When if comes to comparing all of the software solutions that attempt to meet the needs of the Restoration Contractor, let me first expose my bias. As the founder of Next Gear Solutions and the creator of DASH Enterprise, I believe that DASH is the best solution for managing a restoration company, both full service and water restoration. Before I draw some comparisons, I will define “a software for managing a restoration company” and set a few ground rules.

Definition of Restoration Management Software:
A restoration management software, if it truly lives up to its title, will manage all jobs and projects as well as relationships (CRM). However to truly be Restoration Management Software, I believe a higher level of management tools must also exist. These are tools that pull information together to provide valuable insight into what is happening in your company. This insight should be in near real time so you can make management decisions quickly.

Ground Rules for Comparison
I get asked to compare DASH to other specific software less and less these days, as I believe the consensus currently is there is no comparison. But even in the early days of DASH, I always tried to refrain from naming names when making a comparison to other restoration management software products. For one, I was always taught if you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all. Also I have spent my entire career in the restoration industry encouraging contractors to tear down the white boards, lose the folders, and embrace technology. It is my hope that every contractor embrace technology in some way, and I would not want to do anything to discourage that. So in this article I will not be naming names.

How to Compare Restoration Management Software

If you are trying to decide which Restoration Management Software is right for your company there are a few things to consider.

Understand the implementation plan for your transition to the new software platform. A Restoration Management Software solution that will really transform you company will be a major change. You should feel very comfortable with the process for implementation. The true cost of adopting restoration management software is not the cost of the software itself but the cost of your entire team’s time to implement. A failed implementation can be catastrophic and stunt your organization for possibly years. It is important to know you are in good hands and that you will not be left alone to attempt implementation.

Find out what is the training infrastructure of the company providing the software is. This is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. In order to fully take advantage of any major piece of software, you will need to have a training plan for you team. If the company you choose does not have a training plan detailed out for you, then you will have to do it yourself. Do not be fooled by those who would tell you their software is so simple that less than two hours of training is all that is needed. As your staff changes and the software adds new features, ongoing training will be important. Make sure you are comfortable with the plan for initial training and ongoing training.

Imagine you train your staff on new Restoration Management Software and get to the other side of the implementation process. A year or so later your software is obsolete. You are being encouraged to migrate to their new platform and all of sudden you are back a square one, forced to start the painful process all over again. When compare solutions look at the technology and ask yourself, “how long will this last?”

Compare the features of each solution. While you are going to be most concerned about your needs today, don’t be shortsighted while doing this part of the comparison. Think of where you want to be in 5 years and make sure the software you choose can take you there. Again, having to change software is a costly process, so choose the software that will go the distance with you.

Understand the true cost of the software before you choose. If the fee structure is per user, please don’t fool yourself into saving money by sharing logins. The entire purpose of restoration management software is to provide efficiency and accountability, none of which can be accomplished if each member of your staff does not have a role to play. Beware of companies who sell upgrades or customization— this is a never-ending money pit out of which is hard to get.

When I founded Next Gear Solutions and built DASH it was out of a dream that technology could solve some of the age-old issues that we face in the Restoration Industry. Since my background was in training and consulting, we made implementation, training, and ongoing support the cornerstone of our overall product. We chose the latest cutting edge technology to build DASH on knowing it would stand the test of time. We built a feature rich solution that is simple enough for the smallest contractor but robust enough for the largest. Finally, we chose a cost structure that allows us to continue to innovate but also include every member of your organization without additional costs. I believe that when it comes to Restoration Management Software there is no comparison, and DASH stands far apart from the rest.