App Graveyard - Keep your Distance

As of March 2017, there were an estimated 2.8 million apps for Android users (and 2.2 million in the Apple App store). Apps are everywhere, and they are being built and launched every day.

"There's an app for that" is part of our language today, so much so that even that phase is now trademarked by Apple.

The construction software space has been inundated with apps and specialized construction software that promises you the world in exchange for a one time purchase or monthly subscription. You'll never be able to test them all - you don't have enough time on the clock!  To winnow the field, you'll have to be very specific in your search, discover what they don't offer that is critical to you, and short list those apps/systems that best fit your needs.

Having been around since 2001, we've seen construction software companies rise and fall. Some were great systems with a decent user base and rich feature set, but still, they went by way of the dodo bird. And with their demise, a slew of builders, contractors and specialty trades were left scrambling to retool with a new system.

I recently went through a list of some construction websites that I had saved, and thought it would be good to see where they are now in their development, or whether they still had a pulse. It didn't take long to see that many are history.

While not an exhaustive list, here is a sampling:

  • www.hammerati.com
  • www.constructionprofitsystems.com (some videos still exist)
  • www.mytrades.ca
  • www.ebidroom.com
  • www.buildlinks.com (these guys started with $2.5M in funding back in the day, ouch!)
  • www.myct.com.au
You can search on each of these, and find some remnants online of what they were, what they promised, but the sites more or less are down... for good.

Other sites are dying on the vine. They still exist, but haven't been updated in years. 

  • www.constructionbusinessonline.com for example. No updates since 2014.

One "project management suite" in particular got my interest. We'll call it ABC software. The founder of ABC subscribed me to their list back in 2011 so I received all their marketing pieces about how their system was the best, and it would save me time and money, and do everything for the contractor.

While ABC's website is still up, the founder has moved on to another company (quick check on his Linkedin profile), their blog hasn't been touched since 2013 and their last Facebook post was early 2014. So... all those customers that were "running more productive and effective businesses using the [ABC] construction software suite" - where do they go for support, or who do they call when they can't access their data anymore?

I called one of their "customers" today and he confirmed my suspicions. It all started out great, but in the end, they couldn't reach anyone at the company, and finally were forced to move on to another software system.

Do you want to take that risk with your data? Your business? And quite frankly, your time which you never get back?

Three of our "veteran" customers who opt to subscribe annually and renewed this month for another year of service (a multi family home builder, factory built home manufacturer, and custom home builder) have been with BuildIT now for 14, 13, and 8 years respectively. They have been using and benefiting from BuildIT longer than most of our competitors have been in existence !!

So, when you are deciding on software, you should pay your respects at the App Graveyard before choosing to bet on Software X that just made its debut and hasn't got a track record yet. Then take BuildIT for a test drive and see why we're the rock solid choice.

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