Buildertrend Spotlight: Pro Services with Luke Sprakel

For this special episode of The Building Code, we are joined by Luke Sprakel, senior manager of Pro Services at Buildertrend, to talk about all the pro services Buildertrend has to offer and how they impact our clients. This episode of The Building Code was recorded live, on-stage at our November session of Buildertrend University so we invited BTU participant Neil Schaurer, co-owner of Summit Builders, to jump on the mic and tell us about his experience at one of our most popular pro services – Buildertrend University.

PRO SERVICES

Buildertrend offers six pro services that add value for our clients. Read an overview of each one below!

  • Website Development – Our website designers will audit a company’s current website and then build out a new one in 3-4 weeks.
  • Payment Processing – Our payment processing system allows builders to accept money from homeowners and pay subcontractors.
  • Builder’s Risk Insurance – For a free quote, login to Buildertrend, go to Create New Job and in the Job Info section in the top right tab, push the Builders Risk Insurance button!
  • Onsite Consulting – A team of Buildertrend consultants visit the company’s home base for two days to train everyone on the software and help businesses implement Buildertrend in their company.
  • Buildertrend University – BTU is a monthly training at our headquarters in Omaha, Neb. It includes classes during the day, 1 on 1 training with your coach and fun happy hours.

LINKS AND MORE

Paul references the song “Raise Up” by Petey Pablo in the opening of this podcast when talking about BTU attendees from North Carolina.

Summit Builders

Luke Sprakel | Buildertrend

Tom Houghton:

Your listening to “The Building Code.” I’m Tom Houghton.

Paul Wurth:

I’m Paul Wurth.

Tom Houghton:

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We want to wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving. We appreciate you being a part of the Buildertrend family. We are thankful you are a part of it. We’ll get started with our guests in just a second, but first I want to tell you about the last opportunity to attend Buildertrend University in 2019. Our last 2019 BTU is scheduled for December 11th and 12th in Omaha, Nebraska at Buildertrend headquarters. This two day onsite event is a great way to get out of your business, to work on your business. All meals are included while you’re here, and it’s a great opportunity to increase your knowledge and usage of Buildertrend to maximize your business for 2020. You can find out more and register today at buildertrendu.com. We’re live at Buildertrend University.

Paul Wurth:

Live from Omaha, Nebraska.

Tom Houghton:

You can hear the roar of the crowd in the background. Right crowd? I think somebody just…

Paul Wurth:

We just don’t have microphones out there. You can’t hear it. It’s crazy.

Tom Houghton:

It’s crazy.

Paul Wurth:

Tom, I can’t even hear you right now.

Tom Houghton:

There’s 65 of our clients here for this Buildertrend University.

Paul Wurth:

To be honest, they’re all doing their one-on-one time, which is-

Tom Houghton:

Right. That’s what you’re hearing all the … a lot of talking…

Paul Wurth:

… a very popular part of the-

Tom Houghton:

A lot of talking.

Paul Wurth:

Very popular part of the BTU University experience is the one-on-one time, besides your class.

Tom Houghton:

Well, thanks, Paul. I love my class and I love Buildertrend University and BTU one-on-one time.

Paul Wurth:

Anybody else on your I love list that you just want to go through right now?

Tom Houghton:

I think our guest actually [crosstalk].

Paul Wurth:

Okay, good transition.

Tom Houghton:

Thanks. Appreciate that. Today, joining us in the podcast is Luke Sprakel.

Paul Wurth:

We say that right, Luke?

Luke Sprakel:

That was close. I’m going to give it to you, yes. I’m going to give it to you.

Tom Houghton:

It’s close enough.

Luke Sprakel:

Close enough.

Paul Wurth:

So what is it?

Luke Sprakel:

It’s Luke Sprakel. It’s more like an O.

Tom Houghton:

Sprakel.

Luke Sprakel:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

It’s with an A.

Tom Houghton:

Yeah, it’s with an A.

Luke Sprakel:

Yes, it is.

Tom Houghton:

More of the Sprak instead of a Sprok.

Luke Sprakel:

Right.

Paul Wurth:

Sprakel.

Luke Sprakel:

I’m going to battle that my whole life, so it’s all right. That was close.

Tom Houghton:

Okay.

Paul Wurth:

I felt like that one’s on your ancestors more than everything else.

Luke Sprakel:

Yeah, you’re probably right.

Paul Wurth:

You spell it with an A, so like…

Luke Sprakel:

Probably right.

Paul Wurth:

Okay. Good.

Tom Houghton:

Exactly.

Paul Wurth:

All right, let’s [crosstalk].

Tom Houghton:

We’ve got Luke’s Sprakel, senior manager of Pro Services joining us. We’re going to talk about Buildertrend’s Pro Services, because Buildertrend University is one of those Pro Services.

Luke Sprakel:

Absolutely. You’re right. Like you said today, Tom, we have approximately 38 companies here in attendance from all over the United States. And we actually have one from the UK here with us. So, we’re excited to have them here. It’s a great event. Something that we do every month. It’s really exciting for all of us here.

Paul Wurth:

This is November BTU. This is… What number is this? Like 19.

Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

We’ve done a lot of these, and what’s really interesting in this one, so you said 38 companies?

Luke Sprakel:

Correct.

Paul Wurth:

Nine people from North Carolina.

Luke Sprakel:

Wow.

Paul Wurth:

That’s about it.

Tom Houghton:

Shout out to North Carolina for showing up.

Paul Wurth:

Or something bad’s happening there. Let’s get out.

