It struck me the other day...
BuildIT has been around for almost a decade - and I've been with BuildIT since the beginning. Over the years, the questions I get asked by prospective customers (and new ones) are basically the same.
Here are the top 10 questions, in no particular order, with our carefully prepared responses.
1. Is my data safe and secure? And what happens to my information should you go out of business?
A: Absolutely, your data is safe – much safer with us than on your own laptop. Our servers are located in a large professional hosting facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Our customers' data is stored on servers with RAID (multiple redundant) hard drives, immediately backed up to other servers with RAID hard drives, and regularly copied offsite to increase redundancy of backup protection. For more information on the security of your data, click here.
We understand that anything is possible. We want to assure our customers that they own their data. So at any time, their data can be downloaded off our server, and copied over to their computer. We can also do a "data dump" of all customer data, burn that to a DVD, and send it to a customer.
2. What does "area" and "code" mean when you create a new scheduled task?
A: Area and Code fields are for customers that wish to further differentiate/sort their tasks.
Imagine you have 100 tasks, and you want to filter out just the 8 tasks that are related to "inspection". Type in "inspection" into the "Area" field. Now, this value "inspection" will be available in the picklist for future tasks.
When viewing your schedule, you can adjust the filters in the left margin. One of those filters is "Area" - you'll see the value "inspection" there. Select, and refresh your list, and the view of those tasks related to "inspection" will display.
Those fields are really user defined. "Area" could mean 1) area of the project, 2) geographic area (SW, NE, County), 3) area of responsibility (financial, preconstruction, warranty).
"Code" could mean 1) CSI master format division code, 2) accounting code, 3) PO number, etc.
3. What is the difference between a "to do", a "note" and a "task"?
A: "To do's" are like virtual Post-IT notes. They are related to a BuildIT user, and can be connected to a job. They allow you to deal with the slippery items that if not "written down", cost you time, money and aggravation in the end. One BuildIT user can create "to do's" for him/herself and for other users.
"Notes" are related to a BuildIT user, can be connected to a job, AND can be connected to ONE contact in your database. Use "Notes" to log conversations, verbal commitments, and any potential litigious situations. Remember that a short "digital" pencil is better than a long memory!
"Tasks" are the individual elements of a "schedule". Like "notes", "tasks" are related to a BuildIT user, can be connected to a job, AND can be connected to ONE OR MORE contacts in your database. Tasks can be displayed in LIST view, GANTT chart view, and CALENDAR view.
4. How many customers do you have?
A: For competitive reasons, we can't disclose any numbers. But we can tell you that we've been in business for many years, and have enjoyed building a customer base, and a valuable application that solves real problems for real construction professionals. Each of our customers has a contact database of their customers and business associates, and each of those has access to a free website from BuildIT that allows for collaboration between our customer, and our customer's contacts. And many of our customers have multiple users in their company that access the system. So when you add all those up, the number gets quite impressive!
Really, the question reflects the concern of the prospective customer - he doesn't want to be the first guy taking the plane up into the sky on it's maiden voyage. No worries there, we welcomed our first retail customer back in 2002 - I was there when they delivered the cheque... it was a great day at BuildIT!
When we hear this question, we realize the underlying question is "If I choose BuildIT, will I be in good company with other customers like me that are finding success with the program?". The answer is a resounding YES.
5. Are you the only one who answers the phone?
A: Most of the calls get sent through to my line — I like to talk! And it frees up the rest of the team to focus on development of the application, and other corporate stuff. But with a simple, easy to use application, online help system and online video tutorials, most folks get up and running with BuildIT wil very little input from our tech support line. Still, we encourage you to call !
6. How do you print out a schedule to send to a client/builder/subtrade?
A: You can print from your browser, or from the yellow "do this" control in the top right. If you want a PDF of the schedule, you'll need a PDF driver on your computer. If you don't know what that is, call, and we'll help you create a PDF at our end.
Alternatively, you can share the schedule in real time with anyone in your contact database. The big win here is that you're online schedule is "real time", whereas a printed schedule gets out of date quickly which can be a pain in the pocketbook when someone builds the wrong thing from the old printed schedule.
7. Do you have linked tasks / Critical Path?
A: Kind of. While our scheduling system is simple, and we haven't complicated the task editor with "linkages", we do have a simple way to create a Critical Path... so when you make a change to one task, that has a cascading effect on the rest of the schedule from that point forward, then yes, we have a way to do that. More on that at this link.
8. What happens when the Internet goes down (or I don't have access to the Internet)?
A: It's like asking what happens when you're car runs out of gas? We find another way to get to our desitination, or we don't go anywhere. The same could be said of BuildIT's "web-based" application. Being "web-based" means just that. Without access to the Internet, you can't access the application. However, the benefits of having 24-hour access – even while on vacation – easily make up for the other possible problems like being unable to get back to your office, fire, theft, broken computers, etc.
For most BuildIT customers, Internet access is ubiquitous - it's everywhere, available 99%+ of the time. So it's really a moot point for them - but they have asked the question too!
For you iPhone and Blackberry users, you can access your BuildIT email right from our server. And version 5.0, being worked on as I write this, will give you mobile access to optimized screens of the BuildIT application - expect this in early 2010.
9. What is your pricing?
A. Low. Way less than most comparable construction software products – and reasonable. With BuildIT you easily achieve a rapid return on investment, literally within weeks of getting up an running with the system. For current pricing, check out our pricing page. We'll help you determine the optimum number of user accounts to get started with, and the subscription plan that best suits your budget.
10. How do I organize my contacts?
A: There are a number ways to organize contacts in BuildIT: by job, by contact group (client, contractor, subtrade, design professional, etc.), by user defined fields in the contact record, and alphabetically (by First Name, Last Name or Company Name). BuildIT's "contact picker" allows you to select contacts for assigning to jobs, tasks, notes - and for sending out email, web faxes and text messages. Each customer has unique contact organization needs - we'll help you with that as we configure your account to suit your unique business requirements.
Didn't get your question answered? Well, it may be in the Top 20 or Top 30 list. Or it may be an original. Give us a call. See if you can surpise us with a "never before asked" question, and put our customer service to the test!
1 866 585 5050 ext 1