Floating on a Cloud

So, we mentioned that we have cloud storage available for our subscribers, right?  When you create an account with us, your business automatically receives 500 megabytes of free, safely secured storage.  Additional storage space is available at very reasonable prices on a buy-what-you-need, when-you-need-it, and subscription basis.  In other words, if you have a very busy season when you need to store a lot of plans on our cloud for future printing, you are able to buy an extra gigabyte of storage for that seasonal uptick.  Then, when thing slow down again, just cancel the extra cloud space and go back to a smaller amount of storage, or to the free 150 MB plan.  Simple!  Having plans and documents stored in your own personal media manager with Blueprints Printing makes it simple to keep everything organized, and makes it quick and easy to order new prints whenever you need them from anywhere on your mobile device or desktop.

In addition, we are currently working on adding some very useful functionality to our cloud-based plan room.  We want each of our subscribers to have their own personalized storage space on our cloud.  Our platform will allow subscribers to file plans in folders, keep them organized by project, see what projects they have already printed, and so on.  Perhaps the most exciting part of our expanding platform, though, will be the ability to share your plans with members of your team, subcontractors, engineers, architects, or with whomever you need to.  The plan room will enable you to invite colleagues by email to view and download your blueprints, spec books, proposals, and other documents.  They will be invited to your company’s personalized page, with your logo and company webpage design on the Blueprints Printing cloud, where they will be able to download or view the pdf files you have designated to share with them.  Having this ability to share plans and construction information electronically will be a huge time and cost saving benefit for Blueprints Printing subscribers!

This is the direction the construction industry is already moving – toward mobile and electronic information sharing platforms. The advantage of making the transition with Blueprintsprinting.com, as we described in our previous blog post, is that your business can make the transition in easy, painless incremental steps. Our programming team is working on the software now.  Set up your Blueprints Printing account today to take advantage of these upcoming innovations in plan sharing and construction management!

Read more about how the design and build industries are using the cloud here:

The-Cloud-Computing-Guide-for-Construction

A Blueprint for 2015

There are many exciting things on the horizon in 2015 for Blueprints Printing and for the construction industry as a whole.   There are also a number of trends and emerging changes to keep an eye on as you plan for business in the new year.

After much planning, strategy, marketing research, and web design in 2014, we successfully  launched our website in September.  The orders started to role in shortly thereafter, and we were able to iron out a few minor kinks in our operation.  We are very happy with our blueprints printing and delivery processes now, and we are confident that are system is a fully optimized and well-oiled machine going into 2015. We are excited and ready to print and ship out all of those spring construction project plans.  The team is gearing up now to really put some time and man hours into our plan room  software development and our construction industry social networking platform.  Look for those new features to be available for integration into your Blueprintsprinting.com accounts sometime towards mid year.

New Construction StartsSpeaking of 2o15 construction projects; what does it look like for construction in 2015?  We know new construction has been picking up over the past year, and we are hopeful that this trend will accelerate on into 2015.  With oil prices lower than they have been in at least 5 years, and the U.S. economy picking up speed, we expect to see a strong market for new construction and remodels next year.  We decided to dig around a little to see what the experts were saying….

Dodge Data and Analytics estimates commercial building to increase by 15% in 2015; institutional building to rise 9%, and public works construction to increase 5%.  The National Association of Homebuilders estimates that as the economy improves, millennials find work and move into their own homes, there will be increased demand for single-family and multi-family housing production.  They estimate 802,000 and  356,000 new starts in each of these categories respectively over the coming year. The regions likely to see the most growth in new construction in 2015 are predominantly in the south including the metro regions of Houston, Charlotte, San Antonio, Dallas, Nashville, and Charleston, with substantial growth also expected in Seattle and Salt Lake City.  Expected growth notwithstanding, we expect the importance of efficiency and cost saving measure to continue in the construction industry.  The days of large margins are unfortunately behind us, which is why the low cost services that we provide at blueprintsprinting.com will continue to be essential.

