Getting Employees Setup on Knowify’s Smartphone App

Knowify’s smartphone application for field technicians is a great way to automate your job costing in real time from the job site. Giving employees access to Knowify on their phones can save you time dispatching workers, entering their time sheets, and reviewing reimbursement and expense requests. To get your employees started using the app, navigate to the Users tab of your Admin Section:
  1. First, you’ll want to choose User with Mobile Access to Knowify Only from the Type of Access field:
  2. Next, fill out all of the employees data, including their email address: This is also where you can add their Role for budgeting and scheduling. You can also add a Direct Manager and Approval Authority where Approval Authority controls the amount of purchases they can submit without approval, and the Direct Manager is the person who will have to review when they go over.
  3. Last, you’ll want to fill out the users permissions: Tracks their time will be the minimum requirement for mobile time tracking access. Is a foreman or can approve time cards will give them the ability to use the smartphone to Check In/Out other users that are working with them.
  4. When you click the Add User button at the bottom, it will send the user an email to the address entered in step 2 that they can open on their smartphone:
  5. Pressing Click Here to Activate Your Account will bring them to a screen where they can set their password: After entering the new password twice, they will see a confirmation screen:
  6. Next, they will want to go to the App Store (iPhone) or the Google Play Store (Android) and download the Knowify Application (it is free to download):
  7. Once the app is downloaded, simply open up Knowify, enter the email and password, and click Log in And they will be able to see what they have to work on that day to start tracking their time!

Release 2.18: Change Log

Our version 2.18 contains significant improvements to Knowify.

This is the complete change log: (it’s a long list!)

1. The high-level analytics are now much closer to real-time and more accurate. We’re sure many of you had at some point or another experienced frustration waiting for the Knowify Dashboard or Contract Jobs table to update with the current numbers. Well, those days are over: job-related numbers will now update immediately.

Numbers

2. Subcontractors no longer have their own independent Phase type in Plan and Track. There were times when the old structure could create weird issues when you wanted to buy materials or have PM/supervision time as a part of a Subcontractor phase; now, since all phases can include labor, materials, or subs, this should be much easier to deal with. Also, you can select the Sub while you are budgeting if you wish to.

3. We’ve added a really cool new tool that checks with the email host you’re sending your proposals or invoices to to make sure that your client’s email address is correct before you hit send. This feature is not compatible with every email host, so it may not catch 100% of the errors, but it will catch a lot of them! Hopefully this will spare you from getting messages from us in the future letting you know that your emails bounced!

4. We’ve added a summary view for time across all your employees in the Time Tracker. Now you can quickly view the weekly totals per resource or day.

Time Overview

5. The Job Board scheduling tool has been enhanced to better support Service Tickets. (from Dispatch Jobs)

6. We added Excel copy-paste functionality to Plan and Track and Purchases, which will allow you to quickly create job budgets or purchase orders.

7. In the Customize section of the Admin panel, you can now set Knowify to hide all the closed jobs for job costing purposes or set default terms and exclusions for all your bids.

Numbers

8. Tax management for non-US and non-QBO companies has been improved significantly.

9. Now we provide information about Payments in the Contract Jobs section. Just click on ‘Billed’ to see the Payments. You will also notice that we highlight the paid part of the revenue with a darker green color.

Numbers

10. There are new data imports:

– Reviewed time

– Catalog

– Billable Items

11. In Review Time you can bulk allocate time entries to a specific job.

Numbers

12. We’ve fixed issues around Invoice Number for deposit invoices.

13. The flow to create subcontractors has been improved to make it easier and faster. You can now create the vendor, set it as a subcontractor and select a role at the same time.

14. Logic to calculate retainage has been improved to account for change orders with retained amounts produced once the initial retaiange has already been invoiced.

15. We provide additional information about retainage in the Contract Jobs section. Just click on ‘more info’ to better understand where this retainage comes from.

