Inside Buildertrend: The future of payments

Every other Thursday, we give our listeners a glimpse into the inner workings of our business with our new “Inside Buildertrend” series on “The Building Code.” What are our teams working on? What features are coming up, and how will they benefit our users? What data and research are being collected behind the scenes? Tune in as we take a look inside Buildertrend.

How is Buildertrend impacting the future of payments in the construction industry?

On today’s episode of “Inside Buildertrend,” Trevor Pillen, payment operations specialist, is chatting with Zach and Charley about the significance of online payments.

Tune in to hear more about how our Financial Services team is working to change the way the construction industry gets paid. Learn more about why the future of getting paid is digital.

What are the key takeaways?

  • How is Buildertrend changing the way the industry gets paid?: In the construction industry, checks have historically been the preferred method of payment. So, our goal as a tech company is to show business owners the value of using ACH and credit cards. There are many advantages to accepting these methods of payment – and one of them is timeliness. Time is money in construction, and getting paid via check takes a lot longer.
  • What are some key benefits of online payments?: One of the biggest benefits of online payments is time. The average turnaround time for a check is 20 to 25 days. Whereas with digital payments like ACH and credit card, it’s closer to 10 to 12 days, if not less. Another benefit is the ability to streamline getting paid by accepting online payments quicker, which will help solve cash flow issues.
  • Why is accepting online payments better for business?: Today, many construction professionals are limiting the way homeowners pay for their projects. By widening the funnel, clients can pay the way they want, and contractors get a wider range of jobs to choose from. Offering flexible payment options is a good business practice, and there really are no downfalls.

Why is this cool for Buildertrend users?

Buildertrend Payment Processing is integrated with the Customer Portal feature, which allows homeowners to make digital payments directly through the platform. Builders have the option to accept ACH and/or credit card payments within their Buildertrend account.

LINKS AND MORE

Related content:

Check out the last “Inside Buildertrend” episode to hear about how our Customer Experience team is connecting the dots between the voice of the customer and Buildertrend’s internal departments by answering questions like: What support do our customers need from us? What are they expecting from us from marketing? What do they need our product to do to support their business needs?

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Trevor Pillen Headshot

Trevor Pillen | Buildertrend

Zach Wojtowicz:

Welcome back to “The Building Code.” Another “Inside Buildertrend” episode, where today we are covering the future of getting paid. I’m Zach Wojtowicz.

Charley Burtwistle:

And I’m Charley Burtwistle.

Zach Wojtowicz:

We’re very excited. We love having our colleagues come on “The Building Code” and get into a deep, earnest, long conversation about what is it that we really do inside these walls?

Charley Burtwistle:

No, this is short sweet and to the point. 15 minutes.

Zach Wojtowicz:

We’re flipping it.

Charley Burtwistle:

No, this is a good one. I feel like we’ve joked around before where a lot of the podcast guests, with your onsite expertise, you relate a little bit more to them. We’ve had a couple like data research people iwho have been more to me. I feel like the guest we have today, Trevor Pillen, tows the line between the two. I work with him a lot on some data science stuff. You work with him on some customer success stuff. So, it should be a really good, organic conversation. And we’re very, very happy to have Trevor Pillen in studio, Trevor.

Trevor Pillen:

Camera pan.

Charley Burtwistle:

Welcome, Trevor Pillen.

Trevor Pillen:

Thanks. Thanks for having me guys. And I hate to cut into the 15 minutes, but today’s a pretty special day for Charley.

Charley Burtwistle:

Is it?

Trevor Pillen:

It’s your four-year Buildertrend anniversary, isn’t it?

Zach Wojtowicz:

It is? It is. Yeah. Wow.

Trevor Pillen:

It is your four-year. Congrats.

Charley Burtwistle:

That’s very cool of you to say. I was waiting for Zach to say something all day, and he hasn’t yet.

Trevor Pillen:

Well, I’m a big fan of podcast.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Well, first off, that’s when we’re shooting it’s not when this airs it’s like you’re well, anywhere to five years.

Charley Burtwistle:

By this …

Zach Wojtowicz:

By the time this airs.

Charley Burtwistle:

No.

Zach Wojtowicz:

That’s kind of a shot at our production team.

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah. Should we date stamp, May 20th, 2022?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yes. But then you’re revealing the fact that we shoot this well advanced.

Charley Burtwistle:

All right. So, Trevor Pillen …

Zach Wojtowicz:

Focus up Trevor’s fault.

Charley Burtwistle:

So, four years for me, how long have you been here? You were a Buildertrend OG. Tell us a little bit about your time here at Buildertrend.

