How Buildertrend’s Budget tool provides end-to-end tracking to keep this team in financial control.
Customer success story
Templates help builder complete 2,000 outdoor projects
Decksouth needed a way to make every second count. That time-savings came when they discovered one smart system that handles every stage of the construction process – Buildertrend.
Their success story – adds 7-figures in profit with construction management software
More than 2,000 outdoor projects designed and built. Six crews of 27 team members total. One place to manage any and everything.
Quantity is as much a part of Decksouth’s story as their quality work. With so much to do and so many jobs to track, the Atlanta outdoor builder needed a way to make every second count. That time-savings they were searching for came when they discovered one smart system that handled every stage of the construction process – Buildertrend and its full suite of features, including templates.
Outdoor living design/build
Making the great outdoors even greater
Don’t let the name fool you. Decksouth is about more than building decks that add lasting value to homes. They build beautiful backyards.
“With Atlanta’s terrain, our client’s new backyards begin with a great deck and expand from there. Porches, patios, pergolas, pools and outdoor kitchens. Anything that enhances their outdoor living space, we offer it,” said John Lea, CEO and founder. “We’ve taken the design and build approach that professional interior remodeling companies have used for years and we brought it outside.”
The Decksouth difference starts with this unmatched experience, continues with their commitment to putting customers first and is strengthened by the team’s drive for innovation. Since their establishment in 1998, Decksouth has combined old-world craftsmanship with forward-thinking technology. Their adaptation of Buildertrend’s construction app serves as proof.
Saving minutes to save moolah
Manila folders. Who knew something so flimsy, so harmless could also be so damning? It was archaic ways of doing business — simple things like using manila folders – that were holding back Decksouth from becoming a next-level company.
“Daily minutia with regards to organization of the job was getting in our way. We wanted to build a process-focused company,” John said. “The answer was right in front of my face the whole time.”
That answer in front of his face? Tech. It was tech that helped Decksouth discover even better tech when a member of the team found construction project management software solutions through online research. So, in 2014, Decksouth jumped full force into Buildertrend, and the rest is history.
Well … not exactly.
After four years with the residential construction software, Decksouth walked away to use several other programs for much of 2018 and early 2019.
“In my stoic, stubborn approach, I thought maybe there’s something else that works better but quickly came crawling back with my tail between my legs,” John said. “Every time, we opened Buildertrend, we saw you guys were coming up with something new. As soon as Buildertrend thinks they have success, they’re focused on the next item, to raise to another level. We do the same thing. Finally, I knew we weren’t finished with Buildertrend.”
After rejoining, John said he realized this time had to be different. His team needed to find that efficiency and those built-in processes that started them on this tech-focused journey in the first place. The way to do that was Onsite Consulting.
In January 2020, two of Buildertrend’s best experts visited the Decksouth team on their home turf to help them better understand this powerful platform.
“The deciding factor of Onsite Consulting for me was the fact they put together a workflow after meeting with you,” John said. “That was really intriguing because it’s pretty much a step-by-step manual that you can hand someone and say here is the onboarding process with Buildertrend.”
Using tips from Onsite Consulting to fully embrace features
Now that they’ve seen what life is like before, during and after Buildertrend by their side, Decksouth is turning that Onsite Consulting knowledge into action. Today, they’re trying to use almost every aspect of the homebuilder and remodeler app but have found particular value in templates.
If time is money, starting from scratch with every process sinks the bottom line. That’s why Buildertrend comes equipped with templates throughout its savvy system. Whether creating a project schedule, daily logs or even sales proposals, templates are ready to take the grit out of the daily grind. This tiny functionality has had a big impact on Decksouth.
“When you run a small business, inefficiency is money lost. If just one thing takes 30 minutes longer a day and there’s an average of 30 days in a month, that’s 900 minutes wasted. Templates help cut that 30 minutes down to five ,” John said. “There’s only 24 hours in a day, and last time I looked they aren’t making more of them.”
Buildertrend templates can work for however a team works, too. Decksouth takes it a step further and creates their own.
“This is not static software. It’s dynamic,” John said. “If you think it’s only as good as what you initially see, then you’re missing 40% of it.”
The Customer Portal is another Buildertrend tool Decksouth takes advantage of to revolutionize their business. This feature acts as a unique login for homeowners to communicate with their contractors, track progress and make design selections. Decksouth utilizes all of these functionalities, and John even requires his crews to add five photos per day to each project portal, so clients always know where their job stands.
“Buildertrend is the trifecta,” John said. “First, it’s a huge time-saver with templates. Second, on the sales side, it legitimizes who we are because I can show the Customer Portal and say, ‘We communicate and build together’. Then, finally, on the operations side it’s massive. Every Tuesday morning, we have a crew meeting and together we look at Buildertrend. It’s a main hub, a place to house everything.”
Growing from 52-53 jobs per year to 62-65
Decksouth has achieved the next-level growth they wanted – and then some. With the average job costing approximately $109,000, completing just 10 more projects per year adds a potential seven more figures to Decksouth’s annual profits.
“Theoretically, with templates alone, I think Buildertrend is saving at least a full workday per week,” John said. “Then you add in all the other savings, the organization, the level of professionalism. Our craftsmanship has always been top-level and now so is our business practices.”
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