New kid on the block... takes the $ and runs

In the market for construction software?

Good chance if you're reading this you are, and you're waiting for the pitch. Not now. This is more of a "buyer beware" article.

And the story goes like this...

We get lots of folks coming to BuildIT. We are easily found, have been for over a decade. If you are looking for construction scheduling software, you will find BuildIT. As did "Joe" (yup, name changed out of respect for privacy). Joe had been using Super Software (not their real name, but it would suit them just fine) for the past year. Spent around a grand. And it didn't perform. Nor did their team perform when Joe kept calling and asking for bugs to be fixed.

Joe put me on to Super Software - I had never heard of these guys. Sotware companies like this have come and gone over the years, it's hard to keep track of the ones that fail. But the more I delved into Super Software's website, the more I thought I should sound the alarm... and do my part to get the word out for folks like you doing their research.

We've been around since 2000, so we (as my kids would call me) are OLD. It took us about 2 years just to get a product on the market. And that product was "cloud based" from day 1... before the word "cloud" was hip.

Super Software was "founded" just a few years ago. That means that they started the company... then started to build something. And what I love about America and the Internet, is anybody can start something, then make outrageous claims about "being the best" or "being the first"... and nobody can stop you. Anybody can throw a website up, add stock photos, which you'll find everywhere online (yes, those photos of smiling girls with headsets on, and men in dress shirts wearing hardhats do NOT work for Super Software, and the smiling couple looking over a set of plans are NOT their customers).

Fortunately if you dig around, you can find a few red lights that should send you running in the opposite direction. Here are a few I found, and you'll find them on other sites as well:

1. When someone says they are the "first cloud construction platform" and they've only been in existence this decade, then they are about a decade late to the party. Like BuildIT, there are many cloud construction platforms on the market today. Your job is to find the best fit for your company while avoiding becoming a "beta tester" for software that still is in its infancy and will need a few years to either grow up, or crash and burn (and take your data with it !).

2. When a software company claims to be the "best", "best of breed", "perfect tool", or "voted #1 software on the planet" - quite frankly, they're not, and never will be. And you can prove it by test driving their software "without obligation" (that means, don't pay a dime) until you are either ready to risk being one of their beta testers, or concede that going with the tried and tested guys will be a better bet for your business.

3. When a software company has links on their website that are broken, blank pages, pages with "coming soon", server application errors, stock photography, no fixed company address, and a Twitter account that is just a shameless self promotion of their software system, those should send you packing right away.

4. If you are reading text on their website, and after a few minutes, you feel like you're reading the same thing over and over again... like this: "our cloud based construction management software is the greatest construction management software for construction managers that want to manage their construction projects with construction management software that works", and you see buzz words scattered all over their site... well, they are more interested in getting Google's attention than yours.

The unfortunate thing is, they got Joe's money and they will get Tom, Dick and Harry's at some point.

Hang on to your wallet, and make sure you compare and contrast options. Get referrals. Get an understanding of who is behind the company. And make sure they have your back and are there to help you succeed with their system. Don't pay for what you'll never use - determine what you need to grow your business/solve your problem... and go after it with surgical precision.

Now for the pitch. Call me - I'm one of the owners, and one of the veterans in the construction software space. Let's see what we can do to help you out.

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

Customer support - beyond the BuildIT program

Over the past 14 years, we have developed a tried and tested, robust program for our current and future customers. It works, and works well. Screens load fast, and our highly optimized code ensures you get what you need, make your changes, and get off the system fast so you can get on with your business.

That's the way it's supposed to work, but for some customers, the fact is, their computers are just bogged down, unhealthy, and at times, plain broken. Their positive experience online, with BuildIT or any other online system, is hampered by any number of issues that have nothing to do with our software, such as

  • web browser hijackers
  • adware/spyware
  • pop up ad software
  • useless toolbars that suck up resources real estate on your screen
  • updates (Java, Windows, Adobe)
  • browser settings that don't allow BuildIT to function fully
  • missing software/addons

At BuildIT, when you subscribe to our service, you get... well, our service, and it's not just answering your questions on our software, but we go a step further. If you are having problems, with your approval and an app you download, we can connect our computer with yours, doing a "screen share", so you can see our mouse on your computer screen. We'll do what we can to ensure you have a great experience with our software, and we may even find a few things that will remove those frustrations you have with your computer, but don't know where to start.

