S.L. Vonderhorst & Sons, Inc.

Challenge

Verve Electric used three spreadsheets, each an independent silo of information, to manage clients, estimates, and invoices alongside a basic online calendar to share project information when away from the office. Finding a client, their associated projects and files, and then communicating detailed information from office to jobsite was difficult, time-consuming, and limited.

Solution

The unified database provided by ConstructionSuite enables Verve Electric to quickly search across their projects. They can now easily find estimates and invoices for any given client, improving their processing speed and streamlining their workflow for both new jobs and numerous repeat customers. Integration with ConstructionOnline’s powerful Mobile App made it possible for Nathan to easily view the same centralized data set in the field, making it possible to open a project’s estimate and files away from the office.

An Investment in Success

In 2004, Kevin Vonderhorst made the technological leap with his Keene, New Hampshire company, S.L. Vonderhorst & Sons, Inc. But before he purchased any software, Kevin knew exactly what his company needed. "When we knew we were ready to incorporate more technology in our office, we needed software that was straightforward, easy to use, and reasonably priced," says Kevin. "That's why we chose ConstructionOffice."

Kevin's version of the software, ConstructionOffice Professional NT, is a network based system that allows multiple users to access a common set of company and project files on a server or peer-to-peer network.

"Our ConstructionOffice network version saves our company time everyday. It eliminates all the questions," says Kevin. "We can avoid the flurry of phone calls, messages, and wasted trips to the jobsite. Instead, anyone in our office can open up ConstructionOffice and get the information they need."

Kevin says that ConstructionOffice not only helps his employees save time, but it also increases their efficiency.

Verve-Electric-Fam

S.L. Vonderhorst & Sons has 15 employees, four of which use ConstructionOffice on a daily basis. The company was incorporated in 1988 and is an offshoot of Kevin's father's company which began in 1962. Kevin himself has over 20 years of construction experience. With approximately 4 million in annual revenue, S.L. Vonderhorst & Sons currently completes 10-20 projects a year, including new residential construction, light commercial, and specialty work for Motorola.

"While the heart of our business is in residential construction, we provide services for a variety of projects in the tri-state area, including light commercial, excavation, and metal warehouse distribution," Kevin explains. "We do a lot of specialized work for Motorola involving sitework, tower preparation, and excavation." ConstructionOffice Professional, with its complete library of project tools, was an ideal fit for S.L. Vonderhorst & Sons' diverse specialties.

"What I like best about ConstructionOffice Professional is that I can customize it for different project types," says Kevin, explaining how he created estimating templates for different types of residential, light commercial, and excavation jobs. He started with the residential master provided in ConstructionOffice to create his residential estimating template and then created his excavating template from scratch.

"With ConstructionOffice estimating, we can completely break down the building process," says Kevin, explaining how the detailed estimate ensures he doesn't lose money on the job due to small, but costly oversights. "My project manager, my draftsman, and I all start with the same estimating templates, so it's easy to manage and share our information," explains Kevin. "And now we don't miss the little things in our estimates that add up quickly."

S.L. Vonderhorst & Sons has built over a hundred homes in New Hampshire and the surrounding states, and Kevin is currently exploring additional ways ConstructionOffice can enhance his business. Specifically, he is seeking to partner with more architects in the area for custom home design. "When we talk to architects about the opportunities, we show them what we're doing with the ConstructionOffice system," Kevin says. "It builds credibility for our business."

"Before we began using ConstructionOffice, we were using QuickBooks and pencil and paper," remembers Kevin. "You know the little accounting analysis pads you can buy at the office supply store? That's what I used for estimating."

But the transition to a software based system was relatively smooth for people at Kevin's company. Because ConstructionOffice works with a variety of Microsoft Office applications, Kevin's employees found the software "comfortable and very easy to use," he says. "Our employees learned ConstructionOffice quickly and use it well. I was already pretty fluent in Microsoft Office, so I was able to pick up ConstructionOffice right away. Plus, the UDA staff was extremely helpful and assisted in set up," notes Kevin.

After using ConstructionOffice at his company for nearly a year, Kevin is convinced of the software's value. He says that "ConstructionOffice is probably the best single investment we've made in the last year, and that's the truth. It's been worth every penny and more, bringing new growth, more confidence, and better project management to our company."