Luke Sprakel:

I think we missed the memo on that …

Tom Houghton:

They really wanted to come to Omaha. They were like top of our list this month Omaha, Nebraska.

Paul Wurth:

Omaha, Nebraska.

Tom Houghton:

That’s right.

Paul Wurth:

23 degrees.

Tom Houghton:

I just want to ask, where’s South Carolina? If you’re listening to the podcast in South Carolina, you need to come to Buildertrend University.

Paul Wurth:

Maybe Petey Pablo showed it on the South Carolina side. There’s a reference for all your 38-year-olds out there.

Tom Houghton:

Check the show notes.

Paul Wurth:

Check the show notes.

Tom Houghton:

If don’t know that reference.

Paul Wurth:

For the Petey Pablo reference.

Tom Houghton:

Petey Pablo.

Paul Wurth:

Write that down producer Kayleigh.

Tom Houghton:

Producer Kayleigh’s shaking her head and saying, “what did I get myself into today?”

Paul Wurth:

Okay. We digress.

Tom Houghton:

Just a little bit. Also want to tease that later in the podcast, we’re actually going to bring on one of our clients here at Buildertrend University, and they’re going to talk about their experience here. So stay tuned all the way to the end for that.

Paul Wurth:

Is he from North Carolina?

Tom Houghton:

You’ll have to stay tuned, that’s the tease.

Paul Wurth:

Okay.

Tom Houghton:

You’ve got to wait.

Luke Sprakel:

Well done, Tom.

Tom Houghton:

Thank you. Appreciate that, Luke. All right. Let’s get going. Luke, give us a rundown of Buildertrend’s Pro Services. What do we offer with those?

Luke Sprakel:

That’s a great question. So, the idea really behind each one of our pro services is to add value for our clients. Anyone that signs up for Buildertrend, obviously one of the perks that they get is to take advantage of one of our six pro services or all of our six pro services that we have. To kind of start off, the first pro service that I’ll talk about today is one of our first pro services that we’ve introduced. And that was our website’s pro service. We have approximately 250 website clients. They sign up with Buildertrend, they either have an existing website or maybe they don’t. They basically reach out to our team. We will build out their website for them. The process takes anywhere from three to four weeks. And really it’s a great, smooth process. We’ve got a team that really does a phenomenal job. So, if you guys are interested in that, definitely reach out to your coach.

Paul Wurth:

Luke, I’m going to stop you.

Luke Sprakel:

Got you.

Paul Wurth:

Number one, you got a voice for radio and I’m a little intimidated right now. So Tom, can you commit to me right now that he’s not going to be one of my replacements?

Tom Houghton:

That’s correct.

Paul Wurth:

One of my replacements, he’s on the long hit list.

Tom Houghton:

Seriously, a list.

Paul Wurth:

He’s going to have a cold scene somehow, and there goes your voice.

Tom Houghton:

There it goes.

Paul Wurth:

Number two, I’m going to stop your sales pitch. Because it is very good.

Tom Houghton:

That’s a good sales pitch.

Paul Wurth:

Let’s talk about-

Tom Houghton:

It’s like you’ve done this so far.

Paul Wurth:

Website development, all of our pro services have a correlation obviously to our user base and construction. This one actually has a correlation to the value prop Buildertrend has. So, a lot of companies that we service, who are great clients, many of them got into business because they’re really good at their trade. They grew up in home building and remodeling, especially contracting and commercial, or they were really good as a trade. Then they got into it to do that work, not necessarily do all the things that make a business successful. One of those is websites. You’ve got to promote yourself, especially in 2019. I don’t know if you know this, but 2020 is a month and a half away.

Tom Houghton:

That’s right.

Paul Wurth:

I didn’t know if you knew that.

Tom Houghton:

I knew that.

Paul Wurth:

You’re good with that. But you’ve got to have a website. That’s a world that you may not know as a construction owner. So I think it gives them some comfort and makes a lot of sense that if we just go, Hey, we’re Buildertrend, you trust us for this part of your business. Which is managing your process when it comes to project management, kind of makes sense for us to go, Hey, we do this as well.

Tom Houghton:

Yeah. One of the things I talk about in my class building your brand with video is specifically-

Paul Wurth:

Nice plug.

Tom Houghton:

Thanks for that. Specifically, internet traffic is trending in a direction and that direction is video. And there’s no better way to get your brand in front of your clients than video on your website.

Paul Wurth:

Got to have a website first.

Tom Houghton:

Exactly. And we do that.

Luke Sprakel:

Interesting little tidbit there, Tom. I like that.

Tom Houghton:

Thanks.

Paul Wurth:

We’ve also done this for a long time. Luke, that’s actually-

Tom Houghton:

One of the original Pro Services.

Paul Wurth:

Because our co-founders actually had a website development business before they started Buildertrend. So we sort of kept that alive during the early years of Buildertrend.

Luke Sprakel:

You’re exactly right there, Paul. Ann to your point too, Tom, really driving traffic to your guys’ website is really what it’s all about. And we understand that. So, when we’re building websites for our clients, SEO plays a huge part in that. We have somebody internally that’ll really track your SEO and help you optimize your website as well. Just worth pointing out. But yeah, you’re absolutely right. It’s something that we’ve done for a number of our customers. It’s been a great offering.

Paul Wurth:

Obviously I know, but what is SEO for people who don’t?

Tom Houghton:

Search engine optimization. I got you.

Luke Sprakel:

Search engine optimization. I had to think about that for a second there.

Tom Houghton:

That’s okay.

