Behind the Business Customer Stories

Behind the business: How construction reporting ensures future success for Cardinal Crest (Part 1 of 5)

Image of Joe Christensen with text that reads "Behind the Business: Cardinal Crest Home Part 1 of 5. Resilience in Reporting: Future-Proofing Your Business."

Behind the Business series: This is the first in a series of articles and videos highlighting Cardinal Crest, a custom home builder from Kansas City, Missouri, that’s gained a popular following for their amazing builds and unique approach to exceeding client expectations. Throughout this series, you’ll hear from this team – and learn their secrets to success.

This was the beginning of Cardinal Crest, a modern-day home builder success story.

Today, this duo has grown to a staff of 13 and completes 15 to 20 homes a year. And these aren’t your average, cookie-cutter houses either. As a design-build firm, the Kansas City company specializes in the type of projects that leave clients’ jaws on the floor. 

It’s no wonder Cardinal Crest has more than 35,000 followers on Instagram. But they didn’t get there alone.

During the company’s early years, a corrupted Excel sheet caused budgets to go out-of-whack. With a stressed-out banker demanding answers, Joe and Adam knew they needed better tools to get their projects and profits in line.

Ever since, Buildertrend has been on their side.

So, what was the end result of going from faulty spreadsheets to construction tech with tools for scheduling, budgeting and reporting? We went straight to the source to find out.

To hear more about what life was like before Buildertrend versus after, check out the Q&A with Joe below.

Q: Before Buildertrend, what was your business’ biggest pain points? Where did you struggle? 


The hard part about it is we used construction software almost from the very beginning. In the small moments we didn’t have it, it quickly became clear we needed it.

When you’re building a home, you’re managing a lot of risk. You want to make sure clients are happy, construction quality is sound and that you’re making money. Before Buildertrend, we were using so many types of tools and binders to stay on top of it all. We needed a platform that gave us the organization to provide a better building experience for the team and homeowners.

Q: Once you started using Buildertrend, what changed?


The biggest benefit has been actual reporting back to us. Now we can collect data, review it and know exactly where a job stands. The construction itself is pretty much the same. But, with data, Buildertrend helped us find a way to manage risk and take human error out of the equation.

Q: Sounds like the construction reporting piece of Buildertrend has made a big impact on your business. Can you tell me more about that?


We are in the people business – and we have to be honest with ourselves as builders. It’s too easy to be overly optimistic with how business is going. If I could share one piece of advice for other builders, it would be to understand your risks and prepare for them.

So many of the mistakes that are made in this industry are due to human error. To be successful, you have to attach numbers, systems and processes to everything you’re doing. That happens in Buildertrend. I can look at the data during or after a job, measure what happened and then continually get better.

The more complicated a job, the more things can go wrong. Buildertrend helps us avoid those combustion points.

A builder's guide to recession survival

Q: How does Buildertrend, a construction field reporting software, help future proof your business?


Home building, whether we like it or not, is a cyclical industry. What does that mean? Business goes up, and it goes down. You have to be prepared for slowdowns that are going to happen. With Buildertrend, I can make sure I’m budgeting properly and charging the right amount of money to be put away in the business.

To really future proof your business, you’ve got to have a process that everyone can go back and lean on if sh*t hits the fan. We can look back at Buildertrend and ask, “Was there a process? Did we follow it? What happened?”

And then you can go back and say, “You know what, maybe how we did it didn’t work. This is what we are going to do instead, and this is how we’re going to integrate Buildertrend.”

That’s what Buildertrend really does. It helps train our other side of the brain that says, “Hey, you’ve got to pay attention to KPIs, and you just can’t be dreaming with the client all the time.”

Q: Beyond budgeting better, what’s another way you use Buildertrend for construction reporting?


One is lead conversion. How many times does it take to email a lead until they respond? Is it worth following up three, four times? How many are we converting? What’s our conversion rate?

These are all metrics we can track in Buildertrend.

Or, how long is our pre-construction phase? What’s the average time it takes us to get to framing? That’s the coolest part about Buildertrend. It creates this history of experiences of building a home, but it also creates the historical data that can now be referenced.

Harness the power of construction reporting for your team

Cardinal Crest is proof of what’s possible with Buildertrend. There’s power in numbers and removing the guesswork of what’s going right – and what’s going wrong – in your business.

To see what construction tech can do for your team, schedule a demo now.

Construction reporting is just one way Cardinal Crest uses the Buildertrend platform to strengthen every side of their business. We’re diving deeper into their processes throughout our Behind the Business series – like how they manage selections. It’s effortless for the team, and clients can keep an eye on the budget with every decision. How do they do it? Don’t miss the next installment to find out.

Love seeing top builders like Cardinal Crest in action? There’s more where that came from. Check out our Behind the Business series featuring A Finer Touch Construction.

About The Author

Sean Robinson

Sean Robinson Sean Robinson is a senior content marketing specialist at Buildertrend

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