Purchasing the best construction software for your business is about planning ahead and knowing your needs for the future. Software can be expensive, but it’s also often the right investment for a growing business. Having the wrong software or no software at all can be even more costly in the long run with missed growth and opportunity.
This article describes the thought process a company should start with to find the right software for a construction company.
Needs vs Wants
There are some problems you are going to want your construction software to solve right away. Do you especially need help with scheduling and time management? Add it to your needs list. Are you considering getting help with the financial side of the business? Maybe that’s a want?
You will also want to consider how and when you are going to use the software. Do you plan to work from home? Can you take your computer with you? Do you want software installed on your computer or do you prefer one accessible just from the Internet?
One need many businesses will have is support. Construction software can come with more questions than answers. Do they have good support via chat, email, or phone? When is it available?
Many companies simply need to track their issues, handle contract creation, or help making bids on construction projects. While these are separate needs, they all can help make your business more efficient and service your customer better.
Simply consider what you are missing with your current software (if you use software!) and what you would add to do it.
How much can you spend? Can you buy software, or are you paying per month for a subscription?
Also, are you currently operating using 15-year old computers with Windows 2000 on 13” square monitor? You might need a computer upgrade to run the software and should ensure the system requirements are less than your current technology.
Is it secure?
Ensure the software options you are seeking are secure. You probably store your financial records and client addresses and phone numbers in this software. Make sure no one besides you can get to them or you could face larger problems later.
Can it Grow with you?
While you are still adding software possibilities, ensure that the software has the features you need for the future. Are you going to be taking on more, additional types of work in the next couple of years? Are you going to need more “licenses” for additional users? Consider both of these and see if you can add them on later, especially if you don’t want to pay for them yet.
Rather than having to switch away from a company that doesn’t quite fit anymore, your business will run more smoothly in a few years if you are able to stay with the same software when your business grows.
Narrow It Down
Now that you have a budget and a wish list of features your business would love to have, consider which software company has the right combination of features. Which software are you really willing to pay for? Does one software company have extra “features” that you don’t really need or want that add to the bill?
Consider which is easiest for you and your business to use. People enjoy having easy to use software.
Real world usage reviews are great. Some companies offer free trials, which help you learn about usability but seeing the words or other companies who use the same software in everyday practice can be invaluable.
Are there common problems presented? What do users say about the support offered? Another issue is if you cannot find reviews at all, you might be dealing with a new company or one that doesn’t do well asking for reviews.
As mentioned before, ask for a free trial too, so you can try some features to ensure they work the way you think while you are actually working.
You can also read comparisons between construction company software like this one that offer a detailed side by side comparison between two popular construction software companies.
You now know plenty of construction software. Hopefully, you have a better idea of which ones best fit your company and offer the best features you need and want.
Installing and Learning
You got through the process and picked one out. You contacted a company and came to an agreement about what you needed.
The day has come to install. Does the software company offer a package for installation and training? Would you rather train your employees and contractors how to use your system by yourself?
While you are going to do some learning as you go, learning some complicated features early will assist greatly in ensuring the software makes your service to your client better instead of worse. Is your client counting on an accurate labor and materials quote for building a new restaurant? Make sure you and your employees know how to deliver the right numbers on time.
Installing also includes integration and knowing that some software export (or send files to) other software like Excel and more specialized construction software. Set everything up to streamline your work and your life will be easier.
With thorough research, finding the right software for your construction company can help you better shape the future of your business by selecting the right tools for the job. Where are you going to be in 5 years? Ensure you have the tools you need. By reviewing companies and narrowing down your options, you can best select the company that will provide both the best resources and the best service.
The future of your business can be more efficient, and we hope we helped you better understand the software purchase process. Your business depends on it!