Some trends we expect to see gaining steam in the construction industry include increasing focus on sustainable design, and Leed certified buildings.  We also expect to see continued emphasis placed on “smart city” infrastructure projects as well as more vertical development within metropolitan areas.

Within the design/build industry we are also, of course, expecting to see the professionals moving more and more toward mobile construction management products which is why we are staying focused on making our site and all of our services mobile friendly.  2015 will also be a continuation of gradual shift toward electronic blueprints and digital sharing of plans.  Our bridging platform will make that transition smooth and painless.

All in all, we expect 2015 to be a prosperous year for all of us in the design/build industries!  We hope you will come share in the prosperity and journey through the year with us.  Happy New Year from the Blueprints Printing team!!

Happy Holidays From Blueprints Printing

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Well, we got off to a great start this fall – getting the website up and running, forming some wonderful strategic partnerships, and shipping out quite a few print orders.  As we take a moment to reflect on our progress thus far before breaking for the holidays, we find ourselves quite pleased.  And, we are really looking forward to everything that the New Year is going to bring.  We have big and exciting plans for next year. As we have mentioned, we will be rolling out some new construction management software and social networking packages that we think will really create some amazing efficiencies in the design/build industries.  We look forward to bringing on some new programming and customer support staff next year as well.

Unfortunately, if blueprints were on your holiday shopping list, it is a little late to get them ordered now and still have them arrive in time for Christmas.  However, we do look forward to helping you out with all of your upcoming spring construction projects.  We hope you will remember us when it comes time to order those blueprints or any other type of printing your in need of.  Remember us when you are looking for online plan storage, and when you are in the market for construction management software.  We look forward to providing you with the lowest prices, the best service, and the fastest delivery again in 2015.  Keep an eye for our new software launches next year!

Wishing you all Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year!!

Uses for Tyvek Blueprints and Banners

Having been in the reprography industry for quite some time, I can tell you that one of the best new products on the market is the Tyvek blueprint or banner for the job site.  In an environment where mud, dirt, snow, rain, sawdust, and metal shavings are all common, paper blueprints tend to go through a deconstruction machine right as you construct the very building they lay out.

How often have construction plans been so beat up that the revisions get lost in translation?  How often does some accidental plumbing leak hose down the plans?  How often do you wish that John wouldn’t splash the blueprints with the drink and mustard from the hotdog he just got at 7-Eleven, because it covered up and washed out the redlines that you painstakingly did just the other day?  These and many other scenarios are so common on job sites, and in the trailer, that blueprints are only safe for a moment. Edited_Hammer_Blueprint

Tyvek, as you know, is the weatherproofing that is incredible when wrapping a building.  It rarely tears, is water- and weatherproof, and now, you can print on it.  Blueprints can be washed off, and they still retain their inks, whether printed or drawn on them with pen.  These types of job site blueprints are being adopted by some of the biggest construction companies in the West.

We wanted to make Tyvek affordable, really affordable, to you.  Whether you are a major construction company with huge projects or working on a custom home or roadbed, these Tyvek, weatherproof, waterproof blueprints are nearly bullet-proof and stand up to the toughest conditions.

Printed Tyvek also makes a great job site banner.  Much less than traditional printed vinyl banners, Tyvek allows you to print a banner and get the word out about your construction service without spending a ton of money to do it.  These banners can be 3 ½ ft wide by any length you want, and at only a third the cost of vinyl, they make a ton of sense.  Because they are less expensive, you can change the marketing message that you have on it more frequently.

You can order Tyvek Banners or Tyvek Blueprints directly from our web site.  Now, let John eat in peace.  Your blueprints and revisions to the plans are safe now.

Time Transport for Architects, Engineers & Construction Firms

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Recognizing that technology is changing our lives, our work, and our ways of interacting more quickly than ever before in history, we have designed the Blueprintsprinting.com platform in a way that allows it to easily be adapted to technological change.  The platform itself is designed to make the modernization process for architectural, construction, and engineering firms as painless as possible.

