How to become a Buildertrend super user with Michael Lee Homes

Episode 30

On this episode of The Building Code, we’re joined by Steven Frosch, a self-proclaimed Buildertrend “super user”! Steven is the builder at Michael Lee Homes based in east Minneapolis, Minn., and chatted with Paul and Tom about how he came to know (and love) Buildertrend.

Michael Lee Homes and Kootenia Homes

Fun fact #1: Michael Lee Homes gets its name from the two founders’ middle names. If Paul and Tom started a company and used this strategy, what would their company’s name be? Well, we’ll come back to that.

Fun fact #2: Michael Lee Homes is a part of Kootenia Homes, which is why Steven talks about both companies. What’s the difference between these two related companies? Michael Lee Homes started in the early 2000s as a remodeling company. When the market took a dive, Michael Lee Homes shifted and started building homes at an affordable price point, while Kootenia Homes focused solely on luxury homes. Michael Lee and Kootenia Homes employ 10-15 team members, made up of a sales team and on-staff drafters. All drafting and design are done in-house, which allows them to fully customize each home for their customers.

What is a “Super User”?

There are several definitions of a “super user,” but for the purpose of this episode, we’re referring to someone who knows a software program inside and out.

When Steven attended Buildertrend University a few months ago, he said to Paul, “You know what? I know how to use everything.” And the best part? It’s actually true! Having his doubts that someone was using all features of the Buildertrend software, Paul had Steven’s account checked. It turns out Steven is the only person in 13 years who uses every single feature within Buildertrend. We feel this definitely earns him the super user badge.

How to Become a “Super User”

When Steven joined Michael Lee Homes about five years ago, the company was not using any project or business management software … everything was done using pen and paper. Within his first year, Steven came to an important realization: they needed to be utilizing technology to help manage their business. After making his rounds at the International Builders Show (IBS) and gathering information about different management software platforms, he decided on Buildertrend. “[Buildertrend] was the most comprehensive platform I believed at the time, and I still believe we’re right there,” Steven said.

Once Steven began using Buildertrend, he found a big struggle in implementing it within the other members of the company. So, for those listeners who might be in a similar situation, Steven provided some great tips on how to become a super user and incorporate Buildertrend into your company:

  • Have a champion. Somebody within the company has to be leading the charge to both implement and train staff on the software.
  • Take baby steps. For Steven and his team, they started with the Scheduling feature. Once they mastered that, they moved on to a different feature and kept that pattern until they were through all of them.
  • Use your Buildertrend Coach. “Our coach has been a great asset for our bookkeeper here, as well as our interior designer,” Steven said.
  • Go through the software hands on. Mess around with different tools and try new features. “You gotta get into it. You gotta throw something against the wall and see what sticks,” Steven explained.
  • Just give it a try. Steven is a builder, so he knows firsthand how difficult it can be for builders to adapt to the tech world. He explained that trying this software takes the same mentality of working in the field. You have to try new materials to see what is going to work.

So, if Paul and Tom were to have a company named using their middle names, it would be called Michael Joseph Homes – can you guess whose middle name belongs to who?

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