Business blueprint

Your business blueprint

2020 created unexpected complications, so where to now in 2021? HOUSING has collated some products that may help you secure your game plan to ensure future control and success.

Author

Liz Barrett

Off the back of the most tumultuous year in decades, business owners are now trying to regain control. The year is already underway, so if you haven't already got a plan in place, we are here to help. Read on for an overview of useful tech tools and support systems for builders to ensure you can confidently build your business blueprint for the year ahead.

How do you rate?

When you run your own business, nothing is more important than your reputation. Investing in yours is the best way to get more referrals and increase revenue. Avid Ratings offers a unique industry solution for home builders, specialty contractors, building product manufacturers, renovators and other home professionals.

Measure, monitor and optimise your homeowners’ experience with this intuitive platform, and understand and improve how your brand performs at every touchpoint. The unique insights help you to determine your customers’ needs and make data-driven decisions to gain greater visibility.

Avid says it has the industry’s most comprehensive database of homeowner reviews, helping to share the best industry reputations. The dashboard provides a customised view of your business and how it compares to your competitors. Monitor the performance of your services, products and stay up to date with customer experience trends, all while creating loyal business advocates along the way.

The platform allows you to measure what is most important to potential clients, so you can clearly understand the value you bring and the expertise needed to assist realtors, designers and architects to promote your performance. You can then identify problems or concerns in real-time and establish opportunities for improvement. Best of all, you’re able to transform feedback into actionable insights to drive sales, increase brand awareness and identify success areas.

The marketing tools will also help you to build your online review presence by directing your clients to leave additional ratings and reviews across the web. Here, you can manage your company’s reputation and visibility across social media platforms and popular online review sites – all at the touch of a button. Avid even monitors activity and alerts you every time a review is made, so you will never miss one again.

Admin on the run

Any builder will tell you that their most time-consuming task is estimating and quoting for a project. To help you save countless hours, SoloAssist has built an estimating and job management system that not only saves time, but also improves accuracy so you can get on with more important tasks.

SoloAssist’s innovative software is efficient, accurate and straightforward to use. It streamlines and automates tedious manual estimating and quoting, improving your processes, increasing your conversion rate and cutting quoting time in half.

The digital system helps you to get organised, giving you a clear and precise structure where you can draft plans, accurately create your estimations and quotations, and easily save them to your desktop or laptop. Quantities are measured efficiently right on your screen, sending them directly into the quote, and calculating a running total as you go. The advantage of this is gaining the potential to increase your profits by reducing mistakes during the estimation process and time lost rectifying oversights. You can spend more time running your jobs, not on administration.

The SoloAssist software gives users access to pre-built templates and job specifications sheets, including prime costs and provisional sums and planning tools, while allowing you to oversee purchase, work orders and quote requests. You can also manage progress payments, price lists and control costs, as well as client and subcontractor variations.

The program integrates seamlessly with MYOB and Xero so you can stay on top of cash flow and projected profits. It also effortlessly prints quotations and reports, so you can review performance at any stage and make sure you are kicking your business goals.

Follow the dream together

Want to knock your clients’ socks off? Constructive Software is an easy way to engage and excite them from the very beginning of the home building process. You can manage and exceed expectations with one simple tool that can update your clients on build progress, allow them to select beautiful finishes and see a tailored view of their home design in impressive 3D.

Clients can view and download all the required documentation, contracts, plans, variations and photos through their own unique customer portal, a centralised location for all project specifications. The program reduces the need for emails or phone calls to provide up-to-the minute information to the client, saving you valuable time and money.

Constructive Software allows you to track the progress of your clients’ selections at any point or use the tool to remind them of outstanding choices. It will also help to reduce the time spent chasing clients for approvals, saving you money travelling back and forth for in-person meetings. You can also provide your clients with any changes to construction and maintenance documentation – all while updating your internal paperwork and processes.

The interactive 3D selections tool empowers your client to try out their material combinations, finishes and colour schemes within their own individually designed home. Clients can instantly make changes to online selections with the click of a button, with the tool eliminating the need for CAD costs.

Constructive Software says by using its system your clients will love to see their dream home come to life, and you will create a memorable and seamless customer experience.

More than a planner

Whether you’re a builder, construction worker or business owner – you want to be on the tools or growing your business, not weighed down by paperwork. Databuild offers an all-in-one system so you can get on with what you do best: building homes.

Developed and designed in Australia, with 40 years servicing the residential building industry, Databuild is a complete building business software solution. It helps you to streamline and simplify your daily operations and reduce the time you spend on a single job.

No matter the size of your business, Databuild provides fast, accurate estimating, from creating an initial quote through to receiving your final payment. The software creates purchase orders quickly, and tackles administration and automatic invoice checking, eliminating the risk of overpaying creditors.

