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The Evolution of Technology in Construction

Trades Industry Tech Evolution
Trades industry technology makes it easier to get the job, keep track of the work, and get paid in a complete and timely fashion. It is worth preparing your company for the future, making your processes work to your benefit, and joining the next wave of construction is a sure-fire way to accomplish both tasks.

Integrating technology into the management of your company is not a new concept. Especially in construction, there is an excess of documentation that must trade hands throughout a job. Business owners often struggle with how best to keep track of it all, and ensure it works to the benefit of their teams. Especially when it comes to supporting your legal team, issues with locating the right invoices, contracts, and other documentation that could make or break your defense are all too common and have been awaiting a solution for years. 

While problem-solving tech has been making itself known for decades and trying to fill in the blanks for business owners everywhere, construction-specific technology has only really begun to gain popularity over the last 10 or so years. As far as trades technology is concerned,it is important to consider the following before using it: where did it begin, where is it heading, and why is it becoming increasingly relevant? In this blog, Jim Evans, founder of BidClips, has contributed his writing and insight in collaboration with our team, on the development of trades technology and the most common problems technology can solve. 

The Early Era of Trades Technology  

Early on, most home service businesses relied on the tried-and-true method of pen and paper combined with “keeping it in our heads.” This approach, amazingly, is still prevalent today but can cause a headache to keep track of everything. Many home service companies still struggle with paper files, written tickets, work orders, invoices, and receipts. We all know that person, and truthfully many of us are that person, where their office is a crazy mess and only they know where everything is located within their giant stacks of papers. What good is creating a paper trail if you cannot keep track of it all? 

For example, a legal team would have a much harder time finding and verifying documents that could be essential in protecting your business if a business operates with the disorganized pen and paper method. Additionally, it is easy for wires to get crossed and organizational rules to go ignored when relying on hard copies because each document is passed between multiple sets of hands, all of which differ from project to project. These issues, along with the fatal flaw of forgetfulness, meant that it was only a matter of time before folks started searching for another solution.  

In the early 2000s, we began to see basic point of sale and project management systems enter the market. However, for an industry already largely unorganized, these systems didn’t help the organization as much as they just digitized the clutter. They were certainly faster than pen and paper, but disorganization at scale became an even bigger problem. Sifting through disorganized files is no different than sifting through boxes of old paper records.

The first technology that hit the market was mostly convoluted, slow-working, and took much effort to learn. Though these first efforts were primitive and challenging to use, they were a start. They were the cookie-cutter for future attempts at solving the issues construction business owners were facing and the catalyst in the developments that followed.

Negotiate better subcontracts

The Cromeens Law Firm is here to protect you and your business. We can help you negotiate your subcontracts to protect you against losing your money and your assets. Our hope is that you never sign a subcontract that puts you out of business. Work with us to equip yourself with the ability to properly evaluate your risks and negotiate your next subcontract with greater confidence and ease.

The Growing Fad of Today’s Technology  

As the years have progressed, more folks have entered the industry, and new minds have come to understand the struggles of managing a construction company and have tried their hand at making new technological aids. The desire for something that works and software that can handle it all can be whittled down to one primary motivator: automation. Business owners have found that the right technology can replace human error and increase labor efficiencies. For example, automated follow-ups on an estimate can help your sales team close more jobs with less effort. Automated follow-ups for reviews after a job can help you grow your reputation online, increase your SEO, and get more leads.  

The “fad” continues today, especially largely due to the labor shortages we’ve seen in recent years. If we spend a little time learning some basic technology, we can focus our limited staff on the most “human-intensive” tasks. Once our industry realizes that tech is cheaper than labor, we will see a revolution in finances, data, and customer experience. In our opinion, the first adopters will garnish the best gains. This is particularly true when it comes to protections and company functionality. As a business owner, preparing your company for the worst case on the front end is the best way to prevent and protect against problems on the back end. 

And there are numerous advantages to this shift in operation. Many businesses use financial and payroll software to create invoices, track accounts receivable, and pay employees. Also, field execution is a large segment technology that does a mix of van/truck tracking, scheduling, routing, and customer communication from the field. In recent years, we are even starting to see more technology help home service companies create the online “Amazon experience” that consumers expect. 

Upcoming homeowners do not want to hand you paper checks (if they even have any) or call you to make a payment. They want you to text them a link to pay for their service with Apple Pay or Venmo. They also want to see what they are about to purchase, not just read obscure line items that do not make sense. Showing pictures, videos, projects specs beforehand will help convert this new generation of buyers. Some software, such as BidClips, allows users to handle all these aspects in one location. When clients can sign contracts, approve change orders, and generally participate in the project, the use of technology practically sells itself. And with such easily accessible and customer-forward technology at your fingertips, it is easy to see why the world of construction is moving in this direction.  

Winners and Losers  

With so much new software being developed, there are bound to be hits and misses. Over the years, plenty of duds have hit the market for construction business owners. Doing ample research into software reviews, demos, and more is in the best interest of any construction company owner looking to join this rising trend. Though a product may market itself as though it is meant to make your workload easier, not every one will have the necessary functionality to serve you effectively or efficiently. 

For example, while software may allow you to file your liens online, there is no guarantee that the software or parties working behind the scenes follow an actual collection strategy or cater to the varied rules in each state. Without researching this kind of technology, which promises to help you instead of harming you, you could lose your lien rights. Because there has been such a stark influx of trades technology in recent years, it is always necessary to continue to vet the software you are interested in using, new and old. 

In Conclusion  

The world of trades technology is constantly changing. In an industry as rapidly developing as construction, it is no surprise that business owners are constantly looking for fresh solutions to age-old issues. As the world progresses in its use and development of technology, it makes sense that the construction industry should come around and follow suit. Trades industry technology makes it easier for the customer, the contractor, and the company owner to do business and allows your legal team to better support and defend you. 

Tech makes it easier to get the job, keep track of the work, and get paid in a complete and timely fashion. It is worth preparing your company for the future, making your processes work to your benefit, and joining the next wave of construction is a sure-fire way to accomplish both tasks. In the next blog, we will discuss the best way to find the trades technology that is right for your business.

This article is intended as a general educational overview of the subject matter and is not intended to be a comprehensive survey of recent jurisprudence, nor a substitute for legal advice for a specific legal matter. If you have a legal issue, please consult an attorney.

Karalynn Cromeens

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