9 Questions to Ask When Seeking Construction Software

construction software

We believe the best business development tool for construction industry companies is ours. We have the best data, pre-sorted, and customized for your business and your locale. But to stay alive in today’s techno-business environment, you need additional construction software.

2020 Construction Software Ratings

After it’s said and done, business is business, whether it’s a hot dog stand or a Big 6 corporation. The construction industry is unlike any other. Construction software for operational management should target our needs.

Out of 474 software reviews, many received 4.5 stars and should not be discounted. Here are 50 (of 83) ratings, according to reviews for this year’s 5-star construction software:

Neo Intelligence
Power Tools
Job Dox
Cordell Estimator Platinum
Construction Inspector
CM Fusion
Bizns Tool Subcontractor Software
Site Specs
Fresh Projects
Breez Workforce
Ed Controls
Sergeant Schedule

Nine Questions: Construction Software

Do several comparisons before choosing your construction software. First, define what you most need: project cost estimator, accounts receivable/payable, employee, or equipment tracking? Identify where you need to save time and money. If you are out of control in one or more areas of business operations, make a “where-we’re-losing-it” list.

You don’t have to be an IT (integrated technology) pro, but if you yourself don’t understand the questions, do your homework (or consult the nearest 14-year-old kid). Here are nine questions to ask software vendors:

  1. Can I contact some of your customers?
  2. Can you help us with training and technical support?
  3. Did you develop the solution in-house or did you piece it together from other sources?
  4. Does your software integrate with my old software?
  5. How often will I have to “upgrade?”
  6. Is your software open-source or unified?
  7. What’s the cost of ongoing service and technical support?
  8. Will my – and my clients’ – information be secure?
  9. Will the construction software quickly adapt to industry trends?

Construction Monitor offers BI (business intelligence) for any organization looking to grow. Contact us now with questions about our statistics for lead generation.
*Construction Monitor does not recommend nor endorse any Brand of business management software.

3 Uses for New Company Reports

If you’re not worried about fledgling startups, you should be. When a competitor enters your neck of the woods, you want to know about it yesterday.

What you should regularly study is building permit data for new company reports. It may include familiar names that are new to your area. But there’s nothing “new” about those established companies and they have a reputation for making lower bids because they can.

1. Use New Company Reports for Relationship-Building

We encourage startups to partner with older, more established companies because alliances are powerful in the construction industry. When you review new company reports from building permit data and you see a “new” company – that just happens to be a powerhouse in the construction industry – do the same thing.

Offer your local knowledge and experience. The more you know about your competitors, the better.

2. New Company Reports Have Detailed Information

When you review your city’s weekly new company reports, XL0 Construction Company appears. This is a company doing business throughout your area of the U.S., but its corporate headquarters is in Hong Kong.

Information you will receive includes:

  • Addresses
  • Email addresses
  • Fax numbers
  • Licenses held/permit numbers
  • Names
  • Phone numbers
  • Projects list
    • Map of project site location
  • Websites

If you need hardcopy information for a meeting, you can download it into a spreadsheet format and print. You can copy/paste your spreadsheet into a PowerPoint presentation, too.

3. New Company Information Can Generate Marketing Strategies

When you glance at Construction Monitor’s top company reports and see your name, that feels good. When you generate new company reports and see your competition, you don’t have time to feel.

It’s time to act.

Competitive analysis is critical to long-term growth because it can structure your advertising campaigns. What’s your new marketing campaign foundation? Without being obvious, it’s going to target your strengths and your competitor’s weaknesses.

Construction Monitor: The Best Source for New Company Reports

Technology has revolutionized the construction industry and building permits yield a wealth of information.

Contactemail, or call Construction Monitor today at 800-925-6085 (international callers: 435-586-1205) to learn more about geo-targeted, up-to-date analytics for our industry.

Showcase Your Completed Construction Projects

construction projects

A project that was built 40 years ago is a part of the history
of your company, but it is not necessarily interesting to
present-day clients.
Is Your Online Project Showcase Up to Par?

You likely have a large, 3-ring binder with construction projects statistics and photos. You used to carry it with you – stored in your truck – and it showcased construction projects from start to finish. Now you carry your laptop or another electronic device.

