Introducing Knowify 3.0

Meet Knowify 3.0 – a sleek, glossy, user-friendly platform that will help you with running your contracting business in an efficient and professional manner.

We are still the Knowify you know and love with our classic construction features such as bids, change orders, and progress invoices, allowing you to seamlessly transition from paper to online-based processes. However, with your feedback, we’ve polished it and made it even better. Today, we release Knowify 3.0 with the goal of going one step further: providing you with the business intelligence that will give you an edge in the market.

First up: a new Dashboard experience.

New Dashboard

With this new Dashboard, you’ll have the most relevant business information at your fingertips, ready to take action when needed. This will include meaningful, real-time information on your jobs and crews to help you know where you stand in your business, from both a financial and operational standpoint.

The Dashboard is now organized into functional “cards”, each with its own purpose. Here are some highlights:

Contract Jobs Overview

This is a familiar card: backlog value from your approved contract jobs and opportunity value from your job leads. Use this card to get a general sense of your pipeline of leads and how much work is left in your current jobs.

Contract Jobs Overview

Job Progress

This card offers both operational and financial information about your active contract jobs. You can toggle between financial/operational by clicking on the icons in the header. Both views can be sorted by clicking on the headers.

Job Progress Operational

In the operational view, you can see the job progress based on completed phases and the estimated date of completion based on your latest scheduled phase.

Job Progress Financial

In the financial view, progress is measured by invoicing and budget progress.

Team Activity

In this card you get all your team activity at a glance, including the total hours of labor for the day and the active check ins.

Team Activity

With the bullhorn, you can quickly send text messages or emails to your crews to make sure there is seamless communication between the office and the field.

Learn more on how to effectively communicate in your business with Knowify here.

Daily Status

This card will get you a quick visual idea of which jobs have experienced activity in the current day. It also provides information about the job progress and the number of check ins.

Daily Activity

Invoices

Accounts Receivable status at a glance, with overdue an payment information for the last 30 days.

Bills

Bills

Accounts Payable information at a glance, with overdue and payment information for the last 30 days.

Invoices

Financial Services

Because the days of calling your bank to ask for funding are over: get a business credit line directly from the Knowify Dashboard with the help of Fundbox. We’ll be having a webinar soon to give you more information about this so stay tuned!

Fundbox

We will continue to release new cards as we receive feedback. Please email support@knowify.com with any cards you would love to see! Also, for our Enterprise accounts, one of your VIP features is having the ability to customize the dashboard to fit your needs!

Feature of the Week: Communicating with your Team in the Field

With your team all onboarded to Knowify , communication is so easy! We provide many ways for you to communicate with the rest of your team and for them to communicate with you. You can connect with your team through comments on jobs, uploading photos, scheduling, and push notifications.

Comments

Comments are important for communication so we have provided many locations throughout Knowify where you will be able to leave them. Some of these locations include:

– Attached to a contract job: you can make comments from the desktop version (in your plan & track section or your job log) or from the mobile app inside the phase details.

– Attached to service tickets: you can make comments from the desktop version (in the service map or in your job log) and from the mobile app inside of the ticket details.

– Along with any time entries – when checking out your employees will be able to write a comment that you will be able to view in your “review time” section and you can write your “reviewer’s comment” there as well, which will only be viewable by desktop users and will be posted to the job log.

To see all comments for any contract or service job just simply check the job log. There you will find all messages marked with the user’s name and time stamped.

Photos

Sometimes, when comments just aren’t enough you and your team will have to upload photos. You are able to do this both from your desktop or from a mobile device.

To upload photos from your desktop simply drag the photo or search and upload it into your “Documents & RFIs” section. If you are uploading it from your desktop you can choose whether or not you would like to share that photo with mobile users or if you would like to keep the photo on file for full-access users only.

To upload photos from a mobile device you can go to the job and upload photos or take a photo right in knowify in the documents section

Scheduling

A more subtle yet equally important form of communication is scheduling. As a desktop user you can schedule your workers in the field on specific phases of jobs for each day. These phases will appear on their phones when they open them that day. They will also be able to see the other jobs that they are scheduled on for the future by clicking “scheduled jobs” so that they can better plan their days.