Trevor Pillen:

I’ve been at Buildertrend about, well just over seven years. So, been here a while. It’s been a fun ride started as a CSM, moved over as a Payment Consultant when we just introduced this Payments feature, then moved into a product spot because I saw some opportunity to fix some of our Financial features. Now, I am back into our Financial Services section as a payment operation specialist

Zach Wojtowicz:

Tried to get away.

Trevor Pillen:

I tried to get away, they sucked me back in. Yeah. I’m happy to be back.

Zach Wojtowicz:

I remember the first time I met you, you love talking about payments like that. That was your baby for a long time.

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah, still is.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. And now that’s why you’re back.

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah.

Zach Wojtowicz:

That’s awesome.

Charley Burtwistle:

I think one of the very first data science projects I worked on was actually with Trevor Pillen.

Trevor Pillen:

Oh really?

Charley Burtwistle:

It was the P three, if you remember that?

Trevor Pillen:

Payment. Processing. Predictor.

Charley Burtwistle:

That’s right. Yeah. You nailed it. That I said that one time I hated it, and we condensed it down to P three. So, it’s cool to kind of see it come full circle, and you’re working on some really, really exciting stuff.

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah. By the way, do we still use that P three?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Oh yeah.

Charley Burtwistle:

Nice. There you go.

Zach Wojtowicz:

It’s been changed a little bit, but yes.

Charley Burtwistle:

Lasting legacy.

Zach Wojtowicz:

The spirit of it lives on, cue Titanic music.

Charley Burtwistle:

So, in this new role or I guess old role for you, tell us a little bit about just what the day to day looks like. What are some of the issues that you’re trying to solve for, and how are you making online payments, easier for our customers?

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah. So, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to change the way construction industry gets paid. So, historically it’s checks, right? Checks are easy. Checks are just consistency. They feel comfortable with checks. So, it’s just telling them we want to start accepting ACH. We want to start accepting credit cards, explaining the advantages of doing so. And obviously, there are a lot of advantages to accepting credit cards and ACH. One of which being timeliness. Time is money in construction, right? It takes a long time to get paid via check. I am very good about paying checks. We actually talked about this earlier. I know you haven’t written a check and you said two years, Charley?

Charley Burtwistle:

It’s been a while. Yeah.

Trevor Pillen:

I wrote a check a couple days ago, but I am guilty of this. I wrote a check, and it was sitting on my counter for about two weeks before I actually put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and mailed it. So, that’s exactly what’s happening in construction. You get the invoice, you write a check, it sits there and then it doesn’t get sent out. So, I think the average turnaround time is like 20 to 25 days for a check. Whereas digital payments like ACH and credit card, it’s closer to 10 to 12, if not lower.

Charley Burtwistle:

And the cool thing about focusing at the top of the cash flow funnel is the sooner our builders can get paid. The sooner they have the funds to pay their subcontractors and their vendors and buy the things that they need. So, fixing kind of that first step fixes a lot of like the additional consequential steps after that.

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah, exactly. If you think about the time I just said, well, just let’s stamp it at three weeks in a three-week time period, you’ve probably paid your subs at least once, if you’re a net 15, net 30, you’ve also, obviously, bought materials from your vendors and all that. So, you’ve spent a lot of money without having a lot of money coming in. So, streamlining the ability to get paid by accepting online payments quicker is going to help solve a lot of those cash flow issues.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. I mean, there are a lot of advantages, and we want to try and highlight those. The biggest thing, right, is like the speed of those funds compared to handing out the checks. But what are some of the other benefits to using online digital payments compared to the manual check method?

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah. I’m just going to root back to what I said at the beginning. Again, the time savings is huge, right? That is the one of the biggest things I’ve talked to so many builders where they hire someone on Fridays to literally go out, get checks, go to the bank, get it all done before five.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Check runner.

Trevor Pillen:

Check runner.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Haven’t seen that one in Buildertrend account.

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah. But it’s a real thing. Yeah. The other is obviously your reconciliation and cash flow within Buildertrend. You’re able to actually see how your finances are sitting in real time, as opposed to getting the check and holding on to it for such a long time not knowing if that money’s come in or out, you can’t make good budget decisions when it comes to your finances.

Charley Burtwistle:

That’s cool. So, in Buildertrend, and I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of Zach for not knowing how this works …

Zach Wojtowicz:

Wouldn’t be the first.

Charley Burtwistle:

But so, if someone gets paid online, I would assume that automatically marks that invoice as paid.

Trevor Pillen:

It does.

Charley Burtwistle:

So, as opposed to, even though you can track that in Buildertrend, if you get a check, you can go in and mark, that’s still a manual process. So, now if something’s marked unpaid, is that because we haven’t got the funds yet? Or is it because Zach hasn’t gone in and clicked paid yet?

