ClockShark for Commercial Construction Contractors

ClockShark is designed to make it easier for you to manage your commercial construction company

ClockShark for Commercial Construction Contractors

ClockShark delivers

This is an app designed for small to medium construction and field service companies. It is for the commercial construction contractor who needs to get rid of paper time sheets.

Let’s put it this way:

GPS + Time Tracking + Powerful + Easy to use = This is worth looking at!

Tracking down missing or late time sheets is a hassle you really shouldn’t be dealing with. And, let’s face it, even when (if) you find them are they complete? Can you even read them? Are they legible? Oh yeah, how about this – how do you verify what’s been written?

You can make much better use of your valuable time than chasing down crews or individuals to get their timecards. And, you get more accurate reporting by putting this app to use.

ClockShark is robust

ClarkShark is a tool that:

  • Tracks the field location of employees

 

  • Displays the current availability of resources

 

  • Generates monthly time sheets

 

  • Assists in planning workflows as well as job scheduling

 

  • Schedules project activities

 

  • Has an interactive drag & drop scheduler

 

  • Incorporates a real-time activity dashboard

 

  • Offers ad-hoc reporting capabilities

 

  • Allows you to build and export custom reports

 

  • Helps you deal with compliance and auditing

 

  • Integrates with QuickBooks, both Online and Desktop

Perhaps the best way to put it is that ClockShark’s easy GPS feature allows you to track time, location, and job costs. Bam!

ClockShark is bilingual (sorta)

Well, they don’t speak Spanish. Yet, they do have something to offer in the bilingual line that truly is useful. You can access their app guide in English or in Spanish. This one little extra makes it as easy as possible to get your crew members to know how to use the app. And, knowing how . . . that may be the only thing that is missing for some members of your team.

BTW – These guides cover how to:

  • log into the app
  • clock in and out
  • switch between jobs and tasks
  • start and stops breaks
  • see schedules
  • view time sheets
  • access CrewClock™
  • use KioskClock™

Plus, the guide covers Frequently Asked Questions

 

It is our desire this article (among our growing library of construction-centric informational articles) is helpful in assisting commercial construction contractors to build better building businesses.

Want to know more about us or about how we can assist you with ClockShark? Get in touch here.  http://www.schulteandschulte.com/contact/ Or call Toll Free: 866-629-7735

From Accounting to Bidding – Nailing It!

When you’re in the construction contracting business a lot rests on your ability to present an accurate bid.

Before you bid your next job consider how your financial records and reports can and should strengthen your bidding accuracy.

It isn’t about the luck of the draw, nor is it about hoping you get close. It is about knowing and understanding the basic numbers (i.e. how much the materials cost, how many people it will take, how many hours will be involved) as well as a slew of other numbers which must be considered.

Taking a holistic look at the numbers

Of course, numbers in and of themselves are useless; it is when you apply your understanding of the construction industry, add your knowledge of your team’s competency levels, and take into account the likelihood of Murphey’s Law plopping itself down in the middle of your job site that you begin to have a clear understanding of how to shape your bid. Still, your financial reports are your friends, you’ll do well to listen to them. Here are some of the things they can tell you:

  • The labor and labor burden rate for each of your field employees

 

  • What your equipment costs you to own annually

 

  • Your overhead percentages per job

 

  • Your cost of sales

 

  • Your gross profit

 

  • Your net profits

 

  • Your gross margin percentage

 

  • What your liabilities and debt are

Some further information your reports will divulge

  • How your fixed costs are affecting your bottom line

 

  • How well each department or division is doing

 

  • How your sales are affected seasonally

 

  • Your past history concerning number of hours needed to complete tasks or portions of projects

 

  • Which subcontractors have proven most beneficial to you on previous jobs

What’s the point?

When you use your financial records in your bid preparation you have an historical guide as well as an up to the minute guide to assist you through the process. Plus, knowing your numbers puts you well ahead of the “average” construction contractor.

Know your contract numbers. Listen to your financial reports. Top construction business owners know their contract numbers because they listen to their financial reports.

