The recent and dramatic shifts in bidding and estimating technology for building service contractors (BSCs) — first to online software and now to mobile web applications — couldn''t have come at a better time.
Today''s cleaning contractors, like today''s tech-savvy consumers, want instant online access to their business software using any of their favorite mobile devices.
Traditional desktop software in the form of a compact disk (CD) or download, while certainly useful to cleaning contractors over the years, has always been, by its very nature, limiting in its reach and effectiveness — restricting the user to either the computer the program is loaded on or to where the CD is readily available.
Besides taking up valuable space on the computer hard drive, the user is responsible for the regular backup and updating of the software as well.
And, while not perfect, this was the standard software arrangement until the arrival of online, shared-server technology, often referred to as the "cloud."
The Cloud Delivers For BSCs
Today''s cloud or shared-server technology allows bid data to be stored, secured and maintained on a remote server — freeing the user to log on via the Internet anytime to view, add to or edit the software.
Here''s what Bob Kinsey of Kinsey Enterprises has to say about using online bidding software, "I''ve been in the janitorial business for 22 years. I had a property manager approach me about bidding on a group of buildings. Putting together a proposal was going to be an all-day affair. Then, I got online. I put my proposal together in about 10 minutes."
Not surprisingly, the desire by BSCs for online bidding software mirrored consumers'' intense demand for online programs for everything from their banking to their favorite diet trackers and video games.
However, once these online programs became widely available, consumers weren''t finished.
Next, they wanted to use their favorite mobile devices, such as today''s smartphones and tablets, to access their online software programs.
Today''s mobile web applications now make that possible, too.
Get Live Remote Access
While online software gave cleaning contractors the flexibility of accessing their favorite software programs via the Internet, mobile web applications are the technology that brought the expanded reach and convenience of online software to BSCs.
Today''s smartphones and tablets, such as the iPhone and iPad, respectively, are just two examples of popular mobile devices BSCs can now use to quickly and easily access their bidding software.
Here''s what Derek Dambrosio of Ultimate Cleaning LLC has to say about the convenience of mobile web applications, "I love it! I have a tablet, so I can do a walkthrough and send my proposal on the spot."
BSCs are just one of many groups wanting the competitive advantage mobile web applications provide when performing a variety of business functions such as bidding and estimating.
In addition, these applications can help cleaning businesses operate more efficiently and profitably.
Enter Measurements Once Onsite
BSCs can save valuable time with mobile web applications, benefiting from the freedom and flexibility of having remote access.
One of the biggest advantages of these mobile applications comes in a form never before possible for BSCs; specifically, the ability to enter the bid date, building measurements and fixture counts directly into their favorite mobile devices live and onsite during the actual walk-thru.
Here''s how Kim Campbell from ServPro of East Fort Worth describes it, "I love the mobile web application because I''m never in the office. I can access the web software in my car. So, if I''m out and a customer''s in a hurry, which happens all the time in the construction industry, I can put together a bid and get it generated and e-mailed to them on the spot, on the property, if I have the measurements. So, it''s a very valuable tool."
When it comes to efficiency, mobile web applications are hard to beat because there is no double handling of data.
That''s right, the building information gathered during the walk-thru, once entered, does not have to be entered a second time back at the office.
Instead, it is instantly stored on the software the first time and can instantly be viewed or edited online anytime from the user''s laptop, tablet or smartphone.
In addition, mobile web applications free BSCs from having to use up hard drive space on their computer, as well as from the responsibility of maintaining and updating the software.
Enjoy Instant Professionalism
Customized and interactive touchscreens developed specifically for mobile devices allow BSCs to quickly and easily enter information into their bidding software during building walk-thrus.
Whether it''s entering measurements, fixture counts or difficulty levels, everything is as simple as the touch of a finger.
This clean and organized approach promises to be a noticeable and welcomed change for many BSCs looking to increase their level of professionalism and gain a strategic advantage in the increasingly competitive contract cleaning industry.
Building owners and property managers appreciate that these applications allow BSCs to move beyond hastily jotted down notes with paper and pen to streamlined, touchscreen entry of important bid data.
Plus, prospective clients are likely to project that a BSC''s commitment to the latest and most efficient technologies in bidding may also apply to their commitment to the latest and most efficient technologies in other important areas, such as cleaning equipment.
Elijah Edwards of Janitorial Plus Lawn Care shares how mobile web applications have helped him in the bidding process, "When you''re on the go or you need a proposal within the hour or whatever, you can just sit right there in the park, plug in the information and come out with a proposal."
It''s clear: Recent advances in bidding and estimating software technology, such as those available in today''s mobile web applications, deliver the professionalism, freedom and time savings BSCs are looking for — and need.
Dan Liebrecht is co-founder of CleanBid, the trusted online and mobile software that gives BSCs a competitive price and a professional proposal for any cleaning job they are bidding on. His free video series, "Flip My Cleaning Business from Painful to PROFITABLE," is sent out weekly to over 9,000 cleaning professionals. Liebrecht is author of the best-selling book Discover the Guru in You. To learn more, visit www.CleanBid.net.