CPM Establishes a System for Clear Communication and a Centralized, Detailed Schedule

Every day spent on a home building site is hectic. Part of your job as a builder is preparing for the unexpected and having the flexibility to adapt to changes while keeping projects on track. While it’s a testament to your skill as a custom builder to navigate changes and mishaps, so is eliminating surprises altogether. Avoiding surprises will ensure that you stay on schedule and on budget to maximize your profitability on each project.

Missed deadlines, slow contractors, materials arriving behind schedule, and a lack of clear processes all lead to breakdowns in communication and completion delays. Sound familiar? As you know, these are just a few of the many daily issues that can throw home building projects off schedule.

Poor scheduling stems from a combination of factors: relying on memory to meet deadlines, not promptly informing impacted parties of a schedule change, and having to manually follow up with subcontractors to confirm they can perform the scheduled work when timelines are adjusted. 

The root of all building breakdowns – poor communication

Poor communication is for a common cause of disorganization and inefficiency. And it’s not just on you – everyone involved can be responsible for delays and misunderstandings. It could be a subcontractor who doesn’t communicate finished tasks, a client who doesn’t remember what they requested, or a project manager without a centralized project management system for effectively managing people and tasks.

As a result, money gets lost, the pace of the project slows down, and deadlines are missed. An influx of schedule changes can cause multiple ripples downstream, resulting in confusion, finger-pointing, and delays. Ultimately, this disorganization could hurt your reputation and affect your relationships with partners, vendors, and customers. 

Construction project management is the foundation for solid project planning and execution

Surprises are part of our industry, but establishing a proven process with a construction project management (CPM) solution goes a long way. CPM software designed for homebuilders and remodelers standardizes industry best practices for efficiency as part of your project management process. It automatically sends alerts to each contributor notifying them of any decisions or actions that affect their work, and triggers the next steps in the process. In doing so, it guarantees effective communication and accountability.

A centralized scheduling solution optimizes communication and efficiency 

A CPM solution centralizes the schedule details and all the project details each member of your team, subcontractor, or client needs in one database.. If a rainy day, a late  permit, or missing materials causes delays, all relevant resources are notified and the project is adjusted to ensure final quality delivery, even if that means extending the schedule by a few days. An always up-to-date schedule keeps you from wasting time putting out fires and manually communicating last-minute adjustments.

Progress reports keep clients in the loop and up to date on their action items

Creating a weekly report will help keep clients up to speed with project status and reduce the need for time-consuming status calls. Weekly reports should include current status of project, customer financials, latest project pictures, and approved change orders or those that still require a signature.

Creating these weekly reports on a digital platform makes distribution and documenting all items much easier for both your company and your client. Digital documentation also increases transparency, so your team knows what they’re responsible for.

There are countless other ways that CPM software benefits custom builders and remodelers. By giving you more time back in your day, you can be more efficient. This mean focusing more on quality control, following up on delegated tasks, and avoiding mishaps like a client showing up to a site where no one is working.

With a central hub for communication, your crew can post questions and comments, and view responses in real-time. Disagreements or misunderstandings can be quickly resolved through group communication using digital tools. Leveraging technology allows home builders and remodelers to centralize communication across an entire project, ensuring everyone is always on the same page.

With these tools and features at your disposal, you can finish projects on time and under budget, and exceed client expectations. You’llbe well prepared to tackle the common problems that builders face on a daily basis.

Communication is critical to a successful project. Get more tips and best practices for increasing transparency and accountability across your business. Find out how technology can help you communicate better with our ebook, How to Improve Communication During Custom Projects.


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As a home builder, you’re used to change orders. When the goal is to give your clients the home of their dreams, changes are going to spring up throughout the process – it’s human nature to change one’s mind. That being said, it’s still a challenge to properly execute changes on the fly. To ensure client satisfaction, direct your subcontractors in a timely manner, and to make sure you are paid for the extra work, change orders need to be properly documented and organized.

