Productivity - and why it should matter to your construction business

Get more done, in less time, at lower cost, with higher margins. More profit, less stress. Easy to say, hard to do, especially if you're in the construction industry.

Recently, ConstructionDIVE published an article on why the construction industry struggles with productivity gains vis a vis other "rival" industries. The content is good, worth your time, worth taking notes (their stock photo on the other hand doesn't cut it - 3 guys, 2 wearing ties, 3 different coloured hard hats - never ever happens).

For 15 years, we've been helping contractors and specialty trades benefit from BuildIT... one of the pioneer web based efficiency tools created specifically for the construction industry. Efficiency and productivity are huge parts of our business ethos, and guide much of our development. 

In my previous company, I worked with residential and commercial contractors teaching them how to use proprietary building products that beat conventional products hands down. We created custom design software solutions that helped architects, engineers and suppliers (contract lumber yards, truss manufacturers, and panelizers) size and specify products way faster than doing it "the old fashioned way" with tables, charts, and legal pads.

So when you investigate BuildIT for the first time, you'll see a "systems approach" to managing jobs, contacts, scheduled tasks, files and communications. Add to that mix the magic of collaboration - everyone (you, staff/employees, trades, investors, clients, design professionals, building officials, vendors) working together, on the same page, to produce something of value.

The aforementioned article boldly claims that "collaboration is the key to productivity"... and we couldn't agree more. They hint at the "old guard" who do not have a collaboration background, but rather are individualistic and view constant collaboration as a negative. No software solution can fix that... but over time, as new hires come on board who are open to embracing new technologies and methodologies, they will totally embrace tools like BuildIT in order to make the magic happen on their job sites.

BuildIT allows all stakeholders on the job (wherever they are) to have access to computing power, real time scheduling, and instant notification. Our notification system lets your people know what changed, and what's coming up - you control who gets notified, when, and under what circumstances. It's all done for you, automatically - allowing you to focus on higher priorities that generate greater returns for your time (read: more profit).

I spoke with a customer yesterday that had to fire two employees. Employee turnover is disruptive and costly. Unlike a warm body, the BuildIT web based scheduling system is a fraction of the cost of an employee, it never calls in sick, is available 24/7, and actually comes with a real human being on standby should you need that support to crank out a schedule, or solve a problem. It's a remarkably good deal.

Take a bold step towards greater profitability in your business - it all starts with a free test drive.

 Scott Hutchinson
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

15 years... and getting better each day !

Happy birthday to... us. 15 years since BuildIT incorporated, and the idea of BuildIT was incubating many months prior to this.

A lot can happen in 15 years. I've certainly earned the increasing number of grey hairs on my head. My little girl was learning how to ride a bike when we started, now she's rocking 3rd year college courses. And my son who was in diapers during the early days of BuildIT is now a lethal weapon, a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

As one of the major investors who clearly saw the potential in this idea, I want to personally thank the founders - Craig, Denis, and Michael - for their foresight and tireless efforts to get this thing off the ground. And to all those past and present who have been a part of building BuildIT, we are truly grateful.

With age comes credibility. Over the past 15 years, we've seen software companies come, and go. And the question we are asked often is "so, how long have you been in business?". It's a fair question... if you are entrusting your data and desired operational efficiencies to a company, you want to know they are going to be around for a while to support you. You can rest assured... we've been around much longer than most software we're compared to in our space.

Well, 15 years in the software world is a lifetime. And while new apps pop up every day, many of them are abandoned or discontinued. Even well funded ones. Google and Microsoft have discontinued over 70 applications each since they started... all they touch is not gold after all. We see it in the construction software space regularly. We'll get a call from a software searcher, "Hey, have you heard of construction software ABC?". No, and after a bit of research, it is clear they are just starting out. And to be fair, we started out too many years ago. But... we rolled out BuildIT a bit differently.

