May 24, 2022

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The Number One Source For Business

Business Management & Customer Interaction

Knowify Construction Management for Plumbing, Fire Suppression, and HVAC (www.knowify.com, 212/233-3230) provides capabilities to help contractors navigate and manage the entire office side of their business in a single system, addressing bidding, change orders, service tickets, schedules, time keeping, purchasing, invoicing (including AIA-style pay applications), and other functions. 

Suitable for residential and commercial contractors, Knowify features a Web version designed for use on a computer in the office or a tablet in the field. The solution, available in both English and Spanish, also offers a mobile app for use by field personnel to input jobsite information, clock in/clock out, update on job progress, and add photos.  

Contractors can utilize customizable templates to generate branded quotes for bids, change orders, invoices, RFIs, submittals, and other forms, and the software comes with a built-in e-signature process for customer approval.  

Knowify incorporates a comprehensive, two-way sync with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop for accounting. Its comprehensive reporting engine supplements QuickBooks reports, allowing contractors to quickly run Work in Progress and other construction-relevant reports.

The software also integrates with Square and PaySimple for payments, Lendflow for business financing, Paychex for payroll services, and Permits.com for permits. Other integrations are also possible via Zapier, a workplace automation tool useful for expediting movement of information between web apps.

The solution comes in four versions: Plus, Growth, Enterprise, and Beyond (custom). The Plus (basic) version includes simple job costing and project management while the enhanced versions have advanced scheduling with a schedule board enabling resource scheduling and sharing of deadline information, submittals, subcontractor management, and progress information viewable by workers through their mobile app. Field workers can upload pictures in progress from the mobile app.

Pricing: 4 tiered plans, billed per month or annually based on subscription tier and the number of active users (one user is the base). Free 14-day trial available.

Raken (www.rakenapp.com 866/438-0646), is mobile-first field management software for the construction industry, available for iOS and for Android devices, plus a web application for the office. 

Designed to track time and production (logging both the quantity of materials installed and used daily and the status of equipment utilized), Raken also enables faster communications between a jobsite and home office, facilitating actionable data, insights, and the ability to identify jobsite risks early.

Digital timecards feature associated cost codes and the ability to allocate hours, overtime, or double-time of individual workers or an entire crew from any mobile device. 

Data on production tracking can be used immediately on the web for real-time insights. In addition, the production data can be exported and imported into accounting and estimating software for easier payroll processing and to inform future bids.

Daily reports, which are compiled into a branded PDF, include work logs, daily weather, a description of work performed that day, and time-stamped photos that are automatically attached to the report.  There is also an integrated voice-to-text feature for recording notes in the daily log while walking the jobsite.

The app, which can handle an unlimited number of projects, also provides preformatted checklists as well as customizable templates that enable creating your own from scratch.

The Performance plan includes a digital library of 100+ toolbox talks that address safety topics relevant in and around a jobsite, as well as the ability to bulk schedule and digitally sign them. 

In the office, the Raken dashboard can display the signed daily reports with all associated data (photos, videos, attachments), real-time production trends, and the comparison of up to five cost codes. Weekly and monthly summaries are available. All reports can be automatically sent to any stakeholders or email addresses.

Pricing: per month or annually, per user, scaled by the tier of features included. Free trial available.

FreshLime (www.freshlime.com) is a customer interaction platform for home services, designed to help attract and retain customers and to generate repeat business through smart QR codes, text messaging, WebChat, and automated email, all organized into a central inbox. In addition to collecting leads, you can also generate review requests and manage online reviews to increase your Google and Facebook star rating.

How it works: The FreshLime app automatically captures customer, marketing, and transactional data, to build unique customer profiles. Through the Message Center, when new conversations are initiated by the customer (from computer, smartphone, or tablet) via text message or webchat, or if they have scanned your QR code, you can respond automatically. If no one is available to respond at the time, FreshLime’s automation captures leads and sends them to the Message Center, so you can respond when ready.

After completing a job, a business can automatically send a review request, making it easy for a customer to leave feedback. After a review is left, the business can respond publicly straight from the  phone or the dashboard. 

Pricing: FreshLime Free is free for up to 10 customer interactions a month. A business can upgrade to a monthly subscription for unlimited interactions.

Patti Feldman writes articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. She can be reached at [email protected] .