Construction software - buyer beware - what to watch out for...

BuildIT started just over 10 years ago. Not only have we survived a brutal economic downturn in the construction industry, but we've grown through it. And we've been around long enough to see other software companies come and go.

Anybody can get started in software development, and have a shot at success. But many of those "flash in the pan" companies fold, for reasons we'll outline later, and their customers are left stranded, having to change vendors in mid stream, disrupting their business, and understandably souring their opinion of similar software products and companies.

If you're in "research mode", here are the top 10 red flags to watch out for:

1. Who really is behind the company? Is there adequate and verifiable information on their "contact us" page? Check their domain (www[dot]companyname[dot]com) - if they have an anonymous domain registration, they probably don't want you to know too much about them. They could be an overseas business - without proper support. Think: who are you going to deal with when their servers go offline?

2. Restricted access to an online demo. They probably want to have someone run you through the demo, and follow a script designed to close you, even if the product is not the best fit with your needs. Have you ever sat through a "time share" sales presentation? There's a reason they do it that way, and they do sell !

3. Hidden or no posted pricing on their corporate website. The company wants to get you hooked on the system before they ease you into their pricing scheme. And it could also mean different pricing for different customers.

4. Guarantees - do they offer refunds and a cooling off period?

5. Per job pricing - most consumers understand that this is a bad deal. This model essentally dips into your pocket should you be more successful and get more jobs... the company is charging you more for the same software! Look for pricing models that are more commensurate with usage.

6. Charging for client access or "sub contractor portals" - find systems that have this included in the subscription rate.

7. Does their website smack of platitudes like "#1 construction software", or "best in breed", or "over x thousand customers" - these claims are baseless and cannot be proven.

8. Does their website contain stock photos you see on other websites, pretty girls with headsets, or gentlemen wearing suits and the occasional hard hat, smiling away? That's a dead giveaway to overseas developers trying to make inroads into the North American Market. Are you subscribing to a proven system, or some beta type software being developed offshore on your dollar?

9. Agressive salesmen - they are paid to sell. Not that that's bad, but the old addage remains true - "nobody likes to be sold, but everyone likes to buy". Are you speaking with one of the owners of the company who is ensuring there is a fit with your needs, and their solution? Do you feel pressure to buy even though their solution is not directly in the center of the bulls-eye.  If the system is not a perfect fit with what you're looking for, is the software representative willing to recommend alternative (and competitive) options?

10. Do a quick Google search - does the company show up near or at the top of the organic listings? This is a good indicator that the company is a serious player in the market. If you can't find them, how are they finding you... and will they be around long enough to service you?

For a software company to be successful, you need a few things to survive... and thrive. A real product that provides real value to real people. A system that has been refined, that is coherent, that has simple navigation so new people can get on board quickly and become productive in short order. You need to be found... online, period! And you need to have an organization structure that is supported by solely by sales of your product, not by rounds of investment.

Few software companies make it this far.

When you vote with your dollars, ask the tough questions before signing on the line.

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

Create professional construction documents now!

If it's important for your business to "get it in writing," then using pre-formatted construction document templates will help you prior to starting the job, during construction, and after the work is done.

With BuildIT's easy-to-use document generator, you'll be able to create and edit a wide range of construction documents from any internet connected computer. These documents will be branded with your letterhead and company logo to build your reputation and professionalism. You'll be in good company as this system has been used on 1000's of project to create 1000's of documents similar to these samples.


click the images above to see editable samples

Here's how it works:

It helps if your jobs are entered into BuildIT, and that your contact database is uploaded. We can help you with this as you're getting started. Job and contact information is entered into BuildIT only once. From there, the system re-uses it again and again where it's needed.

Next, start the BuildIT document generator.

Select a current project, and a contact to whom you want this document addressed to.

The system then auto-completes the construction document; these "forms" are designed such that the right information that already exists in BuildIT goes into the right field.

Finally, save the document to BuildIT, then either print it, fax it, or email it.

There are many advantages to this document system:

  • Saves a ton of data entry time.
  • Documents can be auto-filled with virtually any information from your company or project.
  • Send documents via email and fax with just a few clicks. Track versions of the same document.
  • Proprietary construction document templates (and custom letterhead) for your exclusive use can be created by our specialists.
  • Make multiple documents in one operation: avoid redundancy and mistakes.
  • Ideal for field staff submitting daily job reports.

You can access your construction documents now by starting your free test drive of the BuildIT system. No credit card. No risk. And you get full access to all parts of the system.

By doing so, you'll get 80+ professional construction documents included free of charge. You can use them in BuildIT, or download them to your hard drive. They are yours free whether you subscribe or not.

So start creating professional construction documents today... the easy way.

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

Computer Ease?

For many, computers are a necessary evil to get the job done better, faster, on time, and with fewer mistakes.

The bulk of the contractors (Gen X'ers and older) use computers begrudgingly to accomplish tasks and stay competitive. And when they go shopping for software, they are met with way too many options.  Its like being thrown into the cockpit of a 747 and expecting to be flying in no time. And they all know someone who has spent $10K on software that promised the world but didn't deliver it.

Construction software companies are vying for your business... and they're all saying basically the same thing about their system in order to get you to believe that using a computer, with their software package... is easy.

Have you come across any these claims recently in your seach for the right construction software system:

  • simple to use
  • "user friendly"
  • great technical support
  • short learning curve
  • easily adoptable
  • scalable

and my personal favorite...

  • Voted #1 Construction Software

Who voted? Their sales team?

In a recent article in a construction magazine, the author offers advice for purchasing software. He talks about some basic requirements that we all can agree on. The software has to:

  1. solve a problem,
  2. be accepted and used by all users, and
  3. provide measurable return on investment.

And somehow, their solution is the perfect fit.

I checked into their solution - and one customer paid $20K for it... and he considers himself a small contractor!

Ouch! I wonder what larger contractors are paying? For the same dough, you could subscribe to BuildIT for a decade or more.

Here are some observations - go ahead and test these against our competitors:

  1. If they don't publish their price... it's gonna be a big ticket item... expect to pay $3,000 to $10,000 per year.
  2. If they force you into a web demonstration before divulging their price, see #1 above.
  3. If they have a network of consultants who sell their software and assist with it's implementation, see #1 above.
  4. If you see big glossy ads in construction magazines along with advertorial content, see #1 above.
  5. If you can't launch a free test drive of the software, and solve at least one problem that motivated you to come to their website in the first place... in the first 30 minutes, see #1 above.

I think you get the point.

Let's talk. Start a free test drive of BuildIT (click that big green button in the top right of this page, the "FREE TRIAL" one), knowing that our base rate is $85 per month, with discounted terms available. Let's see if we can get $1,000 worth of savings/revenue in your first month by using the system... and help you avoid rolling the dice on bloated, expensive software solutions.

And yes, you'll have to use a computer, but we'll help you get over the hump just the same, and get your problem solved in record time.

And just maybe, over time, you'll use BuildT on your computer... with ease.

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