Push Notifications

Sometimes you just need to get the message across right away – in times like these you will want to use our push notification feature! This will send a message to your employee’s phones (as long as they have push notifications turned on) and will send them an email with your message. Sending push notifications is easy to do through selecting the loud speaker on your dashboard, job board or in the app if you are a foreman. You can then create the note and select the employees that you would like to receive the message. You can learn more about how to send these push notifications here.

Thank you for reading about this week’s feature. If you would like more information please email us at support@knowify.com.

Feature of the Week: Custom Proposals

“You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.” We have heard this time and again but sometimes we forget just how much that first impression matters in our businesses. While you may be the best around, if you are not organized, using up to date technology and professional, it will show through your bid, and you will surely lose some potential clients. Your bid is your true first impression to your clients and how you present yourself matters. Appearing professional will help your customers trust you and show them that you take your work seriously. At Knowify, we offer a custom templating service complimentary with your subscription. The templates that we create are organized and easy to read, use the latest technology and will make you appear professional to your clients.

It used to be that you could tell a lot about a person from their handshake, now we can tell even more about someone with their “digital handshake”. Ditch the paper – email your documents straight to the customer for signature. When you send a bid out through Knowify it will go straight to the customer’s inbox where they can click on the link to get to our “signature portal”. From there they can sign the document and send it back to you digitally – and there is your digital handshake. This system is more convenient to your client and will be more convenient to you as well. You will be saving paper (which saves you money and helps the environment) and saving time – you can start as soon as they send back their approval which could happen in just minutes!

When sending any document through Knowify we will make sure you always look professional – we will keep your logo at the top, include a message in the subject line – we don’t leave a detail out! You will also be able to follow up with a customized digital invoice as well so all of your communication with the customer will look well coordinated. We already know you are tech savvy because you are using Knowify – and now your customers will know too!

Thank you for reading about this week’s feature. If you would like to request a customized document or have any other questions about this please email us at support@knowify.com.

Estimates and Invoices, POs and Bills: How a Little Extra Effort Can Pay Off

The office side of the business is frequently unloved in construction. We like to joke that nobody ever got into construction so they could sit at a desk working on spreadsheets all day. Because construction guys would much rather be in the field, they often develop little workarounds to make the office side of things faster – but as with any workaround, they give up something in the process.

One of the most common business process workarounds we see with new Knowify clients is the elimination of formal invoicing. Rather than prepare an invoice, many contractors just email the client saying, “Can I pick up the check tomorrow?” – the expectation being that whatever was quoted at the outset is what the client should pay right now. Leaving aside that this process doesn’t work for jobs beyond a certain size (a few thousand dollars), it leaves a bad taste in the customer’s mouth… it makes the contractor seem disorganized, and lacking diligence. Here’s the thing though: an invoice isn’t just paperwork; it’s an opportunity for more client engagement! You’re not just a tradesmen anymore; you’re a business owner – happy, satisfied clients can refer you to friends, ESPECIALLY if you ASK THEM TO! Here’s what you should do: work with your Knowify rep to create a beautiful invoice template that makes it look like you’re really on top of your game, and that you take your interactions with your clients seriously. Then put at the bottom of the invoice an invitation for feedback (it’s important to gather feedback, even if it’s negative), and a request for referrals! You’ll be surprised by what you can get from your clients if you ask them the right way.

Note: You can generate this detailed progress invoice report with Knowify. We can even fully customize it for you!

On the cost side of the equation, there’s a similar process that if not handled well can cost contractors money. Assuming your jobs are of a size that your suppliers won’t resist it, you should be sending out materials list for quote. We know that you have a great relationship with Joe @ XYZ Supplier, and that you’re certain that he’s giving you the best price. Reality: probably not. Negotiating materials prices up front can add multiple percentage points of margin to your business, and should not be overlooked. You wouldn’t overpay your employees or subcontractors, why should you overpay for materials? But once you have your quote, you need to make sure you’re paying the quoted prices! Suppliers can be disorganized, too, especially during busy times of the year. If someone in your office doesn’t have a quick and easy way to match the invoiced prices with the quoted prices, chances are that at some point you’ll end up paying “standard” prices rather than the quoted prices just due to administrative error. Knowify can help: you can use our POs to create the Request for Quote, or, once you’ve received prices back (usually in spreadsheet form), you can upload them quickly into the PO builder. When the vendor bill arrives, it’s a snap to reconcile the two… and if there are errors, you’ll catch them right away! It’s a tiny bit more effort for a lot of potential money – definitely worth the investment!

