SC Builder Knows Costs Before & After the Job
Seabrook Island, SC
Rick Aldrich of Seabrook Island, SC, was a manager of a large homebuilder for five years before he went into the custom home building business for himself in 1998. Since then Aldrich Incorporated has been constructing high-end custom homes ranging in price from $800,000 to $1.2 million.
Rick started looking for project management software in 2003 to help him organize his business. "Before I purchased construction software, I used a yellow legal pad and a pen. I had a computer that I used as a storage medium and as a way to generate contracts. Then I found UDA, it's so much more structured and efficient and that's the name of the game. I trust this system 100%; it's the way I've always envisioned my company being organized."
As most contractors in the custom home building market know, costs of high-end materials are always rising and falling. Rick said he counts on ConstructionSuite to keep his costs organized and accurate. "UDA lets me know what my material and labor costs are and it keeps me straight as far as the budget is concerned, and that's 80% of custom home building."
Any construction professional can attest that estimating is where the majority of money is won or lost. Rick was the first to admit he hasn't always had the best estimating system in place.
"In the past I either only estimated a few jobs, gave estimated prices based on past jobs, or I wouldn't estimate out the job at all. I was really flying blind. I would try and get the best price for my materials and labor and basically take what was left in the end as my profit. That was unnerving, especially in this market. With UDA I don't take risks like that anymore, I know my costs going into the job, and at the end I'm able to see from the reports exactly what my profit is. I can count on it."
Rick admitted, not properly organizing his estimates in the past has cost him a lot of money. "A few jobs ago I left out the labor costs for concrete block, and it cost me $8,500. With UDA I can customize my own estimating templates, which I use to compare past estimates to current estimates, and I check and double check to make sure every line item I need is in my estimate. If you do miss something you're only going to do it once because, next time it will be a glaring error. If you don't have a good system you're bound to leave things out."
Rick had another estimating system before he purchased ConstructionOffice, but it lacked the seamless integration he was looking for with QuickBooks. "I would try to stay on top of manually entering information into my estimate and then into my QuickBooks, but it was hard and I couldn't keep up. That was one of the things that drew me to UDA. That, and the estimating, is where it really shines for me. And now that I have the ability to import my QuickBooks actuals back into my UDA Estimate, it really saves me a lot of time. It's been great."
Rick said the QuickBooks Integration in the ConstructionSuite 2007 allows him to track and manage his profits efficiently. "Most construction managers start out in a trade like carpentry or another discipline that requires them to show up for work, do their job, and go home. They may have to carry a three-ring binder, but that's different from managing jobs financially from the pricing, to the organization, to the workflow. There are pitfalls at every turn; every line in the estimate is a chance to lose money."
"You have to be comfortable in the way you organize. If you're not, you're just hoping in the end you make money, and if you do, you don't know where it came from or how much you made. With the ability to import my actual costs back into the UDA Estimate I know exactly how much I made and where I made it."
Rick has also been a member of the ConstructionSuite TotalCare community since 2005. Each TotalCare customer garners benefits such as, priority phone and email support, quarterly cost book updates to their Items Database, an hour and a half long training session with a UDA senior support technician, and major product upgrades.
"I don't want to be without TotalCare. To me it's a small price to pay for piece of mind. If I ever need help, it's reassuring to know the support is right there behind me."
"I could see the benefits of ConstructionSuite before I purchased, and I got what I expected. That's not typical," he says. "I'm not the kind of a person who fawns over products at all, but this one has helped me out."
Quick Facts about Aldrich Incorporated
Location: Seabrook Island, SC
Industry: Residential Custom Homes
Projects per year: 2-3
Years in the business: 9