See how the power of construction tech combined with the convenience of online payments helps these specialty contractors get more done.
Customer success story
Communication is key to the continued growth of this production home builder amid a very busy and uncertain housing climate.
Their success story
In a highly competitive housing climate, production home builders Jimmy Reed and David Socia are doing their part to combat the seemingly unending housing shortage. As co-founders of Sidar Builders, Jimmy and David have found their niche building efficient, cost-effective houses in their hometown of Tyler, Texas.
Today they’re building roughly 50 homes a year, which wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Buildertrend’s communication tools.
“We recognized the need for updated processes,” David said. “We were a little antiquated in terms of our communication hub. We had all of the parts to do what we needed to do, but our business was growing to the point where we couldn’t do that efficiently or effectively enough anymore.”
Buildertrend’s communication capabilities have allowed the Sidar Builders team to scale their business by ensuring efficient and effective processes.
Development and production home building
Serve first. Build intentionally. Impact community.
Before they were co-founders, they were friends. Jimmy and David worked separately on their own projects for years until 2017 when they decided they could do more together. Since then, they’ve built a team of six employees and hundreds of loyal, local trade partners.
They pay close attention to the needs of their team and their trade partners by keeping their mission, vision and culture at the forefront of everything they do.
Serve first. Build intentionally. Impact community.
These are the three core values at Sidar Builders where they wholeheartedly believe in serving others with the hope of having a positive impact on their lives. It’s with these values that David and Jimmy lead their team – day in and day out.
Their beliefs and commitment to community are also at the center of their work as they strive to make homeownership attainable for more people. In today’s housing market, it’s difficult for first-time homebuyers to find or build a house they can afford.
“The acute aspect of the housing shortage is entry-level housing,” Jimmy said. “So, catering to the masses is where we’ve been focusing. We serve primarily entry-level and downsizing clients, building homes that are between $250,000 to $310,000 or so in price points.”
They not only build houses, but the Sidar Builders team also develops their own land, typically infill development land, and then sells the houses once they’re complete.
“We offer a pretty comprehensive view of real estate as a whole,” David said. “We have a real estate brokerage that knows the front end and the back end of the market. We not only build production homes, but we also develop. Not having to buy lots from developers affords us the ability to build smaller, more affordable homes.”
As production home builders, Jimmy, David and their team are making a huge impact on the amount of high-quality, entry-level homes in the Tyler area. According to Jimmy, they have a fairly large market share, doing about 80% of new construction homes in their zip code last year.
Find a system to sustain growth
Starting roughly one new house per week, the Sidar Builders team needed a system that could keep up with their volume.
“We tried to piecemeal our communication by integrating multiple pieces of software,” David said. “But it just seemed like nothing would perform cohesively enough to make it function the way we needed it to.”
Although their team works really well together, they needed a platform that would compile communication and documentation in one place to keep things organized. And after some research, they found Buildertrend as the solution that would keep their well-oiled machine running smoothly.
“We started to take a look at what was out there that would be a one-stop shop in terms of a communication hub for us,” David said. “We were fearful of the unknown, but Jimmy was brave enough to reach out. Fortunately for us, Buildertrend answered the call and made sure we didn’t fall through the cracks.”
Efficient internal and external communication tools
Clients who build with Sidar Builders journey through four main touch points during the build process: New home introduction, welcome home celebration, closing and follow-up. Within these four phases, there are countless other tasks with individual requirements for communication and documentation with trade partners and clients. Now, multiply all that by 50. That’s a lot to keep track of. So, how do they do it?
“We use Buildertrend for just about every facet of communication and documentation,” Jimmy said. “We’re using about 83% of the features within Buildertrend. Each member of our team uses Buildertrend in some way to do their job.”
Jimmy manages the office side of the business while David manages the field crews. And by implementing Buildertrend, everyone has the information they need from the very start.
“When a job starts, all of the information is there at anyone’s fingertips,” Jimmy said. “From trade partners, to builders, to detail and warranty, to customer relations and sales.”
Jimmy uses Buildertrend’s financial features as well as templates and the cost catalog to help him keep tabs on changing prices. As for David, the Schedule feature is their bible in the field.
“We live and die by the Schedule,” David said. “If the Schedule’s not up and going, and people don’t know where to be then our jobs just don’t get done. Our job would be so much more difficult if we didn’t have an integrated schedule that is linked with predecessor tasks. It’s also been great to accurately communicate those things to our team or subcontractors.”
In addition to the Schedule, the field crew uses features such as Daily Logs and photos to keep everyone on the same page.
“You don’t need Daily Logs until you need Daily Logs,” David said. “There have been multiple situations where we’re going, ‘Where did we put that underground sleeve?’ So, with Daily Logs we require them to take photos, which gives us a really good snapshot of start to finish.”
This includes their subcontractors, who are now required to use Buildertrend.
“Our subs have to use Buildertrend,” David said. “The main way we’re enforcing that is, if they want to get paid, they have to submit invoices through Buildertrend. It’s been a learning curve, and that takes a lot of work. But we’re up for the challenge for their benefit.”
They also use the Customer Portal to make sure their clients are involved every step of the way.
“We push our clients to interact on the Customer Portal because it’s the most comprehensive place where they can see their home being built virtually,” Jimmy said. “Our detail and warranty technician takes an updated photo of the living room, kitchen and exterior each week. Whether the home buyers are local or across the country, they can always log in and see how their house is progressing.”
“Three of the features our client relations person uses the most are Messages, To-Do’s and Files,” Jimmy said. “Because whenever they’re doing that new home introduction, they’re going through and checking things off to set the benchmark for the whole project.”
At Sidar Builders, they’ve really seen the value Buildertrend brings to their business and can’t imagine how they ever managed jobs manually.
“When we were doing things manually, we had these things called blue folders or the bible for the construction project, which became outdated the day that they went out,” Jimmy said. “But now, we are up to date all day, every day. Everyone is on the same page, and we’re communicating early, efficiently and often.”
Overall, the biggest reason for implementing Buildertrend’s software was for the communication advantages it added. By adding tech to their processes, the Sidar Builders team not only worked more efficiently internally, they were able to truly promote their core values externally.
“We have three core values here and two of those are, build intentionally and impact community,” David said. “We want to make sure that we’re building relationships intentionally. And if we’re building relationships intentionally, then we’ve got to make sure we’re communicating effectively.”
Sidar Builders production home exterior
Using effective processes to scale their business
“We’ve recognized that Buildertrend works for us, and choosing this software was a really positive move,” Jimmy said. “Especially in terms of being able to scale our business.”
Sidar Builders has been able to grow their business because they’re communicating effectively and working faster.
“We’ve become extremely efficient in the field,” David said. “There’s no more guesswork as to what’s the next step in this project. Timeliness when you’re doing volume – it’s important.”
The Sidar Builders team raves about Buildertrend’s communication tools and other construction project management features.
“We’d recommend Buildertrend to other builders if they want to get projects done on time, on budget and create accountability. And if builders aren’t using Buildertrend, then they’re probably not communicating as effectively or efficiently as they could be.”
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