Numbers

16. You can now fix check outs from your employees when they forget to do it on the same day that they checked in.

17. For those approving many time entries at the same time, the table will now send all the approved entries straight to history so that you can focus on the pending ones.

18. Job Costing Hubs lets you now assign items within the same PO to multiple jobs.

19. You have a significant changes in the Customize section for the Admin panel:

– New setting that let’s you set the company address as default for any new POs.

– New setting to limit budgeting to roles in Plan and Track. This might be convenient for companies that do not wish that certain PMs see the hourly wages of other employees. Contact support@knowify.com to activate this setting.

– New section to manage the existing job Tags. There you can see what tags you are using and delete them.

Numbers

– The setting to disregard scheduling is back and companies using it should have an improved experience in Enter Time section.

– New setting to enable and disable WIP.

– New setting to swap Name and Description when dealing with catalog items. Contact support@knowify.com to activate this setting.

20. We have improved the flow to reject a bid, whether you do it from Contract Jobs, the Job Details or the Contract section.

21. We are working on our Dashboard Feed section to make it more useful and you’ll start seeing notifications when services tickets are completed and jobs or phases are closed.

22. Labor and Subcontractors can be disabled in the Plan and Track section after being enabled.

23. Draft project plans are now displayed in Job Board and are available for job costing purposes.

24. Knowify will not longer create billable items when time or purchases are allocated against jobs with no contract. If you wish to create billable items for them, you’ll have to setup an Other Agreement.

26. Both the Vendors and Billable Items sections have been improved to make them faster.

27. We have grouped actions in Review Time and Job Status to unclutter the interface.

28. RFI section will now suggest emails as we do in e-signature or email invoices sections.

29. Deleting a bill will free up taxes and shipping from associated POs.

30. The Job Status section gives you now access to the customer contact information.

31. The rates section calculates average budget costs for you roles based on the costs of all the resources with that role.

32. After sending a change order out for signature you will no longer be redirected to the Manage Contract Jobs section.

33. We have improved the information we provide about Unbilled value in Contracts Jobs. Now you can click on ‘more info’ and we’ll redirect to the Billable Items sections where you’ll see the billable items for that job and have the option to remove them if you don’t plan on billing the client for them.

34. There are structural changes to our sync with QuickBooks Online and new companies will have to go through a setup process to verify that all default settings are correct.

If you have any questions or wish to share your feedback, you can find us at support@knowify.com.

The Knowify Team

Tracking Labor Cost

One of Knowify’s many powerful tools is the ability to track real-time labor cost on each of your jobs. Using a loaded labor burden rate, all employee hours entered against jobs can show you an accurate view on how much you’re spending on labor, beyond just their pay rate. Also, with the help of Knowify’s Smartphone Application, employees can log their hours from the field by checking in and checking out of the jobsite, to give the most accurate timesheets possible.

The first step to tracking labor costs in Knowify is setting up the employees that you’ll be tracking. This will all be managed in the User’s tab of your Admin Section:

You can add three different types of user in your system:

  1. Users with Access to Knowify
  2. Users with Mobile Access to Knowify Only (this includes subcontractors or 1099 vendors)
  3. Users with No Access to Knowify
  4. It is important to differentiate between the different types of users in your accounts when delegating responsibilities and privileges within your account. This chart provides some examples of access given to the different types of user accounts in Knowify:

    Users with Access Users with Mobile Access Only Users with NO Access
    Create purchase orders and manage committed costs Log Time Can be used to enter time manually against a job with a predetermined rate
    Manage Jobs *Check-In/Out Other Employees
    Create new projects View Job Details
    Adjust and Setup Scheduling Communicate Internally
    Invoicing and recording payments Upload Purchases
    Creating/Reconciling Bills
    Manually enter & approve time
    Build & Send proposals for digital e-signatures
    *Must be given Foreman Access in the users section

    Any of these types of users can be tracked in your projects as labor cost, but first, you’ll need to set a loaded labor burden for each of them. This can be done in the Rates tab of your admin section:

    Setting this rate will control how labor is costed to your jobs as hours are added to the system. You can input the employee’s base rate, any benefits collected, labor taxes, insurance/workman’s comp percentage, an estimated union rate, and any other overhead costs you’d like to factor in. The final column, labeled “Hr Rate” will show the final value being costed to the job each hour. Yearly rates will be used to calculate an estimated hourly burden for the sake of job costs (total yearly cost divided by an estimated 2,000 business hours).

