Which machine are you gonna feed?

We all vote with our dollars.

It's important that we get value for our dollar. As economists point out, we all want to maximize utility (or satisfaction) from our expenditures. Quite frankly, we want to pay the least amount possible, and get the best bang for our buck.  

When 2 or more products appear to offer the same thing (meet a need, solve a problem), but the prices are all over the map, then what? Choice. And there's lots to choose from.

Let's cut to the chase and focus on why you're reading this - you have a choice of which construction scheduling package to choose. So, which machine are you gonna feed? Who gets your dollars?

There's BuildIT - a niche software laser focused on construction scheduling. With the lowest subscription pricing on the planet (thank to all our secret shoppers out there for that intel !!). And our structure (agility, contracting arrangements, investor partnerships) allows us to invest way more of your dollars back into the product that you use.

And then there are some big players out there who offer scheduling... but it's only a small part of a huge feature set that can leave your head spinning. It's like being thrown into the cockpit of a 747... when all you need is an ultra lite. And when you choose them, consider where your dollars are going.

We continually get compared to a couple players out there. One company with focus on commercial project management software proudly displays a fancy building with dozens of employees, and recently announced they had over 1 million users. OK, could be true, impossible to prove... and are these "users" or "paying customers"? Big difference. Another home builder software company boasts over 25 support staff, and 60+ other employees ! Imagine the payroll. And guess who pays for that!? Complex software requires warm bodies with headsets, engineers and programmers on standby, and a bunch of suits at the C level. All paid for by contractors who may not realize there is a better, far less expensive way to get the job done.

If you've already taken BuildIT for a test drive, you've seen that you can get right to it - create a job, add tasks, and share them with others online. Get a construction schedule printed to PDF within minutes if that is your goal. Or take advantage of real time scheduling, where changes you make are automatically shared with others (with the added bonus of email notification if so desired).

If you're already on the hook with some other package, and you're looking to solve your scheduling challenges AND reduce your monthly/annual costs - then pull the pin, and get started with BuildIT.

Let's recap:

BuildIT

  • focus on construction scheduling
  • sharing schedules in house, and with outside contacts
  • lowest pricing in the construction software space
  • speak directly to one of the owners
  • easy help videos plus phone support 7 days per week
  • your dollars get reinvested into your system
  • customizations available
Big Guys

  • offer the world, scheduling is a small part of 100's of other screens
  • higher pricing, often indexed to the # of jobs you do
  • sold by commissioned sales staff 
  • support staff required if you want to get lift off (check to see if they have any construction experience!)
  • your dollars pay for fancy office space and payroll, executive bonuses
  • not set up to offer you concierge service
Which machine are you gonna feed?

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

Refrigerator shopping / Construction software - Yes, there is a connection here !

Brian Regan is one of my favorite comedians. Clean comedy at its best.  

He's got this one routine he does about a guy going shopping for refrigerators, and there are all these options... and the salesman does a great job leaning on each refrigerator as he's trying to sell this guy:

     "this refrigerator here keeps all your food cold for $600"

     "this refrigerator keeps all your food cold for $800"

     "check this out, $1400, keeps all your food cold"

And of course the salesman tries to work the guy on the expensive model with all the "bells and whistles".

Have you been "worked on" by someone trying to sell you software? Especially when you're still trying to recover from sticker shock?

And admit it... have you ever bought the $1400 model and regretted it? I did, just recently. A fancy tea kettle for my wife, stainless steel, with way too many buttons, blue lights... settings we'll never use, and to make matters worse, it doesn't shut off like our old plastic one did (with one button)... it keeps reboiling !! Maybe there is a firmware update I'm not aware of :-)

There are a lot of options out there in the construction software space. Some big companies with massive payrolls (and massive venture capital backers) are making some slick, comprehensive applications. But as one customer put it, they are just too "sexy", too much going on, to the point that while the system may have what they need, their staff can't make it work. Plus, these companies have to charge higher rates to cover their cost structure... and you are paying for it, and in many cases, hemorrhaging each month financially.

Fortunately that's not the case with BuildIT.

We've been around for close to 2 decades and have stood the test of time. We were fortunate that at the onset, we attracted real customers who got real value from our system... and many of them have continued to benefit from BuildIT over a decade later.

The difference you'll find is that BuildIT is more of a boutique software company... we are laser focused on construction scheduling, and collaboration with staff, trades and other contractors.

  • Team collaboration.
  • Contractors connecting efficiently with their sub trades and clients.
  • Specialty trades managing their crews.

