Tankersley Construction: Accurately track construction labor costs with a time tracking app
Proof that Buildertrend success comes with learning one feature at a time.
Their success story: Digital tools for a brighter future
“We’re not afraid to take on something more difficult. We embrace the unique.”
Steven Tankersley, president and owner of Tankersley Construction Inc., loves a good challenge – just not when it comes to the tech that backs his team’s construction jobs. Steven’s team needed easy-to-use software that simplifies even the most complex processes of the building journey. Buildertrend delivered just that.
Today, this Sacramento, Calif., general contractor has mastered the leading construction tech platform for greater organization, collaboration and profitability. So, how’d they do it? Slow and steady won the race. Instead of going all in all at once, Tankersley Construction found success by smartly adapting these digital tools one by one.
Residential and midsized commercial contractor
Their story: Bringing large-scale project management skills to smaller jobs
Tankersley Construction is a family-owned business run by the husband-and-wife duo, Steven and Heather Tankersley, co-owner and vice president of operations. Between the two, they’ve got the chops to tackle almost any midsized residential or commercial project.
Unlike many homebuilders, their background expands beyond crafting idyllic suburbs. They also carry three decades of experience managing multi-million-dollar construction projects like power plants, train stations, churches and schools.
“If we can do construction in a hospital with negative air and lifesaving machines, we can work in your house,” Heather said.
Their goal: Organize building and finance operations into one software system
With their background in the industry’s commercial sector, Steven and Heather were no strangers to construction tech. The duo knew when they founded their company they needed an advanced system to keep job details organized, traceable and recorded in one spot. However, they also knew the tech tools used for their previous repertoire of large-scale jobs might be overkill in the residential space.
It was time to find a new solution – a happy medium. Tankersley Construction needed a system that gave them the scalability and agility they were used to without being cumbersome or loaded full of features they would never use.
Six months into business, they found Buildertrend. It was just what they were looking for.
“I liked how Buildertrend gave us the ability to keep everything centralized like we were used to on commercial jobs, but it was made on a scale to fit our new scope of projects,” Heather said. “I knew this was the tool to keep the guys organized. So, if it was Saturday at 2 p.m. and they needed to find something, they could do that. I got excited and said, ‘Let’s dive in!’”
Their solution: Mastering construction tech at their own pace
Next-level organization and collaboration doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why even as the Tankersley Construction team dove into Buildertrend, they made sure to not drown in everything the system could do.
There are more than 20 features and limitless ways to leverage their combined might. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or want to pull all the levers at once. Instead, Steven and Heather followed the guidance of their onboarding team and kept the learning process simple.
“We bit off little pieces at a time,” Steven said. “We learned feature by feature. Now Buildertrend is a key part of our company.”
It all started with the Time Clock. From punch to paycheck, this tool keeps teams on track. Crew members can clock in or clock out right from the Buildertrend app, and geofencing ensures employees can only do so from the job site. Heather loved how Time Clock syncs with QuickBooks to accurately track labor costs and timecards.
When first adopting Buildertrend, Heather was still balancing another full-time job and needed a quick way to oversee her workforce. She was relying on team members turning in their own hours with a sheet of paper that was sometimes accurate and other times not.
Time Clock proved to be smarter financial and people management rolled into one.
“For our hourly employees, time tracking needs to be precise,” Steven said. “Through Buildertrend, that’s possible. Employees can even acknowledge if they were on breaks or at lunch. That amount of accuracy gives us the capability to do a better job costing and keep tighter margins.”
Learning the Schedule feature came next for Tankersley Construction. They use this tool to not only see what’s coming next but to also sell jobs to clients. During initial meetings, they show homeowners the power of the Schedule and how it keeps their team right on track and can be shared with them for full transparency.
“Clients are just blown away,” Heather said.
To-Do’s was the natural next step as they can be linked to tasks on the Schedule. Before Buildertrend, Heather’s project managers had to constantly call subs and the crews to give direction. Then it was a guessing game if that person remembered all their tasks and if they got done on time. Now, the team can easily delegate work right in the system.
“Let’s say an employee has five jobs to go to that day. To-Do’s is how they keep track of it all,” Heather said. “We can assign something, change dates. They can add pictures and check stuff off as they go. In real time, the team knows what needs to happen and if it got done.”
With these initial features under their belts, the team has since conquered most of the program, including Daily Logs, Selections, the Budget and Messaging. All that knowledge came together recently to save them thousands on a job.
Tankersley Construction was wrapping up a project and needed a sub to come in and finish some work since they had $3,000 left on their contract. When the sub stopped responding, Steven and Heather’s team finished the work themselves. A year later, they received a bill from the sub for the remaining amount.
“We didn’t remember what happened, but because of Buildertrend, we were able to quickly figure it out,” Steven said. “We saw the amount remaining on the contract matched to invoices. Then we went through messages, timecards, punch lists and logs. Anybody picking up the pieces could figure out we didn’t owe him. It all worked together to create a detailed record of the project.”
Their success: Digital documentation that helps both contractor and clients
For Tankersley Construction, the old adage rings true: The best things come to those who wait. They didn’t impatiently tackle all of Buildertrend at once, only to become overwhelmed and quit the program. Instead, they mastered Buildertrend’s features one by one, before moving on to the next. This allowed them to truly strengthen their business by better leveraging each digital tool’s capabilities together.
Today, that patience has paid off. The efficiency has allowed them to grow in the number of building projects they handle each year.
“It’s kept my sanity,” Heather said. “I don’t see how we would keep everything aligned and deliver a project in a timely manner without Buildertrend.”
For this team, the real win goes back to their original goal of organization. Our construction tech platform has allowed the team to keep a tidy archive of all project details, which has protected them financially throughout several renovations.
“There are hundreds of photos stored throughout a project’s lifespan. That documentation has been a big saver for us when recording existing damage. It protects us and the client.” Steven said. “We took it slow, but now Buildertrend is a game changer.”
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