Luke Sprakel:

It’s not my specialty, but I know a little bit about it.

Tom Houghton:

You know a little bit. That’s important.

Paul Wurth:

Why is that important? Maybe not you, especially with Tom, you know this stuff. Why is that important.

Tom Houghton:

It’s important because when you have clients that want to find you, they’re going to look on the internet.

Paul Wurth:

Prospects.

Tom Houghton:

Yeah, absolutely. So, when they search for your name in Google or whatever search engine they’re using. But let’s be honest, it’s most likely Google.

Paul Wurth:

Or your service, not your name.

Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

Like I’m looking for a remodeler.

Tom Houghton:

Searching for like… Yeah, I’m looking for a remodeler in my area that does this business. That’s what we’re looking for. Those tags, search engine optimization is what gets you to the top of the list there, which is where you want to be. So it’s great that we’ve got somebody dedicated on our team to make sure that that happens for you.

Paul Wurth:

I don’t want to dive super deep in websites, but we’ll end with this. We do have part of our process evaluating your needs as a business with website is some sort of a test or evaluation of your current website, if you have one. IS that right?

Luke Sprakel:

Yeah. That’s right, Paul. What we currently offer is to perform an actual website audit of your guys’ current website. So if you guys are interested to see how your website’s performing, reach out to your coach or reach out to us here at Buildertrend. We can get you those results and take time to go through where you guys are actually performing well or where you guys need work increase your rank on Google and actually get more leads to drive your company and grow your business.

Paul Wurth:

Cool. So easy step one, if you’re listening, you want a website. We have a website for that. If they want to find out more, where can they go?

Luke Sprakel:

Absolutely. They just want to go to buildertrendwebsites.com, and that’ll give them the information they need.

Paul Wurth:

Perfect.

Tom Houghton:

You can also on the show notes page for all the information about the pro services we’re talking about today, buildertrend.com/podcasts. Let’s move on. Website’s down. What’s next?

Luke Sprakel:

Next one, we’ll talk payment processing. How about that? We partnered with a company called WePay, which was recently acquired by JP Morgan Chase.

Paul Wurth:

Heard of them.

Luke Sprakel:

You’ve heard of them?

Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Luke Sprakel:

They’re popular.

Tom Houghton:

Kind of a big deal.

Luke Sprakel:

Popular name. So it’s a great way for our customers-

Paul Wurth:

I owe them a few dollars.

Tom Houghton:

[crosstalk].

Luke Sprakel:

It might be another segment there, but we’ll keep moving forward. It’s a great way for our clients to both accept money from their homeowners and also pay their subcontractors. Each account that signed up with Buildertrend has their own designated payment consultant that can really help answer any questions that they may have. Then also, we will take questions from either subcontractors or homeowners. So, when they’re starting the process, they don’t know exactly how Buildertrend works or how to send payments or receive payments. Each account will have their own consultants, that’ll kind of help navigate, take care of those questions as they come in. That’s something that we’ve been doing for about five years now, we’re getting pretty good at it.

Paul Wurth:

What’s interesting about our payments pro services is, it’s one of these pro services that is super ingrained with the functionality of Buildertrend and makes it very convenient, and sort of an organic thing to start using. Practically what this means is, is that if you’ve got a prospect that wants to give you a down payment or pay you on an invoice, instead of doing that outside of Buildertrend with a check or whatever else you might do, you can actually just request that payment inside Buildertrend as a part of your budget process. Then you would receive those funds electronically. It’s really super simple to do. But I think one of the things people don’t think about is, a lot of our clients get benefit when they pay somebody else. So, you think about your sub-vendors, instead of like having to cut checks or drive to the gas station halfway between your office and their office. And do that whole rigmarole, we can automate that process with our electronic payments. Right?

Luke Sprakel:

That’s correct. You got it. And that’s one thing that I think the construction industry as a whole, I think is going to see leaps and bounds. They’re going to actually utilize this feature more and more, just because paper checks is a thing of the past. But I think a lot of people just get ingrained with that just as their process, and maybe just aren’t comfortable adopting a new process until they learn a little bit more.

Paul Wurth:

That’s a great point. This is going to happen, no matter you use it in Buildertrend or not. This is just a straight evolution of how we do business.

Luke Sprakel:

You think about it too, just in your own personal life. When you’re paying bills or when you’re doing anything, how many times do you actually send a check through the mail?

Paul Wurth:

When people ask me for check, I get as annoyed when people call me on the phone.

Tom Houghton:

Just don’t.

Paul Wurth:

Just text me. And don’t ask me to cut you a check. What is this?

Luke Sprakel:

I mean, it’s 2019, come on.

Tom Houghton:

That’s true.

Paul Wurth:

This is 1985?

Tom Houghton:

Yeah. Call now.

Paul Wurth:

Hey, cut the checks out.

Tom Houghton:

Hey, I like that.

Paul Wurth:

That’s what you tell…

Tom Houghton:

That’s good. Cut the checks out with Buildertrend online payments.

Paul Wurth:

Okay. Clip that. Save it. Reverse it. We’re good.

Tom Houghton:

Look out for some new marketing coming your way. Luke, what’s next?

Paul Wurth:

We’ve got website development [crosstalk].

Tom Houghton:

We’ve got payments.

Paul Wurth:

Payment processing.

Luke Sprakel:

Next up, everyone’s favorite topic, builder’s risk insurance. That’s-

Paul Wurth:

Sexy.

Luke Sprakel:

That’s a heavy hitter right there. You bet.

