Vaughan + Co.: Outdoor living company benefits from construction file management

As they continue to expand, this team of home remodeling and outdoor living experts needed an organized, all-in-one solution.

Their success story: Job costing down to the last dollar

Before they were Buildertrend customers, Liz and Kenny Vaughan were homeowners seeing their own project through the lens of the platform’s Customer Portal.

They worked with a builder to construct their home prior to having their own contractor’s license. And it was then that they, as clients, had their first experience using Buildertrend’s remodeler software.

“Being on the opposite side, I was like this program is amazing. I love it,” Liz said.


Remodeling and outdoor living


Powell, Ohio



Winning solution

File management

Vaughan Co Luxury Pool Backyard

Once their house was completed, Liz knew their remodeling business could benefit from the tools Buildertrend’s construction project management software offered. After a demo, they were sold initially by the Payment Processing and Invoicing features.

“We really liked the online payments and online invoicing – those were very attractive,” Liz said. “At the time, we had a separate program for invoicing, which also included 10 other things that Buildertrend could do by itself.”

They also saw the benefits of job costing, which has since helped them make better decisions and track job expenses down to the last dollar.

Their story: An Ohio home remodeler creating exceptional living spaces both inside and out

Liz, CEO, and Kenny, COO, were both in the commercial construction industry before starting their own landscaping company, Vaughan + Co., in 2014. What started as landscaping soon evolved to include all angles of outdoor living, including inground swimming pools and spas, patio designs, outdoor kitchens, fire pits and pool houses.

And as if all that weren’t enough, their love for design and construction didn’t stop there. After receiving several inquiries about home interior projects, the hobby of flipping their own houses turned into another branch of their business. As work was slower during the winter months, they started taking on remodeling jobs that expanded to whole-home renovations.

“Our specialty is providing a well-rounded service for our clients,” Liz said. “Many times, we’ll do an interior job, and they’ll want to do something on the exterior. Or we’ll do an exterior job, and they’ll want to do stuff on the interior.”

Clients have a single point of contact instead of having to hire a designer, an architect, a pool builder and a landscaper.

“What’s different about us is they don’t need to hire all these different contractors,” she continued. “They just hire us, and we do everything.”

Vaughan + Co inground pool

Their goal: Management of construction financials and files all in one place

Before Buildertrend, the Vaughan + Co. team used spreadsheets, which never allowed them to fully capture their margins. Tracking all their financials with job costing and the Budget feature helped them truly see where their profits were.

“Without Buildertrend it would be hard for us to keep track of our margins and maintain our profitability year over year.” Liz said.

They’re able to make better choices that affect not only the job but also their business as a whole.

“It gives us real data to rely on and make decisions for a project,” Liz said. “So, we know where we can spend more money and where we should spend less money to stay within budget.”

Although the financial management features were their initial reason for signing up, it wasn’t long before they started to see other benefits with Buildertrend’s construction tech.

Their solution: A digital, all-in-one app for remodelers

One of those benefits was being able to manage everything in one platform.

“It keeps everything in one place instead of having your computer hard drive with all your photos and a Dropbox with all the client design elements,” Liz said. “Then you have Word documents and Excel sheets that are all over the place. Buildertrend makes it so much easier.”

Buildertrend’s Files tool allowed Liz and her team to say goodbye to their old ways. Printing and laminating project plans and documents was no longer necessary.

“We used to have all this paper documentation in the field for the guys to work off of,” Liz said. “And it’s so nice to have it all digital. They can all access it on their phones or on their company iPads while they’re on the job site.”

Time is no longer wasted on searching for project files or making calls about design aspects. Every piece of information is saved and organized by job within Buildertrend.

“If they need a specific document or design detail, they have access to all the renderings and blueprints, which has been really nice,” Liz said. “We’re no longer playing telephone with each other.”

In addition to job files, both design and material selections can also be uploaded and organized within Buildertrend’s project management software. This makes it easy to track and document clients’ decisions for future reference.

“I love having the Selections tab because I do all the design work,” Liz said. “So, having a place where I can upload cabinet hardware, paint colors, flooring types and light fixtures is really nice.”

Clients can see price differentials as well as photos and dimensions of each product, so it’s easy for them to make decisions and give their approval.

“It’s made my life so much easier,” Liz said. “I’m spending less time running around going to vendors and meeting with clients. They can see it laid out in front of them and choose yes or no.”

Sophisticated processes like these set Vaughan + Co. apart from other construction companies. With Buildertrend, they were able to leave old-school paperwork behind and adopt real-time insights that allow their business to grow.

“It also gives us better numbers and data, which is really important to us,” she continued. “To grow our business, we need to have real numbers. We can’t just use a gut feeling or an instinct.”

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