Learning the fundamentals of cost codes

Welcome to “The Better Way: A podcast by Buildertrend,” where you’ll learn how to simplify complex processes and make meaningful change by running your business with tech. In this first season our experts will zero in on financial management. Because there’s a better way. The Buildertrend way.

Tune in to this episode to hear our experts talk about the best ways to use cost codes within Buildertrend and how they can help to keep your financial processes organized.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD COST CODE?

  • Relatively limited in quantity – ideally, no more than 150
  • Every code should serve a purpose and be justified
  • Should include enough detail to track materials and labor
  • Should be well organized and easy to use for all team members

HOW DO YOU GET STARTED USING COST CODES?

  • Start with what you already have and make a list
  • Look for places to condense categories
  • If you don’t already, add a numbering system to organize
  • Consider your production process and order codes accordingly
  • Review outside of the platform first
  • Seek advice from Buildertrend’s experts before uploading

LINKS AND MORE

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@buildertrend

Buildertrend

Reece Barnes and Zach Wojtowicz | Buildertrend

Intro:

Welcome to “The Better Way,” a podcast by Buildertrend. We are here to help you simplify and establish processes that will make meaningful changes to your company and help you achieve your goals. There’s a better way to run your construction business, the Buildertrend way. Tune in this season as our consultants, Reece Barnes and Zach Wojtowicz, will help you master your financials.

Reece Barnes:

In our very first episode, we’re discussing the fundamentals of cost codes. Learn all the concepts and characteristics of cost codes and how they can help to keep your financial system organized.

Hey, everybody, thank you for tuning in to Buildertrend’s newest series covering financials. My name is Reece Barnes, I am an additional training consultant. What that means to you, is I sell our consulting services. That’s going to be our onsite, our virtual and our financial consulting, which is a new service that we are piloting. Basically, my role is to hear what our clients are struggling with, what they’re needing help with and help them determine if they need to do more unlimited customer support. Or if it does make sense for them to outsource our consultants to help them implement Buildertrend, train their team and create systems. I’m here with my co-host, Zach Wojtowicz. Zach?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Hey Reece. How are we doing today?

Reece Barnes:

You have quite the radio voice.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Hey, thanks. Face for radio, you could say. Yeah. Anyway, so Reece is a good friend of mine, and we’ve had a lot of conversations recently about ways that we can help people use Buildertrend to the fullest capacity. And we thought, wouldn’t it be a great opportunity for us to talk about financials to the masses? A lot of people may have thought about these things, or they’re curious about dipping their toes in the water. And as my experience as an onset consultant, I’ve traveled around the country and I’ve had these conversations with dozens and dozens of builders, so we have a lot of experiences we can draw back on. Things that have worked, things that don’t work, and really get into the heart of what makes a Buildertrend user get the most out of the system.

Reece Barnes:

The other reasons why we’re doing a whole series just on financials is: A, Buildertrend, it’s a very strategic and system reliant portion of the program. The second, in my opinion, the most important, we’re dealing with our clients’ financials, the most important part of their businesses. So, we want to make sure that we provide content, so you can fully understand from soup to nuts: what are cost codes, why are we using them, how to utilize cost codes, how do we do a Buildertrend and QuickBooks or Xero integration, how do we receive payments, how do we handle job costing and reporting? Which is ultimately going to be the six different segments that we have here on the financial series.

But first, what are we talking about today? Ultimately, we want, again, to dive into the fundamentals of cost codes. We want you to have the concepts and characteristics of organizing your financial system using cost codes. We want to make sure that you understand the best practices and strategies for utilizing them as well as how do we provide an easy-to-adopt outline, so you can start to tackle this topic and all to make sure it’s done right?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. And it’s going to be a lot of information. There’s no way around it as far as discussing these things, so we really wanted to try and figure out what are the easiest ways to get started and what you should really be thinking about when it comes to how we structure this information and make it usable for everybody? So, we’re going to talk about the basics and dive deep into what operational changes you can make, what should you make, and really, understand what a cost code is when it comes down to it.

Reece Barnes:

And when you say operations, I thought cost codes were more accounting. I could be wrong.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Right. Absolutely. And that’s a very common battle that you have to start where, who owns the entirety of this cost code discussion? Who is really …

Reece Barnes:

An accountant.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Hey, whoa there. Alright?

Reece Barnes:

Hey, hey, whoa.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Get a little aggressive.