There’s an app for that

And as for bidding, of course, there’s an app for that! Well, there are quite a few apps for that. Yet, there is one which we highly recommend and use with our clients, because of its many features as well as its ease of use. “Use Knowify’s powerful budgeting tools to create detailed materials/labor/subs breakdowns for each phase of the job, then translate your budgets into a bid in no time. Fully customizable bid templates. Syncs with QuickBooks Online.”

Additional Knowify features

  • Quickly create cost estimates or bids, and use progress or AIA billing to invoice your clients

 

  • Never re-enter the same information again. Create service templates, build a catalog, and waste no time in getting your bid to the client

 

  • Accurately track POs, expenses and revenue per job

 

  • Manage multiple jobs simultaneously

 

  • Put an end to re-entering data with Knowify’s QuickBooks 2-way synching

 

  • Quickly email bids and invoices to your clients, or POs to your vendors

Do you need help making heads or tails of how your financial reports can make a difference to your construction contracting business? Want to know more about Knowify?

Schulte and Schulte can help! 480-442-4032 or Toll Free: 866-629-7735

17hats: All-in-One Business Management Software

In this monthly post, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of the many apps that we at Schulte and Schulte endorse and recommend to our customers.

As a firm of construction accounting specialists, we love to help companies in the construction industry with their books and finances, part of that help is finding different apps or software that can help our clients out.  During this monthly feature, we take a look at several apps that we love at Schulte and Schulte, LLC, and dig a little deeper into our favorites.

This month, we would like to introduce you to 17hats.

As a business owner, there are multiple “hats” that you will wear as you go about running your business.  By hats, we are talking about the different roles you will play on any given day, from accounting, marketing, client communication, lead development, etc.  17hats is a brilliant piece of software that is designed to integrate each of these different hats into an easy to use business management tool.  We could go into detail talking about each of the different tools that are built into 17hats, but for the sake of time we will highlight a couple of the features that we appreciate the most; specifically the Overview Page, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Workflow Management.

Overview Page
This dashboard is what you will see whenever you log into your 17hats account.  It has been designed to incorporate a 3-day calendar view of all events and to-do’s that you have set up.  Underneath the calendar is a list of all action items from every ongoing project that you have, as well as a list of client email correspondence that is needing your attention.  This dashboard is customizable to include this above information, as well as other options available for you.  It is a really handy tool to get a bird’s eye view of what needs your attention on any given day.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A lot of effort has been put into developing this CRM tool to make it easy to use.  As the above video shows in its example of adding a new lead and the development of that lead into a client, 17hats utilizes its CRM to assist you in keeping your contact information and projects accessible. It also stores all email communication and documents sorted by client.  This means no more searching through your email account for that important message from a client’s project you are working on.

Workflow Management
The video above gives a snapshot of the process involved within 17hats’ Workflow Management.  You are able to create templates for almost everything you will end up passing onto a customer, from engagement/proposal questionnaires and feedback forms, quotes, invoices, and more.  It has e-signature technology built into the app to allow anything that needs a signature or feedback from a customer to be sent from the app, and also allows you to track what has been sent.  17hats has a one-way sync that will allow you to sync invoices into QuickBooks Online, which is music to our accounting ears.

We love 17hats, and would like the opportunity to share it with you.  If this sounds like an app that you would be interested in checking out, please let us know!

Interview With Tonya Schulte Concerning Attending Scaling New Heights 2017

Tonya Schulte, one of our founders, will be attending Scaling New Heights 2017, in Orlando, Florida June fourth through the seventh. I tracked her down and got her to answer a few questions about the event and what part she will have in it.

Yvonne:

Tonya, when did you first hear about the Scaling New Heights 2017 convention which is taking place in Orlando, Florida this year? And what is it about this event that sets it apart?

Tonya:

Since this is an annual event, it has been on my radar for over a year, but I didn’t dream back then that I’d be able to attend. Scaling New Heights is one of the biggest accounting events of the year and what really sets it apart is the way in which Woodard makes a point of making it anything but a boring accountant’s convention. They make it FUN!

Yvonne:

We hear that at first you were not sure you would be able to attend, what made you change your mind?

