Templates: Why we love ‘em and why you should, too

Episode 84

This week on “The Building Code,” Tom and Paul are talking templates with Buildertrend onsite consultant and template guru, Jordan Coolidge. Jordan’s been with Buildertrend for two and a half years. He enjoys traveling around to meet with Buildertrend clients in order to help them learn and implement the software into their daily processes.

Tune in to the full episode to learn more about using templates within Buildertrend and how you can use them to save time and increase efficiency.

WHAT ARE FIVE KEY BENEFITS OF TEMPLATES?

  1. Save a ton of time with processes in the long run
  2. Standardize the information being entered into Buildertrend
  3. Organize the information for each job and make it easier to enter new jobs
  4. Get your business up and running within Buildertrend faster
  5. Make onboarding employees quick and easy

HOW DO OUR CLIENTS FIND OUT MORE ABOUT TEMPLATES?

Reach out to your account executive. They are your best resource and can help you implement templates in a way that works best for your business.

LINKS AND MORE

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Jordan Coolidge | Buildertrend

Tom Houghton:

You’re listening to “The Building Code” your guide for a better way to run your business. I’m Tom Houghton.

Paul Wurth:

Hey, Tom. I’m Paul.

Tom Houghton:

Paul, it’s great to be back on our airwaves with you.

Paul Wurth:

Pod waves.

Tom Houghton:

The pod waves [crosstalk]

Paul Wurth:

Wherever it is, wherever this thing lives. I’m glad to be here with you.

Tom Houghton:

Some server in Utah.

Paul Wurth:

There you go.

Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

Glad to have our guests here too.

Tom Houghton:

That’s right. We’ve got a special guest joining us today to talk all about templates. And we’ve got another podcast following this next week. So make sure you listen to both this week’s episode and next week’s episode to get the whole template picture. We’re going to talk about templates with our internal guru of templates. Jordan Coolidge is joining us on the podcast today, (an) onsite consultant, and he’s got a ton of knowledge about templates. And then next week we’re going to be talking with one of our clients about how they use templates in their business. So lots and lots of great information coming your way about templates. Let’s dive in. Jordan, how’s it going?

Jordan Coolidge:

Doing fantastic, Tom. Thanks all for having me on.

Tom Houghton:

Hey, we’re happy to have you on because you know way more about templates than Paul and I, I think.

Jordan Coolidge:

I’ve had a lot of experience with templates that is true.

Tom Houghton:

That’s good.

Jordan Coolidge:

I’ve never thought I had heard the word templates so many times in the last five minutes.

Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

We’re talking templates.

Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

That’s exciting.

Tom Houghton:

It’s very exciting. So first off, let’s give our listeners just a little quick background on you, Jordan, since some of them probably don’t know about you yet. So you’re an onsite consultant here at Buildertrend. Let’s tell them what that is, how long you’ve been at Buildertrend and kind of just some fun facts about you. Maybe we’ll say the fun facts for later, actually, that’s it. So don’t dive into any fun facts. We don’t want to know any at this point, just tell us about your title and what you do for Buildertrend.

Jordan Coolidge:

All business facts here. So I’ve been at Buildertrend for about two and a half years now, and I’ve been in the onsite role for about nine months now. And I’ve spent a good chunk of time traveling to different companies, getting to know different processes of the different companies that utilize Buildertrend, and actually doing onsite training at their office or at a location in the city that they’re based in and it’s a lot of fun. I like traveling around and I like to get to know people on a little bit deeper level than we typically do in a virtual setting. So, yeah, that’s how long I’ve been around and that’s kind of what it’s all about.

Tom Houghton:

Fantastic. Yeah, that’s good. That’s good. Obviously, having gone around and met with so many clients, you get to see inside Sony, Bose business, which I think gives you a leg up just in terms of how you teach the content. So that’s the thing why we wanted to highlight you coming on the podcast, just having seen everyone’s business firsthand, it’s like hundreds of clients. So give us a little bit background on why templates are so important.

