As you probably already know, Knowify covers a wide swathe of a contractor’s day-to-day business administration activities. But it doesn’t do everything – if it’s not job related, then Knowify may not address it. Would you like to use Knowify to help you with job costing and contract management, but wish it included a lead tracking or marketing side? Or perhaps you wish you could have your Knowify activity broadcast across your communication platform (like Slack), ensuring that everyone remained up-to-date on the activities of the business. We share your vision of end-to-end business automation, with modern software tools helping you to grow efficiently and intelligently, each one passing essential information to the others to ensure that your organization is a well-oiled machine.Continue Reading
New York, NY 8/6/18— Knowify is thrilled to announce that we have been named a FrontRunner for Construction Project Management software by Software Advice. FrontRunners is designed to help small businesses evaluate which software products may be right for them.
FrontRunners is published on Software Advice, the leading online service for businesses navigating the software selection process. FrontRunners evaluates verified end-user reviews and product data, positioning the top scoring products based on usability and user recommendations for small businesses. The FrontRunners for Construction Project Management software can be found here: Front Runners for Construction Project Management.Continue Reading
The construction industry has a reputation for resisting change. OK, we admit: maybe that reputation is deserved. BUT – that doesn’t mean that change isn’t happening! In fact, it’s a very exciting time to be in construction tech: new technologies, approaches, and processes are beginning to fundamentally change the way buildings get built and maintained. Here are a few things to keep an eye on:
1. 3D Printing – Construction Scale
3D printing has emerged as a powerful tool across a wide variety of industries and applications. You might have thought that buildings were on a totally different scale though, and immune to the disruptive potential of 3D printing. Think again! Although 3D printing an entire building from start to finish may seem like science fiction, the truth is that we’re much closer than you think – thanks to Cazza, a Silicon Valley startup. Cazza is developing a 3D printing technology specifically for construction. They’ve already demonstrated proof-of-concept with low-rise buildings, and they’re currently working on enhancements that would enable high-rise construction as well. Could 3D printing dramatically reshape construction into a far less labor-intensive field? Stay-tuned!
2. Sustainable Construction
In an effort to reduce the ecological footprint of buildings – from construction materials that end up in landfills to inefficient buildings that waste electricity and water – builders have begun turning to emerging “green” technologies. Some examples include: (a) natural paints and mycelium bricks (look it up… very cool!) that decompose and do not emit toxins; (b) smart (electrochromic) glass, which uses ions to reflect UV rays during peak hours over the summer and dramatically increase the energy efficiency of a building; (c) and active solar panels that absorb UV rays during the colder months and warm the building’s interior. As construction methods change and become more efficient, we will likely see more and more companies integrate sustainable materials into standard practice.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, have traditionally been used to survey areas with limited accessibility. Drones not only eliminate the need to rent expensive lifts or other such equipment but also offer efficiency and accuracy gains over human teams. Drone surveys can be compiled into 3D models to compare progress vs. the architectural plans, helping to give superintendents, project managers, and owners a better grasp of job status. No less important, drones improve job site safety. Falls make up the largest percentage of construction-related fatalities in the United States; with drones, construction firms now have the ability to look at hard-to-reach areas without risking the well being of one of their employees.
With smart watches and bluetooth earbuds becoming the norm, it’s clear that wearable technology is here to stay. The construction industry could be a huge beneficiary of the emerging “Internet of Things” (IoT) movement, given the value of real-time updates and seamless communication between the field and the office. Safety appears to be leading the way: already some companies have begun deploying smart vests, which not only have an emergency button and use GPS to locate workers but also have built-in heart monitors to help PMs and foreman track the stress levels of their team members. On the other end of the spectrum, exoskeletons being built by startups like Ekso Bionics offer construction workers the promise of superhuman strength.
5. AR & VR
In an ideal world, every member of your team, in the office and on the field, should know the project’s end goal and be able to visualize it. With augmented reality and virtual reality, this dream may yet come true. So what’s the difference between VR and AR? Virtual reality completely replaces what you can see with something else: if you put on VR goggles, your entire environment changes. Augmented reality, on the other hand, takes something virtual and transposes it to the real world. VR can be very useful in project planning from the start, while AR technology can project 3D images directly on the job site to measure building materials and ensure the design is built exactly as intended. With the potential to significantly reduce error and increase efficiency, AR and VR have a bright future ahead of them in construction.
