Courtenay Whitehouse is the founder and owner for Beacon Homes, a custom home building company based in Alberta, Canada. With just one other employee, the company builds five to seven custom homes a year in addition to a handful of renovation projects. How do they handle that level of productivity? Courtenay effectively deploys subcontractors across his business, and he has a former subcontractor to thank for introducing him to a new time and money saving tool.
Improving the change order process
“An ex-trade of mine moved away and was working for another builder in a neighboring city and that builder was using CoConstruct. He told me about it, and so I looked into it and thought it was something I wanted to utilize,” Courtenay explained. As he investigated the tool he immediately saw an opportunity to upgrade his change order process.
Like many busy home builders, Courtenay can remember several instances where decisions were made on the jobsite but not properly tracked and communicated. This meant eating additional costs incurred during a build. “If it was a couple hundred bucks here or there, I wasn’t too worried about it,” Courtenay said. “But then when you go back at the end of the job and see that you’re looking at like a $5,000 difference, I end up eating that because we didn’t really decide what to do.” Small charges can quickly add up to have a significant impact on a project’s bottom line.
Courtenay knew there had to be a better way for him to capture costs in the moment and not have to rely on his own memory afterwards. He found a better way with CoConstruct’s change order process. “Now it’s easy to take care of something in the moment and get sign offs quick, no questions asked,” Courtenay said describing his new process.
Before CoConstruct, Courtenay had to sit down and walk his clients through the laundry list of pricing updates from change orders for final approvals. But today he says that’s no longer necessary. “There’s always a final sign off on the approval of the overall costs but that’s not needed anymore because the price is always there.” Today clients can see all the changes they’ve approved in CoConstruct and the resulting price differences. This directly leads to more profits for Beacon Homes and less uncomfortable pricing conversations for Courtenay.
More efficient operations
In addition to upgrading his change order process, Courtenay has also seen improvements in his overall operating process thanks to CoConstruct templates. “I’ve got my templates that I’ve set up so it makes it easier to navigate through and price things out,” he said. CoConstruct templates allow Beacon Homes to quickly get new projects off the ground instead of starting from scratch every time. Courtenay has also found time savings in his construction estimating by going from using an excel spreadsheet to leveraging formulas and parameters in his calculations and by referencing a cost catalog to always have up to date pricing information.
Another selling point
As the owner and founder of Beacon Homes, Courtenay is responsible for closing a vast majority of his company’s sales. In doing so he noticed an interesting response once he started introducing CoConstruct to new and prospective customers. “CoConstruct makes my business look more professional to clients. It’s a platform that some of the smaller businesses don’t have,” he explained. This differentiating factor has helped Beacon Homes compete with local competition, something Courtenay hopes will continue as he looks to grow the business over the coming years. “We’re looking to grow over the next couple of years... Add a few more builds and another person or two.”