Bucking the Trend

Do you "go with the flow", or do you naturally "buck the trend"?  

If you are one of the ones who needs the biggest, baddest, newest widget that hits the streets, then you wouldn't even be reading this. For the rest of you who are looking for the edge, the angle, a key ingredient to the success equation for your business, there may be something here for you.

There are some "trends" out there that are really not worth your time participating in. And some of these trends can cost you dearly.

Smartphones are one of those trends that many of us have paid into. Most everyone you know has one. Question is: are you better off with the latest one with all the bells and whistles, most of which you will never use? Or does it make sense to keep your older one, staving off a new hardware purchase for as long as you can?

When the new iPhone X made its debut, I watched a millennial being interviewed on TV, who had stood in line for over 12 hours so he could be one of the first proud owners and have bragging rights... for a couple days.

While he and 1000's of others across North America were standing in line battling the elements and killing time, I was building my business, enjoying my wife and kids, sleeping... and texting out on my iPhone 5s hand-me-down from my daughter. Nobody asked me what model of phone I had. I continued to make and receive calls. Everything worked, including yours truly. You could say I've bucked the trend and saved some $$ along the way.

We all know someone that got onto some health program, diet/exercise deal, MLM get rich quick business... these abound, they run their course, people spin on them today, and most are forgotten tomorrow. While I respect those that jump in with both feet and admire their enthusiasm, I would caution anyone who would listen to count the cost, buck the trend, and invest their efforts elsewhere.

Here's one trend you don't want to have a stake in: consumer credit card debt. In 1986, consumers owed just over $100 billion on their plastic - that number has topped $1 trillion for 2017. For many of us, the credit card has become a secondary source of income ! The average debt per American household is $5700. This is a really good time to admit being "below average". Most of those that have participated heavily in this trend would balk at the advice of people like billionaire Mark Cuban who says if you want to be rich, don't use credit cards. The average household with credit card debt pays close to $1300 per year in interest alone. Ouch. Buck the trend, pay cash or don't pay at all, or at very least, don't run a balance with your cards.

Another well known trend is online shopping, which is causing a real headache for bricks and mortar retailers. I ordered a laptop a couple weeks ago, and in less than 24 hours, the courier dropped it off at my doorstep - complimentary shipping, so easy, so convenient. The local computer retailer has no chance. But arguably certain items still need to be touched, smelled, or tried on before buying. Point being: some stuff ordered online makes sense, while other things like a custom tailored dress or suit, or designer jeans do not.

When it comes to software, the trend towards SAAS (software as a service) has taken the construction industry by storm. Practically speaking, most construction software systems are server based, and require a subscription to access. The construction industry has been notoriously slow to adopt new technology, so there are still many years of opportunity, and tens of thousands of contracting business that have yet to convert. Great news for companies like BuildIT, and even better news for you if you are one of those that has been slow to get on the bandwagon and benefit from these amazing power tools.

There are a slew of web based project management tools available (at least for now), and certain ones have risen to the top, thanks in part to clever marketing that targets home builders, renovators and specialty trades. But given the iPhone discussion earlier, as a construction professional, you need to ask yourself whether it is important to pay top dollar for what is perceived as the "best solution out there", or whether you should buck the trend and pay less each month for a system that actually meets your needs without added complexity and features you'll never use.

Imagine saving $1200 - $3600 per year or more on your construction software system while still addressing your scheduling, file management and communication needs.

Those customers that have bucked the trend towards overpaying for construction software are ecstatic with the results. And they're not about to tell their competitors (aka "you") how they did it - that is our job !!

In 2018, we warmly welcome new customers who have been trained on competitive systems but are ready to say "no" to the monthly hemorrhaging. It's not about mudslinging here, some of our competitors have great systems - it's about getting you the results you need, for the lowest price possible, if you're willing to consider the options available... and buck the trend!

 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