Execute Change Orders With Confidence

Today, many change orders still take place through a phone call or a handshake. That can be risky business when it comes execution and payment. Rather than relying on what was said about a project, cloud-based construction management apps allow you to document each step, including:

  • gaining client approval online
  • tracking additional costs up front
  • updating timelines and communicating with subcontractors

Along with keeping your clients, subcontractors, and team on the same page with change orders, construction software can also save you time. What would have taken you multiple hours in traditional paperwork can be executed from any device on the go. 

Streamline the Change Order Process

Project management software with change order functionality built in eliminates the need for double entry of information into multiple systems. Not only does this save you time and streamline the process, it also helps to eliminate discrepancies between everyone involved in the project regarding schedules and costs.

By keeping your change orders organized and in one central location, you’ll be able to disperse the right information to the right people at the right time, ensuring your project stays on schedule. This all works together to give your clients the house of their dreams while maximizing your profit and minimizing confusion.

Ready to learn more about change orders integrating with the rest of your business needs? Schedule a demo today.

When you’re building a home, the list of options your client is considering can get overwhelming. Whether they’re choosing flooring, trim, or the perfect toilet and sink, these selections are important to them, but they also mean a lot of work for you.

Giving your clients a place to digitally view their options is a great way to help clients envision their new home. But with so many platforms available today, how do you know which platform is worth investing in? Look for these three features.

1. Easy Interface

With so many different options available today, your platform needs to skillfully manage and organize selections so they’re accessible to the client, designer, and construction team. We recommend a user friendly interface so your clients can easily compare the looks of different options.

2. Single Platform and Point of Contact

The interface you choose should allow your client to approve and reject selections online. Your clients will be able to choose exactly what they want, and everyone will be kept up to date in one platform. No more waiting around to hear back about approval. Your team will receive updates in real-time, so they can get started on their work right away.

You need to be working within a single platform dedicated to your industry. This will help you get your selections approved in a timely manner and keep track of changes effortlessly. By keeping all project selections organized online where they’re available and updated at all times, you’ll eliminate the need for paperwork and duplication on multiple platforms.

The bottom line? Interfaces without this capability can cause delays in the building process, push back your completion date, leave room for error, and cost you money.

3. Easy Change Orders

During your build, changes are going to arise, which means selections have the potential to change. With a software that has integrated selections and change orders, you’ll be able to simply require a change order to be approved when a new selection is made.

The best part? The selection and change order can be approved online. No more paperwork or waiting on your client. This allows you to spend less time following up and more time tackling tasks at the top of your to-do list.

See how your business can benefit from best-in-class construction management software. Schedule a demo today.

When you’re building a house, there are a lot of moving parts to fit together. What goes into creating the house of your client’s dream is much more complex than what meets the eye.

Whether it’s creating the original plan with your clients, aligning subcontractors, creating a schedule, or any other task, keeping you and your team organized and on track is a major piece of the homebuilding puzzle.

How efficient are you at managing your team? If you’re spending hours on your phone, sending various emails, and working within multiple platforms or simply writing different things down here and there, it may be time to explore a new option.

A construction project management software is the tool you need to streamline your day-to-day processes and spend less time at your desk and more time on the jobsite.

Wondering how a construction project management software can help you? Here are 3 advantages:

1. Consolidate Your Data in One Powerful Platform

Spending your time jotting changes down, entering numbers in spreadsheets, sending emails, and re-entering information in different platforms can eat up valuable hours of your day.

What if you could do all of these tasks in a single platform? How much time could you save?

Find out today with a construction project management software like BuildTools.

2. Access from Anywhere

Questions about a project can arise at any time, no matter where you are. When you need to give an answer, it won’t help if that answer is written down at your office.

BuildTools is cloud-based, so you can access the information you need anywhere, any time. Plus,  you’ll be able to review that project budget, look over plans, or upload project photos from the jobsite.

BuildTools is available on Google Play and the App Store.

3. Save Time and Money

Your time is valuable.

Construction project management apps help you maximize what you can accomplish with the hours you put in. Keep all of your projects at your fingertips, and make updates and changes wherever you are, with the touch of a button. Communicate seamlessly with anyone involved in your project.

Stop wasting time sifting through emails. Construction project management software streamlines your communication, so you can get in touch with anyone you need to, whenever you need to.  

