What Running With the Big Dogs Means

Running With the Big Dogs demonstrates success

The story about how we REALLY feel about our clients.

Our clients Run With the Big Dogs!

While some might see us as contractor fans, screaming at the back door after the concert, we’re more than that. Yep, we ask for autographs, and we know details about our clients that others are not privy to. But, we’re more than fangirls getting our excitement on.

Demonstrating success

We try not to get to “uppity” about it, but we believe we are part of something big. You see, we firmly believe commercial construction subcontractors change the world with their skills and expertise. And, we get to be a part of that mind-blowing experience.

Where last year there was a weed-covered piece of dry land, this year there is a new doctor’s office. Where six months ago there was only a shell of a building, now there is a happy restaurant staff serving smiling customers delicious meals. And, where last month there was a pre-build inspection, today the crew is emerging from their trucks to set to work on the new grocery store for the growing neighborhood.

These are a few of the types of jobs one of our clients has recently been (or still is) a part of:

  • Shipping Facility
  • Car Dealership
  • Coffee House
  • Restaurant
  • Assisted Living Complex
  • School
  • Dental Office
  • Bank
  • Credit Union
  • Office Building
  • Hotel

Now you see why we feel so good about striving daily to see to it our clients can demonstrate success. And, demonstrating success is all about Running With the Big Dogs.

Showing business acumen

Demonstrating their business acumen is crucial to our clients’ success.

Here are a few of the ways our clients see Running With the Big Dogs happen – they’re able to:

  • Keep the payroll induced sleepless nights at bay
  • Speak with confidence in their Mastermind groups
  • Understand accountingese in English
  • Build and maintain business systems
  • Generate better expenditure decisions
  • Make a profit
  • Build America, one project at a time

We love Big Dogs!

OK, so we love little dogs too. But it is our clients, the Big Dogs in their chosen subcontracting fields who make us excited to get up every day. Working with our clients is exciting because we like putting together the pieces of the puzzle. More importantly, we like the part we play in helping the folks in the commercial construction industry bring it!

Now you know how we REALLY feel about our clients.

 

If you’re interested in becoming one of the Big Dogs we delight in serving, get in touch. Let’s find out together if we’re a fit. Call today 866-629-7735

 

Brand Personality in Construction

Brand Personality including logos and such

Brand Personality is made up of many different (and some moving) parts.

How many times have you heard a product or service being noted as the “Rolls Royce” of their industry? Good thing the folks at Rolls have worked so hard to provide both an excellent product and an exemplary Brand Personality. Otherwise, those claims wouldn’t mean as much.

Yet, there is much more to a Brand Personality than hood ornaments or company logos.  Let’s face it, it isn’t as if you can choose a logo and decide you’ve done all you can to brand your construction company. Throw in some company labeled shirts and hardhats and you’re making inroads in the brand personality game. Yet, there is so much more to it.

Here is a short list of some brand personality building tactics:

  • Putting great wraps on your vehicles
  • Setting up your audacious website
  • Delving into the latest (and greatest) social media channels
  • Being a guest on some well-chosen podcasts
  • Volunteering within your trade association’s network
  • Donating to support children’s sports or other activities
  • Attending general contractors’ meet and greet or appreciation events
  • Participating in needs-based construction events such as Habitat for Humanity

Some more subtle brand personality building tactics:

As you can see, developing a brand personality in your commercial construction subcontracting business takes time, is ongoing, and is likely to evolve as you grow. There are no magic formulas, no silver bullets, and no easy ways out when it comes to building brand personality.

Yet, looking at the whole picture gives you more ideas to try and inspiration to keep working on.

Time out for transparency

While doing research concerning how to be better at delivering the Schulte and Schulte message, I came across this fun little article at Career Addict. It is titled, 12 Examples of Brand Personality to Inspire You.  It really is inspiring.

And, while reading, I kept thinking of various companies I know of which fit specific personalities.

Further transparency – What follows are 3 examples of Brand Personality as seen on Instagram. None of these examples are clients of ours. As a matter of fact, none of them fits the bull’s eye of our target clients. Because after all, we specialize in helping small to medium commercial construction subcontractors Run With the Big Dogs.

And, one of the firms highlighted (we believe) is primarily a service company rather than a construction contractor – 3 Mountains Plumbing. The other two – AFT Construction and Spain Commercial Inc. – are general contractors who do business with the folks we DO consider our target market (you know – those subcontractors I mentioned.)

