subcontractor using planhubs bid software

5 Keys to Selecting the Right Bid Software for Subcontractors

March 4, 2021

Many subcontractors still rely on rulers and spreadsheets to create their project bids. If you’re looking for a better way, bid software may be just the ticket. These programs make takeoff and bidding quick and easy, and they improve accuracy and reduce errors. They can even help with data transfer into your project management or accounting software packages. Before you decide which package to purchase, check out this list of must-haves for choosing the right bid software.

It’s easy to use

You shouldn’t need a computer science degree to run your bid software. The user interface should be intuitive and easy to understand. If it requires hours of training and set up to get the software running, it may not be worth your time.

Look for software that is geared to subcontractor trades, such as plumbing, electrical, and drywall. You’ll save time and money setting up the software if it comes ready to accommodate your type of work.

Also, make sure that it’s easy to correct errors or make changes to bids. Customers often request multiple options on a project or want changes made, and you want to be able to provide them quickly and easily.

It’s cloud-based

Cloud-based software is simpler to access than server-based programs, and they can be used from any location, including out in the field. When data is stored in the cloud, it makes it easier for team members to share data and access collective information. You can easily delegate bidding tasks to other workers without having to send files or links.

Using cloud-based software is safe and secure, as sites are protected with security protocols, and data is stored on multiple servers to avoid data loss. Your information can be accessed from any internet-connected device, meaning you won’t have to spend extra money on additional hardware.

It provides project templates

Project templates speed the bidding process by allowing you to develop standard project types, like a bathroom remodel, and pre-fill the template with the necessary bid items. That way, you don’t have to start each project from scratch, and it helps you remember all the items to include in your bid.

Some software packages provide preprogrammed templates, and you want to make sure you can easily edit them or add custom templates geared to your projects.

It integrates with software you already use

Bidding software that is integrated with other programs you already use will make it easier for you to share data and reduce the risk of error caused by entering data multiple times. You want to make sure it is easy to send data from your bid software to other programs, like your project management, accounting, scheduling, and field tracking software.

The chance that a single software package will talk to all of your other applications is pretty small. So, in reality, you need to look for the greatest amount of integration that you can find. You’ll probably need to choose the key software packages that you want to connect with and make your decision based on that. Integrations with your project management and accounting software packages are probably the most important connections you’ll want to look for when shopping for a bid software.

It has a robust cost database

Many bid software packages come with a cost database comprised of national averages or other well-recognized cost information. This pricing structure may not reflect the local market in your area. Regional cost databases may be available, so look into those options before choosing your software.

It’s also essential that you can customize the pricing structure and edit the cost database to reflect your actual costs. Good bidding software will allow you to do this easily and quickly, without additional programming knowledge.


When it comes to bid software, you need to be able to get up and running quickly. Having to spend months on setup and training will discourage your staff and make implementation difficult. Luckily there are several options that will allow you to get up and running quickly without a whole lot of software knowledge.

If you’re looking for more projects to bid on, look no further than PlanHub. We list thousands of projects looking for subcontractors, which you can quickly sort by location and trade. To see a demonstration, contact us today.

subcontractor using planhubs bid software