The Tools You Cant Afford Not To Have
We have covered many topics concerning computers and the business of construction. We have seen many ways in which the computer can add speed, accuracy, professionalism, and most important, profit to your company. However, the most recent surveys, and even just a quick look at the competition shows that most of us have not taken full advantage of the tools available to us.
There are many of us who bought computers in the early 80s only to find that the software was hard to use, or did not meet our needs. Others went for full featured "Systems" that required a full time computer jockey to work them. What many of us ended up with was not a power tool, but an expensive paper weight. Situations like these are responsible for statements like "I cant afford a computer", or "I just dont need a computer".
I would like to argue that as business people we cant afford not to have a computer. We do need the benefits, the structure and the professionalism that computers bring. Further, a simple mathematical analysis will show how quickly these tools pay for themselves, and more.
What many of us ended up with was not a power tool, but an expensive paperweight
Lets start with the elements that make up the cost of a computer system. In Chart 1 below, you can see the cost of a complete basic system amortized over 3 & 4 years. Check the prices at your local dealer and find your cost per month of owning a computer.
CHART 1 - Cost of Owning a Computer
You may want to add training costs to your analysis to make it complete. Training costs really depend on your level of computer knowledge, and on the availability of free help (the best kind).
Next, consider how a computer might add value to your business. In Chart 2 below we show how the computer can add value in two ways;
- By allowing you to bid more. If you maintain your "Hit Rate" while bidding more youll get more work.
- By preventing you from losing jobs because you never got around to bidding them. With quicker computerized estimates you wont be late again.
CHART 2 - INCREASED & ON-TIME BIDS
This simple analysis does not even take into account the savings youll get from increased accuracy. Just fill in your numbers for the categories above and estimate the benefits for your company. Dont know what your "hit rate" is? A computer can help you track customers, prospects, success and failure, giving you insight into ways to improve your bottom line.
A CHECKLIST FOR ADDED PROFITS
Start with the simple analysis above and think about how the following items might add to your profitability;
- Increased "Hit Rate" (jobs won / jobs bid) due to faster and more professional presentation.
- More accurate and complete contracts prevent client satisfaction problems and "giveaways" due to poor documentation.
- Spend less time doing paper work and more time selling new work. Thats where the money is made.
- Control your costs with computerized accounting. Improve your profitability and your future estimating accuracy.
- Keep better track of your customers through the sales process. Dont lose clients due to delayed response to the customer.
- Increased jobs to bid due to improved marketing techniques and image.
Consider these benefits and others versus the costs in Chart 1, and youll see that a computer will be the best tool purchase that your business ever made.
Add-Vantage Software Inc.
PO Box 173
Medway, MA 02053
e-mail: info @ addvantage.com