Note: Knowify automatically generates this pdf for all your subcontractor POs.

Feature of the Week: Job Logs

You’re busy – really busy. Running your business, working on many jobs at once, and expected to remember every detail of every job. How do you manage to remember these details? With Knowify of course! We have a handy Job Log that will track every step of the way: what has happened with a job, when it happened and who made it happen.

Incase this is a new feature to you, let me introduce you: meet your Job Log. Your job log displays a chronological timeline of your job and merges user actions, comments, documents and emails to capture the whole job history, giving you the ability to see and analyze how the job has evolved.

Here it is:

Let’s break down the job log together.

User actions

Your job log will track all of the little details that happen with your job. Some these details include: when your employees clock in and out, approved change orders, when something goes out for signature, when your documents get signed, when a purchase is created, when a PO is closed, etc. As you can see in the picture, the job log doesn’t just show that it has been done but it shows you who did it and at what time and date. This gives you full visibility of what has happened in your job and helps communication of who did what and when. If at any point you want to get a closer look at one of the actions you can select it and it will bring you to that screen.

Comments

Comments on the job log are great for communicating to the team about the project. Simply go to your log and type the comment and your workers can comment back to you through comments in their mobile app. If you direct the comment at a certain phase you will notice that it will appear in the plan & track area as well, and if you post a comment to a phase in plan & track it will end up in your job log.

Documents

Any and all documents that are sent out or stored in the job will be tracked in the job log and accessible with a click of a button. This gives you the ability to see when they were sent out and preview them (and download them) right from your job log.

User actions, comments and documents are the three standard items that will automatically appear in your job log. Our fourth item, email, is only available upon request. If you wish to enable this feature contact us at support@knowify.com.

Emails

By including the unique ID code given for each job in your email subject line, and cc’ing messages@knowify.com, your emails will also appear in your job log so you can really see all communication around the job. This way you will have all of those emails in your job log in addition to capturing the email correspondence around your Knowify-generated proposals, change order, invoices, and more. that For more detailed information on how this works, check out our guide here.

Thanks for reading about our Feature of the Week! For any more info on this please feel free to email us at support@knowify.com.

Should I Include Overhead in My Job Cost?

This question (in its many flavors) is one we encounter quite frequently at Knowify. We know from experience that accountants can have pretty strong opinions about this question, but we’re also not afraid to share ours. In short: No, you should not. Here’s why:

Including overhead in job costs only tells you about the past. Focusing on project-based profitability helps you plan for your future.

By including overhead in your job P&Ls, you will be generating margin and P&L numbers that are very specific to that period in time for your business. If you have a low workload – perhaps the boss was on vacation for a while, or an estimator quit and was hard to replace -, then overhead will be spread over comparatively fewer jobs, and those jobs will appear to be less profitable. Did your estimator do a bad job? Did your crews work more slowly than usual, or were there construction delays? Probably not – the lower-than-expected margin would just be a product of fewer jobs. In our view, that picture is misleading. If your goal is to have your estimators get better over time, understand which workers or crews are your most valuable ones, and plan for the future, including overhead in your job cost isn’t likely to help.

Note: You can generate this detailed work-in-progress report with Knowify in the Contract Jobs Reports section.

We recognize that you give something up by excluding overhead: you may be misled into thinking that certain very low margin jobs are profitable when, if overhead were taken into account (let alone opportunity cost), they most likely aren’t. But that’s OK: any good accountant can help you set an appropriate margin target for your jobs, and you, as an experienced contractor in your industry, should have a good sense of the margin levels you can earn in your area right now and over the long-run. The more challenging question is: “If I had twice as many jobs, how much money would I be making?” The answer is NOT twice your current profit; that calculation would ignore fixed cost leverage as you grow. For example, you will probably not need a second bookkeeper as you grow, nor will you need (unless you grow a lot!) a much bigger office. You may however need additional superintendents or project managers, estimators, trucks, etc – which is why we often work with contractors using Knowify to make sure that those costs are captured in their job costs. At the end of the day, it comes down to this: if you know what your project based P&L is, you’ll be able to calculate how much money you’ll be making a year or two years from now as you grow. Do your projections indicate significant profit? Maybe you can plan to open another office, or hire an estimator/PM who will focus on a new line of business. Your financial data can feed your strategy, if done right.