Paul Wurth:

I like it.

Luke Sprakel:

Pretty straightforward too. And that’s one that… We do it. We have a partnership with a local company here in Omaha called Silverstone. This is for all the new construction clients out there. It’s something that is required for you guys, as you’re building your new homes to have builder’s risk insurance. So, if you’re out there, if you’re in Buildertrend you create a new job, you open it up. You’re in the job info section within Buildertrend. You’ll notice up in the top right there’s a tab that’s titled builder’s risk insurance. Click on it. You guys can get answered eight quick questions. You get a free quote, and there’s no commitment. It’s something worth looking into, get a free estimate and you’ll be happy you did.

Tom Houghton:

If you’re driving right now, please don’t try to follow those instructions. Just try to get to the office, and then check the show notes page. Because honestly, that’s probably going to be a better place to follow those instructions.

Luke Sprakel:

I think the show notes page is going to be pretty filled by the time we get done here.

Tom Houghton:

That’s okay.

Paul Wurth:

Luke, that was really thorough. Let’s dial that back for the next series.

Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Luke Sprakel:

I don’t want to steal our Silverstone’s thunder when they come on here in a couple of months. Is that scheduled or are you guys planning to sit with them?

Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Luke Sprakel:

Is that the plan?

Tom Houghton:

We’ve got Silverstone joining on the podcast, stay tuned to that.

Paul Wurth:

Silverstone is our partner. They are based locally, but they’re actually a national insurance brand. So we cover all over the United States. There might be some pockets where we don’t, but that’s where you can contact us and talk through that. But essentially what’s really unique about this is that, this insurance carrier has sort of grouped all of our clients. So again, we have over 14,000 businesses that use Buildertrend. Rather than looking at you as an individual Joe’s construction as their risk, they’re actually taking it as a whole pool. We can’t guarantee the rates by any means, they are going to be better or worse than what you have. But in general, it’s been some really great positive reviews even to the tune of being able to pay for your entire year of Buildertrend that offset in cost.

Tom Houghton:

Results not typical, batteries not included. I feel like there needed to be a little bit of a disclaimer in there. But overall to your point-

Paul Wurth:

In general.

Tom Houghton:

… we’ve seen a huge positive impact from our clients on this feature.

Paul Wurth:

Yes. Your best step doesn’t cost you any money. Give us a call. Let’s get you a quote, and then let us save you some money.

Tom Houghton:

Absolutely.

Paul Wurth:

Possibly, asterisk, parentheses, maybe.

Tom Houghton:

Check the show notes for those.

Luke Sprakel:

Don’t.

Tom Houghton:

All right, Luke, what’s next?

Luke Sprakel:

Next step we’ll talk… Let’s go with Rocket Loans, actually. How about a little financing option.

Tom Houghton:

Our latest edition.

Paul Wurth:

Fire.

Luke Sprakel:

That’s right. Actually here at BTU, we have our partner over here from Rocket Loans in attendance. So they have them talking with our clients. Give them a little shout out. Thanks Tom. This is one of our newer partnerships. We started in July with Rocket Loans. Trying to keep it together here, stick to the script. All right. So there’s three ways for our clients to offer this. Most popular would be through Proposals and through Estimates. A number of our clients, typically, most commonly would be with our remodelers and our specialty contractors to offer financing for their clients to help them finance a deal and help them get them more jobs. So, like I said, this one started up just recently this year in July and it’s been really popular.

Paul Wurth:

Excuse me. This is a part of a construction business process that really you can see before business offers financing and after. A huge acceleration in the number of deals they closed. Because if you’re anything like me, if I’m financing it, I’m willing to spend a little bit more. I can sort of take that $30,000 remodel that I’m doing in my kitchen or wherever it may be. And then maybe I’ll push it to 40 or 50, because it’s going to make sense to me financially. Rocket obviously is an arm of the Rocket Mortgage-

Tom Houghton:

Brand.

Paul Wurth:

… brand and company. They’re based out of Detroit. We had the opportunity to go there. They are a great business. If you’ve ever been to BTU and enjoyed Buildertrend culture, it’s a very similar culture at Rocket. So, for that reason, we partnered with them. Another reason which is, it’s really the best offering for our clients. So, we’re super excited about that. They’re going to be here at multiple BTUs in 2020. If you want to come meet the reps, just come to Omaha and have a beer and we’ll talk through it. Otherwise, we’ve got a rep here at Buildertrend That’ll take your call and walk you through some of the basics. Right?

Luke Sprakel:

That’s correct. Shoutout to Evan Christ, he will be the main one, basically walking you guys through on how this process works through Buildertrend.

Paul Wurth:

Why does his name make you laugh?

Luke Sprakel:

I’m not sure. I’m actually looking out in the audience.

Tom Houghton:

He’s not even here.

Luke Sprakel:

Some people were laughing at me and thought, I don’t know.

Paul Wurth:

Is he a funny guy?

Luke Sprakel:

I’m not sure you guys, I apologize.

Paul Wurth:

Call Evan, he’ll tell you a joke.

Luke Sprakel:

If you like to laugh, just call Evan.

Tom Houghton:

You’re going to love that. [crosstalk].

Paul Wurth:

A lot of pressure on Evan.

Tom Houghton:

He’ll deliver. What’s next? What do you got?

