Don’t be a Luddite: Use Technology to Cut Costs

Don’t be a Luddite: Use Technology to Cut Costs

It never fails to amaze me the number of small to mid-sized construction related companies that still don’t use computers to conduct their day to day operations. I attribute it to three reasons I’ve often heard mentioned by small company owners in the industry – they have a fear of a technology they aren’t familiar with, they’ve conducted business without computers for many years and done just fine, and a reason that isn’t usually spoken, but is often inferred – the construction industry is a rugged hands-on profession and there’s no room for someone who spends their time sitting in front of a computer all day.

I’m familiar with those reasons not only because I’ve heard them, but also due to the fact that 20 years ago I believed each of them and said them myself. I admit I was a Luddite and proud of it – I had listened to vinyl record albums for many years and had no interest in CDs that were sure to be a passing fad. I felt the same way about computers – what could they possibly do that I couldn’t accomplish with a legal pad, phone, and word processer?

I finally succumbed to peer pressure in 1994 and quickly learned what computers could do for a small construction business. We began using accounting software that allowed us to do our own bookkeeping internally rather than paying an accounting firm every month. Payables, receivables, balance sheets, and monthly income statements were available anytime we needed them and it became much easier to keep up with job costs and track potential overruns. The accounting firm reviewed our numbers at the end of each fiscal year and did our taxes, but we handled everything else and the computer saved us thousands of dollars in accounting fees each year.

We also taught ourselves to use design programs such as DataCad that allowed us to do simple designs for customers without have to get Architects involved. It was much cheaper for me to play around on a computer to find an interior build-out layout that best suited a customer’s needs than it was to pay for an Architect’s time and I had the design ready when I needed it. In some cases the customer sat with me and provided input as I designed. Estimating software made bidding a project much easier and helped ensure nothing was missed when preparing a proposal.

I had an excuse for being a Luddite as computer use by construction companies was still fairly new in 1992, but 20 years have gone by and your excuse is gone. Computers aren’t a fad, they can help your company work more efficiently, and they may be able to help you cut costs – it’s time to get on the bandwagon.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

database management software