Before we went "to market" with a retail product, we already had a proven system. We struck a special arrangement with some key product testers (contractors, home builders, specialty trades) that gave our team valuable feedback and allowed us to establish a reliable, stable application before we welcomed our first retail customer. And I was present when we received our first cheque... it was at that point that I knew this was going to work. And it has.

Imagine, you entrench yourself/your team with a software program, get used to it, get results... fall in love with the thing even. And poof. It's gone. And you're left scrambling, trying to retool while ensuring your business doesn't miss a beat. It's no fun. It's one of the reasons we have customers return to BuildIT all the time. Just got a call the other day from a customer that was using BuildIT back in 2009, and now, 7 years later with a new company, he's wanting to propose it to his team. Why? Because, in his words, BuildIT works.

Being around for as long as we have does give us a leg up on the competition for sure. Add to that our background in construction, the ease of use of the application and how we have nailed simple online construction scheduling and collaboration features, and you have a recipe here for success. Your future success.

Come join the party !

 Scott Hutchinson
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

Free construction software... comes with a price !

We just got our hands on a report published by Software Advice on free vs open source vs proprietary software (that is, software with a price tag).

For the full report, click here.

For those of you who value your time, I'll summarize:

  • proprietary software such as BuildIT is worth the investment
  • project managers who use proprietary software report fewer challenges and are more satisfied with product features (98%), usability (91%), and support (81%)
  • you're more likely to be completely satisfied with a proprietary software purchase/subscription, rather than free or open source
  • while the lure of free software is appealing, chances are you'll be back searching for a better solution... and you will have wasted precious time and lost profits in the process
It's true - you do get what you pay for. More features, better usability, and customer support. You get your problems solved.

Some new kids on the block do offer free versions of their proprietary software (free for so many projects, sub contractors, etc.). It's a strategy to gain some users and help with their beta release. So while you may think you are getting a good deal, you are actually paying a price to help debug their software.

Questions you should ask yourself before going for the free option:

  1. When I need support, who am I going to call?
  2. If I do connect on the phone with a support guy, how is he getting paid?
  3. If I'm not paying for their free software, and other people presumably aren't paying for their free software, then who is?
  4. What happens when the party is over, and they change their pricing strategy and start billing me?
  5. What happens to my data when they close their doors?
Yes, software companies come and go. Some show up for a year or two, have their flash in the pan, then they're gone... leaving a wake of distraught users that have to retool and catch up with their competitors that bet on the right horse. Their software generally is feature poor, their contact details on their website vague, site links not working, stock photos on their website of smiling contractors in white hard hats or call center girls wearing headsets, their site is void of resources to help you win at your business (contrast with BuildIT's 100+ blog articles like the one you're reading now)... these are the tell tale signs to run quickly in the other direction!

NO construction software exists that is purely free and is paid for by advertising, or is free for the express purpose of attracting a critical mass of users (like mass appeal social media giants Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.) - these tools just don't exist in the construction project management space. 

If you search for "free construction software", you will get lots of hits... but most are offering a "free trial" of their system; you will eventually be moved into one of their paid plans. 

Yes, some software is fully free, but (BIG but)... it comes without support, with difficult-to-navigate manuals, or is so vague (like a general calendar system with some task tracking) that it's a stretch for most users to make the connection between the software and the construction world they live and operate in.

As they say, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch".

Having said that, with your super low subscription to BuildIT, here's what we do offer free/complimentary:

  • free 15 day test drive (and we're easy to persuade, if you need a bit more time to try us out)
  • free activation
  • free setup/configuration of your account
  • free training (phone, email, Skype, chat support)
  • free importing of your data (job list, contact database, schedule templates)
  • free customizations to the many pre-formatted construction document templates in the system
  • free construction calculators (these crazy things get used daily all over the planet!!)
  • free "relevant" advice given our background in construction - you speak to someone who speaks your language, not a generic commissioned salesperson whose sole purpose it is to sell you their software
  • free construction scheduling consulting - we'll help you get your first construction schedule out the door
Take BuildIT for a free test drive, and learn about the advantages of our "proprietary" construction software for yourself.

 Scott Hutchinson
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1