What Is Sage Construction Project Center?
sage-project-center
sage-project-center

Construction Project Center is a web-based, mobile-friendly project management platform from Sage Software. The platform helps everyone on the project team collaborate effectively by making it easy to share and track all of the information and communications about your project - documents, budgets, punch lists, change orders, photos, files, emails, notes, etc.

Project Center is web-based, making it accessible from anywhere you have access to a browser, including your mobile phone. With Project Center, you have access to the project information you need, when you need it.

Integrate with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate

Sage Construction Project Center works with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate to give you seamless integration with Job Cost. This feature saves times and prevents input errors by sharing basic information such as cost codes, and categories as well as project information including estimates, commitments, costs, and revenue.

Is Construction Project Center Right For You?

Contact Us and we'll be happy to answer your specific questions about Sage Construction Project Center.

6 Types of Construction Reports and the Questions They Help You Answer
job cost reporting
job cost reporting

As the owner of a construction business, one of the primary ways you gain visibility into your operations is through the reporting capabilities of your accounting and management software. To be successful in today's environment, you need reporting that can turn large amounts of data into summaries and reports that help you make smart day-to-day decisions while keeping your eye on the big picture. Construction accounting and management software come with a variety of reports. Some construction businesses can get all the information they need from the standard, built in reports that come with their software. Others buy custom third party reporting tools. Others export data from their accounting system into tools like Excel to get the information they need. Whether you are evaluating new construction software or trying to get more out of your existing investment, this post will help you identify the broad categories of reports typically found in construction software and the types of questions those reports help you answer.

Financial Statements

These are the typical financial statements that your C.P.A., banker and bonding agents demand. They help you and outsiders answer questions about the health of your company.

Project Reports

If you are using construction specific accounting software (vs. generic accounting software), then you should have a set of reports that provide the information that you need about each of your projects or jobs. The need for project specific reports is one of the major reasons construction companies move from generic software (i.e. QuickBooks) to a construction specific solution (i.e. Sage 100 Contractor)

Project reports show project activity at a glance and help you answer questions related to change orders, safety, labor, equipment, schedules, and more.

Drill Down Reports

Drill down reports let you see the "numbers behind the number". High level summary reports help you digest and analyze large amounts of data quickly, but sometimes you need more detail. Whether you are checking information accuracy, or want to know the make up of your accounts receivable total, drill down reports help you quickly get to the the source data.

Drill down reports are typically, interactive, on screen reports, but you can often print the results of "drilling down" if needed.

Drill down reports help you answer questions like:

  • What are the project costs vs. budget variances?
  • How many safety issues have there been?
  • What is my debt-to-equity ratio?
  • How long does it take to collect receivables?

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs provide "at a glance" insight into your projects and company. While KPIs may take the form of a standard report, it is more common to see them on a dashboard - a single page displaying several KPIs. They are often depicted using a visual or graphic element, such as a speedometer, thermometer, or "red, yellow, green" indicators. Dashboards that also incorporate a drill down feature as mentioned above provide quick access to the data driving the KPI, allowing you to make adjustments as necessary.

KPIs should be set up to answer the questions that are most important to you in running your business. Here are a few examples of the types of questions KPIs can help you answer:

  • How long are my projects taking to complete?
  • What is labor costing me per hour?
  • Are the number of accidents going up or down?
  • What's my daily cash balance?

Ad-hoc Reports

Chances are you will have questions that can't be answered by the standard reports that come with your accounting software. This is where ad-hoc reports come in.

Ad-hoc reports, or queries, allow you to create your own customized reports. Ideally, you want a software solution that simplifies the process of creating a custom report. You don't want to have to burden your IT folks every time you need a new report.

Creating an ad-hoc report typically entails two steps. First, you define the data (including time periods) you want to include in your report. Second, you define the format of your report. Formatting typically includes organizing the data into a specific layout as well as defining subtotals and other calculations. Depending upon your software, you may be able to export the data from step 1 into a tool like Microsoft Excel where you can perform further analysis.

Again, ad-hoc reports will be specific to your business and will be used to answer questions that standard reports cannot. Here are a few examples of questions other construction companies have answer via ad-hoc reports:

  • What type of work is most profitable for my business?
  • What impact are change orders having on my projects?
  • What subcontractors are performing at the highest level?
  • How closely do my estimated costs resemble my actual costs?

