As his business grew, Marty Hogan, owner of Martin E. Hogan Corp., in Pittsford, N.Y., began to realize that there were only so many things he could keep in his head at once. “Even a trip to the store with more than three items required a written list,” he says.

He devised a simple way to write specs in Microsoft Excel to keep track of particular job tasks, but scheduling eluded him. He tried a variety of software programs before discovering VirtualBoss construction scheduling software ( Hogan enters each job, task, subcontractor, laborer, supplier, and vendor into the software. “Each item,” he says, “is linked to succeeding items so that if there is a delay at any point in a project then all following items are pushed back.”

Once the schedule is built, Hogan notifies everyone involved either by fax, e-mail, or postal mail. He says he has also found the software to be a great sales tool. Using VirtualBoss, he creates a Gantt chart — a graphic representation of a job schedule — which he shows to clients. “Evidently this is rarely done by my competitors, and customers love it,” he says.