Pay per Project ? No way !!

We get asked this question all the time...    

   "Do you charge per project?"

Short answer - No.

Thanks to our competitors, many of whom charge "per project" pricing, it does drive a chunk of business our way. Many of you see that being charged more and more for the same software seems a bit odd.

And what's really fascinating is that the market by and large is willing to accept this. Some of your competitors are on the hook monthly for their project management system, and what they pay fluctuates depending on the number of projects they do.

One of our software competitors recently announced a multi million dollar round of investment (curious why they need millions more if they are also boasting a huge user base... shouldn't their revenue cover their operating and development costs!?). And in that press release, they claim they stand out by offering construction software tools in a single platform, charging per project rather than per user.

Imagine if Microsoft found a way to charge you "per Word document", or "per Outlook email"... same software, yet they get into your pocketbook each time you click [save and close] or [send] !! I think if that were the case, many of you would be hitting the road looking for alternatives.

And we're seeing many users of such project management systems jumping ship... they may like the software, but they're only using a fraction of the features available, and they need to stop hemorrhaging from the high monthly charges. The party may be soon be over for software companies that charge too much. And adding more features won't be the remedy - there are many solutions out there that will meet your scheduling and project management needs, question is, who can do it without breaking your bank each month.

Smaller, agile, low cost alternatives. Live support from someone who actually has a background in construction.

Speaking of which...

BuildIT. Our pricing is simple. Our customers pay a low monthly rate. And you can do as many projects as you wish without being penalized.

No long term contracts. And... you can suspend any time if you go through a season in your business where you don't require our service. We'll still keep your account backed up and ready to go... for when you return.

Pay per project... it's like paying through the nose. No thanks.

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

Home Builder / Remodeler Software and Online Selections

Word in the street is this: online selections aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Now, we're not negating the fact that some large volume home builders and remodelers have taken advantage of online selection systems offered by some home builder software packages. Given the market, the product, the type of builder, and the client, this approach to selections may make perfect sense. Certainly does in theory. Get the client to go online, and do the work of reviewing options, and nailing down their preferences. Click. Send. Done.

If this is what you’re after, and you cannot be convinced otherwise, call us and we’ll give you a recommendation or two. There are some good packages out there.

But, online selections are not for everyone. In fact, quite the contrary.

  :: Some homeowner clients won't go there -- they simply will not play ball that way.

  :: Some builders have tried it, and are dropping the service for simpler, less costly software solutions. 

Before you follow the crowd and pay a premium for a mid-level or enterprise level project management suite with all the bells and whistles including online selections, consider the following:

  1. Custom home builders and remodelers are typically hands on with their clients -- there is a trusted relationship and often the clients will want to get the builder's opinion before proceeding with a selection/upgrade -- like a sanity check. This is best done in person, or over the phone, not online.
  2. Generally home builders and remodelers work with their clients at the design stage, nailing down specifications in a typical specifications document. This is what they have used to price out the project. And this is what the client has agreed to when they signed the contract.
  3. If the client uses a design professional (architect, interior designer), chances are the specifications are nailed down well in advance of the build.
  4. Throughout the build, the client may well wish to make a change... that is what change orders are for. We have them. They are easy to fill out, and ensure the change is agreed to by the client and builder (along with the price difference) before the change is carried out.
  5. If you are building for a demographic that prefers face-to-face interaction (generally baby boomers and older, but there are folks in all age ranges that this applies to), they will exchange the online selection process for a call to your cell phone or a meeting on site... and they likely won't respect "normal business hours"!
  6. The online selection process is not intuitive for many people, especially those not up the technology curve. Imagine some of your clients that are self proclaimed computer illiterates attempting to maneuver around a 3rd party online selection website - they'll probably be on the phone with you. Congratulations, you are now in tech support!
  7. The process of getting to the 3rd party online selection website is wrought with friction. Consider that a client has to first go online, then go to your website, then click on a "client access" link if they can find it, then they have to remember a username and password... as if they don't have several others they are trying to recall. That friction will cause a percentage of customers to avoid that process altogether and call a real live person... so you need to account for that.
  8. Online selections are not applicable to the majority of construction businesses. For instance, they wouldn't be applicable to commercial/industrial project managers, specialty trade contractors, spec builders, or residential builders who have only a few jobs they do each year -- so you would be paying a premium for a system that has online selection features you wouldn't use.

I actually had a high end custom home builder tell me (within the last 12 months of writing this) that he would never force his clients to go to his website, log in to some 3rd party software system, and make changes to selections on their home. In fact, he felt that process would be damaging to his reputation, and a disservice to his clients. They were paying a premium for his knowledge and concierge service. Therefore, it made sense that they should have access to him at any point along the process.

Of course, this is one builder's opinion, and we're not implying that this is true for all home builders and remodelers.

Having said that, you ought to consider how you want to be perceived by your clients, and the way in which you want to interact with them.

For instance, you can use an online service called Houzz and share Ideabooks, and manage selections with your clients there. Some builders use Houzz to organize selections by room, and by indoors/outdoors. For builders like this, adding the online selection process to their website would only serve to complicate matters.

BuildIT customers (those who are home builders and remodelers – we have a wide variety of construction professionals that use the system) can use a specifications document with the client. It would be completed up front and stored in the project files area. Changes during construction would be dealt with via change orders. Simple. Easy to do. Has worked efficiently for years.

If you prefer the tried and tested approach, and need help constructing a custom, well formatted PDF specifications document that can be filled in with the BuildIT system, give us a call and we'll help you out.

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

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