Reece Barnes:

Easy.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. It can be the accountant. Absolutely. There’s no doubt. They’re going to have an input, or should have an input, on what those cost codes should look like. Right? They’re the ones who are ultimately paying the bills and making sure things are moving along at the backend of the project and that you’re receiving money, so on and so forth. But it’s not just them. It can be a lot of different parties and a lot of different groups and focusing in on that.

Reece Barnes:

Who?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Well, it gets a little complicated, right?

Reece Barnes:

Okay.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Where do you derive your information from when you’re setting up a project? How do you actually go about and tell a customer, hey, what do I actually want to charge you? What do I charge you for when I’m going through the sales process, and how do I make sure that I’m hitting my targets and my numbers? So, there’s no denying that your production team, your estimator, your sales guy, depending on who the person actually is who gets the proposal in place. They should be thought about, as well, about how those things should be put in place in the program.

Reece Barnes:

Would it be safe to say that an estimator, or production team maybe, is using cost codes more than the accountant? The reason I say that is because I’m thinking from an estimator standpoint. Let’s say we’re working with a little bit bigger company, all they do all day long is put estimates together. They’re digging through cost codes, they’re setting everything up with line items, making sure that it’s getting released to the client or the prospect, whatever portion of the phase you’re in. How does that really make sense to an estimator or to a production or to the accountant, and who is really going to be involved?

Zach Wojtowicz:

That’s the thing. I mean, when people are developing these codes, a lot of times they are doing what they’ve done because it’s worked. So, they might have a company that’s 30 years old and they have an Excel sheet that they’ve been using. And it’s just part of their culture, this is entrenched in what they do. So, with an estimator who dictates what’s happening, ultimately that’s okay, as long as they’ve a conversation with the accountant to say, here’s how I want to track the backend reporting that goes along with that information. What does that person need to make sure the company is profitable and solvent and able to really be long standing and healthy versus what the estimator needed in order to make sure that customers can understand what they’re paying for, outlining their budget and making sure that they are staying on budget using cost codes? It all starts from beginning to end.

So, that structure is really the backbone of how everything is going to move from A to Z in Buildertrend. And, really, inside your language as a company. Right? When you are discussing these items with each other, you’re going to have to understand that you’re discussing the same thing in order to be as efficient as possible.

Reece Barnes:

So, you mentioned items. Were you referencing cost codes?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yes. Correct.

Reece Barnes:

Okay.

 Zach Wojtowicz:

We’re kind of putting the car in front of the horse here as far as …

Reece Barnes:

I’m sorry. I tend to do that.

Zach Wojtowicz:

It’s alright. It’s alright. That’s why they gave you me, so we reign it back a little bit.

Reece Barnes:

Exactly. You’re the scholar in the library.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yes. Yes. The Buildertrend Help Center. It’s just a closet.

Reece Barnes:

The archive.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. They bring me out every once in a while to …

Reece Barnes:

Dust you off?

Zach Wojtowicz:

A little bit. Yep. Like a good book. Just gets better with time.

Reece Barnes:

Yes. Yes.

Zach Wojtowicz:

How the expression goes. So, what are cost codes, is the main thing. And they have a lot of different names. So, some companies refer to them as service items. Quickbooks calls them products and services or items. Other people call them expenses. At the end of the day, it’s the categories of budgetary items that you want to track and make sure that you are ultimately able to tell if you overspend or underspend within your job. Okay?

Reece Barnes:

It’s a like a category.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah, exactly.

Reece Barnes:

Okay.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Take an example. When you were creating a personal budget, Reece, if you were trying to figure out …

Reece Barnes:

Don’t have one of those. I should.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. It’s time to be an adult and put one together. That’s right. If you were going to do that, if I were going to sit you down as a life coach and tell you, hey, we need to get your budget together, what do you think we would try and track in order to make sure that you were making money in your day-to-day life? Right? So that you’re not accidentally overspending in categories that you could be controlling. We would look at things like what? What would we keep track of for a person?

Reece Barnes:

I mean, off the top of my head, I’m thinking utilities.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yep. Okay.

Reece Barnes:

Groceries, rent, mortgage, car payment. Insurance is going to be in there.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Insurance. Yep.

Reece Barnes:

Let’s say you got a dog. They need fed every month.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Pet. Yep.

Reece Barnes:

We could go down the line.

Zach Wojtowicz:

This is adding up pretty quick. It sounds like you need that budget sooner than …

Reece Barnes:

I need a big list of cost codes.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. Well, what about this? So, if you were saying to yourself, I want to make a personal budget, and I really enjoy burritos …

Reece Barnes:

Love them.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Do I need a line item in my budget for every type of food that I purchase? Or is it more realistic to say, I have a restaurant budget for 300 bucks this month?