Data Mining & What If Analysis

This last category of reports helps you answer questions related to past performance. These reports can be helpful in evaluating future projects. They can also help you plan for contingencies and other variables such as material costs, labor costs, or interest rates.

Data mining reports help you answer questions like:

  • Which types of jobs are most profitable for us?
  • What might happen if labor costs continue to run over by 10%?
  • How long does it usually take us to complete that type of project?
  • Should I buy or rent my equipment?

Questions?

This post provides an overview of the different types of construction management reports and the questions they can help you answer. If you are evaluating a new software solution, or just looking to get the most out of your current software investment, check out our free Construction Software Selection Guide.

Common Estimating Mistakes When Using Excel

Microsoft_Excel_2013_logo.svgAre you still using Microsoft Excel to prepare your estimates? Excel is a great tool. It's easy to use, great at crunching numbers and most of us have it. It's now wonder that most contractors use Excel for creating estimates when they start out.

But Excel (or other generic spreadsheet software) may not be the best tool for creating and managing your estimates. While Excel is easy to use, it's also easy to make mistakes or waste time using it to manage your estimates. In the rest of this post, we'll share some of the more common mistakes and time wasters we've noticed in the field. Be on the lookout for them when using Excel to prepare your next estimate.

 

Common Estimating Mistakes When Using Excel

Creating an estimate in spreadsheet software means you either a) start building your estimate from scratch or b) maintain a number of templates that you use as your starting point.

When you start from scratch every time, estimates not only take longer to complete, but you also run the risk of underestimating your project due to a forgotten or improperly quantified item.

To protect against the risk of forgetting items, many contractors will start with a template and modify it for the estimate they are working on. The risk with this approach is making sure that you are starting with a template that has up-to-date pricing. If you have several types of projects that you are maintaining templates for, managing these templates can become very time consuming.

Creating an estimate from a template often begins with deleting the items on the template that are not needed for the project. Depending on how your spreadsheet is set up, deleting items may lead to also deleting formulas. If changed formulas go undetected, you could lose a bid you would have one. Worse yet, you may end up winning a project that you mistakenly under estimated.

There is one other area related to estimates where we often see time being wasted and mistakes being made. It happens when a project is won and the estimates must be copied from your spreadsheet software into your accounting and/or construction management software. Not only does this process create duplicate work, it also increases the chances of data entry errors.

Is There a Better Way?

We've only covered some of the major drawbacks of using spreadsheet software to prepare and manage your estimates. We hope by raising your awareness of these common issues, you'll be better prepared to protect against them when preparing your own estimates.

Many construction companies opt to protect against these risks and increase the efficiency of their estimating process by moving from spreadsheets to specialized construction estimating software. We'll share more information about estimating software on this blog. In the meantime, if you would like to see a demonstration or discuss how estimating software might fit into your business, feel free to contact us.

 

 

estimatingJon NewsomComment
Webinar - Affordable Care Act (ACA) Reporting

form-1095-c  

Recent polls show that over 50% of companies are either slightly, or not at all, prepared to manage the complexity of the annual ACA reporting for 2015.  Your company can avoid potential fines of “up to” $750.00 per employee by learning your responsibilities and how to implement within Sage 100 Contractor.

wright-solutionsJoin our webinar with ACA expert, Attorney John J. Wilson of Wilson Rode, PLLC, to get answers to these questions and more.

  • What should I know and who needs to file?
  • Do you know whether or not you are an “ALE”, Applicable Large Employer and how to determine if you are?
  • Have you established measurement periods for your variable hour employees or your seasonal hires?
  • Are your employee’s participants in your plan or a multi-employer union sponsored plan?
  • What and where should I be recording information in Sage 100 Contractor?
  • What information do I need to report and with what forms?
  • When do I need to report by and to whom?

Cost:  $150.00 for a single attendee or $225.00 for a group of attendees from the same company (each attendee will need to complete a registration form).  At the end of the registration process you will be redirected to a payment page.

You have 3 opportunities to choose from to attend this webinar.  Space is limited, so register today!

NOTE:  Times below are listed in PACIFIC DAYLIGHT TIME.  Select “Show Time in My Time Zone” under the registration link for presentation time in your area.

Questions?  Please contact Wright Office Solutions – (517) 580-3717

We look forward to “seeing” you at the webinar!