Luke Sprakel:

The fifth and sixth pro service that we offer are kind of tied together into one, and that’s our additional training offering. As you guys have talked about, I’m sure many times on this podcast, every account that signs up with Buildertrend has their own designated Buildertrend Coach for unlimited training. We encourage you guys to take advantage of that. In addition to that, we have what we call Buildertrend University, which is going on right now. We host that, typically it’s monthly. Every once in a while, I’d say maybe once a quarter, we’ll take a break, but for the most part it is monthly. That’s where people come to, our headquarters here in Omaha. It’s a two day conference, where we have classes filtered out throughout the day. We have a nice happy hour at the end of the day. We have some one-on-one sessions to get to know your coach and really get the full experience of what we offer here. So, that’s one of our additional training offerings. And the other one is onsite consulting. Excuse me.

Paul Wurth:

What does that mean?

Luke Sprakel:

Onsite Consulting, I got Paul’s attention.

Tom Houghton:

Tell us more.

Luke Sprakel:

Tell me more.

Tom Houghton:

That sounds fantastic.

Paul Wurth:

It seems like when they consult you on your site.

Tom Houghton:

Very good, Paul.

Luke Sprakel:

There you go. On your site is right. That’s where we actually take a team of consultants to your location for a period of two days. We actually will spend three to four weeks getting to know your specific account, where your pain points are, and really try to develop an agenda to really deliver on the two days that we’re onsite. Then sit there and we all actually execute with all of your stakeholders. Then there’s some follow-up work of about three to four weeks as well, just to make sure that you guys are able to implement everything that we’ve gone over on the two days. So, kind of a full-service deal, very custom. It’s been a service that we’ve been offering for probably the last nine to 10 months. It’s been very popular.

Paul Wurth:

A lot of great feedback from there. Now, the three or four weeks actually we’ll just do that remotely. We’re not at an extended stay by your office.

Luke Sprakel:

Correct. That’s not-

Paul Wurth:

Two days.

Tom Houghton:

Just two days.

Luke Sprakel:

Two days onsite, three days… Excuse me, three weeks pre, three to four weeks post. That’s right.

Paul Wurth:

Got it.

Tom Houghton:

And the feedback we’ve heard back on this pro service specifically has been also amazing. Including Matt Risinger. He had this pro service, they had two guys go down to his office, a huge buy-in from the team. This is a great way to get your team on board and get everybody up to speed really quickly on Buildertrend. so really great offering.

Luke Sprakel:

Absolutely. If anybody’s out there that’s interested, obviously you can reach out to your coach on any one of these pro service offerings. If you guys want to learn more information, this specifically Buildertrend University and onsite consulting, that would be… Just reach out to additional training a buildertrend.com.

Paul Wurth:

Those are our currently ones. And you should expect a really consistent flow of new pro services coming down the pike. Our corporate development team headed up by David Arnold, who does a great job. What they do is really survey our clients. And then what they want to really understand is it boils down to is outside of Buildertrend, outside of the vehicle that is our main subscription. Who are you dealing with vendor-wise? What are some of the problems you have? And how can we, with our buying power, essentially the number of users we have, how can we reach out to those other partners you deal with? Vendors, whoever it may be and go, Hey, let’s strike a deal for the common good of our users. We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire there, so stay tuned for more.

Tom Houghton:

Absolutely. Good stuff. Well, let’s wrap this up and then I want to bring on our special guest joining us here at Buildertrend University. But first, before we do-

Paul Wurth:

Just to be [crosstalk].

Luke Sprakel:

I am not [crosstalk].

Tom Houghton:

Luke’s just a normal guest.

Paul Wurth:

Okay, got it.

Tom Houghton:

He is our regular guest.

Paul Wurth:

I just know we have categories.

Luke Sprakel:

Got you.

Paul Wurth:

And I thought he was actually special this side of the table, Luke.

Luke Sprakel:

Know your role. Got you. Slide over. Okay. Thanks, Tom.

Tom Houghton:

Yeah, no problem. But first, three fun facts. That’s what we do with all of our our internal guests.

Luke Sprakel:

I’m so nervous here.

Tom Houghton:

Really?

Luke Sprakel:

I am. I have absolutely no idea what you’re going to ask me.

Tom Houghton:

You look as cool as a cucumber.

Paul Wurth:

Are you boring? Do you not have the facts? Or are you a little worried about the facts being a little too risky?

Luke Sprakel:

We’ll find out here in just a second.

Tom Houghton:

We’ll find out. Let’s start off. Number one, what has been your favorite vacation?

Luke Sprakel:

My favorite vacation, okay. Just remember that we’re on air. I have a wife and three kids. My favorite vacation is probably the trip that we took to Mexico. We went to Cabo two years ago, and it was awesome. The traveling, I don’t know about that so much. Being in an airport with three little kids isn’t always exciting, but it’s definitely fun.

Tom Houghton:

There you go.

Paul Wurth:

Cabo Wabo.

Tom Houghton:

Cabo.

Luke Sprakel:

Cabo Wabo.

Paul Wurth:

Hey.

Tom Houghton:

It is Cabo Luke now. Okay, question number two.

Luke Sprakel:

Oh boy.

Tom Houghton:

What movie makes you laugh every time you watch it?

Luke Sprakel:

“Tommy Boy.”

Tom Houghton:

Yes. It’s my favorite too.

Luke Sprakel:

Easily.

Tom Houghton:

See back in good graces here.

Luke Sprakel:

I remember-

Tom Houghton:

I’m saying that.

Luke Sprakel:

… the first time, I couldn’t stop laughing. I had no idea what I was getting into. And I still quote it today. It gets quoted around the office actually quite a bit around here.

Tom Houghton:

I think earlier I heard a niner in there, in one of your Pro Services.

