We have been able to tie together multiple geographically dispersed staff and simultaneously dispense with multiple different tools/desktop based software. It has increased our ability to monitor work performance, share experiences and ensure continuity of work during staff absences as all project information is always available to all permitted users from virtualy any device.
BuildTools has far more features than other systems we compared in its class.
This has allowed us to perform not only almost all major business functions: selections & client management, change order documentation, communications, bids procurement, budget monitoring, scheduling, and invoicing but also other important but less well promoted capabilities such as daily logs (for health, safety & schedule deviation monitoring), meeting minutes that permit tasks to be assigned & tracked (for use with clients, subcontractors/suppliers, or internally) among others.
This combined with the product's progressive incremental improvements and willingness to occasionally make changes based on our own suggestions or requests add up to good value.
The advantage of having so many features can also be a detriment to new users, for whom learning and navigating the system may be overwhelming at first. This is exacerbated by weak FAQs/video tutorials and lack of proactive hints/suggestions as to how to get the most out of the software.
However if one is patient and implements the system section by section as each are successively mastered and while doing so makes use of the excellent and always responsive (and free) support staff, then this shortcoming can be overcome, revealing all of the features and capabilities.
We're a small design build company focusing on high-end remodeling and custom homes. We produce design in house, and then provide construction services with in-house project managers and carpenters, as well as subcontractors performing the work. Every client goes through the same process, however, since each project is unique we always have unique tasks to accomplish for each job.
We chose a BuildTools primarily because of their task management feature, which is outstanding. From my perspective, it is the only option out there with a Meeting Minutes feature tied to tasks, scheduled events, users and deadlines. We had previously used two other programs that were awesome and I have nothing bad to say about them; it simply came down to the task management feature between these programs. This feature is fundamental to our productivity. The task feature is an undersold feature of the program
Working Gantt Chart versus Published schedule. This means I can go in and edit a job very quickly, with drag and drop functionality; I can pull lines for dependencies, easily move items up or down, and group according to my will, with indent and outdent capability. I can play around with different scheduling scenarios, without huge save and alert times. When the schedule is firmed up, I can Publish it and send out notices and so forth. Its a great Gantt Chart and very similar to MS project.
There is a Quick Book sync; Purchase Orders and Change Orders are tied to the budget, and eliminates double entry.
Picture sharing is very easy and fast, and not limited to 3-4 at a time.
Messaging is also very easy, where I can send an email directly from my schedule, selections, and tasks. I can then see this thread in the the aforementioned sections, or in the messaging center. This is also an undersold feature of the program, and it worked really well.
Another point of interest, BuildTools operates on a unique database structure, which avoids having to open and close a window every time you want to reform task. There is a marked difference in productivity and performing tasks.
The leads and prospect section is also very useful. There is also no limit on the number of projects, so I can keep all of our projects (large or small) in one place. The leads feature needs some work, but they are pursuing it.
Our transition into BuildTools was very easy and fast. Customer support has been very good and steady. They are a small, but growing, company and you can see the commitment to customer service. Using this product has directly led to increased project size, as well as increased productivity from our internal team and subs/suppliers. I can't stress enough the positive effect of their task management system.
I highly recommend Buildtools for remodelers and custom builders.
Minton Homes is a small custom home builder located in St. Louis, Missouri. We have been in business 25 years. We only build custom homes (no specs, no remodels). In the last 10 years, the size of the homes has ranged from 5,000sf to 25,000sf. We go to extremes to make sure we exceed expectations.
In January we attended the home show in Las Vegas. One of our goals was to preview all of the companies that offered complete software systems for our industry. For years we have been interested in finding a program that would allow us to "bring most of what we do under one roof", allowing great collaboration with all parties (homeowners, subs, suppliers, etc). After sorting through a dozen or so possible companies at the home show, we decided to give BuildTools a try. While we are not fully implemented at this point, I would say we are 75%.
So after 3 months of getting familiar with BuildTools and loading a couple of projects onto the system, I can tell you I am extremely impressed with the product and with the service Chad and his group has provided. Even more importantly, the feedback from our customers and subs has been good. While any new software program has a learning curve, the feedback from our partners has been very good, and implementation has been better than expected.
Every day it seems like we learn about another new feature. We are in the process of sending a project out for bid now and decided to use BuildTools for that purpose. The amount of time we had in that process (as compared to how we used to do it) is reduced, and the ability to manage the process is greatly enhanced.
Managing customer selections is one of our biggest challenges; has been for years. I have to say that BuildTools significantly enhances things on our side and even more importantly the customer side.