  1. Cloud-based platform consolidating many different software modules
  2. Subscription-based so you can buy what you need when you need it
  3. Easy interfaces that allow you to keep all your information together in one spot
  4. Simple and secure tracking of interactions
  5. Consolidated reporting and easy-to-understand job management

Each module is designed as a pay-for-what-you-need service to help your firm to move to the next level of modernization on our platform step-by-step.  We like to refer to Blueprintsprinting.com as the design/build time machine – a transport vehicle which helps your firm arrive comfortably in the future.  By leveraging each level of our platform to move your organization on to the next level, you can systematically move from an analog design/build process to a digital one.

Level 1 – PrintingBlueprints

Currently offering printing services and delivery for customers across the United States, the foundation of Blueprintsprinting.com is easy enough to understand.  It is right there in our name – we print construction plans and blueprints.

  1. Volume pricing for everyone at only $0.11 per square foot ($0.66 for Arch D plans on regular bond)
  2. A place to store plans for one job or many jobs
  3. Many different media (most papers, Tyvek, film, etc.)
  4. Open to the public so anyone can print plans

We print plans using the latest and most efficient printing technology and ink.  We print on every commonly used type of stock, plus offer innovative weatherproof prints on durable Tyvek.   Our business model leverages excess capacities in order to provide the lowest possible cost for printing to our web clients nationwide.    Our shipping and logistics partner uses cutting edge logistics strategies and technology to help us offer fast, affordable shipping of hard copy prints.  Blueprints and plans can be delivered to multiple addresses through a single ordering process.

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Level 2 – Cloud-Based Plan Room

We are fully aware that hard-copy blueprints are quickly becoming obsolete.  Construction firms, architects, and engineers are moving toward electronic versions and are deploying tablets and other mobile devices to the jobsite.  With this in mind, the next level on the Blueprints Printing platform is a secure, reliable (99.9999% uptime), cloud-based storage platform for construction plans and blueprints.  Storage space can be purchased by the Gigabyte on a subscription basis.  If your firm needs extra storage space one month but less the following month, our platform allows easy adjustment of your subscription with no minimum obligation.  This saves your business money on physical plan room storage space and allows you to be flexible and adaptable to changing seasons within your business.  Increase or decrease your storage space and associated cost easily and on a month-by-month basis.  Rest assured that your plans are safe and secure.

Once your business has made the move to electronic plans and cloud-based storage of those plans, it becomes necessary to be able to easily share those plans with your team, contractors, and clients.  You will be able to designate specific permissions on specific plans – share plans with whomever you need to share them with, while keeping the rest of your plans secure.

Level 3 – Professional Social Networking

Blueprints Printing’s platform will be integrated into a professional networking, social media platform which allows you to easily invite whomever you like to view your plans.

  1. Build a robust social network that includes your colleagues, your project managers, your subcontractors, etc.
  2. Digitally connect with all the parties that help you to complete a job and easily communicate and share plans and information
  3. Free for basic service and subscription-based for higher levels of functionality
  4. Advertise your services to architects, customers, and general contractors

Level 4 – Bid Software

Our bid and broad estimating and proposal building software is the next piece along this platform.  Once you have a network of contractors and project partners at your fingertips using our social networking platform, our bid software makes it a simple process to share project parameters and ask for bids on the various components of your project.  Our software will allow you to easily compile, aggregate and compare bids, and it allows you to build a proposal for a potential client with simple templates that can be printed immediately or shared as PDF or HTML web-page.

Levels 5 through 11coming-soon

The more secret of our modules will help you integrate across all levels of a job.  Stay tuned.  These modules are built with advanced, patented technology that is not available anywhere else.  This technology will allow integration with government and other entities across the platform to give you unparalleled access and time-savings.  Integrating the technology across our platform is a longer process and should be completed within 3 to 5 years.

