Unlocking Greater Profitability Through Tech Adoption in the Construction Industry

You started your own construction company with the hopes of being your own boss, making your own schedule, and making some good money.

“If you talk to any business owner and ask them why they started their construction company, it wasn’t to have the chaos and liability they have today. But that’s what they have. They think about the stress, they think about the chaos, they think about the liability they have. They don’t think about (how) they increased their wage, got to spend more time with their family or that they got to spend more time on a job site doing what they love.” – Derrik Shakespearbusybusy logo

But then, a story as old as time… you slowly became a victim to your own company. You can’t remember your last day off because even when you’re not working, you’re thinking about work. Hopefully, if you’re lucky, you’ve found at least one All-Star employee to help you manage everything. The two of you wear the hats of the project manager, the office admin, the accountant, the scheduler, the estimator, and the weekend laborer. The list could go on and on. 

Luckily, construction tech exists, so wearing multiple hats doesn’t have to be the everyday reality. It’s 2023, and unless you live under a rock, then you know tech exists – it’s everywhere, right? Well, almost everywhere. The construction industry is known to be a solid 10 years behind other industries when it comes to implementing technology in their businesses.

So, Let’s Talk About Tech

Contractors have quite literally built our world. Brick-by-brick, devoid of modern technology, they’ve painstakingly constructed buildings that extend far beyond the builders’ lifetime. So, you might be asking yourself, we’ve never needed tech before, why now? As a society, if we didn’t take a chance on new inventions, we’d still be writing letters with ink and quill, using candles to see in the night, and riding around in a horse and buggy. We are talking about technology people, and it matters! It’s time to embrace tech in the construction industry with open arms; you don’t have to take our word for it though. 

We recently sat down with a few contractors who have shown to prioritize technology as a way to improve efficiency and profitability. We wanted to pick their brains and share how they successfully implement tech in their businesses. Luke Sorensen from Kelly Brothers Painting discussed how using technology is the best way to run any construction business.Kelly Brothers Painting uses tech for everything from time tracking and job costing, to managing real-time project budgets, and accounting.  

Kelly Brothers Painting“What we do is not rocket science; we essentially sell high-quality paint labor to homeowners and businesses. The name of the game for us is simply tracking time, so we understand our profit margin. It’s the biggest cost associated with running this business – tracking time will make you or break you. We sell paint labor hours to the market, so it makes sense to have the best possible tool to track that labor, to accurately do our jobs and operate them, make some revenue, make some profit, and run our business.” – Luke Sorensen

As an industry, we rely on the tools in the bed of our trucks to help us efficiently succeed on each jobsite, (Imagine trying to frame a house without a nail gun – yikes!) The apps that are stored in your phone, tablet, and computer are no different, in fact, they are some of the best tools you will buy (hello ROI)!!!! Luke emphasized that technology “is a tool to help you succeed no different than my best paint sprayer.” Whether you are wanting to gather accurate time tracking and job costing information, streamline your photo capturing process, manage customer invoices, or create custom change order forms that can quickly be filled out on-site. There are tons of construction tech options available. 

Your Team Will Thank You (A-Players WANT Tech!)

When your crew arrives on a jobsite, they expect to use hammers, nails, shovels, etc.… Right? But did you know that your A-Players want tech on site, too? Why, you might be asking, well, for starters, tech improves efficiency and communication. There’s nothing worse than arriving on site and realizing there was a miscommunication on arrival time, somebody forgot the plans at the office, or even worse – the subs before your crew left the job site a mess, and nobody wants to be blamed for that.

Beyond the different ways tech benefits your crew out on the jobsite, are the benefits tech provides to your office staff – accurate and efficient record keeping. Your crew and office staff both dread the dozens of texts and calls back and forth the day before payroll is due, trying to verify hours to be paid, and confirm time is accurately allocated to each job. Apps that track time are convenient for employees because they can clock in and out immediately, and office staff can see that data in real-time.

Mobile time tracking and job costing apps ensure transparency in time data. When employees accurately track their time in an app, they can also monitor their hours and verify that they are being compensated correctly, access their work history, review past pay periods, and track their overtime hours.

Kelly Brothers Painting“Remember – you’re selling labor hours. So, your number one goal should be to track them with precision. It’s not that you’re trying to nickel and dime your operational field force, rather you’re using busybusy so that you and your team can be confident that when they’re on the clock, they’re allocating hours to the right job and they’re getting paid for what they are doing! Confidence in payroll is huge to make sure that there’s trust between admin and field, right? We’ve had zero complaints from the field saying “Hey, I’m not getting paid accurately – my time card is incorrect.” That’s been super awesome. Implementing busybusy has helped the trust between the operational staff and the admin staff. We finally have trust and a place that gives everyone visibility to be on the same page.”– Luke Sorensen

The bottom line is that the office staff doesn’t like chasing down employees for their paper time cards and then trying to decode their handwriting. The field crew doesn’t like being nagged for their time cards or trying to remember what they did a week ago and how many hours they spent on a specific job, so they throw down 8 hours even if it was really 7.5 hours. Think about it- do you remember what you had for lunch last Monday? Probably not, so how do you expect your crew to accurately remember what hours they worked last week? 

Choosing the Right Software for Your Crew

“Streamlined processes” sounds like a dream, right? So do increased profits, improved productivity, and happier employees. The busybusy app has made that dream a reality for the 100,000+ contractors using busybusy every day. Scout with Florida Certified Contractors mentioned one of the unexpected benefits he had when moving their team over to busybusy from Quickbooks Time was that “The guys have stepped up their time tracking – because they can easily and effectively switch between the jobs they go to throughout the day. We can now track our man-hour costs on each job with accuracy.” But how can you know what software is right for you? We asked Luke to tell us what he looks for when considering a new software to implement in their business. Luke’s answer, “There are four main things to watch for 1. Usability, 2. Deployment, 3. Support, and 4. Integrations.” 

Kelly Brothers PaintingIt needs to be smartly designed. And that’s not just the usability of the software. That’s the deployment, that’s how easy it is. Can someone pick it up in 5 minutes? Can they do what they need to do without too much instruction? And then there’s obviously the support element. Is there somebody on the other side of the line, whether it’s through a phone call or a chat that can help me get to help me work through an issue. – Luke Sorensen

Finding Guidance With Nolan Consulting

There are websites like G2, Capterra, and Software Advice that can help you weed through all the different pieces of construction tech that exist. 

adopting tech in construction with good reviews. showcasing busybusy badges

– but if you’re ready to take it one step further, then we recommend working with a construction-specific consulting and coaching group like The Nolan Consulting Group. Both Kelly Brothers Painting and Florida Certified Contractors have turned to Nolan Consulting to help them reach their full potential. The Nolan Group prides itself on helping contractors achieve long-term value. They do this by helping you reach your goals faster, with less headache and greater returns.

Nolan Consulting GroupWe help keep you accountable to your goals, overcome obstacles to implementation, and achieve your vision.
The Nolan Consulting Group

Embracing tech is easier than you’re probably thinking. Start by giving your team a heads-up that some processes will be streamlined soon. Understand that with any change, a learning curve often follows. With busybusy you have a dedicated support team in place to help you succeed, and more often than not, you can start tracking time with busybusy the day you introduce it to your team.

Scout Smith introduced busybusy to his team just a few months ago, so we asked “Would you recommend busybusy to other contractors in the industry?” Scout responded “Yes, definitely. Especially if they are using T-sheets/QuickbooksTime. I would definitely switch over to busybusy as soon as you can. The busybusy team has been really helpful, their support is really good and the product is great. It’s easy to use and implementation was a breeze.” Check out busybusy for yourself.