    Once all of this setup is complete, you can start tracking the labor cost on jobs by entering employees’ hours. The majority of this will be handled in your Time Tracker module:

    Within the time tracker module, you can enter time for your employees manually, get a breakdown of all entries submitted through the smartphone application, review the time entries that have been submitted, and produce a number of different time reports for your reference.

    Enter Time

    The first section of the Time Tracker is called “Enter Time”. This is where you can manually enter time on an employee-specific basis. In other words, you can choose one of your employees from the drop down menu, and we will list all of the projects/dispatch jobs that they are currently scheduled on. You can then fill in the amount of hours worked for that project under any given day of the week: Simply click on the box to enter time for the date that corresponds to any job listed under the employee’s name. If your employee is not scheduled on a job, you can click “Add New Activity” to manually assign an employee to any of your jobs.

    Foreman View

    The “Foreman View” is a way for us to also enter time manually, but instead of searching by employee, this is a way for us to search by job. Click on Foreman View, then search for your job (if necessary, you can select a different date). Once you have your job, you can select the corresponding job phase that you want to enter time towards. Once you select the job phase, you will see a list of all the employees from your users section, as well as an indication as to who is scheduled on the job for that day. In the foreman view, you will see who is scheduled to work, you can enter the amount of time each employee worked (whether they are scheduled or not), and also add in any relevant description/comments for each time entry.

    Check In/Out View

    The next section is the “Check In/Out View”, where you can see all the check in/out entries submitted through the mobile app, as well as add a manual check in/out. When you select the date range, we will display all check ins and outs for that period of time as well as some additional information for you: You can see in the screenshot above, we display the day, employee name, job and job phase they checked in for, a timestamp of when they checked in and out, and the total time spent on the job between checking in and out. We also display, with respect to the job site address, whether the employee was on site or how far off site they were when they submitted this entry. To the far right, we will also show if the time was approved yet (foreshadowing…) as well as what type of phone/tablet was used.

    You also can always add a manual check in as well by clicking “Add New Entry”, located next to the date range. Once you click here, you can choose your employee, the job you want the check them into, as well as the date and start time. You also have the option of setting the time out to complete the time entry, however if that is left blank, you can come back into this check in/out view later and check them out with one click. Also, if you manually check in an employee and don’t set the time out, they will be able to check in from their mobile application:

    Review Time

    The last section of the Time Tracker module is “Review Time”. Here you will be able to see all of the entries submitted over a given time frame and have the option to approve, reject, or adjust each entry.

    In the review time section, you get the date of each entry, the employee name, job and phase worked on, and total elapsed time spent for each time entry. You can select time entries by checking the box to the left (select all is an option) and perform various actions by choosing to approve, reject, adjust (see below screenshot), or delete at the bottom of the page. *You will also notice one of my entries in the screenshot above shows “Syncing” to the far right of the page. This relates to our sync with Quickbooks Weekly Timesheet, where for any employee setup and linked in both Knowify and Quickbooks, we will sync over to Quickbooks the hours you approve in this section of Knowify. It is important to note, the cost you use in Knowify is purely for job costing purposes and DOES NOT sync to Quickbooks. We only sync the hours to your “Weekly Timesheets” section of Quickbooks.

