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December 2, 2016

By Shawn McCadden

Contractors are joining the ranks of workers who bring their own devices to the workplace. A Texas A&M survey found that 72% of professional contractors now use smartphones at work, while 53.9% use laptops and 50.1% use tablets.

Mobile devices are assisting contractors in virtually every phase of construction, from finding clients and managing projects to making estimates and bookkeeping. Here are some of the top ways mobile technology can help you on the job.

Customer relationship management

Any job starts with a client, and customer relationship management tools such as Improveit 360 make it easier to find and manage clients. It includes tools for:

Invitations to bid

The bidding process is a big part of landing clients, and bid invitation apps are designed to make it easier for you to win projects. These apps typically provide a communications dashboard, where you can send, receive and monitor your invitations to bid. They often include templates to help you

Estimating

Estimating is one of the most important and time-consuming parts of the bidding process. Construction calculator apps make estimating easier by providing a spreadsheet-style layout, where you can enter and calculate bid data. These apps often come with design layouts for different parts of a building to help you develop details of your estimate.

Building information modelling

With today's technology, digital building information modelling is the most efficient and least expensive way to plan projects. The Autodesk app allows you to do BIM from your mobile device. The app also helps you build more efficiently and cost-effectively by letting you create 3-D models of your building projects that you can rotate and even animate.

Project management

Once you start a construction project, use your smartphone to manage it through an app like Fieldwire, which is designed to assist construction managers and workers in the field. Fieldwire enables you to

Safety

Safety comes first on any project. From a technology standpoint, the Safety Meeting app makes it easier for contractors to

Although the app aims to help users comply with U.S. OSHA regulations, the above functions are useful regardless of what jurisdiction you’re in. Other apps are available to help you select personal protective equipment, perform safety audits, access fact sheets on a wide range of hazards, track lone workers, and more.

Field data collection

The success of any project depends on accurate data collection, and field data apps like Canvas make it easier for you to collect the information you need. In addition, Canvas lets you

Accounting

Bookkeeping is a necessary chore for any contractor, and accounting apps like QuickBooks Online take much of the labour out of bookkeeping by letting you automate the most repetitive and tedious bookkeeping tasks. Use your mobile device and let QuickBooks Online

Shawn McCadden is a consultant, educator and speaker who offers business consulting and coaching services for remodelling business owners who want more for and from their businesses and their lives. He also consults with construction-related product manufacturers and suppliers, helping them understand, find, educate and better serve remodelers. Check out Shawn’s website http://www.shawnmccadden.com/ and blog www.shawnmccadden.com/Subscribe-to-The-Design-Builders-Blog.