New kid on the block... takes the $ and runs

In the market for construction software?

Good chance if you're reading this you are, and you're waiting for the pitch. Not now. This is more of a "buyer beware" article.

And the story goes like this...

We get lots of folks coming to BuildIT. We are easily found, have been for over a decade. If you are looking for construction scheduling software, you will find BuildIT. As did "Joe" (yup, name changed out of respect for privacy). Joe had been using Super Software (not their real name, but it would suit them just fine) for the past year. Spent around a grand. And it didn't perform. Nor did their team perform when Joe kept calling and asking for bugs to be fixed.

Joe put me on to Super Software - I had never heard of these guys. Sotware companies like this have come and gone over the years, it's hard to keep track of the ones that fail. But the more I delved into Super Software's website, the more I thought I should sound the alarm... and do my part to get the word out for folks like you doing their research.

We've been around since 2000, so we (as my kids would call me) are OLD. It took us about 2 years just to get a product on the market. And that product was "cloud based" from day 1... before the word "cloud" was hip.

Super Software was "founded" just a few years ago. That means that they started the company... then started to build something. And what I love about America and the Internet, is anybody can start something, then make outrageous claims about "being the best" or "being the first"... and nobody can stop you. Anybody can throw a website up, add stock photos, which you'll find everywhere online (yes, those photos of smiling girls with headsets on, and men in dress shirts wearing hardhats do NOT work for Super Software, and the smiling couple looking over a set of plans are NOT their customers).

Fortunately if you dig around, you can find a few red lights that should send you running in the opposite direction. Here are a few I found, and you'll find them on other sites as well:

1. When someone says they are the "first cloud construction platform" and they've only been in existence this decade, then they are about a decade late to the party. Like BuildIT, there are many cloud construction platforms on the market today. Your job is to find the best fit for your company while avoiding becoming a "beta tester" for software that still is in its infancy and will need a few years to either grow up, or crash and burn (and take your data with it !).

2. When a software company claims to be the "best", "best of breed", "perfect tool", or "voted #1 software on the planet" - quite frankly, they're not, and never will be. And you can prove it by test driving their software "without obligation" (that means, don't pay a dime) until you are either ready to risk being one of their beta testers, or concede that going with the tried and tested guys will be a better bet for your business.

3. When a software company has links on their website that are broken, blank pages, pages with "coming soon", server application errors, stock photography, no fixed company address, and a Twitter account that is just a shameless self promotion of their software system, those should send you packing right away.

4. If you are reading text on their website, and after a few minutes, you feel like you're reading the same thing over and over again... like this: "our cloud based construction management software is the greatest construction management software for construction managers that want to manage their construction projects with construction management software that works", and you see buzz words scattered all over their site... well, they are more interested in getting Google's attention than yours.

The unfortunate thing is, they got Joe's money and they will get Tom, Dick and Harry's at some point.

Hang on to your wallet, and make sure you compare and contrast options. Get referrals. Get an understanding of who is behind the company. And make sure they have your back and are there to help you succeed with their system. Don't pay for what you'll never use - determine what you need to grow your business/solve your problem... and go after it with surgical precision.

Now for the pitch. Call me - I'm one of the owners, and one of the veterans in the construction software space. Let's see what we can do to help you out.

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

The Life and Times of a BuildIT Salesman...

I love what I do, and I love to help those that want help, and I love to be part of BuildIT customers' success stories. 

Fortunately, the good far outweighs the bad.

But the "bad" deserves some mention.

They do say that tragedy + time = humor, and some peeves are actually quite humorous, so hopefully this will conjure up a few laughs.

First, one of my major peeves - totally useless voicemail messages. I make a lot of calls, chasing some folks down who have expressed interest in BuildIT. Some just go AWOL, and some, I believe, just never answer their phone ("the voicemail box belonging to John "to busy to check and delete his voicemails" Doe is full).

Here's one: "Hi, you've reached my voicemail. Either I'm on the phone, or out of the office..." - well, no kidding Buckwheat. Why not just say "Please leave a message and I'll get back with you shortly." That would be easy, to the point, and true.

Or how about this one: "Hi, we're currently assisting other customers, but your call is very important to us..." - call these same people at 11 PM at night, and the voicemail message is the same... so they are NOT assisting other customers, they just want you to think they're busy doing something important, have a bunch of other customers, and well, if you get through to them, you should be thankful. I'm not buying, sorry. As for the part about the call being very important to them... c'mon. That's a bit patronizing. You don't even know who I am (but I will say, when I do call someone on BuildIT business, I fully agree that the call is important :-)

Then there's the receptionist at the roofing company the other day who had the most bizarre greeting (my old chiropractor had a similar one; I subsequently switched chiropractors): "It's a great day at ABC Company, how can I make you smile!?"

Wow, how do you respond? "Uh, I want to speak with Charile!?" - not that that would make me smile... actually, what WOULD make me smile is if you just offered up a credit card and bought BuildIT for a 2 year deal and became a raving, fanatical client, but... that is wishful thinking (and she probably would say "no" anyways - so much for smiling).

I can't recall the last time I made a "cold call" to the marketplace on behalf of BuildIT. Most folks come to us, doing a search online, or are referred, so my calls tend to be with folks that have raised their hand, and by their actions, have indicated they may be interested in BuildIT. Having said that, I occasionally talk to someone who forgot that they were talking to me just days before, and somehow, their Jekyl side turns to Hyde... and I am left being asked to go forth and multiply, literally. The silver lining on that cloud is that they have disqualified themselves from being my customer and benefitting from our services. Next!

I regret that I've made a few blunders in the past, but I've learned to smile, and let go. Early on, I recall one guy sending me an email telling me that our website looked a bit "Mickey Mouse" (that last time I checked Disney.com, they were doing alright!). So I did some investigative reporting, and went to his website. Seems an explosion took place in a font factory. So I thought it my duty to inform him his website looked like a ransom note, and that he may want to ease up on the color pallete a bit.

Some folks just can't take constructive criticism !!

Despite the hiccups, and the odd phone call that can literally suck the life out of a human being, it's a fun deal. And when the right customer comes along, it makes you almost forget the few mines you've stepped on.

Cheers !!

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