Construction Projects: Website Presentations

Today’s consumers want more information faster than ever before. Your website needs to display your completed construction projects with details in words and pictures. You need a dedicated tab for testimonials and project examples. Construction-industry professionals and property owners will often check your website (especially testimonials) before they contact you directly.

A Picture is Worth…

Photos are critical to your story of successful construction projects. If you can schedule overhead photo shoots at the end of each phase, they will present a different perspective.

Here are 5 tips for marketing your completed construction projects using photography:

  1. Candid camera – Photography of construction projects tends to be…boring. Candid shots of workers are great.
  2. Crop – Even if the photo is from a distance, if it’s clean and clear, you can crop out all the distractions to tighten the shot.
  3. Lighting – Excavations are tricky, so try flash photography, no-flash, and supplemental lighting to get the shot you want. When using sunlight, timing is everything. You want the sun at your back.
  4. Motion – You may see a photo of an idle bulldozer as a work of art, but it plays better if the bulldozer is doing something. Try to capture the activity; the flow of a construction project. 

Tell Your Story

The portfolio should not have PDF and MS Office document attachments. Opening separate files make the use of the site cumbersome.aec-business.com

In addition to a construction projects tab on your website, your blog is another way to cite previous work. Use SEO (search engine optimization) in your content to garner as many internet search hits as possible.

Construction industry companies are putting technology to work for more leads…more profit. Construction Monitor takes big data and makes it relevant and manageable for your business. Contact Construction Monitor to learn how to use building permit data for marketing development.

Getting Back to Construction After COVID-19

Construction After COVID-19

April 16, 2020, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) released a revised training and audits statement. The wording is telling: Discretion in enforcement when considering employers’ good-faith efforts to comply with safety and health standards will lead workplace standards during and after COVID-19.

Basically, they’re saying continue doing your best to keep your workplace and employees safe. Continue efforts to meet training requirements by exploring available options. If you’re at a standstill today, create a master plan that details what you plan to do later this year.

Don’t give up.

Coronavirus and Workplace Risks

Hospitals and healthcare facilities may be subject to more onsite OSHA inspections. They are the high-risk hotbed for cross-contamination and protecting workers will take priority for the remainder of 2020.

Here are risk-level examples; they include but aren’t limited to:

  • High risk – Healthcare facilities, hospice/homecare, medical laboratories, medical transport, aerosol-generating engineering sites, etc.
  • Medium risk – General public workplaces (retail, public services, etc.)
  • Low risk – Jobs that require little-to-no contact with general public and co-workers (open-space workplaces)

‘Essential’ Work

Construction is an essential industry but regulations regarding activity are strictly local. Some cities shut down construction work altogether. Some area construction businesses have chosen to stand down to protect their workers.

Project contract wording is now critical to the construction industry. You can’t put employees and/or sub-contractors at risk to fulfill the terms of a contract. Established project requirements are out the window, so re-negotiating will be essential throughout 2020.

Supply Chain Challenges

What materials are plentiful and which ones are in short supply will also dominate our industry throughout the third and fourth quarters of 2020. Much of our plumbing and electrical components come from China.

Building Permit Analysis Now Prepares You for Later

Construction industry companies use building permit data to plan marketing strategies. The information can target specific locales and give you some idea of what commercial and residential real estate development is. Those numbers are used by national economists to predict our country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

You can use that data now to study previous trends and how long our recovery time may be. But before you return to project sites, establish precautions and new workplace guidelines for onsite employees.

To minimize financial losses, take action now. Keep projects alive and get everything in writing. (Emails and texts are valid correspondence to corroborate agreements, but contracts are always better.) Despite the public lack of commitment to “non-essential” construction projects, your vigilance is what will make the difference during this time.

Keep work alive and lay the foundation for new projects.

Information and what you do with it is more critical than ever. If you have questions about data analytics and how to use them, call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor.

Essential vs. Non-Essential Construction During COVID-19

Construction during COVID-19

Retail stores and other commercial businesses have adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic as possible. Social distancing governs how we live, work, shop, and play. We’re living in a strange time now.

There’s been much discussion about essential and non-essential services in the United States. How we do business in the construction industry is greatly altered.

“Essential” construction industry projects are prioritized and may resume quickly. “Non-essential” construction projects may be on hold another month. Or longer.

