Construction Software is For the Little Guys Too

Construction software is not just for the construction giants! Construction software is for the little guys too! The local lawn service provider who hires summer help, and might have 20-30 customers to provide services for; or the guy who plows out residents and local businesses during winter; or the small home-improvement company with a half-dozen employees; and other similar operations, can all benefit from construction software functionality.

It is impossible to say whether or not the price of purchasing and implementing a construction software program in an operation such as those described above would be worth it in all cases since such an evaluation would require complete evaluation of the particular business model and business processes and procedures. As such, let’s just say that “automation is key” wherever it can be easily and effectively applied within an existing business model.

If the business model must be totally revamped in order to fit it to available construction software functionality (out of the box), it might not be the right time to implement. Instead, the first thing to do is to restructure the business model to incorporate the industry’s known best-practices. That way, the construction business will more likely line up with construction software.

The little guys usually manage quite well in their own ways. Perhaps they use an Excel spreadsheet, or an Access database, or maybe a small-business management software package. There are inexpensive, quite user-friendly, and even quite functional small-business software packages available; and some include specific construction-oriented functionality.

The little guys probably don’t need to think about the high-tech RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tagging of their materials or supplies; nor do they need to be too concerned about real-time communications functionality of construction software. No, the little guys manage well enough to satisfy their small business needs with some of the small business construction software available today.

The most important question a small construction company needs to answer before running out and buying a construction software package is “Will a construction software package enhance and improve my business enough to warrant the cost of purchase and implementation?” That might sound like a “no-brainer” question, but it encourages the company to look closely at current affairs; current processes, procedures, record keeping, communications, and more. And anytime business managers and owners take the time to do that is usually time well spent.

Construction software for the little guys is likely to be a welcome adjunct to the little guy construction company atmosphere, since many of those little guy construction companies operate from their homes. If they have software taking their phone calls, keeping track of customer accounts, and keeping track of expenses, their home might be more comfortable and more of a home, and they might even have more time to enjoy it, as well!

Business – Constructing Efficient Systems – Networking and Setting Up a Referral System

You and your clients will benefit from developing relationships with professionals in the community and ensuring that you know the proper procedures for completing an appropriate referral. One of the things that I have learned over the years is to value the services and support offered by other organizations and businesses.

When you make a point of meeting business owners, community resources and other professionals you will benefit in a number of ways.

1. EXPAND YOUR KNOWLEDGE – You are on the cutting edge for information in various fields. We are in a world where there is constant change and it would be impossible to keep up with everything. Developing relationships with people who work in various careers will provide ongoing discussion opportunities and a resource base for specific questions.

2.. PARTICIPATE IN COLLABORATIVE TEAMS – Often solutions to problems can be best handled by individuals who form alliances. Whether it is for systemic policies or individual client problems, a team often is able to present creative and personalized solutions.

3. DEVELOP EXTENSIVE REFERRAL RESOURCES – Learning about the mandates and referral processes for other resources, will allow you to ensure that your clients’ needs can be met when you do not have the competency required. Financial planners, lawyers, psychiatrists, or inpatient addiction programs all have specific referral procedures. Knowing the people involved will help you to understand these and allow you to help your client through the transition process.

4. ENJOY SUPPORT – Everyone needs support, especially when careers are demanding. It can be very comforting to know that someone understands your situation or can offer you helpful advice for a specific situation. Over the years, I have been so thankful to have built relationships with people who encourage me in my career and support me when I’m tired or unsure about something.

Construction Financing and Commercial Loans

There are many new challenges which are increasingly evident with commercial mortgages, particularly those involving commercial construction loans. Many commercial financing experts currently project that the changing environment for working capital loans and most other business financing will produce several new but avoidable problems for small business owners.

There have always been complex problems for business owners to avoid when seeking commercial loans. By most accounts, these difficulties are now expected to multiply because we appear to be entering a period which will be characterized by even more uncertainties in the economy. Prior standards for commercial mortgages are likely to change suddenly and with little advance notice by lenders if the current financial turmoil continues.

This article will evaluate why commercial construction loans have become harder to obtain and will discuss possible commercial finance funding solutions. The current economic uncertainties combined with less capital availability for commercial mortgages in general and construction financing in particular means that it is much more likely that borrowers will need to look beyond their regional market area for business financing help. In many areas of the United States, virtually all business construction funding sources are effectively inactive at this time in addressing new loan requests.

Even before business finance funding options became more limited recently, construction loans were generally considered to be riskier than other commercial financing by most lenders. For a commercial lender, the most significant risk factors for commercial construction financing usually include the following: (1) until the new building is completed, a commercial property cannot produce income to repay a loan; (2) a substantial risk factor is the possibility for contractor liens; and (3) many commercial construction projects take more time to complete than originally projected and/or exceed initial cost estimates. Of these factors, the risk of potential contractor liens appears to be a particular concern for commercial lenders because of the deteriorating health of the construction industry. In any event, current delinquencies in loan payments for commercial construction financing are running well above normal.

Construction financing for homebuilders has always been viewed separately by lenders because the eventual owners of single-family homes are individuals rather than businesses. From a commercial lending perspective, it is likely that the current difficulties seen in residential construction are indirectly impacting the availability of construction funding for commercial properties because the potential for contractor liens incurred during residential projects can quickly reduce the financial stability of contractors involved in both residential and commercial construction projects. This is a further reason why lenders are increasingly focusing on the risk of contractor liens as a rationale for providing less construction financing.

The feasibility of real estate investments has traditionally included an enduring theme of “location, location and location” which reflects the importance of a specific locale for investing. This is still an important factor when lenders evaluate the prospects for commercial real estate loans involving both existing commercial properties and new construction. A lender is likely to be most comfortable with a stable to growing revenue stream for a business which will in turn result in a stable to growing property valuation, thus preserving collateral for the commercial mortgage loan.

For the first time in several years, however, we are generally seeing widespread reductions in both residential and commercial property values throughout much of the United States, with some areas of the country exhibiting more volatility than others. A severe recession will result in decreasing income for many businesses over an extended period of time, and it is very difficult for either lenders or borrowers to project when this downward trend will reverse.

Given the difficulty of arranging financing based on location, using non-local lenders can be a practical solution for commercial financing involving both existing commercial properties and new construction. Small business owners should seek straightforward advice from a commercial loans expert who can provide effective strategies for changing and difficult business finance funding situations, especially in light of the challenging commercial borrowing climate prevailing currently.