Is Your Construction Software Helping to Make You More Profitable?

Those in the industry know that the construction industry is highly competitive. Profit margins are tight and everything that your company does needs to contribute to profitability if you really want to get ahead and stay there. This means that even the most basic service call needs to somehow make you some profit. Business tools are no exception here, either – they need to contribute to profitability or else they need to be replaced. The purpose of this article is to help you see if your current software is contributing to your profits or if it is another overhead expense that should be minimized.

Job Cost
Simply put, the more accurate the information you use for job costing, the more profitable your jobs will be.

Things to check for in your current system or in new systems:
– job cost projections can easily be produced on a regular basis
– Your software warns you (as early as possible) when jobs go off-track in terms of cost
– the software provides you real-time access to the actual costs for a given project or job

Project Management
Software that allows you to automate your project management is always ideal as it requires less time and saves money. However, it will ultimately come down to how well your software can track details (or how well you use the software to track details). If a few change requests go unnoticed, your entire team could end up working for free,

Things to check for in your current system or in new systems:
– does the software track job details in one easy to access database?
– can change orders be tracked from initial RFI to invoicing?
– are there forms available in the software that enable a “turn key” production of submittals, RFIs, and so on?

Service Management
If you’re looking for a way to improve your level of service, build a better reputation for your company, and produce a significant ROI, then you may want to look at the service management module within your construction software. For contractors that perform service work, these modules can be used to automate billings, improve customer service, and provide support to your in-the-field technicians.

Things to check for in your current system or in new systems:
– does the software handle dispatching in a manner that helps improve the efficiency of technician use?
– Can the construction software handle things like GPS tracking of trucks or mobile communications with technicians to allow real-time date transfers/exchanges?

In the end, the software that you use needs to be capable of delivering reports that contain the information you need to make critical business decisions. To maintain the profit margins that you expect to make, you need to be able to quickly catch problems like cost overages and be able to use real-time information to make the decision about what to do next.

Things to check for in your current system or in new systems:
– a comprehensive list of standard reports
– the ability to create custom reports to meet specific requirements
– “Dashboard reporting” capabilities – the ability to create “high level” reports for owners or upper management that provide at-a-glance performance information but also give the ability to drill down to the details.

The ability to integrate your core technologies and have them communicate with each other can drastically reduce the amount of time you have to spend ensuring ample communication is taking place between departments, which can help increase margins. Integrating your accounting, operations, and service modules makes this possible.

Thing to check for in your current system or in new systems:
– is enterprise-wide collaboration possible? Can accounting, operations, and services all view the same “financial page” and see how their activities impact the overall company?
– is reporting flexible for each department?
– does data have to be input multiple times by each department, or does it all reside in one single database that only requires one entry?

Determining if Software is Profit-Producer or an Expense
Only by taking the time to evaluate the efficiency in which your construction software streamlines work flow, automates processes, and provides you with the information that you need to make informed decisions, in real time, can you determine if your software is really worth what you’re paying. If you found yourself questioning whether or not your software can meet some of the aforementioned capabilities, it may be time to consult some construction software reviews and find a new system that will contribute positively to your bottom line.

David Kraft is a freelance author that writes about numerous subjects. He is very knowledgeable about construction management software and writes tips for business owners looking for advice in selecting their next software package. Check out his construction software reviews site for more info.

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