Luke Sprakel:

Niner, yeah. Is it a call from a walkie talkie?

Tom Houghton:

Exactly.

Luke Sprakel:

There we go.

Tom Houghton:

Good stuff. Last but not least. What is your go-to karaoke song?

Luke Sprakel:

Go-to karaoke song.

Tom Houghton:

We know you’re a big with that voice. You got a great voice. Go-to karaoke song.

Luke Sprakel:

I would have to say “Proud to Be an American.”

Tom Houghton:

That’s very political.

Paul Wurth:

We’ve got that teed up.

Tom Houghton:

Let me just pull that up real quick.

Paul Wurth:

Have you got that, Tom?

Tom Houghton:

Yeah. I’ve got it.

Paul Wurth:

Go ahead.

Tom Houghton:

Here we go.

Paul Wurth:

If you need to do any pre-work with your vocal chords, go ahead now, and then we’ll see you five seconds.

Tom Houghton:

That’s right.

Paul Wurth:

There we go.

Tom Houghton:

We’ve got a copyright infringement on that song.

Paul Wurth:

Okay, we’ll press pause. Hey, Tom.

Luke Sprakel:

You’re actually going to be doing that right now.

Tom Houghton:

You’re just going to do it acapella actually.

Paul Wurth:

Put in a pin in that.

Luke Sprakel:

How about we do that with the special guest. How about we put him on the clock with that, and that I’d be his lead.

Tom Houghton:

I think that’s a great way to do that.

Luke Sprakel:

How about be his lead-in?

Paul Wurth:

Probably need a few more beers from the Buildertrend bar before we do that.

Tom Houghton:

Yeah, absolutely.

Paul Wurth:

You might be right.

Tom Houghton:

Awesome. Luke, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and sharing about all of our pro services. Stay tuned in upcoming weeks, where we have additional pro services details coming down the pipeline. We’ll be talking with Silverstone. We’ll be talking with our onsite consultants, all great things coming your way. Stay tuned for that. But now, our additional special guest joining us is Neil Schaurer, co-owner of Summit Builders. They’re based in North Dayton, Ohio. Neil, thanks for coming on the podcast.

Neil Schaurer:

Hey, thank you.

Tom Houghton:

Thanks for coming all the way to Omaha, Nebraska.

Neil Schaurer:

You bet.

Tom Houghton:

What’s your experience has Been like here at Buildertrend University?

Neil Schaurer:

It’s been good for several reasons. For one thing, I think it’s helpful to just get in the building, honestly. The culture and the energy that surround this place, you can feel some of that over the phone or doing… Even just in the software, you can tell the energy exists, but it’s different to see it and to hear the training firsthand. Be able to ask questions and get an immediate answer face to face.

Tom Houghton:

Sure.

Neil Schaurer:

Just the accessibility of all of you guys, it’s been really good.

Tom Houghton:

Awesome. That’s great. Do you have a favorite class that comes to mind that you’ve had?

Neil Schaurer:

For me, I think it was a combination of the Selections and the Schedule. We implement that already, but we’re trying to ramp that up. Because we’re already doing most of the job costing and financials through the system, so I definitely glean from that. But the selection and the schedule for me is what I’m hoping to implement deeper. I feel like our client experience has been a little confusing. So, if we can clean that up, I’m hoping that they feel guided a little better than we have been previously, as well as just streamlining our internal processes..

Paul Wurth:

What do you guys do? Are you guys home builders?

Neil Schaurer:

Yes, custom homes.

Paul Wurth:

What kind of volume are you guys doing, typically?

Neil Schaurer:

We’re pretty small. So we do 10 to 12 total projects, five to seven new home starts per year.

Paul Wurth:

That’s our wheelhouse. Everybody always says small, but that’s like…

Tom Houghton:

Yeah, that’s not small.

Paul Wurth:

I think people forget we are a small to medium-sized business vendor. That’s what we do. So, that’s perfect. What price range in Dayton do you guys fall in? Outside Dayton. Is it outside?

Neil Schaurer:

Yeah, North Dayton, North side. Most of our projects would be between 200 and 450,000.

Paul Wurth:

Okay. Then you said you do some remodel as well, to mix in.

Neil Schaurer:

Just a few.

Paul Wurth:

Okay, cool.

Neil Schaurer:

Smaller projects.

Paul Wurth:

What’s your role?

Neil Schaurer:

I am a co-owner and project manager, and also do the office management.

Paul Wurth:

Cool. How long have you guys been in business?

Neil Schaurer:

Since 2007.

Paul Wurth:

Really right around us.

Neil Schaurer:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

Okay. Cool.

Neil Schaurer:

But the first phase of our company, we were largely a subcontractor. We would just mix in some GC work.

Paul Wurth:

What would you guys do?

Neil Schaurer:

Framing.

Paul Wurth:

Okay. So were you actually a framer?

Neil Schaurer:

Yes.

Tom Houghton:

Awesome.

Paul Wurth:

So what it means is right in line with what we just talked about. Many people are really good at the trade and then just want to say screw working for somebody else. Let’s do it ourselves.

Neil Schaurer:

Yeah. And we’re getting too old.

Paul Wurth:

Yeah.

Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Neil Schaurer:

You’re going to be lifting big walls in your mid-thirties.

Paul Wurth:

That’s exactly right.

Neil Schaurer:

So we still self-perform framing. We’re anal about it. It’s our thing.

Paul Wurth:

That’s your wheelhouse.

