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Should you Build or Buy? The King Brothers weigh the pros and cons of each.
Nowadays, if you're not using software to manage your on-site inspections or surveys, you'll be left in the dust by your competitors. Your competitors will be able to undercut you at every opportunity and still make higher profits.
So what if you're still using pen and paper?
Then you're on a fast-track to failure. Instead of spending hours writing reports, you could be winning new business. And winning more business is precisely what your competitors will be doing.
So what options do you have when choosing surveying software for your business?
There are many times in business you need to make a choice - build or buy? The sensible choice is usually to buy software. After all, there's a lot of choice for:
But when you're looking for surveying software, the choice is fairly limited.
And if you don't like the options? You could build it in-house. After all, you are experts in the subject... But should you?
There's no two ways about it - bespoke software is expensive. So it's not an option for small surveying companies with limited resources.
Larger surveying companies, such as Lucion Environmental, have gone down the bespoke software route with great success.
Developing their in-house surveying software, NexGen helped make Lucion one of the biggest asbestos surveying companies in the UK. We know first-hand that their margins are fantastic. Our co-founder David King was the architect for the NexGen platform. David saw first hand how the software he developed helped Lucion grow from around 40 staff to over 300. Lucion was able to turn surveys around quickly.
Creating your own software is potentially a great option for larger companies with lots of resources. However, the choice is a risky one.
Think of the commitment as running two companies. If the two can work together well, then there's a lot to win. They are:
The reason we split it out like this, is that software development is very different to surveying:
A surveying business is operations-centric - job-based profits, KPIs, staff training, fleet management, sales, marketing etc.
A software development business (with one customer) is wildly different. In fact, you'll find that there are few transferrable skills from your core business that you can lean on. Which means finding specialists, and integrating them into your company.
We've seen this happen in a few different ways:
This seems pretty straightforward - you know what you want and you have the budget. How hard can it be? Frankly, the pitfalls are too numerous to re-iterate.
Over the last decade, surveyors have had little choice when it comes to surveying software.
We've seen other products emerge in this space, including Flow Mobile Surveying. New products give surveyors more choice, and the ability to create high-quality survey reports, faster.
Using an existing software platform like Flow Mobile Surveying, TEAMS, or Alpha Tracker® is the right choice for the majority of surveying companies. You can get on with your surveying work, and let software experts develop and maintain the technology.
Think of it this way. Partnering up with an existing provider is like employing specialists, without having to worry about managing them.
You can focus on your core services and provide high-quality surveys. As you work on your business, software experts are continually developing your software.
At Flow Mobile Surveying, we're in a unique position to understand the differences between bespoke and off-the-shelf.
Unless you're a large business with significant cash reserves, developing your own software is usually a poor choice. The best option is (almost always) to use an existing software product.
If you opt to build - find engineers you can trust with your life and commit to the long haul.
If you opt to buy - find a product that gives you value