Windstar Homes

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.

Florida Builder Hits Home Run

David Lesser, builder of custom homes for stars like Gary Sheffield and Jorge Posada of the New York Yankees, is a devoted fan of Construction Office. "ConstructionOffice has taken our business to the next level, from AA baseball to the major leagues. We now have a world-class software package that's integrated our entire company. I'm such a fan," says David, co-owner of Windstar Homes, Inc. "If anybody wants to know, I'll tell them how ConstructionOffice has made our company infinitely better."

Windstar Homes, Inc., of Tampa, Fla., builds high-end custom homes in both Florida and the Bahamas. These multi-million dollar estate homes are some of the finest in the Tampa Bay area and have granted Windstar Homes a bevy of national awards. Windstar's Casa Linda residence, an 11,180 square-foot beauty with a theater, wine cellar, and pool with swim-up bar, was awarded the Make A Wish Foundation Home of the Year for 2003. A cocktail benefit complete with an open house raised over $50,000 for the Tampa/Sarasota chapter of the foundation.

Although Windstar Homes has enjoyed success since its inception, David notes that "something was always missing." He goes on to say, "We've always been one of the most organized construction firms I know, but we had difficulty connecting various tasks and stores of information."

David was looking for something that refined the project management of Windstar Homes into a well-oiled machine. "I used to use [other construction software] for estimating and accounting," David says. "I spent tens of thousands of dollars on it, and it stunk," says David, describing the program as unfriendly, costly to operate, and difficult for employees to use.

The need for a better project management system was a pressing one for David. "This business is not for the faint of heart," he observes. "You have to be meticulous and organized, or you'll get eaten alive. I knew we needed to make a change."

David's office manager asserted that ConstructionOffice was worth considering as a solution, but, David says, "I shrugged it off because of the price. It was just too cheap." David had thought he would need to spend several thousand dollars for a good project management software.

Finally, when David had a break from building at Thanksgiving, he tried out the ConstructionOffice free trial. Impressed, he bought the software the same week.

Verve-Electric-Fam

David started with a single-user version of ConstructionOffice Professional XT. After he learned to use the software and implemented the system as part of his business model, he upgraded to the 5-user version of Construction Office Professional NT.

With ConstructionOffice, David was able to initiate and maintain a reliable project management system for Windstar Homes. "ConstructionOffice helped us bring all of our data together in one place, so it's more usable and accessible than ever before," David says. "Estimating ties in directly with proposals so I can't leave anything out of the total price. Then as the build progresses, the strong estimating and scheduling integration makes it easy to keep our cash flow on track."

With ConstructionOffice, users can automatically create schedules that display estimated costs for each task. "This allows us to use Construction Office schedules as draw schedules, instead of the old AIA forms," explains David. "My office manager calls the project manager, verifies the schedule, and then gets a draw from the bank. We get our cash much faster."

Thanks to their new streamlined project management system, David estimates that Windstar will be able to build two additional homes this year without adding even one more employee. "We're able to do things much more efficiently," David says. "We create estimates and specs earlier than ever before, which helps us close deals and facilitate the front end."

"ConstructionOffice took us to just where we needed," David says. "Now, after only 2 months, I've integrated all of our existing material into ConstructionOffice and made ConstructionOffice part of my daily system. It's made my world a much better place." David plans to convert his accounting system to QuickBooks so Windstar can integrate estimating and accounting information as well.

For document and contact database integration, users can convert existing company information into documents that work with the ConstructionOffice system. "With Document Management, we can create letters that go along with certain documents, set tasks for pre-scheduled meetings, automatically email information, and import Outlook contact information into documents," David says. "We have a 124-page homeowner guide that we now use as part of the ConstructionOffice system."

Windstar is currently using ConstructionOffice to manage the construction of a 7,000 square foot, 3.5 million dollar home. "We will be able to complete this home in 8 months, instead of 14-16 months. This is huge," David says. "It's amazing what this system is doing for us-on the low side, I believe we'll make an extra $1 million this year because of ConstructionOffice," David says. "We're doing things for our business with ConstructionOffice that we didn't think were possible."


Project Photos

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
Tampa, FL USA www.windstarhomes.com Custom Homes 18

 

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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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