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Our Mission: To Build The Best Asbestos Surveying Software

Paul King
February 11, 2020

Last year we made it our mission to build the best asbestos surveying software on the market. Now we are well on our way to achieving our goal.  Here is our journey so far.

We Started with the Problem

To make a world-class software product, you need to talk to customers and figure out their problems. By starting with the problem, you can build something that people want to use. So we started chatting to surveyors, before writing even a single line of code.

Fortunately, David King already had a strong network within the asbestos surveying industry. So we spoke to the asbestos surveyors we already knew.  We set up face-to-face meetings with surveyors to understand their problems. If we couldn't arrange a face to face meeting, we asked questions over the phone, LinkedIn or email instead. We found that:

Problem 1 - Profit Margins are Tight

Surveying companies said that profit margins in the industry were tight, due to high competition; especially for surveying companies working with housing companies. Since tendering for housing companies is so competitive, it means that:

  • Surveying companies compete on price.
  • Surveyors price 'per survey.'

The winning supplier, therefore, has tight profit margins and must complete a high volume of jobs each day to generate good profits.

With this type of job, slow surveying can result in a financial loss. The speed of the surveyor and software both affect the time it takes to complete the survey.

Problem 2 - Delays in Cash Flow

Delays in survey turnaround can have a sizeable financial knock-on-effect. Delays happen for several reasons, including:

  • Unreliable software
  • Laboratory results taking a long time to process
  • Surveys "stuck" within the system
  • Quality control bottlenecks

As a result of the bottlenecks, survey reports could not be issued in a timely fashion, resulting in delayed invoicing and poor cash flow. Clients were often unhappy as a result, and less likely to request repeat work.

Problem 3 - Complex Software

We spoke to a surveying company who had recently employed some experienced surveyors, much to their delight. However, the new surveyors found their software complex and challenging to use. As a result, the new surveyors:

  • Got frustrated
  • Lost confidence
  • Quit their jobs (in some cases)

In the case of the company, we spoke to; the surveyors had come from a company with better software. So the transition from good-to-poor software was keenly felt in their day-to-day work.

Common Problem - Asbestos Survey Software is Too Slow

The surveying companies we spoke to all agreed on one thing. Their software was too slow, and delays were causing a financial knock-on effect.

Many of the software products we tried were sluggish, and we found them frustrating to use. Slow speeds were caused by:

  • Poor navigation
  • Poor data sync capabilities - apps "froze" when syncing data.
  • Difficulty fixing mistakes (one company we spoke to said it took three days to change a single spelling mistake)
  • Delays with the supplier when changes to templates were needed
  • Internet connectivity issues
  • Workflows that were too rigid
  • Locked records - preventing managerial sign-off

There was lots of room for improvement.

The Fastest Surveying Software

Our conversations with surveyors made one thing clear; existing software was too slow. We realised: To build the BEST surveying software, we needed to build the FASTEST surveying software.

The software also needed to be reliable and easy to navigate. So we set to work and focused on making each part of the surveying process as fast as possible.

I've highlighted these below (we have plans to tackle lab results later)

Flow Surveying Software, survey to report process

The resulting surveying app is sleek and fast, with great offline support

We are very proud of the results!

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