By {{Article.AuthorName}} | {{Article.PublicationDate.slice(6, -2) | date:'EEEE, MMMM d, y'}}
BIM software programs are used on a large scale and can process high levels of data. These systems keep all end users on the same page, acting as an integration tool that improves accuracy and flow of information, yet many construction firms still believe software investment to be out of reach based on costs that range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the scale. 

Software investments can (and should) be financed, just like heavy equipment such as bulldozers, cranes, trenchers and dump trucks. Even if a firm can afford to purchase its software systems upfront, financing is the smart choice for three main reasons. 

1. Stay Competitive
As with heavy equipment, software depreciates in value, and it does so quickly because technologies are constantly being upgraded and refined. Industry standards also are changing, especially as construction professionals learn what works best.

For example, there is a move toward integrating BIM with enterprise resource planning (ERP), cost estimating and other business management software to streamline every aspect of operations. Based on this activity, it is very likely that the industry standard could look completely different just five years from now.

Knowing these shifts are under way, it is more important than ever for contractors to finance their software investments with structures that will allow them to stay competitive. Because speed is critical to success in the industry, financing allows firms to acquire the latest software right away, arrange an affordable plan that works with their overall budget, and upgrade to the newest technology available at the end of the finance term. 

2. Create Seamless Operations 
When a firm implements new software, it is not solely paying for the system. Associated costs include installation and consulting fees, ongoing maintenance and operational expenses, among others. Due to these additional expenses, contractors face costs that are much higher than they might have originally anticipated, and also must deal with paying multiple vendors. 

One option is to bundle all costs associated with installing and operating a new software program into one monthly payment. This reduced complexity for one company that wanted to streamline national operations with an integrated ERP software system. The firm was tight on cash flow and the projected expenses of installing, setting up and training on the software were much higher than expected. A unique structure allowed the construction firm to receive financing for $3.5 million in software, with compensation to more than 10 different vendors arranged on an affordable fixed payment plan.

3. Increase Cash Flow
Construction firms don’t want to spend more on software; in fact, many are cutting their budgets. However, by utilizing financing options for software assets, firms can easily incorporate a predictable payment to maintain updated technologies that are critical to business.

In fact, it is possible to finance 100 percent of the costs associated with new software, including its installation, setup, training and maintenance. This option typically is not available through banks or companies that sell software directly, but rather via private finance providers.

By setting up a structure that allows the entire cost of the software to be spread out over a long period of time, construction companies can benefit from having more capital available for operational expenses, allowing them to maintain, improve or grow their business without having to worry about not having enough cash on hand. 

Additionally, if one consistent monthly payment isn’t the right fit for a construction firm’s needs, some private lenders can customize a monthly, quarterly, annual or step payment plan. Step payments are very popular for their flexibility. The installments can start off smaller at the beginning and go up, making them a strategic option for firms growing their operations and increasing efficiency as they reap the full benefits of their software.

As a whole, contractors are realizing the benefits of implementing advanced design and management software programs. During the next few years, software assets will become even more critical to business, and the “same old systems” just won’t cut it anymore. By setting up the right financing structure for software, contractors can stay ahead of their competitors, maintain seamless operations and ensure more stable cash flow. 

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