Register for a session now by clicking a date below:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM PST

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM PST

Thursday, November 5, 2015 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM PST

Once registration is complete you will be directed to our payment site.  Once payment is received, an email confirming your registration with information you need to join the Webinar will be sent within 24 hours. The actual invitation goes out within 24 hours of the scheduled Webinar.

Hold Off On That Windows 10 Upgrade

hand handinnenfläche stopDon't Upgrade to Windows 10 yet.

If you are using:

  • Sage 100 Contractor
  • Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate  OR
  • Sage Estimating
To run your construction business, please wait to upgrade to Windows 10.

Sage is still testing these products on Windows 10, so they are not officially supported yet.

While there have not been any major issues reported yet, we strongly recommend waiting. We'll let you know (here and via our newsletter) when Windows 10 is officially supported by Sage.

If you would like to learn more, here is the official link to the Sage Knowledgebase article on this subject.

In the meantime, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Sage Summit Videos Available

Sage Summit 2015 was held in New Orleans last month. It was a great event - we enjoyed reconnecting with a lot of familiar faces and meeting new people as well. The event was jam packed with celebrities and great speakers. Many of the sessions were recorded and the replays are now available on the Sage Summit 2015 website.

Here is a replay of the keynote where Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, tells us about the Sage future and technologies with the customer at the center.

What is Sage Bid Management?

bid-managementSage Bid Management is cloud-based bid software. It works with both Sage 100 Contractor (formerly MasterBuilder) and Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (formerly Timberline).

How It Helps Your Business

Sage Bid Management helps address the challenges of building and managing your bidder lists. It also helps you put bids together quickly and efficiently - so you won't struggle to submit your proposals on time.

Sage Bid Management enables true collaboration with everyone on your project team, including estimators, subcontractors, and material suppliers. With your bid process automated and streamlined, your, estimators will have more time for vendor/subcontractor pre-qualification, selection and negotiating the best contract terms.

Finally, you can have a single, convenient, and secure online location where information can be viewed, accessed, and shared with bidders. You’ll gain better control throughout the pre-construction phase of every project—laying the foundation for successful and profitable projects.

Want to Learn More?

Contact us if you have any questions or if you'd like to receive a copy of the Sage Bid Management fact sheet.

The State of Construction Hiring

construction-hiringAre you having trouble finding qualified workers for your construction business? If so, you are not alone, according to our friends at Sage Software. They recently compiled some statistics about the state of hiring in construction. They found that 76% of construction firms report having a hard time finding qualified craft workers. 62% are finding it difficult to fill key professional positions.

Looking at the projected growth for the construction industry, it looks like these hiring issues may be with us for a while. According to Sage:

  • More than 4 out of 5 firms expect the construction market to grow through 2016.
  • 44% plan to grow outside of current geographic area.
  • The construction industry will need 7.2 million workers by 2022.

That growth, along with the construction industry's aging work force is certain to present challenges to our industry. The ability to hire, train, and retain top talent may be the key ingredient to giving your firm a strategic edge in the future.

For more information about the growth and hiring in the construction industry, check out the infographic from Sage Software below (click the image for an expanded view):

State-of-Construction_Hiring

Which Reports Come With Sage 100 Contractor Reporting Intelligence?

featuredReports As I mentioned in our last post, Sage 100 Contractor Reporting Intelligence comes with a number of standard report templates that you can use out of the box or modify to suit your needs.

A few people have asked about the templates that are provided,  so I thought I would like them (along with a brief description) here.

AP Invoice Aging

This report allows you to view the amounts payable to vendors within the aging groups; it’s aged at run time by a selected date.

AR Invoice Aging

This reports lets you easily see your expected receivables from the various aging groups.It is aged at run time by a selected date.

Bonding Report

This report allows you to view your financial standing for all jobs. You can select the year and period you want to report on at run time, and the relevant information for all jobs will be extracted from Sage 100 Contractor.

Committed Budget Cost Variance

This report allows you to easily see the cost status and variance of each job at a cost code level. It also has a dashboard which gives you a visual overview of job costs and variances.

Committed Costs with Costs to Complete

This report displays a dashboard and three layouts reflecting the values per Job, by Cost Code, where the values include Open Changes, Subcontracts and Purchase Orders, Subcontracts Only, and Purchase Orders Only.

