I started in the building industry in the 1960’s and formed my own building business in 1976. This is when estimating software and construction software as a whole, was unheard of. Like all small builders, at that time, I ran my construction business using pieces of paper and masses of folders to organise and manage my builder costs. In the late 1980’s, with the advent of PCs, I realised I needed software to ensure my business’ success.
The early days of computing for construction software
Does anyone remember MS-DOS? In those early pioneering days of industry-specific construction software, there was a quantum leap in new skills required for builders like myself. Almost all software for the building industry was in the original and cumbersome DOS format. Project management software provided limited functionality and reporting capabilities.
Was all the pain worth it? You bet! After my initial learning curve with the new building industry software, I now had the ability to keep far superior records across my estimates, jobs, tax reporting and more. I had a few builder mates who asked me to help them set up their systems. They had also realised they needed estimating software and job costing software in their businesses. They wanted to use the same construction software as I had implemented.
We all hate change, especially if we have invested a large amount of time and money in getting to a comfort zone in our business processes. Reluctantly, I realised that I needed to look for the future of my construction business and the software that would help me run it. So I started looking for alternative software. Just for a start, my existing software for the building industry was not going to be compatible with the newer Windows computers.
Trying to find the right software for the building industry
By now a number of construction project management software and construction estimating software packages, aimed at the building industry, were on the market. I invested in another package to manage my builder costs, but there was always something lacking. Some of these builder software packages were not fully integrated construction software packages. Often they were not user-friendly in the day-to-day processes required. Therefore, I also had to purchase project management software. However, reporting was limited and often of little use, or very hard to retrieve from the database.
After a couple of failed attempts to find the right integrated construction software in the mid-1990’s, I purchased what I believed to be (and had been recommended) as the best software for the building industry on offer. I paid what most builders would (even today) consider a very expensive price. However, I was desperate to get visibility of my builder costs. After 18 months of trying to get it working in conjunction with I.T. experts and vendors, I requested that it be removed from my business systems.
Grow your Construction Business
Fortunately for my sanity, and telling myself “you need something better to grow your construction business”, I had been introduced to a little-known software package for the building industry called ‘Toolbox’ (now called Bizprac). It was cost effective and was a fully integrated construction software package. This construction project management software was a no-nonsense workflow method across all areas of my projects. From the original estimate to project job cost management, to full ATO compliant accounting, that gave me any number of reporting functions and all real-time data entry. At last, I had found something that was going to be useable!
Fully Integrated Construction Software
I had become a very happy builder using Bizprac software for builders and my business was becoming very successful. Because Bizprac was a fully integrated construction software package, I could always see on a day-to-day basis where all my projects, cash flow and profits were at. My accountant was very happy with my choice of construction accounting software. He loved the accounting and ATO reporting. He was also impressed with the level of control I had regained with my builder costs.
Since Bizprac was a fully integrated construction software package, inclusive of estimating software and job costing software as well as a full accounting suite, my business had grown and I was becoming more involved in the management side. I was fortunate to have employed and trained the right person to do the site supervision for our business. He used our software for the building industry. Things continued on a gradual growth path with me, our supervisor and office staff forming an efficient and productive building company.
As we grew, I always knew ‘my Bizprac’ was the most valuable business tool we had invested in to manage our builder costs. My bookkeeper embraced the construction payroll software and was very impressed with the reduced time taken for the pay run each week. All our staff quickly became proficient at doing their tasks on Bizprac too.
Now, in hindsight, I realise I had created a very happy work environment. I remember those words that came to me in a dream “you can grow your construction business”. It just takes great planning and execution of solid processes.
Like me, you can grow your construction business. Stay tuned for the next instalment of I loved the software so much – I bought the business. You’ll learn how things started to go sour…