With the diverse ways that companies are structured and how workplaces are dispersed, project management has changed in recent years. However, in the construction industry, project management adheres to some basic principles no matter where you are. If you’re using free construction project management software, you could be throwing hurdles in front of you that make work unnecessarily hard.
Here are four of the hidden costs of using free software for project management.
1. Maintenance is a Headache
No matter what the size of your business, there’s always too much work to be done and too little time in the day. In the construction industry, deadlines are vital to maintaining your deadlines. From one project to the next, it’s essential that you hit your goals. If one of your projects gets backed up, it could set off a chain reaction, pushing back dates for the rests of the year.
If you choose a free software solution for project management, you’re going to have to put in a lot of work on the front end to make it work for you. All of the work to customize and maintain the software will be coming from your already limited pool of resources.
If you’re planning on adding features to your software, you’ll be responsible for doing it yourself. For companies with limited resources, especially in IT or with a background in coding, this can be a struggle.
When you start working with a piece of software, you need to think of it as a place that will house important information. If you go with a free solution, you’re trying to cut corners on an important resource. Your project management software is one of the raw materials that go into the foundation of your building.
Do you really want to start off your work by cutting corners?
2. Limited Customer Support
When it comes to customer support, most paid software solutions will offer you an endless stream of support to ensure that you continue working with them. They want to build a business relationship with you that will last for years to come. If you don’t pay for your software, how can you expect the project management software company to feel like they owe you their time?
Every new piece of software requires some amount of training, no matter how intuitive it is. Well-reviewed software usually comes from companies that offer great technical support. On top of that, smaller companies will allow you to request added features and if they hear that request often enough, they may add that feature.
You’re buying more than a program when you pay for software. You also get access to people who can help you get work done. You and the software company both have a vested interested in helping you get work done.
When you’re happy, you’ll tell other companies that they should use the company’s software. When you’re not, you’ll be browsing forums and message boards online looking for a better solution to your issues.
Customer support will make life easy. Find a company who wants to see you succeed.
3. What’s the Price of Free?
When you find a free TV or a free couch on the curb, is your first reaction one of excitement as to how much money you’re saving? Or have you been lucky enough to have the experience of having to pay the price of repairs or the kinds of bugs that could be living on that furniture?
When you use free software, you won’t become infested with parasites but you could start investing your time into something that costs you money. The moment you start working with free software, you might find yourself altering the source code or spending the time to train your coworkers on it.
Everyone who has ever used free software has experienced the frustration of hitting the paywall. There are usually great features, the ones you sought out the software for in the first place, that are locked behind the cost of a subscription. While it’s nice to know that there’s a solution available, you don’t get access to it until you pay up.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive project management solution, you need one that will pay off immediately, not one that will pay off when you pay up.
4. Limited Productivity
While most paid solutions are there to help you get work done, free software can get in the way. Paid software has an interest in helping your company be productive and to get your projects off the ground. Free software gets no benefit one way or the other if you succeed or fail.
Your team will also be struck by trying to identify the benefits and limitations of their new system. If you take the time to train on software that offers limited solutions, you’re going to have to have a few different solutions to get all of your work done.
Rather than training across multiple free or cheap solutions, why not train with just one piece of software?
There are likely to be lots of hiccups along the way and while you’re managing large construction projects, this could distract from important issues. You need to keep the train moving and ensure that all of the boxes are ticked on your projects, rather than trying to navigate a piece of software.
Free Construction Project Management Software is Costly
While you might think that free construction project management software could help save money, the hidden costs will add up quickly. When you use free software, the limitations alone could end up costing you time and money at the worst possible moments.
Without the ability to just power through your projects, you could get held up when you least expect it.
Some of the biggest costs on a project come from time and materials, so check out our guide to ensure you’re on top of all of the costs.