Brand Personality on Instagram

First example

3 Mountains Plumbing found on Instagram at 3mountains.plumbing

From the Career Addict article, we see them as an Entertainer Brand:

“Entertainer brands champion values such as spontaneity, charm and humour. These brands seem to enjoy helping their customers discover the fun side of life. Examples of entertainer brands include Dr Pepper and M&M’s.”

The folks at 3 Mountain Plumbing take a difficult subject (who wants to think about all that goes on in those pipes and fixtures?) and turn it into something to laugh about. Also, their rhythm and consistency make remembering them easy. I must add, they make excellent use of color in branding.

Second example

AFT construction  found on Instagram at aft_construction

From the Career Addict article, we see them as an Emperor Brand:

“Leadership, determination, respect, dominance, influence and wealth are values that are associated with emperor brands. Good examples of emperor brands are American Express, Porsche and Rolex.”

Brad Levitt and his team hire professional photographers to take glamorous photos of their high end, custom projects. And, they leave no doubt concerning who their target market is and what they can offer the folks within that target. There is no room in their marketing calendar for rants or “tool bribery” posts. They aren’t trying to teach fellow contractors how to accomplish building tasks, nor are they passing along building “tips.” I hasten to add; Brad is quite generous with helping other contractors learn the ropes concerning being in the construction business in other online formats.

Third example

Spain Commercial Inc.  found on Instagram at spaincommercialinc 

From the Career Addict article, we see them as a Wizard Brand:

“Wizard brands specialise in taking the ordinary and transforming it into the extraordinary. Wizard brands champion values such as imagination, surprise and curiosity. Good examples of wizard brands are Apple and Pixar.”

Kayleigh is the “marketing department” for Spain Commercial. Unlike AFT where their emphasis is on the finished product, Kayleigh’s emphasis is on the people and the process. She is exemplary at getting folks to see that “ordinary” acts at each stage of the construction process ends in the “extraordinary” at completion. Plus, Kayleigh’s passion for telling the story of Spain Commercial simply rolls off the screen and into your mind. The story unfolds one image at a time making it possible to imagine how this company will service their clients well.

How does your company stack up?

Take another look at the Career Addict article and see if you can find which brand personality type your construction contracting firm fits.

Our perusal of the article made us think Schulte and Schulte fits as a Source Brand.

From the Career Addict article:

“Source brands embrace knowledge and enlightenment. They champion values such as truth, objectivity, education, discipline, clarity and commitment. They are the brands that we look to for information, advice and insights. Examples of source brands include Bloomberg, eMarketer, Forrester and Mckinsey.”

What is your brand personality?

How well are you doing at getting the message across to your present and potential clients? We hope this article has given you food for thought as well as a commitment to presenting an excellent brand personality.

 

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

 

Providing Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

 

So you can Run With the Big Dogs. 866-629-7735 

Investing in Convention Attendance

Investing in Convention Attendance can bring you a great ROI

Investing is different than paying to attend

No matter which industry you’re in, seems there’s a convention or trade show for it. Perhaps more than one. And, unless your money tree is sprouting new leaves there is likely to be a cash consideration concerning attendance.

So, you must make your attendance evaluation based on the ROI. Yep, Return on Investment. If you get more in value than what you pay, a conference can certainly be worth it.

Look for the 3 “Es.” The best conventions will Educate, Enlighten, and Entertain you. As a matter of fact, conferences can be information avalanches. That is why it is important to have a goal in mind when you attend. (Hint: You can have more than one goal. Just make sure you have at least one. And don’t count free food and drinks in your goals.) 😉

  • Expand your industry knowledge in general (bring value to your clients)
  • Find solutions to specific business or client related problems (bring added value to your clients)
  • Encounter new vendors and suppliers (who may have options you’ve never thought of)
  • Network with peers (for the sheer joy of it)
  • Position yourself as an expert* (you’ll see an example below as you continue reading)

And, if more than one person from your commercial construction subcontracting business will be attending, it is wise to divide and conquer. Choose different break-out groups, classes, or training sessions. You can meet up for lunch or at the end of the day to share what you’ve learned or found.

Make your way to the exhibit hall; you’ll have opportunity to check out the vendor and partner exhibits so you can view all the new products, equipment, and technology available.

Important Investment returns

Plus, there are two less-measurable (yet highly important) investment returns you’ll want to consider.

