SmartBid vs Downtobid: The Best in Construction Bidding Software

Written by Kevin Wu

DateJan 18, 2024
Reading time9 min read

Choosing a construction bidding software can be very confusing. It seems like there are endless options and these tools virtually do all the same thing on the surface. So, what really sets them apart? And which one will actually do the job for you?

Let's break it down. In this article, we're going to go in-depth between two construction bid management tools: Downtobid, and Smartbid. We'll discuss what each of these software options has to offer – looking at what they do, key features, how easy they are to use, and how much they cost. By the end, you should have a clearer picture of which one might be your best bet.

Picking The Best Construction Bidding Software

While I might be biased (founder of Downtobid), I'm confident that our software is the best construction bid management platform for what you need.

I'll start with an in-depth look at our own.

Downtobid homepage

Downtobid overview

Downtobid is tackling pain points across the construction bidding process—from streamlining the understanding of required trades and scopes to automating scope sheet creation to enabling personalized bid invitations aimed at building relationships with subcontractors.

By leveraging AI, we facilitate the page turn process for estimators while also generating bid packages automatically; additionally, through our own continuously updated contractor database, we can seamlessly invite all relevant local subcontractors with personalized messages instead of generic templated ITBs.

Core Features:

  • AI-Driven Bid Package Identification: Downtobid's AI system detects all bid packages within construction plans, simplifying the initial steps of the bidding process.
  • Automated Subcontractor Outreach: The platform matches construction bid packages and automatically sends a bid invitation to suitable subcontractors.
  • Personalized Invite Preparation: It prepares personalized invites from our subcontractor database, significantly reducing the manual effort and time typically involved in this process.
  • Real-Time Contractor Data: Downtobid offers comprehensive, up-to-date contractor data, allowing users to connect with verified trade partners instantly.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The platform's design is centered around user experience, ensuring ease of use even for those new to digital bidding processes.
  • Accessible Pricing Plans: Downtobid is made to be affordable, including a free plan for small-scale projects and a pro plan for larger, more complex needs.

How Downtobid Works

Here I'll go over step-by-step how to use Downtobid to automatically send bid invitations to contractors after simply uploading your construction plans.

Upload Construction Plans and Files

Upload your construction plans, specs, and any other details or share project documents and input your email. This triggers our AI to start going through each page for scopes. The process takes anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour depending on the complexity of your drawings.

*Create Project.png

All Your Bidding Prep Created Automatically

Our AI bid preparation software will identify all the necessary trades from your plans and create a bid package automatically. Our goal is to help estimators spend less time doing bid adminstrative work and put more hours back in the plans.

Our automated bid prep includes:

A project summary and key details scraped, to get you started.

*Project Information.png

Scope overview summaries written for each trade. The idea is to allow each estimator to quickly scan for scope and quickly understand which contractors to invite.

*Scan For Scope.png

Recommended local contractors to reach out to based on trade and location. Most subcontractors don't travel too far out of their metro area – so locality is key.


Personalized invitation emails that come from you (instead of generic templates). This way, the subcontractor can build a relationship with the estimator directly through email.

*Email Template.png

And finally subcontractor friendly planroom auto generated (plans sheeted + indexed). This way, the subcontractor can find relevant scope as fast as possible. And, unlike other platforms we don't force any subcontractor to create an account.


Track bid coverage all in one place

Our philosophy around coverage is simply: make everything easy for the subcontractor as possible. In today's market – commercial subcontractors are being inundated with bid invites. Most of them don't even have a construction bid tracking spreadsheet to organize their bids.

During the solicitation process, we make our invites personalized and relevant. We include specifics like the square footage and project type directly in the email subject line—not just “Bid Invite” and the project name. This makes it easier for a subcontractor to open your email.

When subcontractors review plans, we break things out by sheet so they can easily navigate to their scope. While every sub should ultimately examine all pages in case of additional scope, trade-specific contractors need to quickly find their main sections—like a doors sub knowing where the door schedule is. We help enable that.

Finally, we opt not to have three bidding intent buttons that research shows get low engagement. Since our emails are regular emails, the sub simply responds directly, letting you focus on relationship building versus managing bid status fields.