The Knowify team is well versed in job costing, and would be happy to help you work toward setting up your Knowify in a way to help you get meaningful insights out of your data. For those of you wanting something more in depth, we work with many top-shelf construction-oriented bookkeepers and business consultants who would be happy to talk to you about the right way to approach job costing, and hopefully set you on a long-term path toward success!

Feature of the Week: Mobile Onboarding!

You may have already heard by now that our mobile app is really awesome! It has the ability to track employee time with GPS functionality and can capture photos of receipts. But what good is an incredible app if not everyone on your team is using it? We have noticed a disconnect between the office and workers on the field in understanding where your employees stand on their mobile onboarding. We are ready and eager to bridge this gap and create easy communication – we even went as far as adding a Spanish option- ¡de nada!

 

The user friendly app will allow anyone to easily download and onboard.  During onboarding we test for ability to check in and out and for us to receive GPS information.  On your end you will have access to the Mobile Onboarding Wizard which will allow you to track their onboarding process from log-in, to checking in and out, to GPS access & accuracy.  Narrowing down points of pain for each employee will help expedite the assistance they will need getting set up.

This is what it will look like when your employee successfully onboards:

And this is what it will look like when you employee has not successfully onboarded:

With such busy work days, it may be difficult to reach out to each worker and get an update on their progress our Knowify app – we get it!  That’s why we have taken all of the communication work off your hands and are making this information accessible to you in your Users section. You will be able to see the progress of each employee, you will know if they tried signing in or if they haven’t started at all, you will know if they are completely finished onboarding and if GPS worked for them.

We are always looking to take extra stress away from your jobs and this one seemed like an obvious one.  You will be saving time by easily accessing data on who still needs to onboard, and you can save time by just sending an automated reminder to those people.  This has narrowed your work down by pinpointing the few employees left (if any) who have not onboarded after receiving the reminder push notification and email.

 

Key points:

  • 1. If your employee gets stuck with the app you will be able to see it – and you will be able to help them!
  • 2. If your employee has completed onboarding but not enabled GPS tracking you will be able to see it and address it if necessary.
  • 3. If your employee has fully completed the onboarding process they are ready and capable of checking in & out.

New Release 2.24

Last weekend, Knowify’s minor release of new features contained many small changes requested by the Knowify community. These are the highlights:

1. Enhanced experience to select subs for your phases: Over the next few months the process to select a sub for a job phase will be simplified. For starters, now you can select an existing job or create a new one right from the project plan. No need to go back to the vendors section any longer.

2. Job column in Manage Bills: Even if you have allocated bills against multiple phases, we’ve developed a new feature that will let us display the main job involved in the bill.

3. Improved experience with purchases against multiple jobs/phases: Similar to the previous feature, now we can display the main job involved in a purchases even if the purchase is made against different phases of the job.

4. New sync of payments with QuickBooks: We’ve strengthened our ability to pull bill payments from QuickBooks Online, even if the payment is against multiple bills and you don’t have all these bills in Knowify. We’ve also improved the management of voided/deleted payments.

5.[BONUS] Service templates in Contracts: This is like a hidden gem. Now you can drop service templates in a draft contract, enter the number of units and Knowify will automatically come up with the price and breakdown. Preparing an estimate has never been quicker!

App Spotlight: CollBox

Overwhelmed with overdue client invoices? CollBox is your solution!  Do not let your company down by falling into the struggle so many contractors in America are facing: failing to collect payments from their clients.

CollBox is an application that makes it faster and easier for companies to collect payments on their past-due invoices. In just three clicks, their QuickBooks integration allows customers to automatically send outstanding invoice data to a collection agency. CollBox’s network of professional, effective collection agencies will quickly work to recover the money owed to contractors by utilizing data from the company’s QuickBooks account.

