You’ve been in the contracting or construction business for many years now. You have an excellent track record with your clients and a good reputation in the industry.
Now, you’re looking to expand your operations by developing an app that draws from your extensive knowledge and experience. You also recognize that offering a useful, branded app to contractors, project managers and others, you’ll help set yourself apart from the competition.
A branded app for your business can even serve as a tool for recruiting new employees. This is because the most talented individuals in the labor pool will recognize when a business takes steps to use technology to run more efficiently.
An app designed to improve service for busy customers as well as help your team collaborate with less friction will definitely be attractive to potential recruits.
Must-Have Features on Mobile Apps for Contractors
You and your fellow stakeholders are ready to develop an app for your contracting or construction company.
You’re eager to begin brainstorming about what it should offer to end users. But before you begin consulting with a software company, here are some must-have features when building out your contractor or construction mobile app:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Integration
CRM capability in your app will help members of the sales team keep track of all their leads and guide them through the process of converting them into paying customers.
Typically, the app will add API integration with a CRM system, such as Salesforce. This will improve the ability of the sales team to add new contact details on the fly through the app. Integrations like this are essential for optimizing processes.
Keep in mind: if your company cares enough to maintain a system like this, you should have greater success when it comes time to recruit new members in your sales department. They’ll want to work at a place that follows industry best practices using state-of-the-art software for nurturing leads down the sales funnel.
Quickly Generated Quotes
An app that includes various templates for the typical work that your team uses to generate quotes will be invaluable. Customers benefit from speedier quote generation and employees will be able to get more work done from the time saved.
The nature of ordering work this way also makes it easier to close sales to prospective customers who are already on-site. Compare this to the standard practice of allowing leads to actually leave the site so you can try and follow up with them later.
By taking advantage of face time with the motivated individuals checking out your site, you increase the likelihood of adding them to the ranks of happy, loyal customers.
To ensure the safety and security of all the data your users will be creating and storing with the app, you’ll need to have a disaster recover plan in place in case of a problem with servers in your data center.
You can modernize your operations by including a cloud computing feature in the app, which allows users to automatically backup their data wirelessly. The information will be stored redundantly and securely on multiple servers in different regions so your work can continue with little delay in case of any disaster.
NOTE: While “redundant” typically carries a negative connotation, it’s a positive term in cloud computing. It means there are more measures in place to ensure that your app functions properly at any given time.
Being able to see at a glance all current and upcoming jobs on the smartphone’s touch-sensitive screen makes the calendar one of the most-used features in contractor and construction apps.
Many people want an app that allows them to check on the availability of various employees as well as details about their sick days or requests for vacations. Real-time employee management makes life easier for managers who need to stay on top of the workforce.
Your app can be more effective when it includes clock-in/clock-out features and the ability to tally workers’ lunch breaks. The data can all feed into your QuickBooks account or any other time tracking software.
You may also require more robust security to prevent employees from “clocking in” for a friend who happens to be late. An app that collects this level of information on a regular basis will be invaluable for managers who are tasked with generating weekly reports on employee attendance or when evaluating workers during fitness reviews.
Subcontractor Agreement Management
Working with subcontractors will go more smoothly when you include some templates for the agreements that you typically extend to them before starting on a new job.
Having these agreements accessible in your mobile app – along with other frequently used documents – will save time by decreasing the time to locate and fill out the documents. It can even save money if you configure the documents to be stored electronically – removing the need for printing.
Dynamic To-Do Lists
You don’t want your team to waste time writing down tasks on scraps of paper (or their hands) because it’s not a very efficient (or reliable) way to organize efforts. Digital to-do lists in the app can be modified on the fly and workers can copy details from one list to another for greater timesaving.
This feature can also be set up for team collaboration – so a note made by someone on a job site can be seen immediately by someone in the office, allowing for quicker response times and improved communication.
For most contractors, your app won’t be very useful if it lacks some maps capability. For instance, Google Maps with access to Google Street View will be an invaluable feature in your app to get a comprehensive look at a potential site, including access routes and potential obstacles.
Mapping can also help you operate more efficiently with alerts about traffic issues, share job site or meeting locations with coworkers or clients, and help you keep track of the number of job sites you have in any given area and how you can efficiently expand your territory.
In addition to mapping, you can leverage turn-by-turn navigation using the smartphone’s built-in GPS services to give directions to worksites. You can even tie the day’s schedule to locations that your team must get to, plotting the most efficient routes between them.
Click-to-Call or Text
An app that makes it easy to connect with sales leads will increase the volume of promising candidates while saving you time.
You can design the app so icons will appear as shortcuts to connect with sales teams, a foreman, manager or customer service rep by phone or via text message (such as a text with standard details based on a template). Your employees can also use click-to-call to reach out to current customers as well as prospects.
The ability to take photos and videos and make notes for instant sharing with all key players is a prominent feature for many contractors. Images can be made instantly available to any stakeholders through the app to save time and effort and much more.
Adapt your printed safety checklist to a digital format for use in the smartphone app. This will make it a snap for employees to document that procedures were followed according to industry best practices.
Your app should be able to sync crucial data on the device so it can be used even in areas with no cellular data network or Wi-Fi. Work should not come to a halt simply because of a glitch in the communications channels.
This is especially helpful for contractors and construction workers who have frequent jobs in rural areas or near dead zones.
Android, iPhone or Both?
Depending on the nature of your business and existing computer network, you might have a reason to develop your app just for Android smartphones or just for iPhones.
But companies with a bring-your-own-device policy are better off developing an app suitable for both Android and Apple. If you are providing work phones to employees, though, you may be able to decide on just one platform.
Choosing Features for Your Mobile App
It’s clear that a customized mobile app built to your exacting specifications can help you do more with your existing resources.There’s no time like the present to get started with brainstorming and outsourcing the app’s development.
For best results, make sure to work with experts who have a proven track record in the world of construction and contracting. This ensures you will get the best return on your mobile app development project.
NS804 has worked with contractors and can help guide you through the process. To learn more, contact NS804 online or at 804-616-3546.