Jordan Coolidge:

Yeah. So templates have a ton of importance for a few different reasons, which I’ll kind of dive into as we talk a little bit more. But the reality is, especially from an onsite consultant’s perspective is we spend a few hours before the visit, a few hours after that visit learning about not just where people are coming from technology-wise or software-wise. But really kind of getting to know the ins and outs of their business. And there hasn’t been a single onsite that I’ve gone on, that we haven’t talked about templates in some capacity. Now, as far as what we’re templating, that it kind of depends on what the scope of the visit is, but the reality is it comes up on every single visit and that’s not an accident that’s because templates are very important for a lot of different reasons.

Jordan Coolidge:

I mean, I think there’s 13, 14 different features in Buildertrend that can be templated. And so whether you want to talk about Selections, scheduling, estimating, there’s a lot of different features within Buildertrend that you can utilize templates with. And why they’re so important is really; No 1. is, it’ll save you time first and foremost, but No. 2, it helps standardize the information that’s actually getting entered into Buildertrend. I think a lot of times, especially early on, maybe in your first year within Buildertrend, depending on who’s building that schedule or who’s building that estimate, it can come out of variety of different ways. If there’s not maybe some structure to be had ahead of time, for example. So I like to pitch it as it’s something that can standardize information and really save you time and in essence money in the long run, by utilizing templates in Buildertrend depending on where that might be.

Paul Wurth:

Yeah. That makes a ton of sense and your experience with our clients. And like you said, a wide variety of clients really speaks to… Their templates can be used by everybody because that’s probably the number one mistake people make is, a template for instance and you explain a grid is being able to set a sort of set of actions within Buildertrend or items. So you can duplicate those rather than having to start something from scratch every job. Right. Perfect example is like you said, schedule, if the core of your schedule are always going to be framings before drywall and drywall before paint, why would go ahead and recreate that every job where you can just set that once. But a lot of our companies that use Buildertrend because we have home builders and re modelers and especially contractors and commercial companies, a lot of the smaller companies say, “Well, that’s for a production home builder”, right? That’s the biggest mistake people make with templates. Is that what you’ve heard before Jordan?

Jordan Coolidge:

A hundred percent. That’s almost the first thing I hear if I’m at a custom home builder and I bring up the thought of templating, right? Well, every one of our projects is different. And while that is true to a certain extent, the reality is, you’re putting together estimates similarly, the content of that might be a little bit different. You might have different nuances of, “Hey, maybe there’s a pool in this house and there’s not a pool in another.” And there’s obviously thousands and almost countless numbers of combinations when it comes to schedule. But more to your point, Paul, usually that skeleton of that schedule is fairly similar and you can have multiple templates in Buildertrend. I think sometimes people get kind of tunnel vision and thinking about it like one template for all of my jobs. I mean, reality is as you start to dive down deeper and maybe understand the general functionality of Buildertrend, it becomes a little bit easier to brainstorm how templates can help out your company essentially. And so you might have four or five different templates because you have some different combinations that are fairly standard.

Jordan Coolidge:

And so I don’t want to overstate templates and saying that, “Hey, it’s going to solve everything in that, you’re not going to have to touch a schedule when you import it, or you’re not going to have to edit some of the To-Do’s or the tests that are linked to your schedule.” But the reality is after you start to understand Buildertrend, I think everybody gets to the point where they start to look at it and think, “Man, I’m spending a lot of time doing some data entry.” And while that might be beneficial in the short term, just again, to understand the general functions of Buildertrend. Templates are really going to mitigate that and so I always told people when I was first getting them going on Buildertrend is, I talk about templates a lot, but I wouldn’t train on it in my first three trainings with someone, right.

