Experts say it takes about 2 months to form a new habit. When it comes to implementing new technology into the workplace, it may take even longer to get your teams used to a change in routine.
Although there are many benefits to construction software – real time project updates, easily accessible and readily available documents, and boosted efficiency to name a few – the construction world is sometimes stuck in a “this is how we’ve been doing it for years” mentality. With new technology comes constant change; with that being said, here are some ways to give your team the extra nudge toward enactment.
Lucky for us over at Knowify, we get to stay indoors in a cool, air conditioned space. We know, however, that many tradesmen this summer will be performing strenuous work in blazing heat. As the temperature rises, so does the risk for injuries outdoors. Not only is it important to be able to identify heat-related illnesses, but acting quickly in response to important signals can save lives.
By now you are probably familiar with our e-signature tools. They allow you to email your proposals and changes orders to your customers so that they can view and sign them. This is one of our most popular features and it really shows your customers a level of professionalism that can set you apart from your competitors. However, the e-signature tool is not just a cool marketing feature: getting these documents signed will protect your business and improve your relationships with your customers.
At Knowify, we believe that a clear and transparent signature process is essential for any contracting business. It helps that one of our founders is a former attorney that in his previous life had to deal with multiple disputes around contracts. With that experience in mind, we designed the contract management tools in Knowify that will help you build safer and more reliable business relationships with your customers.
These are some of the advantages of using electronic signatures:
Professionalism: You start the relationship with your customer on the right foot. If you level of organization around the bidding process is impeccable, they will feel more comfortable giving you the job.
Clarity: The customer can review the terms of the agreement and request changes if they need to. Immediately after the e-signature, you and your customer get a signed copy of the agreement. There are no misunderstandings about what was approved and that helps you get started with confidence.
Efficiency: No more paper copies being circulated around and no more delays because the paperwork is not signed. Nowadays, everyone has internet connection, either on their phones, at the office or at home. Besides, once the document is signed, you don’t have to worry about storing the paper copy in one of your folders. Knowify automatically stores it in the your Documents section and you can reference it whenever you need to. Many of our users have the really good practice of sending the signed contract along with the invoices when they bill the client. Customers appreciate that.
Time savings: By entering the terms of the agreement in Knowify, you are already streamlining the rest of work at the office. You can turn the contract into a plan to track your job or bill your customer knowing that the invoice will reflect the terms of the agreement. This is ideal if you have multiple people in the office involved in the bidding/billing process.
Legal coverage: Disputes around jobs are a serious issue. You want to avoid them by all means and having a signed document with the terms of the agreement can be a life saver. In both the US and Canada, e-signatures have the same validity as paper signatures. We would argue that they are even stronger: you have an email trail of the document being sent to the customer and signed back, and we store additional information on our end about this transaction in case you ever need it.
We’ve worked with thousands of contractors over the years and the best ones always have a high level of organization around their contracts. Do not wait until it’s too late to get organized. Start today.
Our version 2.19 contains exciting improvements to Knowify.
This is the complete change log:
1. When creating owner contracts, you have the ability to select whether you wish to user regular invoice or schedule of values to bill your clients.
2. We have improved the experience around adding subcontractors to project plans. Now you don’t need to save the changes before selecting the subcontractor.
3. Taxes in proposals and estimates have improved to rely on the existing list of tax rates. If your account is connected to QuickBooks, you can create new rates in QuickBooks and Knowify will pull them automatically. If you are not connected to QuickBooks, you can create new rates in the admin section of Knowify (Customize / Tax Rates). If you connected to QuickBooks at some point and then disconnected, please contact our customer service team for assistance on how to create new tax rates.
4. With catalog templates you don’t have to itemize materials and labor any longer. You can just enter materials, labor and subs budgets for the unit of work and they will be automatically calculate when used in the project plan.
5. If you are connected to QuickBooks, your account will rely on any payment terms you have defined in QuickBooks. This way the sync of invoices with QuickBooks will always respect the payment terms you have included in the invoice.
6. In the Customize section of the Admin panel, you can now set your default payment terms.
7. We have improved the user interface in many sections, especially by grouping icons into a drop-down menu. This change will simplify the interface and help you identify the available options. This new interface is available for new users only but will be rolled out to everyone over the next month.
8. The interface in plan & track has also changed and there are two new drop-down menus grouping ‘allocate from inventory’ and ‘order materials’, and also ‘schedule resources’ and ‘enter time’.
9. We have introduced a large number of improvements to job board, including the ability to unschedule jobs, filter resources, group by departments and allocate entire crews into a job, or real-time information about check ins.
10. The welcome email for new mobile users has been improved to include easier-to-follow instructions on how to get started.
11. Now you can use catalog services when adding new phases to a project plan. By doing so, the resulting contract will rely on the same catalog services.
12. Line items in owner contracts and GC bids can be edited even if the contract is active as long as they have not been billed, which means you will no longer need to revert the contract back to draft mode.
13. We have improved the information around the connection between phases, line items and catalog items. You will also be able to change the catalog connection even if the contract or the plan are active.
14. If you are connected to QuickBooks, we now support Locations when sending invoices and bills into QuickBooks. You can set a location for each job in the QuickBooks section (jobs tab).
15. For our international customers, we now support multiple tax rates in proposals and Schedule of Values invoices.
16. The PNL report will include subcontractors budgets when applicable.
17. Now we have the ability to import certain Estimates from QuickBooks.
18. Simple and advanced jobs reports include a new tab for rejected jobs.
19. We added Excel copy-paste functionality to Plan and Track, which will allow you to quickly create your list of materials.
20. The project plan report includes better information around subcontractors and budgets.
21. The ‘Dispatch Jobs’ section has been renamed as ‘Service Jobs’.
22. Payroll report includes now information about the department and job location.
23. Ability to edit time entries even if they have already been billed.
24. Now other agreements can take catalog items in the setup to create deliverables.
25. Time entries will now sync with QuickBooks with more accurate job information.
26. Work order outputs have been improved to better display the available information.
27. You can now convert QuickBooks subclients into Knowify jobs.
28. Improved access from project plan into foreman view.
29. We have strengthened our ability to pull payments from QuickBooks, including payments against multiple invoice.
30. Editing an invoice will now preserve the comments in the original invoice.
31. When importing phases into a project plan, you can set subcontractor budgets for these phases.
32. We have fixed minor bugs in the following sections:
– Payroll report (hours outside range)
– Catalog (more actions buttons)
– Re-assigning purchases to service jobs (billable item creation)
If you have any questions or wish to share your feedback, you can find us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
First, you’ll want to choose User with Mobile Access to Knowify Only from the Type of Access field:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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):
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
10. There are new data imports:
– Reviewed time
– Billable Items
11. In Review Time you can bulk allocate time entries to a specific job.
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 retainage 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.
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 email@example.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.
– 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
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:
Users with Access to Knowify
Users with Mobile Access to Knowify Only (this includes subcontractors or 1099 vendors)
Users with No Access to Knowify
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
Can be used to enter time manually against a job with a predetermined rate
*Check-In/Out Other Employees
Create new projects
View Job Details
Adjust and Setup Scheduling
Invoicing and recording payments
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
Time Report(PDF)– Sorts by client/department and by employee:
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
Time Card Report(XLSX) – Gives you a breakdown of all check in/out entries for a given time frame
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
Foreman Report(XLSX) – lists each employee, their total hours worked in the range, and total $ of reimbursements in the date range specified
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).
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!
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 to view the document?
Sometimes they might look like the example below:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
7. I do not like clicking on strange links. What are my alternatives?
If you are not fond of e-signatures or just don’t like 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!