Reece Barnes:

Latter.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Right? You want to make it so that you’re looking a level up so that you’re able to stay on track. Who cares what you actually ate? It doesn’t matter.

Reece Barnes:

Right.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Right? Whether …

Reece Barnes:

I could barely remember half the time. It could be 24 hours, and I forgot.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. So, at the end of the day, building a construction budget isn’t that different from a personal budget when it comes to …

Reece Barnes:

Less burritos. Unless you’re big on culture. Friday burritos sounds like a good idea. Might want to build that into a cost code. Maybe not. I’m sorry.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Absolutely.

Reece Barnes:

Keep going.

Zach Wojtowicz:

And that’s okay. That’s okay. That’s a great point because there are times where you might want to specify the details of what you’re spending, but how you actually get that information is just as important. So, we have a lot of ways in a construction situation where you can track that information, but does that mean that you need a whole cost code for it? What’s wrong with descriptions? Right? What’s wrong with memos? There are tons of ways to get the detail without needing an overly itemized list to see what I’m spending my company budget on. Right?

Reece Barnes:

Sure. And to bring it back, the idea is to give you an idea, or a way, to categorize where you’re spending your money, so at the end of the year, when I look at my savings account, I’m like, I didn’t hit the goal. Where can I trim up next year? How could I be better this?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Sure. And even further, when you look at it from a month standpoint, how did I do this month? You’re not looking at your budget …

Reece Barnes:

Baby steps.

Zach Wojtowicz:

… steps once a year. You’re looking at it every day and keeping track of those things.

Reece Barnes:

That makes sense.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Again, we’re trying to get you to be a responsible adult, man. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

Reece Barnes:

I know.

Zach Wojtowicz:

So, a project manager, hopefully, isn’t looking at his budget every two, three months. He’s looking at it daily and having a good cost code list makes that report readable. It makes it so it’s not a burden, but it’s something that I can really look at briefly and pull away to make sure everything’s looking right. And if there is a problem, I’m able to address it much more quickly by dialing down because I have that natural report that is going to be easy to read versus something that’s just overly complicated and long and subconsciously, you’re just going to balk at.

Reece Barnes:

That makes total sense.

 

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah.

Reece Barnes:

So, ultimately, we have the concept of the cost codes. Do I need them to use Buildertrend?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Great question.

Reece Barnes:

Let’s say I don’t have any. Let’s start from there. Let’s say we’ve just been operating in Excel, tracking just mass transactions, receipts and doing that. Why do I need cost codes in Buildertrend?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Well, hopefully, they save you time. So, in a situation where, right now, if you’re just logging all your expenses into an Excel sheet, you’re already putting them into a bucket, into a category. Well, having a budget in place in the system makes it so you’re doing some of the work upfront and then you’re just placing the item into the correct bucket at that point.

Now, you asked the question, and I want to go back to that because it’s really important and something that we do get asked pretty frequently, which is, do I need cost codes? And I would argue that this is a non-negotiable. This is something that, yes, absolutely. Not only should I be using them, but why aren’t I already using them? And in many instances, that’s where we start. What are you doing right now? What are the things that are happening in my day-to-day that I can take and turn into cost codes? Because I guarantee you, most of the listeners out there have a way for them to track their job information, but getting it into Buildertrend is the main goal. But there are good ways to do that, and there are bad ways to do that, and sometimes, I think of myself as damage control. I’m inheriting an account, I’m helping them get better, and I’m looking at what they’ve been doing, and I’m shaking my head thinking, this is not going to work. We’re going to have to make some changes. And that can be a really hard conversation to have, no doubt.

But the end goal is we want to try and make the system be efficient, but also as user-friendly as possible for all the users in the program. And just going back to that theme that what works for one estimator isn’t necessarily what should be the expectation for everybody else in the company. And so, you want to look at what you’re doing, start with that and then get input to make sure that everybody has a voice and see what that looks like.

Reece Barnes:

Love it. Let’s carry on that because, ultimately, cost codes, you know what they are, non-negotiable, have to use them. Let’s go over more, so what are good cost codes? What are bad cost codes? And where do we help clients, or at least push them, into getting a cost code set that works for them? How do we ultimately dictate that?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Right. We want to look for certain characteristics that are going to be repeatable and be very, very thought out before you really execute it within the program. It’s kind of funny that this is episode one, because we’re not necessarily inheriting or working with an account that is in the early stages of their Buildertrend use. Right? They could be using five years and still not have a good cost codes set, but they’ve been using those cost codes in the account. And so, how do you detangle that information and make sure that you’re able to maintain what you’ve been doing, but also evolve and really become better within the system itself?

