Going paperless in the construction industry,
we can make some changes.
I did not participate in the original challenge back in February of 2011. I was not yet an active Rainmaker and had only a limited number of days on ActiveRain. I do remember seeing the original challenge and thought, “this doesn’t apply to my trade”. I’m a contractor, not an agent who deals with all that paperwork requiring signature and can benefit from a company like Docu-Sign.
I do remember thinking about going paperless. What would it be like to not have the contracts, estimates, scopes of work and all that goes along with the running of a construction business? It didn’t seem like it was something that was worth the effort. I thought of all the reasons why I needed to have the documents printed, and could justify my actions.
Much of my reasoning for printing all the documents (and mailing, faxing, and filing them) was based on something silly – I always did it that way! When justifying my actions, I wasn’t really open to making any changes in the way I did things. It has worked for so many years, why make a change in how things get done?
It had occurred to me that maybe I didn’t need to make sweeping changes in my procedures. Instead, perhaps I could make an effort to make even the slightest change.
This would at least be a start to doing things a little different. So although I didn’t participate in the challenge it did get me thinking how it may be something that I could do.
I gradually made the change to using less paper. I rarely fax information to the client; the only reason I was printing was to send the documents to the client by fax. I found out that most of my customers would prefer to have it in a digital foam anyway. So that made it easy for me to not print.
There are situations where printing is still necessary. I have administrative meetings and conferences that require me to have handouts available to those who attend, often times I do not know who will be attending, and many people like having estimates, proposals, and scopes of work in a tangible paper form, so I have not gone totally paperless.
I have made progress and continue to look for reasonable ways of reducing the paperwork that I generate. I believe that we can all find ways of making at least the smallest of changes in the use of paper. By examining how we operate with an open mind, we can find ways to make these changes.