Tonya:

An unexpected, but pleasant surprise came when I was asked to speak at the event!

Yvonne:

Very exciting stuff! So, first of all, what will you be talking about?

Tonya:

The fine folks at Knowify, one of our favorite apps for construction contractors, contacted me first and asked if I’d be willing to give one of the peer-led sessions to tell others about how to find and use their app. Then, I was asked by Woodard if I would do the same for Hubdoc, another app that we use daily with our clients.

Yvonne:

And, can you give us a peek into what you will be sharing with those who attend your sessions?

Tonya:

Well, I love both of these apps for so many reasons, but the main focus of each session will be on how and why to use them and what benefit the pros and the clients get from each app.

Yvonne:

You’ve also mentioned you’re excited about two other aspects of attending the convention – getting to meet people you only know through online interaction, and learning more tips and tricks of the trade. Tell us a few of the people you are looking forward to meeting and why.

Tonya:

There are so many, I’m not sure where to start! I’m very much looking forward to meeting Laura Redmond and Sarah Sivesind in person. As much as we love Knowify and Hubdoc, we also love Aero Workflow equally as well. I don’t really know how we would run our practice without that wonderful service. It helps us keep on task, gives us feedback about our estimated vs actual time spent on projects and tasks and gives us a way to correctly track time spent on consulting hourly work. We love it. I am also really looking forward to meeting Cathy Iconis from QBOChat and so many of the wonderful app partners that we’ve gotten to know through that venue like Avalara, TSheets, Expensify and so on!

Yvonne:

And, have you already determined your own learning schedule? Do you know which sessions are on your “for sure I’m attending” list?

Tonya:

So much is packed into the days and you have to be choosy. I haven’t narrowed it down completely yet. I do know that I’m very excited about the productivity and task management sessions and the marketing sessions. Those are the areas where our firm needs to learn and grow right now. I will have to sit down soon and make a definite plan!

Yvonne:

What would you say to your fellow accounting experts about attending Scaling New Heights 2017?

Tonya:

This event is one of the premier events for those of us who are looking to take our firms to the next level and into the future. If you are serious about working with clients in this new technological age, you really should be thinking about attending this event now and into the future.

Yvonne:

What do you wish to say to your clients about how your attendance at this event may affect them?

Tonya:

As our clients know, we are on their team. I am very excited for the ways in which I am going to learn to serve our clients better and make each of their teams better for my having attended this powerhouse conference.

Yvonne:

We know you’re going to be staying on Disney property at the Coronado Resort, and that should be lots of fun just to begin with, yet we have it on good report that you’re taking your dad along with you as your escort and companion. Will you fill us in on why he will be going with you and what you two have up your sleeve for “after convention” hours?

Tonya:

It is going to be a crazy ride for sure! We arrive Saturday evening and the conference gets into full swing on Sunday, but I have heard that several family members who live closer to the eastern seaboard plan to travel to Orlando and see us! It should be a packed, packed, packed few days between conference stuff, meet and greets and family time. I’ll probably come back to Arizona and crash!

Yvonne:

Thanks for sharing with us about your Scaling New Heights 2017 adventure. I think I speak for the rest of the team when I say, “We wish you well and . . . well, swag will be appreciated.” Haha

Tonya:

Haha! I’ll remind all of the app partners you said that! Wink, wink!

CoConstruct: Custom Build and Remodel Software

In this monthly post, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of the many apps that we at Schulte and Schulte endorse and recommend to our customers.

As a firm of construction accounting specialists, we love to help companies in the construction industry with their books and finances, part of that help is finding different apps or software that can help our clients out. During this monthly feature, we take a look at several apps that we love at Schulte and Schulte, and dig a little deeper into our favorites.

This month, we would like to introduce you to CoConstruct.

CoConstruct is geared specifically for custom home builders and remodelers. This software is designed to include everything that goes into home building from initial client leads, all the way through punchlist and warranty work. The video above gives a brief overview of the software in action, particularly the financial setup of a project start. CoConstruct has a lot more features baked into it than we have time to get into here, but we want to highlight a couple of the features that we believe set CoConstruct apart from other similar apps and software.