So, when we talk about cost codes, the first place we start is like what’s happening right now in the system? Okay? And how can we really think about the long-term effects if we were to change these things? So, there are times where you’re stuck with what you have, but that’s just for now. We can always rename, reorganize within the system with the understanding that other projects are going to be better as a result. So, bad cost code lists are just poorly organized, very disorganized, poorly thought out, only works for one person.

Reece Barnes:

Okay.

Zach Wojtowicz:

The other thing you …

Reece Barnes:

What does disorganized mean? I mean, when I think of cost codes, I’m thinking of four digits, numerically ordered, and I’m thinking …

Zach Wojtowicz:

Well, see, that would be good. A lot of people don’t have that. A lot of people’s cost codes are an alphabetized list of everything that they charge to a customer.

Reece Barnes:

A bucket.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. And at that point it’s not even a bucket. It’s just like, hey, here’s a list of stuff that has no rhyme or reason to why it’s in the account or not. They added one, one time and they never used it again. Why?

Reece Barnes:

Got you.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. And if they don’t have a numbering system, they don’t have it in the order of construction, they really don’t have any reason for those costs gets to be there. They just think, okay, this is how I’ve always done it, and so that’s how I’m going to continue to do it. I’ve adapted to this new software, but I’m either unaware that I need to change how I do things or they’re unwilling and not really open to changing the way that they’re doing their day-to-day operations. But I always think of adopting a new software is like an opportunity to really evaluate how you’re doing things right now.

Reece Barnes:

Sure. Well, and that’s the idea. I mean, Buildertrend, it’s not a small program. It’s very robust, you can manipulate it like crazy. You can make it work for your business, you can utilize different features different ways. So, ultimately, with the cost codes, that’s opening up the opportunity to really utilize purchase orders, invoicing, estimates and making budgets.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Now, don’t give them too much. We want people to come back for episode two.

Reece Barnes:

Okay. Okay, okay, okay.

Zach Wojtowicz:

You don’t want to …

Reece Barnes:

I’m running here. I’m really trying to hammer home and make it as easy as possible for the listener – what’s bad cost codes, what’s good cost codes. We’ve identified the good cost codes. They’re numerically numbered, there’s a reason to them. They’re very methodical, company-wide understanding of who’s going to be using them, why they’re going to be using them. So, what else do you see that’s bad, what else do you see that’s good?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Well, as far as bad, there’s a lot of things that you want to avoid when it comes to just setting up the cost code, and we kind of touched on this but it’s worth repeating. Let’s take an example, like your appliance cost code. Right? A lot of people will, rightfully so, assume, alright, I want to track all the expenses that go into the appliances, and they’re attempting to have a range cost code and a microwave cost code and a dishwasher cost code.

Reece Barnes:

The burritos.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yes. Right? The details. The things that overly specify. We don’t really care as far as all those individual items being there. You want to have one thing that says, appliances, and this is how much I want to spend for it. And most listeners are probably like, yeah, that’s what I do. I just have an appliance cost code, but that’s not the case on a lot of different things within the program. Sometimes people will have five cost codes, 10 cost codes for permits. Why? What are you gaining by having all those different permit codes? Why wouldn’t you have one single cost code for permits and then use descriptions do actually go through it? Now, are there times that it makes sense to? Sure. And obviously we’re operating on the framework of everybody’s going to be different. All customer needs are different, and we understand that.

 

Reece Barnes:

That’s worth the evaluation. Right?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Right. Exactly. Think about it. Go through every item and look for those redundancies. You see that a lot with different types of lumber usages. Okay? Do you need …

Reece Barnes:

A 2X4 cost code, a 4X4.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Exactly. Why? Why not just have framing material, lumber material? Right? Framing labor. Those categories give you enough information to know, here’s what I want to spend, and here’s what I actually spent. And like the vendor gives you an invoice that outlines all the little things that you purchased down to the nail, tracking those things aren’t going to really benefit you in the long-term. Right? In fact, I’m not sure, you might create more work in order for you to really track down where things are happening. So, when we’re looking at codes, we really want to pay attention to how detailed are they really and ask that question, is it really necessary? And I would challenge anybody to go through and look at your cost codes today and think, do I actually need that? Do I ever use this? Every code has a purpose. Every code is used on every job. And if it’s not, then you’re really are not gaining anything from it. It is just not worth it.

