How to Choose the Right Apps for Your Construction Business

by: Smith and Howard

March 18, 2016

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Like many contractors, the owner of a growing suburban homebuilding company wanted to take advantage of the many mobile construction apps now available for smartphones, tablets and laptops.  With so many available, he couldn’t tell which ones were worth downloading and which ones were just cluttering up his employees’ devices while nickel-and-diming the technology budget. So how does a construction company owner choose the right apps?

It isn’t so much the cost of the apps that’s the problem. Rather, a deluge of different app downloads can create confusion, cause delays and errors, and inhibit the smooth integration of data into accounting and project management systems.

Picking the categories

The solution is to create a list of preferred apps in various categories for employees to download only as needed. Examples include:

  • Labor-tracking apps for the construction industry. These typically use GPS capabilities to let project managers know that crew members are where they’re supposed to be. The apps can automatically log employee work hours to specific job names or numbers, so workers don’t need to fill out time cards and managers don’t have to review them. (Examples: Labor Sync and ClockShark.)
  • Drafting apps for the construction industry. A variety of apps allow users to view, edit and share building drawings directly from their mobile devices. This technology can eliminate the need to bring printed copies into the field and allow easier commenting and revisions. (Examples: AutoCAD 360 and FingerCAD HD.)
  • Specialized tool apps and calculators. Field personnel need to quickly measure surfaces and solve tough construction-math problems. These apps turn a mobile device into a virtual hand tool, saving time and space. (Examples: Construction Master Pro, HandyMan Sidekick, QuadLevel and iHandy Carpenter.)

Creating and updating the list

It will take some upfront time and effort to compile a preferred app list. Seek input from staff and perhaps network with other contractors about their most beloved and despised apps. A particularly tech-savvy staff member can champion the task of initially compiling the list, which also might be a great opportunity to create an internship. Once created, the list will need to be reviewed and updated regularly.

Standardizing your approach

Ultimately, this contractor curated a list of preferred apps with his team and then presented them with an explanation to staff. This has allowed the company to save both time and money with a more standardized approach to its technology. Looking for more information on our construction accounting and advisory services? Contact David Lee at 404-874-6244 and or simply fill out our form below and we’d be glad to help.

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