    When you choose to adjust any of the time entries selected, you have a few options on how to do move forward. First, you can select “Set Time” and just enter the adjusted time entry here (hh:mm format). However if you select the “Add/Subtract” option, you can either add or remove time from the existing entry. In the example below, I can subtract 30 minutes off of the existing entry to account for a lunch break by entering the information as follows:

    Time Reports

    Knowify can also generate a number of Time Reports with these entries in the “Reports” section of Knowify. You will get an exported PDF or XLSX document downloaded for whichever report you choose. Each report presents a different piece of information:

    1. Time Report (PDF)– Sorts by client/department and by employee:
    2. Time Rate Report (PDF)– Sorted by list of jobs: shows date, employee name, services provided (job phase, comments, check in/out), and the amount of time
    3. Time Card Report (XLSX) – Gives you a breakdown of all check in/out entries for a given time frame
    4. Timesheet Report (XLSX) – AKA Service Report: list each day as a separate column within the date range specified and marks the amount of hours each employee worked for each particular day
    5. Foreman Report (XLSX) – lists each employee, their total hours worked in the range, and total $ of reimbursements in the date range specified
    6. Payroll Report (XLSX) – Breakdown of total hours worked for a given time frame, overtime hours accrued, total gross amount owed, as well additional fields for you to manually put in additional information (for example: vacation time).

    To learn more about labor costing and entering time in Knowify, you can check out the tutorial video on time tracking by clicking here.

Pulling Credit Card Transactions into Knowify from QuickBooks

QuickBooks Online has an awesome feature that can automatically load your Credit Card transactions into your QBO account. Knowify has an awesome feature that can automatically load your QBO transactions into your jobs. Put the two of them together, and you get some great automated job costing!

To start this process, you’ll need to know that Knowify can only pull any Expense transactions from QuickBooks. You can find the full list of expenses in QuickBooks here:

QuickBooks will auto-pull your credit card transactions into your QBO account, but they won’t automatically end up in the Expenses. You’ll start by going to the Banking tab of your QBO account:

This is where you will see all credit card transactions that have been made and synced with your QuickBooks account. However, to pull them into Knowify, you’ll first have to pull them into your Expenses. You can do this by selecting the necessary lines:

And when you choose “Accept Selected” it will pull them into your Expenses:

And when you sync with Knowify, it will pull them in as purchases:

You can click on the dollar value in the “Description” column to point them at Knowify jobs:

Or you can use the Job Costing Hub:

And it will be as simple as making sure all the expenses are allocated to the correct jobs in Knowify for job costing! You can learn more about pulling expenses from QuickBooks into Knowify in this video!

E-Signing Proposals and Change Orders

You have probably received an email from a contractor you are working with that looks like the following:

This email was sent by the contractor via Knowify and contains a link that will let you e-sign the estimate and get the job started. This makes the process paperless and faster, saving time and money for everyone involved in the job. Feel free to click the link and have a look at the estimate. You can also request changes or reject the estimate after clicking the link.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where is the link?

2. What happens when I click on the link?

You will be directed to Knowify’s e-signature portal, which looks like this:

You will know this is the official e-signature portal of Knowify because the url should read ‘https://esign.knowify.com’.

3. How do I know this is a legit email?

You will be receiving the email from messages@knowify.com, which is Knowify’s authorized email address. Additionally, you will see the contractor’s email copied in the email. Plus, the name of the contractor will be included in the Sender information and in the footer. In any case, if you are not sure, just contact us at 212 233 3230 and we’ll confirm for you that this is a legit email.

4. For some reason the link is not working. What can I do?

Sometimes, unfortunately, certain browsers, email applications or corporate networks will prevent you from clicking this link. This is the case when you try to open the link from the office if you work for a company that has very restrictive security policies. For instance, if you work at Verizon, the link will not work.

Also, certain schools, universities and public entities have very restrictive network policies that might prevent you from opening the link.

In any case, if the link appears to be broken or disabled, you can try the following:

a) Copy the link and paste it onto the search bar of you browser.

b) If the previous step doesn’t work, you can try to open the link on your personal phone. Make sure you are not on the company’s wifi or you might run into the same issue again!