Essential Construction

San Francisco has defined essential vs. non-essential construction for in-the-works projects. There are 8 categories of essential construction projects that may continue working if they follow social distancing requirements:

  1. Affordable housing/income restricted residential units’ development
  2. Construction necessary to safeguard existing construction sites
  3. Construction/repairs for Essential Businesses’ properties
  4. Critical, non-commercial services projects involving homeless, economically disadvantaged, special-needs, and/or elderly
  5. Healthcare projects directly related to COVID-19 response
  6. Projects directly involved with maintenance, operation, or repair of Essential Infrastructure.
  7. Public works projects
  8. Shelters/temporary housing (not including hotels/motels)

The Gray Areas

Companies must follow state-and-local-government-specific construction guidelines. In most areas, non-essential projects are on hold. “New parts of a non-essential infrastructure project” may not be started. However, if your project falls under the non-essential category, there are situations in which you might be able to complete work.

For example:

  • Completion is permissible if the work needed to shut down the project is equal to/more than completing the project.
  • If a housing project has a defined percentage of affordable housing, construction may continue.
  • New housing starts must meet a “critical need.”
  • Residential renovations may continue if the continuance is necessary for safety/functionality.
  • Residential work on vacant properties may proceed if the work will make the property habitable. Construction can be completed to guarantee usable:
    • Bathrooms
    • Ceiling/walls paint (for sanitation to prevent mold/vermin infestations)
    • Electricity
    • HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning)
    • Kitchens
    • Plumbing
  • Roof installation can continue for weather protection.
  • You’ve got 3 walls built. You can build the fourth wall so the structure “stands secure.”

Site-Specific Health and Safety

By now you have developed your company’s site-specific health and safety plan, based on COVID-19 Construction Field Safety Guidelines. Record-keeping is critical: You will need to be able to track employee movements and note potential exposure events.

Be prepared. Soonyou’ll need to work harder…and smarter.

Construction Monitor’s success depends on your success. And the success stories for 2020 will be the construction industry-related businesses that used construction data to gain insight and develop marketing strategies. Call 800-925-6085 or contact Construction Monitor to learn more.

9 Tips for Getting Your Contracting Business Through COVID-19

Contracting Business

The National Law Review offers this piece of advice for your contracting business: Get it in writing!¹ That’s especially true during the coronavirus pandemic that is threatening our nation’s population and economic health.

Coronavirus vs. Your Contracting Business

This situation is here and now. It changes every day, so if you had an optimistic 5-year plan for your organization, toss it away and get ready to move quickly. 

Here are 9 tips to get your contracting business through COVID-19:

  1. Be proactive – If you’re silent, clients and employees become extra-nervous. Communicate with emails and online how you’re managing this event. Share due diligence efforts and business recovery plans.
  2. Communicate early – By now you should have reached out to all project stakeholders to review terms of performance, timelines and costs. Strive to keep projects alive and get everything in writing.
  3. Consider mobility implementations – If administrative and back-office personnel can work from home, consider making the move to a mobile workforce.
  4. Contract modifications – Every project contract you have in the works needs to return to the table. Try to recover or offset rising costs.
  5. Coronavirus impact – The time to “wait and see” is past. Your contracts should have included “excusable delays” or “force majeure” clauses. Provide notice to all contract-holders how coronavirus has impacted contract deliverables, including supply chain issues. Cite all time/performance delays, real and predicted.
  6. Cybersecurity – If administrative people will be working from home, you may need to upgrade cybersecurity and educate them about not compromising confidential information.
  7. Prepare for new workplace safety requirements – Your employees will need masks and/or gloves to reduce virus cross-contamination.
  8. Put it in writing – Document every communication, every delay, every challenge… If you weren’t the kind of person to keep a “diary,” you need to start. Others are depending on you to show diligence in trying to salvage work.
  9. Update policies for paid days off/sick days – This is going to be a tricky area. Employees must not be “punished” for staying home when sick, but your guidelines must also be reasonable. Consult with HR and/or legal professionals to revise employment terms.

Construction Monitor is Here for You

What’s happening now is temporary, but it will change the way we do business forever. Your contracting business can prepare for growth, even while time seemingly stands still. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us to learn more about using construction data reports.

We wish continued good health for you and your company.

