Frequently Asked Questions

 
Q1.
What is PanteraTools?
Answer:
We have created the most advanced bidding, file sharing and collaborative project management tool in the industry. PanteraTools gives you the ability to upload files to your FTP/Planroom, invite users to share files for bid, or project management, and add vendors to your Private address book as well as broadcast for bids. You can also receive bids from our Contractors and Subs in the Pantera Sub-Mall at no cost. We also offer Print-On-Demand for digital files received from any source, which provides the user with Printed files delivered to the doorstep for less than the cost of paper and toner, Document Management and quality assurance, as well as free tools from our Partners.
 
Q2.
Will it always be Free?
Answer:
It is our intent that the entry level product will always be free for Companies who post and manage Projects to the Sub-Mall. As we build the Community and broaden our reach we anticipate our Print revenue and Doc Clerk services will continue to be able to support the Project Lead application into the Sub-Mall. Our Sub-Mall Contractors pay a very small monthly fee or pay on a “per project” basis.
 
Q3.
Who can use PanteraTools?
Answer:
PanteraTools can be used by the entire community of those involved in the Construction Process. Architects use us during the design phase to collaborate with their Consultants and the Owner. They share files, message and post tasks to the Project Wall. Owners use the Project Wall to bid the project to the GC’s and then stay on with the successful bidder as a participant in the management of the project, able to see and answer problems as they occur by including the Architect as a participant for RFI’s, able to look at the posted schedule and deadlines to see if the project is on time. General Contractors have one place to bid the job to their Subcontractors using sophisticated bidding tools, and to receive bids from their private subs as well as get additional bids from qualified subs out of the Sub-Mall to receive what could be a low bid from someone they didn’t know. They keep the project in the Project Wall to manage the Construction activity by adding the successful bidders as participants. Subs use Pantera to create their own Project Wall to message their Vendors for quotes on Equipment and Materials. They also find Project Leads for many Private Projects they would otherwise be unaware of. Subs and GC’s use PanteraTools for Print-On-Demand and the next day free shipping it delivers at print pricing better than they can print themselves.
 
Q4.
How do I get started?
Answer:
Simply register on the Home Page. After you are signed up the first screen you will see will show everything that has happened within your site. If you have not received any Invites or Files or set up any Projects, this screen will show only a Welcome message and the Announcement section, plus the main red toolbar. Should you have a Project shown on this screen because it was through a Share or an Invite we will explain options available under the appropriate help tab, titled “Received an Invite” or “Following a Project”.
 
Q5.
How can you provide so much for free?
Answer:
As the price of Bandwidth, Servers and Technology have been reduced each year, we decided to think ahead a few years and price our product at what the cost would be in 5 years. Zero. Our entry level offerings are available at no cost and our fee based services are priced far less than the competition. We are building Community, and that has value in many ways. We also can cover our overhead and make a profit from the printing that still exists in the Subcontractor community as we sell printing to them at a price they are unable to obtain elsewhere. Our optional Doc Clerk service is one of our biggest sellers. As our users decide to enhance and customize tools for their particular use, they upgrade to our partners products for which we derive a commission.
 
Q6.
I just renewed my Subscription to …….
Answer:
We understand that many of our competitors charge a hefty subscription for Project Leads, or for Planroom functionality, or for the Invitation to Bid. As a matter of fact many charge just to put your Plans online! The fact that we provide all of the above PLUS a Project Management piece should justify the change, however many are afraid of change and wish to remain with something they are used too. We would suggest using PanteraTools for some of your projects as a comparison against whatever you use now. Once you see the ease of use and reliability you will gladly save the money for products you don’t need to pay for. That could be money in your pocket, not theirs.
 
Q7.
How do I know if the Sub-Mall subs are qualified?
Answer:
The subs will attach documentation that they feel qualifies them to perform the work they are looking to bid and work on. It is up to you to determine if their qualifications meet your standards. You have the opportunity to accept them and then message and ask them to submit more information, or to upgrade certain criteria to suit your requirements.
 
Q8.
How good can it be if it is Free?
Answer:
For nearly 10 years the question was always asked at the Industry Trade shows. When will someone put together the 3 to 5 companies needed to create one end to end product that does it all? We have done that. Not only is it complete as one portal for Construction, it is state of the art, brand new technology that was designed from the beginning to incorporate all aspects of the process. Therefore the code is new, fresh and fast without all the cumbersome and buggy software that is created by trying to bolt on applications. We have invested millions of dollars in creating a product that is available free to the entry level user and at half the price of the most popular full line products for our premium offerings.
 
