The sky is the limit when it comes to Applications and Systems these days. Especially in the Construction Industry. There seems to be an app for everything. We understand that it can be daunting when trying to decide what apps best suit your individual business needs, which is why we have compiled a few key points (after hundreds of hours of research) to consider when making your selections.
You’ll likely find there isn’t one silver bullet app out there, so be mindful that you may need multiple apps (just don't go overboard). If the app does a few things well and provides business efficiencies for you, then you already have a big advantage. Also, don’t feel like you need to use every feature within the app you have chosen just because the option is there.
We are lucky, we now live in an age where integration has been a key focus for app developers. This allows the app developers to focus on a few key features or functions and champion that execution. Take Xero for example, it is great at managing our business finance function, but it stops at that. It’s simple and it works! It then has an app store so you can bolt-on and customise your unique business experience and run your business the way you want. Many other finance apps also follow this methodology.
Below we have chosen a few key Construction Business functions and listed some things you may want to consider when selecting an app that suits your business needs.
Accounting and Finance: Do you need an accounting software platform to track your business income and expenditure? How are you going to send your invoices? Do you need payroll? Do you want to go paperless with your business and store everything digitally? Are there ways to automate and simplify the accounting and bookkeeping component of your business? Can you reduce data entry?
Sales: The sales function of your Construction business will likely include managing your leads, estimating, and quoting. How are you planning to keep track of your leads progress? Do you want to automate your leads? Estimating is likely to be the most labour-intensive component of this function - can you easily replicate the repeatable tasks? Does the system you have chosen, allow you to save time each time you produce a new quote?
Delivery of the Build or a component of the build: Do you need an app to help support the delivery function. This could include scheduling the tasks required during each phase of your build. Are you able to easily track your estimated or budgeted costs vs your actual costs? How can you improve in your next job if you don’t know where or when you went wrong?
Team Management: Will you be managing a team? This can include both employees and contractors required to complete the labour components of the build. How are you going to schedule the team among your job sites? Can you link your employee or contactor timesheet hours to the hours you have estimated the tasks to take? How do you plan to communicate with your team – do you need a group messaging system or a simple way to share site-specific documents?
Safety and Quality Management: Are you across all the legislation and regulations required for Construction Compliance? How are you going to implement this and maintain your records? Is your solution simple and easy to use? If it is, then it's more likely to be followed and adhered to.
It can seem costly having multiple app subscriptions, however as the business owner, have you ever worked out how much your time is worth in an hourly dollar figure? Multiply that by your timesaving’s, and then weigh up if the app is good value for your business.
And remember these subscriptions can either be categorised as business overheads or per job costs, so account for them and factor them into your job estimates. Most apps offer a free trial period. Choose a good time and test it out before investing too much time into the setup. Watch the demos and lean on the setup support teams to make sure you are getting the most out of the app.
This is also a topic we cover as part of The Builders Lounge Workshops. You'll have the opportunity to ask questions, hear from industry experts and discuss new ways of working with like-minded builders.
Good luck and we hope these considerations help you to find the apps that are the best fit for your business needs.