Case in point - a customer called up last week. She couldn't upload any files, or print any PDF documents from BuildIT. We connected our computers, and right away, we determined she had the Conduit browser hijacker messing with her system. Seconds later, that was removed. There was an Adobe update pending, and we took care of that - since BuildIT has PDF documents available, it is important to ensure all your Adobe updates are current. Her Java software was outdated so that was brought up to the recent version - this is required to run our multi-file uploader program for Google Chrome/Mozilla Firefox. We checked her installed programs through her Control Panel, and found a few programs that really didn't need to be there, taking up valuable space on the hard drive; some of these programs are designed to run in the background, eating up resources and slowing down the performance of your computer. Finally, we tweaked her 2 main web browsers to improve how they work with BuildIT... and while we were at it, we even got her accounting software to print to PDF properly.

All in a days work !

So... before you spend the money on online tech support for your computer (or bring it to the repair shop and pay their rates), let BuildIT help you - it's part of our service, and we want you to have a great experience with our software, and company. And the sooner you get off your computer and get to the site, or pick up the phone, the better. 

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

BuildIT History 101

BuildIT was started by a couple contractors back in 2000 who had an idea... help folks like them be more productive. Since contractors use physical tools to build structures, the idea at the time was to provide "digital tools" to build systems that could be the backbone of the contractor's business. Tools such as calculators, online filing cabinets, file sharing, coordination and scheduling, and so on - tools that would be available through the Internet... so the contractor could have access to them from any Internet connected device.

The idea started to blossom. Known then as "e-tool-time" - a play on the popular Home Improvement TV Series "Tool Time" which aired from 1991 - 1999, the founders shared their story, and brought on investment and talent, and began building the product... and the business.

Denis Apchin, one of the founders and past president of the company, has used BuildIT continuously for his own award winning project management business since the system went live 13 years ago. Here is what Denis has posted on his website (www.apchin.com):

BuildIT Systems is an innovative solution to the organizational, scheduling, and communication problems inherent to construction. Denis Apchin co-founder and former President of BuildIT, recommends the services provided by BuildIT to any construction professional who wants to increase efficiency, save time and money, and, perhaps most importantly, reduce stress. When he developed the concept for BuildIT, he was responding to a need for a standardized method in the construction industry. Having experienced the oftentimes chaotic world of contracting, he sought to implement a system that would resolve the central problem of any residential or commercial construction project: that of coordination.

With BuildIT, contractors, homeowners, or anyone responsible for the completion of a project can provide schedules and organized information for all who are involved. Home builders, project managers, architects, designers, trades workers, and site supervisors can access your BuildIT account online to visualize how and when their contribution will fit into your project. By adding users to your account, you can ensure that all members of your team have access to project information whenever they need it.

Your BuildIT account serves as your administrative hub, allowing you to maintain contact information for partners and schedule appointments with clients, consultants, legal authorities, vendors, and financial associates. Facilitating strategic coordination and information sharing, BuildIT eliminates scheduling errors, improves the efficiency of your team, and makes everything easier on you.

Furthermore, BuildIT's clerical tools allow you to track assigned tasks, import and organize documents and photos, send files and information to contacts, address health and safety concerns, access contracts and purchase orders, and network with other construction professionals to generate future projects. While the extent of possibilities may seem overwhelming, BuildIT focuses on simplification, and, thus, provides online tours, training, and examples to familiarize you with the system. Soon, the many user-friendly document templates will save you hours of formatting work while providing a thorough record of your data. BuildIT even offers a mini-web site creator which will allow you to showcase your portfolio to clients. Since 2000, BuildIT Systems has offered its services at a reasonable cost, helping construction professionals across North America to standardize and improve their methods of organization, scheduling, and communication. I urge you to take the free 15-day Test Drive at builditsystems.com.

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