Multifaceted Illinois Company Sees Tangible Benefits with ConstructionOffice
Alternative Home Solutions
Mount Prospect, IL
Time is money in the construction industry, and there's no better way to increase profits than to work more efficiently. Michael Mazer, president of Alternative Home Solutions and a 36 year veteran of the construction industry, found that by utilizing an integrated project management system, the people in his company could finish projects faster and use their time more productively.
The Illinois-based firm completes a wide variety of projects each year, but a typical building year now consists of 6-8 custom homes, 6-8 renovation and addition jobs, and 1-2 commercial jobs. With such a diverse repertoire of projects, the company needed a construction productivity system that would provide a library of tools for all project types.
Michael formerly managed his company by using a multitude of programs that didn't work together. After deciding that it was costing his company too much time, he began to search for a more unified and efficient system. Michael quickly discovered ConstructionOffice and was immediately interested in the multi-component integration as well as the software's ability to work with QuickBooks. To take advantage of every component available in the ConstructionOffice System, Michael ultimately purchased the Developer XT version.
It wasn't long after purchasing ConstructionOffice that Michael started seeing its value. "With software, you're always learning, but the initial period of getting used to it only took about three weeks. My projects are extremely diverse, so I use most of the tools in the program like the residential, remodeling, and developer tools as well as the marketing materials. I would say that I'm working on ConstructionOffice at least three hours a day."
One feature that saves his company a considerable amount of time is the ability to automatically generate various reports from estimating and scheduling. "I like to use the proposal wizard and the general estimate notes to let customers know what's included in the price." Packed with a wide range of powerful, but easy-to-use wizards, ConstructionOffice turns reporting from a lengthy and arduous task to a few quick clicks.
While he uses the reporting features throughout the projects to communicate with various people, Michael also uses ConstructionOffice to produce professional-grade pre-sales literature with the UDA Marketing Tools component. "I use the marketing materials to create brochures for clients, subcontractor references, and client referrals." Marketing Tools, combined with a comprehensive website, has enabled Alternative Homes Solutions to step up and stand out from other construction firms. "I've always been told that it is very professional and puts a good face on my company."
Since Michael started off using ConstructionOffice on a regular basis, he was able to develop a successful workflow with the project management system. He now moves seamlessly from step to step, completing projects faster than before and increasing his profits. "I use the estimating software first and get the cost information put in. Next, I submit that to the owner for the conceptual bid. Then, we develop all the contracts and specifications and schedules. We use the estimate to view our actual versus estimate to look for variances, and import the financial information into QuickBooks for our budget. We've raised our profits by at least 10%."
Michael attributes the increase in profits to the time they save by having an advanced, integrated system. "I can definitely tell a difference in our efficiency. We save a lot of time by not needing people in the office as much. ConstructionOffice is set up to make things quicker and easier. It allows me to customize the templates and build my own, so I am able to save a tremendous amount of time that way, my estimates are becoming more methodical rather than haphazard, and it's easy to create additional documents and have all the information right there for you."
He also uses the integrated system to keep his superintendents up to speed with all aspects of their projects. Armed with workbooks that include the reports and documents Michael produces with ConstructionOffice, his superintendents are able to stay in control and give quick answers to their clients.
"My superintendents get copies of all the estimates, contracts, specifications, and finish schedules. Everything that we give to the owner, they have, so if there are any questions so far as interpretation, we avoid any discrepancies with the owners. It's all right there in writing so the superintendents know exactly what we agreed to. And as far as the schedule is concerned, they can update the schedule right there on their laptops and then download it when they get back to the office."
Because Michael fully integrated ConstructionOffice with his business operations, he has seen tangible results. He streamlined his company's project management and enabled his superintendents to spend more time away from the office, accomplishing more important tasks. With ConstructionOffice, the people at Alternative Home Solutions were able to turn productivity into profitability by working more efficiently and completing projects faster.
Quick Facts about Alternative Home Solutions
Location: Mount Prospect, IL
Industry: Residential & Commercial
Projects per year: 15 - 20
Years in the business: 36
Number of Employees: 5