Keep Your Clients Informed – “If the clients ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”
Keeping your clients informed as the project progresses is an essential part of any custom build, and CoConstruct takes a lot of the time involved in doing this off of your hands. Included in the software is a client-only web portal that shows them the information they are looking for; 24-7 access to selections, costs, photos, conversations, job calendar, and more. This gives them the opportunity to know exactly where the project is at, and also allows them to share progress photos and your work with their friends through social media, which translates to referrals for your company!

Improved Client Communication – Kiss the “he said, she said” goodbye
CoConstruct has patent-pending communication technology that allows all communication between your team, client, and trade partners to be found in one place. This allows everyone involved in the project to be on the same page, and if changes happen then everyone involved will be in the communication loop without having to worry about forwarding emails, IMs, or text messages to all of the relevant parties.

Finish Strong – Leave a great last impression on your clients
CoConstruct makes it a priority to see your client’s projects through to completion, even while you are moving on to new jobs. You won’t get caught dropping the ball with your clients and subcontractors regarding warranty work with the reports and reminders that will come up, months and years down the line. It’s the “little things” like this that can make or break a great referral for your company, and CoConstruct has your back.

We love CoConstruct, and would like the opportunity to share it with you. If this sounds like an app that you would be interested in checking out, please let us know!

Scale Your Construction Contracting Business

Escalating your business to the next level

So, you’re ready to scale your construction contracting business. It is time to move to a new level. You have plans, thoughts, and ideas about moving into the big league. Read on, because there is a brief primer ahead to help you begin to work through that process. But, before we go any further, I’m going to tell you the same thing my dad had to remind me of on more than one occasion.

If it was easy, everybody would do it

Scaling isn’t as easy as finding the right app, purchasing the correct software, or hiring the right superintendent. It is a process, with many components, and it requires commitment.

I’m not trying to take the wind out of your sails. As a matter of fact, I hasten to add, while you can’t change the direction of the wind, you can adjust your sails in order to reach your destination.

What the heck does it even mean?

A little more than a decade ago I came across the term and the idea of scaling your business. In context, I sort of had an idea of what it meant, but wasn’t completely sure. How about you? Do you know what it means? If not, this definition and explanation of scalability found on divestopedia is short, concise, and is worth your time to check out.

Identify ways to upgrade processes on the path to scaling your business

The most basic take-away from divestopedia’s article is a scalable business is one that focuses on the implementation of processes that lead to an efficient operation.

You’ll need to identify those processes which can be reproduced at a rapid rate, without generating increased costs. Think in terms of automating certain processes that currently require time and hands-on interaction.

One example of this type of automation can be found at your local supermarket, where you’ll find four or more self-check counters manned by only one person.

Another example is how we, at Schulte and Schulte, LLC work with you through accounting software or SaaS and various apps implementing an automated process.

Speaking of apps, this List of 17 construction apps for 2017 is a good place to begin your research into some ways to simplify, update, or structure some of the functions necessary for running your present and future job sites.

Of course, there are other technologies which are no longer the stuff of science fiction, but are already being embraced and are quite literally changing the landscape of the construction contracting field as well as the landscape around us.

  • Robotics
  • Drones
  • 3D printing

Look into what each of these technologies are already being used by your colleagues as well as your competitors. Think in terms of investing in what will bring the most ROI not only now but in the upcoming years.

10 important scale driving measures to take

Scaling your business goes beyond buying the latest technological item or system. There is more to the whole notion of scaling your business. Just as you put in time and effort to start your business, you’ll need to put in additional time and effort to scale your business. Following is a list of actions you’ll need to consider.

  1. Update and reshape your business plan
  2. Line up any necessary funding
  3. Pay attention to your consistent brand messaging across divisions, locations, and mediums
  4. Embrace standardization (scalable companies have effective tools for measurement)
  5. Hire people smarter and more talented than you
  6. Outsource what makes sense
  7. Focus on ROI
  8. Document everything
  9. Plan for the little things
  10. Keep trying until you find what works

In order to scale you must indeed be proactive rather than reactive. Begin building into your business those standardized functions which will continue working whether or not you’re at the helm.

