CMD Leads, www.cmdgroup.com, is a web-based construction lead service for contractors in the U.S. and Canada. The service provides information on private and public bid or negotiated construction projects from early planning stages on, including pre-bid, bidding and post bid status. It offers subscribers access to a network of 800,000+ active private and public construction projects in the U.S. and Canada, with the leads sourced from plan rooms, architects, engineers, general contractors and owners.
Subscribers can sign on for access to projects listed in their local metropolitan area, regionally, nationally and/or Canada. The heart of the program is the dashboard screen, the main part of which is essentially a spreadsheet showing projects available in contractor-selected geographical subscription areas.
The dashboard column headings include project name, location, status (e.g. conceptual, pre-construction, negotiate, design, GC bidding, sub-bidding, award), value, bid date, start date and date of information last updated.
On the left side of the screen is a column of filters, each of which can be drilled down to refine the search. Filter categories include project status (i.e. pre-bid or negotiate); general contractor or sub-bidding; sector, private or public; state or provence; country; postal code; radius; and building use, such as retail, office, restaurant, municipal and power plant. Users can also search by key words that appear in the plans and specifications, by divisions and by trades. The fewer the filters, the more projects the search will provide. Applying specific filters enable a contractor to narrow a search to just the type of work the company wants to bid on. Changing search parameters reaps instantly updated results.
If interested in a project, it is possible to tag it and any time a CMD reporter updates information on that project, the subscriber will be notified by e-mail.
Users are able to view and download plans and specs for all projects within the geographic area to which they subscribe. The plans and specs have been converted to PDFs for easy online viewing, downloading or printing in house or by a printing service.
The basic subscription includes all project data and online plans and specifications, project contacts, such as the owner, engineer, architect and GC providing name, email and phone number. CMD also provides a link to LinkedIn, so users can learn more about the people associated with the project.
The company provides online demonstrations, making it is easy to get a feel for the program before signing up.
Useful, www.getuseful.com, is a job management app that dispatches work orders, estimates and invoices and schedules and tracks workers in the field. It can be utilized two ways: pre-loaded on a Useful device (a provided rented iPad mini 2 in a ruggedized protective case) or as an app ready for use on any device. The same log-in works across all devices and the app comes pre-loaded with customized data unique to your business. Users can customize the settings to include employee details, job codes, services, materials and customer information.
Useful supports an unlimited number of customers, jobs and employees, and supports an unlimited data and storage plan.
Useful supports an unlimited number of customers, jobs and employees, and supports an unlimited data and storage plan. It handles dispatching and monitoring of work orders with services and materials using data pre-loaded by the Useful team. Pre-loaded crew member lists allow management to pick and choose which tech to send to each job and send out all job details to each crew member in the field. Users can see the status of each job at a glance and can document proof of service with photos from the jobsite.
Management can track time by job/crew member/service and workers in the field can track materials and hours in real time. Change orders and updates appear on the device screen immediately. Work orders can be turned into invoices with just a couple of taps.
The app has a one-time $1,999 setup fee decreased to $999 if the user opts for a two-year plan, and a range of rates for each user based on whether the user signs up for a monthly rate with the device (starting at $99) or without the device (starting at $49). Sliding discounts are given for longer upfront agreements. (A test drive available at www.getuseful.com.)
NCheck Bio Attendance 3.0 by Neurotechnology, www.neurotechnology.com, is biometric software that enables time and attendance tracking using fingerprint or face biometrics on Android mobile devices and PCs. The solution uses basic PC webcams, built-in cameras on devices, or any of 50 fingerprint scanner models. It can work as a single system or a networked system enabling multiple check-in points or attendance kiosks around jobsites, including locations where computers and network connections are not available.
At those sites, it records time and attendance information while offline and automatically synchronizes the data with the NCheck server as soon as a network connection is available. GPS logging capabilities allow tracking of a user’s geographical location at each check-in or check-out event and the hours spent in each. Contractors running multiple project sites can manage users in defined groups instead of as individuals.
Bill and Patti Feldman write articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. They can be reached at [email protected].