Committed Costs with Costs to Complete

This report displays a dashboard and three layouts reflecting the values per Job, by Cost Code, where the values include Open Changes, Subcontracts and Purchase Orders, Subcontracts Only, and Purchase Orders Only.

Job Billing Summary

View billing and job costs to date by cost code, based on progress billings.

Job Cost Summary

This report displays Budgets, Costs, and Balance per job, by Cost Code. The values can be broken down further into phases, or grouped by Division and Department.

Job Status Report

The Job Status report provides a view of contract, costs and billings per job.

Over/Under Billing Report

View actual earnings along with estimated earnings for forecasting projects. You can also estimate the profitability of work orders.

Service Invoice Aging

This report shows you the receivables due from service invoices. The Service Invoice Aging report is aged at run time by a selected date.

Other Free Report Templates

You can also find and download free report templates in the Sage Intelligence Community.

What Is Sage 100 Contractor Intelligence Reporting?

job-cost-chartSage 100 Contractor Intelligence Reporting is the tool that makes your reporting easy. With Sage 100 Contractor Intelligence Reporting, you have immediate access to your transactional data and can create custom reports from scratch or quickly and easily modify out-of-the box reporting templates. Either way, you'll spend less time gathering data and more time focusing on the business decisions needed to keep jobs profitable and on schedule.

Sage 100 Contractor Intelligence automatically pulls data from Sage 100 Contractor into pre-formatted Microsoft® Excel® report templates. Intelligence Reporting empowers you to:

  • Use your spreadsheet knowledge to view, modify or create reports so you can extend your visibility across key areas.
  • Design customized reports that reflect your business environment or work with your business partner to create customized reports. Once you have created and saved the reports you want, you can immediately access and use them anytime.
  • Spend more time ensuring that jobs are profitable and moving forward on schedule.
  • Schedule reports to be distributed to the right team member/s so they don’t need to be in the office to get the information they need.

Sage 100 Contractor Intelligence Reporting in Action

To get a feel for what Intelligence Reporting can do for you, check out this series of short videos:

Want to learn more or see a demo of Sage 100 Contractor Intelligence Reporting.? Contact us to set up a time that works for you.

Sage Summit 2015

Sage Summit will be held in New Orleans later this month, between July 27 - 30, 2015. This years summit features an impressive line up of speakers including:

  • Colin Powell
  • Deepak Chopra
  • Matthew Weiner
  • Trevor Noah
  • Tony Hawk
  • Chad Hurley
  • Jane Seymour
  • Baroness Karren Brady
  • Brandi Temple

and many more.

There will also be plenty of great info about product updates, demos, networking events and opportunities to experience the history and culture of New Orleans.

For more information, including hotel and registration discounts, visit the Sage Summit 2015 website.

How Contractors Can Use YouTube Cards
YouTube-logo
YouTube-logo

Video can be a great way to showcase your projects and market your contracting business. One of the easiest ways to share your videos is to post them to YouTube. With the addition of YouTube cards, it's now easier to turn your viewers of your videos into customers.

What Are YouTube Cards?

YouTube Cards are interactive cards you can add to your videos. They can include an image, title, link and a call to action.

Cards give you the ability to provide and easy to find, easy to follow call to action for your videos. You no longer need to hope that people watching your video will remember your website address from your video. They don't have to look in the video description for your link. Your card can include a clickable link that allows viewers to take the action you want them to take.

How to use YouTube Cards in Your Marketing

There are many ways to use cards to market your contracting business, here are a few examples to get you started:

  1. Drive traffic to your website - Use your cards to link to your website. You can also use this strategy to drive traffic wherever you showcase your work - Facebook, Houzz, etc.
  2. Share testimonials - Do you have testimonials from happy customers? Use cards to link to those testimonials and let your customers tell the world how great you are.
  3. Build your email list - Does your website include free downloads or other resources that you use to build your email list? YouTube cards can be a great way to get more people to opt-in to your list.
  4. Build your social networks - you can also use cards to send people to your social media of choice. If you spend most of your time on Facebook, use cards to get encourage people to like your business page.

Those are just a few examples of how you can use YouTube cards to market your contracting business.

Are you already using cards in your video marketing? Let us know your favorite tips in the comments below.