5. The link works, but it says the proposal is no longer available. What happened?

You will see the message when the contractor has cancelled the proposal. Don’t worry! If you are still expecting a proposal from this contractor, just sit tight and you should be receiving an email with a new link.

6. Is all this process secure?

Knowify uses the latest technology to protect your data. All the transmission is encrypted and the link is disabled once the document is signed or rejected. If you check on the search bar of your browser once you are in the e-signature portal, you will see that the browser confirms that all you information will be safe.

6. I do not like clicking on strange links. What are my alternatives?

If you are not fond of e-signatures or just don’t link clicking on links, you can always use the PDF attached to the email and return it signed to the contractor. That’s also ok, the important part is to get the job started and have a successful project!

A picture is worth 1000 words…

Indeed! SO, if a picture is worth 1000 words, you should be taking pictures of all your projects – before, during, and after. That’s can help you show your best work, “make the fewest mistakes and cover your butt,” according to a GAF PROBlog post by Luke Hansen of CompanyCam, a start-up that manages contractors’ photos.

While Hansen advocates getting everyone on your team to snap photos as a recordkeeping/promotional undertaking, he notes the three following, not-to-be-missed occasions where photos can make a difference:

Sales and Estimating

“The moment your [salespeople] get out of their trucks…they should probably start taking photos,” writes Hansen. Not only is it important for estimating, it’s valuable for documenting pre-existing conditions should an issue arise at the end of a job. Hansen even recommends taking photos of the client’s driveway, noting: “Your distributor will LOVE you if you save them a few thousand dollars by producing a photo that shows the driveway was already cracked before their truck was on it.”

Pre-documenting a job site, he says, can also help with job continuity. Should a sales rep leave a job, someone else on your team could still put together a bid without traveling back to the site. It also facilitates information sharing — rather than launch into a lengthy explanation of what they need, your reps can just show the photos.

Operations

Hanson also recommends using your sales rep photos to prep crews on the job before they go out. And then, when the team hits the job site, he suggests each immediately take pictures on arrival and when they finish work for the day. This helps you track progress, and also time management. Because photos are time and date stamped, he says, it can help with time tracking (although Knowify does this automatically!).

Crew leaders can also take snapshots to document the unexpected, like mold or rot, which can be emailed to a client who can quickly approve any additional work/cost.

Marketing

Pretty pictures sell. Hansen says his crew leaders photograph the completed project and his inspector follows with a QC check takes more photos. It is these photos, he says, that are used in marketing, shared on Facebook, and even highlighted in the company’s blog series titled “Roofs of the Week.”

Bottom line, concludes Hansen, “If you’re disciplined in taking photos throughout the entire process, you’re going to save yourself money, headaches, and most importantly time. Selling more jobs is just a bonus.”

Integrating photography into your operating arsenal makes a lot of $ense. But running a smart business profitably makes even more sense. How do you get there? Let’s talk. Knowify is already helping contractors run their businesses better — integrating business management and accounting systems like QuickBooks from an easy-to-use interface accessible from any device — in the field and in the office.

So let’s talk. Pick up the phone. Call me at 212-233-3230. I’m Marc Visent, and I’m one of the founders of this company.

Knowify. Built for the real world.

What’s your business strategy — revenue or growth?

Writing for QuickBooks Resource Center, April Maguire tackled one of Knowify’s customers’ thorniest business dilemmas: Where to focus. Should you position your business with an eye to revenue or position your business with an eye to growth, and why does that matter?

According to Maguire, starting and growing a new business often means walking a thin line between earning revenue and pursuing growth. After all, she says, “a business can’t be successful if it doesn’t bring in profits, which requires revenue. In the long run, however, growing into new markets is crucial if a company hopes to move beyond the startup stage.”

Where are you?

