Whether or not you choose to accept them, missions in the contracting field are going to require that you be well equipped with the gear that you need to help you succeed. While having the latest and greatest high tech gadgets in your arsenal may not seem like a necessity, utilizing such tools can help save you time and money while feeling super-agent suave. Here’s a list of some of the newest contractor gadgets to outfit you for those impossible missions, ranging from practical to extravagant technology!
1. Tough Phone or Tough Case
Today most people do a lot of their business via cell phones, and in the contracting industry, what you need is something as rugged as the work that you do. You need a phone or a phone case that will survive drops, heat, water, dust, and other constant abuse. At the end of the day you still need to be able to pick it up for those all important business phone calls. A damaged phone could mean missing an important call and losing a client. To protect your valuable business transactions, it’s important to make durability a priority when selecting a cell phone or to pick some serious body armor as your phone case. USA Today recently reviewed three smartphones which can meet the needs of those working in even the most dangerous work environments. The writer subjected the following phones to climate, water and impact trauma to see how they held up: Samsung’s Galaxy S5 Active, CAT B15, Sonim XP7 and Kyocera DuraForce. See how they held up here. If you decide to go with protective gear instead, Gizmag recently listed The Lifeproof Fre, Griffin Survivor, Gecko Rugged, Otterbox Preserver and Incipio Atlas as bulletproof choices to prevent your phone from going MIA.
2. Contractor Phone Apps
Contractors often need to come up with cost estimates for labor or materials. Luckily there are some high-tech apps that can make that job faster and easier. Contractor Talk lists several estimating applications available for use from ipads, phones and work or home computers. Many of these apps are very low cost or even free, such as JLGPro, iQuick and Joist inc.; some are more expensive, like the software program Smart Contractor. Whatever your budget and needs, one of these apps can make your life easier and even help you become a better mental estimator over time. If you want a way to impress clients with your ability to quickly come up with the right numbers, there are some really helpful apps available to make that mission possible.
3. LED Light Bar
If you’re working in the dark, don’t let that stop you from doing what needs to be done. Instead, you might want to consider investing in a spy-worthy LED Light Bar. Some LED light bars have a magnet on the back which really makes it portable and ideal for working in most industrial locations. Because LED uses less power, the LED light bar will have a longer battery life than an incandescent equivalent.
4. Work Site Radio
While it isn’t a necessity, listening to some of your favorite work music can definitely make the day more enjoyable and help work go faster. The advantage of using a work site radio instead of your phone or MP3 device has to do with both durability and quality/volume of sound. Work site radios may run off of a power cord or be battery operated, and they vary in prices depending on how extravagant you want to get. There are several work site radios with specialty features which are particularly appealing to those in the contractor business, such as heavy duty grips and integrated outlets, so you can charge that tough phone of yours.
5. Laser level
Sure, a regular level would work, but why not try something a little more spytastic to get the job done. Not only will using a laser in your daily life make you feel like Ethan Hunt, this high-tech tool will also help you get things square in a hands-free fashion, saving you time on the job. There are many types of laser levels available with various features to choose from. Some are meant to be adjusted manually while some have more automatic features. Some lasers project dots as reference points while some project cross beams…some even project a line all the way around a room! Whatever your contracting needs, there is a laser level out there that is right for you.
6. Multi-Media Inspection Camera
The multi-media inspection camera is one gadget that can offer you valuable insider knowledge. The camera head is attached to a handheld screen by 2 meters of waterproof cable which can be snaked through small spaces. This allows you to take a look at what’s behind walls or in tight spaces, saving you guesswork, time and money.
7. Heated Jacket
While it may seem like a strange concept, heated jackets might be just the thing you’re looking for when working outside or in unfinished constructions during those cold wintery days. Heated jackets are battery-powered, and they ensure that you will stay warm even if you can’t retain your own body heat. This weather-resistant gear works by heating your core so that your extremities will be able to function well despite frigid temperatures, allowing you increased mobility and focus on the job.
8. 12Volt Cooler
Whereas a heated jacket might be the high-tech gear of choice in cold climates, what about those working in extremely hot temperatures? The Koolatron can make outdoor work in hot places much easier and more enjoyable. This soft bag is like a portable mini-fridge with a convenient shoulder strap. It holds up to 34 cold cans or small water bottles so that you and your co-workers can stay cool and hydrated. Best of all, it is powered by 12V thermo-electric cooling technology so that no one has to worry about getting ice.
9. High Tech Toolbox
Want to impress your coworkers? One multi-functional high-tech gadget that will do the trick is this futuristic toolbox, or Coolbox. The Coolbox runs off of rechargeable batteries and it includes an arsenal of features such as a cooler, tablet stand, LED lamp, USB port and speakers. Oh yeah, and it holds your tools, too.
When it comes to futuristic toys on the market today, drones are one of the first things that come to mind. Drones are miniature, remote-controlled aircraft which are capable of recording and relaying footage of the ground below. How can these help you in your work as a contractor? While drones used to be the hobby of those willing to lay down a few grand to watch something fly around in the sky, today they are being used all over the world to survey and record progress of building sites and renovation projects in brilliant 4k quality. You can now see how work is progressing and get a picture of what needs to be done or changed from an aerial view!
-Written by Dane & Katie Gustafson