Streamlining the Bidding Process for Construction Prime Contractors

How Specialty Contractors Utilize SmartBid

Forming the right team and communicating effectively are essential activities for any successful project.  In construction, this can translate to hours on hours of intensive computer work, manually tracking email communications and navigating a variety of different computer applications.  Excel, in particular, can be gruesome to use when scrolling through spreadsheets to find particular project data or subcontractor information from, say, six months ago.  This is where SmartBid comes into play.  Typically thought of as a tool for general contractors, SmartBid construction bid software can provide a competitive advantage and streamline the preconstruction process for any contractor that heads up a project and needs to communicate effectively the whole way through.

When it comes to email communication with other contractors, tracking is key.  By tracking I don’t mean just keeping track of emails, but knowing which subs are actually opening messages and viewing project plans, then being able to effectively filter those subs by response type.  Also if you spend a majority of your time on the jobsite, you can check your SmartBid email communications from your smartphone via the iOS, Android or Windows mobile app.  Most people communicate by phone anyway, so with SmartBid there is an app for that.

Another important factor in communicating is knowing with whom you are communicating.  As stated earlier, many contractors utilize large excel files to organize contact information and notes on other subcontractors they’ve partnered with in the past.  SmartBid users can import all of this information into their personalized system, then organize by standard or customizable trade codes.  Each contractor listed in the database can be rated and reviewed from past projects to provide as much information as possible for future projects.  Furthermore, if a company using SmartBid is working on a project outside of their normal region, SmartBid provides access to our SmartInsight and Public Agency databases for increased bid coverage.  For companies that don’t typically work as a general contractor, this can be a beneficial source of qualified team members on a project.

Construction professionals leading a project may run into many unique situations when working with another contractor for the first time, and they too need to be able to organize, keep notes on, and qualify their project partners.  SmartBid’s prequalification module comes in handy for these situations by providing the standard CD721 form as well as a completely customizable form builder for asking the best qualifying questions for your unique specialty.  This way, the specialty contractor can get all of their questions answered easily and review all the information they need to know on a subcontractor.  

The more information a contractor, no matter the type, knows in relation to a project, the better.  This is why SmartBid also provides all the standard reports needed on a project, as well as a customizable reporting feature to know the metrics on all of their project and bidding data.  This way future projects can be improved upon and the best contractors can be selected as team members.

So, whether a construction company acts as a general contractor or specializes in a certain trade, SmartBid can be used as an efficient tool in streamlining a project from start to end.  

About the Author:

Howdy! My name is Kyle Love and I have been a business development intern here at JBKnowledge, Inc. since January of 2016.  Throughout my time working here I have been fortunate enough to learn a great deal about the construction industry and the recent developments of related technologies.  One of my favorite products is the DSC virtual reality headset inspired by Google Cardboard.  This device allows users to experience virtual reality features, such as touring one of their BIM models, at a fraction of what a typical headset costs.  I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog post, and of course, Thanks and Gig ‘Em!

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As a founding member of the Construction Open Standards Alliance, JBKnowledge (makers of SmartBidNet) works with 20+ other construction software providers on developing data exchange standards for the integration of independent software solutions.

By using a software built on COSA standards, you're able to:
- Incorportate all your favorite software into one high-performing, multi-function construction software
- Eliminate errors and omissions associated with faulty integrations.
- Eliminate manual and spreadsheet data transfers between software.


All SmartBidNet users can utilize the integrated ConsensusDocs 721 form for subcontractor prequalification. Users can further customize those forms with the Prequal Pro add-on module.

SmartBidNet users are able to use ConsensusDocs to:
- Request standard subcontractor prequalification information at the click of a button.
- Keep subcontractors' qualifications up-to-date with easy-to-manage ConsensusDocs forms.
- Keep sensitive information private with ConsensusDocs 721 digital forms.


The Virtual Planroom Network (VPRN) partnership allows users of SmartBidNet to view, select and bid on thousands of public project opportunities from VPRN – impacting market coverage and ultimately revenue.

The VPRN is a collaboration of builders' exchanges that have been delivering construction data, news and information of opportunities at various stages of the construction process for over a century.

With this partnership, SmartBidNet users can benefit by:
- Publishing public bid projects from SmartBidnet to the VPRN Online Planroom.
- Pulling projects and documents from the VPRN Online Planroom into SmartBidNet for private prequalification and bid management.
- Accessing industry news easily within VPRN that our commercial building clients depend on daily.


Dun & Bradstreet is collaborating with SmartBidNet to improve the quality of data integrated from the SmartInsight contractor network. D&B solutions assist in data cleansing and verification by running SmartInsight subcontractor data through the world’s leading source of commercial data, analytics and insight on businesses. D&B’s global commercial database contains more than 240 million accurate business records.

Through our integration with Dun & Bradstreet, SmartBidNet users are able to take advantage of verified commercial company data integrated from SmartInsight by referencing a D-U-N-S number for each subcontractor. This integration also gives general contractors confidence in the validity of subcontractor data listed within the SmartInsight network.


ShareFile, our recommended cloud storage service, integrates into SmartBidNet for a seamless connection between both systems - allowing users to keep their project documents up to date within both platforms.

By integrating a ShareFile account into SmartBidNet, general contractors are able to:
- Upload bid project files and documents from ShareFile directly into SmartBidNet and vice versa
- Quickly add and remove project documents with real-time synchronization
- Always keep your plans within reach for any shared subcontractor in SmartBidNet or ShareFile


Our partnership with Plans4Less allows SmartBidNet users to get the most affordable pricing for same day printing and shipping for plans from the SmartBidNet online plan room.

With the option of using the integrated Plans4Less feature, SmartBidNet users are able to:
- Give subcontractors access to the reprographic services offered by Plans4Less as they view plans in the SmartBidNet Online Planroom.
- Take advantage of fixed pricing with no minimum orders required.
- Print & ship daily direct to your office or construction job site nationally via UPS.


With the STACK Estimating (formerly Cloud Takeoff) integration into SmartBidNet, all SmartBidNet users can easily open plan files and quickly perform basic quantity takeoffs from your SmartBidNet plan room.

By becoming a STACK Estimating customer, SmartBidNet users can:
- Experience real-time, collaborative estimating takeoff with your project team and subcontractors.
- Use detailed reporting to calculate the cost and quantity of materials to pull back into SmartBidNet.
- Take advantage of STACK’s pre-built catalogs to help you quickly calculate costs for specific trades based on your own rates and historical experience.


SmartInsight is an online construction network that helps general contractors find, verify and connect with subcontractors and suppliers. The full SmartInsight database of contractors is integrated with SmartBidNet for general contractors to tap into when sending project communications.

By using the SmartInsight construction network, general contractors in SmartBidNet can:
- Access a quality, up-to-date database of subcontractors for additional bid coverage.
- Locate qualified subcontractors that match your project requirements.
- Access a platform focused on streamlined prequalification with subcontractor scoring available from industry leading risk analysts.

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Cloud Storage Integrations

In addition to our preferred cloud integration with ShareFile, our users’ SmartBidNet online plan room can also integrate with these cloud storage solutions:






Google Drive








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