By: Mark Fly on February 12th, 2021
BidCoach: How to Better Manage Your Online Project Plan Room
Whether you use an FTP site or other cloud service to house and organize your construction documents, it's essential to know what project documents have been accessed or downloaded by your subcontractors, suppliers, or vendors. Attaching any of these documents to an email does not ensure that the recipient has actually downloaded the respective files or even viewed them.
When you qualify a received proposal you want to make sure that the sender has read, reviewed, or downloaded all of the relevant construction documents for their scope of work. So, how can you get the most relevant construction documents to your recipients that are trackable and easy to manage?
Assess what deliverability tools (software or process) you are using right now and what limitations you are experiencing. If you are using just your email to send out invitations to bid, RFPs or RFQs, then you have very limited tracking available in regards to project document downloads from your recipients. Another downside of sending project file attachments in an email is that many times the file is too large to send and there’s no guarantee that the email will get to the end user or the recipient.
Throwing all the docs in a ZIP file is a common method, but this can actually inhibit a recipient's access. The file may simply be too big for them to download efficiently. Perhaps a file sharing option you use is free, but you're still using your email as well, thus limited tracking is available again. (Note: Read receipts are not the same as someone downloading and reviewing the file!)
Find a consolidated, secure invitation to bid management solution that brings your communication (email/faxes), plan room, and deliverability reports into one platform. An optimal invitation to bid software integrates with cloud storage programs like Dropbox and Box to make sure that all project documents are up-to-date and easily accessible to your subcontractors. Make sure you’re using a software that monitors and reports on those project file downloads. (Note: If it's free, you are probably giving away something.)
Try a free trial to a paid file sharing platform, so you can use the secure options available. With an online invitation to bid management solution, you will be better able to track your email deliverability, what project files your contractors have accessed, and better qualify your proposals. Another plus of using an online bidding software is that your subcontractors can obtain a username/password and specify their project preferences so they only receive the most relevant invitations to bid and you receive the most qualified proposals.
About Mark Fly
Mark Fly is a Product Evangelist at ConstructConnect. He is also known as the Bid Coach to subscribers of his popular video series. Mark has 40 years of experience in construction, rising through the ranks from a labor position in high school to play a key role in the development of SmartBid software. He has also provided multi-faceted outsourced estimating services for many years, working directly with owners, GCs, subcontractors, suppliers, and more.