Knowify Featured @ Plumber Magazine

What does the recent stock market volatility mean for construction spending?

If you’ve been looking at the recent volatility in the stock market – which has been all over the news – you might worry that tough times are on the horizon.

Cyclicality is one of the hallmarks of the construction business. If you’ve been around a while, you know that keeping an eye out for coming slowdowns is an important part of maintaining a healthy, and profitable business. So…does the drop in the S&P500 mean that the US economy (and the construction business) is about to follow suit?

It’s always hard to predict anything with certainty about the US macro-economy, but the data points that have the strongest connection to future construction activity say that it’s not quite time to worry (yet).

sotckvolatility What does the recent stock market volatility mean for construction spending?

As reported:

  1. Building permits for work not yet started were up 7.5% year-over-year in July;
  2. Mortgage financing remains widely available, and – critically – interest rates are low (around 4% on national indices) and remaining steady;
  3. The tough economic news coming out of China, the epicenter of the recent worldwide market turmoil, may actually benefit American builders;
  4. Critical materials like steel or copper wiring should continue to get cheaper as the world’s top consumer (China, by an enormous margin) sees its consumption decline from truly astronomical levels; and
  5. Big institutional US investors are increasingly turning to “safer” cash flow yielding domestic assets like commercial property to protect their clients from the risk we’re seeing in global equity markets.

What does that mean for contractors?

Could be good news. As long as interest rates stay where they are, and financing remains available, construction activity will have a tailwind behind it.

Low interest rates increase property values, make HELOC-funded renovations more affordable, and income-yielding investments like rental properties and commercial buildings more attractive. If interest rates begin to rise, this tailwind could swiftly turn into a headwind. Be prepared. Be efficient. Be profitable.

So, don’t freeze like a deer in the headlights. Regardless of what happens in the market, those who survive and thrive during times of turmoil are the contractors who pay attention to running their businesses…who monitor jobs and profitability…Who keep the lines of communication open between their GCs, subs, and clients.

Information is power. During an uptick or a downturn, make sure you have the processes and procedures in place to run your business. If you have any questions or wish to share your feedback, you can find us at support@knowify.com.

Ask me about how we’ve helped other contractors like you get a handle on their business Bull Market or Bear Market. Or…you could keep running your business on Excel spreadsheets.

Knowify. Built for the real world.

Submit your bids to GCs correctly-formatted, faster

A General Contractor invites you to bid on a job. Now what?

How do you cost out the work and submit it within the confines of that GC’s specifications? And what do you have to do once you win the bid to actually manage the project?

Is your first instinct to turn to your trusty spreadsheet and calculator? Lots of contractors run their bid/submit/PO processes that way. QuickBooks® and Excel are great tools, but they can only take you so far.

What if you could manage all of the painful administrative work associated with your contract jobs faster and more accurately?

With Knowify, you click on Contract Jobs and quickly cost out a job to produce a bid based on estimated costs. Knowify’s bidding tools automatically output a bid form (and yes, custom templates are available) ready to submit to the GC.

BidProposal Submit your bids to GCs correctly-formatted, faster

Win the bid?

Click on Knowify’s Purchasing Module and create purchase orders for materials and send those POs directly to your vendor right through the system. Then schedule your crews in the resource scheduler. It’s easy!

Track time

Knowify’s On-site Foreman Module tracks worker time – or, if you prefer, lets each worker Check in / Checkout on their mobile phone for fully automated timekeeping. Your office reviews time reports in real time — as they come in — so you can quickly process, approve, or reject as appropriate.

Are you making money?

Knowify’s Project Plan Module automatically tracks each job’s progress against budgets as time and purchases come in. You get a real-time look at each project’s performance!

Change orders

Knowify makes it quick and easy to create a change order and then send it out for e-signature directly through the system.

Invoicing is easier, faster

Whether you bill at the end of a project or choose progress billing, Knowify compiles the information and lets you submit using standard invoicing or AIA-style applications for payment.

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

Or…you could keep running your business on Excel.

