Voted a Dallas Best Builder every year since 2006, Mark Molthan and the Platinum Series Homes team are honored to be among the top 2% of home builders in North Texas. As a “Builder 20,” Molthan achieved recognition from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) for being a top builder in one of the nation’s best real estate markets.
But Platinum Homes was losing money on change orders from demanding clients. When it came time to present the final bill to the homeowner, it would turn into a messy, uncomfortable situation. He recalls multiple instances that sounded something like this: “I had it in my head that we were only over budget by a few thousand dollars, I had no idea we were this far over!”
Moments like these have become a common trend in the market. “We had to negotiate our final draw on every home,” says Molthan. He recalls one particularly costly instance which ended up becoming a turning point for him.
“We had one homeowner who verbally approved a $100K cost on tile, but when it came time to pay that $100K he said, ‘No, no, that’s not what we agreed to.’ So, we were stuck holding the bag and negotiating on it.” Mark could remember clearly the specific conversation he had with his client, but ultimately, he did not have signed documentation. It was his word versus the client’s. “That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
In BuildTools, Molthan has found exactly the solution he needed. BuildTools provides a way to document client interactions and remove any gray area, keeping everyone up to date on common points of conflict such as budgets, change orders, and schedules. Once Platinum Homes had BuildTools in place, they saw the “us-versus-them” situations disappear. “BuildTools is a relationship maintainer,” says Molthan. “It is the silent salesperson for us, telling the customer what they need to know. It’s always working for us, 24 hours a day.”
Using BuildTools as part of the sales process
For Platinum Homes, BuildTools is part of his sales process. “Using it to communicate the fees to the buyer has helped our margin as a business the best. It’s part of our sales process and a differentiator (from the competition).”
BuildTools is used during the initial meetings with clients. “Because it’s all digital, you can see it on an iPad, you can put it up on the presentation screen. It’s all right there. I use it to show how it’s an open communication tool that eases the pains that I had in the previous experience.”
During the recent need to work remotely, BuildTools has made it easier to facilitate meetings with clients by logging into the system to discuss the project. “It has been a game changer for us,” says Molthan.
No more “us-versus-them”
BuildTools gives clients their own dedicated login credentials, so they have access to current schedules, change order information, and total budget figures always. There is no need to call up the home builder or project manager or negotiate based on false claims or unclear information, and no nasty surprises when it comes time to hand off the keys.
“We’re not the bad guys anymore,” says Molthan. “We’re the ones helping them through this process. BuildTools makes the client feel like a part of the team and because of it, our clients are happy.”
While other construction management software only allows for one client user account per project (with each additional user incurring the builder extra charges), BuildTools allows creation of unlimited user logins for any given project.
Simplify the process and maximize profit
This was not the first time Molthan had turned to software to solve common home building problems. “We had been in and out of a variety of different systems and software in the past, and it was hard to communicate information to the customer.
“We went through a couple of different accounting systems as well, but that was just a waste. None did what we needed them to do.”
BuildTools is created by real home builders, so by design it specifically addresses the common needs that would otherwise require a series of unconnected systems. “We were downloading the info from QuickBooks into Excel,” recalls Molthan, “building a report in order to generate the necessary change orders. Eventually we got the report built, but three months later had to recreate it.”
BuildTools centralizes all communication and documentation into one hub, accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. It then connects all that information to make it responsive, so when a change is made in one area, a ripple effect is sent throughout budgets, schedules, and notifications, saving builders, project managers and accountants countless hours of tedious adjustments. “It’s user-friendly for us and for the homeowner,” Molthan happily states, “and it’s easy to navigate. It helps me run my business better. It’s as simple as that.”
Mark has seen the effects of BuildTools not only in client relations and time management, but also on his bottom line.
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