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We are excited about the way our new processes coming along, and we are happy that you have chosen to grow with us over the next few years.  We know that you will find incredible value in our services as we find incredible value in working with you.

Mission Statement & Customer Promise

Mission Statement:

We create easy-to-understand and easy-to-use tools and printed products to assist our clients in simplifying, streamlining, and modernizing their building, construction, and infrastructure projects. Our web-based platform and services facilitate printing, communication, and smooth exchange of information, ideas, and plans between architects, engineers, construction companies, subcontractors, and customers. We provide printing solutions, communication tools, and web-based products to help our clients gain and share information, find solutions, and market to new customers. Our team is passionate about helping visionaries, planners, and builders in navigating the construction process.

Customer Promise:

As our customer and client, expect the following:

  1. We build simple, powerful tools to assist you in building your visions and the visions of your clients and customers.
  2. We focus on delivering powerful and easy solutions for printing, distributing, communicating, and sharing the visions, plans, diagrams, and documents that are at the foundation of any construction or infrastructure project. Our products and services make it easy to communicate your plans and specifications with your clients and customers, with your partner companies, and with your teams.
  3. We focus on delivering the tools we provide at the lowest possible cost to our clients with simple interfaces, knowing that in this way we are assisting you in becoming more profitable, quicker, and more efficient.
  4. We design our processes, our sites, and our tools with simple objectives in mind – make it easy-to-use, clear, concise, and time-saving, allowing you to get the job done with minimal investment of money, time, and energy.

What can we print?

In case you thought that the only thing we could print was blueprints, we thought you should know that we recently fulfilled an order for professional family portraits printed on Tyvek. We will print and ship, to your specifications, any pdf document you upload to our site. Whether it is posters, banners, concept maps, topographical maps, GIS maps, presentations, spec books, you name it. The only limit is your imagination. Our high quality, high definition printers allow us fulfill virtually any printing need and our logistics partners help us get your print orders delivered faster than just about anybody out there. We didn’t expect to get many orders for family portraits, but we were happy to do it…. and they came out great!

Change

We at Blueprintsprinting.com are not afraid of change.  Change has been a constant in our lives and we don’t think that is a bad thing.  As Marcus Aurelius most sagely advised, “Observe always that everything is the result of change, and get used to thinking that there is nothing nature loves so well as to change existing forms and make new ones like them.”

As the recent recession steamrolled the construction industry we began to realize there were some big changes that were going to be necessary in order for the industry to regain all that lost momentum.  Efficiencies and cost-cutting were going to have to be the name of the game.  Our areas of expertise and experience were in the plan printing business.  We regularly interfaced with construction industry clients on their plans and printing projects, and we were constantly trying to find ways to help them shave costs in order to stay afloat.  An idea gradually took shape as we watched reprographers and competitors going out of business across the country during the recession.  Our online platform for blueprint printing and construction management is the products of that thought process, and the economic strictures imposed by the Great Recession.  Crises bring opportunity and change.  We chose to embrace the changes that were afoot.  We worked to streamline, modernize, and scale up our printing services and take them completely online.  Out of this process our new company, Blueprintsprinting.com was born.  Now, as a result of our ideas and efforts, our friends in construction, architecture, engineering, and related industries can order inexpensive blueprints online and get them delivered expeditiously.  We also provide fully integrated online and over-the-phone support services for any questions or complexities that arise in the plan printing process. This is just the beginning of the modernization we are working to bring to the industry.  Soon our clients will be able to utilize our cutting edge construction management software.  Our upcoming cloud-based plan rooms will replace all the square foot storage previously necessary for big construction firms to keep hard copies of their plans.  Our upcoming bid software will streamline and revolutionize the bidding process by allowing easy sharing of bid work and a social media type interface specifically for the construction industry.

