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The heart of the home industry has not changed over the years: we build, we make, we design, we sell, we serve clients. But how we do that has significantly evolved, particularly in the past decade. Leveraging technology for builders, designers, and realtors allows us to streamline our businesses and do what we do more efficiently and effectively.
Technology in the Home Industry
If you’ve been on your smartphone recently, you know there’s an app for everything: exercise, healthy eating, smart scheduling, meditating, gaming, dating, dog walking…. We live in an age where there is a “solution” to just about any need. But that can also make the process of choosing the right technology for your business overwhelming.
We’re here to simplify. Rather than getting caught up in the newest, shiniest option, let’s build a solid foundation for business growth and sustainability. Members of the Home Artisans of Indiana community have found success with the following technologies:
During custom home builds, stress, anxiety, and frustration often run rampant. Owners face a myriad of questions: Where are we? What decisions do I have to make? How much room do I have in my budget? When is electrical work going to start? How do I approve a change order?
BuilderTrend gives them the answers they need. This platform allows homeowners to:
View their current project status
Receive reminders of important dates and events
View photos of the project
Share a customized photo gallery with friends and family
Track spending and categorize expenses
Access key documents (e.g. warranty information)
View and approve change orders
Message their contractor/builder anytime
While this is no doubt beneficial to clients, it is equally advantageous for businesses. You can free your people to focus on the project while BuilderTrend handles a great deal of the routine communications that clients need.
This lightweight, highly visual web and mobile task management and organization system is ideal for home industry professionals. Easily:
Organize complex tasks and break them into simple, achievable components
Assign tasks to the appropriate team members
Prioritize tasks based on importance and due dates
Keep your team on the same page with critical updates they can access anywhere
Share key files and information
Access task status updates in a visual format
Receive notifications of milestones and deadlines
Integrate with Office 365 and Outlook Calendar for streamlined operations
Planner allows you to control and follow all of the phases of a project’s life cycle, while increasing transparency and access for your team.
In-Home Measuring Apps
In-home measuring apps hold a number of key benefits for both homeowners and businesses. With busy schedules, it can be challenging to arrange a time that works for everyone. You may also have homeowners who are more comfortable with a virtual approach or just prefer the ease of a remote solution, these apps offer a great way to get the job done.
Our members have found the following to be particularly useful:
CamtoPlan: This is an entry-level solution available for iPhone and Android users. Think of it as a virtual ruler and tape measure that utilizes ARCore and augmented reality technology to deliver accuracy and precision.
Another simple to use app for iPhone and Android, Measure uses AR to turn your device into a 21st century tape measure with enhanced features (e.g. automatically detecting the dimensions of rectangular objects, saving photos of the measurement, etc.)
This simple online flooring calculator makes quick work of this task and is suitable for builders, designers, realtors, and other home industry professionals.
Magic Plan App. Magic Plan is a more robust solution for professionals: it allows you to take measurements and create and share floor plans, field reports, estimates, and reports.
You can still deliver personalized service in a remote setting. These apps make it easier to make the most of your team’s time and your business’s resources.
Virtual design options are fast becoming the norm. Some ultra-simple and accessible solutions include Pinterest and Houzz, which allow you and your clients to share ideas and find inspiration.
Morpholio Board. This interior design app takes Pinterest and Houzz to another level. With a vast product library, you can take an image of a space and add tile, flooring, and fixture selections as well as furniture and accessories to create a virtual mood board.
2020 Design. Builders and designers can turn a few photos into complete 3D renderings that clients can experience in virtual reality. Professionals can add specific details, finishes, and products (e.g. flooring, appliances, cabinets) and make real-time adjustments. 2020 Design also generates item lists and quotes, sends orders to suppliers and vendors, and gives detailed installation instructions.
Chief Architect. With this, you can create virtual remodel designs, as well as 360-degree panoramic renderings and full 3D VR models.
VIVE VR. Looking at renderings is nice. Experiencing the design come to life is even better. Using VIVE VR, clients can all but start cooking dinner in their newly remodeled kitchen.
Floorvana + by Shaw. This tool allows clients to upload photos of their space and try out different flooring options. It’s a great way to get a feel for how the design will look and work with their homes.
Imagine the possibilities! You can streamline your business, serve customers with the “personal touch,” and, ultimately, deliver outstanding results.
Realtors, builders, designers, and other home industry pros need to conduct walk-throughs in order to effectively serve their clients. When doing so in person is not feasible, technology can step in to save the day. Again, you can go simple and opt for Zoom or Facebook Live streams. Many realtors and others prefer more robust solutions, including:
Find the solution that has the features and functions you need and greet clients with a fantastic virtual walk-through experience.
Technology for Builders, Designers, and Realtors
Technology does not supplant what we know to be best practices: operating with integrity, meticulous attention to detail, quality work, and exceptional customer service. No, rather it supports it. Technology in the home improvement industry should help us do what we do best even better, even more efficiently, and even more effectively.
Members of the Home Artisans of Indiana community have access to the most creative, innovative minds and ideas in the industry; if you need some inspiration for integrating technology into your business, call on your peers. We can help. Get in touch with HAOI today.