The CollBox app will show what is collectible, and connect users with the right company to get the best rate on collections. CollBox is an incredible tool that allows contractors to stop worrying about collecting money, and spend more time and focus on efficiently managing their jobs.

For more information on CollBox, check out their website: https://collbox.co/

And for more information on Knowify shoot us an email at support@knowify.com !

Release 2.23: Change Log

We just released a new version of Knowify with a large number of new features and improvements. All these changes are based on your feedback so we hope you are as excited as we are!

This is the complete change log:

1. Ability to invoice fixed priced jobs at the line item or job level: Now, when you have a fixed price job that requires regular invoicing, you can invoice progress for each line item or just invoice a part of the entire job. For those of you that, for instance, invoice 10% upon signature, 40% when the job starts, and the rest when the job is complete, you can now easily do that and you don’t have to deal with each line item included in the proposal.

Additionally, we’ve improved the user interface in the progress invoice popup, which will give you information about the total value of the job, previously invoiced value and current invoice.

2. Unsaved changes warnings: Losing changes because you didn’t save them is a bummer and now we’ll help you avoid this issue in the Plan&Track and Contract sections. If you navigate away without saving the changes, Knowify will give you the option to go back and save your changes.

3. Enhanced mobile onboarding: We always wanted to make the onboarding of mobile users as seamless as possible and now we are one step closer with our new Mobile Onboarding wizard. With this wizard, you’ll be able to track the onboarding process of your mobile users and help them if they get stuck. Knowify will help you communicate with them in both Spanish and English with predefined help messages. Meanwhile, in the smartphone app, the mobile users will go through a simple onboarding wizard that will guarantee that they can check in, check out and provide location information.

4. Quickly build an itemized budget from a accepted proposal: Many of you rely on our Simple and Advanced modes for your jobs because they allow you to create proposals and send them to your customers very fast. Now, if you use these modes, you can also create a complete and itemized internal budget in Plan&Track once the proposal has been approved.

5. Enhanced RFI management: We have made RFIs even more powerful and with these changes you can now set the RFI number or the expiration date. We’ve also improved the user interface so that you can also easily determine the expiration date and extend it if necessary.

6. Easily include job comments in invoices: When creating a new invoice, you can view and add any comments connected to the job, either from the field or the office. This way you can collect the necessary pieces of information while completing the job and provide them to the client to craft a more complete and thorough invoice.

7. Minor improvements:

– Products and services used in contract breakdowns will automatically calculate markups based on your catalog prices and costs.

– Now you can easily access the client contact information from the job section.

– Subcontractors can be created in the Users section without having to create them in the Vendors section first.

– When creating a new invoice you’ll be warned if there is an existing draft invoice for the same job.

– Invoices for service jobs will rely on the company default payment terms.

– When creating a new invoice for a cost plus job you’ll be warned if there is unapproved time for the job.

– You can undo the rounding in time entries in the Review Time section.

– For non-US companies, jobs with holdback will not allow the users to modify the price or quantity in the invoice to preserve the progress calculations.

– The Manage Contract Jobs section will now provide information about budgets when available.

– Fixed issues about formatting manually typed dates in bills and purchases.

– E-signature reminders can now be sent from the contract section.

– Item description can be edited after the Subcontractor PO has been issued.

– Fixed issues around invoicing change orders approved on the same day as the invoice.

– Improved performance in the Purchases History section.

– Fixed issues around calculating the opportunity value for copied jobs.

– Improved user interface in Plan&Track where we’ve grouped some secondary actions (scroll top/bottom, collapse/expand).

– The check in/out view will allow you to change the date of the check in/out.

– New beta Subs Report with all the contact information for the subs involved in the job.

– Improved users interface in the map section of Service Jobs.

– (QuickBooks) When creating a subcustomer for a new job, the subcustomer will take the email of the client’s job.

– (QuickBooks) When sending invoices to QuickBooks, the invoice will include the email of the client.

– (QuickBooks) Improved widgets in the user interface to view the sync details.

– (QuickBooks) Automatically trim long descriptions in invoices and bills to prevent QuickBooks errors.

– (QuickBooks) Setting the default catalog income and expense account are now part of the mandatory QuickBooks setup.

– Visual cue in the footer of Knowify to let you know if the real time connection has disconnected and allow you to reconnect it.

Do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!