  1. Conferences are a bargain when you think about how much education costs.
  2. When you’re immersed for a few days with other go-getters you can’t help but want to get out there and hustle too. Yes! Conferences are a motivation boost for you and your team.

Investing in convention attendance when you get home

Besides the fact you’re likely to meet allies and make friends during your conference days, there is another way to make the most of your investment. Set aside time to pass on what you learned to those who held down the fort while you were gone. In your morning huddle or at a special meeting, allow all who attended time to talk about something they learned, share a way they were inspired, or teach a new skill.

Speaking of conventions

Both Tonya and I will be attending Scaling New Heights this year. This is a conference put on annually by Woodard.

“Scaling New Heights is an internationally-renowned, in-depth training conference for accountants, bookkeepers and other small business advisors.”

And yes, we’ve chosen a few goals. Surprise, surprise! Between us, these are our goals:

  • Expand our industry knowledge in general
  • Find solutions for two client related problems
  • Look for new or updated app and SaaS vendors
  • Network with peers
  • Position Tonya as an expert*

*Tonya has been asked by the Woodard team to be part of a break-out session. It will be comprised of a four-member panel which will discuss the junction of QuickBooks and Construction Contracting. So yeah, we’re tooting our own horn here!

So, look out Salt Lake City and Salt Palace Convention Center! Some (not so) boring accounting, bookkeeping, and small business advisors will be rocking out the place June 16 – 19, 2019!

 

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

Providing Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs. Call us! 866-629-7735 

Technology Isn’t the Focus, Business Is

Technology in your construction subcontracting business should be for making your business better.

Your technology choices

Finding technology that is relevant to running your subcontracting business is easy. Right? *Beep* Wrong! Finding tech is easy. Finding tech that is relevant is a totally different picture. Two starter questions to answer are:

  • Can we afford it?
  • Do we (really) need it?

Answer these further questions and they will help clarify the answers to the initial two:

  • Will this be advantageous to our clients?
  • How can this make it easier, more efficient, and more effective for our employees?
  • Does using this put us in better sync with our suppliers?
  • Do our strategic partners benefit through the use of this?

You see, putting tech to use makes sense, only if it benefits the relationships you’ve already established within the parameters of your construction business.

Technology is way cool

It’s readily apparent tech is causing things to change rapidly in the construction industry. Think about the brick laying robot.

Give heed to the construction safety wearables.

And of course, there is the much-lauded aerial intelligence tool found in the camera equipped drone.

Fun stuff!

Technology is good – yet beware the pitch

Not long ago, Tonya attended an event (Scaling New Heights 2018) dedicated to connecting the accounting world to the suppliers of accounting technology as well as the people who provide relevant services. There were classes, keynote speakers, networking occasions, time for product perusal, and friend making as well as friend reconnecting opportunities.

Tonya came back from Georgia with a refreshed mood and enlightened perspective concerning how to better serve our clients. All good stuff, right?

Well . . . there was this one tiny little rant. Seems a few of the developers and providers of SaaS and app technology hadn’t read her right at all when trying to make their pitch. When the pitch began with, “If you get your clients to use our ‘stuff,’ you’ll make more money,” she was Not Impressed. On the other hand, when the pitch began with, “You’ll be better able to serve your clients by adding our ‘stuff’ to your lineup,” she was ready to listen.

The Schulte and Schulte stance

In our dealings with our clients, our goal is to go beyond being a trusted advisor. It is our intention to become transformational advisors to each subcontractor with whom we have a relationship. We don’t simply plug in the numbers. Our intention with each client is to help them grow their construction business.

One example of how we better serve our clients is, we do the homework involved in finding the right tech to aid our clients so they become data-savvy business owners who, in turn, are then better able to serve their clients.

3 technology thoughts

Prioritize what is most relevant and valuable.

Finding just the right tech to make your life easier is not the goal. Finding just the right tech so you can serve your clients better is.

Look for people you can trust to advise you concerning your choices. (Like us!)

 

Interested in discovering if we’re the right fit for your accounting and systems needs? You can get in touch by calling 866-629-7735 or checking in here. Let us know you would like to take your place on our waiting list.

How to Know if Your Office System is a Mess

Office systems to keep you from having an office that is a literal and figurative mess.

Office systems – they’re no joke

Office systems could be funny, right? Let’s step back a moment and look at where this post came from.

As per my own advice, I keep a Squirrel List of ideas that have crossed my path.