Knowify. Built for the real world.

Now is the right time to invest in business efficiency

It’s probably fair to say that happy days are here again for contractors. Total construction spending was up over 8% year-over-year as of May 2015, the more recent month for which data are available, with strong gains in both residential and non residential construction. We know from the many different types of contracting businesses we work with – from flooring and plumbing subs to homebuilders to handymen and more – that just about everyone is busy right now. And busy means less competitive bidding means profitable jobs.

res-and-nonres-constr-spending_apr15-1024x768 Now is the right time to invest in business efficiency

This is all well and good; and trust me: no one wants the construction industry to be strong more than we do. But here’s the funny paradox of bountiful times: most of the seeds for future trouble are being sewn now. When lots of money is being made, less attention is paid to process efficiency. Worse, no spare capacity and tight schedules can results in slips in quality, leading to trouble with partners and clients.

We know that the idea of taking time to work on improving your processes now – when time is precious and more easily turned into profit – may sound crazy. But it’s a really powerful way to invest in the long term health of your business. Even with the present opportunity costs, we believe that implementing solutions that will make you a more efficient company will deliver a positive ROI, albeit smaller now than when construction work is less profitable; but the goodwill you earn from clients for, say, your professionalism with your paperless change order management and on-time billing, will bear big fruit in leaner times when bidding gets more competitive. More importantly, these same process improvements will allow you to run leaner, with vastly improved business intelligence, when the cycle turns and conditions aren’t as strong. It could mean the difference between making money and not making money, and over the long term having better processes will undoubtedly give you a leg up on your competitors, and enable you to grow your business with less administrative oversight or hassle.

We acknowledge that the opportunity cost for focusing on the administrative side of your business right now is probably high. But process administrative and process improvements are critical investments that will bear tremendous long-term fruit for any business, and especially in businesses with the cyclical swings experienced by contractors.

Estimating and Scheduling with Knowify 2.3.0

Our new version is out and it comes with BIG improvements! With this update, we’re getting closer to fulfilling our promise of bringing job cost estimation, project management, scheduling, and real time actual vs. budget performance together in one place.

EstimatingScheduling Estimating and Scheduling with Knowify 2.3.0

Release Notes:

  1. It is now possible to do job cost estimation with job roles (ie, “this task will require 100 man hrs of Foreman time”).
  2. The term ‘Milestone’ has been replaced in the project plan; we now refer to ‘Phases’ (this is merely a change in name).
  3. You no longer have to schedule job phases or tasks during project plan creation. When you’re ready to build your plan schedule – for example, after your bid is accepted – click “Enable Scheduling” at the top right of the project plan interface.
  4. Scheduling at the resource level (person or equipment) can be handled directly through the project plan now.
  5. Additional (unscheduled) resources can be added to the list in Foreman’s view for timekeeping.
  6. Purchasing has been added to the mobile app (should be available on GooglePlay tomorrow, Apple AppStore within 10 business days).
  7. We have added significant additional infrastructure to the “Rates” section of the admin panel. We recommend that you check that section right away and make any updates you feel are necessary. We expect to push an update reintroducing overtime calculations in Knowify numbers soon.

What do you do when a customer calls for help?

What do you do when you get a call for help? How do you:

  • – Create a job ticket?
  • – Specify pricing?
  • – Determine who’s available to do the work?
  • – Assign a ticket and get it to that available tech?

AND:

  • – Where do you enter work order notes?
  • – How do you alert your field person a new job is waiting?
  • – Where does he/she record jobsite notes, track extra materials used, etc?

Maybe you’re working off a spreadsheet? Or texting your field teams? Waiting until they get back to the office to hand you their paperwork at the end of their day or first thing in the morning?

If you are, you’re not alone. Lots of contractors rely on paper and pencil to run jobs. And they spend weekends at their computers plugging all that information into their Excel spreadsheets.

