Often it can seem like owning a trade business is as much about paperwork as it is about actual construction. However, keeping an accurate paper trail is crucial for both the management and protection of your pride and joy.
One single project can include floor plans, estimates, punch lists, contracts, and work orders, just to name a few. Multiply this by the number of projects you have going at once, and it can quickly become a never-ending administrative nightmare.
Fortunately, gone are the days of having to keep a physical paper trail.
Digital estimating software and document management in the cloud allows you to keep an accurate and up-to-date digital document trail that not only simplifies project management but also protects your company should you find yourself in a dispute or worse.
Failure to keep accurate records can have devastating consequences. This is your guide on how a digital paper trail will better protect your trade business.
Organise Each Project in a Separate Digital Folder
When keeping physical records, each project needs its own folder, then filed correctly. This takes up exponential space in your office, not to mention a file can be misplaced or lost.
With the use of digital file management, you can store each project in a separate folder that doesn’t take up any physical space and is easy to find when you need it most. For those embedded in the digital realm, it’s hard to imagine life without a ‘search’ facility.
The other major benefit is that any authorised party can make real-time updates from any device, no matter where they may be in the world. This ensures that users always have the most up-to-date documents available.
Keeping Multiple Copies
You always need a backup plan. This is true for records too. The problem with paper is that there is only one copy. Creating duplicates become costly and again, takes up space.
With digital document management and takeoff software, records are securely stored in the cloud. If a document gets lost or ruined, you can print out as many copies as you need. Not to mention, as a project manager, and this is a big one, you can instantly see progress made without having to wait for a contractor to bring the necessary paper document to you.
Contractors and crew members can quickly and easily upload leave requests, punch lists, certifications, and more. If you lose a paper document without making copies, you lose crucial records you may need down the track.
Automatically Date Stamped
Date stamping approvals, contracts, and other important documents is an essential element of record keeping. However, human error is a thing. Someone may forget to date when a proposal or plan was approved.
Digital floor plan software automatically date stamps all documentation for easy reference. Should you need to know the exact date of approval for instance, important dates such as the date it was created the the date it was modified are nearly always embedded in the file.
Keep track of who makes changes and when is an enormous bonus in the world of digital documentation. Without it, when questions arise, there is no way to know for sure who made the alterations and why.
With a proper cloud document storage systems such as Google Workspace, being able to see who made the changes is easily visible. Staff are held accountable and its easy to refer to the relevant author of said document.
Document management software automatically tracks every user’s edits and the date these actions were taken. This makes it easy to know who made what changes and when, which takes the guesswork out of who is responsible for both great decisions and poor ones.
Keep a Permanent Record of Agreements
Say for instance a particular flooring material is chosen, but the client decides they do not like the look once it is installed, who should absorb this cost?
Since the client chose the material, they should bear the financial burden of replacing the flooring with a preferred option right? However, if the client claims that they did not choose those materials and that you made an error, it’s your word against theirs, unless of course the client signed off on the materials.
A digital paper trail protects your company from indiscrepancies by keeping a signed and dated document of agreements on file. If materials come into question, the document is on hand. With the ability to store a materials list on digital management software, contractors will always have access to an up-to-date version.
It’s Time to Go Digital with Your Document Storage
In the case of business document storage, paper is fast becoming a thing of the past. Keeping a digital paper trail is the future of project management and the key to protecting your contract company from unfounded claims that could devastate your company if you can’t find the paperwork to prove otherwise.
Go digital, and while you’re at it – you’ll want a digital estimating platform that shares the same list of advantages as we’ve outlined above.
Store and markup existing floor plans, create takeoffs, export estimates and enjoy seamless software integrations with Groundplan.