New Plan Center
I have had quite a bit of interest from custom builders and remodelers who are interested in our web sites, but concerned that our systems are primarily for production builders and developers.
While it is difficult to be everything for everyone, I have given a lot of thought to what I can do to help remodelers and custom builders.
I have talked a little about our design services and how we already have things in place that builders who work with us are using to interact and communicate better with their customers. We include a number of cost saving options for builders who use our services, one of them are free house plans for bidding.
But for those of you who have a great working relationship with designers and/or Architects I have decided to develop a Plan Center with a few more features than we currently include with ours.
Before I explain what the new Plan Center will do for you, I would like to bring attention to your e-mail account. If you are using e-mail to communicate with even a few of your sub-contractors, you are taking steps in the right direction.
Today I met with my HVAC contractor to show him a house plan that is coming up. He was in the area so he thought he would stop by for the plan. I don't have a problem with that and he gave me a price on the spot. I asked if he has an e-mail account and he said he just got one.
I explained to him that with the development I have coming up that anyone wishing to do business with me must have an e-mail account. I can tell you that the reaction I receive is everything from blank looks to anger. But I will not give in anymore to the old time consuming, and cumbersome way of getting bids.
My brother Mike went to Arkansas to establish a development. He found out that most of the subs did not even own a fax machine, so he bought fax machines for everyone. I could write a complete article on communication and when and what to use to be the most efficient and effective in our daily jobs.
The phone will never go away, but e-mail used properly can be a great time saver and effective.
New Plan Center
The new Plan Center is complete! I have personally been using and testing it for 5 homes my brother and I are working on as well as a few prospects we are hoping will turn into contracts. From my chair I sent all my subs the plans they need to start putting some bids together, click, click, done. One sub called me from Benton Harbor because he wanted to run up to Holland (60 minutes one way) to pick up a large scale plan. I said, No, give me the email address of your local Reprographer (print house), and save a half a day driving, gas money and your boss' labor expenses, not to mention the work you should be doing.
I know a number of builders are familiar with our existing SNAD Plan Center that has been around for a number of years, but the new system has many more features and gives you complete control over your suppliers/sub-contractors. You do not need to send us their info anymore. In fact you can click a button to send an email, and have your suppliers fill in their own contact info if you like.
You can add more than one Reprographer. If you have a client from out of state or a sub-contractor that lives far away, they can add their local reprographer like Kinkos, etc. which gets listed in your contact list for others to use. Then they can order and pay for their own large copies.
When a new prospect or customer is added to your system, a default list of suppliers/sub-contractors will automatically have access to the clients listing information on your web site through the login. This way you can give permission for one sub to one client and another sub to another, or one sub to ten clients.
All emails sent through the new system contains all pertinent information and login links so no one is short the information they need. As a builder, your contact info is sent with each email so you no longer need to enter that. The project info, customer current info, file attachments, as well as login information for the client or supplier are all included. In fact, they don't even need to login, clicking on the link in the email logs them directly into their details on your web site.
If you are not currently using any of our systems, and no longer want to wait for your 8 year old to grow up and show you how to use them, please give me a call and I will be very happy to show you how to implement the New Plan Center or other systems into your daily construction management routines.
Our current Plan Center has impressed our customers for years. If you are interested in a service that will make you stand out as a unique and technologically advanced builder or remodeler, please let me know your thoughts.
I will develop this system for my own business, but if you are someone ready to face your fear of technology, then this system will be a great addition to an incredible web site experience for you and your customers.