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah, that’s exactly right. It takes it full circle. So, essentially all you have to do is worry about invoicing your customer. And if you’re connected to our accounting and integration does the rest, well, mark it is paid. We’ll record the transaction fee. We’ll do everything for you. So, you don’t have to worry about it.

Zach Wojtowicz:

That’s what we call accrual accounting, want to recognize those costs. And at the time, even if you haven’t physically handed the money, you still recognize it as paid. We’re losing an entire audience if we get into the accounting details, but it’s important. Yeah. That’s the lifeboat of your business, right?

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah. Now, if we talk about cash accounting, that’s a whole other story.

Zach Wojtowicz:

A whole different, we’re not going there. We’re not going there.

Charley Burtwistle:

We could. Yeah. I mean, we could pull Derek Shuck our senior accountant.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Hey, we should get them on the pod, just have a full round table of accounting technicalities when it comes to using online payments. So, what about consumers? I mean, we’re consumers, obviously, you’re not used to writing checks. I mean, you talk to a lot of customers about their customers. What would you tell a builder who’s like hesitant, like “I don’t know”?

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah. So, a really good example I always give. And what would, you’re going to probably get …

Zach Wojtowicz:

That’s the first nickname drop. Yeah. On the pod no one’s called me …

Charley Burtwistle:

Zach.

Trevor Pillen:

Sorry, Mr. Wojtowicz.

Zach Wojtowicz:

That definitely it’s been a while since I’ve heard that one, too. Perfect.

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah. Because you used to be a teacher, right? It’s funny. That’s right. Mr. Wojtowicz from a consumer standpoint, when you go and purchase something, what is your ideal way of paying?

Zach Wojtowicz:

As fast and painless as possible.

Trevor Pillen:

Right. So, when you go to a checkout counter and this is at Target or Walmart, whatever it might be, how do you usually pay?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Always plastic.

Trevor Pillen:

Always plastic, right? It’s never a thought in your head. Now, if you were to come to me, and you handed me your credit card, and I said, “Whoa, I only take check or cash.” How would you feel?

Zach Wojtowicz:

Wow.

Charley Burtwistle:

I wouldn’t be able to do it

Zach Wojtowicz:

First. Yeah. Well, I will go to my house and grab my checkbook, it has an address from four addresses ago. I don’t even think I have a checkbook with my current address on it.

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah. So, as a consumer, essentially, you’re used to paying a specific way, right? You’re used to paying how you want to pay as a consumer. So, why in construction are we limiting our consumers by only using check or cash? Why not open up that funnel? Why not start accepting ACH, accepting credit cards, the mainstream way people pay today. What that’s going to do, ultimately, is win you more jobs, bring in more business, make your customers happy and get you paid faster. There are no downfalls behind it. It’s just a good business practice to offer flexible payment options. So, you can get as many jobs and as many payments as you can.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. It makes a ton of sense. And it’s super integrated into the Buildertrend homeowner portal. So, if you have clients that are logging in, we’ve had, obviously, a lot of guests who come on the podcast who are really solid users, and they’re using the homeowner portal, and they’re using invoicing. And so, then it becomes a natural like, well, why not? Right? It’s kind of a no brainer when it comes to using these online offerings. Right? I mean, is that how you would kind of approach a customer these when you were in the payment seat?

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah, absolutely. They’re already using Buildertrend. The GCs already putting in invoices, this just completes that circle. Right? It’s just another way for the customer to pay. That’s very convenient right. On their mobile app, right on their computer. So, you don’t have to do anything extra. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Take the five minutes to set this feature up, and you’re ready to go.

Charley Burtwistle:

That’s super cool. And as a data guy, I have some data in front of me because we did some research on … we can all sit here and say, yeah, we refer to pay plastic. Right? But men lie, women lie, data doesn’t. So, the research came back, and I think it was over 75% of consumers said that they want to pay with credit or debit card. So, it’s fact-based research that we’re doing, and that’s why we’re changing. And we just had Emma on the pod a couple weeks ago that talked about the new changes that we’re making to our Invoicing features in order to make that process even easier. So, if you’re already using invoices in Buildertrend, this is the logical next step. So, I guess what I’m curious about is why wouldn’t someone do this? What are some of the pushback things that you’d like typically hear?