Jordan Coolidge:

It’s something that comes up organically and so I always told people like, “Hey, when you get to the point where you’re starting to build out this stuff and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Man, I’m spending a lot of time building these things from scratch.’ That’s when we want to take a look at the five schedules that you’ve built at that point and think about templating some of those.” So anyway, there’s a lot of different strategies and what’s best for each company. So I don’t want to get into the specifics of that necessarily, but reality is, I mean, there’s data that’s able to be templated whether you realize it right now or not.

Paul Wurth:

Yeah. I mean, I think that’s a great point. I mean, I think one of those things is that a template is a living and breathing document or item within Buildertrend. What was really interesting is that a lot of the companies that I’ve worked with, what they’re doing, every single job is building on that template. For instance, if they’ve got a checklist, like a post-framing checklist, that’s a great example of a template. It’s our to-do it might have what, five or six things in it to start. They really please their employees like, “Hey, if we want to add a thing to this, like make sure we double check this measurement or go over here and take a picture of that, add it to the template. And the next time we have that checklist on the next job, now we’re going to be that much better and we’re going to continually add live and breathe that document.” And so I think that’s one of the unique things about it being a feature in Buildertrend is that, you can always build on it, get better with it.

Jordan Coolidge:

Yeah.

Tom Houghton:

Good stuff, Jordan. Can you share with… obviously all of your experience talking to customers, can you share some of the best practices that you’ve seen customers use with templates within Buildertrend?

Jordan Coolidge:

Yeah. A lot of the best practices with templates again, it will depend on your company and what your most important objectives are as far as what you’re trying to accomplish in Buildertrend in the short term. But if you’re someone who’s new to the idea of templating or even new to Buildertrend at that point, there’s easier places than others to start templating. So for example, what I mean by this is, putting together a template for all of the selections that need to be made on a home. That’s a very labor intensive project. There’s a lot of different pieces to that and while that is good, that would be more of a long-term thing. For example, take a couple months to build it out probably. But by far, the best practice I see with templating is starting with the simple stuff and what that might be for you and your company. It might be something like a schedule that you maybe are using another program that you’ve used a schedule with.

Jordan Coolidge:

We have some things that we can use on the back end to potentially import that information. We have To-Do’s, that’s another easy place to start. What are the tasks that typically happen in those for anyone who’s unfamiliar, typically things like order dates, delivery dates, things that can be tied to your Schedule. And then thirdly, and honestly, probably most simply a standard folder structure for your documents or your photos, for example. So albeit like brand new, I typically coach people to start with some of the easier things, whether that be something that you already have maybe outside of Buildertrend that we can build upon within Buildertrend, or start with something like a standard folder structure. And I don’t want to talk about templating a folder structure passively either.

Jordan Coolidge:

I mean, that is one of the most beneficial things to template within the program because inevitably what you’re going to end up with is a bunch of different folders on different jobs that don’t really have any consistency whatsoever. So you can build out a folder structure in your template, start your job. Maybe from that one template, when you’re first starting out and voila, you’re utilizing templates when it comes to your folder structure. Then you can mature into some of the more, I guess, complex ideas as far as built out estimates and bids and lots of other things like that. But overall best practice I see is starting simple if you’re relatively new to the idea of templating.

Tom Houghton:

That’s really smart. It’s always good to start small. Obviously Buildertrend is a very big program. It can do a lot of great things, but it’s always good to take it in chunks, focus on one area first, get used to it, implement that into your process and do your system, get everybody on your team on board and then move on to the next phase. So great advice. Let’s try to sum up with some benefits here of templates. I don’t know if you have maybe a list? Maybe let’s say five? Maybe if we could pick out five, can we do that? Can we pick up five key benefits? I don’t know, what do you think?