I was skeptical about the BuildTools scheduling program, having used Microsoft Project for years. After two months, I am not using Project anymore. BuildTools does everything I need to do and, quick frankly, the interface is a little nicer. Very happy with that.
We used to do RFI's via email. While that worked for us, it was hard to manage effectively. I love the RFI module in BuildTools. It is a very efficient way to manage information and get the answers you need. The due date and reminder dates are a great feature for those people that need reminders.
In the next 30 days, we hope to be integrating the budget with Quickbooks, so more on that later. I have not used the service/warranty module yet - but looks like a very good process.
In summary, great product; great service; saves us time; makes us better at what we do; helps further separate us from the competition.
I highly recommend it.
I'll post again in another couple of months with an update.
Being able to communicate effectively to our trade partners and clients. Keeping the project managers of each job on schedule with their daily logs and for purchasing by sending PO's to trade partners to be confirmed as well as change orders to be reviewed and approved by the client.
I like that our clients and trades can see the progress of their home as it is being built from start to finish. They can access anything from building permits to daily schedules and pictures of progress. It's a wonderful way to schedule your trades in advance as well to ensure they will be there when they are needed and lets the clients know who will be out at their home and when.
There is no way to create a master schedule for all the jobs for in-house use in terms of accountability. We would like to be able to put all current jobs major scheduling items on one grand schedule. I was told by September there was to be a new roll out of the software including using the schedule as we need and my company would be a tester of that roll out and I have not heard anything since then. There is also little pains such as when pictures are uploaded they get turned sideways no matter that the original orientation was straight up.
We have been using Build Tools for several years now and love the way it helps us stay up to date with our projects for our clients. Our clients love the continual feedback (weekly updates) and appreciate how they can access pertinent information for their project virtually anywhere in the world at any time. It saves us time and money. We have shopped other competitors and have found the functionality and commitment to continual improvement the best in the business. We will continue to use Build Tools. Thank you TEAM BT for an excellent application.
Build Tools has done an excellent job at listening to what the customer needs in their software development. We are a custom home builder and appreciate the details in the day-to day use of their product. Our clients like the access to the information and that helps us look more professional and gives a higher level of customer service. We send out the weekly reports (updates) on all of our jobs on Tuesdays. Clients love this interaction and ability to stay informed. Happy client, happy projects!!! Thank you Build Tools.
The folks at Build Tools are friendly and accesible, which they need to be because they have no training manual, which is a challenge for a product that spans so many functional areas. No average team member would be able to puzzle out this rubics cube by themselves. However, the tech support always does their best to help you figure it out! The scheduling and warranty modules are the easiest to work with and once you figure out an appropriate notification regime for your company, you can get the schedules to work. Although its a bit awkward to update schedules (too many clicks to just say something is "done", the basic idea is pretty good.
After using schedules and warranty for two years, we are dying to try selections, budgets, and PO's....and integrate into Quickbooks. However....there are a lot of levels of data entry to get this set up and not a lot of guidance on what the best practice should be. A LOT of cross links and that generates nervousness. Some challenges just getting the budget to show expected profit. All must be workable, however without a clear manual, its hard to know.
We are a custom builder, remodeler, and service company in the San Diego area. We work in the higher end of the residential market with over 40 employees. We have been implementing BuildTools over the last two months and should be complete with implementation by Dec.1 (a four-month process). We are currently using Timberline for our accounting package and Microsoft Project for our scheduling.
We plan to shift our accounting to QuickBooks Enterprise at the first of the year. We selected BuildTools because of the integrated job costing with client and design team management features. It is working out very well. There are many options and almost unlimited user group features. We are trying to maximize this flexibility and making those choices does take some time. The biggest benefit of the software from our point of view. Forcing us to use consistent best practices while still allowing us to customize the client experience.
Producing billings is exceptionally easy and fast. A client actually commented on how clear and easy it was to understand their billing (this was a cost plus bill). The scheduling module is limited as compared to Microsoft Project but that is far from a bad thing. The RFP process is also easy. Project document control, photos, etc are very simple. The ease of integration in the field with iPhone and Android tablets has been great. Taking meeting minutes with a tablet microphone greatly improves accuracy and tracking. I could comment on each module, but suffice to say it does what it says it does and it does it well.
They are still improving the program. We have had a very close working relationship with Chad and his team. They have been pretty responsive but our company also has a deep background in project management and that may have an impact on how they deal with us.
