Five years ago Fulford Home Remodeling was still handwriting schedules and faxing paperwork. But then the Swansea, Ill., company discovered Virtual Boss construction scheduling software, says production manager Larry Nickerson. “With the volume of work we had, it increased our efficiency with scheduling and our ability to intertwine jobs,” he says.
It was taking the production manager 12 to 14 hours, depending on project scope, to schedule a job during busy periods. Once he got the hang of using Virtual Boss, Nickerson says — and it didn’t take long — he cut scheduling time to three or four hours per week, even during busy times. “A project that might be six to eight weeks might take an hour and 20 minutes [to schedule now] depending on how much detail is involved,” he says.
Compatible with Microsoft programs, Virtual Boss can be used on individual servers or via a cloud-based system. Nickerson links to it on his Blackberry. The cost: a one-time fee of about $395 for a single workstation license.
As he schedules the job, Nickerson inputs client contact information and vendor and trade partner information just once. Any changes he makes are automatically updated, and he can include work orders, material lists, even contracts for the trades.
5% Increase in output and productivity significant enough to separate winners from losers in most industries Source: The New York Times
He creates a Gantt chart, which he sends via e-mail to everyone connected with the job. “Homeowners can see a start and an end date and day-to-day tasks,” Nickerson says. “If we’re framing for three days and then an electrical sub is coming, it’s on the chart for them to see,” so they’re not surprised by new crew arriving at their door.
—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.