The Bluebook Construction vs Downtobid's Network: Side-By-Side Comparison

Written by Bridget Cooper

DateJun 17, 2024
Reading time9 min read
construction software comparison

Collaboration between general contractors and subcontractors establishes the foundation for a successful construction project. Technology is changing the construction industry, especially recruiting qualified subcontractors. Thanks to platforms like Downtobid's Network and The Bluebook Network, general contractors can now access the expansive subcontractor marketplace. However, each platform is different, which we will explore in this article. 

We’ll evaluate The Bluebook and Downtobid's Networks to help you identify one that works for you and make an informed decision. But first, let’s begin with the tool we know better - our very own Downtobid's Network. 

Note: Leverage Downtobid's mulitverification network for updated contacts for subs in different cities around the nation. Simply upload your project plans, and you can send personalized bid invites in minutes to verified contractors. Click here to try our software for free.

What is Downtobid's Network?

Downtobid's Network is a robust pre-vetted database of qualified local subcontractors available for new projects. We created the Downtobid platform to help general contractors effortlessly build construction teams and subcontractors find projects matching their experience and preferences. 

We vet subcontractors to verify their experience, skills, availability, and licensing. Our AI-powered matching system ensures you only connect with the right subcontractors. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s explore the platform more. 

Key Features

Here are a few reasons why we’re the best at what we do. 

Pre-Verified Subcontractors

Every general contractor should have confidence in their subcontractors. We rigorously verify every subcontractor to ensure only the best are selected. The process involves document verification, such as insurance, license, and any relevant certificate. We also review their performance history to ensure it aligns with their claims. We’ll explain this shortly. 

We also follow up with selected subs to ensure they update their availability and contact details. That’s why finding subcontractors with an outdated website or invalid email address in our database is impossible. Our AI-powered self-cleaning database removes inactive subcontractors to ensure the list remains fresh.

The result is a network of highly qualified and reliable local construction partners. 

Targeted Subcontractor Matching 

Stop wasting time evaluating and contacting subcontractors one by one. Our AI scans your construction plans to identify scopes and recommend subcontractors matching the requirements. 

The AI identifies subs with relevant experience and within suitable geographical locations. Doing so ensures you only connect with the right subs instead of spending hours sifting through undesirable options. Think of the AI as your personal assistant, helping you search and identify the best construction partners. 

Streamlined Collaboration

 Communication is the heart of every successful construction project. Contractors must establish seamless communication to ensure speedy information sharing and instant feedback. Doing so improves decision-making and guarantees everyone’s participation. 

Our built-in communication channels ensure everyone can view and respond to messages without needing an email application. The threaded messages help team members search for a specific message without sifting through countless emails to find them. It could be specific measurements or updates impacting their area of specialization. 

Effective collaboration also reduces misinformation and errors during construction. For instance, construction managers could issue addendums to clarify ambiguities or add new items and project details. A general contractor must instantly communicate these changes with the team and be open to feedback or questions. 

How We Created Our Network Of Subs

We’ve built a reputation for finding reliable and verified subcontractors for different projects. However, how do we achieve this? Here is a brief breakdown of the multi-verification process we follow to help you build more confidence in our database. 

Subcontractor Discovery

We gather our list of subcontractors by analyzing regional data combined with an evaluation of their digital presence, such as website activity and online profiles. Our approach ensures that general contractors connect with subcontractors who are perfectly aligned with their project requirements.

Comprehensive Subcontractor Mapping

We have developed an expansive database that includes subcontractors from every zip code across the U.S., identified through their web presence. This process involves leveraging Google Map's API to create a detailed mapping based on trade specificity and geographical coverage, for a broad yet targeted selection of potential subcontractors.

Automated Data Verification

Using our own web-scraping tool, we systematically extract and update subcontractor data. This includes detailed checks on trades performed, operational areas, MWBE status, union/non-union distinctions, average project sizes, and past projects, as well as gathering key contact information like estimating decision makers’ emails and phone numbers.

Direct Decision Maker Contacts

Most subcontractor websites only list generic contact emails, which rarely get responses when used for bid proposals. We find the decision maker at each company via LinkedIn and then leverage a software script to guess each person’s email. Then, we use a use third-party email verification to confirm the email we scraped is correct. That is how we are able to get you the direct contact of decision makers in our database.

Now that we know how we find verified subs, let’s show you how to use our database.

How To Use The Downtobid Network: Subcontractor Database

Here are step-by-step instructions for using the Downtobid network or directory to find subcontractors.

First, navigate to the Downtobid contractor search page by visiting this Search link.