OK, now where is the blueprint?

Not here. I won’t be able to offer you a “Your business blueprint,” yet I have given you enough information to begin putting your own blueprint together. And, good news, (caution — big self-serving plug here) we at Schulte and Schulte, LLC are ready, willing, and able to aid you through accounting advice as you take the scaling up steps.

In case you are wondering. Yes, we have built into our plans and strategy the scaling of Schulte and Schulte, LLC. One of our favorite parts of the plan is that as your construction contracting business scales we’ll be on the scaling escalator right beside you.

Playing Like One of the Big Boys Just Got Easier (3 Apps to Choose From)

Demo versions of Knowify, Contractor Tools and Bolt apps for contractors

Demo versions of Knowify, Contractor Tools and Bolt apps for contractorsAs the world moves forward with technology, a new and unique opportunity is opening up for small contracting businesses. We like to say that we at Schulte and Schulte “help small businesses ‘play like one of the big boys.’” Meaning that, utilizing the increasingly large number of options available in the technological arena, your small contracting business can operate like a large construction corporation.

You can utilize the same powerful tools and resources at a decent price. This is because, thanks to the advent of cloud technology, many tech companies are moving to the subscription based model rather than selling individual pieces of software.

The advantages for small businesses are tremendous. The old methods of software development made it much harder to scale a piece of software for various sized businesses and needs. So, many of the more powerful software choices were economically out of reach of smaller businesses.

Thankfully that is no longer the case. Additionally, the advent of smartphones and tablets is a boon for contractors who need to be able to do a significant portion of their business out in the field.

When I first began working in the construction industry some ahem-ahem many years ago, cell phones were not even prevalent. Job supervisors in the field had to carry massive paper plans with them in their work trucks, make change orders on the job site and hope that the proper person that needed to sign off on them was there. He or she then went on to write take off lists on their ever-present yellow legal pads and try to remember which jobsite that particular takeoff was for and then take photos with their film cameras to be developed at some later date.

Now, every one of those tasks has been automated and shrunk to less than an 8 ½” x 11” piece of paper. By carrying your tablet or smartphone with you onto the job you can do all of those tasks and keep every bit of them in one spot, making decisions on the jobsite much easier and leading to a significant savings in time and amazing increase in productivity – meaning you can take on more work and get it done more quickly!

Let’s take a look at three options available for contractors which can be utilized on mobile devices all of which integrate with QuickBooks Online for seamless accounting information transfer.

 

Contractor Tools

Contractor Tools is a relatively new player in the apps market, but they are growing quickly and have some really excellent features along with some limitations that are worth noting. The developers (makers of the Smart Contractor software) entered the app market with their original offering for iOS (works on iPad, iPhone and iPod) called Construction Cost Estimator. This handy tool brought the hefty Craftsman Costbooks to a portable app that could be accessed from anywhere and searched easily. It also enabled contractors to create estimates on site and get signatures on them right in the app. Building off that idea, Contractor Tools takes things a step further and includes not just the option to subscribe to the costbooks and do estimating, but also the ability to set up multiple customers and jobs for job tracking and costing, set up custom job templates to shorten the time required for putting together estimates, and even keep track of basic information on employees. It has a QuickBooks sync feature and can sync quite a bit of data with QuickBooks Online including:

  • Customer information
  • Job and job estimate information
  • Customer invoices
  • Customer payments

What we like:

  1. The easy to use, straightforward app interface
  2. The link to the Craftsman Costbooks and ability to create custom costbooks
  3. The job costing features (QuickBooks Online’s job costing features are greatly diminished, so this fills the void.)

What we’d like to see improved:

  1. Time tracking – they are developing this and we’re excited to see where they take it
  2. More operating systems supported – also in development currently with a Mac app to come out sometime this fall
  3. Improved dashboard – more job costing information would be a good start here.

What it costs:

Contractor’s Tools offers Basic, Essentials and Pro packages starting at $9.99 for one user and only one invoice per job. Other options are offered at slightly higher price points.