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah, that’s a great question. And there are pros and cons to accepting credit card payments. One of them being, if you’re going through the process, you’re building a home or remodeling, you might have your credit monitored a little bit more closely. So, you don’t want to stack up all this stuff on your credit card, drop your credit score. Secondly, large purchases on a credit card, not everyone wants to do. And the larger the purchase, the higher the transaction fee. Again, there’s ways to account for that. But we counter that and Buildertrend by allowing you to set a threshold on how much a customer could pay with credit card. So, as a business, ACH unlimited, you could pay me whatever you want with ACH with credit card, I’m going to limit you at 20K and anything over 20K, we’re going to force the customer to pay with ACH. Now, is that best business practice? Probably not. But again, we give you the options as the GC to control it.

Charley Burtwistle:

Right. The flexibility of it all is really what makes Buildertrend unique in that aspect.

Trevor Pillen:

Exactly.

Zach Wojtowicz:

The other thing is I think people have concern of as well – how do I get it set up? What am I going to have to do? Is it hard to actually start using this in Buildertrend?

Trevor Pillen:

It’s not, if you have five minutes on your computer, you can get set up. That is the advantage of this feature. It’s instant onboarding. So, you don’t have to go through like a five day grace period while they run your credit, figure out how much you can process. You sit down at your computer, you take five minutes and the second you finish the setup process, all you’re going to need is your company information, your EIN, last four of your social and routing number for where you want your money to go. You’re instantly approved for half a million a week, 500K a week you could process. That’s a high threshold to process with an instant onboarding,

Zach Wojtowicz:

For sure. And I think it’s pretty common for people who are like getting started with Buildertrend to be aware of this feature. But if you’re an older user, and you’ve been using Buildertred for a while, it’s a great reminder to go and explore that additional functionality because it could be the difference between getting paid within a day or two to hunting down checks and spending weeks trying to chase down the payments for the work that you’ve already performed.

Charley Burtwistle:

And correct me if I’m wrong here, but I’m assuming we probably have some pretty sweet help center videos out there on how to get your account set up and up and running?

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah, of course, our help center’s full of helpful videos, tutorials, written articles on how to manage this feature. How to set it up and go through the process.

Charley Burtwistle:

So, maybe we can toss one of those in the show notes. And if anyone is curious about how easy this is, they can see firsthand.

Zach Wojtowicz:

I see a thumbs up in the background.

Trevor Pillen:

And we also have a Payment Specialist team here at Buildertrend that would love to have a conversation with you about the advantages of accepting online payments. And they’ll even coach you on best business practice for how to manage it.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Yeah. And so, if you’re a little worried about running that first transaction, we got your back. We got people who specialize in this and really experts in the process of running payments through Buildertrend, but the benefits and why you should do it. So, we’d recommend you reach out and say, I want to talk to my payment specialist.

Trevor Pillen:

Yeah, we understand cash is king, right. Cash is everything. And it could be scary jumping into a new world of accepting cash. You have that comfortable feeling of a check in hand. It works. Why change it? Talk to one of our payment specialists. There are so many amazing reasons why to switch to offering this. And again, it’s not replacing what you’re doing. You could still accept checks here and there. This is going to supplement what you’re doing today. It doesn’t have to replace it. It could supplement it and just be another avenue for your customers to pay and your customers will be happier. You’ll be happier. It’s a great feature.

Zach Wojtowicz:

And I’d like to always throw out the numbers for my friend, Charley. Yeah. And that we’re on pace for around $3 billion this year through Buildertrend and accepting payments from customers paying homeowners. So, we’ve got a huge base here of customers already doing it. And you can trust that we’ve got your back with those funds and it’s a really, really great feature. It solves some real problems for our business owners.

Trevor Pillen:

I remember the first month we introduced this feature, I think we processed like $8,000 made the company 10 bucks. We were just over the moon. Excited. It was a great year.

Zach Wojtowicz:

This is the future. This is the future. Hey the future is now.

Charley Burtwistle:

Look at us. Oh, look at where we’re at.

Trevor Pillen:

The Bobs are, yeah, it’s not yet. Keep working.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Here we are.

Trevor Pillen:

Here we are.

Zach Wojtowicz:

All right, Trevor. We are out of time here on “The Building Code.” Thank you for checking us out. Trevor thank you for joining us here on “The Building Code” to talk about the future of getting paid.

Trevor Pillen:

Appreciate you having me on here. It’s always fun. Again, happy anniversary, Charley. Four years.

Charley Burtwistle:

Thank you very much. Very cool of you to say. And your birthday was a couple days ago. So, happy birthday – 21.

Trevor Pillen:

… That’s fine. No worries. Not about me.

Charley Burtwistle:

Well, we will be back again next week as always remember to like, review, comment, subscribe.

Zach Wojtowicz:

Check us out on YouTube.

Charley Burtwistle:

Check us out on YouTube. I’m Charley Burtwistle.

Zach Wojtowicz:

I’m Zach Wojtowicz.

Charley Burtwistle:

See you next time.


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