Mobile technology isn’t just for office workers anymore. In fact, mobile devices have become standard equipment for contractors of all stripes.
For general contractors, for example, smartphone use on the job has increased 35 percent in the past year. Overall, 68 percent of contractors — including electricians, plumbers and HVAC specialists — say they use smartphones as a part of their normal workday.
Contractors have not only adopted smartphones, but also turned to tablets, to a lesser extent. Just 22 percent of contractors say they are using tablets on the job, but those contractors say their tablet usage increased by 54 percent over the past year.
Contractors say they use those technologies for a number of reasons, says EMA Contractors, which conducted the research. First and foremost, contractors say they use technology for convenience, because the devices allow them to stay connected with co-workers, distributors and vendors. That, in turn, helps to increase their productivity at work, contractors say. To that end, 32 percent of general contractors say technology allows them to cut costs at work.
Contractors also say that, when on the job, they rely on smartphones and tablets to compare prices and check specifications of products. Electricians were the contractors who were most likely to check specifications and gather information for job bids.
"Smartphone and tablet use among contractors on the jobsite continues its dramatic rise, and marketers that are not focusing resources in this area are missing an important opportunity," said John O'Hara, EMA partner and leader of EMA Contractors, which conducted the research. "At a minimum, marketers should be looking at developing apps that help contractors do their job, websites that are optimized for mobile devices and product literature that can be properly used on tablets."
The research was based on the responses of 200 general contractors in the United States.