The reporting tool saves you time by collating cost information and automatically producing reports that would typically take hours or days to generate manually. The powerful accounting functionality also integrates payroll, helping you to take control of your people and payments.

A comprehensive and flexible integrated business tool such as Databuild may just change the way you do business, and with regular training opportunities, software updates and additional real-time support for users, you’ll have a system that stays with you for the long term.

The connection companion

As a business owner, being across every aspect of your day-to-day functions can feel like a challenge at times. However, you can take control of managing your business with Companion Systems. The company’s Onsite Companion software maps all your jobs, contacts, processes, tasks, communications, workplace compliance and resource allocation of trades and suppliers, then automates it – so you won’t miss a single thing.

Manage sales by using the estimating and drafting tools or provide your team with guided processes, access templates, documentation and checklists. You can set up reminders and record client communications, which can help you to increase sales conversions and get contracts signed quicker.

Onsite Companion allows users to oversee operations by streamlining your processes with an easy-to-use interface.

Another advantage of using Onsite Companion is you can supervise building and maintenance from anywhere. Create processes for each build type and size, view documentation and plans, as well as supplier and labour allocation. You can also handle workplace compliance and licensing, and manage building defect and maintenance control through the system.

Each functionality has a customised and detailed reporting tool, so you can determine cash flow and performance with ease. The system is designed to help you reduce build time without compromising on quality, and increase your turnover.

Connect with the Companion Systems Forum and share information, tips, advice and support with other users. Best of all, the software seamlessly integrates with Databuild so you can create a dynamic tech solution for your growing business.

Secure your cash flow

We all know that late invoice payments and poor cash flow can make or break your building business. As a tradie, it not only costs time and money to chase outstanding debts, but a recent industry report reveals that during COVID-19, late payments saw the sharpest increase in over a decade, often blowing out to over 20 days. This exacerbated an already stressful working environment in the trade industry, increasing administration costs, deteriorating cash flow and impacting work-life balance.

This is where TradeEpay can help. The secure, user-friendly online mobile application has been designed to provide a real solution to this problem. The software is simple to use and offers clearly documented communication between tradies and homeowners, providing secure payments, improved cash flow and support.

Progress payments are held in a trust account, ensuring that tradies are paid on time for completed work, and homeowners are satisfied with the completed work before funds are transferred.

TradeEpay has a host of features to help you get the job done, including the ability to incorporate variations, retentions, upload contracts, plans and drawings, photos and videos, invoices and notifications. The program is easy to set up, free to join and has no establishment or annual fees. Payments are made before the project starting date and can be processed the same day to your nominated bank account.

Should you need additional support, TradeEpay provides an inbuilt mediation process that streamlines dispute resolution, helping you to get your project back on track.
This article was compiled with contributions from Avid Ratings, SoloAssist, Constructive Software, Databuild, Companion Systems and TradeEpay.

Contracts and compliance help

At HIA we are always here to help, in any way we can. From news on the industry, information on products, practical advice or inspiring stories to make you smile, we hope to help anyone who builds homes to build a better business too.

Here are some HIA products and services that might be a great go-to for you.

HIA Contracts Online:

A water-tight contract is essential to protecting your business, which is why HIA Contracts Online was created – to safeguard you, your business and your projects.

Created, reviewed and researched by lawyers, our range of contracts are widely used in the residential building industry.

Being digital, they allow you to produce and deliver them quickly and remotely, and their flexible nature allows you to revise, edit and print the contracts anytime, anywhere.

Protecting your data is top of mind with our digital signatures and electronic fingerprint capability.

Importantly, we also know that you might have others in your team who need to create, share or access your business’ contracts, so HIA Contracts Online allows you to also create multiple log-ins for your team.

HIA TRADEPASS:

You’ve got a lot to juggle, and ensuring contractor compliance can be time consuming.

If you’re a builder, chances are you spend considerable time ensuring your contractors’ insurance, business and legal paperwork is correct and current before they can get onsite.

And for contractors, it can be confusing and frustrating to try to source and manage business information – time you can’t afford to waste. Not to mention if your information is due to expire – wouldn’t it be great if you got a timely reminder?

With this in mind, HIA TRADEPASS is designed to take the headache out of collecting and verifying contractor business information and registrations, and provides a way for contractors to prove status and be notified when updates are due.

Developed by HIA specifically to suit the needs of residential builders and contractors, HIA TRADEPASS not only saves time and money, but by promoting your TRADEPASS status, contractors and builders alike can feel confident you are both fully informed and able to access or share documents any time.

media coverage

Digital Champions

HIA has joined the Australian Government’s Digital Champions project, an initiative to educate the industry on the latest technology and how to use it. Register your interest in the complimentary service for your small business.

Not an HIA member yet? By joining Australia’s largest national association for the residential building industry, you’ll get access to a range of member benefits, as well as industry products and business services designed to help you manage, operate and grow.

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