For medium- to enterprise-level project managers, half the battle is often simply keeping track of subcontractors. They aren’t
your employees, you aren’t their only manager, and a whole host of paperwork is required to track them and their labor.
Paperwork is old fashioned, but documentation is not, and it’s easier than ever now to create and keep such documents organized along with other job-specific files, using software. When properly implemented, construction project management software goes beyond monitoring task completion and helps with labor management as well.
There are three feature sets commonly included in construction project management (PM) software which can help you manage your subcontractors: job scheduling, online access / notification, and financial tools.
All construction PM software comes with some degree of job scheduling capability, which is the primary function of PM software in general. Some PM solutions place specific emphasis on the ability to view the tasks and projects occupying your subcontractor’s time.
For example, BuildTools construction software allows you to take an overarching scheduling view of all the jobs you’ve assigned each of your subcontractors. You can see when they can take on more work, and when they’ll be busy with other projects.
Documents and a paper trail are essential to keeping all your subcontractor agreements, schedules, plan changes, designs, and such in order. Storing these documents online (and with specific tasks) is easier than manually managing papers. Procore, for example, comes with extensive document management capabilities for working securely with any type of electronic files. These documents can be easily shared with all the appropriate parties and kept updated.
Most cloud-based PM softwares allow you to give multiple users (employees, subcontractors, stakeholders, etc.) access to certain features on a permission basis. This access comes with a number of benefits.
For one, this allows you to give subcontractors direct access to the documents and paper trail you’ve created on the PM software. Not only are such documents gathered in one place for personal reference, but you don’t even have to send them to subcontractors through email or faxes. They can simply view them at the source inside the PM software.
Additionally, subcontractors with PM access can see the project’s schedule and how their responsibilities fit into the overall timeline. If you give them permission to view parts of the project outside of their direct responsibilities, individual subcontractors will even be able to see the task chains that run up to the point where their services are needed. If they can see such changes or projects coming beforehand, they aren’t entirely dependent on contact with you to be properly updated.
Speaking of updates, whether you give subcontractors such access to your PM software or not, you can set automatic notifications and email reminders for when you reach certain milestones. This way subcontractors stay informed of progress changes and know when their services will be required.
You can use reports from your PM software to keep your subcontractors updated on the overall project’s progress and the progress of their involvement, in addition to keeping a running comparison of their work and the specifications of their bids and quotes.
Construction PM software contains tons of information that’s directly transcribable into financial documentation. This connection is understood by software companies, and many solutions (like BuildTools) integrate with QuickBooks and other accounting software.
Tools like time-tracking are included on many PM systems, and allow either you or your subcontractors to enter the time spent on tasks, which can be tallied at the end of the project to calculate total work accomplished.
Bidding and quoting tools in construction PM software allow your subcontractors to submit bids directly through the application. Then you can keep bids from all your subcontractors stored in one place for reference, and can compare the differences between original bids and final costs. SmartContractor’s quote request, for instance, helps collect and track estimates from subcontractors for reference and payment.
Construction PM software is capable of much more than task tracking. In the construction realm, such tools can consolidate contractor and project management needs for easy document storage, advanced subcontractor coordination, sharing of project plan changes, and a simpler, more accurate way to track project finances.
The above post was provided by the folks at Technology Advice, who focuses on finding new technology for your business. It doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to take days or weeks of your time. In my opinion, one of the best aspects is that they don’t charge vendors to be listed in their product database. Go check them out and keep on eye out on future posts.