Top 3 Reasons to Switch Construction Software Systems

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 construction 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.

Try it now

 Scott Hutchinson
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

New Feature: Task Color Coding

Of the many things on our bucket list, this was one feature that kept being voted on, both by our customers, and by many test drivers just checking out the system. So we did it !

You can now choose from several predefined colors (29 to be exact) by clicking on the color palette icon, in these 3 places:

1. Schedule tab, top right next to the 25% button

2. Gantt pop down menu (Gantt power bar).

3. From within the Task Edit window

The key benefit here is you can now group your tasks, and use colors to quickly identify those groupings. Now your Gantt can look something like this:

And when you share the schedule with those in your contact database using the "contact schedule" feature, your contacts will see the same color coding at their end:

Scheduling is not always black and white. Try adding some color !

 Scott Hutchinson
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

"UNLI" Rice, and how it applies to construction software

Several months ago, our family flew to Manila Philippines to greet our new 13 year old adopted son. We spent a week there, meeting his caregivers, dealing with paperwork, and getting to know this young lad who would become part of our family. One of our first meals together was at his favorite restaurant Mang Inasal (translated to English - Mr. Barbeque). The place was packed with locals, so I knew the food had to be good.

I stood there in line looking up at the menu, and saw "UNLI RICE" plastered everywhere.

Of course, I'm thinking this must be a local dish, some national variety, perhaps loaded with spices and herbs. I figured why not, it was only a few pesos more... and as they say, when in Rome ... !!

We sat down, and while we were eating, this staff member was walking around with this huge bucket of white rice, strapped around his waist, like a snare drummer from a marching band. He scooped up some rice, and dumped it on our son's plate. At that moment, I learned two things:

   1. UNLI is short for "unlimited"
   2. Our new son has hollow legs (just like me at that age)

Unlimited. Let that word sink in for a minute. It sounds like a great deal, but in reality, it doesn't take long to satiate anyone's stomach when you're dealing with that much starch.

I've heard it said by all the smart and self proclaimed geniuses in Reddit that there are a finite number of atoms in the universe, so really, is anything truly "unlimited"?!

How does this apply to construction software? Well, you'll often hear or read about unlimited users, unlimited client/trade portals, unlimited jobs, and unlimited data storage - let's tackle each one here:

1. Unlimited users 

At first glance it sounds impressive, but for the vast majority of our customers (and our competitors' customers), they require relatively few user accounts to accomplish their business objectives. In fact. many BuildIT customers function quite efficiently with a single user account (often shared by 2 or more people on the team). Fewer customers have 2, 3, 4... 10 user accounts, and a small percentage of customers require more than 10 user accounts to satisfy their team's requirements. That's true for all small to mid sized construction businesses. And it's true for our larger competitors too, who may boast more features, or claim to offer a "better mousetrap". We all tend to follow a simple parabolic curve where the greater the number of "user accounts", the smaller the number of actual customers. 

This curve applies to the following 3 other unlimited offers as well. So while unlimited sounds appealing, like rice, you will evenutally reach a limit.

2. Unlimited client/trade portals

At BuildIT, we hope our customers do well, and increase their business, and we don't penalize them for having more customers and doing more work. Some competitors charge for giving their clients and trades access to scheduling information via a "portal" or weblink. Not so with BuildIT - we've never charged extra for this. And for those that advertise unlimited client/trade portals, keep in mind your company can only deal with so many people. Only one time in 17 years have I loaded a customer's contact database with over 5000 records. I can guarantee that 80% of those records were so old, they were either deceased, out of business, or have new contact information - it would be a full time job for several weeks to clean that up. And even then, 5000 is a far cry from "unlimited" !

3. Unlimited jobs

While some of our competitors continue to dip into your pocket for each new job, BuildIT users enjoy running as many jobs as they can possibly manage. Again, how many jobs can a single general contractor or tradesperson physically manage? While our software is scalable and you can create new jobs all day if you want, there is a limit to how many jobs a single person, or small team can effectively manage. Even large corporations run into capacity constraints. So the lure of unlimited jobs needs to be tempered with realistic order files. What's more important is for you to understand how your software pricing is indexed to the number of jobs that you run. I spoke with a prospect yesterday whose company is using a "field" software for construction. In one month, he launched several jobs and was billed $2000 by this supposed #1 construction software. $2000 !! His company would spend less in 1 whole year subscribed to BuildIT than one month with this software, and it astounds me that construction companies continue to endure these obscene rates when less expensive alternatives exist.

4. Unlimited data storage

Back in the days, you could charge for data storage. Some companies still do. But times have changed. Storage is cheap, and readily available. Many cloud storage options exist, some with generous free data... up to a point. Construction software companies have charged for data storage, and may offer different pricing tiers for different amounts of storage. Truth is, most people don't know if they need 1 GB, 100GB, or 1 TB of storage. So that can create anxiety for new customers who are concerned they'll reach a limit. Along comes "unlimited storage", and while that is what is marketed, at some point, hard drives/storage devices fill up. At BuildIT, we don't charge for storage - most customers don't come anywhere near to making a dent in the massive terabytes of user storage space available, and since storage technology today is cheap, it's easy for BuildIT to add storage capacity as our customer base and file storage needs increase.

As you shop for construction software, look for these claims, and ensure you fully understand their pricing structure, especially pricing that is variable and tied to increases in users, vendor/client portals, active customers/projects, and data storage. For some BuildIT competitors, come prepared with a calculator and run through some "worst case scenarios" so your accountant doesn't freak out at a surprise $2000 monthly bill !

Would you like rice with your barbequed chicken?

 Scott Hutchinson
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1