We offer concierge service. One of the owners of the company will personally ensure you get off to a solid start, and achieve success with the system. It starts with getting one or more of your projects scheduled, right out of the gate. And if you need something customized to really make BuildIT rock for you, chances are we can build it for you in short order. It's in our name !

Plus, the BuildIT management team comes from the construction industry. We don't hire sales people whose job it is to close the deal. Yes, we want your business and will at some point ask for your credit card to join the BuildIT camp. The big difference is, we've been where you are, literally, on job sites, in plan rooms, in construction site offices, and reviewing blue prints on the hoods of trucks. 

Essentially, we "keep your food cold" for the lowest subscription pricing in the construction software space. You don't pay $1000's more for features you'll never use, and unlike most of the home builder software today, you won't be penalized for doing more jobs.

If you don't need the crisper or the egg area, choose BuildIT.

And start scheduling today... the easy way.

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

The best builders are the best schedulers

When we started BuildIT, we knew that companies with strong underlying systems were successful (think: franchise companies). We saw the opportunity to provide systems for small to mid-sized contractors and specialty trades to help them get control of their job tracking, scheduling and general organization. We heard loud and clear that scheduling was a nightmare... and the company that could provide solutions for better scheduling would find no shortage of customers.

It stands to reason that if your jobsites are a mess, if your scheduling tools are outdated (or non-existent), and if you end up with piles of waste materials at the end of the job (which completed days if not weeks after your projected completion date), then you're hemorrhaging profit. While you may not be this extreme, you wouldn't be reading this if there wasn't some opportunity for you to make gains in your scheduling and bottom line dollars.

Which brings us to our title... the best builders are the best schedulers.

Go to any jobsite that is well run, talk to any builder that is swimming in profits... and you'll find a "lean" builder, one who has mastered the art of scheduling, collaborating with trades, and "conducting the orchestra" of different moving parts on jobsites. They have systems in place, processes and procedures, and well trained staff who have bought into the vision of the company. They manage change, not react to it. They predict crises/weather events/holidays and seasonal realities... and have built in cushions for such disruptions. Successful builders have trades that WANT to work with them, because it is a privilege to work on their jobsites. The have tight schedules with dates that the trades can rely on... and they equip their trades, staff and clients with the right information well in advance so specifications can be nailed down, documentation is clear and accessible, and products with longer lead times are on order and arrive at just the right time.

Much has been written about the return on investment with scheduling systems like BuildIT. And there are great resources online to help you accelerate your scheduling success as we start a new year. One such resource that I've referenced before is True North Development, whose president Scott Sedam is a prolific writer and industry expert. We highly recommend his "Gospel of Schedule" article, in which he outlines his "25 Essential Scheduling Practices for Home Builders" (and while addressed specifically to home builders, other construction professionals will find some takeaways here). Below is a summary to whet your appetite for the full article (and seminars that he conducts):

  1. Simplify (the product, process, paperwork, etc.)
  2. Pre-construction checklist is a must.
  3. Schedule customer input pre-build and during.
  4. Get buy in from trades and suppliers up front in the importance of scheduling of their work and deliveries.
  5. Establish clear scopes of work, expectations on what 100% complete looks like.
  6. Develop a realistic schedule with input from trades and suppliers.
  7. Create a predicable schedule, whereby specific tasks start on specific days.
  8. Find trades that can adapt crew sizes to meet scheduled durations.
  9. Establish a system for weather events and other contingencies.
  10. Value engineer your plans to help eliminate waste at the end.
  11. Choose manufactured components to reduce production time.
  12. Keep your plans list current; omit plans that seldom get chosen.
  13. Limit options to those most customers will pay for.
  14. Provide unit pricing and upgrades up front.
  15. Provide firm cut-off dates, hold staff, trades and clients to those.
  16. Space out/phase your starts to help with trade conflicts.
  17. Provide superintendents with everything they need to build... at the start.
  18. Establish quality control guidelines, deliveries, daily logs.
  19. Keep building site clean with site plan/placement for deliveries of building materials.
  20. Superintendents to be in each unit daily.
  21. Endeavor to shoot for shorter cycle times ("turns").
  22. Broom sweep each unit at end of day.
  23. Have a schedule (like BuildIT displaying ALL JOBS) that shows where ALL units are at in production.
  24. Pay on time all work that is 100% complete according to the schedule.
  25. Pay for the best crews/suppliers.


I'm sure some of our BuildIT veterans out there could add to this list. Feel free to send BuildIT your success stories on how you used BuildIT to reduce cycle times, increase profit, or secure a new client.

The best builders are the best schedulers... and in our humble opinion... the best schedulers that we know use BuildIT !!

To your scheduling success,

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