6. Project Management Software
The first step in taking advantage of construction technology is switching to a cloud-based software so everyone is kept in the loop. The cloud isn’t new to construction tech trends, but now more than ever it is essential to any project management. The ability to share information and track profits in real time is a powerful tool that enables everyone stays updated immediately. No more worrying that your computer will crash and all your data will be lost. With cloud-based software, data is constantly backed up and always accessible no matter where you are or what happened to your computer.
Of course, with new technology, comes new rules and regulations. Before much of this can be implemented into your daily routine, there is still extensive testing to be done in order to ensure the safety of everyone on the job site. However, as we begin a long journey of technological change, it seems we’ve only scratched the surface of the future of construction.
According to Sam Ro, managing editor of Yahoo Finance, life is good for American homebuilders. He cites the earnings of such large residential developers as the publicly-traded PulteGroup (PHM), which reported a 41 percent increase in home sales revenues and a new order pipeline that jumped up 21% to $2.1 billion.
Good business = good economics?
Well…according to the US Department of Labor, the US economy looks great. Earlier this summer, 287,000 new jobs were added, well over the 180,000 new jobs economists expected. Retail sales are strong. Mortgage rates are low. Banks are lending.
In many areas, the supply of homes for sale remains tight. This is especially true in the affordable entry-level segment of the market — homes for first-time buyers and replacement homes for existing homeowners looking to upgrade. According to a Zillow Real Estate Market Report released this summer, homes are selling faster than they have since 2010.
The issue is inventory. In many parts of the country, the urge to buy far outstrips the supply for sale. Nationally, there are 4.7 percent fewer homes on the market than there were a year ago. Rising home prices do make it tempting for current owners to sell, but then what? Where will they go to? Concerned they may not afford an affordable replacement home, many do not put their houses on the market.
Good news for big contractors…what about you? For many residential GCs, commercial/residential subcontractors, and the trades, business also is booming. Buoyed by people staying put, and renovating.
Boomers who stay in their homes, renovate to accommodate changing lifestyles, changes in mobility, even boomerang children and grandchildren. First-time home buyers, looking to move, are stymied. So, they often “upgrade in place,” throwing up new walls, upgrading fixtures, or otherwise sprucing up their current living situations — even as renters.
Some contractors say they are so busy, they don’t even have time to bid on new business. Bad. Bad. Bad.
Sales pipelines demand filling
If this is your first rodeo as the owner of a construction-related company, you should know these good times will not last forever. For those who’ve survived a recession or two…how many times do prospective client have to call your cell phone before you finally send them your estimate? We all know that today’s jobs will end. And then what will you do? Start looking for business before or after you run out of money?
Estimating should be easy – click, click, send If you’re meeting with prospects, you’ve already invested substantial time. Don’t let it go to waste. Send over your estimates.
If paper is a problem, then automate. You’re a contractor and a business owner, not a paper shuffler. So, maybe it’s time to give up your Excel spreadsheets for something more efficient?
Ask your bookkeeper, or your accountant about tools and technologies designed to help you work on your business, not in your business. Ask about tools that help you run your business with an eye towards delivering profitable returns on every job you take on. They are out there!
Smart operations matter
Are you bidding accurately? Allocating time and materials appropriately? Do you know where your people are and what they’re doing? You should.
Accessing tools to deliver real transparency into hours, job assignments, client management, and productivity helps you ensure existing projects stay on schedule and on budget, and help you quickly collate and submit estimates for new business. These tools can mean the difference between eking out a living and making real money. And maybe even cut down the back office cleanup you do nights and weekends.
How do you get there? Do your research. Knowify, for one, can help. We’re already helping contractors integrate their business management needs with accounting systems like QuickBooks from an easy-to-use interface accessible from any device — in the field and in the office.
If you have any questions or wish to share your feedback, you can find us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Knowify. Built for the real world.