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November 8, 2018

2 Free Apps for construction and renovation projects

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When the real estate market was still recovering from the financial crisis back in 2014, I purchased my first investment property, a 1,200-square-foot single-family home in the Miami, Fla., area. It had been abandoned for years and it showed: the hardwood floors resembled Swiss cheese thanks to termite damage, the kitchen cabinets were rotting away, and the bathroom had a huge hole where once the bathtub had been.

Renovating a property can be stressful and take a lot of time and energy. In my mind, I knew exactly what I wanted that house to become; I knew the style I wanted it to have and the materials I would need to achieve that vision. But once I started the renovations, I realized what was sorely needed was a way to stay on top of all my contractors, and an effective system to keep everyone in the loop and working efficiently on the same to-do list.

My previous career in technology had taught me a lot about the value of mobile apps, including how to repurpose them to serve your unique needs. This knowledge came in handy now.

If you’re also managing projects with multiple contractors and an endless to-do list, keep reading because your project management toolbox is about to get a major upgrade with just two free mobile apps.

Almost all my contractors today have an Android smartphone, while all my devices run on Apple. This isn’t a problem, however, as the tools I’m about to share with you have versions for both operating systems.

Turn WhatsApp into your central communication station

When working on construction and renovation projects, communication between the different teams can be challenging, especially if they are working on multiple projects at the same time. A flood of text messages turns into a never-ending thread that is hard to search and keep track of. Simple misunderstandings can result in mistakes, unforeseen costs, delays, and frustration among team members.

My team and I made the switch to the messaging app WhatsApp a while ago, and it was the best decision we could have made. We use the group chat function to create one chat room per project, using the property address as a group name. For example, if you’re working on “123 Main Street Unit 3,” use this as the group name and invite all contractors who are currently involved with the project. You can add and remove people on the go (your drywall contractor does not need to stay in the loop after his job is done), and you can share important information with just one message. The read receipt function also allows you to confirm everyone has received it.

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