NextCall_revised

NextPlans new service featured in CE Magazine

Construction Estimators Magazine

NextCall was launched in June of this year as a call service built in to the pre-construction module of NextPlans. Estimators can identify where they have not gotten good initial response and prompt the call service by trades needed for that project. Local call center representatives then contact subs on behalf of the General Contractor to determine whether or not the subcontractor is going to bid the project. That information is then put back into the bidder call report in NextPlans for the estimator to review and have for future evaluation.

Construction Estimating Magazine sat down with Stephanie Hinson a Program Manager for NextPlans to discuss the service and it's progress

CE Magazine: NextCall was launched in June, but just now seems to be gaining strides, what's changed?

Stephanie: We worked hard to promote the service to our existing clients and through that marketing and inner soul searching by our clients we have really picked up momentum these last 2 months.

CE Magazine: What do you mean when you say inner soul searching by your clients?

Stephanie: There were a few concerns or obstacles we needed to overcome:
1) Clients were concerned that there would be scope specific questions that a sub would want answered that we wouldn't be
able to.
2) Many clients were tasking these initial call responsibilities to their entry level estimators or estimating assistants
3) It would take away from the personal touch of calling a sub yourself for their pricing.

CE Magazine: How are you addressing or have you addressed these concerns?

Stephanie: We custom prepare the call script with our clients before calling subs. So far the script has been fairly consistent between our clients using the service. We ask the sub if he is interested in bidding "project x" If he/she says "yes" we update the reporting and include any additional comments. If they say "no" we ask if they can expand on their "no" response and we
update that information in the reporting as well. Any scope questions we refer them back to the invitation and the estimator for the project from our GC client.

CE Magazine: What about concerns 2 and 3?

Stephanie: These concerns are where the real inner soul searching comes into play. Our clients have to feel like the calls they need to be made aren't being made. A lot of money can be spent in pre-construction before the GC even has the job so they really have to evaluate their time & cost versus the NextCall service. If you can put together pricing on 2 projects in the time it would ordinarily take you to do 1 it seems like a good fit. You aren't wasting any time calling for clarification of bid intention, you are calling to answer scope questions, sway someone off of the "Undecided" list, or follow-up on a quote that's due.

CE Magazine: So, no personal touch gets lost from using the NextCall service?

Stephanie: None what-so-ever. If you look at it like a sales pipeline, we are warming the leads. An estimator will know who to call to give that personal touch too. A good example we see a lot of; "Not sure yet", "We have a lot going on", "Please have the estimator contact me". These are people on the fence where personal touch is needed. Senior estimators can better train entry level estimators by immediately being able to go into in depth conversation with a prospective subcontractor.

CE Magazine: Is there any other information an estimator should know about the service?

Stephanie: Definitely. We find a lot of times after the call service has been requested on a project that a lot of the contact information in the GC database is outdated. We update the information, and resend the invitation for the client. That information is then entered into the reporting interface for their reference.