Sometimes, HCSS HeavyBid can prove its worth before you’re even done setting it up.
That was the case for Oregon Mainline Paving, LLC, who implemented the estimating software program in August 2014.
While HCSS trainer Gary Kercher was at the company’s office in McMinnville, Oregon, for four days of training, they decided to test the program using actual estimate the company was working on and submitting it in real-time. They quickly found out just how well HeavyBid worked when they actually won the job.“It was a good job, a $5 million or $6 million highway job,” Vice President Matt Seehawer said. “It was the first job of our bidding season, and it represented about 70 percent of what we bid on a normal basis. It was the perfect job to figure out how to bid in HeavyBid, because it was a bread-and-butter job that we needed to make sure we knew how to bid.”
Oregon Mainline didn’t even have to wait to find out if they had won, thanks to the electronic bidding process put into place by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
“Within 10 minutes after they opened the bids, it was all on the computer,” Seehawer said. “We weren’t that much lower than the other five or six bidders. I think we were $50,000 under, maybe 1 or 2 percent.”
Seehawer said entering a live estimate was nerve-wracking, but the process helped the company identify areas where they wanted more information or more help, issues they wouldn’t have discovered had they used a fake or old estimate.
And Oregon Mainline needs all the help it can get when it’s time to bid work. The company’s bidding season runs through the winter, from September through March or April, while most of their actual paving work is done April through October. They get a year’s worth of work in six months, racking up a lot of overtime, so their bidding time—and down time for training—is very precious.
“We were trying to get switched over to HeavyBid before the estimating season started,” he said. “We’re finding that, more and more, we don’t have time anymore when we’re bidding two and three jobs in the same day. Even the bigger jobs, they still only give you three or four weeks to bid them from start to finish.”
Seehawer said HeavyBid has allowed them to find more efficiencies on the estimate side, as well as being an all-around more robust system than the Excel spreadsheets the company previously used.
“We can build a lot of templates, crews, activities ahead of time,” Seehawer said. “We bid 99 percent ODOT jobs, and when we bring in ODOT cost codes it’s already building the structure of an estimate without having to go through and key that stuff in. We’re bidding faster and getting the bare bones structure of the estimate together quickly, and then we have more time spent on site review and fine tuning and bid review and trying to find out a better mouse trap—which is where we should be spending our time.”
Read more about how HeavyBid can improve bidding efficiency and accuracy here.