When I first joined On Center about four years ago, I was surprised to learn how many contractors were still doing takeoffs manually. I quickly discovered this meant their days were spent hunched over dozens of paper drawings, armed with a set of colored pencils, a slide ruler, and a bottomless cup of coffee (not to mention a roll of antacids, depending on the size of the bid and how soon it was due). Sound familiar?
Since then, the popularity of takeoff and estimating software has increased significantly. More and more contractors have made the move to digital tools that can streamline their daily tasks and ensure more accurate estimates. As many of them would attest, one critical component of successfully adopting new software is getting the right training for it up front.
Not convinced? Here are a few reasons why making time for training is a wise investment for your business and your employees.
Getting Buy-in from the Beginning
During training on your estimating software, your team will get a clear picture of how the software works and how using it can improve their ability to complete bids. Achieving this clarity from the start can jump-start their desire to fully adopt the new tools. In addition, a solid understanding of “what’s in it for me (or them)” will lay the right foundation for moving beyond the fundamentals into the more advanced software functions.
Establish Consistency in Bidding
There are many advantages to getting your team trained on new takeoff and estimating software. For starters, it will establish a consistent method for working on bids from beginning to completion. Everyone on your team will have a similar understanding of what is required and how the software can help get the work done efficiently. As a result, your team will be stronger and able to fill in for each other when needed.
In addition, the team members who know and use the software regularly can serve as mentors when onboarding new employees to get them up to speed. Having a well-trained team ready to serve as a go-to resource can make it easier to teach new employees and help them feel more comfortable when learning something new.
Partnering with Your Trainer
Speaking of resources, don’t forget that your trainer is a big part of the equation. It’s common practice for trainers to provide their contact information following a training program. This allows participants to touch base if they have specific questions or need to review any key concepts.
It’s not uncommon for your team to have questions as they begin to dig into the software on their own. Trainers are more than happy to roll up their sleeves and help when those issues pop up. In many ways, you should think of trainers as an extension of your team. Another bonus—trainers know your time is valuable and you need to get answers quickly. That’s why we’re happy to respond promptly when providing whatever assistance is needed.
Retaining Employees with Training
Investing in training for your team shows that you value them and the contribution they make to your business. Providing a way for them to build their skills and broaden their knowledge underscores your commitment to their success.
As a result, your takeoff and estimating team members are more likely to be more satisfied overall, work harder to win more bids, and feel comfortable staying at your company for the long haul.
Maintaining a Competitive Edge
As you know, finding and retaining employees who are up to speed on the latest technology is critical to keep your business competitive. The dynamic nature of construction points to the need to provide opportunities for your employees to learn. This is true not just when they onboard, but as they progress throughout their career.
Establishing your company as a place that values employees who are committed to staying current on the latest tools, trends, and techniques will set you apart in the marketplace. In addition, it will make your business very attractive to recent college graduates or anyone considering a career change into estimating.
The bottom-line? You are likely to reap the benefits when investing in training opportunities for your takeoff and estimating teams. Not only do employees feel valued, but it can also serve as a morale boost. In addition, the new software (and other tools) will help them work faster and be more productive, which will lead to more work won for your company overall. Sounds like a winning combination to me!
Allyson Grove is a Product Training Specialist at On Center Software by ConstructConnect. She delivers best-in-class training to construction industry professionals. Her passion is helping estimators and project managers sharpen their takeoff and estimating skills and win more bids. Prior to joining On Center in 2015, she worked in a variety of industries, including broadcast television, publishing, consumer electronics, oil and gas, and management consulting. For the past 15 years, she has held a variety of training and development roles in which she delivered both classroom and virtual training, as well as designed and developed curriculum. Originally hailing from Ohio, Allyson holds a degree in broadcast journalism from Ohio University. When not at work, Allyson enjoys watching sports, doing yoga, reading, and journaling.