Occasionally I scan through it when deciding what to write that will benefit our subcontractor clients. A while back I had written what became the title to this article (How to know if your office system is a mess) with a following note which said, “It requires a new file cabinet.” Yeah, I thought is was funny in my own off-the-wall way. You see, we often work with our clients to help them move towards a paperless office for the sake of both security as well as efficiency.

Next, I thought what other “funny” things can I add besides the file cabinet “joke” to come up with a lighthearted post for this page. Turns out office systems are a pretty down-to-earth item not to be tampered with – much. With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy I present the following guide.

Your office system might be a mess if:

Your cleaning crew can’t find your desk

The neighbors complain about the weekly trash overflowing – every week

You would rather be anywhere (including the dog-house) instead of your office

Your biggest business goal is to determine where in the office you left your mobile phone

It requires a new file cabinet

Your office system is important

Office systems in your subcontracting business are just as important as the systems you use in the shop, during the service call, or on the construction site. Get your office systems right and you are a step ahead of your competitors – a giant step ahead.

The absolute, down in the trenches, give-away that your office systems aren’t functioning well is this – you don’t have time for the important stuff.

You don’t have time to work on the things that will grow your business, such as:

  • identify new business opportunities
  • formulate ways to form strategic partnerships
  • find new ways to provide extra value to your clients
  • provide mentorship or training to your valuable employees
  • pursue continuing education concerning tools, supplies, techniques, and best office practices
  • enhance field productivity
  • meet with potential clients
  • develop an effective and evolving organizational structure

Your office system IS a mess when

In no particular order there follows a list of clues showing your office system is a mess – and these aren’t all that funny. If you check off too many of these, you need to rein in the chaos and begin getting your office systems in order. (And yes, the team here at Schulte and Schulte is good at helping our clients pull on those reins.)

Your systems are all and only in your head

There is no backup plan for when things go wrong

You have too many daily goals

Your website is stagnant

Your email inbox is multiple pages long or (worse yet) your physical inbox is over-flowing

People keep quitting

Your few documented systems include names rather than titles concerning who does the work

No one knows where to look for lost information

The phone ringing isn’t a pleasure but a disturbance

You haven’t created (documented) repeatable systems for all your processes

You’re unsure of your costs and expenditures

You don’t know who owes you nor how much they owe

You’re unwilling (or don’t know how) to remove non-performers

You spend too much time putting out fires

Neither you nor your employees can describe your company culture (learn how here)

The physical layout of your office doesn’t lead easily to next-step tasks

You don’t have clarity of purpose

You don’t have a growth-through-systems mindset

And last, but not least . . . it requires a new file cabinet 🤡

If you like having accounting and office systems that work to make you more efficient and effective, therefore making you more profitable, then you can get in touch here or by calling 866-629-7735 to set your place on our waiting list.

Construction Contractor, Got a Problem with Your Financial Reports?

Do your financial reports measure up?

Because your financial reports should tell you much more than what you’ve already done. Because your financial reports are more than numbers for the tax-man or the banker. Because your financial reports are all about guiding you to scale your business. We’re glad you stopped in.

Check Us Out!

Since Schulte and Schulte, LLC came into being we’ve been construction-accounting-centric.

We have knowledge and understanding concerning what construction contractors need when it comes to financial reports. With almost two decades of “being in the trenches” of construction bookkeeping and accounting, Tonya, the co-founder of our firm, has deep knowledge about what contractors need. She and her team all work diligently staying ahead of the curve concerning all the latest and helpful contractor accounting technology systems and support apps.

We know what you want and need

We have no desire to send our clients a mound of reports they don’t understand and won’t bother reading. Our intention is to instead work with each of our clients by providing reports which are meaningful, reports which answer the kinds of essential questions contractors have about managing their individual companies.

The well qualified “regular” bookkeeper has no experience with the specific requirements of contractors, they therefore aren’t able to make suggestions themselves. At the same time, many contractors are not familiar with the capabilities of the robust bookkeeping software or SaaS systems available and therefore aren’t aware of what to ask for.

This “two ships passing in the night” scenario leads to a communication gap that can be devastating to both parties.

Our services are designed to allow you to scale your business

Tonya, recently said, “I take great pride in my work. I love getting each piece of the accounting puzzle to fit in the right place. But, even more fun for me is seeing the lightbulb go off over a client’s head. I get excited when I can hear in their voice that moment of recognition when understanding dawns. I like it when they ‘get it’ about another important aspect of their financial documents. I love my job!”