Latest Numbers Show Momentum in Housing Market

housing-starts-aprilThe Wall Street Journal recently reported that home building in U.S. in April was at the highest level since before the recession officially began. According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. housing starts rose 20.2% from a month earlier, bringing the seasonally adjusted annual rate in April to 1.135 million. That marks the highest reading since November 2007, and the biggest percentage increase since February 1991. New applications for building permits, increased 10.1%.

As everyone in our industry knows, home-construction figures are often revised. While the past several months have seen mixed reports related to housing data, the WSJ article reports that several economists believe the housing market is rebounding after a dismal first quarter.

For more information and analysis on the U.S. housing market, check out the Wall Street Journal article and their U.S. Housing Market Tracker.

image credit - WSJ  U.S. Housing Market Tracker

Sage Paperless Construction FAQs

While going paperless provides a number of advantages for your construction business, we understand that selecting a paperless solution isn't always an easy decision. You most likely have a lot of questions about the different solutions available and which one is the best fit for your business. Below you will find answers the most common questions we hear when helping business owners decide whether Sage Paperless Construction is the right solution for them. If you have a question that isn't answered below, please leave a comment or contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sage Paperless Construction

Q. What is Sage Paperless Construction? A. Sage Paperless Construction (SPC) is a content management and workflow automation solution that integrates with Sage 100 Contractor and Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate. The solution centralizes and electronically stores your vital business and project-related information in one secure location for fast, easy, multi-user access and distribution.

Q. Is it an on premise solution or a subscription-based model? A. Sage Paperless Construction is an on premise solution.

Q. Does Sage have other document management solutions for construction? A. Yes, we actually have several other solutions that help you solve your document management needs, including: Sage 300 Construction Document Management, Sage 100 Contractor Doc Control, as well as other third-party products. Additionally, Sage Construction Anywhere offers cloud-based access to project files. Depending on your needs, you have a choice to help you create a paperless office.

Q. How does SPC differ from Sage 300 Construction Document Management? A. Sage Paperless Construction offers a more deeply integrated method for handling the invoice approval process. For example, once an invoice is approved (a simple checkbox), the circular routing sends it back to the AP processor which in turns releases the document to accounting.

Q. How does SPC differ from Sage 100 Contractor Doc Control? A. Sage 100 Contractor Doc Control allows you to create attachments to records and track project documents, such as, RFI’s and transmittals. Unlike Doc Control, SPC provides a complete document management system with automated routing and an invoice approval processes.

Q. How do documents get added to the system? A. In addition to scanning paper documents, you can also drag and drop items from your desktop directly into SPC.

Q. Can I set up multiple vaults for our different company locations and/or departments? A. Yes, you can but many contractors like you have found SPC to be very flexible in setting user access to the level you need it.

Q. How sophisticated are the routing and approval capabilities? A. The system is extremely intuitive and easy to use but also has powerful built-in routing and invoice approval capabilities. You can automate scanning documents, sorting and distributing them, routing them to specified individuals or groups, tracking approvals or rejections and (in the case of an invoice) final payment in Sage 100 Contractor or Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate.

Q. If pre-defined routing/approval rules are set up, how difficult is it to make changes on-the-fly?

A. The process is as simple and very similar to adding or deleting an individual from an email if you have administrator rights.

Q. Once a document has been approved by a particular reviewer and forwarded on to the next reviewer, is there any way to go back and “unapprove” the document? A. Yes, you can pull back a document after being approved, if the document has not been released to accounting.

Q. Is there an audit trail that documents all the processes/stages a file has gone through? A. Yes, The system has a complete audit trail to show you who has done what to which documents. This information can be accessed from within the system or detailed in reports out of the system. Q. What if I have a document that I want to store and route that has nothing to do with Accounts Payable? A. The SPC Quick Route process enables you to store and route “everyday” documents (contracts or invoices to people outside of Accounts Payable). The process is very similar to the AP routing system including customizing distribution lists and sequence of approvals.

Q. How does our CEO get access to the all the details he’s used to seeing before signing a check? We currently attach everything he needs to the back of the check. A. There’s a paperless check review process within the system. He/she can electronically walk through all the invoices, delivery tickets, and approvals related to the invoice before signing a check.

Q. Is there a way to burn files onto a CD or share with another person that doesn’t have access to Sage Paperless Construction? A. Yes, you can copy files to a CD or to your laptop for zipping and emailing to others. It also includes a built-in player for viewing, annotating or printing the files.