Revenue-focused businesses concentrate primarily on earning money. In construction and the trades, that typically means the money you receive from the sale of your service and the markup on the materials used to deliver that service. Maguire reports that small businesses with a revenue-based mindset “tend to focus on creating a solid revenue model for long-term profitability before expanding their efforts” elsewhere. Growth-focused companies, she says, concentrate on expanding service and territory “at the expense of near-term profitability.” Contractors with this mindset tend to be concerned with growing market share first, and then in building cash revenues. They are likely to hire employees sooner, upgrade operations and spend on marketing — all with an eye to expanding their customer bases.

Cash now or cash later?

Revenue-based business models, Maguire writes, are often considered “safer choices because they focus on creating a model for profitability.” That same revenue focus also can prevent a company from growing too quickly and finding itself suddenly in the throes of expanding so rapidly it sacrifices quality for quantity.

Key, she says, is that growth-focused businesses, especially in their earliest stages, may rush themselves out of business — hiring too few or inadequately training workers, running into serious cash flow crunches that hamstring their ability to make payroll and pay vendor bills.

Maguire also cautions that growth doesn’t always mean profit. Acquiring more business by cutting prices, or trimming margins squeeze cash flow. Better, she says it to ensure you are actually making money on the business you close before expanding into other markets or niches.

Can growth pay off?

Yes, says Maguire, if you are a company like Groupon…or, you are in a highly competitive industry. So ask yourself, are you, and should you? If the HVAC business in your market is flush with competitors, your business strategy may be to “buy” market share by trimming margins and low-ball bidding to draw customers away from your competitors and drive them out of business.

It’s a risky strategy, Maguire notes, “but if you’re focused only on immediate profits, you might make money in the short term while missing an opportunity for huge success down the line.”

Can you be both?

Sure, why not? But it’s a tricky juggling act. Maguire says the best-case scenario for startups is to demonstrate solid revenue while growing their customer bases. That’s difficult to accomplish for most contractors who have limited resources. But, she notes, with careful planning and the right tools, it is possible.

Use the right tools

Not wrenches and snakes, but advisors like a bookkeeper, an accountant, and the right technologies. Each can mean the difference between eking out a living and making real money. Knowify, for one, can help. We’re already helping contractors like you integrate their business management needs with accounting systems like QuickBooks from an easy-to-use interface accessible from any device — in the field and in the office. So let’s talk. Pick up the phone. Call me at 212-233-3230. I’m Marc Visent, and I’m one of the founders of this company.

Knowify. Built for the real world.

Release 2.16: Change Log

Our version 2.16 has been released 2 weeks ahead of schedule!

This is the complete change log:

1. Labor budgets can now be expressed as dollar values at the phase level rather than as man hours by role or resource. We would still strongly encourage you to budget by expected man hours if you can, since tracking against expected hours can provide better insights on job progress vs. expectation. But if you’re in a hurry, dollar-value budgeting is certainly better than nothing!

Labor Budgets

2. In Owner Contracts, you can now decide whether you want to display subtotals at the line item level or just a total value for the proposal.

Labor Budgets

3. You can now add custom Tags to your jobs, which will make it easier to find them in the main jobs table and, soon, to generate reports based on those tags. You can also use this feature as a simple CRM tool.

Job Tags

4. We have a new Reports section where you can easily find all the available reports in Knowify.

5. There is a new Purchases report, with all your purchases and catalog allocations for a given period of time. You can use it to adjust inventory and track purchases.

6. There is a new Time Card report, with all time entries for a given time frame. It will list each employee on a different tab

7. Catalog items can now be added to bills.

8. Improvements to Job Board. Besides, if you have Job Board enabled, you will get to schedule resources directly from Job Board instead of doing it on Plan & Track.

Job Tags

9. Support for IE 11 has been discontinued.

10. Validation of browser support for cookies and local storage. Please keep in mind Knowify relies on cookies and local storage to keep your session safe.