Reece Barnes:

And you’re hurting your team, right? Because if I’m an estimator, and I’ve got 500 cost codes to dig or search through, and I have to memorize those either four digit numbers or however many we have going. A good set of cost codes is going to be, ideally, no more than 150. Again, the idea is that we’re using every single one. They all make sense, they’re not too granular, they’re going to get us the information that we need. But as far as the actual structure itself, to me, it would make sense to go cost code 1,000, appliances, A, alphabetical order. How would you recommend structuring your 1,000s, 2,000s, 3,000s, your 2020s, your 2030s? How would you recommend setting all that up?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah, it’s a really good question. I would not put appliances at the top.

Reece Barnes:

Okay.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Let’s just start there.

Reece Barnes:

Hey, I’m a sales guy, right?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. Right. So, a lot of times, think of it from a logic standpoint, think about the order of construction. How do you build a house? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a report that …

Reece Barnes:

That makes sense.

Zach Wojtowicz:

… that was in the order of how I actually built the house and built the project?

Reece Barnes:

So, like permitting.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Exactly. So, you would start with your excavation, your permit and utilities. Those are generally things we see at the top. Then we move into your framing, your mechanicals, right?

Reece Barnes:

Plumbing.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Then you’re getting into the roofing and then you’re getting into the exterior versus interior codes. And then finish work and then close out, punch lists, anything like that. That would be how you would want to structure it. Now, the numerical system that goes with it is just a way to keep things in place because I might want my roofing codes to all be together, but if I just rely on trusses and shingles, well, they might not be next to each other in the alphabet. And so, when I’m going to enter the data into the system, it makes it really hard to have those groupings together. So, by putting a numerical system to it, you’re really able to ensure that things are in their proper place from a usage standpoint, so that it’s easy for me to access it and go through and make things work for the team.

And I love that you brought up having too many codes. You have to consider that. When you are talking about the day-to-day operations of the system, the more data you put into it, the more cumbersome it is for the team to buy in. Now they’re having to relearn all this other data.

Reece Barnes:

It’s just a pain.

Zach Wojtowicz:

It’s a pain. It is. It’s just more options usually lead to more confusion and more room for mistakes when we’re coding things together.

Reece Barnes:

Gotcha. Good cost codes numerically driven, we’ve got a reason, similar to our actual production and it’s a team buy-in, it’s a team understanding who’s going to use it.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Right. And, ultimately, I mentioned this earlier, but getting everybody to speak the same language. I worked with a builder and this was a worst-case scenario, and I fear that this is more common than I think. And I’m not trying to put anybody on notice if you’re on the radio, it’s going to be okay.

Reece Barnes:

Blast by Zach Wojtowicz.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. If your cost codes are a different set than what your accounting team is using, you’re really setting yourself up for miscommunication all over the place. This company would write an estimate and then they would hand it off to the accounting team, the accounting department. And they would reinterpret where they thought it should go within the accounting record.

Reece Barnes:

They broke rule one.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Absolutely.

Reece Barnes:

You’ve got to have everyone onboard. You have to know who’s doing what and why they’re doing it.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Right. And when you think about where that comes from, I’ve gotten the sense in a lot of my construction visits that the accounting leadership and the production leadership and the sales leadership aren’t always in the same room having the conversation and hashing out the details of how this works. And so, you need everybody who’s a stakeholder in the company, the people who are involved in managing your folks, who are doing their jobs, to set the standard, the expectation that we’re all using the same set. And this is a lot of what I do as a consultant, and what consultants do is iron out those wrinkles and try to point out the variables of why the accounting team might have a problem with how the production team does things and vice versa. And really drive home that if we can get you guys talking in the same language, that you’re going to avoid a lot of the confusion of what’s happening between the field and the office.

Reece Barnes:

Did I catch you saying folks?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. Yeah.

Reece Barnes:

Folks. We’re just from Omaha, Neb.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. Our Nebraska sensibility is like, howdy, folks.

Reece Barnes:

How are your folks doing today?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. Howdy, y’all. Oh, that’s our Texas friends.

Reece Barnes:

We love Texas.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah.

Reece Barnes:

I’m from Texas.

Zach Wojtowicz:

So, we’ve covered a lot, and ultimately, keep in mind that you have other people that you can reach out to at Buildertrend to help support you through this process.