Neil Schaurer:

And that’s fun. It makes it hard to give up sometimes. So scaling some of those things can be a challenge. Around 2015, we started pivoting to primarily only self-performing our main projects.

Paul Wurth:

Is it hard to give up just because you know how to do it the best and you might have to like sub it out?

Neil Schaurer:

Of course we do the best.

Paul Wurth:

Yeah. I can see that.

Neil Schaurer:

We think that. So on one hand you don’t want to be a jerk by having someone come in and micromanaging them.

Tom Houghton:

Sure.

Neil Schaurer:

If you hire them then they should be able to do their job. But at the same time we do like… We’ve sold homes because we self-perform. People like that quality, control upfront. So, that helps that side too.

Paul Wurth:

The frame is like the bones of the house.

Neil Schaurer:

That’s crucial. Crucial part.

Paul Wurth:

I’m going down a rabbit hole there.

Tom Houghton:

You are. I’m going to get ready to pull you out of this.

Paul Wurth:

The positive effects from a great frame, is that all the way into the insulation of the house and like… What are some of the importance of a good framing job? What can be a bad one and what could be the negative things of a bad framing job? What could be a good one?

Neil Schaurer:

Nerdy answer because I am a framer, but it does not end until the job is over, honestly.

Paul Wurth:

The framing?

Neil Schaurer:

Correct. Because if there’s things sticking out of the wall, for example, bulging the drywall, it’s going to trickle down into trim. It’s going to trickle down into cabinetry being hung correctly. It’s going to trickle down into tile placement, things being square, on and on it goes. So, it’s not uncommon, this is going to sound like we’re patting ourselves on the back. But it’s not uncommon for subs that have not worked for us before, when they do come in to compliment, wow, this is super clean. Your joist line up with your studs, et cetera. Honestly, clear to the end, subs would compliment that.

Paul Wurth:

Well, if it makes their job easier.

Neil Schaurer:

Correct.

Tom Houghton:

Absolutely.

Paul Wurth:

If I get it, I’m trying to tile a bathroom and it’s all wonky, that’s got to make my job harder.

Neil Schaurer:

That’s right.

Paul Wurth:

That’s awesome.

Tom Houghton:

That’s smart.

Paul Wurth:

We’ve never really gotten down into the sticks-

Tom Houghton:

Nuts and bolts.

Paul Wurth:

Well, the sticks, I was going to actually go to something that makes sense.

Tom Houghton:

Yeah, the actual wood.

Paul Wurth:

Nuts and bolts, what are you talking about?

Neil Schaurer:

But on the flip side, too, when you self-perform and there is a problem, because there is. Who do you point to? You go right back to yourself. So, it’s kind of nice to have, not only that color control, but the internal… We have to deal with it if it’s a problem.

Paul Wurth:

That transition, as we talked about, that’s probably very common for a lot of our listeners is, I go from a subcontractor to the GC. Those relations that you needed to build then with the other subcontractors and vendors, were they already in place just from being on job sites with people and being in the industry? Or was that like a book you had to build of contacts?

Neil Schaurer:

I’d say a combination. A lot of the strategic ones were already in place, lumber salesman, for example. A lot of the mechanical trades, we would have had good references to and work experience with. But after that, it’s a little bit of trial and error.

Paul Wurth:

Well, it’s kind of nice, because I know that it’s a small community no matter what city you’re in, trades. So you know people that are like, that guy stinks. He overbooks himself, that kind of thing?

Neil Schaurer:

Correct.

Paul Wurth:

And you also know the GCs you guys didn’t like to work for and set you up for how you wanted to be a GC.

Neil Schaurer:

Right. That is correct. But it is a totally different animal to do it yourself than it is to show up on that job site. So, it’s been a good challenge, but it has definitely been a challenge.

Paul Wurth:

Good. Well, good for you guys.

Tom Houghton:

We’ve got three more quick questions to get through real quick with Neil. First one, how long you’ve been… Just also to give a better background. How long have you guys been using Buildertrend?

Neil Schaurer:

We are on three and a half years.

Tom Houghton:

Good. This is good. We get all types of people coming to Buildertrend, whether they just started off or you have been using us for a while and you just want to take it to the next level. Having been here now the two days, what’s a great takeaway that you’re like, okay, we’re going back home. What do you got to do first? What’s, what’s top of the list?

Neil Schaurer:

I think top of the list is implementing phases. Starting with schedule. I like the exposure that gives to our homeowners. It’s giving them good information, but maybe not breaking it down to the micro details that I’m hoping that we can. I also like the idea of releasing selections with the phases, so that we’re not overwhelming them with every decision that needs made upfront. I’ve largely just been opening that portal on me like, here you go. They’re working on a finished phase selection when we’re putting the foundation. So, tying those phases in throughout the project, I think it’s going to be a really helpful.

Paul Wurth:

That’s cool.

Tom Houghton:

Awesome.

Paul Wurth:

A lot of people are a little timid to show the schedule to a client, for a really good reason. They don’t know our world and you don’t want to show them four months in advance. So, that phase is easy way to give them information, real information like mechanical phase, whatever it is. But inside that mechanical phase, whatever you do, you’ve got your own parts of pieces that you’re working.

Neil Schaurer:

Correct.

Paul Wurth:

That’s a good one. I guess your point is three and a half years in, a lot of people think Buildertrend University is like, well, I just started Buildertrend, let me go ahead and get kickstarted. Most of our clients, the average… We did Buildertrend University in Dallas. The average time on Buildertrend was 28 and a half months.

