Paul Trautmann is an OG CompanyCam user. His company, Timberland Exteriors, started using our app over 3 years ago. He has seen first-hand the effects CompanyCam can have on your business long term. CompanyCam has “transformed” the way Timberland does their work. Being an active advocate & supporter of CompanyCam, we figured it was appropriate to reach out and hear what he had to say.
Tell me a little about Timberland Exteriors. Where are you based? Inspiration for starting the business? What’s your role there?
I used to be a police officer so I kind of got into this business by accident. I was working part time and answered an ad to sell home improvement. From there, I just fell in love with this industry. I fell in love with the business. I always wanted to serve people and this was where my life kind of drew me.
We started Timberland Exteriors about 20 years ago. We focus on siding, roofing, and windows. We focus on trying to be the best company possible. We run two satellite offices, one in the twin cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and one of the Detroit Lakes area up near Fargo. People ask occasionally, “what makes you different? Why would we use you versus any other company?” I say, “You know, you’re right. There’s a lot of companies that do this, but there’s a lot of people that do it wrong.” People that are focused only on the work and not on the people, don’t realize there’s lives involved in this industry. We’re trying to be as unobtrusive as possible and realize that we’re going to be in people’s homes making a mess. So we don’t look at it like work. Many people just say, “A job’s a job.” We don’t do that.
What are some of the problems/issues you see in the roofing/remodeling industry in regards to photo reporting/documentation (or lack thereof)?
Well, prior to CompanyCam, the hardest part for us was tracking down photos. Our installers take pictures at every house. If we did three houses a day, we’d get 30 — 40 pictures that, by the end of the week, nobody knew where each photo was from. It was really hard to decipher which photos went to which job. And then try and then save them somewhere. Usually they’d end up in an email somewhere. Then we’d have to try and track down and sort emails. It was an absolute mess. City Inspectors wanted to see photos. The homeowners, they want copies of the photos, too. We’d ended up emailing stuff all over, and after six months, it was really hard to track photos of all these jobs. CompanyCam changed that for us.
Now we’ve got a permanent record of photos attached to an address of the customer’s house. The photos are saved in a database that they can access at any point. That was a day-one game changer for us! Our crews don’t have to worry about emailing photos to us anymore – it’s saved right from the job.
“It’s transformed how we do business. CompanyCam is critical to creating an exceptional customer experience. I don’t know what we’d do without you guys.”
What was your photo process before CompanyCam?
Before Companycam, we minimized the amount of photos we took because it was cumbersome keeping track of them. Email storage was our process and we’d try to save photos back into our CRM, but it was cumbersome and we failed in many cases to get the photos passed to where they should have been. But now with CompanyCam, we take hundreds of photos. We’ve got 900 photos on the job because we want to document everything. We did a remodel project and photographed so many steps and issues that once the sheet rock was up, and it was time to turn the electrical on, the electricians realized they had forgotten to connect the electrical to the main box. Fortunately, we had so many photos that we found the exact connection point and cut a little tiny two inch hole into the wall to make that connection. If we hadn’t had CompanyCam taking all those photos, we would have never known. CompanyCam has been wonderful.
“Never compromise. Never cut corners.” is Timberland Exteriors guiding principle. How has CompanyCam assisted your business towards achieving this principle?
CompanyCam has helped us solve homeowners’ issues better. An example of never cutting corners is we won’t use inferior products on our customer’s projects. I don’t want to make more money by using cheaper products. I explain to the homeowner the value of what we do. CompanyCam has been great because we can take photos of every little detail. “On the bottom level of the ground, you see where the clearance to your siding hits the dirt? Because of this, we have to do this. Do you see where your electrical box is? Because of this, we have to do this. Do you see where all of this rotten wood is? Because of this, we should do this and we should do that,” and so on. It has clarified to homeowners why we do what we do and why we do it to so much detail.
And it shows we do what we say. We don’t send them a bill for $8,000 and say, “Well, you had all this rotten wood. Sorry it’s covered now, you can’t see it.” Using CompanyCam, we go back and can show every single nail on every single piece of rotten wood that we replaced.
“Every single person we have ever dealt with from CompanyCam are really great. They’re grounded. I never feel any arrogance about them. I never feel any, “I don’t have time to talk to you because of this or that.” I’ll sometimes call with the stupidest question and they’re like, “Oh no, no, we’ll figure it out. Great talking to you.” I just love you guys.”
Tell me about an“aha” moment when you realized the CompanyCam app was going to be a game changer?
The “aha” moment was the first time our crews used it. We found CompanyCam and thought, “this is going to be great. Now let’s see if our teams like it.” And that was the biggest aha moment, when the crew said, “Finally! We don’t have to try and figure out how to get photos to you anymore. We just take photos and it’s done!” That was probably the first time we realized this is going to be a game changer in our court.
How long does it usually take one of your employees to get comfortable using CompanyCam?
Well, it’s a complicated process because we have to log them into their phone and take one picture and it takes maybe a minute to get them… I’m teasing! It is so quick. Taking that first picture at the job site is where the crew realized how simple, how easy it is. It takes five minutes. They will see the benefit immediately because they just hit the camera and it pulls up the job that they’re sitting at. They don’t have to try and track down the address. They don’t even have to know the address! Just click the button and the phone will know the address of where you’re at. So it’s a very quick process!
I have noticed that the people who seem to be against using the app online are individuals who haven’t tried it yet. It’s kind of ironic!
It’s funny, people doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I’ve got a contractor friend of mine who I’ve pitched to, and he says, “Nah, nah. We’ve got our own system.” I said, “What’s your system?” He said, “oh, the crews just take photos and they email them to me.” I’m like, “Yeah, but don’t you find that you’ve got like a thousand photos in your email?” He said, “yeah, but I can figure it out.” People are reluctant to change sometimes. They are reluctant to the point of detriment.
Which feature of CompanyCam do you think provides the most benefit to roofing/remodeling companies?
The ability to take lots of photos and then not constantly have to track down your crews to get photos from them. Our siding takes longer, so it’s nice we can watch the progress of the job from wherever we’re at. Similar with the roofing crews, but they are usually in and out the same day. Our siders are usually there for a week or two weeks. So with the siding photos, we can keep updated on more jobs by seeing what’s going on in real time without being at the jobsite.
What would you say to companies that are on the fence about using CompanyCam?
I would say, “call me.” It can be good to hear from other people about their experience with CompanyCam, instead of just from CompanyCam itself. When you deal with a shingle company, everybody in the company will say theirs is the best. When you deal with a company in any industry, they will always say they’re best choice. CompanyCam will say it’s the best, so ask one of their users! So, call me, I’ll tell them about my experience with CompanyCam.
Finish this statement: “CompanyCam is…”
CompanyCam is the best app we have ever found.
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Timberland Exteriors is a roofing, window, siding, & storm damage repair company based out of the twin cities in Minnesota. Timberland Exteriors take pride in listening to their customers’ needs and then they do what they can to address housing issues. Paul Trautmann is the owner of Timberland exteriors.
Learn more at their website.