The pricing is extremely reasonable and the database appears to be very robust. I would purchase this software again. A commitment like this is at least a five year deal to me and we selected carefully. I am very satisfied with the software.
Ability for client log ins, lead tracking, Financial and Change order processes, the customer support team is great, reports, and the client dashboard. We also like the scheduling side, but think a few tweaks could be made.
Selections - This tab is great to have but is very difficult for us to use (inputting items for selections, modifying and general use is difficult).
General Back end items - making changes to the settings or back end items is not intuitive. We updated our cost codes this year and making those changes on the back end and then the front end was difficult to do. Some setting changes are also hard to find in the administrator.
My company builds custom homes in upstate New York. We were looking for a software program to primarily do our scheduling for projects. Once I saw what was out there, I became interested in using a more robust program to organize the budget and selections besides the scheduling.
There are many similar software setups out there that do many of the same things. Software Advice was great as far as directing us to four companies that offer what I was looking for. I chose BuildTools because they were claiming to have QuickBooks integration almost ready. Where QuickBooks would sync in each direction, with the budget tracking feature of the software. This was great, because I could see labor savings in this feature by entering costs of materials and labor on my own time and having it sync up with our QuickBooks file and all of our bookkeeping and tax prep.
After four months of waiting for this feature, it still isn't up and running. There are other features to the interface that are not intuitive. I was hoping to use this software on site with my Ipad, but the processing is so slow that I gave that up. Maybe this is perfect for a smaller, one man operation, contractor.
One of the other features that is nice about BuildTools is the selections entering and approval. Our current client logged in once and said it was too confusing for her, so she doesn't use it at all. If we are building a whole house, and the client doesn't want to use this software because it isn't intuitive enough for her, then this doesn't save me any time whatsoever. The scheduling feature of the program is actually very nice. It works great and is easy to use. But I don't want pay each month for a scheduling program. I have found other scheduling software for much, much cheaper.
The tech support was actually very helpful as well, but it would save them (and us) a bunch of time if they just give you a manual to go over all of the basics and be able to refer back to.
We have been researching our options for PM software after using another software for several years. I began speaking with BuildTools and did the online demo. The software seemed to offer many more features than what I had been using.
I spoke with Chad at Buildtools and said that I'd like to try BuildTools to compare to what we were using (BuilderTrend). They set us up an account. I did an online 'training' with someone who told me that he had just started. I literally had to show him how some of the features worked because he didn't know (I only knew from watching the online tutorial!). Several of the items I wanted clarification on were related to the sync with Quickbooks. The functionality of that interface wasn't working and I was told that it's coming on the next update.
After deciding that the functionality and learning curve was more than our company was willing to suffer through at the current time, I told Chad that we may be interested in the future, but we were going to continue to utilize the other software.
I was told that our account would be cancelled. When I noticed (6 weeks later) that my credit card was still being billed I sent an email. Chad replied with a copy of the electronic agreement that I had to sign before we could try the software. What he didn't tell me about that several page long agreement, was that they had locked me into a contract for 12 months and that I would be locked into paying a monthly fee of $249 even though I wouldn't be using the program. So much for the trial time to 'compare'.
I really have never had such lacking customer service from anyone.
Bottom line - while BuildTools has some great features, I will never use or recommend them simply because of the treatment I've received by their support team.
Compared to all of the other products we reviewed, nothing came close to the features and ease of use that BuildTools offers.
We've been using BuildTools for just under two years. I can say without question that it is one of the best decisions that I've made for my remodeling business. We looked at several different competitive products, and were amazed at the differences we found in BuildTools. The Schedule module is really second to none. We actually now schedule projects without ever speaking with subcontractors. We publish the schedule and update as things change. We send messages and documents to the contractors electronically. We track all of our project selections and change orders using BuildTools. I'm sure we been saved from countless mistakes because of the level of organization BuildTools has added to our building process. I highly recommend this product! I could not run my business without it.
None. The buildtools team has been quick to respond to our requests for new features, and training was very simple.
We've had a great start to BuildTools. We've been with BuildTools for a month now and really feel like we know the system. It took a couple of weeks to get spooled up, but we're rolling now. The training team was great; we set up several initial training sessions with my team. Trainings were customized for the various users. The support folks were also very responsive for quick questions, both on the phone and via email.
We haven't found anything to complain about. Based on the support we've had thus far, I'm not worried.
Ability to track the schedule, budget and project health and history at the press of a button.
The features are useful and helpful to the bottom line. I can track the health of my project much easier and it helps add structure to our company organization. The pricing structure allows us to utilize the software on all our projects without having to pay a premium per project. It is perfect for custom builders and re-modelers. We can track our resources more efficiently and maintain a tighter project schedule.
