As a leading trade association in the flooring industry, the National Tile Contractors Association is constantly looking for new programs and services to bring value to our members. One of our strategic objectives remains quite simple: save our members money or help to find them work. We feel that a new program we are rolling out on time tracking and project management from associate member busybusy.com can do both of these things. It is a unique service because it can benefit every type of contractor member we have, from a sole proprietorship to a large commercial or residential installation company, whether they are tile and stone only or they install all types of flooring. We spoke with Chief Revenue Officer of busybusy, Derrik Shakespear, to provide some important information about this platform.
How long has busybusy been around? Tell us about busybusy’s journey to becoming the leader in time tracking?
We have been in business for about a decade. Our CEO has nearly 30 years of experience in many aspects of the construction industry. He became frustrated because he could see how much money should be made and wasn’t because there was so much waste and inefficiency in the industry. He formalized a plan to develop software that addressed a key problem that other software systems weren’t addressing. There was no good way to track time and job costing. Every other software adds a bad time keeping product as an afterthought. The problem is if you have bad labor data, you just made the software you are using useless because garbage in equals garbage out. The largest variable cost on every job site is labor and yet, all these accounting and project management software systems were either not doing time tracking or they built it as an afterthought. Doing basic project job costing, managing your employees and helping them to become more efficient is a direct conduit to increasing profit. Most of the major questions and variables in construction are contingent on having accurate time tracking per project. So we decided to take this on and make it a robust and comprehensive platform. We are truly motivated to make contractors more efficient and more profitable, so we even developed a free option in our product to make sure everyone would get off paper. The Pro product is making sure once people are off paper that we make them as much money as possible. Most contractors don’t realize how much money they are losing in opportunity cost by using paper. Our Pro product makes that really obvious, really quick.
What are the primary benefits your clients get out of your product?
In addition to what I just said, the primary benefit would be a huge reduction in payroll, as our average client reduces the amount of time it takes to do payroll by 67%. There are a lot of ways to save money and to make money in business; one of the easiest is to reduce the time your employees spend on current tasks so that they can do other, more profitable activities for the business. We have seen a ton of our clients’ profitability go through the roof by reallocating the hours that used to go to payroll and are now used to improve accounts payable and receivable. The improved cash flow has improved the way decisions are being made for them. In addition, understanding the labor hours spent on each job provides so much value into future projects to manage and estimate them accurately.
Contractors who still use paper express the concern on how field personnel will embrace and adopt a program like this. What is the ease of use of your software and how has it been received?
Most installers/field employees get the hang of this after about a week or two. There is occasionally some resistance to change but interestingly enough COVID has actually changed some of that, and we are seeing crews being better about adopting technology now than they ever have. One of the unique advantages we have at busybusy is that our lead designer worked in construction for a long time so the app is designed to be simple to use so that tile and stone installers appreciate its usability.
In addition to time management and cost savings, can you elaborate on how busybusy can directly impact profitability?
We have case studies on this. Our average client increases profitability by 30% within the first twelve months of using busybusy. People who are using paper to track time generally see a pretty big increase in profitability. Even companies that are already using a digital time tracking product see substantial gains by using busybusy’s more effective system. It is interesting when you look at certain industries. In the last 50 years manufacturing has increased its productivity by 750%, because everything is done with technology and data. Alternatively, construction has in many ways become less efficient; only about 50% increase in productivity.Our clients are always pleasantly surprised at how quickly they see profitably increase when they start using busybusy. Accountability and performance immediately improve when people know their activities and work habits are being tracked and adding accountability always increases productivity!
A great example of this is that we have a client who reported that he was able to give a promotion to one of his employees because the software had clearly demonstrated how productive this person was based on the project data coming in. The company could clearly see his hours and his productivity were outperforming many others in the field.
What is unique about your company and the way you run your business?
The way we approach our clients for sure! We put our money where our mouth is in ways most software companies don’t dare to. Here are a couple of examples of what I mean:
- We do not do contracts. We want clients to use us because they love us, not because they are stuck.
- We give our customers a 90-day, 100% money-back guarantee. All of their money is given back if they don’t love busybusy.
- We only bill based on usage. This allows for the normal ebb and flow of your busy season that almost all contractors experience.
I take a lot of pride in the way that we take care of our clients. I have never seen another software company that does all three of those things. When you consider that we don’t do contracts, we have a 100% satisfaction guarantee and we only bill on usage, we are truly saying to our users that we don’t make money unless you do. It also keeps our product reliability and client success groups really good because if we don’t perform, someone would just leave. We have bet on ourselves and we want our customers to bet on us too. Oh, and don’t forget the free product we offer; that’s a huge bonus for many contractors too. It replaces paper and gets a lot of companies more efficient and used to using technology.
How does busybusy help the tile contractor communicate and interact with general contractors and project owners in a more professional manner, pertaining to resolving conflicts or disputes?
Paper or low visibility software can’t address some ambiguity on most job sites. With busybusy, our clients can prove what their labor force was doing and when. Change orders are picked up easily. This is a major issue for tile and specialty contractors. Back charges are also easier to defend with the reporting and data you collect. busybusy customers rarely get back charges because they have better documentation to provide to the GC. Many times we hear from the field that our customers can clearly show the documentation of their work, eliminating short payments or back charges on projects. Our Daily Report feature is also huge for the improved relationship between a GC and a specialty contractor like your members, because of all the info a GC can get updated on daily.
GCs also appreciate that busybusy helps our customers avoid liability, which is a major issue in construction. We are very interested in making sure our customers don’t lose money. We have saved them millions of dollars in federal or state lawsuits related to labor laws and project documentation. Our product captures a daily signature that says the time is accurate. A stored, saved time card is on payroll that you can produce and show to a judge. GPS tracking is there for you as well. Injury and non-injury reports are another way we are documenting employee health and activity each day. Many workers compensation claims and disputes can be resolve with busybusy’s “non-injury report” that offers additional protection to the contractor.
You can download the busybusy app at busybusy.com and get started today.
Bart Bettiga is the Executive Director of the National Tile Contractors Association and Publisher of TileLetter. Bettiga is a member of the Board of Governors of Coverings, one the largest tradeshows in North America. He has over 30 years of experience in the tile and stone industry and has served as the NTCA Executive Director since 2002. He is a well known speaker and author on ceramic tile and natural stone distribution and installation. He oversees the financial operations of the NTCA, TileLetter and the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation.