Do I need software for my construction business? What’s the real point?
Today we are going to talk about software's and how they help businesses in the construction industry, but not the sales spiel that we get, what does it really do?
In the main there are two software's:
- Finance / Office
We have spoken about accountancy software for the construction industry in the past which you can find here. If you want to be a modern construction business you need to get onto an accountancy software asap. It is the basics of any finance function and a massive benefit is it allows us to work with your finances daily keeping you fully in the loop instead of quarterly or even yearly like some accountants.
Software for the operational side so you know what's going on at site.
The delivery of service or site-based software's promises so much, the fancy salesmen tells you all of the problems and pain points this software will eradicate, a new vision for you and your company.
Yes, it will definitely give you a real time vision of your company and make the running of your business a lot easier plus it is a must in today's market. If you're not doing it then it’s one part of the jigsaw you will need to be able to compete now. You will need to embrace it or face it.
So the software looks great and does everything you are asking for.
However, that’s not always the reality!
They never really tell you that you will need to maintain it and constantly update it.
What’s the real purpose of all this new data we now have?
Instead of showing us the brilliant future the salesman promised, it starts to prove we are not so efficient in all areas.
Surely that's a good thing no?
And what of the staff? Who is not too impressed now they are being asked to sign in and out of jobs, the push back starts and they start to say “I forgot to look at their phone - do you want me to work or run your company admin”.
An understandable answer and when from an old hand on the firm, the ripples start amongst the workers that this is not great for them, they say let’s all get together and get rid of it.
Now you understand the direction your business needs to go but you need to do it all. You are trying to run everything and have a mad time on a job and you forget to maintain and update the system for a couple of weeks - now the software it's now useless to you are out of date.
You start again and try to keep on top of it, it just becomes another job for you, added to the list of pain, you are the only person who can see the real long term value and why the company will need it. Everyone else is happy to see it fail.
The biggest misconception around software is the ongoing management! You need someone to manage the software for you - this is exactly what our Saint Virtual Assistant service is for. With the adoption of cloud software, it allows us to work with clients all across the UK supporting the running of the company and management of the software.
Why Do I Need Construction Software?
The workforce hates the big brother aspect of it and the salesman forgot to tell you that you need someone to run it, much the same way as a piece of exercise equipment when you buy it, all the dreams are there, but in reality, it ends up sitting there, untouched, an expensive clothes-horse...
When we help prepare to sell a company for one of our clients one of the first things that must be in place for today's market is software, for the accountancy side but also for the operations side. No one will buy the company if it’s all in the directors head only who is about to exit.
So how does Saint step in? When you work with us, after about a month we have a better idea of your business model from an operations point of view.
We then suggest up to three software's, with the pros and cons for your particular business. An electrical contractor who does emergencies would need a completely different software than a bricky who does extensions.
The rate of inputting on jobs and also financial drivers that the electrician would need, would not be needed by a bricky who does 4 longer jobs a month.
Once the client has discussed and selected the pros and cons so they get a better picture of what it will bring, then the rollout can begin.
We then manage the system for you and you get all the rewards, we do all the heavy lifting and pedalling like the gym equipment which starts to provide results for you.
The workforce are then contacted by us, a neutral, and asked for the latest job updates, booking confirmed and any site details etc. The ripples of the pushback from the staff are much lessened and are managed in a more tactful and resourceful way for the use of the directors time who would have got the call, moans and the complaints if they did it on a 1-2-1.
As new staff come on it's just the norm, you now have control, ok, there was a pain threshold but we know that's coming and get through it quickly. You made a commercial decision.
So the director can now start working on tasks of higher quality value and not micromanaging low value items of updating of a system or answering timesheet queries, more time is now being spent on running the company. The workforce sees the benefit of organised jobs, payroll improved, increased profits resulting in increased staff retention.
Slowly the workforce team comes around and the busy directors start to regain more and more time and focus.
This small shift moves the directors whole mindset away from the war field of what goes on out on site and now onto the actual running of the business.
If you feel tired and fatigued by all of it, the constant aggro of running the business and knowing it just isn’t working as it is, you are right! You are just stuck, we all get stuck at times and it’s just a small shift like this joining Saint that brings massive rewards when we work alongside and with you.
You could train someone but we usually find Saint Virtual Assistants are 80% more efficient which is mad when we record the time spent on the logged time into the system compared to the hours spent by a static secretary in your office. With a VA you only pay for the time they operate, like switching a light switch on and seeing the meter turn. Why not have someone who knows the systems - you would not give a plumber a plastering job, they could do it over time but this is your business we are talking about, make real decisions. Please have a look at SaintVA to learn more and get started with your own Virtual assistant in less than 48 hours!
This is also where Saint really excels, our VA’s know the trade and then learn the day to day running of your business and all of this site data is passed directly to the finance software operators who monitor it. All of these figures and key performance indicators are live and available for you to see 24/7 on your iPad etc. You are always in full control.
When we work with you we encourage you to have a business plan. 78% of businesses that do not have a plan fail to reach their goal. That plan does not mean the final goal of the dream house and cars that we call the Directors Plan but smaller targets along the way like have we met the new criteria for the new wage structure you have planned. There is the business plan and there is the Director’s plan. The Director’s Plan is all about you.
Without the daily data inputs from the site being fed to the financials, we can not really measure where you are. We have no way of measuring where you are on your plan or if you are widely off course.
It's like working without a tape measure, you can get by, it will take you longer maybe but it can also be a hit and miss, it's a bit risky especially if you are not doing the job yourself and you had to trust others, it can quickly unravel.
If the business needs to be fixed or kept on the course, we need data. If we cannot measure it, we cannot fix it and with cash flow, we need to move fast to recover our position.
So do you honestly have a business or are you just winging it?
Our Construction based Accountants are talking to the Trade VA’s daily and although a simple formula it brings enormous results for our clients business.
You can find one of our latest blogs regarding the key features to look for in accounting software and a comparison of the most popular ones on the market. You can find that here.
If you do not have this information to hand you can get a bloody nose, your accountant will say you don’t need it, you're overthinking it, but if you’re doing 60 day terms and a snotty QS cuts your payment then your accountant suddenly is not so helpful and steps back whereas we can do a straight recalculation to see what's going on weeks ahead and plan the battle about to happen.
I have found the accountants want to do just the statutory end of the year and if you get a bit too active for them then they palm you off and say you need to employ an FD, but of course, will still do your end of years just to keep an eye on the FD for you, thanks but no thanks. We are with you when it's good or bad, busy or quiet. You will benefit from Saint just as much when you're quiet as when you're busy, it's all about options and business development which is on hand by people who really know you.
What's The Best Order To Implement This?
I would say come to us for your construction accounting first, get the data requirements set up, you are already paying the bill for an accountant who is just smiling at you as you pay so please consider switching it out and get serious about your business. They are on a day rate mentality whereas Saint really works for our money.
Then after that, look at the extra investment on the software for the operational side, I say investment because it is. This is where SaintVA really stands out on its own compared to any other Virtual Assistants.
Most business owners come to us through referrals, “You helped turn my mates firm around, can we come to you?” is the common opener.
Their mindset is smashed from running the company's efforts on site. It’s all they can talk about. A year later when we do the quarterly reviews, the conversation has changed, we now discuss profit point markers for the last quarter and the steady improvement of cashflow metric. They are not burnt out anymore and the laugh has returned.
A quick way to shake them out of not thinking about the site side of things and start to think more strategically about the business is to commit to making an investment with Saint Financial Group.
What Is The Site Mindset And What’s The Business Side Mindset?
Imagine being the owner of a lovely block of luxury flats and every week your very nice tenants paid their huge rent and it’s in a very posh part of London so the asset value is going up and up, what an investment!
The hard work taken to collect the money and manage the tenants is the site mindset. It’s the day to day of the business. This is where most people's minds are stuck, not their fault, just constant pressure from one direction and lack of long term vision.