Q. I’m a TimberScan/Construction Imaging customer, can I migrate my data to SPC? A. Yes, there is a utility available that can be used to map data from these solutions to SPC, with the help of a consultant.

Q. Is there a limit to how much we can store in SPC?

A. No, there is no limit to the number of documents you can store in SPC. The only factors that would limit how much you could store would be the disk space on your server. 100GB will store approximately 1 million pages. Another possible limiting factor would be if the customer is using the free SQL Express database which has a 10GB file size limit.

Q. We have thousands of documents. How easy is it to find a document in SPC? A. You can easily conduct a search using multiple parameters (e.g. search for all subcontracts, invoices within a range, all documents for job number xyz) as well as setup a folder directory tree which provides a familiar folder view to make it easier to find documents.

Still have questions about Sage Paperless Construction?

Contact us for a free consultation or demo.

Construction Workers Are The Happiest Employees

Congratulations! Your a member of the industry with the happiest employees. TINYhrLogo-1That's according to TINYpulse's 2015 Best Industry Ranking report. TINYpulse conducted an anonymous one-question survey consisting of over 30,000 employees in more than 500 organizations, among 12 distinct industries. The result of the survey? They found that construction and facility service workers are the happiest employees.

Here are some of the top reasons construction employees said they were happy at work:

  • I work with great people
  • I’m excited about my work and projects
  • I’m learning/growing professionally
  • I have positive, respectful management
  • I’m tasked with a variety of projects
  • I enjoy a lot of autonomy and freedom
  • I am excited to be part of a growing company

Don't feel like your construction firm's employees are all that happy? You may want to be on the lookout for dissatisfaction drivers. According to Tinypulse, the top three drivers of workplace dissatisfaction are:

  • Having an unsupportive manager
  • Not having the tools for success
  • Lack of opportunities for professional growth.

The report concludes with some good tips for focusing on cultural fit as well as employee-job fit when hiring.

For more information about what drives employee satisfaction, download your copy of the 2015 Best Industry Ranking Report here.

 

 

Creating Relationships Worthy of Loyalty

NPS-BookIn this previous post, we discussed some tools that construction companies can use to conduct satisfaction surveys with their clients. While today's software tools make it easier to publish surveys and gather the results, many business owners get hung up on what questions to ask in their surveys.

One approach you can use is the Net Promoter Score. The Net Promoter Score is a metric that was created to measure how well a company generates relationships worthy of loyalty.

Your Net Promoter Score survey consists of only one question, so it's easy for you to put together and it's easy for your customers to complete. In your survey you ask:

"How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?"

Participants are asked to answer using a scale of 0 to 10 - 0 being "not at all likely" and 10 being "extremely likely".

Results are divided into people who are promoters, detractors, and neutral. While keeping track of your Net Promoter Score (NPS) over time can be a valuable metric, the real value comes from learning why your clients graded you the way they did. The more you know about what makes people happy or unhappy about your business, the more opportunities you have to close more deals.

Using a tool like NPS can also be a part of creating a referral generation system, as we discussed in this previous post.

Family Owned Construction Business

family-ownedAre you discounting the fact that you have a family owned business? You shouldn't be. At least according to this research report by EY that was recently highlighted in this Harvard Business Review article.

The study found that many clients prefer family based construction companies. They feel these companies will be around for the long haul -  they don't feel like family owned businesses will try to grow too fast or suddenly sell off their business.

Employees around the globe often prefer family owned businesses as well.

In addition to marketing and branding themselves as family owned businesses, the study found these additional keys to success in the businesses they studied:

  • 90% have a board of directors
  • 90% have regular family or shareholder meetings to discuss business issues
  • 81% engage in philanthropic activities
  • 76% refer to themselves as a family business in their branding

The study and article mentioned above also explored issues related to business succession - an importance and sometimes delicate issue for family businesses. Among their findings were:

  • 87% have clearly identified who is responsible for succession
  • 70% are considering a woman for their next CEO
  • 44% of the time, the board of directors is responsible for succession

The study contains plenty of other facts and insights about family owned businesses - you can download a copy for yourself here.

Upgrading to Sage Contractor Version 19

old-computer Is it time to update your older version of Sage 100 Contractor/Master Builder to version 19?

Depending upon the version you are starting from, upgrading to the current version may be a multi-step process.