When confusion about change orders comes up, your construction project management software has your back.

BuildTools makes approval or rejection simple and official with a digital signature. Don’t let handshake deals come back to haunt you. You can’t afford to flush money down the drain because your client has one understanding of a contract and you have another. Get approval instantaneously, and in writing with your app. Then, if you need to, you can look back through your records and show clients what was agreed upon.

You’ll save money on operations, too. By being more organized, you can keep your team on track, keeping a tight schedule and making sure your people are where they need to be when they need to be there.

Get the Support You Need

Switching over to a new process can be daunting, even if it’s the right move in the long term. But it doesn’t have to be.

Look for a software with reliable, easy-to-access customer support. Ask questions like, “Will there be someone there to answer my questions?”, “How do I go about asking a question?”, and “Do you provide training when I add new hires to my team?”.

BuildTools is a software company built by builders, for builders. We know that your hours are extremely valuable, and you’re on a tight schedule. So we designed BuildTools with your needs in mind.  Whether you choose to be completely hands-off in the implementation process or want to be involved every step of the way, our dedicated implementation team will ensure implementation goes as smoothly and quickly as possible so you can get up and running with BuildTools right away.

Start Today

Ready to see the impact BuildTools can have on your business? Schedule a demo today.

If you own a home building or remodeling business, you know that keeping your financials in order can be a daunting task. Products like QuickBooks make it easier to understand and manage your business’s financial standing. 

But more often than not, adding a financial management tool to your project management also means that you add countless hours doing double entry across platforms that don’t integrate.

Working with a financial tool like QuickBooks doesn’t have to mean more work for your business.

The solution? A construction management software that integrates with your financial software. With the right construction management software, you’ll eliminate double entry, save time, and prevent costly errors. You’ll also be able to constantly see and understand where your finances are being allocated, and make smart financial decisions to maximize your efficiency and profit.

The Importance of Easy Set-Up

You know from experience that the promise of “the right software” isn’t enough. If it’s difficult to set up your new construction management software, that’s time, money, and productivity down the drain. You need a construction management software that comes with easy setup, including integration with other key software like QuickBooks. Since QuickBooks is an advanced, robust platform, no complicated integration should be necessary – the integration will easily sync your data, and you’ll be ready to go. The right software will automatically import all of your project, cost-code, and subcontractor data from QuickBooks, so it will be ready to go right away.

Increased Efficiency

Consolidating your information into one easy system means that your team won’t get bogged down in double entry any longer. Whether that team is small or large, they’ll be able to input data into one dedicated, fully supported construction management software, where it will automatically synchronize with QuickBooks. You’ll save time and dramatically decrease your chance for error, which means you can say goodbye to digging back through paperwork and files to find the financial discrepancy for a project.

What elements do you need to be able to integrate with your construction management platform? For starters, look for a platform that allows you to integrate your financials with these three elements:

  • Purchase orders
  • Payment requests
  • Project invoices

Integrating your financials with these three elements allows you to quickly create forms, pull information, and get change orders signed without ever leaving your construction management app. With this integration, gone are the days of opening multiple programs and files to accomplish a single task.

The Bottom Line

Between keeping projects on track, working with subcontractors, and communicating with clients, life as a builder can be extremely busy. To maintain profitable growth, a construction project management software is often the tool you need. With the right tool, you’ll be able to simplify your processes and keep your team, subcontractors, and clients on the same page.

BuildTools construction project management software was built by builders who understand your needs and have found the most effective way to streamline your day.

Want to see the QuickBooks integration in action along with other great features? Schedule a demo today.

A good reputation is fertile ground for new business and growth. If your company leaves a wake of overjoyed customers in its path, word will get around that you are the right builder for the job. Here are the top 5 pro-tips for managing your reputation as a builder.

1. Give Your Client Access

Keeping a client well-informed is a massive must. No matter how big the project seems to you as a builder, it is an infinitely bigger deal to the homeowner. Great builders know this, so they do their best to keep the homeowner involved and informed, but without the right technology this requires incredible amounts of both time and patience.