Q9.
How can I be sure my Subs stay Private?
Answer:
We maintain the privacy of all Address Books put into our system. We even allow you to add a sub from the Sub-Mall into your address book. We are building community. Please understand that we have built our data-base by faxing 100’s of thousand of subs from lists obtained by mailing houses. We have done numerous email campaigns to drive membership, and we have marketed our website using all the new methods. We have 10’s of thousands of Sub-Mall subs, many of them surely are also subs of yours. It is not realistic to think that a sub of yours is not listed in the phone book, or won’t become a member of the Sub-Mall if he sees the benefit of joining to get Project Leads from other Contractors.

It can be frustrating to know a particular sub is on a list or in a database, and therefore available to give bids to other GC's you are competing against. It used to be just the yellow pages, then the bluebook, and Dodge. Now there are dozens of companies listing Project Leads for subs. However, we and most of our successful Contractors also know that the so called Private sub is largely a myth, and that subs don't quote the same amount to all the GC's. It is the relationship you have developed with a particular sub that will win you the job, and if that relationship is indeed strong and true, it benefits you, to have that sub bidding to others, for the obvious reasons. However, understand that under no circumstance to we ever share your Private Sub Contractor data. You may have recently noticed two of the largest ITB companies miraculously went from 10’s of thousands to 100’s of thousands of subs overnight. They obviously don’t keep your data base private. We do!
 
Q10.
Is there any other product that does what Pantera does?
Answer:
We are not aware of any company that has an end to end product on one platform like PanteraTools. We have been told that a comparison would be like creating a Usendit meets BidClerk meets LinkedIn meets Basecamp meets Plan Express. In other words, File Sharing, with Content and Project Leads, add in a Network with an Address Book and Invitation to Bid, combined with a Project Management Tool that offers Collaboration, and finally Print and Ship all in one seamless application.
 
Q11.
How do I add a Photo to the Gallery Tab on the Project Wall?
Answer:
Clicking on the Photo Gallery button will show an upload photo button for searching your stored images on your computer to add to your project gallery. These images are associated with only this project. Each project may have its own photo’s. They can jpeg, or png. The edit button is for deleting the photo or changing the title on the photo. This is not the place to upload your Profile Images and logos as they are placed under the Profile tab on the Main toolbar.
 
Q12.
How do I download a file?
Answer:
See the help video
 
Q13.
We don’t Print Plans anymore/ What about digital distribution?
Answer:
In all projects, the documents are central to the Construction process. While much of today’s bidding is done with File sharing and Digital downloads, we still offer Print capability for the Plans needs for the Subcontractor as well as the Hard copy Plans needed on the Job Site.

One of the core functions of PanteraTools is to host and manage Digital files. We do not charge for the upload of files unless you choose our option Doc Clerk service. We do not charge to Host the Files if you publish to the Sub-Mall and we do not charge for the files to be downloaded.

Our messaging and Invitation system is better than any of our competitors.
 
Q14.
I am receiving invites from Subs asking me to accept them. What do I do?
Answer:
These invites are from Subs and General Contractors who have gone through the process of creating a Profile Page and attaching Pre-Qualification Data. If you accept them by clicking on the link they will be imported into your address book with their data attached and shown with icons. Their contact info and Pre-quals will remain updated anytime there is a change. Again there is no charge to import these subs.
 
Q15.
How do I Invite and Bid a Job to my contacts?
Answer:
The participants that have been added to a project can now be messaged regarding all aspects of the project. Bidding, Purchasing, Managing, ect. All messages are private unless you decide to allow public comments. To add these address book participants simply check the box to the left of each person in your address book, or filter by groups such as Trade, zip code radius, spelling, Phone number. Once you have completed building your participant list, select Project Home (Project Wall) and create your Message, Invite, RFI, or any information you want to share in the Project Activity Box. At this point you decide whether to attach an additional document other than those already tied to the project. (Example, Notification of an addendum, of which would be placed in the FTP, or a sample of the bid form, or insurance requirements), by clicking on the “attachment” icon and uploading the pdf from your computer. Select the calendar icon to pick the appropriate response your desire, and the date if you so select. Moving right, the next icon will display the number of active participants who will be sent the message you have placed in the “Project Activity” box. The Globe Icon is the button to Send the message.