The chart below outlines the steps needed to upgrade from older versions of Sage 100 Contractor/Master Builder to version 19.

 

Before You Upgrade

Always create a backup of your data before updating your software.  If you have any questions or hesitations about upgrading, please contact us before you begin the upgrade process.

Determining Your Current Version

If you are not sure which version you are currently using, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Home & Resources tab. (or resources button if tabs have been disabled)
  2. Click About Sage 100 Contractor

The version will be displayed on the top line.

Note - You can also find your Sage Client ID number on this page

Upgrade Paths

To determine the steps in your upgrade path, find your software version in the left hand column in the table below and then follow the steps in the "Upgrade Path" column.

Upgrade From Upgrade Path
18.x Upgrade directly to 19. (all 19 versions are full installs with the exception of software notice 15-B)
17.x Upgrade to 18.1, reindex your data, and then upgrade to 19.
16.x Upgrade to 18.1, reindex your data, and then upgrade to 19.
15.x Upgrade to 18.1, reindex your data, and then upgrade to 19.
14.x Upgrade to 18.1, reindex your data, and then upgrade to 19.
13.x Upgrade to 14 and update data by re-indexing. Then upgrade to 18 and update data by re-indexing.Then upgrade to 19.
12.x Upgrade to 13 and update data by re-indexing. Then upgrade to 14 and update data by re-indexing. Then upgrade to 18 and update data by re-indexing.Then upgrade to 19.
11.x Upgrade to 12 and update data by re-indexing. Then upgrade to 14 and update data by re-indexing. Then upgrade to 18 and update data by re-indexing.Then upgrade to 19.
10.x Upgrade to 12 and update data by re-indexing. Then upgrade to 14 and update data by re-indexing. Then upgrade to 19.

 

Satisfaction Surveys for Construction Companies

home-builder-surveySatisfaction surveys, as well as other types of customer surveys, are a powerful tool for marketing your construction business. Surveys can help you spot (and fix) customer service issues before they become a big problem and lead to negative word of mouth. Surveys are also a great way to collect testimonials without having to directly ask for them. When someone leaves a compliment on your survey, simply thank them and ask for their permission to use their statement as a testimonial.

There are a lot of tools that make it easy to create and share a survey online. Below are a few suggestions to help you get started.

Survey Monkey - Is an easy to use, online survey tool. Their free plan gives you 10 questions and 100 responses. If you've ever taken an online survey, there's a good chance it was powered by Survey Monkey.

Survey Planet - Is another easy to use, online survey tools. They offer unlimited surveys and responses in their free version, as well as the ability to share surveys via Facebook and Twitter.

Gravity Forms Survey Add On - Gravity Forms is a popular plugin for adding forms to Wordpress websites. If you have a Wordpress based website, take a look at Gravity Forms. It's a powerful, easy to use tool and gives you a lot of options for integrating your website forms with other tools such as credit card processing, email marketing, and accounting programs.

Google Docs - If you are a Google Docs user, you can create a survey using a Google Sheet with a form. Here is one article on how to set this up.

Getting Started

Surveys are great tools for improving and growing your business. The key is to get in the habit of using them to ask for feedback and then acting on that feedback.

Luckily, the process for creating and sharing surveys is much easier than it used to be, thanks to the types of tools mentioned above.

Do you  you have a favorite survey tool that is not listed above? Please share it in the comments below.

Image credit - Chris Potter on Flickr.

2015 Sage Construction Technology Survey

Our friends at Sage software recently surveyed over 600 construction professionals from small and midsized firms to understand their view of the economy, their top business issues, and their use of technology. Here are some highlights from the survey:

  • Over half of the survey respondents are optimistic that the economy will have a positive impact on their business in 2015.
  • The top three business concerns reported are:
    • Getting new customers (39%)
    • Cost of materials (38%)
    • Labor shortage (26%)
  • The top three actions construction and real estate companies plan to take to address these challenges are:
    • Hire more employees (39%)
    • Cut expenses (33%)
    • Invest more in new technology (23%)
  • The top areas where survey respondents plan to invest their IT dollars are mobile and estimating/bidding technology.

This infographic from Sage provides more information about the results of the survey (click to enlarge) :

2015-sage-technology-survey-infographic

The full report from Sage is expected to be published in April, you can sign up to receive the report here.