In an industry of growth, globalization, and corporate construction giants, you could be forgiven for thinking the small construction firm was being left by the wayside.
In fact, you may even be finding that running your construction business with a spreadsheet and an ‘if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it’ attitude isn’t bringing the same results it used to.
But there’s an easy solution.
Cloud-based project management solutions are giving stretched-to-the-limits business owners like you the systems, support, and confidence they need to continue to play ball with the big kids.
Here’s what you need to know about the value of such a system for your own company:
Project management software for your construction simplifies planning
When you start work on a building project, you generally work off a blueprint of architectural plans, right? Imagine how much of a mess the project would be without those blueprints.
When managing a project, you also need a blueprint, or things end up a real mess. Laying the foundation and establishing a framework before you get started plays a big part in ensuring projects are completed on time and on budget.
Project management software will help you streamline this project planning stage with a straightforward, consistent process. You can establish a clear breakdown of tasks, resources, and deadlines to create a workflow that gives you, your team, and your client a realistic understanding of the project requirements and objectives.
Having all stakeholder expectations agreed upon from the outset will help reduce scope creep and limit the likelihood of discrepancies around deliverables with your clients, subcontractors, and suppliers.
It lowers overheads
Project management software allows you to manage your projects with one system that can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection. Because there’s no need for a physical office, it also allows you to extend the reach of your business further afield.
Software providers will generally offer scalable pricing plans, so you will be able to select a cost-effective option that suits the requirements of your business. As your business grows, the software can too, without the need to implement and update costly new systems or hardware.
It keeps you organized
No doubt one of the biggest challenges you face is managing many staff and subcontractors who are completing multiple tasks in a day. Unfortunately, time is money, and this is not where yours is best spent.
Instead, project management software lets you easily keep track of what’s what, at a glance.
Use the software to delegate tasks to your employees or subcontractors, track the progress of a building project, and stay informed if a project starts to lag behind schedule. This helps ensure that the right resources are always working on the right projects for optimal productivity.
Because most software options allow your employees or subcontractors to log in to the software themselves (you can generally allow different permission levels), the accountability gets shifted to them to update a project status and track their progress. It empowers them to take ownership in the project, and frees up a little more time for you to get back to the big picture.
It streamlines communication
With the ability to upload and share files, documents and correspondence to a cloud-based storage system, you can keep all project information in one place and collaborate over documents and plans with colleagues in real time.
Faster collaboration means faster decision making. Stakeholders can view and evaluate changes to plans or briefs, and immediately make a start on implementing them—another major benefit to keeping your project on time and on budget.
All lead, customer, and supplier information can be kept on a virtual database that is accessed via your project management software. Choosing a software solution that gives you mobile functionality means you will always have access to client data, wherever you’re working.
It ends late-night billing admin
Let’s be honest, you didn’t get into the construction business because you liked the idea of trying to make your books balance. You’d rather be creating something impressive, chasing new projects, or perhaps checking in on progress every now and then from the comfort of your deck chair.
Project management software makes managing your accounts, invoicing, timesheets, and payroll practically painless. Timesheets are taken care of by your team themselves who automatically input their hours at the end of a shift straight into the software. This functionality will no doubt help boost your team’s productivity by keeping them accountable for all their time spent on projects.
Want to get paid faster? Then you need to be invoicing in the cloud. Look for project management software that integrates with your accounting software for a seamless flow of data—yes, that means no more late nights inputting timesheets into a spreadsheet!
It prevents budget blow outs
Once you’ve entered a detailed project plan with an estimate of time and expenses, you can track your actual financials against expected costs.
Monitoring costs in real-time will ensure you stay on point with budgets and help you better manage your cashflow. This shows you where your money and time is being spent, and will provide you with financial data for more accurate job costing and project forecasting.
It makes happy customers
With project management software to keep your operations on schedule and on budget, maintaining sweet customer relations will be a breeze.
The transparency that project management software affords goes a long way in reducing oversights and preventing disputes with clients. Instead of putting out fires, you can concentrate on quality checks to ensure all suppliers and contractors stay accountable.
A better understanding of what’s happening on-site will enable you to regularly deliver clear snapshots of project progress to your clients without waiting on updates from the site. If your project is stalling, the reason for the bottleneck is easily tracked, and your clients and vendors can instantly be kept in the loop.
Project manage like a pro
Instead of focusing on budget blow-outs, scheduling hiccups, and tedious administrative tasks, you can focus your attention on strategy, stakeholder relations, lead nurturing, and future project prospects. As a business owner, the project reporting information that your software will provide, including costs, productivity, and performance, will be invaluable in driving more strategic business decisions and helping you better manage your financials.
Project management software offers you a system previously only accessible with a big-business budget. It helps you better manage multiple tasks, projects, and staff, ensuring that budget, time, and resources are put to best use, and allowing you to demonstrate tangible value in your services when compared to your competitors.
To help you choose what software will work best, take some time to consider your typical project workflow. This process will help you decide what specific features will be essential for your business operations. Talk to your team and get an understanding of their current processes; it will be easier to get them on-board with embracing new technology if it fits in with their existing systems with little disruption.
Have you already had experience using project management software for your construction business? Share your stories in the comments below!