If you’re in business, you’ll know that time is money, and that making the most of that time is a huge factor in your success. Here’s how business owner BJ Barlin’s learned to do just that and more.
BJ Barlin is the proud owner of Integrated Powerhouse, a 20-year strong company that specialises in all things electrical and automation for high-end homes – think audiovisual, lighting, access control and CCTV. His job is to make his customers’ lives easier, more exciting and efficient.
Ironically, though BJ was in business to simplify life through modern systems, his own business processes were anything but simple and modern. In fact, BJ described his methods as somewhat prehistoric; the term ‘dinosaur’ was even thrown around…
While we all know that story doesn’t end well (you know, asteroid and extinction and all), Integrated Powerhouse, fortunately, is a story of success.
From prehistoric to cutting-edge
Just six months ago, Integrated Powerhouse relied on spreadsheets and flowcharts to help run their business. At first, BJ didn’t see the astronomical potential to improve.
“I thought that I had a spreadsheet that did everything,” BJ said. “But I was so wrong, and it was incredible to see.
“When I was quoting and working off spreadsheets, it was hard to be clear about what I was doing all the time. My project manager even joked about the need to extract everything from my head to bring to a job so it’d get done as planned when I wasn’t there. Obviously, that’s not feasible.”
The team completed project take-offs manually, struggling to keep their estimates accurate and every one up to date with variations. Someone who knew AutoCAD would be brought in to create drawings, which could take hours. There was little transparency in the business, and no clear pathway to growth.
Both time and money were going to waste, and something had to change.
For a business that prides itself on providing cutting-edge automation systems, cutting-edge automation software was, fittingly, their solution. And in just half a year, Integrated Powerhouse changed dramatically.
Getting complete clarity over costs
BJ first implemented take-off software Groundplan, in which he could accurately measure his plans and quickly price materials on-screen with easy-to-use digital tools.
And for the first time, BJ had complete clarity over his job costs.
“With Groundplan, we can price, we can get a list of materials and it gives us a basis for planning the project from estimation all the way through to completion,” BJ said.
The software very quickly revealed a huge benefit: identifying exactly where the business was losing money.
“Measuring something as simple as LED strip can go wrong when done with manual take-offs,” BJ said.
“Just by using Groundplan to measure online, I’ve worked out that on costing we were consistently about 20% out.”
BJ can now clearly see where his business is making money, too:
“I can now break down each job and see what the difference was between how we made money and how we lost money in a month period,” he said.
Keeping the team connected and up to date
Missing materials that were added to plans on the fly was another major money waster for Integrated Powerhouse. Things like power points and lights would miss either installation or being accounted for in the price.
By using an online platform like Groundplan to create plans and complete take-offs, Integrated Powerhouse can easily avoid costly mistakes like these.
Anyone with access to Groundplan has easy access to the most up-to-date plan variations. The team can collaborate in real-time online and any updates they make are reflected instantaneously in the system.
Everyone is on the same (web)page and working with the same information.
Supercharging the workflow with Groundplan and simPRO
With an incredibly accurate and super-fast means to complete project take-offs, Integrated Powerhouse soon took their automation rejuvenation further with simPRO Job Management Software.
The smooth integration between Groundplan and simPRO means that Integrated Powerhouse can complete take-offs quickly and accurately in Groundplan, and create beautiful quotes in simPRO.
Because simPRO can import and catalogue suppliers’ price lists and invoices (and streamline the rest of the workflow, of course), the duo offers a complete end-to-end job management solution.
“We drop pre-builds from simPRO into Groundplan, complete the take-off in Groundplan, then hit one button and it’s back in simPRO. We then can create an amazing looking quote that’s out to the customer within a minute,” BJ said.
“We’re getting quotes to customers in one-fifth of the time that it used to take us. That makes the difference for us when time is money.”
It might not be easy at first, but it will be worth it
Like anything that’s worth it in the long run (marriage, parenting), new software can be difficult before you come to love it more than ever.
For Integrated Powerhouse, it took two weeks to go from spreadsheets to streamlined tech – and they certainly put in the effort to make the transition as easy as it could be.
“Our business wouldn’t be what it is if we didn’t make that change,” BJ said.
If you’re ready to make the change in your business, sign up for a free 14-day trial or chat to our friendly team on 07 3062 7737.