Why an app is only as good as its setup

Have you ever signed up for an app just to have it not work? It’s probably one of the most frustrating, yet easily avoidable, things we tech-savvy people can do. But, generally, it isn’t a big deal. You’ve downloaded an app on your phone that you thought was interesting or thought you might need, it doesn’t work properly, so you get rid of it and find something else. No harm, no foul.

But what happens when you’re using an app for more important tasks, like managing your finances?

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@JustaConstructionGuy making the most of Instagram

As the owner of a contracting business, you already know that managing your jobsite activities, administrative tasks, and pipeline of new jobs is a significant challenge. We at Knowify stress that doing a great job at the first two – and really showing off your professionalism – can help with the third, since happy clients can often help drive new business through referrals. But there are many other things contractors can do to source leads, and one critically overlooked sales tool in our industry (don’t cringe!) is social media. An active social media presence is an easy way to stand out from the competition, while also making your business more visible and accessible to prospective clients.

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Zapier integration

Zap with Knowify

As you probably already know, Knowify covers a wide swathe of a contractor’s day-to-day business administration activities. But it doesn’t do everything – if it’s not job related, then Knowify may not address it. Would you like to use Knowify to help you with job costing and contract management, but wish it included a lead tracking or marketing side? Or perhaps you wish you could have your Knowify activity broadcast across your communication platform (like Slack), ensuring that everyone remained up-to-date on the activities of the business. We share your vision of end-to-end business automation, with modern software tools helping you to grow efficiently and intelligently, each one passing essential information to the others to ensure that your organization is a well-oiled machine.

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PaySimple integration

Knowify + PaySimple’s electronic payments

Each contracting business is as unique as the jobs it takes on and the customers with whom it interacts. It was important to us at Knowify that we be able to support our many different contractors with an electronic payment solution that was as flexible as their businesses, including e-check/ACH and even credit card, when appropriate. Not all contractors should accept credit cards, and even those that do should not accept them for all jobs (see below!), BUT… there are times when offering a customer the ability to pay with a credit card can be very helpful to the contractor, and thus something we wanted to support.

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Fundbox integration

Get a line of credit from Fundbox via Knowify

It’s an annoying truism for any trade contractor: your vendors expect you to pay on time, every time, while your customers don’t feel the same urgency when it comes to paying you. It’s doesn’t take a CPA to see the potential problem here: if vendors need to be paid now, but customers are taking their sweet time, you can run into some pretty serious cash flow problems. And, heaven forbid you’re a smaller-size contractor who finally landed a game-changing big job, those cash flow pains can actually start to threaten the health and viability of your whole business. It doesn’t have to be this way. Especially in that “big job” case, your counterparties are very likely to pay – nobody wants a mechanics lien on their property – and your contract with them leaves very little uncertainty as to what you’re owed. Recently, a number of really great services have emerged to help small contractors manage the cash-flow lumpiness of their businesses. Their services are generally quite inexpensive relative to other alternative financing sources, and are very easy to take advantage of – provided that you’re using the right sort of technology to enable them.

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QuickBooks integration

Knowify QBO

As part of our December “Integration Month” series, we would like to introduce you to some of the integrations we’ve built to help our contractors connect their Knowify to useful services in a seamless way. From short-term funding to electronic payments to zapier-mediated CRM connections, we are putting a lot of effort into trying to help our users run their businesses more efficiently and get the most out of their Knowify experience. We’d like to begin the series with our very first integration, which remains our most important one: Intuit’s QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online.

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Sales report from Knowify

Growing your business: Using the Knowify sales report as a catalyst

It’s become an accepted truism among economists and high-end business consultants: what you measure is what you get (see HBR Column: You are what you measure). It may sound complicated, but it’s not; the core concept is that your employees will do more of whatever you measure in terms of performance (especially if there are $-related consequences!), and less of whatever you don’t. So – what are you measuring in your business? And are you sure you’re measuring the right thing?

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Knowify Feature Fit Small Business

Fit Small Business Feature

Implementation: How to get started with Knowify… and succeed!

Maybe you’ve already decided to move forward with a business management package like Knowify. Maybe you’re just starting to think about it. In either case, you should be aware that implementing powerful, fully-integrated software packages is no small task. Please: go in eyes-wide-open. Knowify will transform your business for the better, but it does require an investment from you and your team – not typically in terms of monetary outlay (which is small), but rather in terms of time and a commitment to change old, stale business processes. If you’re ready to make the change though, and to embrace more streamlined, automated, and modern ways of running a contracting business… then read on!

