Top 3 Reasons to Drop your Existing Project Management Software

There's a mountain of software solutions out there for the construction industry. Construction software companies invest huge dollars (in some cases attracting millions in venture capital), hiring staff, developing functionality, and building market share.

Our customers share with us why they chose BuildIT over competing solutions. And weekly, we receive input from those in search of construction software. We ask them why they are looking, why they don't stick with the construction software they have, and why not go with "industry leading" project management suites.

Here's what keeps coming up, year after year - the top 3 reasons to drop your existing project management software:

1. Price

You can solve your scheduling and project management problems for far less than what you're currently paying.

Case study 1: Residential builder, California, 50 homes per year, 4 key people on their team. They were paying $600/m for a "leading" residential project management suite. They found BuildIT, and we were able to save them over $450/m AND solve their scheduling issues. $5,000+ annual savings!

Case study 2: Commercial design-builder, North Carolina, 6 key people. They left BuildIT several years ago, and moved over to a major commercial project management suite. Problem is, their team didn't fully embrace the new system, and they felt, of all things, our web mail service (which ties all communications for each team member to each project) was superior, and our scheduling tool much easier. $7,000 annual savings!

BuildIT's pricing is clearly displayed on our website, and we are always far less than competing residential/commercial project management suites. Always. It helps to be a niche software provider with a cost structure the "big guys" can't touch. They have no choice but to charge high rates (they need to cover their huge payrolls, fancy office rents, trade show budgets, employee perks, toys, debt servicing, and the list goes on).

2. Features

Mid level and enterprise software suites are typically bloated and offer way more than what most construction professionals are searching for. It's one thing to be feature rich, but you can't be all things to all people.

Customers come to BuildIT with a software stack in place already. Many have their accounting software and estimating systems in place. They are after a solution to a specific problem, or set of problems. BuildIT provides that solution without the overhead of features/functionality that our customers will never use.

Take for instance "client access" or "online selections" on your website where the client can make changes on their project. While this may work for some larger volume builders, for most it is just dead weight. Even those that tried to make it work admit it's hard to implement and maintain, and therefore they abandon it altogether. And if you are a small custom builder, spec builder, renovator, commercial general contractor or trade, these are just features you are paying for but will never benefit from.

Paying 100% of the price but only using a fraction of the software doesn't make financial sense. If all you need is scheduling and basic project management functionality, switch to BuildIT.

3. Complexity

Scheduling and project management by its very nature is complex - there are many moving parts, crises that happen daily, and you're dealing with human beings which add more variables to the mix. Adding software to the equation doesn't make these problems go away, but the right system can bring some sanity and structure to the chaos in your construction business.

The last thing you need is something complex, with a steep, lengthy learning curve, and a high likelihood of a software implementation fail. Most fail - we know, because you tell us and we've heard enough horror stories of dollars wasted on expensive, complex solutions that didn't "solve" the customer's problems.

A quick survey of construction software and you'll soon discover that there is no shortage of websites that leave your head spinning. You could roll the dice on what bubbles up on Google or who has the shiniest website, but that's risky. And if you settle on a mid level/enterprise package, congratulations, you've just been dumped into the cockpit of a 747. You'll need lots of training (time away from work most likely) before you start seeing a return.

You also need to consider your team and those outside your organization you do business with. Sure, you may have gained a working knowledge of your project management system, but what about everyone else? Does your system work for all involved? Do your guys actually log in and use it? If you use trades, do they know how to access the schedule and related documents so they can do their work, at the right time, on the correct job site? And if you are a trade, do you have a way to track all your work and advise your customers and contractors of your availability and progress? Do your crews know where to go each day without burning up your cell phone?


Software preference is subjective. Every software salesperson on the planet will be eager to tell you their system is "intuitive", "easy to use", "best of breed" (whatever that means to you as a buyer). Fact is, it's only true when it's true for you. And if you're reading this, chances are you have your own horror story to share and you're looking for relief.

Try BuildIT, let us help you schedule out one of your projects and earn your trust. Then listen for the sound - the sound of you dropping your existing project management software!

Try it now


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

Free construction software... comes with a price !

We just got our hands on a report published by Software Advice on free vs open source vs proprietary software (that is, software with a price tag).

For the full report, click here.

For those of you who value your time, I'll summarize:

  • proprietary software such as BuildIT is worth the investment
  • project managers who use proprietary software report fewer challenges and are more satisfied with product features (98%), usability (91%), and support (81%)
  • you're more likely to be completely satisfied with a proprietary software purchase/subscription, rather than free or open source
  • while the lure of free software is appealing, chances are you'll be back searching for a better solution... and you will have wasted precious time and lost profits in the process
It's true - you do get what you pay for. More features, better usability, and customer support. You get your problems solved.

Some new kids on the block do offer free versions of their proprietary software (free for so many projects, sub contractors, etc.). It's a strategy to gain some users and help with their beta release. So while you may think you are getting a good deal, you are actually paying a price to help debug their software.

Questions you should ask yourself before going for the free option:

  1. When I need support, who am I going to call?
  2. If I do connect on the phone with a support guy, how is he getting paid?
  3. If I'm not paying for their free software, and other people presumably aren't paying for their free software, then who is?
  4. What happens when the party is over, and they change their pricing strategy and start billing me?
  5. What happens to my data when they close their doors?
Yes, software companies come and go. Some show up for a year or two, have their flash in the pan, then they're gone... leaving a wake of distraught users that have to retool and catch up with their competitors that bet on the right horse. Their software generally is feature poor, their contact details on their website vague, site links not working, stock photos on their website of smiling contractors in white hard hats or call center girls wearing headsets, their site is void of resources to help you win at your business (contrast with BuildIT's 100+ blog articles like the one you're reading now)... these are the tell tale signs to run quickly in the other direction!

NO construction software exists that is purely free and is paid for by advertising, or is free for the express purpose of attracting a critical mass of users (like mass appeal social media giants Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.) - these tools just don't exist in the construction project management space. 

If you search for "free construction software", you will get lots of hits... but most are offering a "free trial" of their system; you will eventually be moved into one of their paid plans. 

Yes, some software is fully free, but (BIG but)... it comes without support, with difficult-to-navigate manuals, or is so vague (like a general calendar system with some task tracking) that it's a stretch for most users to make the connection between the software and the construction world they live and operate in.

As they say, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch".

Having said that, with your super low subscription to BuildIT, here's what we do offer free/complimentary:

  • free 15 day test drive (and we're easy to persuade, if you need a bit more time to try us out)
  • free activation
  • free setup/configuration of your account
  • free training (phone, email, Skype, chat support)
  • free importing of your data (job list, contact database, schedule templates)
  • free customizations to the many pre-formatted construction document templates in the system
  • free construction calculators (these crazy things get used daily all over the planet!!)
  • free "relevant" advice given our background in construction - you speak to someone who speaks your language, not a generic commissioned salesperson whose sole purpose it is to sell you their software
  • free construction scheduling consulting - we'll help you get your first construction schedule out the door
Take BuildIT for a free test drive, and learn about the advantages of our "proprietary" construction software for yourself.

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

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