How to Use Software in your Construction Business
12 June 2023
Job management software is one of the most commonly used solutions for construction businesses. And yet, there’s a lot of confusion around how the right software can actually be used.
That’s why, in this post, we’re going to share:
- What construction software is
- How it can help maximise growth in construction
- How to properly use tech in your construction business
By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear idea of how to drive more revenue and boost the efficiency of your entire team.
For now, though, let’s dive into the basics by addressing the following question: what is construction software?
What is construction software?
Construction software is a suite of digital tools and applications designed to meet the needs of the construction industry. It includes a range of solutions, such as job planning and scheduling, resource allocation, communication, real-time tracking, and invoicing.
In short, the right system, like BigChange, helps construction businesses to more efficiently plan, schedule, track, and communicate with teams and clients. Many businesses use it to improve productivity, increase revenue, and grow and scale operations.
You can find out more about BigChange’s platform now, or keep reading to see how construction software maximises growth
Maximising growth trends in construction
According to the Office of National Statistics, the UK construction sector makes up 9% of the UK’s GDP and is well on its way to recovering from the severe hit from the pandemic.
But a 2022 Access Group report says construction businesses face five key challenges that stand in the way of increased growth:
- A time-consuming estimation process
- An excess of time spent on reporting
- Difficulty in managing people costs and projects
- Manual input of data and dealing with manual errors
- Keeping on top of cash flow
The good news? The right software can help you tick off all of these and more.
Let’s show you how. 👇
How software helps with a time-consuming estimation process
Luckily, pricing your work needn’t be a headache. With certain tech in place, like field service management software, you can create a digital rate card and price list that you can easily tailor to your clients’ projects — all at the touch of a button.
This means you can:
- Quote jobs more accurately based on resource, travel time and vehicle costs required.
- Charge customers the right amount with bespoke price lists and rate cards
- Monitor and understand job margins with on-demand reporting
- Reduce paperwork by allowing customers to review and accept quotes online
Some tools even offer a function that gives customers the ability to ‘legally’ accept quotations and order forms/contracts. For example, upon acceptance of a quote, a “Certificate of Completion” is created and sent alongside the quote, which shows:
- signatories details;
- times and dates of receiving/viewing/completing the document;
- the IP address from the computer which signed the document;
- the operating system and much more.
All of this ensures a legally binding quotation/contract. (More on this here).
Plus, aside from your quotes being more accurate and straightforward to create, you’ll find that your first-time fix rate increases and your technicians can attend more appointments each month. 🚀
How software helps with time spent on reporting
Reporting can be time consuming without the right tech in place. Especially if you have systems that don’t talk to one another. But when your systems are all in sync and integrated in one place, you can easily access the insights you need.
For example, the right job management software enables engineers to update job statuses, progress, and any changes instantly. This real-time visibility allows you to access up-to-date information without delays. As a result, you can generate reports, updates jobs, and much more on-demand.
What’s more, some software provides customisable templates that can be tailored to your needs. Once the desired format is created, your template can automatically populate with relevant data taken from your CRM, making everything from emails to reports a matter of minutes to produce. This eliminates the need for manual report creation from scratch, reducing time spent on formatting and ensuring consistency across reports. Plus, it adds a really polished branded look to all your documents. ⚡
As a final point, software with an integrated CRM eliminates the need for duplicate data entry. And with an historical record of job data, users can quickly and easily track trends, identify patterns, and analyse performance over time. Plus, it also means that you have access to any notes from previous visits, regardless of who attended, making first time fixes more likely.
How software helps with managing engineers
So this is one area where the right software can really help construction businesses to simplify and solve. In fact, there are several features and capabilities that can greatly assist in managing engineers effectively:
- Scheduling: Field service management software allows managers to assign jobs based on factors like how close they are, availability, skill set, and workload.
- Mobile app: Engineers can view their assigned tasks, update job statuses, record work completed, and capture customer signatures directly from their mobile devices. This eliminates the need for paperwork and allows engineers to manage their tasks efficiently while on the go.
- Routing and real-time tracking: These features help engineers get to customer locations using optimised routes, reducing travel time and fuel costs. Plus, you can also monitor the real-time location of engineers.
- Communication: Managers can easily communicate with engineers, providing them with job details, updates, or instructions. Engineers also have the necessary information and can respond promptly, reducing delays and improving efficiency.
And if that’s not enough, you could even use the tech for performance tracking. For example, you could analyse key performance indicators (KPIs) related to engineer performance, such as response times, job completion rates, customer satisfaction scores, and more.
It also means that you can be responsive to urgent jobs, and send all the information and worksheets that they’ll need out to an engineer in real time while they’re on the road. 🚗
How software helps with manual data entry
We’ve talked about this a lot in previous posts, but in short, the right software can massively help with manual data entry.
There are a number of ways it can do this:
- Mobile data capture: Software like BigChange includes a mobile app that allows engineers to capture data directly on-site using their mobile devices. They can enter job details, customer information, work performed, parts used, and other relevant data in real-time. This eliminates the need to write on paper forms and later transfer it into a digital system, saving time and reducing the risk of errors. It also allows for information capture in different formats, e.g. barcode reader, photos, or videos.
- Integration with other systems: Field service management software often integrates with other business systems. This integration allows data to flow seamlessly between systems, eliminating the need for double-keying.
- Automated forms and templates: Some clever tech even provides pre-defined forms and templates for capturing specific types of data, such as safety checklists, service reports, or safety documentation. Engineers can then use drop-down menus, checkboxes, or pre-filled fields, minimising the need for manual data entry.
How software helps with keeping on top of cash flow
While this point is last, it certainly isn’t the least. Without good cash flow, managing your construction business could be crippling.
So how can software help? Let’s take a look:
- Invoicing and billing: Some tech includes integrated invoicing and billing capabilities. So after a job or service is completed, the back office team can issue the invoice straight away. And if they have Sage/Xero integrations they will only need to add these once. This streamlines the billing process and ensures prompt and accurate invoicing, improving cash flow by reducing delays in payment collection.
- Payment integration: Additionally, some software can integrate with payment processing systems, allowing customers to make online payments directly through the software. By offering convenient and secure payment options, businesses can speed up the payment collection process and improve cash flow.
- Real-time job costing: The right software should provide real-time visibility into job costs, including labour, parts, travel expenses, and other relevant expenses. By tracking costs as jobs progress, businesses can monitor profitability and make decisions to optimise cash flow. Plus, this helps identify any cost overruns, manages expenses, and ensures that invoicing accurately reflects the costs incurred.
To sum up, all these features streamline financial processes, improve payment collection, provide insights into financial performance, and enable proactive cash flow management. In short, you can get paid faster and better understand where costs are going.
Use the best software in your construction business
With the construction industry well on its way to recovery, construction businesses have a unique opportunity to grow over the next 12 months. Blockers such as low project visibility, manual errors, and slow estimation and reporting processes are being simplified and solved through investments in technology.
And this is where BigChange comes in.
BigChange has been at the forefront of the construction industry for over a decade. So why not join clients, including Forecourt Construction and supercharge your business today with the best software for the job.
For more information on how to choose the right job management software, here’s a great resource.
Or if you’re ready, you can talk to an expert now.
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