2016 SMB Construction Industry Trends Report: Subcontractor Pain Points

2016 Construction Industry Trends Report highlights how mobile software can alleviate Subcontractor pain points


Software Advice recently published SMB construction industry research into the adoption of construction technology and discovered many trends among the contractors and subcontractors surveyed that identify common pain points, reasons to adopt technology, and ways companies evaluate different technology options.


Here is a review of their findings tied to what this means for the subcontractor:


Industry Trends

Small to midsize construction businesses are slow to adopt new technology. However, many of them have expressed the same needs that technology could address.  These companies want to be able to improve estimation and project management capabilities to save time and increase accuracy.  Based on the survey of general contractors and subcontractors by Software Advice:

—50% are using manual methods for project management.

—16% are using some form of construction software.

—13% are using a non-construction based software.

These figures are relatively unchanged from 2015, which illustrates that construction technology is slow growing at this point.


Why companies make the switch?

There are many common trends of why subcontractors start off using manual methods eventually make the switch to a technology-based solution.  Most of the demographic surveyed include small to medium (SMB) companies making less than $5 million.  These small companies see that as their business expands, Excel spreadsheets become unruly and difficult to manage.  Construction technology allows the subcontractor to follow project progress much more closely and accurately for better visibility to understand and deliver on all requirements.  Another reason these companies will make the switch is to standardize processes, which optimizes training and project delivery.


Construction technology provides a clear way to perform certain tasks that are clearly communicated and equal across all users.  This makes it easier to train employees as well as track the progress of each team member.  Standardization will prove to be important in 2017, as the shortage of qualified workers continues to plague the growing industry.  This means that subcontractors are going to be adding new team members who will be easier to train and monitor using standardized processes.


The last reason subcontractors switch to construction technology is when their manual processes lead them to make mistakes that cost them large sums of money.  Errors that could have been avoided if the company had construction technology in place enabling them to catch errors or included detailed audit trails to defend themselves against a lawsuit.


As your company expands, so does your workforce, your data, and your responsibility.  All of these things can become difficult to manage manually and will come to require the use of construction technology to avoid devastating mistakes that hurt the company’s profitability.  Risk mitigation is a strategic imperative for subcontractors looking to adopt the right technology.


What companies are searching for?

Software Advice also found a common trend of capabilities subcontractors and general contractors seek out in construction technology.  They chose cost estimating to be the most important feature, with measuring takeoff, accounting, and project tracking following closely behind.


The contractors and subcontractors surveyed expressed the need for a technology adoption that streamlines processes from pre-project planning all the way through billing and execution.  Thirty percent of contractors and subcontractors surveyed said that their number one evaluator of construction technology is its ability to speed up processes, followed closely by 24% indicating its capacity to increase tracking capabilities and 20% saying standardization of processes.


Some major takeaways for subcontractors:

–Don’t wait for a costly mistake to take action to improve accuracy.

–Immediately integrate any form of project management software that fits your company’s specific pain points.

–Look into mobile technology and application integration so that you and your team can be more productive from any location.



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