When you get into a legal predicament as a construction company owner, time and money are of the essence. You would not believe how much time of my legal career has been spent diving through banker boxes and trying to put together the pieces of a project gone wrong. Before the creation of construction management software, that's all there was, and usually, it was insufficient and incomplete. In the past, digging through boxes and boxes of documents was the best-case scenario, or having a client who had misplaced their documents altogether was the worst case. And on top of that, people's memory usually changes over time, so they would tell me I'm looking for something that isn't exactly as they remember or, perhaps, didn't even exist. In these instances, I spent hundreds of hours, and my client spent thousands of dollars for me to dig through a mess of papers with no guarantee that we'll find what we need to win the case anyway.
Solving the Problem with Construction Management Software
Nobody likes having a bunch of disorganized files. It's a hindrance for you as the business owner, your bookkeeper, your admin team, and especially for your legal defense. That is why the modern-day solution of construction management technology can be a great asset for construction business owners everywhere. Cloud-based Construction Management Software is a rapidly growing option for construction professionals worldwide. Many apps allow for digital filing and storing of your documents, virtual signature ability for clients, and even project management capabilities such as updating milestones and daily reporting. Not only can your documents be stored on them, but you or your team members can search your files by keywords, names, or addresses to easily locate and review stored documentation.
This ease of access is priceless for many reasons. Not only does it save a significant amount of time, but it ultimately saves money and, perhaps most valuably, provides a consistent paper trail for the entirety of the project. This means you have not only access to a timeline of the project but also paper evidence supporting correspondence and completion. If the application has a client portal where you and your client can discuss the work, sometimes it even has records of your correspondence. These assets are invaluable for your whole team. Your bookkeeper can send out and track invoices and their pay statuses. Your admins can easily find contact information, addresses, and other necessary details regarding the project. Your team in the field can use it to track their progress, check what still needs to be done, and input reports of each day for your records. Your legal team can easily locate files and details needed to support you in court.
There are many ways to add to the advantages you can gain from utilizing construction technology. For example, in addition to always filing your daily reports, you can be sure to include any issues that are causing changes to the project. Whether it be outside weather, discovering a new issue, or anything else that could contribute to delays, including this information in your reports as the issues arise allows your team to defend you as best as possible in the event that an issue arises. Additionally, if you can keep all communication with your client within the application, that is ideal. This allows your team to use the software as a one-stop shop for building your paper trail. Suppose you have external communication with your client that isn't in your system via email or text. In that case, you can keep screenshots, but above all else, be sure you do not delete the original messages.
Finally, you need to ensure the contract you send within the platform you choose is custom-built for your company, not just a template that is auto-generated by the application. Your contract is your best line of defense and can do a great deal to keep you out of the courtroom. If you aren't utilizing a contract that is custom-built for your company, you're forfeiting a lot of your ability to protect your company and the work you do. I would recommend finding a construction attorney to draft your contract first or otherwise connecting with software like JobTread that partners with legal professionals to offer customized contracts right within the software. JobTread works with my firm to make this option available, a testament to construction technology's accessibility and organizational capabilities. Using a program like this turns this proactive action into one consolidated task, ultimately making it easier for you to set yourself and your business up for success.
Being a business owner is hard and staying organized and running your company sometimes feels impossible. Set yourself up for success; Connect with the teams that will best elevate your company! Today, we have many tools at our disposal to make it easier for construction businesses to seamlessly manage work, communicate with clients, and organize their documents for more efficient upkeep. I highly recommend looking into Construction Management Software, such as JobTread, and seeing if they might be a good solution for your business.
About the Author:
Published author, award-winning lawyer, devoted wife and mother to three girls, and Owner and seasoned Managing Partner of The Cromeens Law Firm (TCLF), Karalynn Cromeens is a true jack of all trades. Karalynn is the Co-Founder of Morrell Masonry Supply and Owner of The Subcontractor Institute, an easy-access online educational platform for contractors. In addition to TCLF, and The Subcontractor Institute, she is also the Host of the rapidly growing educational construction podcast, Quit Getting Screwed - making cost-free industry insight available to contractors across the country. In 2021, Karalynn published two Amazon Best-Selling books - Quit Getting Screwed: Understanding and Negotiating the Subcontract and, in September, Quit Getting Stiffed: A Texas Contractor's Guide to Liens & Collections.
In the seventeen years, she has practiced construction, real estate, and business law, Karalynn has reviewed and explained thousands of subcontracts. For years, she has tried saving companies that have signed problematic subcontracts and lost out on being paid for their work. Unfortunately, it was too late when they came to her; she could do nothing to help. She hated seeing clients lose money—sometimes their entire business—over language they did not understand and laws they did not know about. Watching these situations play out day after day was the driving force behind her two books, The Subcontractor Institute, and the firm's accessibility efforts. Providing education to contractors on a national level has become Karalynn's personal mission, and she is always doing what she can to help make it a reality.