The construction industry is a fiercely competitive market. Traditionally, trade secrets have been kept close to the vest, and collaboration is usually considered something that needs to stay within one’s own company. Although competition has always existed within the industry, in recent years it has intensified for several reasons.
First, as society continues to develop and advance, buildings become more and more of a commodity. They are the fabric of our communities, providing healthcare, transportation, protection, and socialization. But traditional contracting has become more difficult than in previous decades because of the increased demand for turnkey projects, in which the contractor is required to assume most if not all of the legal responsibility for the design and performance of the project. (Constructible) At the same time, fixed-price contracts have become more popular along with an increased emphasis on “low bids.” Lastly, as the world becomes more and more connected, general contractors are no longer just having to compete within their local market; they may also have to start going up against major global firms.
As a result, all of these factors have driven general contractors to focus on digging into varying specialties—like offering design-build construction or restoration services—in order to differentiate themselves and give them an edge over competitors when it comes time to send in their bids. But this is a lot easier said than done.
Although many general contractors know that they need to take steps to make their work stand out from the competition, it’s not easy to know where to begin, especially with the conservative nature of the industry. An article from Civil + Structural Engineer Magazine observes that in a report commissioned by the World Economic Forum, the construction industry has been much slower to onboard new technologies than other similar industries. The article also points out that “a historically conservative approach to project design and delivery has hindered productivity increases.”
Obviously, this isn’t a shock. The construction industry has had to be cautious because mistakes are a privilege that most can’t afford to make. This is even more true in preconstruction since estimating is all about being as precise as humanly possible. When you do something like adopting a new construction estimating software, you’re inherently always going to take on some risk, even if it’s small. You have to trust that the software will do what it says it can and that you’ll get the results that you need.
Additionally, general contractors can’t afford to be different purely for the sake of it. They need to be able to know that the construction estimating software they choose has a proven track record of accomplishments. They need to know that the decision they make will ensure success not just now but in the future as well.
Lastly, choosing to differentiate yourself from the competition also means accepting that you’ll have to be willing to be seen as a little unorthodox. Being a pioneer sounds like fun until you realize you’re the only one. You might hear clients say, “Well, other contractors don’t charge for that,” or “But you’re not supposed to pay for estimates, they’re supposed to be free.” These questions are understandable, of course. But in order to justify the way you choose to differentiate yourself, you’re going to need construction estimating software that can give you the data to back up your choices and help clients understand how it benefits both of you.
Construction estimating software is one of the best ways for a general contractor to set their work apart from others for a number of reasons. First, as we note here, a construction estimating platform like DESTINI Estimator helps a preconstruction team consolidate all of their estimating tools into one place, saving time and resources. Extra time means that estimators can focus on activities with higher value to the team, such as data analysis to make better decisions earlier as well as building estimate templates.
Second, saving time and being able to focus on creating estimate templates means that a general contractor can standardize their preconstruction efforts so that a potential client can immediately recognize their work. You can’t stand out if your work is inconsistent and changes from project to project.
Lastly—and in some ways, perhaps most importantly—construction estimating software enables superior communication and collaboration not only within your own preconstruction department but with project owners as well. Justin Cooper, President of Saunders Construction, says: “We look at [construction estimating software] as a means to enable our people, who are by far our most valuable asset. This asset delivers our service, which is building buildings, but they also deliver the Saunders secret sauce, which is an outstanding experience for all our stakeholders on our projects. Technology is a means to be able to do that.”
DESTINI Estimator enables this kind of communication and differentiation by providing integrations with Microsoft’s PowerBI, which allows estimators to create data visualization dashboards. Additionally, with DESTINI Estimator, estimators are able to utilize team estimating, in which they can access and update an estimate simultaneously. As a result, clients report being able to save time, focus on high-value activities like data analysis, and even turn preconstruction into a profitable part of their project bids.
We hope that you’ve been able to see the difference that up-to-date construction estimating software can make in helping your team stand out and win more projects. If you’re interested in seeing what DESTINI Estimator can do for your preconstruction efforts yourself, just click the button below to schedule a demo.