While there are many construction estimating and project management tools out there, many small to medium sized asphalt paving companies have felt overlooked when it comes to creating accurate and reliable proposals, manage tenders and all aspects of customer engagement.
Pittbos, a Boston-based startup, aims to provide a more accessible and cost-effective project management solution for asphalt contractors. The software is designed to give field and office teams complete project visibility to make better business decisions.
“We see pen and paper as our competitors. It’s for small entrepreneurs who have nothing,” says Mark Peach, CEO and co-founder of Pittbos. “A guy with a $5 million business isn’t going to spend $30,000 on an estimating system that’s really complex to use, requires a server, and has software that you have to update all the time.”
How it works
The cloud-based solution costs $100 per user per month and can be accessed via desktop or mobile device. Users get real-time insight into key business metrics such as proposal status, remaining backlog, total amount invoiced, recent project activity, and local weather.
Pittbos speeds up estimating by capturing and storing all labor and equipment types, crews, material types, trucking vendors, and user material vendors. Once the initial model is created, users can apply production quantities or rates to each project. Branding, contract terms, and payment terms can be preloaded into quote templates, and proposals can be submitted directly from the system.
Once a proposal is submitted, it is automatically logged into the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Follow-up emails and texts can be sent directly to the customer, and reps can enter status notes and updates.
If the proposal is accepted, the work is pushed to the active projects backlog. Project information can be tailored to the information needs of field and office staff.
“We automatically strip out all the financial information and just give the teams their goals, where they buy the materials, how to contact the factory, and how to contact the customer,” says Peach.
Once the work is completed, an invoice can be sent from the system. The job is then automatically moved from the backlog and marked as complete.
Additional features include document storage for files and photos, and a notes section to track details such as metrics or progress updates.
Later, Peach would like the platform to become a seamless communication system between contractors and asphalt plants for more efficient ordering. “In the backlog, we want to provide the ability to order your mix, get a receipt that says it’s been ordered, and go into planning with the factory and provide them with all that information.”
From idea to reality
Over the past 20 years, Peach has held various positions in the building materials industry. His diverse experiences gave him a clear vision of what was missing in communication and business management in the asphalt and aggregates industries.
“When I was Benevento Companies, we had a queue every day,” says Peach. “It was great for the business, but there were trucks coming in at 7 a.m. and not being loaded until 10 a.m. I knew there had to be a better way.”
But it was a family trip to Disney World that sparked Peach’s big idea. “We were using quick passes and I was like, ‘Why don’t we do this? “”
Peach enlisted the help of a friend in the tech space and built a prototype to allow trucks to schedule their mix pick-up times and reduce time wasted waiting in line. He started collaborating on concepts with Truckx and HaulHub in Benevento, but eventually decided to go it alone.
“I’ve always been frustrated with estimates. I had 10 salespeople and two admins constantly picking up their breadcrumbs and trying to piece it together into a report we could all digest to read the market and make better decisions” Peach says, “But it was so laborious, and I always felt like it wasn’t very good. And meanwhile, we were working hard to get it.
Peach says her goal is to make the product user-friendly, easy to grasp, and the best experience possible. “We know the market. We know that if these guys come along and find a problem, they’ll reject it and move on.
After a year and a half of design and development, the minimum viable product for Pittbos launched in January and currently has over 20 active accounts. Although the product was self-funded, the company will soon seek funding from investors.