11. Improvements in simple and advanced jobs reports to better manage Project Manager, Sales Lead and job dates.

12. Deposits now relay on a catalog item instead of an account to sync with QuickBooks. Please set up this service in the QuickBooks section.

13. Weekly payroll report has now 1 week per tab.

14. Time cards sort entries by clients instead of by job.

15. Support in reports to handle job names with special characters ([]/\:).

16. Final deployment of our infrastructure to support QuickBooks Desktop.

If you have any questions or wish to share your feedback, you can find us at support@knowify.com.

The Knowify Team

Roofing Contractor Young Innovators

Working the niches

A recent article by Roofing Contractor Editor Art Aisner, on “Young Guns” highlighted the next generation of roofing contractors and industry professionals positioned to succeed in their markets and industry. All those profiled were under 40. What makes them unique, is their ability to identify key gaps in their markets and to create the right infrastructures to run and grow their businesses.

Finding a niche in a saturated market
Dustin Guess and Chris Perry are one such pair. They started their roofing careers in high school working for a company owned by a friend’s father, staying through college graduation. They did demo, managed projects and sold the occasional roof to a friend or family member.

As college grads, each pursued other careers. Then, in 2008, Hurricane Ike wreaked havoc on Texas’ eastern shore. In the wake of the nearly $30 billion devastation, the two found opportunity — insurance restoration work. They started a small roofing company focused on insurance adjustment work in Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia. They liked the work, but the travel exhausted them. So, in 2010 they launched Absolute Roofing & Waterproofing, a residential roofing company serving the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Perry’s father, a veteran salesman, joined the company in its second year. By 2016, Absolute had moved to Frisco, Texas, and expanded to Waco. Guess and Perry added commercial and industrial roofing work to their business model and diversified into metal roofing and fabrication, selling to other contractors.

The company currently has about $7 million worth of work in its pipeline, 15 full-time employees, and uses subs to maintain a 70/30 commercial/residential split. Survival and profiting in a market saturated with roofing companies remains a challenge, despite the area’s rapid construction growth. Texas, in particular, does not require roofers to be licensed, so that when disaster hits, everyone hangs out a shingle and competition is fierce.

Guess and Perry say that key to success is being willing to outwork, outhustle, and outperform the competition. And, they credit their vision to their commitment to do things the right way and to give the best client experience to each and every client.

What Guess and Perry don’t spell out is that rapid growth required them to develop a business-appropriate infrastructure. Roofers, other trades, and even general contractors can only ensure their clients of the best possible experience (and that their companies remain profitable) when jobs are specified properly, bid accurately, and executed on time and on budget and that requires access to real-time information.

Be on the cutting edge of industry evolution
Another under-40 “Young Gun,” Caleb Strickler has taken the gospel of “access to real-time data” to heart. Working on roofs with his father as a teenaged project manager, he quickly realized that the best way to make more money — and move up the ladder, before eventually getting off it — was to stay productive and strive to be on the cutting edge as the industry evolved. Strickler currently is a field supervisor with Puff Inc., a provider of cold-storage and controlled-atmosphere storage which evolved into roofing, spray foam, and coatings.

As a field supervisor, Strickler is more involved in the bidding process, pre-construction, post construction, inspections and permitting process, and in the forensics of existing roofs and insulation/air barrier projects. Puff Inc. has embraced technology to enhance job site efficiency and deliver higher-quality service to customers. The company recently restructured its crews to improve productivity and relies on smartphones for real-time communication, sharing photos and client interaction.

So…if productivity matters, how are you doing?
You’re a contractor and a business owner, not a paper shuffler. There are tools and technologies designed to help you work on your business, not in your business so you can run your business with an eye towards delivering client satisfaction and profitable returns on every job you take on.

Smart operations matter. Just ask the Young Guns
Are you bidding accurately? Allocating time and materials appropriately? Do you know where your people are and what they’re doing? You should.