If you have chosen to allow Public Comment by clicking that check box, all participants can respond and all participants can see the response and the on-going thread. The default is an unchecked box which sends the message to all participants, but any replies from the participants are seen only by the administrator in the private message box. We recommend this for the Bidding Process. The administrator also has the option of replying individually, or replying to all, on any of the threads so that all participants can benefit from a question by one participant should the administer desire, by creating a new Project Activity message and checking the “allow public comments” box. The administrator makes the choice on each message he creates to make it public where all can see any thread created by that post, or he can make it private where it will remain private, and all messages will show up on the right hand side of the screen and are only visible to the administrator and no others. It should be noted that a single company can have multiple administrators who can post comments to the Project Wall, however when a message is responded to privately it is sent only to the private message center of the admin user who initiated the original message.

Under the Participant tab resides the functionality of the Address Book. To understand all of the dynamics of the Address Book see the help section “Address Book”
 
Q16.
What about Printing and Distribution?
Answer:
It is built into the system. We invented the first Planroom with built-in Printing and Distribution technology back in the late 90’s, we understand it, and have blended Printing and Logistics into PanteraTools in a seamless way.
 
Q17.
How do I create a project in the Project Wall?
Answer:
To begin if there is no projects shown when you click the project tab, or if you wish to start a project as an Admin to a project, click on the word “Project” in the main tool bar. At this point select “New Project” on the far right of the “My Projects” tab. Here is where you name the project and provide the address for the project. In the “notes” section is where you provide general notes pertaining to the job. Detailed trade messages will come later. Click “OK” to go to the next page which now shows your Project Wall. The Project Wall is your dashboard for all things relative to bidding, sharing, inviting, managing and collaborating for your project. Here you can track all activity in a Private setting, a Public Setting or a combination of the two.
 
Q18.
How do I upload files to the FTP? (Aka Planroom)
Answer:
You must first create a Folder (project) where the files will be uploaded to.

Click on FTP in the main toolbar, next click on “file” in the subsequent tool bar. At this point you will create a free form folder and sub folder structure to manage your files as you deem appropriate. You will name the main folder and add sub folders and name them in any manner you wish. I.e. Bid set, rev 1, Permit set, Construction set ect. To create a folder, highlight the “my ftp site” folder, you may either right click, or click on file, in the tool bar to show “new” in the dropdown. Next you will highlight “folder” and a “create folder” will appear to allow you to name the main folder (project). You may now move your curser over the folder you have just created and repeat the process to name and setup sub folders.

Next, select the folder that you would like the files, photos or whatever to be attached too. Highlight the folder, and right click again, but this time highlight the “upload files”. Click to show the “select files” button, CLICK THAT BUTTON. You will now select the files from your computer that you would like to upload. You may select multiple files by using your “CtrlA” for all, or you may use “Ctrl, left mouse or arrow” to pick files one at a time. Then open these files on your computer by clicking open/or save, and the files will transfer to your FTP site. Repeat process to add more. Confirm that the files are uploaded properly, as you have the ability using the “remove” link on the right to adjust your files. When the files appear as you want them, click the “finished uploading” button. Your files are now ready for sharing, broadcasting, managing and downloading. (Note: Pantera offers a Doc Clerk service to do all of these functions for you, as well as naming the individual files and maintaining the revisions and notifications for you should you desire.)
 
Q19.
How do I use the Address Book?
Answer:
See the help video
 
Q20.
How do I attach files to the Project Wall?
Answer:
Your next step is to associate files from your Pantera FTP and link to your Project Wall by clicking on the Documents tab while on your Project page, or, upload the files to your FTP directly, and then create your Project Wall. Either way works depending on where your start. It is easier to start with the creation of the project and then either find the files in your FTP or upload them at this time. Going back to the Project Home tab will now show in your “activity box” that the files were added and you will see the number of files or folders displayed on the Document Tab.
 
Q21.
I already have my own FTP site and In-House system, why would I switch?
Answer:
Owners, Architects and Contractors have figured out that they can use their own contact tools such as Outlook in combo with an FTP to make the "pay to play Planroom" irrelevant. Companies like Google, craigslist, Wikipedia and hundreds more have demonstrated that as Moore’s law and bandwidth makes technology cheaper every year, you may as well price your offering at what it will cost next year, zero. While a customer can use these free or inexpensive services, he is unlikely to choose to do all the work required to manage the naming, revisions, and reporting necessary to protect him from the liability of getting bad bids, or making old docs available during the building phase. This can be dangerous. There is bound to be some large legal settlements shortly that will promote the use of outsourcing doc management. We are shocked to see what some large GC's are doing with their own FTP's. They are gambling their entire company’s existence just to save a little bit of money. Hosting you own FTP has cost. It has Risk. It will continue to chew up your Bandwidth and make it increasingly difficult for your Subs to download. You end up with near a full time employee keeping it up. Why not free your company from that burden, get better tools, and get happier Contractors and Vendors, using a system that is constantly upgraded and improved.
 
