We all know it: change is hard. Whether it’s a new approach to backyard footy to save your failing knees, or a new system for running your business, change usually takes a bit of time to get used to. The silver lining? It’s usually worth it in the end. (Especially if it means you can have a kick and walk the next day…)
This was certainly the case for O’Brien Plumbing Tweed Heads. Before this Gold Coast business adopted an online approach to estimating, its Project Manager Glenn Weaver was initially, and in his own words, “fully against” a change in systems.
Fast forward 12 months, and O’Brien Plumbing Tweed Heads is reaping the benefits of Groundplan, saving both time and money with the cloud-based take-off software. The business has cut 50% off their usual time spent quoting as well as the need to print paper plans completely.
Here’s their story, plus their message to you if you’re still grappling with outdated systems or manual, paper-based processes.
The way things were
For O’Brien Plumbing, business pre-Groundplan was good. They’d been successfully operating for about 20 years and joined the well-known plumbing network, Laser Group, just 12 months ago.
Their systems, too, were fine – but in today’s automated world, these systems were beginning to slow the business down. Estimating, for example, involved rates books, pens, paper and old software. Project tenders took days. Achieving accuracy was tough, and with little transparency over projects, improving margins was also incredibly difficult.
“Pre-Groundplan, I’d receive my plans by email. I’d have to send them over to the printer, who’d print them out. Then, we’d have to pick them up and bring them back to the office, which is all money,” Glenn said.
“I would probably spend anywhere between two to five days on a large project before I could get the quote out to the customer.
“I was so stuck in my ways using pen and paper.”
It took only a day and a visit from a fellow Laser Group contractor to change Glenn’s mind. Now, he’s said changing to online systems for take-off and estimating “is the best thing I’ve ever done.”
The time saved is ‘amazing’
As Groundplan allows users to upload plans or create plans easily on screen for project take-offs, there’s no need to manually print out paper plans anymore. For O’Brien Plumbing, this has saved the business around $500 every month in printing costs alone.
Gone too is the need to complete take-offs with paper, pens, rulers, and rate sheets. Instead, digital measuring and count tools are used to create accurate materials lists online in minutes.
The entire take-off and estimating process is easier, quicker and more precise than ever.
“I can do things twice as fast with Groundplan,”
O’Brien Plumbing has also adopted simPRO Job Management Software, which integrates smoothly with Groundplan for a comprehensive end-to-end workflow management solution for businesses.
“When I finish my take-off, it’s an easy process linking with LaserPRO [simPRO]. The take-off goes through to the quote system in simPRO, where I can adjust my margins, send item lists to suppliers, and send the quote off to the client,” Glenn said.
Owner and Director of O’Brien Plumbing, Jamie O’Conner, said that the time-saving features of Groundplan and simPRO are among the major factors that give your business a competitive edge.
“I think you’ve got to stay ahead of the game and get as much technology on board as possible to save costs within your business,” Jamie said.
“It just saves you so much time; instead of having everything on paper and not having everyone across every aspect of the job, not knowing what product goes into what part of the job.
“You’re separating yourself from the average plumber out there and you’re giving the client what they need, and that’s good quality service in a quick time frame,” Jamie said.
The transparency to tighten margins
Not only are printing costs saved with a system like Groundplan, but so too are the costs of wasted time and materials.
With complete clarity of your on-screen plans, materials, and labour – and their every variation updated in real time – knowing your true project costs at any time is easy.
“When you get the take-off right at the start of the job, you then have the tools to work your way through and know where you’re at during every stage, so you can be as profitable as possible,” Glenn said.
“With margins being so tight with builders, Groundplan gives you the accuracy to nail down the project costs and easily reduce your overhead costs,” he said.
The message for you
Though it took O’Brien Plumbing months to fully integrate the new systems and processes into their business, they’ve never once looked back.
“For all those plumbers out there who are still using the old-fashioned methods with rulers and scale pens and pieces of paper, it’s time to get into the electronic side of things. It will save you a lot of time and also a lot of money,” Glenn said.
Jamie agrees: “Changing from a manual system or a paper system to a cloud-based or digital platform is always going to be pretty hard; change is a big thing in any business,” he said.
“But once everybody got on board and we started to go the digital pathway, it was exceptional.
“Get out from under the rug and go looking for all the possible avenues to go digital: with simPRO, Groundplan, tracking. Embrace change, embrace technology.
“It’s going to be ground-breaking for your business.”
If you’re ready to make the change in your business, trial Groundplan take-off software for free today.