Going paperless in the construction industry, we can make some changes

Home Builder with Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 CSL#642819


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.



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James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Mark at my office we are finally going paperless.  That means I don't need to copy each and every sheet of paper so I can have a copy.  Love it just got to love it

Sep 08, 2012 09:31 PM #1
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

For some reason I have a feeling that no one will ever be 100% paperless, there is always going to be something that someone needs to hold and touch.

Sep 08, 2012 09:51 PM #2
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living
Tom, you are right, we my not all be able to eliminate paper altogether but many small steps by many people do add up!
Sep 08, 2012 11:21 PM #3
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
26 Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

I love that I can scan contracts to send to the office instead of copying them. I just did my first electronic contract and it was easy and everyone liked getting the completed copy by email.

Sep 08, 2012 11:31 PM #4
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Tom: Good for you! It's amazing how much we can get done electronically these days. I use my printer so seldom, mostly as a scanner. And faxing? I use a service that costs me $7.99/month and I seldom use it - it's mostly for clients who insist on faxing things to me. Mostly everything comes attached via email.

Sep 09, 2012 01:01 PM #5
Jeremy Wrenn
Wrenn Home Improvements - Wake Forest, NC
President, Wrenn Home Improvements

Tom, I think small changes are good.  Too many changes at once, and you can mess up your operations!

I don't think construction will ever go fully paperless, folks like to roll out that blueprint and see it all in detail, with a full view.  Maybe we'll have HUGE monitors the size of the blueprints so you can go paperless.


Sep 10, 2012 12:42 AM #6
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Tom- I was at a luncheon recently and the speaker talked about the different applications he uses on the iPad and how he is going paperless.  It sounded so exciting, it made me want to become a Realtor just to be able to use these apps.  I am trying to go as paperless as I can and I know what you mean by trying to tailor some of the suggestions and apps to your own industry.  

Sep 10, 2012 10:33 AM #7
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

James - My friends call me Tom.   :)


Roger - I think you are right, paper will not go away completely.


Silvia - I think it is important that we do make those small changes.


Toni - My contracts are only a page or two, you have to handle boat-loads of paper. I think it is especially important the your industry can reduce to paperwork.


Hella - Things are changing for the better.


Jeremy - Great to hear from you. Can you imagine going to a jobwalk with a laptop looking at the blueprints? Not me, I like to write and draw.  :)


Kathy - I think if we make an effort to find ways to reduce paper, we can. Looking at what others are doing is a good way of getting some ideas about how to do this.

Sep 10, 2012 02:56 PM #8
Jeremy Wrenn
Wrenn Home Improvements - Wake Forest, NC
President, Wrenn Home Improvements

Tom, I can't imagine doing that and being able to get my notes together well!  :)

I still use a notepad, and find it incredibly helpful.

Sep 11, 2012 12:16 AM #9
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Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366

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