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Why (and What) Construction Companies Need to Automate

Reesa David
November 16, 2020
8 min read

It always seems like there’s just never enough hours in the day. It’s funny—you set deadlines and goals for months or even years down the road, yet you always find yourself competing against the clock in crunch time. “Man, if I could just get caught up, there’s so much I could do.”

The truth is that it’s never been about not having enough time. You, I, and every other inhabitant of planet earth gets 24 hours a day to live, work, and make decisions. So the issue isn’t exactly a lack of time, it’s a lack of direction. Don’t misconstrue that as meaning there’s been a lack of hard work—that’s the farthest thing from the truth.

The main issue plaguing you and other construction managers is that tedious and tiresome tasks eat up far too much of your day. Given their vitality, it can almost seem irresponsible not to dedicate an overwhelming amount of time to them. Instead of completing tasks with the goal of moving in a productive direction, you find yourself completing tasks just to stay afloat. 

Crunching numbers, tallying spreadsheets, and certifying OSHA regulations don’t have to drain the hours from your day. Yes, these things need to get done, but that doesn’t mean that you have to do them. Construction management software that provides automated operation of simple yet voluminous tasks is something that your business should take advantage of—and you won’t have to break the bank to make it happen. 

Business is Booming: Get Your Backlog In Order

When it comes to construction project management, you’ll face problems of all shapes and sizes. Right now, there’s one problem that you’d be fortunate enough to recognize as your worst professional malady—business is booming. 

“While most of the economy remains under pressure, housing continues to be an exception. Solid demand as well as low mortgage rates are driving growth in home sales,” Rubeela Farooqi, Chief U.S. Economist at High Frequency Economics

(Source: MarketWatch)

The housing sector has continued to succeed while other divisions of the economy have faltered, with housing starts rising 11% compared to 2019. In the Northeast, the pace of new housing growth has unquestionably outshined all other areas of the country with a 67% jump in new housing starts.

So, how exactly is “too much work” a problem in today’s world? Given that the coronavirus pandemic essentially hit the pause button on the construction industry (and life) for several months, having your backlog under control is more important than ever. 

The truth is, having a hefty backlog can do severe damage to your business and its reputation. If work is severely delayed—or worse yet, faulty or incomplete—this will be reflected in online customer reviews. Even if your explanation for delayed work is something truthful and understandable along the lines of “we had other jobs to finish first”, that simply isn’t good enough. If your customer does not feel as though they are being personally catered to, you haven’t done well enough. 

Despite the possibility of skating by with minimal customer resistance during a delay, you still have OSHA reviews to be concerned about. Though you prioritize safety and compliance at every one of your job sites, disorganization never helped a business in its efforts to stay compliant. 

Real Time Budget Adjustments

Having a steady cash flow is good. Having accurate, exhaustive reports of your business’s finances is great. Having accurate, exhaustive reports of your business’s finances that are easy to view, share, and adjust in real time is what will take your business to the next level.

When was the last time one of your jobs followed its original schedule? Or the last time a project came in under-budget? Expenses on the job change every day, perhaps even every hour—the cost of construction materials has steadily risen this year. If your estimating software is rigid and inflexible, you’ll have a hard time accommodating the necessary needs of the project. 

Real time budgeting transparency doesn’t just exist so that you can keep a close watch over the job. It also helps your customers stay in the loop about what’s happening—and what isn’t. As you know all too well, customers and vendors often have a selective memory of sorts when it comes to what they want, don’t want, and are willing to allow. If you’re able to clearly answer all of the five W’s, chances are disputes will be much less frequent and shorter in length. On top of that, you’ll save yourself time by having your entire construction management software system just a click away. 

Keep Your Subcontractors Close

You and your customers aren’t the only people who would benefit from clear, transparent automated processes. There’s a lot of people from outside of your business that you need to keep in the loop—various subcontractors, electricians, material suppliers, plumbers…the list goes on and on. 

Having an unreliable subcontractor can torpedo an entire job. You probably have a horror story or two to share. Unfortunately, there are going to be people who are simply unreliable and/or negligent. It comes with the territory of being a professional in the construction industry. However, most disputes and disagreements don’t actually stem from malice, they stem from a lack of communication.

So what can you do to avoid these situations? The best bet for you and your business is to stay involved and informed. Set the parameters for workplace communication. Have a centralized database where you can keep tabs on your subcontractor’s certifications, insurance coverage, and most importantly, the status of the job.

When it comes to insurance coverage, both contractors and subcontractors have a lot to keep organized. Different requirements for different states (let alone countries), legal expenses, medical claims, etc. For these reasons and many more, it’s important to make sure your business can keep track of it all—without having to do it all manually.

There is no fool-proof, fanciful tactic to fully prevent a subcontractor from lapsing on his or her duties. What you can prevent, however, is ambiguity and wasted time surrounding their work. By putting systems that facilitate transparency in place, you’ll be able to assess whether the subcontractor is adequately performing the task at hand or if it’s time to pull the plug. Either way, you’ll be able to service your customer efficiently. 

Construction Management Software, Evolved

This year has provided a lot of twists and turns, but through it all, the construction industry has once again established itself as a resounding backbone of the American economy. Projects were put on pause, but now that some semblance of normalcy has returned, it’s time to prepare for what’s ahead.

If you were anxiously awaiting the cliché of all clichés, here it is: time is money. All kidding aside, it’s the truth. Finding ways to help your business better deal with backlog, manage real time budget adjustments, and keep tabs on subcontractors will allow you to get back to doing what you’ve always aimed to do, but seemingly didn’t have time for: growing your business. 

Reesa David Headshot

Reesa David

Reesa has spent her career in various stages of business within the construction, environmental, and technical sectors. Her education, management experience, and passion for aiding in the success of others has led her to helping people accomplish more with the most efficient technology and processes. Reesa loves to travel and read a good book under the sun.