BrightLeaf Homes: How daily construction job logs keep projects organized

Here’s why Buildertrend’s home builder software was a necessary component for the growth and success of BrightLeaf Homes.

Their success story: Newfound efficiency with Buildertrend’s construction tech

Exceptional customer service and exponential company growth have sprung from Scott Sanders’ decision to onboard Buildertrend’s homebuilder software platform. Scott, the founder and CEO of BrightLeaf Homes in Chicago, first set out to find a scheduling tool that would keep his growing team and project list organized.

“The end goal was to find a centralized system that we could run our construction off of,” Scott said.

After beginning with the Schedule feature, Scott and his team saw the value of incorporating Buildertrend into every facet of their business to streamline their processes and increase efficiency.

“Our biggest success has been the development and integration of Buildertrend into as many aspects of the company as possible,” he said. “Buildertrend for us is the operating system. It is instrumental in the customer experience we provide and the process our team needs to follow along the way.”


Custom Home Building and Remodeling


Chicago, Ill.



Winning solution

Daily Logs

Their story: Building and renovating homes to change the way people live

Scott Sanders was a one-man show when he started BrightLeaf Homes in 2012 with a single renovation project in the suburbs of Chicago. Since then, BrightLeaf has expanded its capacity to 30 to 35 projects a year, specializing in mostly new construction with some renovation work. Since its inception, BrightLeaf has added 14 employees with expertise in a variety of fields spanning from real estate to interior design.

Including real estate in their business is one of the many things that makes BrightLeaf unique. Having their own team of real estate agents helps give their customers a turnkey, end-to-end journey that eases the stress of buying or building a home. By bringing together real estate, interior design, architecture and construction services under one roof, BrightLeaf can provide their customers a completely integrated experience.

“When somebody comes to us and they say, ‘Hey, I need a place to live,’ we can help them do that,” Scott said. “Start to finish, we can help people. And the idea behind that is we’re providing a better experience along the way.”

The BrightLeaf team also makes a name for themselves in the area of zero energy homes, winning the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home award five of the last six years.

“The company was founded on the principle of improving the way people live through innovation,” Scott said. “We are a 100% committed builder to the Zero Energy Ready Homes program. We believe there’s a better way to build and renovate houses.”

Their goal: Creating a centralized operating system using Buildertrend

BrightLeaf Bathroom
BrightLeaf custom bathroom cabinets

Scott and his team have been using Buildertrend for years. What started as a need for a consistent, organized schedule became a single source of truth they couldn’t work without.

“I think one of the biggest things is Buildertrend has helped us grow as a company operationally,” Scott said. “We’re sort of basing some operations and processes around the software.”

And now, every piece of each project is integrated into one convenient place. This not only helps the BrightLeaf team keep everyone on the same page; it also ensures a superior client experience.

“As we started using Buildertrend for the scheduling feature, which was great, we began to integrate purchase orders, selections for customers and then customer communication, eventually,” Scott said.

Their solution: Organized project management and communication tools

So, what’s the tool they use the most? Daily Logs.

“Daily Logs for us serve all kinds of purposes,” Scott said. “From communication with clients to site documentation to internal communication and record keeping. Just the Daily Logs feature in and of itself has been a fantastic tool for making sure that clients are as happy as they can be with the process and the experience.”

The Daily Logs feature within Buildertrend’s construction project software is popular because it’s easy to use and serves as a progress report for each day of a job. The job site crew can document everything that happens and include photos for reference. With Daily Logs, the team can also record the weather, which helps to explain why less work might have gotten done on a particular day. This feature can also be utilized without service, helping teams to connect even when someone is offline.

Daily Logs are great for many reasons, but the BrightLeaf team finds them particularly helpful when building for clients who live farther away.

“We build for a lot of clients who are not in the area,” Scott said. “They’re moving from in the city of Chicago or they’re moving from one suburb that’s farther away, and they don’t have time to check in on-site every day. Buildertrend’s Daily Logs feature provides that conduit for them to feel comfortable in their build experience.”

And Daily Logs aren’t exclusively for the construction process. They can also be used during the pre- and post-construction phases to keep things moving.

“We also use the Daily Logs feature in pre-construction,” Scott said. “Because we do design in-house, we’re doing all of our communication through Buildertrend, and we’re putting in Daily Logs for things like design creation, plan creation, permit submission, asbestos testing, survey work.”

Scott and his team also use Daily Logs to track job timelines. This helps them understand how long projects take and where there’s room to improve their project management processes.

“Everything is recorded in Buildertrend, so we can go back to analyze projects and really understand the timeline it’s taken from start to finish,” he said. “Daily Logs is a really great source of information and reference for all kinds of reasons, not just one or two pictures a day for our clients.”

In addition to Daily Logs, Scott has found the Customer Portal to be an extremely valuable tool. It’s a handy feature, not only for communication throughout jobs but also for selling those jobs.

“The Client Portal is an integrated piece of our sales process,” Scott said. “We have demonstrations of the Client Portal during the sales process, and it’s part of our tutorials when we move clients through the construction process and how to interact with the Buildertrend system.”

Their success: Improved client experience and continued construction business growth

Scott and his team set themselves apart from their competition in many ways, but their No. 1 focus is always the client experience.

“We really strive to make the build process smoother, faster, less stressful and more interactive for our clients,” Scott said. “So, Buildertrend has helped us showcase our build process because clients can see it and understand now in a way they would not have been able to do that before.”

Over the years, BrightLeaf has been able to sustain its growth by streamlining their processes with Buildertrend.

And their return on investment?

“The return on investment is immeasurable for us because it’s weaved into the company at so many different levels,” he said. “We need Buildertrend to do certain things so we can function. We would certainly be in a different situation if we did not have Buildertrend.”

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