Reece Barnes:

Unlimited customer support. Use it. Call us.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Reach out to our Help Center, reach out on chat, set up a meeting with your account rep, and ask, how do my cost codes look? Right? From the people who talk about this every day. Get a second pair of eyes on it. And we’ll give you an honest assessment of, you’re in good shape. You don’t need to adjust this. It works for you. Or we look in your account and you’re using …

Reece Barnes:

It’s going to be a problem.

Zach Wojtowicz:

… codes and codes and codes, it’s disorganized, your budgets don’t make sense, everything’s out of whack. You have to rely on the experts who talk to not just your company but hundreds of companies on the daily about this very topic. I mean, how often are you talking about cost codes with your customers right out? Even in the sale process, Reece.

Reece Barnes:

Well, and that is such a huge factor for our clients, is getting the consulting help that they need because financials, again, there’s a lot of strategy to it, a lot of understanding, connecting a lot of different hands. I hear it daily. Cost codes. That’s when I’m auditing accounts before my calls, I’ll go and I’ll check  to see, A, if they have cost codes. B, what do they look like? And then I’ll flow over into financials, see how they’re utilizing them. There’s so much involved in this process. That’s why we’re teeing off this entire series with the fundamentals of cost codes. Let’s say we just, well, I got Buildertrend because I wanted to use estimates. Okay, well then we need to get cost codes that are solid so that you can start using estimates. Well, I never used cost codes. Why do I need cost codes? If you don’t have cost codes, you’re not going to be using estimates to its fullest ability. That’s such an important piece.

So, to answer your question, I hear it every single day, and I’m not even a subject matter expert. But it’s just one of those things where it’s such an easy concept, it’s fundamental, it’s rudimentary and if we can get that ingrained from the very beginning, you guys are going to have a great opportunity in Buildertrend by utilizing the financial suite appropriately from the beginning, ideally. If not, we have the resources and the team that can help you backpedal here. Really, the only thing we need from you guys is the focus and, really, the attention to want to do it.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Right.

Reece Barnes:

But, ultimately, let’s wrap this up here. Zach, do you want to go through the big high-level of what they need to take away from this?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. So, we have just some tips that we like to advise people on how they actually need to get started with this. Look at what you’re already using, curate that list. Go through it and try and condense it as much as possible. Eliminate things that are unnecessary and point out things that maybe you do want more detail in, that you’re lacking the reporting that you’re looking for. Add that numbering system to give it a structure. My recommendation is use four digits, because then you have spacing. So, if I have 10 utilities, 20 permits, well maybe I want to insert a cost code five years from now in between those codes because I’d like to adjust my reporting abilities. It’ll have the breathing room.

Reece Barnes:

That’s a huge tip.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. It’s super important.

Reece Barnes:

That’s huge.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Think about the future proofing of those lists. Or maybe you’re going to hire a new estimator someday. You want to make it so that they can put their spin on things and then give their advice on how they estimate and make things better for your company. Consider how you build a house and organize your cost codes around that concept, that logical way that you would work through a report. Look at these outside the system first, put them into Excel, write them down on paper, a whiteboard. It doesn’t matter. Get it outside of Buildertrend on paper. And then seek us out to get a second look at it and then we’ll get it into the system for you so that you’re on your way to having a more successful Buildertrend journey.

Reece Barnes:

Love it. Zach, you’re so insightful. You’re just a wealth of knowledge. You scholar.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Why do you think I’m here?

Reece Barnes:

Yeah. You’re here to carry the folks like me. You bring everything full circle, Zach. You do.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Appreciate it, brother.

Reece Barnes:

We appreciate you.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah, guys, hopefully you found this day useful as far as the tips and advice that we’ve pointed out, but what do we got next time in episode two?

Reece Barnes:

Oh, next time, episode two. It is going to be utilizing cost codes. We’ll go ahead and get that shot when we’re ready to go and tune in next time to hear how we take the fundamentals to the next step, put it into practice and start making your business better. Until then, we appreciate your time. Thanks for tuning in. Again, my name is Reece Barnes, I’m an additional training consult here at Buildertrend. Zack?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Thanks, guys.

Reece Barnes:

Appreciate it. Appreciate you.

Outro:

Thanks for listening to “The Better Way.” If you’re a Buildertrend customer, schedule a training to learn more. And all listeners, be sure to rate, review, and subscribe to “The Better Way” wherever you get your podcasts. Also, visit buildertrend.com/podcast to sign up for the email notifications when the next season drops, and explore other podcast, “The Building Code.” Don’t miss our next episode focused on using cost codes.


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