Neil Schaurer:

That’s two and a half years.

Paul Wurth:

A math person give me like the year.

Neil Schaurer:

Two and a half years.

Paul Wurth:

There you go. You’re right right in line. Good.

Tom Houghton:

That’s good. Last little question for you. You’ve been here for two days. I’m sure you’ve got lots of listeners out there who haven’t been to Buildertrend University. What would you say to them now that you’ve been through the process?

Neil Schaurer:

I would say probably it doesn’t matter how far you’ve implemented the program, there’s still going to be details that you don’t know. And even having been here, I don’t know that I’ll come back next month by any means. But there are classes that I couldn’t get to and would’ve liked to. So, some of the advanced job costing, advanced estimates, stuff like that, I was trying to at least touch on all phases of the program while I was here. I couldn’t get all of that. But even in some of the one-on-ones, initially I thought, man, I’m already past this. Then I would pick up some nugget that genuinely simplified what I was already doing. I don’t think it matters the level that you’re at using the program. I really feel like you’ll get your money back by freeing up time and mental space, by streamlining processes.

Paul Wurth:

Mental space is a good one.

Neil Schaurer:

Which in turn creates scale. A company our size, if we don’t streamline, there’s no way we can scale.

Tom Houghton:

Absolutely.

Neil Schaurer:

Unless we just hire a bunch of people. And then that’s just overhead. So the goal really for me and for our company, by me being here, is to free up space in our heads and in our time to-

Paul Wurth:

Scale.

Neil Schaurer:

… use elsewhere.

Paul Wurth:

Scale on vacation.

Neil Schaurer:

Yeah. [crosstalk]. I agree.

Paul Wurth:

You can’t go on vacation unless you got a system your people can work out.

Neil Schaurer:

How awful if you just go home at 4:30. Right?

Paul Wurth:

Right.

Tom Houghton:

Exactly.

Paul Wurth:

That’d be nice.

Neil Schaurer:

You’re just like in normal work hours. That’s what we’re going for.

Tom Houghton:

Correct.

Neil Schaurer:

That’s smart. That’s really great.

Paul Wurth:

I’m going to ask this to a lot of guests leading up to January 20th, which is the International Builders’ show in Las Vegas. Do you guys have plans to go?

Neil Schaurer:

We do not. I’ve been thinking that it would be smart, but I don’t know that that’s going to happen this year. That said, I’ve heard enough good stuff about it and fun trip. So, why not?

Paul Wurth:

Las Vegas.

Neil Schaurer:

I know [crosstalk].

Paul Wurth:

Next year is Orlando for two more years.

Neil Schaurer:

I have a feeling Florida-

Paul Wurth:

That’ll happen.

Neil Schaurer:

… that’ll work out. And then my wife will want to come along too. Win-win.

Paul Wurth:

Tom and I saw each other at Disney World in Florida.

Tom Houghton:

That’s true.

Paul Wurth:

Because a lot of times our BT people will go, we take like 60 individuals. It’s a big show for us.

Tom Houghton:

It’s a big deal.

Paul Wurth:

But then a lot of people will tack on in Orlando. It’s a family friendly trip.

Tom Houghton:

It’s a family affair.

Paul Wurth:

In Las Vegas.

Tom Houghton:

Not so much.

Paul Wurth:

The tag on the after trip is a little bit more like couples. It’s a wife thing. Although Vegas is friendly for family.

Tom Houghton:

Sure.

Paul Wurth:

Ish.

Tom Houghton:

I think we digressed again.

Paul Wurth:

Yeah, we did. Sorry, that’s on me.

Tom Houghton:

That’s all right.

Paul Wurth:

That’s on me.

Tom Houghton:

Neil, thank you so much for coming on briefly and just sharing your experience with Buildertrend University. We, of course, appreciate that you’re a part of our family here at Buildertrend, and we wish you guys continued success in your business.

Neil Schaurer:

Thank you.

Paul Wurth:

Where can they find you online? What’s your website?

Neil Schaurer:

Our website is summitbuilders.us, and @summitbuilders on Instagram.

Paul Wurth:

Honestly, we talked about this a little bit, but I want to end every single episode like this. If you’re listening to this podcast, we’re going to… This is a community, let’s follow each other on Instagram. Let’s follow each other on Facebook, because these are avenues that we always talk about. Follow me. Actually, I don’t even know why I just said…

Tom Houghton:

Shameless plug for following Tom and Paul.

Paul Wurth:

First off, let’s follow summit builders. Everybody when you listen to this, pull over Instagram. Then also the other side of this is like things, comment and communicate. Let’s build this community that is the center around Buildertrend. All right.

Tom Houghton:

Follow @tomonthego and you’ll see this picture. It’s happening right now.

Paul Wurth:

That’s a real plug.

Tom Houghton:

See, right there. Ready?

Paul Wurth:

There you go.

Tom Houghton:

There you go.

Paul Wurth:

Tom just threw it on his Instagram @tomonthego.

Tom Houghton:

That’s me.

Paul Wurth:

All right, man. Thanks so much, really appreciate you, Neil.

Neil Schaurer:

Thank you.

Tom Houghton:

Thanks.

Paul Wurth:

All right.

Tom Houghton:

Love what you heard? Don’t forget to rate and subscribe to our podcast so you can hear from more guests that will benefit your business. Also, please check out our show notes page for more information on what we discussed on this episode. You can find it at buildertrend.com/podcast. Thanks for listening. And we’ll see you next time on “The Building Code.”

Paul Wurth:

Appreciate you.


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