Q22.
How do I add Participants?
Answer:
You may select individuals or groups of contacts from your address book to be included in each Project Wall. Only those selected or added can participate in this project. Each Project Wall has its own unique group. To select from your Private address book, it must be uploaded into the PanteraTools application. We accept Excel, or similar spread sheets sent to customerservice@panteragt.com where they will be uploaded by our staff. These contacts are yours and remain private and are not made part of the Pantera Sub-Mall. Keep in mind that we have 10’s of thousands of users, many of which may constitute a large portion of your address book already. Should one of your subs already be in the Pantera Sub-Mall, you will notice an icon designating them as an existing member. As you message subs who are not in your address book by broadcasting to the sub mall, those that respond to your invite may be added to your private address book at your option. You are allowed to request and retrieve your private subs we uploaded for you at anytime.

You may add individual participants by entering an email address in the field under “quick link” to build your address book, (or send us your address book). These contacts will be displayed with all of their information and as to whether they have a Profile Page and have attached Pre-Qualification information.
 
Q23.
What is the Profile Tab?
Answer:
The Profile Tab on the main toolbar is where you go to create your company profile page to promote your corporate image in a very professional way. This profile page can be shared to companies you have done business with, used to keep all of your contact information current to those you work with, and also used to show your unique abilities and qualifications as to why your company should be considered for project award.

To finish creating your profile, as we have imported only contact data, click on the edit icon where the logo appears and upload your company logo, verify your website url and complete the “About Us” section. You may change the title of “About Us” to anything you desire such as “History” or “Who we Are, ect. Enter the appropriate text to show your company in a professional manner. In the second box you may choose another title to further prove your companies ability and worth. Save changes when done.

Next, click on the edit icon on the box on the right. Here is where you describe your particular trade specialties. If you have selected trades during the registration process the “copy from trades tab” will import the sections. If you are a General Contractor it is best to just use free form text to state “General Contractor”. In the Regions box you should state where your company is willing to do work geographically.

The remaining fields should be checked for all that apply. You are also prompted to upload files that you believe will demonstrate your qualifications or pre-qualifications to perform various projects. The open field can be named anything you choose such as “Qualifications”, “Insurance Forms”, “Testimonials”, Ect. You may attach one pdf, but it can contain numerous pages. Prior to saving changes, or coming back to this page and using the edit feature, you can click on the tab at the top of the profile page and access your computer to add photos’ of previous projects, staff, your facility or anything you believe will help promote your corporate identity. Once complete, click on the save changes button. You may now click on the “See my Profile” button to verify that your Profile Page is displaying the way you desire.

At this point with a complete and professional image created for your company, from the Profile Page you may click the “Promote My Profile” button near the top of the page to send your Profile and your attached Company Information and Pre-Qualification items to Companies you have done business with before, or have enough information about to complete the form provided to send to that company, where you may be added to their Pantera address book, and shown as a Company who has updated current data, a company profile and has attached pre-qual information. We only allow your “Promote my Profile” to be sent to companies that you have enough information on, for it to be forwarded, and not regarded as an unsolicited message. You will need to provide a valid email address and enough contact info for the invite to be considered complete. Of course if you received a request from one of your customers, and you are asked to provide a Profile Page and Pre-qual info, all of their data will be pre-filled in.
 
Q24.
I have uploaded my Files to my Project Wall. Now what?
Answer:
At this point you need to decide what you want to do. Your choices are, to add participants from your private address book, type in individual participants, or broadcast to the sub-mall or all of the above. These participants will be able to message, download, and publicly (should you allow) comment and ask questions.
 
Q25.
How do I share Files for Download without creating a Project Wall?
Answer:
To Share individual files or folders without using the Address Book (for quick share to individual user for download), highlight the Folder, Subfolder or the actual files on the right, and then right click (or use dropdown from “share” in toolbar) and select “show link” to give user a unique access key that he may use to be directed back to the selected files in your Pantera FTP. He can go to the PanteraTools homepage under the “enter access key box”, and enter the key number, or you may click on “send link” which opens a new window for you to send him an actual link back to the files using his email address. Note: to download files for your own use, simply right click over the files or folder and highlight the file and use the download option or the file dropdown on toolbar to select “download” IMPORTANT NOTE: WHEN SELECTING FOLDERS FOR SHARING, YOU ARE SHARING ALL FOLDERS FROM THE FOLDER SELECTED AND BELOW!!, THEREFORE ONLY SHARE THE FILES YOU WANT TO SHARE. (EXAMPLE, SELECTING “My FTP Site” FOLDER WOULD SHARE ALL FILES UNDER IT, WHICH WOULD BE ALL OF YOUR PROJECTS. SELECT ON THE FILES OR FOLDERS YOU WANT TO SHARE ONLY.)
 
