Does your construction company still use spreadsheets, texts, and emails to communicate and manage your projects? Are messages getting lost? Is your team spending hours looking for documents? Can’t find change order requests from your clients? These are all the result of managing projects with tools that aren’t integrated and don’t communicate with each other.
If you nodded your head to anything above, don't worry, you're not alone.
According to the 2020 Construction Technology Report by JBKnowledge, 45% of contractors are still using spreadsheets for project management. 27% still use them for scheduling, and 14% for field data collection. Many residential contractors are stuck using 80's technology for projects in the 21st century.
Not long ago, we were one of those contractors. But after a $7,000 mistake we knew we needed find a better way to run projects.
The newest construction management software is easy to use, runs in the cloud, and saves contractors time and money. Switching to all-in-one construction software isn’t a lot of work, and it will quickly become your favorite tool.
We’re going to look at the top six reasons why you need construction management software for your residential construction business and how to find, evaluate, and choose the best construction software for you.
Note: If you're already convinced you that you need software, you can skip ahead and check out our Construction Management Software Buyers Guide.
It’s no surprise that construction is one of the riskiest industries out there. Contractors must manage many moving parts, including subcontractors, product approvals, material deliveries, low budgets, and tight schedules. Because these risks can lead to higher costs and schedule delays, it’s important that contractors document everything that occurs on-site — every day. And they can’t waste time doing it, so efficiency is crucial.
Daily logs allow contractors to document occurrences like inspections, delays, and added work. Keeping these logs up to date is important to show clients why there were added costs and project delays.
It’s also important to document product choices made by the client for finishes and equipment. These choices greatly affect the budget and can prolong the original timeline if materials have a long lead time.
Changes to the scope of work are also pretty common when it comes to construction projects. Documenting client requests and existing conditions help to show why additional costs were incurred.
Construction software makes documenting these risks easier and faster, saving you time and making it simple for you to recoup additional costs.
Using software that runs in the cloud means that you no longer need to sift through endless papers and folders related to each job. By switching to a paper-free system, contractors can save money on printing costs and time searching for documents. Having an organized folder system stored digitally allows contractors to find exactly what they’re looking for at the moment they need it and wherever they are. This service alone can be invaluable when it comes to managing risk on projects. Contractors need to have documents available at the touch of a button to keep up with the pace of the work.
Keeping documents secure is also important. Permissions and other security features keep your documents safe in the cloud, so you can access them anywhere with an internet connection and control who sees what. And you don’t have to invest in specialized hardware, as your smartphone or tablet has the capabilities to access the information.
When conflict arises on a project, having the documents you need at your fingertips is invaluable. Disagreements can be quickly settled by reviewing communications, images, and files without leaving the job site. This helps avoid schedule adjustments and keeps conflict from stalling the progress of the work.
Keeping projects on budget is also critical, and construction project management software can help contractors control spending and track their budgets in real time. Instead of waiting for reports from the office or spending hours gathering data, project managers know exactly where they are at the touch of a button.
There are a lot of records, images, videos, and discussions generated during a project. Accessing old communications or specific items related to things like completed tasks or the budget while in the field can be difficult if everything is stored in the office or mixed up in different text and email chains. Using construction software, everything can be easily accessed anywhere there is an internet connection. All contractors need is a computer, tablet, or phone and a connection or signal. Prior communications and files are available for immediate access 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Communication between the office and field, along with clients, is crucial to project completion and staying on budget and schedule. Construction management software allows team leaders to communicate work schedules to the field seamlessly and keep everyone in sync throughout a project. Field teams know exactly what tasks they need to work on each day to keep the project schedule on track.
When problems occur, field teams can use built-in chat to quickly communicate about the situation and receive guidance from project managers or the design team. Using chat in software keeps the project moving and avoids delays waiting for responses.
Contractors can also communicate with clients through chat, sharing daily reports, and creating a customized dashboard for each client. Dashboards give customers access to the information they need to know, like whether there are outstanding issues they are responsible for, selections that need to be made, or approvals they need to complete. This transparency helps mitigate delays, avoids miscommunication, and ensures everyone knows the crucial tasks that must be done to make sure the project meets its deadline.
All of the benefits above help improve efficiency for project teams. They spend less time searching through emails and texts or looking for paperwork when everything is available in the construction management software. This saves time and money and directly increases profits.
Construction management software can also be used to manage your to do list. When it comes to the end of the project and a punch list has been written, contractors can use task lists with due dates to ensure that every item is taken care of. Items can be assigned to the responsible party so everyone knows what they must do to keep the project rolling. There’s no guessing or trips to the job site to see if items have been completed or not. This makes the transition to the construction business owner smooth and easy.
How do you know if a software package is right for your company? Here are some steps you can take to effectively evaluate software packages and select the best one:
If you’re still managing your projects, schedules, and overall communication using spreadsheets and other legacy solutions like email or texting, it's time to move to construction management software. It will help your company manage risk, go paperless, save time and money, and improve accessibility, communication, and efficiency. All this leads to lower costs, higher profit, and less stress.
If you’re ready to simplify your projects and improve your business, make the jump to modern construction management software for custom home builders and remodelers. BuildBook helps residential construction companies run better projects, deliver an amazing client experience, and drive more profits with less stress. It’s 100% free to try without a credit card. Start your free trial