The industry standard is shifting, however, to a more hands-on experience for homeowners. A well-designed home building app gives your client enough access to keep them happy and well-informed and prevent the need for frequent meetings. This eliminates the “us versus them” and makes the client instead feel like part of the team. It also lets them know where schedules and budgets stand at all times, eliminating any nasty surprises down the road.

Homeowners get their own login credentials to browse updated data (only the data that you’ve chosen to give them access to) and project photos at any time. You can keep on making progress while they check in on their own time.

2. Send Out Regular Reports

Many builders find at the beginning of a project that their clients want to be very hands-on, making frequent check-ins, change orders and site visits. As time goes on, those visits and check-ins may become less frequent, but as a builder it’s still up to you to keep them informed. 

Do your clients a favor (and yourself) by establishing a consistent weekly touch point. This will grow your client’s trust in your transparency and ensure them that you are making progress, even when they’re not checking in.

Once again, however, this can be a time-consuming process if done without the aid of technology. You don’t want to spend every Friday morning scraping together updated numbers, schedule updates, budget reports and site photos to send to your client. The right construction project management software does this for you and keeps you from doing the same work twice. Once you’ve reviewed the report and added your own comments, you can click send and continue to make progress on your project.

3. Be Proactive, Not Reactive

One thing I preach to my team is that bad news doesn’t get better with time. If a problem comes up, a change order is needed, a deadline gets pushed back, or a cost is going to run over, you can avoid a whole mess of trouble down the road by being up front with your client immediately. 

4. Document Everything & Get Signatures

I don’t know any experienced builders who haven’t had issues with client conflict. When it’s your word versus your client’s word, nobody wins, but we all know just how differently two individuals can recall the same conversation. “That’s not the right color, that’s not what I said!”

For this reason, you simply cannot build from conversations with your clients. Get it in writing. After a verbal agreement or change order has been made, no matter how seemingly small the detail, don’t move on just yet. Make sure you document everything that was decided and get your client’s signature before they walk away. A few months down the road you will be glad you did. (See more tips for managing change orders.)

5. Stay Organized

In order to be able to give your clients immediate access, or to send out regular reports without wasting time, or to get signatures on-the-spot from your client when needed, you will need a system that centralizes all data and users so everyone is on the same page. Rather than spreading your data out over various information silos and juggling share links, access to spreadsheets, email attachments, and so on, the industry is moving toward project management apps like BuildTools, which gives you a central hub for each project so you can get to whatever you need within a matter of seconds. 

What’s The Next Step

Look into adopting a system that was designed by builders to handle the tasks real builders run into every day. The best way to do this is to schedule a demo, where you can get your questions answered one-on-one. This way you can determine if project management software is right for your company. Click here to schedule a demo time right now before moving on to your next task.

You’re a builder, not a reporter, but your team and clients still need to be kept in the loop. Creating progress reports can eat up your valuable time and energy if they’re being built from scratch.

Luckily, creating regular reports doesn’t have to bring productivity to a halt.

Industry leaders are using automated reports created within construction apps to put a system in place for regular reports, saving them time and energy. With these 6 functions, a home building app can save you crazy amounts of time.

1. Use Templates

You know that you’re going to need to create these reports regularly, but you don’t have to do the same work twice.

You can choose from existing templates that are built into app, or you can create a custom template to include exactly what you want to include. Then each time you need to create a new report, click on the reports icon and it will generate the report for you immediately. With consistent reporting like this, the reports you send out to your crew and clients can be easily processed and understood.

2. Insert Your Voice

While utilizing templates saves you crazy amounts of time, you will still need to be able to add in your own commentary in specific places to add insight or explanation. Project management apps let you easily add comments to any given section of weekly construction reports, adding your own voice to the raw data you’re presenting. In fact, you can literally add your own voice by using the voice-to-text feature, so you don’t have to try to type a novel on the go or when your hands are tied up in other tasks.

3. Include Photos and Videos

Sometimes a comment or description isn’t enough. Snap a photo or video, or grab one you took earlier, and attach it to your report. Not only do clients love being able to actually see the progress being made, but this can be incredibly helpful to communicate specifics to your crew as well. You can edit and add to the photo within the app to point out a specific detail, or circle the specific item or area you’re referring to in your report.