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Summer Updates

Fall is almost upon us and we thought it would be the perfect occasion to summarize some of the enhancements we’ve released over the summer. We know you were busy, so most of these improvements have been applied to your account without disruption and you may have already noticed them. These are the highlights:

– Order materials for multiple phases in one single Purchase Order: If you use Knowify to send POs to your vendors, you’ve probably discovered this new feature that has been one of the most requested enhancements in Knowify history! Now, from Plan&Track, you can order budgeted materials for multiple phases in one single PO. Just click on “All phases” in the footer of this pop up and select the items.

MultiPhasePO Summer Updates

– Check in/out reminders set by the office: We’ve had reminders in the smartphone app for a while, but they were mostly set by the mobile user. Now, you can set them from the office and apply them to all mobile users in your account. Just go to the Admin section, Customize tab, and open the section Phone Reminders. There you can set the time for both the check in and check out reminders.

PhoneReminders Summer Updates

– Total counts in Review Time: Managing a large number of time entries in the Review Time section can be tricky, but we have added a feature to simplify the process. As a first step, you can see that we’ve added a new count (‘Total period’) in the footer of the Review table. Now we also show you the total number of hours and $ for the entire group of entries matching the search parameters (the period), not only the count for those being displayed in the current page of the table.

period-review-totals Summer Updates

– Unallocated buckets: In the Internal module you can now see the Unallocated buckets for each of your departments. This will help you keep track of any expenses that remain unallocated in Knowify.

– Improved activity feed: We are gradually making the Activity Feed of Dashboard much more user friendly. Now you can have a better understanding of what’s going on in your company across jobs. We’ve improved the look and feel over the summer and we plan on adding some actionable features before the end of the year. Stay tuned!

activity-feed Summer Updates

– Re-opening Purchase Orders: Admin or users with unlimited approval can re-open Purchase Orders now. Just go to the details page of the PO and use the drop-down menu to find the option.

– Wizard to fix $0 time entries: Often, we create users but forget to assign them a burden hourly cost. If they track time, the entries will have a $0 cost. Now you can fix these issues in the Review Time page by clicking on the wrench icon next to the time entry cost.

no-rate-entry Summer Updates

– Search items by Item Number: When searching items in the catalog, now you can search by Item Number as well.

– Editing job in check in/out entries: In the Check In/Out View we let you modify the job for a given entry. This is perfect for those in the office that have to correct check in/outs against the wrong job.

JobCheckIn Summer Updates

– Notify Crew via Service Ticket: Now you can notify your crew with smartphone push notifications without leaving the Service Map. Just click in the service ticket and expand the dropdown menu.

– Catalog items in plan templates: When applying a Project Plan template, now we also take the Catalog Items from the template and apply it to the new plan.

– Working in the field with poor signal: We know that many jobs sites don’t get great signal, so we’ve been working hard to make the app work seamlessly even in low connectivity environments. Please make sure your crews are running the most recent versions of the app. If they aren’t already, you can always send a push notifications to all the phones via Dashboard to remind them.

UpdateAppNotification Summer Updates

– Contract Jobs Overview in Dashboard: We’ve strengthen this feature to account for estimated values in Cost Plus jobs in the Opportunity Section.

– New Phases Report: New report listing all phases for all active jobs. This is a perfect tool to make sure you are not missing anything, especially if you run many jobs at the same time. It’s a good complement of our Manage Phases section for those that prefer spreadsheets.

PhasesReport Summer Updates

– New Billable Items Report: If you run Cost Plus jobs, you might benefit from a report that shows all billable items for the job. You can also filter it by date range, in case you are looking for billable items for a given period. This is a useful report to have when you are preparing a invoice for a Cost Plus job, especially when there are many billable items involved.

BillableItemsReport Summer Updates

– [Growth and Enterprise Plans] Job Progress Report filtered by Tag: For those running this report, you can filter the results selecting a specific tag. This is convenient for those businesses running multiple divisions, like commercial vs residential, or construction vs service.

– [International Plans] Improvements around taxes: For our international friends, we’ve been enhancing the way we manage taxes in purchases and bills. As you already know if you use QuickBooks, tax management has been changing a bit and we are making sure all our features involving taxes work seamlessly despite these changes.

– [QuickBooks] Use catalog defaults for expenses: We’ve adjusted the logic for expenses pushed to QuickBooks so that if you use a Catalog Item, the expense will be pushed to the Expense Account associated with the Catalog Item. If there is none, then we’ll fall back to the default Vendor Expense Account. As a last resort, we’ll use the default Company Expense Account. This gives you more flexibility when allocating costs.