Matt Risinger: 3 times Buildertrend construction software saved my business

Matt Risinger: 3 times Buildertrend construction software saved my business

I started my Buildertrend journey in late 2017. At the time, my business, Risinger Build, had been in operation for just short of a decade. I myself had years under my belt constructing high-end homes. With all that experience and expertise, you’d think everything for my team would be going absolutely, 100%, totally perfect.

Think again.

While the business grew so too did project pains. The jobs were getting bigger and more complex. We had established ourselves as one of the most widely recognized and best firms in the Austin, Texas, area. Which sounds great – and it is! – but all that success meant higher demands and even higher expectations.

We needed a way to effectively stay on top of every detail while also elevating the client experience. That’s where Buildertrend construction software came in. We had already been using tech – but we needed a solution that was more robust. Something the whole team could get behind. A tool that solves our real problems in real time.

We found that with Buildertrend. Today, Risinger Build is a better run business with a better bottom line. We can deliver the best work in the Austin area, bar none, and avoid mistakes along the way. Construction technology isn’t just improving my company – it’s protecting it.

Every home builder, especially those who want to be among the best in the field, deserves a foolproof shield like Buildertrend. Here are three times construction software saved my business against common problems every industry pro faces:

1) Protecting profits with Change Orders

Change Orders can often make or break you as a home builder. Recently, I was asked by a young contractor about my biggest failure when I was new to the industry. Without hesitation, I answered change orders.

I understand why younger builders avoid change orders because I did so myself for two reasons. First, I wanted to look like I had it all under control, and second, I always assumed there was plenty of money in the budget and change orders were unnecessary to keep jobs financially healthy. This mistake almost put me out of business just a few years after starting it.

I was asked to price a large remodel on a 1990s home. Hoping for the best, I added my then-usual 5% contingency to the budget, but the client also wanted a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract. This added an additional 5%. I signed the contract because I didn’t want to disappoint – and you probably already know the outcome.

We ran into big issues at the start of the demo, but I wanted it to look good and I continued to avoid change orders. That 10% contingency got eaten pretty fast on this $300,000 project with all the structural issues we encountered. When I finally submitted my first change order six months into the project, the client rejected it because he had signed the GMP contract.

I didn’t want to ruffle feathers anymore, and I lost about $40,000 on the project. That was about eight-months’ pay for me at the time. It was a very lean year.

Now we talk about change orders at the contract signing, and we use them even if it doesn’t affect the budget or schedule. Had I used them at the start through a system like Buildertrend, I truly believe I could have salvaged the job and not lost all that money.

These days, all my project managers utilize iPads in the field and, when we run into issues, they photo document it through the Buildertrend home builder app. Then, we can do a change order right on the spot for the client to digitally sign. Buildertrend construction project management software even shows how this change order affects the schedule and adjusts it once approved.

2) Saving days with organized documentation

What’s your job desk look like? The paper chase is real for busy home builders like myself. Plans, bids, receipts, insurance policies, drawings, change orders … the volume of documents is overwhelming.

That’s why we made a concerted effort across our organization to assemble all documents for a job in the Buildertrend file-sharing cloud. This has enabled meaningful and far-reaching impacts.

For starters, communication has improved tenfold. My project managers and finance team can quickly reconcile any billing issues as receipts and invoices are all there tied to a job. No more going through wallets, truck glove compartments and file cabinets. What might literally take days once everything is tracked down is now done in minutes.

We have trained our team to scan with their phones and drop files in the right folder as they go using the Buildertrend app. This also extends to the client. They can see the same documents to allow for super-fast, super-efficient communication on any billing matter. It’s all there.

It’s not just a billing reconciliation tool for clients. We can quickly share progress with photos, drawings and plans. Additionally, we can get change orders approved in a snap because all the documents are there for the client to review without face-to-face meetings.

I could go on, but it’s simple: Document sharing through construction software has been a real game changer for my business. It allows my team to spend more time on great building while not losing countless hours chasing down docs.

3) Staying ahead of challenges with smart scheduling

It has truly been a crazy time for us in the residential building business the past couple of years. Keeping jobs on any type of completion schedule has become increasingly complex because of ever-changing material supply issues and labor shortages brought on by the pandemic.

My team, like many, starts every day with new unforeseen challenges. The countertops are pushed out on one job. The framing crew is down three guys due to COVID-19 at another. Multiply this by half a dozen projects going on simultaneously and, well, you get the picture.

This is what makes the Schedule tool in Buildertrend so important. We get visibility across all jobs to see how we can juggle our many timelines. Something that before would take multiple calls, emails and texts before is now reviewed in seconds. My team can quickly reallocate planned resources to try and close the gap and keeps things closer to deadline.

Quick visibility also helps me see how these interruptions impact the rest of the schedule. Then I can set expectations with clients as changes happen and ultimately limit surprises.

Buildertrend can save your business, too

To be the best, you have to constantly up your game. At Risinger Build, that’s always our goal. Not just to build the best houses but to be the best home builder possible for our clients. Buildertrend helps us do just that.

If you’re a home builder, remodeler or specialty contractor who wants to avoid the same mistakes I made earlier in my career, I’d highly recommend Buildertrend to manage your jobs, clients and their expectations.

Residential construction management software saved my business – and it can save yours, too. Try Buildertrend risk free today.

About The Author

matt risinger

Matt Risinger Matt Risinger is a leading industry expert and thought leader. He’s not only the founder of Risinger Build – an Austin, Texas team that builds high-quality, architecturally driven homes – but also host of the “Build Show,” a popular online channel that focuses on the principles of building science.

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