(This post originally appeared on Inc)
You’re a small contractor or you run a mid-sized construction business. You do general contracting or you specialize in drywall. You build retail stores or you build homes. Either way, you either employ, partner or contract with mechanical engineers, electricians, carpenters, masons, welders, glaziers and many others like them.
When it comes to technology, none of those specifics matter. That’s because if you’re in the construction business you’re likely doing the same thing. You’re estimating jobs. You’re overseeing projects. You’re managing teams. You’re making calculations. All of these tasks – and many others – have been made easier by technology and the smartest construction clients my firm works with are leveraging new technologies to improve productivity, quality, safety and profit.
Here are five construction techs that I like.
Most construction companies are familiar with (and generally hate) the bid process. It’s time consuming and oftentimes complex. Pantera Tools solves that problem with its advanced bid management software that promises higher response rates from customers. The application offers a wide choice of customized templates that are designed to get noticed. It provides functionality for the printing of blueprints, managing contacts and document/contract administration. It also offers two very unique features: a “Plan Room” which is a personalized website designed to look like the customers’ with familiarity that enhances the bid process and a deep network of subcontractors that the bidder can access in order to round out any specialties that they may be lacking internally.
Plan Grid’s cloud based estimating application is designed to provide the maximum level of collaboration among all parties working on a customer estimate. Its features include punch lists, document and photo management, markups, task management, sheet comparisons and reporting. In addition, Plan Grid has a powerful search tool and a very concise versioning system where documents are automatically hyperlinked and versioned in order. The application also supports integration with a large number of other construction applications and can be configured to send automatic status reports and reminders.
It’s no secret in the business that DeWalt is just a trade name of toolmaker Black & Decker Inc. and it’s also no secret that DeWalt would like you to use their free calculator app because by doing so you may be encouraged to buy a few DeWalt tools. Well, good for them. And good for the app, because it’s excellent. Designed specifically for your people on the job, the mobile app – which is available both on the iTunes and Google Play stores – is a robust construction calculator with key functions for job site math and access to hundreds of functions and calculations that will aid your people doing carpentry, wiring, plumbing, masonry, HVAC, concrete and other work. Giving your people on a job site this app will help them make more accurate decisions.
Of course, you know that you cannot run a construction company without a strong project management application and there are many good ones available. Raken, however, is unique because it not only provides strong construction and project management capabilities but is also a great reporting platform. Its cloud based technology allows users – including subcontractors and superintendents – to configure and then receive or send daily reports, time cards and valuable project insights directly from the field that are specifically branded. The application will support the usual tasks and to-do’s that can be assigned and then synched across teams and devices. It also tracks hours on the job and intelligently organizes documents, photos and videos taken in the field.
An accident will happen on the job site and you don’t need to be told how awful a situation like this can become. Hopefully you’re already providing training and doing all the necessary things to ensure that safety is at its highest levels. But if something bad happens you want to also make sure that your people on the site have some help providing first aid to someone in need. American Red Cross’ First Aid app – which is available on iTunes and Google Play – provides immediate, searchable answers to just about any medical situation your people may confront while on the job and providing this quick care may make all the difference in the world.
There are others that I’m not mentioning above, of course. But your budget has its limits, right?