To those companies who are still deciding whether incorporating technology will be beneficial for them, Kevin has this to say: "If you're still debating whether to bring software and technology into your construction business, it's time to take the leap," Kevin recommends. "Even if you have a small business, make the investment in ConstructionOffice."

Exceptional Work. Superior Results.

Professionalism and quality are both incredibly important for TriVista USA to do exceptional work with superior results. Michael explains, "Communication is 90% non-verbal, and if you show up with a level of service that starts at a high level, and that level remains consistent as you dive into the job - if the specs look good and contract is well-presented - if everything looks good and is tight and neat - then everything, including your company, looks professional because it is. Obviously, it begins and ends with you doing what you say you're going to do, but ConstructionSuite helps people do that and get stuff to clients on time, stay on budget, and that's the beginning and end to me."

sauri4_300x300A few of TriVista USA's current jobs get Michael really excited, especially one extremely unique home in the D.C. area. "We're working on some very cool things right now - specifically this amazing home that is set into the side of an extremely steep hill. So steep in fact, that a parking deck had to be built to give the family parking access from the street. From this parking deck, there is an architecturally beautiful bridge they walk across to get into the house but the space beneath the bridge and parking area has gone completely unused so far," said Michael. He continued, "TriVista is recreating this area to make a gorgeous flagstone patio and the family will finally start enjoying this amazing space."

Excitement, passion, and love for what you do is extremely important, especially when you have the hectic schedule that Michael Sauri has. His passion truly shines every day when he has the chance to develop creative solutions. He says "I love the design part of what I get to do - the first few meetings are always the best. I meet with my clients and they've got something in their home that just isn't working for them. I have the privilege to come in and transform that space, usually with a solution they never thought possible."

Another thing that keeps Michael excited and challenged is the fact that everything TriVista works on is custom made. "It's easy to just do something you did in a previous project because you know it works, but we don't do that. Everything we do is custom made and by making yourself come about something with a brand new approach each time, it ensures that your end results will be even better," said Michael. The end results are extremely important to Michael, as he explains "in my industry, I am constantly building things that outlive me - every single day. I am very aware of that in everything I'm doing, because in ten years, I may not be here, but my work still is, and honestly, I don't want that to suck."

It may be that mindset that contributes to TriVista USA's exceptional work which continues to earn notice. Michael was just recently selected to be the Green Building Technology and Strategies on-camera spokesperson for the online component of Remodeling Magazine, Remodeling TV. He is featured on Remodeling TV to discuss the ins and outs of Green Building. TriVista USA was also recently selected to be featured on BobVila.com for their recent work on a home in Washington, D.C.

While these adventures just add to Michael's busy schedule, he's extremely excited to be a part of it. He said, "What I hope comes from these opportunities with Remodeling TV and Bob Vila is that I'm going to help other business owners who are in similar situations by giving them insight into what's been working for us. Hopefully those who see my ideas will reach out to me, either by giving me constructive criticism or just telling me their different opinions. That alone will help TriVista USA and myself grow and improve because really, bouncing ideas off of each other is going to make us better and also the industry as a whole."

Media attention isn't the only attention that TriVista USA has been receiving. The solid results they've produced have resulted in the 2009 Arlington County's Green Home Choice Award as well as multiple National Association of the Remodeling Industry's Contractor of the Year (COTY) Awards. TriVista USA was recognized in 2008 with COTY Awards for their work on a commercial interior at the Robert Shields Interiors office space, and for an entire house renovation for a home in Silver Spring, Maryland. Additionally, they were awarded COTY Awards in 2007 for their commercial interior work in the Washington D.C. restaurant, D'Acqua, and for their residential exterior renovation of a home in McLean, Virginia.

Location Website Industry Years in Business
Keene, NH USA www.vsonsexcavation.com Residential, Light Commercial, Excavation since 1988

 

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UDA Technologies is one of the fastest growing providers of construction project management software in the United States, Canada, Central & South America, Australia, and 75 countries worldwide with double digit, industry leading revenue growth. Designed for growing construction firms, UDA construction software manages over 70 billion dollars of construction annually.

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