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

How can scheduling and project management software help your construction business to succeed?

(Article reprinted with permission by Jim Beadman)

A construction project could turn into a giant headache without the proper organization. The project could run late, the work could be unsatisfactory, and money could potentially be lost. Computers have proven to be great tools for organizing work and the right software can have a striking effect on any business. Organization can make or break a construction business, and it often does. Therefore, it really pays to invest in project management software.

In order to see how such software can help a construction business thrive, it helps to start at the beginning. A business that uses a good software application will be able to keep track of previous estimates and have them handy at all times. No more fumbling through a messy cabinet full of old documents. At the same time, a potential customer is much more likely to trust the services of a construction business that is organized and has the appearance of being so. This is exactly what project management software can offer even before a project commences. When a potential customer is handed a fully computer-generated estimate, construction schedule or rich text construction document (well worded contract, for instance) in a timely fashion, they will be impressed, especially if other companies they're considering didn't go through the trouble of doing that.

Once a customer decides on a business that appears to be organized, it will be up to the business to actually be organized. Project management software is just the tool to meet that goal. Once all projects are entered into the system, there will be no more surprises. The business will know exactly which project are coming up and which need to be given priority. Knowing, in this case, is more than half the battle. It greatly benefits construction to be able to see the bigger picture at a glance.

Such software also connects the individual contractors involved in the job, most of the time through email, fax, or both. When a project is large enough, there may be a great many people to keep in touch with. It can be expensive to have staff whose sole purpose is to keep people notified of their duties. Not only that, it can be prone to human error. The appropriate project management software on the other hand can inform the individuals of their upcoming jobs automatically and reliably via email and fax. The contractors involved in the project may even be able to use the software themselves to contact  management and to see what jobs they have coming up.

As touched on earlier, such management software can also act as a central repository of important documents. It could be especially useful if it can be accessed through the internet. A contractor or client may need to peruse an important document to refresh their memory about certain important details. They could go through the trouble of heading over to the management's office or they can try asking the construction company to take time out of their busy schedule to fax it over. Time and money can be saved by letting the client have access to these important documents through the project management software and the internet.

Ultimately, a construction business is actually at a disadvantage if they don't use all of the available resources at their disposal. If a construction business wants to succeed, they'll make scheduling and project management software a part of their daily operations.

About the Author:

Jim Beadman is the Managing Director of Construction Chemicals UK Ltd, who are experts in their field – from basement conversions for the serious renovator to DIY timber treatment products for protecting your home from insects and mold. With depots around the UK and an in-house chemistry specialist, they are the ideal partners for anyone wishing to undertake a renovation project, amateur or professional. When Jim isn’t working full-time helping people to transform their homes, he uses his experience to create articles which can be found around the Internet and organizes charity events from his home in Leicestershire, UK.

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

Technology Adoption Challenges for Construction Businesses

(This article reprinted with permission. Thanks to Josh Groves, President of jobtrio.com, the largest directory of construction contractors on the web. The goal of jobtrio.com is to efficiently connect contractors with consumers who truly value their services.)

Within any company, it is never easy to convince the workforce that a new, technological advancement has made an old way of doing things obsolete. For instance, no matter how my staff tried to explain to me the advantages of the new Windows 7 operating system over XP, I dragged my feet and resisted the change. From my observations, this aversion to technology adoption is far more present in the construction industry than any other major field.

For the most part, construction companies live and die by their continued presence and productivity on the jobsite. Typically, there is little thought given by management to company-wide initiatives or employee training because these acts would necessarily pull the workforce out of the field. Therefore, even if one day of training on a new technology might result in large future gains in employee efficiency, managers usually are not willing to take the risk.

I experienced this first hand as a construction industry Operations Manager for a medium-sized company. Every day I would watch at least thirty minutes get wasted by each employee as they struggled to determine which tasks were to be priorities for the work-day.  The fix seemed simple to me: adopt a basic, web-based system which could allow workers to login and view updated project management information. My estimate was that this system, taking into account training and maintenance, would pay for itself in a matter of a month.

Needless to say, I encountered tremendous resistance from my boss and from all of the workers in the field, and the initiative never got beyond my written proposal. 

This is just one example of what I experienced time and time again -- PDAs, driver GPS, field laptops -- I could never get my company to consider any of these technologies, and, from speaking with others whose businesses rely on their contractor's license, this sort of stone-walling is quite typical.  But, what is to be done? 

My first inclination is to say that until a younger, more tech-savvy generation of contractors who understand the value of technology investments steps into management positions, we aren't likely to see a change anytime soon.  However, if you are dedicated to your company's long-term success, it is wise to fight the good fight, and eventually your supervisors might adopt some of the new, money and time saving technologies which could be key to your company's survival.

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