Basement Builders - Looking to Send Fast, Accurate Estimates with Real-time Upgrades...

May 10, 2021 12:00:00 AM

Basement Builders - Calgary (Mathew Ashley)

The Basement Builders is a very niche renovations company in Calgary that does primarily basement renovations.  Competition is tight and they are always looking for an edge. They feel they had the best quality in the city by far because they are obsessed with customer satisfaction, and were looking for a way to extend that same quality to the buying experience but it was a very competitive market and found they were usually competing on price.
They were looking for ways to offer more custom options, rather than offering just builder-grade or ‘packaged’ finish options.  Because it was so hard to manage the selections process, they would group selections in “Bronze, Silver and Gold” which left little room for customization. 
They had an excel spreadsheet that they used for estimating, but were struggling with keeping track of versions, tracking changes and customer approvals over time. They had a directory structure of files that was massive and despite being very organized people, really struggled to maintain order.  Often, prices would change from suppliers, vendors and subcontractors, and they would make the change in the spreadsheet, but then later end up using the wrong file version and the older, incorrect costs were used.  Errors were frequent and costly.  Estimating took a few hours per quote because of the paranoia of errors and having to double check. Change-orders and re-estimates took just as long.  Because pricing was grouped by line of work (electrical, plumbing) instead of grouped by area/function (bathroom, bedroom, wet-bar etc), if the consumer requested to remove something from the quote they almost had to start from scratch.
We onboarded the Basement Builders into CostCertified and because they were so early on in our development, many of our features were built to address their concerns and use-cases.  We built reusable assemblies nested in a structure built based on the function/option.  For example, all the bathroom items went into the bathroom assembly. The wet bar items went into the wet bar assembly.  This seems obvious in retrospect but it really isn’t how the industry works because there is no tool for that (until now).  That way, when the customer inevitably asks to remove the bathroom, or wetbar, it’s one click to remove and everything associated with it disappears. Better yet, the customer can do it themselves.  The Basement Builders harnessed this effect to add many more optional items and selections upgrades.
We soon discovered that CostCertified allowed them to offer fully customized options for each of their selections, freeing them and their customers from the confines of “Bronze, Silver and Gold”.  We built and saved high-margin upgrades into their items so that they could tempt their customers, maximizing their revenue.  
They eventually realized that moving into new lines of business would be easy with CostCertified and have since created a Garage division, and Roofing division. We helped them to build different presentations to represent their 3 different brands in their presentations/proposals.  
CostCertified made estimating so easy that they were able to pass off the sales to people who were really good at sales but didn’t necessarily know anything about construction estimating.  Their sales people still needed to know the limits of how much they could discount the projects so they knew how much room they had to negotiate. They set a minimum margin so that warnings appear if the project dips below a certain profit level, ensuring that they make a profit on every job regardless of who builds and sends the proposal.
Two years later, they use CostCertified every day (+ nearly all day!)  They track their vendor payments and invoices in CostCertified to know their budget vs actual pricing and cash flow. They can do a comprehensive estimate in less than 10 minutes. They have absolutely obliterated their competition, doubled their revenue within 18 months of using CostCertified.  They no longer worry about files, versions, change orders, or errors. Their customers can literally spend hours in their proposals playing with the options and making decisions as they ‘build their own’ basement proposal.
An incredible 83% of their customers chose an upgrade or modification to their quote increasing profit by 7% on average.
Early on, they offered to pay us double to keep their primary competitor out of CostCertified because they recognized the value it brings to their business.  Two different basement developers have recently asked to be allowed to use CostCertified because they are losing customers to the Basement Builders and their lost customers are telling them that they need to be “Cost Certified” too.