Qualified Remodeler Magazine

FEB 2019

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

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ELM Construction uses CoConstruct for its scheduling and customer communications but opts to do its budgeting and cost tracking outside of the soƁware, using Sage 100 Contractor. Sperath, how- ever, links most of his business into CoConstruct, including Quickbooks, though he notes the addi- tion was not without some initial trepidation that has since turned into a success story. "If we didn't have technology at our fingertips, we could not do what we do with the staff that we do. Even though I've got gray hair, I was an early adopter of computers. It's a love-hate relationship, but over the years we've been in business we've stayed on the forefront of adopting that stuff," Sperath says. "The way we're structured right now is we use QuickBooks for our accounting soƁware, DropBox for file managment and CoConstruct [for] construction management soƁware." The company uses CoConstruct internally, with its customers and with its trades and vendors. "All of our trades have logins into the system as well, so the plumber can go in and see what kind of fau- cets we're specifying [or] the electrician can see the range hood and all of its specifications, so they can get the right size wire in the right place as they're building out the project. The other thing it's done for us is if the homeowner has a fast question or the plumber has a fast question, he/she can send a message to us [through CoConstruct], and we get notified on our phones and can respond immedi- ately, which is super for answering those on-the-fly questions without having to call somebody back and leave a message, etc. It expedites that whole process. It's also really good for change orders. "The other cool thing that CoConstruct does— this has enhanced our profitability—is it interfaces with Quickbooks," he continues. "The homeowner can see all payments they've made because it feeds back-and-forth. When we enter an invoice for a client, let's say a framer sends an invoice for Mrs. Jones, we enter that into Quickbooks; that charge feeds back to CoConstruct. Weekly, our guys come into the office for a staff meeting and prior to the staff meeting they approve bills, so they can see what the budget number was, what the invoices were and who they were paid to, and say 'This isn't right' or 'Yes, this is the correct amount. I'm going to pay it.' Because a lot of times what hap- pens is that people quote the project and in that price quote there's, in the case of flooring, if he's putting in hardwood floors he's also doing the shoe moulding. Well sometimes logistically it doesn't work, so we may have our trim carpenter go ahead and install the shoe moulding, but the flooring guy sends us an invoice that includes the shoe moulding because that was the original quote. But we can strike through that and say, 'No, you didn't install the shoe-moulding, and we're taking this off your "Getting an outside consultant to figure out the importance of how you connect, whether it's influencers or hashtags, or many ways people who swing a hammer or sit behind a computer running a business don't fully understand [in] the realm of what's possible," he says. "One of the things I've always loved about the industry is that regardless of the company, there tends to be kind of a family feel to it. Most companies are small businesses, and there's a lot of information sharing [and] learning that happens from the top down. Everyone wants to know how to expand their business; everybody wants to bring in more money. And so sometimes it just takes a matter of hearing things over and over in order to make that transition." An example is the company's implementation of CoConstruct, a project management soƁware that Kraus had been advocating for several years at Vujovich. Currently, the company is using CoConstruct internally and with its clients. "We're trying to master each piece of that tool before we just kind of blindly launch it," Kraus explains. "We're in the big push of mastering the selections and schedules part and getting those elements out to homeowners, because we felt those were two items that people either are questioning or need to make decisions now on those things and need to know who's going to be in their house, [for] how long and when. A homeowner can login, get their texts [and] email alerts, find out what's going to be happening and all that information instead of giving us a call and waiting for me to call them back. It's all that their fingertips on their phone, [and] their iPad. And that is such an efficient way for us to be able to give them that information." Pike of ELM Construction and John R. Sperath, CAPS, president and owner of Blue Ribbon Residential Construction in Raleigh, North Carolina, also use CoConstruct within their re- spective design/build businesses. Sperath has been using the project management soƁware for about three years, while Pike switched to it from anoth- er platform within the last year. Each company, including Vujovich, uses the soƁware slightly dif- ferently, but all see similar benefits as far as client communication and business efficiencies. Pike explains, "Having our projects on the cloud, giving our clients access to their schedules, their change orders, [and] their budgets, that's been great for us. And does a couple of things: It helps the process seem a little bit more transparent to the client because they have that 24/7 access. It also protects everybody involved if there's a change in a contract amount, if there's a scheduling change, all of it is right there. That's one of the main reasons we did it, but I have some friends that use it and don't turn on the ability for the clients to see it, and I think they're missing out on a major opportunity." Who we talked to: GREG KRAUS, ASSOC. AIA Project Director Vujovich Design Build Minneapolis ELLIOTT PIKE, GBAHB MASTER REMODELER, CGR, CAPS Managing Member ELM Construction Vestavia Hills, Alabama JOHN R. SPERATH, CAPS President and Owner Blue Ribbon Residential Construction, Inc. QualifiedRemodeler.com February 2019 27

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