Jordan Coolidge:

Yeah. We can roll with that. Two of them, I’ve already mentioned in that. The No. 1, the idea about this is to save you time. Now, a lot of times you might have to put in a little bit of extra time on the front end, but don’t get lost in building out a template and spending maybe a week building out a template. The benefits that you’re going to reap long-term is going too far outweigh any amount of time that you’re putting into these templates with any good direction, for example. So (it) saves you time. It’ll standardize the information that’s actually being put forth into Buildertrend and also what’s expected on these jobs within Buildertrend. And then kind of a side note to that, or maybe my third benefit, I guess is, it helps organize the information. Okay. Because if the information getting put into Buildertrend is coming from a similar aspect, I suppose, or a similar perspective you’re going to end up with similar looking jobs. Albeit at the data itself, might vary a little bit.

Jordan Coolidge:

Things will be structured similarly, which is going to make it very, very easy to adopt new ideas or utilize new features within Buildertrend. And then that really lends itself to getting yourself up and running faster in Buildertrend. In my experience with the customers that I’ve worked with, when the time’s right and you implement templates in some capacity, that’s a lot of times coinciding with call it that aha moment or that light bulb moment that we see within companies a lot of times. Where it’s like, all right, I’ve been grinding, I’ve been putting in work with this, now I’m really starting to see it pay off. A lot of times that coincides with the adoption period of Buildertrend and usually after a few months we can get that going.

Jordan Coolidge:

And then finally something that we don’t always think about with the utilization of templates, it makes it a lot easier to onboard new employees within your company or any moves that you might have within your company. Someone becoming a project manager for the first time, it’s a lot easier to get them up and running if we have a standard of practice laid forth, that’s tangible within Buildertrend, as opposed to just a bunch of directions that a lot of times just gets spoken or taught to somebody so.

Tom Houghton:

That was quite a list. I don’t know. I mean, I feel like you had me at No. 1, which was save time. I don’t know. Have you listened to this podcast and you don’t like to save time, please email us. I want to know what do you want out of it? I mean, saving time, standardizing info, helping organize your business. I mean, all of this stuff is so great.

Jordan Coolidge:

Yeah.

Tom Houghton:

Everyone should be using templates.

Jordan Coolidge:

Maybe in the description of the podcast, we’re going to have to list these five things because I just spent three minutes explaining five things that.

Tom Houghton:

There we go. We’ll put all this in the show notes. If you want to recap buildertrend.com/podcast, that’s where you’ll see the recap of Jordan’s five key benefits of using templates. And we’ll even put a picture of Jordan there so that way you can see him and he’ll hold up the number five with razzle-dazzle-

Jordan Coolidge:

As I said, I hold up five fingers. For sure.

Tom Houghton:

There you go. That’s good. That’s good. Awesome. Well, I mean, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. I think everybody should be using templates and that’s the end of this podcast.

Paul Wurth:

Honest question, how does one find out more about templates? I mean, obviously we’ve got a great customer support line you can get to, but Jordan, would you recommend going straight to your account executive and having sort of account review and to say, “Look, let’s roadmap this for you.” Because I think anybody, even if you’ve dabbled yourself, probably would do yourself a favor. If you’re building one user listening to this to speak to your account executive, is in charge of success of you and your team and roadmap sort of where to start, because that could be maybe a little intimidating from hearing all of these huge benefits.

Jordan Coolidge:

Yeah, most certainly the account executive is really just to echo that is going to be your best resource to lay forth the best plan. In my experience I think that’s sometimes where the breakdown in template adoption can happen is not having a solid roadmap in place or a solid plan in place when you first start. I think sometimes people dabble with it just slightly without a ton of direction, which can almost have the adverse effect and maybe clutter up your templates lists more than it actually helps you a little bit. So yes, most certainly if you’re wanting to get going on utilizing templates, getting in touch with your account executive is going to be the most beneficial thing you can do here in the short term.

Tom Houghton:

You heard it there first folks: Reach out we’re here. We got over 500 people in the Omaha, Nebraska, area. They’re all working from at home. They want to hear from you. So just pick up the phone, shoot him an email, chat on chat online with us using our chat program feature lots of ways to get in contact with your coach. Make sure you do it. Let’s take some next steps to better your business with Buildertrend. So Jordan, thanks so much for coming on the podcast before we let you go though, we do have to ask you some questions to try to get some of those facts that I talked about earlier. So I’m going to ask you three questions that may lead to facts about Jordan.