4. Attach Weather Reports

A few project management apps, like BuildTools, let you include weather information in your reports. This can give clarity to any holdups you may have had or anticipate having in the near future due to inclement weather, or it can serve as a touchpoint for your crew to have realistic expectations for the coming days on the job site.

5. Send Automatic Notifications

Once your report is ready to push out the door, you have to decide who is going to see it. This is easily done within the app, without needing to send out emails or send around paper copies of reports to the right people. Either keep it private, send it only to your crew, share with just the client, or just put it out there for the whole world to see. It’s up to you. Either way, the people you select will be notified as soon as the report is ready, and you can easily check in later to see who has or has not yet viewed the report.

6. Keep Everyone In The Same Place

There are no paper copies to deliver, no .doc or .xcl files to send around, no dropbox links to share access to, etc. Everyone can have access to the report right there within the same app, no need to download a document or request access to a link.

No More Doing The Same Work Twice

By cutting out repetitive work like this and replacing it with efficient processes, builders like you have been freed up to take on more projects without having to increase their headcount. Take a look at this case study to see how one company grew 5X with zero new hires just by utilizing construction project management software.

Often, the quality of your finishes is dependent on the job site environment. Cleanliness is next to godliness, but humidity and temperature also play a huge role. We hear from many of our builders that clients don’t understand the importance of maintaining consistent temperature and humidity post construction, and it leads to swollen or shrunken millwork, buckling hardwood flooring and doors, mold, and other horrible things.

Maintaining a consistent environment during construction is equally important. Here are some of the best practices that our builders have been using to build the best possible homes in their markets:

1. Check the moisture content of the building materials throughout the process. Use a pin type moisture meter (General Tools MMD4E Moisture Meter) to gauge moisture content when materials are delivered, then on a regular basis throughout the process. Use BuildTools daily reports/ job log to record the measurements. This provides a great means to look back on the project and determine the cause of potential failures. Date is key to understanding where things went wrong!

2. Once your project is enclosed, be sure to control the humidity and temperature.  We’ve found that the hardware store type temp and humidity meters are junk – put 3 of them in the same space and you’ll get 3 very different readings.  Then, they are only useful if you look at them when you are on site and record the info.  The best means we’ve found to monitor the indoor environment of projects is the Kestrel DROP D2.  These little units record temperature and humidity (and other items) on a regular basis.  Connect to their app and download a month’s worth of readings.  Many of our builders are installing these in every project, then uploading the log file to a folder in BuildTools Documents module.  Great insurance/ proof that you’ve maintained the environment of your projects.

3. Once you have the data, then you need to fight the natural environment.  Humidify in the dead of winter.  Dehumidify in the summer.  It’s an ongoing battle against mother nature.  Our advice – rent as much as possible.  Dehumidifiers get damaged and need a lot of maintenance.  We like the commercial units like the Dir-Eaz  for dehumidification and the AIRCARE Space-Save Evaporative Humidifier for humidification.  It’ll handle up to 2700 sq. ft. of space and runs a few days before needing to be refilled.

4. Control air quality and reduce dust to get the best finishes and keep your crews and your clients healthy.  We’ve heard from many of our builders that they prefer the BuildClean units.  Homeowners realize that a remodel (or new build) will disrupt their lives and their property.  They won’t accept the dust, hanging in the air and gathering on their things. Eliminate it while it’s still in the air & give your clients peace of mind, and build your business all at the same time?

You’ve got a lot to keep straight: deadlines, change orders, deliveries, contact info, the list is literally never ending. Every new day brings new data, and your productivity depends on your ability to keep it all straight. It’s not just you who is relying on this data, it’s your team, your subcontractors, and your clients.

True, tracking all of it in your notebooks has saved your butt in the past, it’s been your go-to, your trusted system, but in an increasingly organized industry, your notebook may just be the thing that’s holding your company back while other teams are improving their communication and efficiency. With the advent of smartphones, tablets and the cloud, if you’re still organizing everything in a notebook or binder, you’re holding yourself back.