If you’ve had it with the status quo, if you’re looking for the right bookkeeping and accounting firm to aid you in scaling your construction contracting or subcontracting business . . .well, let’s just say, now is the time. Call 480-442-4032 today. Or Toll Free: 866-629-7735

KNOWIFY: Manage Your Entire Contracting Business in One Place

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 bit deeper into our favorites.

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

Knowify is an app that is a huge help to any subcontractor, whether that be commercial or residential. Some of the features that won us over at Schulte and Schulte:

Job Costing & Estimating
With Knowify’s powerful estimating tool, you can plan your jobs, itemize your material budgets, and schedule your people to create comprehensive cost estimates. These estimates can be translated into bid line items with a single click.

Bids, Contracts, & Service Work
You can quickly create bids and contracts on your own letterhead and send them through Knowify for electronic signature. You can also easily create service tickets and schedule technicians on work orders.

Time Tracking & Scheduling
Replace the whiteboard, create and maintain your schedule in Knowify so that all your people can see what needs to be worked on while they are in the field. As your people work on work orders, they can punch in time and reimbursements via Knowify’s mobile app. As your people put in time, Knowify will track how you are performing on each job compared to your budgets and estimated costs.

Knowify is truly cloud-based. You can access your Knowify account on your desktop computer, laptop, or tablet; it’s time tracking is most easily handled through the mobile app that is available for either Android or iOS.
We’ve been impressed with Knowify’s truly unified, fully integrated platform. All of its different modules (contracts, time tracking, purchasing, and invoicing) integrate seamlessly to ensure that the products and billable time covered by our client’s contracts are billed correctly.

We love Knowify, and would love 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!

Continuing Education in the Schulte and Schulte Camp

QuickBooks Online Advanced ProAdvisor BadgeYou may have noticed that we proudly display the badges we receive for our efforts in continuing education concerning our QuickBooks knowledge and expertise. They’re not easy to obtain, and quite honestly we’re glad that is the case. We don’t (and no one can) purchase those badges. They must be earned through study and testing.

But, those badges are only a small piece of the continuing education we’re committed to here at Schulte and Schulte.  

Continuing education is a vital component to providing our clients the best possible care

  • Continuing education allows us to clarify and better understand the processes and procedures of bookkeeping as advanced by and through technological updates and renovations.
  • Continuing education gives us the opportunity to acquire both theoretical as well as practical knowledge and to improve our problem-solving skills.
  • Continuing education allows us to establish and uphold our commitment to the occupational standards for professional bookkeepers.

Yet, there is more to it than that.

Keeping up to date on regulations and trends in the construction industry is an important way we work to properly assist you

Although we are experts in our area of specialization (bookkeeping for small to midsize Construction Contractors and Subcontractors,) we still have to stay on top of what’s new. We spend several hours each month reading, attending webinars and teleseminars, as well as participating in a weekly QuickBooks ProAdvisers group.

Thus, our continuing education benefits both our business as well as the businesses of our clients. One example of how we work to support your business is the article we wrote Playing Like One of the Big Boys Just Got Easier (3 Apps to Choose From) concerning the pros and cons of three different apps after a great deal of self-education on the subject.

We also “break it down” for you when considering what is happening concerning regulations and rules, for example this article – MRRA doesn’t stand for My Real Rare Adventure – Really! – concerning MRRA and TPT.

Our continuing education focus

Our continuing education is focused on three areas:

  1. Keeping up with the newest and best ways to process and engage in the bookkeeping we provide for our clients.
  2. Learning about the ways our clients can stay ahead of the curve whether it be housed in their financial reports or the latest tech devices and systems geared toward the construction industry.
  3. Gaining understanding of the best ways to assist our short term customers* through consultations and one-on-one training.

*We provide ongoing bookkeeping for a few select firms, and we also provide training and consultation for others who wish to do their own bookkeeping but need occasional information and guidance.

How we acknowledge and celebrate when we achieve a learning goal

Crazy as it seems, after we clink the glasses together, take the last bite from our celebration plate, and speak words of congratulations the final part of our celebration is to establish a new learning goal. Yeah, we’re crazy like that.

Do you need to continue your education in order to be able to use your bookkeeping system to its fullest? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to set up a consultation or one-on-one training for you or your staff. 480-442-4032