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Core Project Management Systems: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Project management systems

As a wise man* once said: Money loves speed. The faster you get through work, the better your business is at the end of the year.” Efficiency on the job site is where the money is at.

*Contractor Evolution podcast host Benji Carlson

In BTA’s Summer 2023 Project Management Roundtable, Benji was joined by Chris Collins, Andrew Spear, and our very own Michael Gogan to discuss the secrets of 10MM contractors. When it comes to maximizing crew efforts, aligning the company for organic growth, and covering your butt from false claims, having the right core management system goes a long way. Lucky for you, this webinar recap is here to tell you:

  • Where to start

  • Why it matters

  • What software to use

Breakdown of the speakers:

  • Chris Collins is the owner of Royal Heating and Air Conditioning. Royal Heating and AC is a family business — in fact, Chris is third generation!
  • Andrew Spear is the owner of Red Stag Contracting, out of Canada. They specialize in new home construction and provide expert design advice.
  • Michael Gogan is the Senior Business Development Manager at CompanyCam — often hosting CompanyCam webinars. Being so integrated in the trades, Gogan knows what it takes to build sound project management systems.
  • Benji Carlson is the BTA Contractor Evolution podcast host, having interviewed some of the biggest and baddest in the industry.

Alright, now that everyone has introduced themselves, let’s get into it.

When should you start evaluating your current project management system? 

It’s always a good idea to be evaluating your processes. But when you start seeing red flags, it moves from being a good idea” to necessary. Here are a few signs that you’re in desperate need of a project management system review:

  1. The project is over budget.

  2. The project is outside of your timeline scope.

  3. Project managers are fighting, and miscommunication is common.

  4. Relationships worsen across the team as the project progresses.

What are the biggest challenges when it comes to project management? 

Project management gets a bad rap for being complicated and stressful. But when implemented correctly, project management systems can provide powerful help and relief to a business.

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to project management. A few of the most common challenges are: hiring field techs, communicating back to office staff from the job site, scheduling, material management, and training crews.

So what now?

Chris and Andrew have a lot to say about their journeys to finding their project management solutions. Although Chris and Andrew had unique experiences, they came to the same conclusion: evaluating and finding the right project management systems is a make-or-break decision for growing businesses.

Story-time with Chris Collins: From Ambition to Stress

Chris followed in his father’s footsteps and took on the family business. When he joined the company, there were few project management systems established. Collin’s father had become comfortable” with where the business was operating. But Chris was eager for more — he had a vision to grow the business.

Chris began bidding on bigger and bigger projects, taking up all the opportunities he could. But he had to learn the hard way” what it meant to build good systems. Without a stable system, pressure is put on your staff and crews.

Chris realized it was time for a change when he wasn’t present at home with his new kid, not to mention the $150k loss, cash flow decrease, and lost inventory. His ambition to grow was admirable, but the need for systems to sustain the vision was crucial.

Pro tip: Chris reminded the viewers that if you work with your family, keep it light and fun!” Don’t talk about work at Thanksgiving. And always put family first!

Story-time with Andrew Spear: From Opportunity to Loss

Andrew’s story of project management evolution was similar. Andrew had recently started his business and wanted to take on more capacity. He scored a big project, estimated to take 16 months… which ended up taking his team three years.

He lost a lot of money, and the project had terrible net profit.” Andrew said the catalyst for change was the shift in crew morale: people started hating their jobs. 

This experience demonstrated a tangible need for developed teams and project management systems to keep up with capacity. 

Core Project Management Systems

When Chris started evaluating his current project management system, he wanted it to address a few big pain points: communication, scheduling, quality on time, and getting paid on time. Chris found a fit! And it helped in 5 main ways:

  1. Estimating: With a project management system, the job pipeline, materials list, and schedule were made much, much clearer.

  2. Data and Tracking: Chris uses the CRM Fieldedge. Along with CompanyCam, Chris now has a live look-in on the projects, improving tracking and communication.

  3. Block scheduling: Chris has been able to keep the office in the loop consistently.

  4. Foreman Four Call: Chris is much more in the loop thanks to implementing a reliable core project management system. He now has a short, daily 4 p.m. call with his foreman.

  5. Daily Reports: Chris often says to his crews and employees, Don’t do something you don’t want on the front page of a newspaper… because now it is.” Chris’ team has quality checks for teams and now produces reports for the GM + end users.

Andrew said they use their CRM as a daily log, keeping track of job site documentation. He says communication between the office and site is more straightforward, as well as estimating job costs and subcontractors’ schedules.

Michael Gogan chimed in, saying it’s always better to over communicate. Good communication with clients prevents unpleasant news from being taken so poorly.

What about CompanyCam?

As Chris and Andrew thoroughly discussed (and experienced!), project management is no joking matter. The impact of the systems you select can make or break your crews, job site experience, and, ultimately, your business. 

CompanyCam is the job site documentation solution for contractors. Pairing well with CRMs, CompanyCam is the app contractors need to stay in the loop and on top of projects.

  • CompanyCam automatically organizes content by location. CompanyCam groups photos taken at a job site and organizes them into their own project folder.

  • Every photo is time and date stamped, including the user who took it. Know who took it and when! 

  • Photos, videos, documents, checklists, etc., are all synced and available across the company. CompanyCam uses the Cloud, so all your team’s photos are instantly uploaded and stored securely.

The Shining Star in CompanyCam: Project Templates

With CompanyCam Project Templates, getting all information in one place is even easier! Project templates allow you to preload projects so crews can hit the ground running — saving more time (and ultimately $$$).

Preloading projects helps crews stay up to speed on the details of the project, along with keeping a record of what needs to be completed on the site. This feature cuts down on commonly missed steps, helping reduce manual oversight. It can also help you manage remote job sites and crews better. 

Can we get an amen” for better accountability?!

Curious to hear the whole webinar? Look no further: BTA Core Project Management Systems Roundtable.

Learn more about Breakthrough Academy and all the wonderful resources they offer.

As the Brand Strategist at CompanyCam, Micki builds compelling narratives about those in the trades, researches brand positioning opportunities, strategizes effective distribution of content materials, interviews customers, and meets all the cool influencers at trade shows. After work, Micki can be found watching FIFA highlights, analyzing drama from The Bachelor, trying out new recipes, and lecturing her incorrigible cat, Tommy. It’s the little things.

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