Or…what if you could automate the process? I mean really automate it. If you were using Knowify (www.knowcontractors.com) this same scenario would play out like this:

A service call comes in from a customer. Your service manager goes to the “Dispatch Jobs” section of Knowify, and quickly creates a ticket for the client. He enters whether it’s a time-and-materials job or a pre-defined, fixed-price service. The manager looks at the schedule for all your technicians and assigns the job ticket to the available tech (or multiple techs, as necessary). He then adds the work order notes specifying what the client needs done, finishes the ticket, and clicks send. The tech is notified of the assigned work on any smartphone or tablet and sees the ticket added to his/her job list in Knowify’s mobile app. Click. Click. Smart.

When your tech arrives at the jobsite, he clicks on Knowify’s GPS-enabled Check In to automatically record work time. The tech opens the job ticket to view the service notes and materials specified, and goes right to work. Done, your field tech records any jobsite notes, identifies additional materials used, and marks the ticket completed. The tech checks out, and the work time is recorded.

Back at the office, your service manager can immediately prepare an invoice for the job and close out the ticket. Try that with a pen, paper and QuickBooks® alone!

Knowify is built for the real contracting world. It’s flexible, so you can address issues on the fly, as they occur — like pulling workers off jobs at a moment’s notice to handle an important or emergency service item.

Or…you could keep running your business on Excel!

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

Knowify. Built for the real world.

Knowify featured at Plumbing Perspective

I’d KILL for a system to manage my service ticket and contract work!

If you’re a contractor who performs service ticket and contract work (electrical, HVAC, plumbing contractors, etc.), you’re probably struggling to find a system that helps you manage both aspects of your business. Sure, you’ve got QuickBooks®, but that doesn’t help you bid or manage projects, produce change orders and get them signed, schedule crews, etc. And most project management software is either really expensive or really clunky.

Why, you ask yourself, can’t someone build a system (yep, on the “cloud”) you and your crews can access from anywhere that also provides clear visibility to office-side superintendents, service techs, and jobsite foremen?

Full disclosure: We built it. It’s called Knowify, and here’s my two sentence commercial:

Knowify is the one-technology solution that delivers all the tools to run an efficient, profitable contracting business. Imagine you could tap powerful project management, bidding, change order management, purchasing, and invoicing tools that helped you really manage your long-term project work and team dispatch.

Knowify’s Resource Scheduler is built for the real contracting world. It’s flexible, so you can address issues on the fly, as they occur — like pulling workers off jobs at a moment’s notice to handle an important or emergency service item.

Or…you could keep running your business on Excel…

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

Knowify. Built for the real world.

Project Management for Contractors

Managing a medium or large sized construction project can be very stressful. Everybody on your team expects you to get the job done right with a limited budget and tight deadlines. Being a construction superintendent or project managers usually involves a constant daily grind against the mounting administrative work, fighting to do more with less, and making critical project decisions with far-from perfect information.

Thankfully, there are two great stress relievers that can help: 1) meditation, which has been proven to lower blood pressure; and 2) Knowify’s very powerful cloud based project management module. Knowify project management improves visibility in all phases of a project, from pre-bid budgeting to late-project punch list tracking. We’ve made it easy to see at-a-glance where you stand, with real-time updates as time card and purchasing data come in; we have also simplified field and office communication, with built-in mobile tools for foreman and other field staff to add their comments to the daily task logs. And with all of the other powerful tools in Knowify helping to easy painful administrative items like change orders, you’ll finally be able to sleep at night knowing that your projects are well in hand.

ProjectManagement Project Management for Contractors

If you’re a seasoned project manager, you’ll be pleased to know that Knowify includes all the project management tools you’re used to right out of the box, including dependency management, critical path scheduling, resource management, and Gantt Chart views. With Knowify’s Resource Scheduler only a click away, it’s easy to know how busy my team is and who is available to take on new task or project work.

We know that once you’ve seen Knowify, you’ll realize that it’s a great solution for your construction business. The Knowify team is always available for training and support, and within only a short period of time you’ll discover the awesome efficiency that modern software can deliver to your business. And the more you know your business, the better able you’ll be to grow your business.

Knowify on Intuit’s apps.com