The three types of construction software (and the freaken gap)

Regular off-the-shelf accounting software is the most widely used software for contracting businesses. Bookkeepers, office managers, and spouses use it more than contractors themselves.

Estimating software is the next most used software. Usually just a simple construction estimating spreadsheet. Once set up, spreadsheets are easy to use, flexible, and generally work well (setting them up is another story).

Specialty design software is also commonly used by a variety of construction related businesses. Usually used by suppliers and people involved in the pre-job phase or early in the job itself.

Estimating/design and accounting occur at opposite ends of the Job (early in a job and late/after a job). However, a lot of information needs to be managed, organized, scheduled, and communicated along the way. This is the big gap - where there's a lot of room to improve communication, reduce mistakes, and increase efficiency.

Every Job depends on managing information, either in your head or using systems to do it. The difference between mildly profitable and wildly profitable comes down to how well information and work flow is managed.

BuildIT helps contracting businesses manage information and streamline work flow.

The secret to streamlining your contracting business...

How BuildIT helps your contracting business grow...

Why most construction software is such a pain (and how to avoid it)...

More on the many kinds of construction software (and what to consider when buying)...

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

The different kinds of construction software (and what to consider when buying)

There are software package specifically designed for one, some or all of the following:

  • projects
  • time sheets
  • customer relationships, CRM
  • scheduling
  • warranties
  • design and drafting, BIM
  • task management
  • websites, blogs
  • file sharing
  • contact management
  • sales tracking, lead generation
  • accounting
  • document creation, management
  • equipment tracking
  • email
  • fax
  • estimating
  • financing
  • property maintenance
  • and the list goes on...

It's overwhelming and difficult to compare. Contracting businesses typically use 3 types of software or struggle with software made for conventional businesses, not construction firms.

Who wants to research, buy, setup, learn, and use a dozen or more pieces of software? Then figure out how to get software systems to talk to each other? It's time consuming and difficult.

Most software programs work independently of one another. While there are a lot of very good reasons for software systems to share information, the reality is, it's often next to impossible to get them to do it.

It's no wonder so many contracting businesses have steered clear of software.

Unfortunately, a lot of the same information needs to be entered over and over just to make different software programs work.

Redundancy, slows you down, wastes time, and sucks at your profitability like a shop-vac on steroids. If only one piece of job information changes (and how often does that happen?), then the change must be updated on every piece of paper and within every software system that relies on it. If this is not done immediately and religiously, then people end up working off the wrong information one of the biggest underlying causes of mistakes and lost profit in construction.

However, none of these are problems with BuildIT because it is one software system that manages, organizes, schedules, and communicates a wide variety of information.

On top of that it takes a lot of work to keep computers running and connected (networked) to each other.

The fact is, people and businesses don't back up their information as often as they should (if at all). Then something happens, a computer gets stolen or a hard drive crashes, and things get real difficult (ask anyone who has experienced it).

It takes a lot of effort to recover from a computer crash - business won't wait - work still needs to be done - but now there's a ton of extra hassle to keep everything going - and the burden to recover from a computer crash usually falls 100% on the user.

However, you used a web based system you wouldn't miss a beat, just go to any computer, access the internet, and you're up and running.

More on the advantages of web-based construction software...

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

How much efficiency can be gained using construction software systems?

Even a small improvement in efficiency can have a big impact on the bottom line.

If your business increases efficiency by 5% and has a 10% net margin, then you increase your bottom line by 50%.

So, how much efficiency can be gained using construction software systems? That's like asking "How much efficiency can be gained using a cordless drill, an air-nailer, or a cell phone?" It's tough to quantify, but you know the tools make you more productive.

You can only benefit from tools if you use them. The same goes for software and systems. After a period of time, you learn to use them well - but it takes time. Then you become a "power user" and you wonder how you ever lived without them.

Technology makes a big difference. Just put a modern contracting business up against a company of 15 years ago. The company with cordless tools, air tools, laser tools, mobile phones, and fax machines would win. Web based construction software systems are the next 'power tools'.

So how much you gain is up to you - over time your gain momentum.

How BuildIT can help your business grow...

More on the advantages of business systems for contractors...

More on the advantages of tapping into proven business systems for contractors...

How killer business problems cost you money (and why it's an opportunity in disguise)...

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1