Jordan Coolidge:

All right.

Tom Houghton:

That’s our segment. That’s what we’re calling it. That’s what I was talking about.

Jordan Coolidge:

All right.

Tom Houghton:

So Jordan, you obviously traveled a lot of places. The first question I want to know is what’s been your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?

Jordan Coolidge:

My favorite trip was probably to the Seattle area.

Tom Houghton:

Okay.

Jordan Coolidge:

We went and stayed at a resort. Maybe we almost did more of a presentation than a true consultation, but it was just a great trip, great company that we worked with. I was with some different franchises in the area. So that’d be my favorite visit that I’ve gone on so far.

Tom Houghton:

Paul is a big fan of the Seattle area. If you’ve been listening to the podcast you know, Paul’s taken many a trips to Seattle, I think you saw Three Doors Down there or something. No?

Paul Wurth:

1997? No. Yeah. I love Seattle. We’ve got a great client base up there too. So next time you go, I’ll make that my excuse to get up there again.

Tom Houghton:

There we go.

Jordan Coolidge:

That’s good. I’ll let you know.

Tom Houghton:

That’s good. Second question besides templates, what would be your favorite feature of working with Buildertrend that you’ve seen? Obviously you’ve been a part of implementing this in so many people’s business. What’s been one feature you’re like, yes, this is it. This is the one?

Jordan Coolidge:

Yeah. I’ll kind of plead the fifth while this isn’t one feature necessarily. I like training on the budget overall. That includes a lot of different areas in the financial suite within Buildertrend. But I like learning about the different processes and helping people dial that side of the business and that’s probably my favorite area to work in. So I’ll say the budget and that includes probably three or four other features within Buildertrend.

Tom Houghton:

Okay. That’s good. Last question for you, unless Paul’s got some surprise curve ball that he wants to throw my way. Nope. Okay, good. Just checking. Never know what my three questions sometimes you’d like to sneak in there. So last question that I’ll ask you, what’s one thing that you’re looking forward to post-pandemic? This is a new question, obviously. So what’s one thing that you’re like, “Ah, I just either miss this or I’m looking forward to this.” What is that?

Jordan Coolidge:

Yeah. I don’t know. I’ve kind of had my head down. I haven’t even thought past the pandemic whenever that might be, but I’d say the thing that I’m most looking forward to post-pandemic is; No. 1, being able to travel consistently that could also mean for work as well, but mainly with my wife and taking little visits around the country or maybe even outside of the country. So we had a couple of trips that got put on hold. So looking forward to being able to do that, for sure.

Tom Houghton:

I think Paul and I would second that. It’ll be great to get back out there and-

Jordan Coolidge:

Get to go to a Royals game. That the fact that, that’s not a possibility. This will probably be the first summer in about 13 years that I haven’t gone to a Royals game so.

Tom Houghton:

Wow. Big Royals fun.

Jordan Coolidge:

A big Royals fun.

Tom Houghton:

That’s good. We might edit that out. Just kidding.

Jordan Coolidge:

That’s okay.

Tom Houghton:

Now he’s trash-talking folks.

Jordan Coolidge:

I’m just kidding.

Tom Houghton:

That’s good. Awesome. Well, we appreciate all that you do for Buildertrend and all that you’ve done for our clients. Again, I know the listeners out there definitely have gotten something from this episode, listening and hearing these benefits to using templates. We really hope that you adopt this because there’s just a great way to save time and kind of streamline your process and using Buildertrend. So thanks Jordan for coming on the podcast and sharing that with us.

Jordan Coolidge:

Thank you very much.

Paul Wurth:

Thanks Jordan. Good job.

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.


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