NO MORE FRANTICALLY FLIPPING THROUGH PAGES

We’ve all been there, with our phone cradled on one shoulder and a client or subcontractor waiting patiently on the other end while we frantically flip through pages to find where we wrote that specific bit of information.

It doesn’t have to be that way. With cloud-based technology you can access any info from any job with just a few taps. With your coffee in one hand, you can easily and immediately pull up the delivery schedule your subcontractor is asking for, the exact paint color from your client’s last change order, the contact info for your drywall guy, and any other information you may or may not have anticipated needing on site that day.

NO MORE SPENDING HALF THE DAY ON THE PHONE

Once you store your info, you need to make sure that data gets into the right hands, right away. Calls, texts and emails take time, but if your data is in the cloud, the entire team has instant access to whatever they need. Schedules, documents, change orders, budgets, checklists: your team needs access to all of it in order to get the job done on time and under budget. By operating in the cloud, your entire team can receive automatic updates when appropriate.

NO MORE JOB SITE SURPRISES

You know that sinking feeling when you arrive on the job site to find that someone on your team has dropped the ball and you know you’ll have some explaining to do to the client when they arrive? With cloud-based assignable tasks and checklists you can do more than just hope that your team is getting the job done when you’re off site. You can see what’s done, what’s not, and even schedule automated reminders and alerts on those tasks that simply cannot be dropped. Because by the time you realize your project is behind schedule, it’s too late.

NO MORE MATH IN THE MARGINS

Changes are inevitable. We all know how much of a headache even a minor change can cause. The bathtub that was supposed to come in Tuesday won’t be delivered until Friday, so now all other bathroom work will be bumped back by 3 days. How will this affect the budget? Put away the calculator, and stop scribbling sloppy math in the margins of your notebook, because with the right software, designed for builders by builders, the effects of the late delivery will be automatically applied to budgets, schedules, and will send out notifications to everyone who needs to know. All of this is done in an instant, and you keep moving.

NO MORE PUTTING IT OFF

We know that change is hard, and that technology is changing faster than ever, but it would be foolish to just throw up your hands and not bother adapting at all! Putting off the inevitable will cost you in the long run. Sticking solely to your pen and paper, your phone calls and margin-math while others in the industry reap the rewards of cloud-based improvements doesn’t make sense.

Chances are you are either reading this on your phone or it’s within reach right now. See? You already have the very tool you need to get started. Your whole team does! So do your subcontractors and your clients. Let us help you use the technology that’s at your fingertips.

This blog exists to help builders who want to improve their productivity and communication, little by little, and who know the job isn’t over til it’s over. Subscribe for updates as we release tips on how you and your crew can adapt and improve.

Cutting costs and saving time are huge for all builders and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Some people are innovating and bringing new ways of solving the problems that builders face, but there are plenty of old and/or current tricks that will still work well and can help keep your business running smoothly.

Technology is Your Friend, Use it!

Leveraging current technology can save a significant amount of time when starting a new project. Utilizing templates is a prime example of this, there are ways to use schedule and budget templates to save yourself the time of creating these items from scratch every time you start a new project. Don’t waste time drafting up a new document every time you start a new project, utilize your resources and start leveraging templates!

Stop doing the same work twice and save and save yourself time upfront so that you and your subcontractors can focus on what you enjoy doing most: building. By using technology you can work from already established documents that are readily available and easily accessible. These documents can range from your bids to proposals and change orders to purchase orders.

Choose What Works, Not Just the Latest Tool

Do more with less. You don’t need every fancy bell and whistle to execute on a new project. There is a rhythm that gets established when teams work on projects and tapping into that is just as, if not more, important than having every “new” tool at your disposal. But you should be using tools that allow you to start new projects with ease and efficiency. If you are starting from scratch with documents and files that you rely on for every job then maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Going forward: if you know you’re going to use a document/process more than once then you should make it a priority to automate that asset by making it a template to be used again and again.

This sort of resourcefulness will allow you to land jobs faster, start those jobs faster, saving you time and money in the long run.