6 tools to help manage your construction business
By Jenny LescohierMay 08, 2022
Running a construction business is more than moving dirt, it’s estimating costs, ordering materials, managing people and keeping them safe, paying bills, and so much more. The past year, with all of its health and economic challenges, has certainly complicated the way we get work done, but fortunately, there is no shortage of new tools to simplify and streamline administrative tasks.
Here are a six new solutions aimed at making your job easier:
1. Safely and securely digitize your payment processes
Contractors have made big strides in digitizing their payment processes by using PDF copies of invoices, but when they’re
ready to actually pay their bills, many still write checks, stuff them into envelopes, pay postage and so on.
Through new software solutions such as Nvoicepay, it’s possible to make payment disbursement completely paperless and safe.
The Nvoicepay accounts payable automation solution is built to alleviate the biggest challenges in your payment process, including the risk of payment fraud. Nvoicepay, a FLEETCOR company, explicitly assumes liability and indemnifies users against loss for every payment sent on their behalf.
Users no longer need to touch payment data. Nvoicepay has a team dedicated to validating, updating, and securing vendors’ banking information and payment method acceptance.
Nvoicepay eliminates the need to field payment inquiries too, as its team works to proactively resolve unprocessed payments with vendors, and serves as the direct contact for any questions.
Click for more about Nvoicepay
2. Improve communication about change order requests
The only thing consistent in a construction project is change, and managing that change is a challenge for all parties. To ease the administrative burden of change order requests (COR), Extracker is a platform that facilitates communication between the general contractor and their subs.
“Extracker is a communication tool,” says Cameron Page, founder and CEO. “We’re not replacing your financial software, our system is agnostic to any program.”
When subcontractors email CORs to their general contractor, it introduces the risk of the email getting bounced, lost in the shuffle, or hard to locate weeks or months later. To ensure the GC has everything needed, the GC will request a log from each subcontractor, but since each subcontractor uses a different format, which must be manually updated after every new change order, the process is prone to errors, which can result in huge financial consequences if not caught.
The GC must manually download each COR document from every sub from email and manually enter the costs into their accounting/ERP system. They won’t know their true cost exposure until this administrative burden is complete. If the subcontractor COR contains issues, the correspondence is hard to track via email and even harder over the phone.
It’s easy for the GC to fall behind in reviewing these documents, which can result in real financial consequences for all parties involved. Meanwhile, additional costs cannot be billed until the COR is approved and a change order has been issued by the GC. Clear documentation and speed in processing time is incredibly important.
By uploading or creating CORs in Extracker, the user automatically generates a shareable and collaborative COR log. General contractors no longer need to request an updated COR log and subcontractors can keep their GC up to date by sending a shareable link.
Subcontractors and general contractors can both see on one simple dashboard what has been approved to proceed, approved CO issued, In Review or Void.
By uploading change orders through Extracker, the system stores every backup document in its cloud-based log so both contractor and customer have access to the same information. All updates and changes made to an individual COR are logged and tracked in an activity feed so there’s always a paper trail, which can be instantly exported to PDF, Excel and CSV formats.
Click for more about Extracker
3. Simplify material transport and management
Soil Connect, reportedly the first and only institutionally backed digital marketplace focused on the multi-billion dollar soil
and aggregates industry, has announced the closing of its $3.25-million seed funding round led by TIA Ventures, a New York City-based seed-stage fund.
In conjunction with the funding, Soil Connect launched an e-ticketing service that advances its mission to revolutionize the transport and management of soil and aggregates.
Historically, the critical ticketing function – which supports the tracking and invoicing of dirt-related transactions – has been completed manually on paper. Under the paper system, tickets are often illegible, accidently discarded or lost altogether, resulting in a significant loss of time and productivity for contractors.
Designed to be an easy-to-use digital alternative that brings the process into the 21st century, Soil Connect is designed to facilitate seamless and transparent transactions that help users save time and money.
“As a third-generation builder and developer, the most frustrating part of the job for me was how I continually saw technology change the game for other sectors but bypass the soil and aggregates industry,” said Cliff Fetner, founder and CEO of Soil Connect. “Our goal in launching Soil Connect is not just to create a marketplace, it is to establish the first pure-play, one-stop shop for the industry.”
Click for more about Soil Connect
4. Keep track of who’s on site
BlueCats’ SafetyTags offer a way to get employees back to work safely by ensuring social distancing with a small, rugged wearable device.
Powered by a lithium-ion polymer battery good for 30+ days per charge, BlueCats SafetyTags are designed to bring complete digital awareness to your job sites. With Bluetooth LE technology, any tagged personnel or assets are identified and tracked with up to GPS-level accuracy in your specified work zones.
Using BlueCats Loop software, users can search, find, and visualize the tag data to understand how personnel and assets move through the job site. In the cloud-based Loop engine, user data is always accessible on your devices, wherever you are.
For Covid-19 contact tracing, BlueCats’ UWB Grid solution offers real-time personnel tracking data with accuracy and proximity awareness.
The device, which measures 110 mm (H) × 75 mm (W) × 15 mm (D) and weighs 200 g (including batteries), can be mounted to a belt clip or attached to a lanyard. It has an IP66 rating and offers no-contact charging (no plugs).
Click for more about BlueCats SafetyTags
5. Keep everyone healthy and avoid OSHA incidents
Safe Site Check In is a platform designed to help general contractors and owners ensure safety, health and compliance on
job sites by simplifying and streamlining the process of keeping track of who’s on site.
The app, which is available for both iPhones and android smartphones, keeps management informed and enables paperless reporting and visibility for smooth business operations.
There are no user limits, usage is done per site for a flat monthly fee.
Safe Site Check In allows GCs and owners to see who’s on site and when, and to screen for Covid-19 without the need for storing and protecting personal medical information. Contact tracing can be done in minutes, if necessary.
Click for more about Safe Site Check In
Trimble debuted its Quest estimating software designed for civil engineering contractors who need detailed cost estimates to effectively bid and manage budgets for projects.
A cloud-based Software-as-a-Service, Quest is now available for demos and purchase.
Once the bid is developed, users can develop a blueprint in the Trimble Quest software.
The company said contractors, estimators and project managers can collaborate easily by communicating changes, tracking and recording on-site progress quantities, producing claim certificates and reporting on utilization of individual resources.
The Quest software also allows estimators to reuse costing libraries, rapidly produce detailed cost estimates and manage and compare supplier and subcontractor quotes to quickly price a bid.
Click here for more about Quest