The work and money taken to maintain the beautiful building and grounds to keep the value protected is the business side mindset. It’s the long term. This is what the business should mean to you.
Would people get into the real estate market if they could not own the actual property, acting only as a management agency and had to pass a large share of the rent to the building owner? probably not.
It would seem a lot of work and no real long term value that the risk investing in property brings even if it's very hard work, the thought of the big payback from the final sale of the building far outweighs the daily work of managing the rent collection, upkeep and tenant affairs.
Being the building owner is the business side approach.
They know to invest in the building and its upkeep because this is where the real value is - the business side mindset. People come to us locked into the site mindset and we work to get them to realise, all within a very small and quick shift to go into the business side mindset.
The business side mindset is the office and director part of the business - to invest in the skill of the VA and Construction Accountancy package is a direct extra down payment into the building fund or the business which will pay back in dividends over time.
You keep the apartment block looking outstanding so you have a waiting list, a polished building and a valuable asset growing year on year.
So we need to move you from fire fighting on the site side and just for a moment consider there is another side to the business and you have been hustling in the wrong areas. If you get a light bulb moment and see you should have been working on the business, not in the business all the chains break and you then start anew.
You shouldn’t be the one chasing the site mindset like chasing rent, you need to move onto work that invests in the business so you get the real payback which is never taught to us when we come out of college and only available to the bosses and that’s why it's so well hidden and hardly discussed.
Now we start with what we can measure first and explain why moving to a construction based accountant is such a quick-win that turned frustration into making a really good sensible commercial decision by joining Saint.
Do People Buy Businesses?
All the time. You need to be thinking about your exit strategy, be it treating the company as a passive income and you do 15 hrs a week or once a month even or you just sell up, already packaged, it runs itself with proven records. It will get snapped up. If you’re thinking my company is not worth that, give me 1 year with you and I will ask you again.
This can happen today for you, a small company or a big company - debt or no debt, you the owner will now find that missing energy who now gets up, enjoys going to work and knows every moment working hard day by the day bring them closer to the target. We want you there quick but with good foundations in place and an improved skill set, all you need to do is to take action!
The energy was always there but you cannot outmuscle it, I repeat you cannot muscle your way through the work which everyone in trade does or has tried and thought it was them because it didn’t work or is just too hard. If you do it will lead to repeated burnouts, bad ways of coping and frustration, I think we try to do it that way because being physical does bring results in the trade world but to trust someone to help us is hard, we know that feeling and everyone from the reception to the CEO at Saint gets it.
You were always fine it was just you were given the wrong rules to the game, you can do it now with Saint but just think smarter and commit. Work smarter not harder and work with people who know the trade and all the “challenges“ that go with it. We have 6 divisions of support, use it, work smart, do what you do best which is probably deliver great work or engage with clients and win more work. Saint cannot do what you do, we leave a clear line on the operations side, we are support only and that will propel you much quicker. If it was that easy you would have already done it as would many others.
Saint will work with you, no one has ever come to us when everything is perfect, be it debts, no work, bad clients, no money even, make the call and it’s just a small spark and you’re away. It’s easy to just get stuck and we understand that...
What benefits comes from working with Saint?
✔ FREE 1-2-1 discovery call to discuss your business!
✔ FREE Quick Query Business Advice
✔ FREE Business reports with graphs and data.
✔ FREE Snapshot Action Plan to put you on the path to success.
✔ 100% Construction specialised
✔ Access to Saints renowned Loyalty Club with awards, gifts and giveaways.
✔ PLUS 4x Monthly Newsletters containing tips & tricks, industry updates, construction insight and advice.
Things get simpler when you join Saint
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PS. Whenever you are ready, here's how to grow your construction business...
1. Join our Facebook Group which built completely for businesses within the construction industry. Real people, real support. - Now also available on LinkedIn.
2. Keep up to date with Construction Insider Providing you with industry insight, tips & tricks and much more to make sure you are ahead of your competitors!
3. When you are ready, Become a Saint Financial Group client, and we will provide you with the highest quality solutions to effectively scale your construction business. Book your meeting here!