The results? For one project – we generated over 30+ bids in an entirely new market.

results page

If you're curious, you can click here to get started for free.

Why Downtobid Stands Out

We set ourself apart in the online bidding platforms through our unique blend of AI-driven efficiency and customization. The AI quickly identifies bid packages from construction plans, drastically reducing the time and effort traditionally required in bid preparation.

Our software creates custom subcontractor invite lists automatically, improving the quality and saves you time on the construction bidding process. After you submit your construction plans, our software automatically generates bid invitations to general contractors worldwide.

Our users have reported significant time savings and increased efficiency in managing bid invitations, with some noting a reduction in bid preparation time by up to 30%. This efficiency translates into quicker project turnaround and cost savings, directly benefiting project managers and contractors.

We have scalable solutions cater to a wide range of project sizes, making it an ideal tool for both small local projects and larger, more complex construction projects.

Cost Of Downtobid

You can begin using our software at no cost with our unlimited user Free Plan. Right now, the Free Plan allows your entire team to get started on two active projects simultaneously. We understand most General Contractors already use other software, so we wanted to make trying Downtobid completely risk-free.

For those looking to expand their scope and handle more projects, we offer the Pro Plan. Priced at $50 per user per month, the Pro Plan offers the capability to manage unlimited active projects.


SmartBid: Tailored Bid Management for General Contractors

SmartBid is a construction bid management software designed specifically for general contractors. It provides a web-based and mobile platform, streamlining the management of bid project data, construction bid docs, and communications with subcontractors.

This software is really handy during the early stages of a building project. It's great for both folks who handle big commercial jobs and those who work on residential houses. Plus, general contractors and subcontractors get a cool benefit: they can find and bid on public project jobs all over the country through something called the ConstructConnect Network Public Plan Room. This opens up a whole bunch of opportunities, no matter if they're looking to work on big buildings or someone's home.

Key Features and Functionality:

  • Streamlined Bid Management: SmartBid excels in organizing and managing bid project data, providing general contractors with a comprehensive view of all bidding activities.
  • Document and Communication Control: It allows efficient sharing and control of documents. This includes features like document sharing, plan distribution & viewing, and collaboration & approvals, ensuring all parties are on the same page. It allows multiple estimators to work on the same project in a well-organized, properly restricted system, to reduce errors and improve collaboration.
  • Subcontractor Communications: SmartBid simplifies interactions with subcontractors. It supports seamless communication, allowing for effective exchange of information and invitations to bid.
  • Integration Capabilities: The platform integrates with various other tools like Procore, Autodesk BIM 360, and Dropbox
  • Mobile Accessibility: The mobile app functionality ensures that users can access the system from the field, bringing flexibility and real-time management to the bidding process.
  • User Experience: SmartBid is rated highly for its user-friendly interface. It is praised for its ability to streamline the bidding process, making it more efficient and less time-consuming. Users have noted the ease of setting up jobs, managing solicitations, and the convenience of the mobile app.


  • SmartBid's document sharing, plan and bid coverage distribution features are particularly well-received.
  • The platform's user interface is considered user-friendly, enhancing the overall experience.
  • The ability to integrate with other major software platforms is a big advantage.


  • Some users have suggested improvements in the graphical interface to enhance usability.
  • The reporting functions have been noted as an area needing improvement.
  • Limitations in file size upload and the need for more automated operations have been mentioned as areas for improvement.

Cost of Smartbid

Software pricing often varies based on factors like the number of users, the scale of the project, and the specific features required.

Detailed Comparison Summary

Downtobid, and Smartbid each cater to different markets with specialized features. General contractors favor Smartbid for its comprehensive bid management and communication tools, ideal for both commercial and residential construction.

Downtobid differentiates itself with AI-driven technology, excelling in quickly transforming construction plans into bid invites.

Its user-friendly interface and flexible pricing, including a free option, appeal to many construction projects. While Smartbid is strong in its niches, Downtobid's AI capabilities and easy process make it a great choice for construction bidding.

Try Downtobid today at no cost here.

Written by Kevin WuUpdated on Apr 18, 2024

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