Oliver Builders, Inc.

Mastering customer communication with Buildertrend

Custom Homes


Berkeley, CA


About Oliver Builders

Oliver Builders specializes in residential construction in Berkeley, Calif., just across the bay from San Francisco. Located in the Bay – an earthquake-prone area that is also expensive and where technological sophistication is the norm – the Oliver Builders team is always prepared for any challenges that can arise in building and remodeling custom properties.

Severin Oliver in office

Building More than Homes

Oliver Builders principal, Severin Oliver, describes his customers’ expectations as “extremely high.” From the quality of materials to the accuracy of billing and scheduling details, “everybody expects everything to be right,” explains Severin.

Severin puts an emphasis on building trust from the very first meeting with his customers. One way he does this is by walking them through each stage of a construction project and demonstrating how his team operates. He provides a detailed overview of how his company uses Buildertrend project management software to keep communication open and on track throughout the life of the project. Severin has found this helps to prove his team’s reliability to potential customers in a short amount of time. It also goes a long way in establishing trust with new customers.

Since Oliver Builders was established nearly a decade ago, Severin and his team have prioritized excellent customer communication. Using Buildertrend has helped them elevate their approach – and their results.

Setting a New Standard with Buildertrend

For many years, the standard operating procedure for tracking construction projects was a list managed in a spreadsheet. “It was never good or super accurate,” recalls Severin. When he founded his own company, he recognized this method wasn’t going to cut it, and one of his first priorities was finding something better.

He researched a series of project management tools, tested many platforms and landed on Buildertrend because, as he puts it, “I sell transparency, and Buildertrend really lends itself to my values of honesty and transparency.” Severin has found that with the gradual mastery of Buildertrend features, he has been able to develop high-end customer communications that keep projects running like clockwork.

Favorite Features: Selections and Daily Logs

When he began working with Buildertrend, Severin’s primary goal was to replace his master list. “Working in a spreadsheet took a ton of time,” he said. “I spent a lot of time highlighting and updating versions.” The Selections feature replaced all of that. Now, their selection approvals are online and there’s no need to worry if customers are looking at the most recent version.

Each year, Oliver Builders integrates more Buildertrend features into their routine, and each one improves their ability to communicate more efficiently and effectively with their customers and staff.

The features Oliver Builders have mastered, such as Daily Logs, Selections, and the Calendar makes it possible for them to be more effective and more transparent with their customers. “My customers can come home at nine o’clock at night and the project information is updated and accurate in real time,” said Severin. His customers feel connected at all times which builds the trust Oliver Builders depends on.

Severin now relies on Daily Logs stay on top of the multiple projects his company has in motion at one time. His project managers document notes on-site, and Severin can get up to speed whenever and wherever he is.

“The Buildertrend culture is similar to my own company and what I aspire to offer my own customers”

– Severin Oliver, Principal

Software Brings Real Information in Real Time

Oliver Builders works predominantly on high-end residential projects for tech-savvy customers who don’t have a lot of time to spare. Buildertrend has helped Severin and his team keep up by providing real-time information for their customers to access at their own convenience.

The latest Buildertrend tool Severin and his team have mastered is the Videos feature. It served them well on a recent project with a customer who lives out of town and expects to stay informed on a daily basis. In the past, the project manager would upload photos from the site along with an updated Daily Log. “We found that in certain situations, the photos just didn’t give enough information,” said Severin. “So, we started using our phones to create 30-second videos to show and explain what’s happening on site.”

Severin Oliver working in office

They save the videos, upload them and then notify the homeowner so he can watch the videos at his leisure. “He loves it,” Severin said. The videos have been a better option than photos for specific tasks, like closing up walls. This feature has allowed Severin and his team to be even more transparent with their customers, and the results have been extremely positive

Forming Connections and Improving Communication

No matter how strong your construction skills are, good communication is key when you run a service-based business. The first step in achieving this is by building a connection. As more millennials become home construction customers, expectations of trustworthiness will continue to shift toward the ability to access information online and on their own terms.

As a Buildertrend client for nearly six years, Severin feels Buildertrend has been a partner – and an inspiration – to his business. He has benefitted from Buildertrend’s outstanding customer service, which he said is always responsive and helpful. “In fact,” Severin said, “the Buildertrend culture is similar to my own company and what I aspire to offer my own customers.”

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