We are very excited about the changes on the horizon in the architecture, construction, and engineering industries.  So many wonderful and innovative projects are underway.  We never stop being impressed by the designed and built spaces that surround us, and we are very excited by the futuristic design/build trends.  We think this all of this makes ours a very exciting era in which to be living.   We are happy to be part of a process that empowers and liberates humanity to do more with less and to reach for great new heights.

Making Blueprints Easy

One of our primary motivations for creating blueprintsprinting.com and something we have kept central throughout our start-up process is ease-of-use.  Our website is intended to be extremely user friendly and to make your life as a contractor, architect, or construction manager ever-so-much simpler.  Everything can be done right from your desk and our comprehensive support site and knowledgeable support staff are always available to address any questions or concerns you may have.

Just for fun, let us walk you through our simple ordering process here in 10 simple steps:

Step 1:  Click on [Start Your Order]

Step 2:  Enter your user name, password, and email to create a blueprintsprinting.com account.

Step 3:  You are now ready to order – simply click on [Upload Another File] and upload your plan pdfs right from your personal computer.

Step 4:  Choose formatting [Blueprint, Specbook, Proposal, Lg. Color Print]

  1. Blueprint – a blueprint is typically a black & white document sized at, or larger than 11×17 in print size that is typically rolled and shows either architectural or engineering layouts.
  2. Specbook – a specbook is typically a black & white document sized at, or smaller than 11×17 and is a manual, specification or other booklet or book that explains in detail a set of procedures, engineering specifications, detailed callouts for architectural drawings or engineering drawings, or any other list of instructions (employee manuals, parts lists, equipment manuals, etc.).
  3. Proposal – proposals are typically color documents that act as sales aids and are typically printed on heavier, high-quality paper and are smaller than 11×17.  Finished with nicer binding options, proposals are much higher quality overall than specbooks.  They also require that you speak with a customer service representative in order to ensure the exact details of your order.
  4. Lg. Color Print – large color prints are full-color, high-quality prints larger than 11×17 and can be any of the following:  architectural renderings, cover sheets for plans, sales or explanatory aids for planning or sales meetings.  To ensure the highest quality needed for your print, please leave notes with your order or call customer service.

Step 5:  Click [Order] highlighted in blue next to the file in the Media Manager, or click [Print a New Job] on the home screen.

Step 6:  Choose your size (the page shows your document’s original size to the right of the drop menus), paper, appearance, and binding from the drop down menus.

Step 7: Once you have all of your specifications selected click [Add to Cart].  Repeat this process for any additional items you wish to order.

Step 8:  When you have all of your desired order materials selected and in the shopping cart simply click [View Cart].  Here you will be able to review your order items, enter a coupon code, if you have one, and then click [Proceed to Checkout].

Step 9:  On the final page have the option of shipping items to multiple addresses.  You will also enter your credit card information and billing address.  You will then have the option of choosing expedited shipping.

Step 10: Once you have entered your CC info and your shipping details simply click [Place Order].  Your print projects will be on your doorstep before you know it!

Honestly, has getting blueprints or other print projects done ever been easier?  We think not. We hope you will continue to choose blueprintsprinting.com for all your printing and construction management needs!

Fully Mobile

As technology changes everything we do, mobility becomes the increasingly sought-after will-o-wisp that somehow we all know is possible. Yet how do you know that something is truly useful and not just simply causing an increase in the amount of communication that you never seem to get to? That is the major question that we are asking as we build the software on this new platform. How do we make it useful and also not overwhelm with information, make it usable and make it simple enough that the use of the software is guaranteed to supplement rather than detract from your day, keep you engaged longer with what you need to do, yet give you the tools that you need to truly enhance your efficiency.

Our site is based on the ability to go mobile, built in from the very beginning. As we add modules and services, we are keeping an eye on the platform itself. As you use our print software, let us know how we are doing on keeping everything mobile on our support site at http://support.blueprintsprinting.com. The software will resize automatically to the screen size, and the clicks needed to send prints should be very minimal.