Q26.
Why is the Bidding and Project Management functionality together?
Answer:
Because that is the way it should be. We are all conditioned to think that the various aspects of technology in construction should be separate because that is how it has been done. Technology companies were created by each taking pieces of the process and building a company around it. This has created a fragmented, clunky way to operate as the Contractor has become more tech savvy. We have developed a product that with a a simple click you can manage bidding in private, so none of your bidders now who is bidding or check a box so you can collaborate with the Construction Team in a live environment for managing the project. You can always keep your messages to individuals Private if you wish as well.
 
Q27.
Can I Use the Sub-Mall broadcast without a Project Wall?
Answer:
Yes. While on the Pantera FTP tab, select the Folder for Broadcast to the Sub-Mall for solicitation of a bid to the Sub-Mall users. Click on the Sub-Mall tab on toolbar. The next screen will need to be filled-out with information about the project, as well as the Project notes section which should describe details about the project. (This step is already done if you created a Project Wall first). You may also select the time and date for the bid due date, and create a message to the sub that will be sent with the invite. Next, click on the “Select Trades” button, which will bring up a Trade list showing “General Requirements” in a drop down field. Use the arrow to the right of the drop down, to select the appropriate division or trade desired and highlight the trade for the sub bid you are seeking. You will notice when you select the trade that an additional screen will display showing additional subsections should you wish for specialized specific work (this may have numerous pages, which would be shown in the lower right corner). If your want to select a general trade you may use the check box shown at the top of each trade that says “All”. When you select a trade or sub-sub trade it will migrate to the box to the right, and you are now able to select additional trades. Should you decide to remove a trade, highlight the trade desired to be removed on the right screen and then uncheck the box checked previously from the large box on the left. When you have added all the trades you are seeking bids for, to the right hand screen, you will then click on the “Complete Broadcast” button. All sub contractors in the sub-mall who have indicated their willingness to bid the trade in the locale of the project will be sent an Invitation to Bid and an access key directing them back to the files selected where they can download for free or order hard copy prints. The next screen shown will redirect you to the “Project Wall” that was automatically created for you to manage the files and communication for this project. This is not the preferred way to use the PanteraTools functionality. It is far easier to begin at the “Projects” tab to benefit from all of the features we offer.
 
Q28.
How do I use the Project Wall to Manage a Project?
Answer:
As pointed out in the Invitation to Bid process, the Project Wall feature is the same technology used for all communication during the Construction Process. This is what makes it seamless. Simply add a check mark to “allow public comments”, remove unsuccessful participants from the prior bid Phase and you can now add Schedules, Meeting Notes, RFI’s and any document to your FTP site and communicate to the group Publicly or Privately with their feedback going to either the open Project Wall or your Private inbox.

Once you have completed building or reducing your participant list, select Project Home (Project Wall) and create your Message, Invite, RFI, or any information you want to share in the Project Activity Box. At this point you decide whether to attach an additional document other than those already tied to the project. (Example, Notification of an addendum, of which would be placed in the FTP, or a sample of the bid form, or insurance requirements), by clicking on the “attachment” icon and uploading the pdf from your computer. Select the calendar icon to pick the appropriate response your desire, and the date if you so select. Moving right, the next icon will display the number of active participants who will be sent the message you have placed in the “Project Activity” box. The Globe Icon is the button to Send the message.

If you have chosen to allow Public Comment by clicking that check box, all participants can respond and all participants can see the response and the on-going thread. The default is an unchecked box which sends the message to all participants, but any replies from the participants are seen only by the administrator in the private message box. We recommend this for the Bidding Process. The administrator also has the option of replying individually, or replying to all, on any of the threads so that all participants can benefit from a question by one participant should the administer desire, by creating a new Project Activity message and checking the “allow public comments” box. The administrator makes the choice on each message he creates to make it public where all can see any thread created by that post, or he can make it private where it will remain private, and all messages will show up on the right hand side of the screen and are only visible to the administrator and no others. It should be noted that a single company can have multiple administrators who can post comments to the Project Wall, however when a message is responded to privately it is sent only to the private message center of the admin user who initiated the original message.
 

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