Six Ways Paperwork is Costing Subcontractors Money
December 15, 2021
Tyler Riddell
Subcontractors Material Management

Paperwork and relying on email to facilitate activity (reviews, approvals, deliveries) probably deserve much of the contempt by construction subcontractors. It’s been the standard way contractors have done things to build projects for decades. This is also because it’s tedious, time-consuming, and quickly disrupts organizations from the lack of controls.

On the flip side, paperwork is how you get paid, so you can’t afford NOT to do it. From hefty contracts, submittals, RFIs, drawings, schedules, invoices, change orders, bills of materials, and more, construction is about documenting performed work and is rooted in inefficiencies.

And while software options are ubiquitous, it’s not always easy to give up the documentation processes you’re familiar with for material purchasing and management. However, the status quo can seem tolerable in a landscape with so many software options, them carrying a significant investment of money, time, and implementation headaches. Many of them also are not purpose-built for managing materials and are accessible for all the stakeholders in the supply chain.

Many realize the pain of searching for correct documents (requests, invoices, bills), but it’s time to wake up to how much paperwork impacts your profit margins.

1. Recognizing Paper Silos and Poor Handoffs (Workflow)


Below are five examples of how subcontractor employees waste time searching for information on paper documents. Remember that you’re not alone if you see yourself in these scenarios. Many subcontractors overlook inefficiencies until a crisis is at hand. An overlooked invoice is lost or overpaid. Minor problems cause profits to dwindle when these small issues related to paper and poorly managed processes occur on every project.

Many times overlooked invoices and paperwork occur because you’re busy. However, when you place a price tag on these types of hidden costs, you can see a steady flow of money draining from every project. These are not absorbed costs. They are quantifiable diminishing returns.

2. Spending Too Much Time Searching for Docs is Costly


Finding the paper you need on a file network in the back office rather than contacting other departments to obtain copies is frustrating and time-consuming. In addition, tracking the status of spreadsheets or inventory on a spreadsheet then losing the current version of that Excel file also causes headaches and time from employees performing more productive tasks.


3. Overlooking Small Tasks Impact The Job Cost


A job in the green and ahead of schedule on the first floor can potentially cost you money on the 10th floor. With StructShare Material Management software integrated into your Procore Project Management, real-time material tracking and costs are available to view what is going on at the worksite and help identify errors and overlooked costs that can compound. Identify material management issues before they turn into big problems. In addition, integrating project management software to automate and streamline your processes offers real-time insights to keep projects on schedule and within budget.

4. Admin Costs and Material Delays Cause Free Work


Subcontractors don’t get paid for the work you do; they get paid for the work documented. The same applies to managing materials. Replacing manual workflows and paper with digital materials management software connects the back office, the field, warehouse, suppliers, GCs – the entire supply chain ecosystem of stakeholders. The implementation costs are negligible and can be activated in a day or two. Make it easy for your teams to manage materials more efficiently and eliminate the free work.

5. You lack documentation when litigation threatens.


Actual and threatened disputes are typical worksite and materials miscommunication and errors. When you focus on adopting the correct software, you eliminate discrepancies quickly. Manual workflows and documentation are replaced with digital tracking and an easily accessed in a single-source truth database combining activity and cost data.

Whatever the situation, real-time materials management combined with labor tracking ensures your team has the clarity to avoid and resolve disputes early in the process before the costly paper starts flying.

6. You Lose Opportunities to Grow Your Business $$$$$


Using paper, Excel, and other manual processes create inefficiencies that can cost you, customers, profits, and the ability to grow your business. That’s the highest cost of all. It’s made of all the smaller costs you can’t recoup and the opportunities that don’t make a second appearance. So don’t let the fear of a switch keep your contracting business on the slow track, with profits leaking from poorly executed material management workflows.

The right material management software doesn’t have to be expensive, complicated, or disruptive to rollout. At StructShare, we make it easy to digitize your current material purchasing and management workflows with affordable, easy use, and easily integrate with other software you may already have. And, of course, easy to scale to as many projects as needed.

You can switch to Materials Management Software today. It’s that easy and affordable.


It’s time to switch. StructShare is one of the most affordable and easy to get started material purchasing and management software on the market. Get started today with the cloud-based platform and mobile app that seamlessly connects the field to the office. Purpose-built software for subcontractors keeps you on top of the real-time status of your projects, your workforce, and your documents.

5 Tips for Effective Materials Management

5 Tips for Effective Materials Management

Ineffective construction materials management can result in high costs and delays in project completion. In addition, such cost inefficiencies negatively impact the subcontractors’ competitiveness and stumps organizations trying to streamline work processes for their...