated with a 75% reduction in email. Most of them said between 5–6 hours per project. “Sure, that would be great!” The real kicker came when they realized the same formula applies to everyone in the project. In the illustrious words of our very own Ken Unaeze, “The cumulated time saved gets real big, real fast.”


Easy file sharing

 One of the most popular features was definitely the file sharing capability. It’s secure and easy to use, and it can hold any type or size of file. AutoCAD and BIM files can get pretty big!


In the end, maybe we weren’t with the general contractor crowd but we were definitely at the right conference!

Hello Construction World!

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Einstein said, “Try not to become a man of success; but rather try to become a man of value.” At ConstructBuy we love Einstein, and we‘re always trying to provide more value to our existing and potential clients. It’s with this in mind that we are launching our brand new blog.

The purpose of this blog is to provide you with a wealth of fascinating and insightful information about the construction industry.

A fascinating construction-related blog!? Pfft, yeah right!

Well, if you’re like us and you live and breathe construction every day, you very well might find our blog really, really interesting!

You can expect our editorial line to revolve around three main ideas, all pertaining to the construction industry:

  • News and projects
  • Innovations and trends
  • Tips and tricks

Our hope is that if we consistently provide you with quality content, you will choose to make this blog a must-read, and ultimately, give our tool a test run.

Einstein also said this:
“Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters
cannot be trusted in large ones either.”

For those of you who don’t know us yet, here’s a little shameless self-promotion:

ConstructBuy is an easy-to-use tool to efficiently centralize, broadcast and control information. It helps over 15,000 project estimators and project managers get better collaboration, receive better bids and achieve better projects. The tool is simple and blazingly fast. It’s quick to set up, quick to learn and easy to use for all stakeholders.

If you’re curious to know what ConstructBuy can do for you:

PS: We also want to thank our collaborators for helping us make this possible:
Technosales – a great sales outsourcing company
Convernet – our marketing gurus
Motion in Design – the masterminds behind our new website

See the Tool in ACTION!

Watch Our 3-minute Demo