Where you can find out more:

Take a look at Contractor’s Tools website for more information on the app, pricing and to see some tutorials. You can also download the app and try it free for 30 days.

 

Bolt

Much like Contractor Tools, Bolt was created by contractors for contractors. Bolt is a more robust tool which includes everything from the ability to upload plan documents and draw on them in the field to scheduling, time tracking and reporting. Bolt is a web-based app that can also sync with native apps on your mobile device (for now they only have iOS, but Android and Windows apps are in development, with the Android app set to appear within a month of this writing.) So with Bolt you can create scheduling of materials and people in the office and then supervisors and field personnel can confirm that those schedules have been carried out correctly right from the jobsite. Supervisors can also look at an overall list of work orders and prioritize their day accordingly. The QuickBooks sync syncs both your items list in QuickBooks Online along with invoicing, so that everything can be invoiced in Bolt and then QuickBooks can be utilized for all of the back end reconciliations and financial reporting. Again, Bolt fills in the gap for project costing that QuickBooks Online simply cannot do.

What we like:

  1. The scheduling capabilities are fantastic – including drag and drop ease of use
  2. The ability to mark up drawings in the field is a significant benefit
  3. The fact that the main app is cloud based and accessible from any device with an internet browser.

What we’d like to see improved:

  1. While we do love that drag and drop feature, the layout can be a tad confusing. We’d like to see maybe some icons or colors to distinguish different areas of the screens
  2. The live demo is helpful, but we’d love to see a free trial download or at least demo version to click around in before buying – around here we learn best by doing
  3. More clear information up front about exactly how the app integrates with QuickBooks so that the contractor and the bookkeeper can be sure to be on the same page

What it costs:

Bolt works with clients to design a program and price that works well for them. They offer 1 month free implementation and training so that your setup is customized to your specific business and your employees are equipped to manage it from the beginning.

Where you can find out more:

Take a look at Bolt’s website for more information about Bolt, their story, and to schedule your own live demo.

 

Knowify

Knowify is another cloud-based solution. It is a very robust solution created specifically for sub-contractors and small home remodelers that offers seamless integration of all parts of the project. You can create estimates for fixed price, time and material or AIA-type commercial projects. It has some really powerful dashboard features, including a separate, easy to read dashboard for each individual job. It also has some great time tracking and dispatch management features as well as the ability to customize user privileges. Like Bolt, you can personalize the app to fit your specific business and you can use it everywhere – from the office, to the home office, to the field – everyone in the company can collaborate on the projects together in the same system. There is an Accountant’s View and also a two-way sync with QuickBooks so that the entire company can be working on the projects together, but only those with a need to know are touching the financials. One of the most impressive features of their job costing setup is the ability to not just track budgeted vs. actuals on labor and material COSTS, but to also track expected hours to be worked against actual hours worked and also budgeted materials needed for the job vs materials ordered. While traditional job costing methods can be aggravating to try and understand when overtime hours and material orders are not easily understood using only dollar figures, Knowify’s job costing can help you really see the overall picture and make up for any estimating or scheduling deficiencies in the real world. This app can not only fill in that great job costing deficiency within QuickBooks Online, but it can help you look good while doing it!

What we like:

  1. The billing features including the ability to produce AIA-type invoices with schedules of value
  2. The overall appeal of Knowify’s look and feel including the ease of navigation and simple to read dashboards
  3. The ability to receive email notifications and alerts to help you stay on top of project needs

What we’d like to see improved:

  1. With all these great features, it would be great to add a built-in CRM tool for keeping up with leads in addition to current estimates and projects.
  2. Like other cloud-based options, the information can only be accessed if you are able to be online. In a state like Arizona where contracts and/or service calls might be performed outside of mobile networking, it would be nice to have the native app available and be able to upload and sync data after returning to mobile network or wi-fi access.
  3. We’d like to see the ability to draw on plans or photos right in the app.

What it costs:

Knowify offers simple pricing based on the size of the company starting at $68 per month for 1-5 employees and include about an hour of free setup and training for one of your employees.

Where you can find out more:

Take a look at Knowify’s website for more information about the app, see a customized video demo and to start a free 14 day trial.