What Does COVID-19 Mean for the Construction Industry?

construction industry

By April 10, 2020, the Associated General Contractors of America revealed more than half of the construction firms in the United States had stopped work and 40 percent had laid-off employees, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 74 percent are seeking loans using the new Paycheck Protection Program.

In one week’s time, the number of canceled projects more than doubled. Shortages, including personal protection (masks) and construction materials, were reported; a small percentage of contractors reported equipment shortages.

“The construction industry is ready to rebuild our economy,” said AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr, “But that can’t happen without strong federal support and investments.”

EPC Contracts Will – or Won’t – Protect Construction Firms

Projects that aren’t being abandoned will need to return to the table for renegotiations, but not quite yet. No one is able to predict when our country will return to nearly normal.

All bets are off regarding future market shifts. No one can recall dealing with anything like this. Ever. Every industry in the world has felt the impact of COVID-19.

Most project developers feel as if we’ve gone far beyond standard “force majeure” language in construction contract terms. “Contractors will likely re-think whether traditional exclusions for relief are acceptable,” said law firm White & Case.

EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) projects have been scuttled due to government-imposed regulations. Cities, state, and federal shelter-in-place requirements may impact force majeure unless there are changes in law; specifically, changes in the language of some laws. Contracts between construction firms and developers and stakeholders/investors will come under close scrutiny.

Recovery is Guaranteed

We’re Americans. We always come together in times like this and we will come back better for it. Try to avoid hard-and-fast business decisions based on economic advisories. However…

After examining the numbers – coronavirus and economic trends – here are what equity analyst Preston Caldwell and CFA Karen Andersen suggest:

  • Restrictions will begin lifting in June 2020.
  • Social distancing measures will return as the virus resurfaces throughout the year.
  • The dire predictions regarding long-term economic disruption are incorrect.
  • Fiscal stimulus should prevent a collapse in demand.

“Overall, we still expect a modest long-run economic impact, with GDP down 0.9%,” said the researchers. “In our view, a COVID-19 recession doesn’t fit the mold of a 2008-style recession with longer-lasting economic impact.”

Refer a Friend and Read Construction Monitor on Your Kindle Fire

Use this time to prepare for a construction industry economic upswing. And stay connected with us. Construction Monitor is the construction industry source for applied building permit information. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.

We’ll send a new Kindle Fire to you if your friend purchases an annual subscription. (This also applies to friends that were members before 2013.)

How Is the Construction Industry Using Building Permit Data?

using building permit data

The construction industry is “all general contractors and operative builders primarily engaged in the construction of residential, farm, industrial, commercial, or other buildings,” according to NASA. This includes special trades and sub-specialties:

  • Appliances
  • Building materials
  • Cabinets
  • Countertops
  • Fireplaces/stoves
  • Floors
  • Furniture
  • Garage doors
  • Interior design
  • Landscaping
  • Lighting
  • Mortgage lenders
  • Paint
  • Pools/spas
  • Property management
  • Tile/granite/marble/stone
  • Title/financing professionals
  • Waste management
  • Windows/doors

…And many more.

If you sell or service anything used for residential or commercial properties and the people that build and buy them, you need to utilize construction industry data. Careful analysis of construction industry information from building permits can shape your marketing strategy for 2020 and beyond.

A local (and very successful) dry cleaners chain uses building permit data to market welcome-to-the-community specials. (They offer free pickup/delivery for first-time orders.) The ROI (return on investment) more than justifies the cost.

How can you use building permit data?

City/State Information on a Need-To-Know Basis

Information is driving our country and your industry. What you need to know when you need it is available. It’s up to you to apply construction industry analytics and statistics to increase business.

What You Get from Building Permit Data

Here’s what your local building permit information can deliver:

  • Opportunities – Demographic data: Lakefront property owners, townhouse dwellers, and rural log cabin owners have very different lifestyles. Your company can cultivate their interests.
  • Opportunities – Project values and where industry money is going in your state/county/city.
  • Opportunities – Renovations in a wealthy neighborhood may reveal receptive marketing targets.
  • Risks – Tracking building permit data can also reveal declining projects. Acting quickly to shift your marketing focus can save time and money.

Learn More to Earn More

Contact Construction Monitor to access the biggest repository of up-to-date construction industry information. Your data is customized for your area and your company.