It occasionally will have minor glitches or lags where I will need to refresh my browser and re-try.
Regency Builders is celebrating our 40th anniversary this year and will do about $20 million in 2013. We build high end custom homes in the Milwaukee area.
We have been using BuildTools since its inception and watched how the product has continually evolved and changed with input from various customers as well as the team at BuildTools. This software has significantly improved our systems and ability to communicate with our clients, subs, and team.
We no longer print plans for the subs to bid on which saves us significant dollars. More importantly, we don't have to waste time calling subs for a bid. They bid off Build Tools; it's significantly more efficient.
The clients love it because we are able to store all selections, communicate with them more timely, schedule the home, handle change order and in general keep them up to date more efficiently.
I would guess that this is saving us at east 100 man hours per home. We do use this as a sales tool and it is a significant differentiator.
We have used Buildtools for about 2 years and are finding it not a good fit for us anymore. As a commercial general contractor we struggle to use Buildtools because it lacks some detail and features we need.
Fast, streamlined and simple, good customer service. Nice style and presentation..
Too residential, limited features, no sub contract change orders, no way to resend purchase agreements or sub contracts. Most of the emails sent from Buildtools get sent to spam by vendors.
BuildTools is a great product. It does everything I need and then some. The staff at BuildTools is fantastic. Their knowledge of the program, construction, and general business acumen is great. They've helped not only with setup of the software, but provided valuable insight to better help me run the business.
We had a great experience. I can't say that there's anything that we didn't like.
We wanted software flexibility enough to process production building, custom homes, and remodeling alike. Buildtools has the flexibility to perform.
Before Buildtools, Icon used paper processing. I custom designed and built a complete back end and customer friendly Web based system. Complete with all customer colors, selection, change orders, contracts, dynamic lot selection, and a flash drag and drop floor plan interface.
Implementation is still underway, we started with service and plan to load some clients in selection next month without adding there email address yet but extending them a logon. I was disappointed to have no training literature. I am underway building videos for individual process and workflow, but it is tedious.
Benefits so far are a more organized and full understanding of company warranty. Oh, and Scott has been great.
good customer service, but you will need them quiet many times.
extremely slow for people which time is an asset, many basic stuff dont exist
BuildTools has been an excellent addition to our business! We have been a client for several years now and have enjoyed the fantastic feedback from our clients to keep them up to date on their jobs, especially our out of town clients. We were using several out of date products in the past that were not centralized into one complete system. BuildTools now gives us the ability to track job schedules, communicate to clients immediately of any changes, show current status of the jobsite (upload photos from our smart phones from the jobsite), and keeping track of all the job specific information that goes on behind the scene that the customer does not see. I would highly recommend the software and the team at BuildTools!
Regency Builders is a significant custom home builder in the Milwaukee marketplace. Our homes average $1.2 million and we typically build or remodel 20 homes a year. We have been in business since 1973.
We are a systems-based, customer-focused, and family-owned company that has gained significant market share in the recession due in a large part to our reputation, quality, value, innovation and customer communication/satisfaction.
We have used BuildTools since January and it has been everything that we were looking for in a online management system. This is a part of our sales process and it has been an easy tool for our team and customers to implement
The BuildTools team responds quickly and fluidly to ideas and complications.
The interface is easy to navigate. It has a good budget and schedule.
After the initial set up/sales process, most interaction is handed off to their third party tech support. They are typically easy to get ahold of initially but did not have answers and had to get back to us. We typically did not hear back from anyone without repeated follow ups from us. There is not any type of help button or knowledge base outside of the above mentioned tech support.
Buildtools was probably one of the worst apps we ever used. No one was able to understand how to utilize it and no real templates were available. Getting in contact with customer service for help wasn't very easy either.
Cost was pretty low
In general we like the software but it needs improvements. We were promised last year that their leads part of the software would be updated. I started talking to representatives from the company about how to improve it back in October of 2012. I was told these improvements should be in place by February 2013. It is now September 2013, and I'm still waiting. It is very difficult to get anybody on the phone/customer service. Over the past few weeks I have left three messages and have received zero callbacks.
The initial sales team was great. We felt that they understood our needs and that we were a great fit.
Some of the bugs aren't worked out, and we feel like a tester for the software.
They are very responsive, and it's a great tool for our customers to see and use.
The schedule software has to reload to line date up to the columns. It's not a big deal, but you have to refresh the screen on the working schedule part.