A closer look at construction software pricing

I was reading a competitor's newsletter the other day. They were talking about their pricing.

"...pricing as low as $ XX per project per month..."

Clever. Penalizing those with more projects on the go. The more success you have, the more you pay the piper.

It got me thinking.

There's a lot of fine construction software out there (some real duds too), and each company puts their spin doctors to work on how to share pricing with you, the prospective buyer. And each company is trying to figure out how to extract as much $$ from your wallet, and still make you feel like you're getting great value.

They'll marginalize the cost (dollars per day, dollars per project) and hide some of the extras. Some will "bait and switch" you, get you on board, then upsell you to the package/module you really need.

Here's the formula, simple and sweet:

You'll buy when PV > 10C (that is, "perceived value is at least ten times greater than cost").

For instance, when you pay BuildIT for a 1 year subscription, in your mind, if you don't see $8 - $10K in your pocket by year's end, you'll go elsewhere (or stick with your free legal pad or spreadsheet).

When we started BuildIT many years ago (an eternity in Internet Age years), we sat around a small particle board desk and tried to figure out what we should sell our first release for. We knew it had to be greater than 0 (we weren't registered as a non-profit). We came up with a number, and surprisingly, people bought.

Over time, we've refined the application, figured out the language of our customer, added more valuable time-saving tools to the system, and one other thing:

We've drastically reduced our price.

Why?

We understand a few things that the other guys are having a hard time figuring out.

  1. We can't be all things to all people. BuildIT is not an "all in one" solution. It is a tool which helps you in 3 main areas: scheduling, online file management, and communications. Because we have a narrow focus, we can have a narrow price point as well. The big guys that offer complex, enterprise suite solutions, well, their pricing is also complex, and enterprise level (read: big money).
  2. You'll pay for many features you won't ever use. You'll pay thousands just to get started. And you'll pay equally as much if not more in getting ramped up, training, lost time during the transition. And sadly, the thing you bought may end up on the shelf in the back room just next to your year-end file box from 1998.  We know that simple and rudimentary is a good thing. It means those on your team with the least amount of technical aptitude (that may be you) have a shot at using BuildIT with success. Get them using the email system, and viewing the schedule on a regular basis ... and the battle is half won. Simplicity and ease of use - it's definitely the ace up our sleeve.
  3. We've kept our company simple, not adding layers of staff, management, overhead, boardroom furniture, stuff that our competitors get YOU to pay for. We don't spend $1000's on advertising, expensive trade shows, playing trains/planes and hotels. We don't have "distributors" - there's no need for that added cost. We are the envy of the industry - just Google: construction scheduling software, and look who comes up on the first page.  Our competitors are still trying to figure that one out.
  4. We've made the system easy to use, and easy to learn, at any time of the day, in any time zone. This allows us to price BuildIT ridiculously low, so pricing is the least of your hurdles to getting started with us.

BuildIT pricing: starting at $96/m small business subscription.

So, whether you're doing 2 projects this year, of 200, you'll pay the same price.

We're honored to be competing with packages that are in the $5K - $10K price range. I often refer our test drivers to those packages. See what's out there at that price.

Your PV (perceived value) of BuildIT will skyrocket in their shadows.

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

Does BuildIT integrate/sync with...

Nope, sorry.                                      

It's a question that pops up from time to time. And it sounds legit. But, do you really want what you think you'll be getting?

Two separate software companies...

Two separate design teams...

Two separate histories...

and an often rickety bridge to connect the two!?

When it comes to construction software, integration = pain x frustration2

While it sounds good in theory, you are talking two very different and distinct applications.

The fact is, you have one system that is primarily "back office" and offline - your accounting system. For most folks in the construction industry, that would be Quickbooks. Accounting, payroll, some pretty sensitive information on your clients... do you really want that information floating through the Net !?

