We recently sat down with Dan Fellman, the owner of Smart Construction Software, a provider of construction management software. He discusses the capabilities of Smart Contractor, the issues buyers are having in their software search, and his thoughts on making the construction management software buying process easier.
Q: Who is Smart Contractor’s target market?
A: It is specifically for small to mid-sized companies doing general contract or sub-trade construction in custom, remodel, damage restoration, and light commercial construction projects.
Q: Are there different levels of your product?
A: There are different modules that you can buy separately. Typically people only start using this program one module at a time. There is a lot in it, and it’s not something that you can just start using all of it overnight. Smaller companies have less cash flow so they don’t want to dish out a ton of money quickly. So, for example, they buy the estimating module to start and then gradually add more.
Q: What are the top problems prospects are looking to solve?
A: In general, our customers are overwhelmed with paperwork. They can’t scale up their business because they have to spend so much time doing paperwork to make their business run.
Q: What makes Smart Contractor and Smart Construction Software different from others?
A: We’re very product oriented – as opposed to sales and marketing oriented. It’s our strength and strongest value for our customers. We bend over backwards for our customers.
Q: How do you overcome the budget issue, explaining that this is an investment and not an expense?
A: Basically, by demonstrating it to them. We make it easy for people to use the program before paying for it. And if it’s not a good fit, then we would rather not make a sale that is going to leave people unhappy. So, I’d have to say the way we go about it is giving people the opportunity to use it before paying for it.
Q: What is the biggest mistake you see buyers make in their search for software?
A: Well, there are two of them. One, people think they can let the software run itself. They make the mistake of not allocating at least one staff member to using the software and familiarizing themselves to it.
And two, people think that if a program isn’t easy to learn then they don’t want to use it. There are programs that are easy to learn but they don’t do much. Like we said before, the buyer needs to understand that it is an investment, and the biggest investment is time. Buyers tend to think that there is an instant pay off with software, and people get frustrated because then they get in front of the product and realize there is a lot that goes into it.