Accessing tools to deliver real transparency into hours, job assignments, client management, and productivity helps you ensure existing projects stay on schedule and on budget, and help you quickly collate and submit estimates for new business. These tools can mean the difference between eking out a living and making real money. And maybe even cut down the back office cleanup you do nights and weekends.

How do you get there? Do your research. Knowify, for one, can help. We’re already helping contractors integrate their business management needs with accounting systems like QuickBooks from an easy-to-use interface accessible from any device — in the field and in the office.

So let’s talk. Pick up the phone. Call me at 212-233-3230. I’m Marc Visent, and I’m one of the founders of this company.

Knowify. Built for the real world.

Release 2.15: Change Log

Our new release 2.15 is out! After 8 weeks of intense work, we’ve added many new features and improvements that will help you work faster and manage your business better.

This is the complete change log:

1. New e-signature infrastructure: After a thorough internal review, we discovered that almost 5% of Knowify e-signature attempts by 3rd parties (ie, your customers) were encountering difficulties. Most of these issues were due to old browsers or very high security settings, but even still we knew that that % was much too high. We completely rebuilt e-signature as a result. We expect far fewer issues going forward, with the added benefit of a better mobile-phone experience.

New e-Signature site

2. We’ve deployed the infrastructure to process credit card and ACH payments from your customers. This feature will be available to everyone by the end of the year.

Process credit card and ACH payments

3. Quick import from spreadsheet for plans and proposals: Easily paste multiple lines from any spreadsheet to a project plan or proposal in Knowify. This feature gets you one step closer to eliminating any double entry of data.

4. Ability to add manual locations when our map service cannot find the address. This will help you deal with new developments. Just drop a pin in the map so that we can get the exact GPS location.

5. Better support for taxes in Canada and Mexico: for our international users, we have improved the ability of Knowify to manage multiple tax rates in one single invoice.

Tax rates at the line item level

6. Improved sorting of line items in invoices.

7. Maintenance contracts: we have modified the language in our default template to better support per-visit billing. Keep in mind that we can customize these outputs for you. Just ping our customer support team.

8. Editing purchase orders will now modify any associated billable items when dealing with time and materials jobs.

9. Faster management of purchase orders: for those dealing with hundreds of open POs, we have improved the PO section to speed it up.

10. When you convert a service ticket into a contract job, we have improved the management of existing purchases and time entries so that they all display in the plan&track section.

11. We finally got rid of certain validations we had in the clients and vendors sections around emails. Now you can create/update different clients/vendors with the same email if you wish to.

12. Vendors marked as subcontractors (or 1099s) can be associated with mobile users now. This will let you give access to our smartphone app to your subs if you wish to.

Subs with mobile access

13. When processing vendor bills, we have included a warning if you are trying to add an invoice number that already exists on Knowify. This will avoid any double-entry issues.

14. Faster management of time entries: the review time section will be faster with our latest changes.

15. When adding new users, we have a new feature that helps you autocomplete the email address. Quite simple, but who wants to type all these domain names?

16. When creating invoices for your clients, you can now set the the markup for items coming from your catalog. We will also pull both cost and list price for these items.

17. Our catalog section has changed. There was unanimous feedback from the Knowify community to make it a regular table, so it was pretty obvious what we had to do.

18. Support for inventory items in catalog. You can now import inventory items from QuickBooks Online into Knowify.

19. Variable deliverables in other agreements will let you bill your customers by visit. Knowify will calculate the number of visits based on the number of time entries when you are about to create the invoice.

20. Support for QuickBooks Online categories: this is just a first step towards merging QuickBooks Online categories with Knowify tags in the catalog. This will be fully functional by the end of this year.

21. Final deployment of our infrastructure to support QuickBooks Desktop.

Stay tuned, because we have many improvements coming up by the end of the year, namely all our new features around our partnership with GAF and the ability to process credit card payments with Knowify.

The Knowify Team