BuildIT recognized years ago there was a gap. Accounting software was nailed for the most part. And show me a contractor that doesn't use a spreadsheet to create estimates and manage budgets ~ most do. What about the part where tasks need to be managed, and information shared? What about the "slippery items" in your business, that if not dealt with, cost time, money and major aggravation? The gap was filled by a system to help schedule, manage information, (including spreadsheets) and augment back office systems already in place like your accounting software.

BuildIT fills that gap.

Your bookkeeper (admin staff) stays happy ~ they are already well entrenched with Quickbooks or whatever construction accounting package the company has settled on... and they aren't too keen on switching to something new written by contractors taking a shot at the world of accounting.

You stay happy, because you spent a bunch of hours creating some nifty spreadsheets that work ~ you just need a better way to share them with your team, manage them, track changes, and store them on a job by job basis. Plus you get scheduling improvements right out of the gate.

The gap is filled. Leave the "integration" thing for those much larger companies that need mid level or enterprise project management systems. For the rest of us (the overwhelming majority of contracting businesses), it's quite alright to have a separate "stand alone" system focused primarily on scheduling and collaboration.

Reminds me of a time when a friend attempted to "sync" his Salesforce.com contact database with his Outlook and then onto his Blackberry. All his contacts were deleted in the process. I was called in to lend a hand... and after trying to follow the "undelete" instructions, I realized why I had avoided making IT a profession!

Yup, syncing is not all its cracked up to be.

With a separate scheduling solution like BuildIT, life is easier for everyone involved. We can import data for you (your schedules, contacts, job list) and you can export data from BuildIT into CSV (comma separated values) files. We don't hold your data hostage - you're free to come and go as you please.

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

How much is too much !?

You've check us out, you've checked our competitors out. 

You've short listed a bunch of applications, some web based, some old school desktop software. You may have even narrowed it down to BuildIT vs [fill in the blank].

Now the big question: How much does BuildIT cost... what's the price?

Answer 1: too much if (a) it's the wrong package for you, or (b) it's the right package, but you're not ready for it.

Answer 2: too little if you're Tom, Dick or Harry. Keep reading...

Tom (not his real name of course) uses BuildIT for a year, then decides to move on to sofware X. They spend $7,500 for 2 licenses. Now they find their new software isn't living up to the claims on software X's website. Tom says it's "buggy", some data even goes missing. I could hear his pain. And to add insult to injury, Tom's web browser seems to be stuck on bringing up BuildIT's login page. With a smile, I suggest to Tom that this could be a sign. We'd love to have Tom and his team back again.

Dick (you guessed it, not his real name) test drove BuildIT the other day, but decided to go with software Z. Rats -- I thought we had him. Software Z had a cool pricing structure. I asked Dick if he was aware that software Z charges per active project per month... he said yes. The per project per month rate was about $500 at the time. I asked Dick how many active projects per month he was doing. 20. You do the math. Ouch!

Harry (again, not his real name) calls me up. He's being hounded by one of the big guys, software Y. I admire software Y, and software Y's salesman. They're trying hard to push this deal through. But Harry is only doing a few projects this year, and software Y would be overkill big time, and with a price tag of $5,000 to get started, and monthly fees of $200, well that's about $7,400 for the year. Harry bought BuildIT instead for $795... and he's getting everything he needed in a scheduling system at a fraction of the cost.

So how much is BuildIT? Well, if you don't get success with the system, then you paid too much at any price. But given what's out there, it's worth a shot at $795 (1 user account, 1 year term discounted, or if cash flow is a concern, go with the $85 monthly subscription). You risk a few $$ and your biggest investment will be time... and we can help accelerate your learning curve so you waste precious little of that.

We play in the sandbox with some great software developers who are putting out some great apps. But for a tenth or less the cost of some of them, you can get the features you need in BuildIT to help you organize your business, schedule your work, share information with the folks that need it, and communicate more effectively.

Try BuildIT first. Take advantage of our 30 day full money back guarantee. If you're not satisfied, or if you really need more bells and whistles, well, software X, Y and Z are standing by !!

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