Downtobid search

Locate the fields labeled for ‘Trade’ and ‘City’. Here, type in the specific trade you’re looking for, such as “electrical”, and the city where your project is located, like “Houston”. The system will then retrieve a list of subcontractors that match the trade and location you specified. The results are organized to provide a quick overview of each potential subcontractor.

houston electrical downtobid search

In the search results, each subcontractor’s entry includes a brief preview of their profile. You can click on the subcontractor’s name or the ‘Details’ button associated with their listing to access a full profile. This profile contains extensive information including their contact details, qualifications, and past project experiences, allowing you to decide better.

details 2

You can also click "Invite to Bid" where you will be redirected to a page to upload your project plans. We'll go over how to do that in the next section.

How to Use Downtobid To Invite Relevant Subs In Minutes

Downtobid is a straightforward platform to use. We created the software after chatting with hundreds of contractors complaining about basic platforms with outdated subcontractor databases. We developed a platform that selects only the most qualified local subs. Here’s how you can use our platform to automatically invite subs by uploading project plans. 

Click here to get started, and you’ll be redirected to a page where you can create a project.

*Create Project.png

Start by uploading the construction plans, which must be in PDF format and not exceed 1GB. Enter a valid email address and create the project. 

*Project Information.png

After successfully uploading the plans, the software immediately scans them to detect scopes. The process takes between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the project’s complexity. You’ll receive an email once the process is completed. 

*Scan For Scope.png

You can access the newly created bid packages by logging into the dashboard. 

Every bid package contains the following:

  • A brief description of what’s inside every bid package
  • Plan sections where the scope was detected. 
  • A list of recommended local subcontractors matching project requirements. 

The software breaks down the scope to help the estimating team create accurate estimates, eliminating the need for a stand-alone estimating software.

Our software then creates a suggested bid schedule to help you contact the right subs for the project. It suggests the period when subcontractors are active to trigger their response and improve bid participation. The follow-ups help general contractors contact subs who haven’t responded to invites. They’re spaced to avoid overwhelming trade partners or ending up in the spam folder. 

*Email Template.png

We have created a sub-centric planroom to help subcontractors access construction plans and detect opportunities.

You can filter subs by how interested they are and their responses.

*Filters.png

They can review specific documents without reviewing lengthy construction plans. They can access the planroom without creating an account. 

*Planroom.png

Centralized communication improves collaboration, helping the construction team send and receive real-time updates and feedback. You can also tag other team members, such as legal professionals to help in case of any problems. You don’t need to use an email app to review and respond to emails. 

The Bluebook Network

The Bluebook Network is a popular subcontractors directory that has served the commercial construction industry for years. It lists some available construction professionals in different geographic areas and handles different trades. The Bluebook online platform is a great place to start for anyone looking for available construction professionals. 

Key Features

Here’s what impressed us the most about The Bluebook Network.

Subcontractor Directory 

You can search the directory for specific construction professionals based on location and area of specialization. This way, you can guarantee to find subcontractors matching your project requirements. You can also use keywords for targeted search results. For instance, you could search for ‘solar panel installation’ to target trade partners in that line of work. 

Customizable Watchlists

You can create a custom watchlist containing promising subcontractors that have caught your attention. You can also group them by project phase for easy reference, such as electrical, framing, and excavation. This way, you can always track any lead whenever you need their services. You can share the custom watchlist with colleagues for effective decision making. 

You can access detailed contractor profiles that provide more advanced information, such as project portfolios, client reviews, and insurance verification. However, you must be a premium Bluebook online subscriber to use the advanced search feature. It helps contractors connect with the best and most qualified subs. 

Pricing Plans

The Bluebook Network offers free and paid versions. The free version has limited features and functionalities and is best for simpler projects. The paid version has more features, such as advanced contractor search. However, The Bluebook Network doesn’t disclose the pricing for the paid version, and you must contact the company for a quotation. 

Pros

  • Established industry presence
  • Extensive subcontractor database
  • Good for a starting point

Cons

  • Lack of pricing transparency
  • Limited collaboration tools
  • Manual communication channels
  • Manual subscriber verification
  • Outdated subcontractor list

Final Thoughts

Recruiting the right subcontractors speeds up collaboration and helps achieve the project’s objectives. Downtobid Network is a clear winner against the Blue book network, providing verified subs and bid management tools. Think of it as an all-in-one construction bid management platform improving the commercial construction industry. Try our software today and put the power of automation in your hands. 

Written by Bridget CooperUpdated on Jun 28, 2024

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