The Advantages of Getting Online
Publication: Wisconsin Badger Builder / September – October 1999
Author: Bill Binn, WBA President
The Internet, the World Wide Web, surfing the net, email. These are all terms we’ve heard about for years, and, for a lot of us, are brand new. That is, if we’ve gotten around to getting online.
The internet and getting online are probably the most exciting and rewarding things – technology wise – that have happened to me and my business in the last year.
Think about the history of technological advancements in your lifetime. My daughters can’t imagine a world without VCR’s and microwaves. We bought our first microwave because someone clued us in to the fact that there was no better way to warm a baby bottle. I remember the first things I did with our microwave; blow up an egg, boil water in a paper cup, pop popcorn. At first, other than the baby bottle, our microwave was mostly a novelty. Now, we can’t imagine life without it.
When we bought the first fax machine for our office, I remember that easily 80 percent of the time we received something it was a cartoon or a joke, usually from a friend or “fax acquaintance”. Now, our machine is used throughout the day, and its use is almost strictly business.
My company has been online for a few months now. It is an amazing world in there!
Our email is already divided between interesting humor and actual messages, but I do believe we will always be sharing interesting tidbits with our “email friends and acquaintances”.
As a weather junkie, I can’t get enough forecasts. Now I can get all the weather information I want instantly on the web. I’ve checked weather for travel destinations for myself, and even where friends and relatives are traveling. A friend was visiting recently and wanted to see a woman’s basketball game at the Kohl Center in Madison. It took just minutes to find the UW-Madison web page and print out a schedule of games so they could figure out which game they wanted to attend. I can get all the NAHB convention and board meeting information, plus the list of attendees, as well as the schedule of seminars so I can plan my weekend well before arriving and picking up my packet. We won’t go to a movie anymore, or even rent one, without checking the movie preview section to see which ones are most going to fit our mood. I also recently planned the entire itinerary of a family vacation on the net, saving an unbelievable amount of time, as well as finding out several adventures we would not have known about if I hadn’t been able to do the digging before we left.
Recently, being on the web saved us hours on the job. We were roughing the mechanicals in a large home receiving a Wolf range, and the question came up regarding gas and electric locations. We searched, “Home appliances, Wolf ranges,” and received the Wolf range web page. We then clicked on the “dimensions” icon and found the rough-in dimensions for the range that was to be installed. Within a total of five minutes we had the necessary information, forwarded it to the field and work continued.
We have a number of clients who prefer to communicate with us via email, as opposed to faxes or even phone calls. They can send us a quick message while they are at work that we can also respond to quickly.
My company builds a large portion of our homes for owners that live in another location. Getting and giving timely information has always been a challenge. By the end of this year, I hope to own and know how to use a digital camera, with which I can take a progress picture of a home on a Thursday morning, come into the office, email it to our client, call them on the phone, discuss with them the way a certain detail is working out, and have the response back to the field by noon!
I don’t have a website for my company yet, and I’m not sure how long it will take me to get one. We are, however, looking to upgrade the WBA website to make it as effective a tool as we can to service you, our members, help potential customers find us, as well as attract new members to the WBA. But we need your help. If you or company is online, please send us an email to our Executive Vice President, Bill Wendle at email@example.com and just say “hi”. We can then add you to the growing list of members online.
Through the ongoing and joint Public Relations, Local Officers, and Education committee efforts, we are trying to assess the direction we need to take our web page. The first and best way to do this is to determine the number of members we will serve.
Finally, for those of you who haven’t considered making the leap yet – it’s a whole new world in there! You will be amazed at how you can streamline and improve your professional and personal life. Set another goal and go for it!