In my quest to streamline efficiencies for rehabs I defaulted to my normal way of managing projects- namely using Microsoft Project or Excel. In thinking of all of the dependencies that go into a rehab, and obtaining status updates if not local to visibly validate it makes sense to use a collaborative project management software where the different contractors can update their assigned tasks, etc.
An example is Ace Project (on online cloud based package that is free up to five users).
I've read the relevant threads on BT, so will look at that, but am looking more for ease of use, and cost at moment is a prime consideration.
So, to all of you rehabbers out there, what do you use to actually manage given projects? In the past, I've only done one rehab at a time, and wasn't dependent on timelines, etc. so was a bit loose in my oversight.
I'm looking at ways of tracking performance to better gauge efficiency, budget and tracking!
Thanks in advance,.
Ive used asana in the past and it works out pretty well. Its fairly easy to use and can sync with your phone.
We use Basecamp. It is a good communication tool for everyone that is involved in the project. I am able to assign task and deadlines to those task. But if you are looking for something to track cost, this is not the software for you. It is simply a communication tool.
What exactly are you looking for the software to do for you? Keep track of the project stages (A house is in drywall, B house is at demo)...? Keep all the documents together? Communicate w/ all those involved? Finances?
I was sort of envisioning a complete end to end solution. That is, would support functionality for:
* Scheduling and communicating changes to all parties automatically, as well as receiving communications (in this manner, normal updates can be handled with emergencies using the phone).
* Allow for updating by various parties (that is, drywall complete entered by contractor, etc.).
* Allocating costs by project and measuring time (costs may be export to QuickBooks, or similar).
* Seeing dependencies to know what must occur first before another can (Gantt charts).
I took a look at Asana- that is looking pretty good too!
@Jim Foil You can not beat MS Project and how powerful it is for the price.
It is COTS and I have management a portfolio of $500 million construction projects with it at once.
Build your MS Project schedule with cost and export to Excel for status updates. Either email it or print it on paper for the contractors to update.
You can export the costs from project to Excel to Quickbooks if need be.
The most important thing with building a integrated schedule is defining a true critical path with tasks relationships to know the true finish date and how it is impacted.
How often would you ask for updates? Every week, Everyday?
I am a project manager and I specialize in MS Project. Feel free to ask any questions.
Initially it was basecamp which was taking care of the project management. But as of now in this new company which I have been working, its Replicon practically which helps manage the strategy in a streamlined fashion to help carry out the management.
Hi everyone. I too am looking for a good app or such to manage my sub contractors.
Jim, what did you find worked best? I need the same things you do except for:
"* Allocating costs by project and measuring time (costs may be export to QuickBooks, or similar)."
I'm new to flipping, but have owned a business for 11 years so know the importance of very good systems and tracking. So I have not used it personally besides the demo, but have spent a lot of time finding an all encompassing solution, and the easiest one I've looked at that offers everything to manage and analyze a deal, and is very affordable is http://www.houseflippingspreadsheet.com/. It will give you an idea on actual rehab costs, but that part you'll have to use experience, subs, or other resources to nail that down. However once can nail down the actual rehab costs it has everything else to manage and run your numbers.
We use Podio for both lead management and project management. Podio is very customizable so it serves as the "central hub" or "interface" and creates the relationships between items. We then use Google Spreadsheets to track the numbers and then attach the spreadsheets to the Podio project page via soft link. All of our books are kept in Quickbooks.
This method has worked pretty well and we just hit 200 rehabs, but we did our first 100 out of Google Sheets and Quickbooks.
I have also heard really good things about Smartsheet for project management. Smartsheet is just a spreadsheet that allows you to attach files, make comments, and create relationships between different sheets.
Ultimately - there is no "best" software. MS Project is not cloud based which makes for access problems, Buildertrend costs something like $99 per project (which is a lot), Podio needs to be built from scratch, but it's really customizable, and Smartsheet is just a spreadsheet with more features.
Just for reference, these may also be worth looking at, please take a look at them and then choose the best for YOU. All of them will have strengths and weaknesses and none will do EVERYTHING that you need:
- Zoho Projects
- Builder Trend
- MS Project
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind, especially if you are working in a team:
- Cloud based PM software allows for easy collaboration and access anywhere
- Don't suffer from "Shiny Object Syndrome" (just pick one and go, yes, there will always be a newer, fancier one, but constantly worrying about it will give you analysis paralysis and you just need to get your projects done)
- Make sure it has a mobile app so you can work on the go
- Don't spend too much money! Podio at $9 a month / user, plus Google Sheets is a good bargain for us, and we have as many as 25 rehabs going at one time.
Hope that helps!
The best tool we use is Evernote to track progress. Every time work gets done the pictures get put into Evernote and it gets attached to Podio.
To create a punchlist, we create a new note with some checkboxes, then put the photos of each item inside the note so the punch list, the photos, and the notes are all in the same place.
Evernote notes can also be attached to the corresponding Podio Record.
This really helps as photos tell you the real story. No contractor or sub gets paid without sending over the photos. Then inputting them into Evernote is as simple as drag and drop.
I am a big fan of cloud based software for anywhere access and group collaboration. I have been looking at several options and have not found a one stop shop that covers everything I am looking for and fits the criteria for cloud based and easy collaboration.
The accounting/finance end of our business is managed in house with an enterprise level accounting software. I don't need to track the pennies, but I do need to know where I am overall and by category in budgeted vs actual so I can make informed management decisions.
- houseflippingspreadsheet.com- Overall I really like this software. A-Z program, however it is based in Excel. I am a Chromebook/smart phone user, sitting at my desk top is inconvenient, no anywhere access and no collaboration options I have found for my primary users.
- gantter.com- easy to use Gantt chart (free). Cloud based and Google drive integration, so sharing and collaboration rock. Great for scheduling projections with dependencies. I agree with @JustinCase 'The most important thing with building a integrated schedule is defining a true critical path with tasks relationships to know the true finish date and how it is impacted.'
- Evernote- @JamesBowie, thanks for the Evernote tip. I use it for so many areas of my personal and business life- had not occurred to me to use it as you described, going to implement this week!
Sorry for bumping this thread a long time later, I was just searching online for PM software and ran across this. I have a question and wanted to know how all of you guys handled it.
For our in-house staff, it is easy to get them to use our PM software. However, for residential construction, the subs aren't necessarily of the highest quality where they could be expected to use PM systems. Most don't have email and can barely send text messages.
Do you just rely on a field superintendent on your staff to be the bridge between corporate office and the subs who don't know how to use a computer or email or whatever?
It would be great to get input from you guys on how this is handled.
Have not seen it mentioned yet, but have been trialing zInspector for tracking basic move-in/out inspections, but it is admittedly focused on just point-in-time snapshots where I am increasingly looking at an moving from inspection to actual cost estimator and a means to share with contractors to compare bids. This like puts it closer to some of the other suites out there.
@James Bowie Would you mind sharing your templates? I know it's asking a lot but I'm trying very hard to get and stay organized and it's rough.
If by any chance you're open to it I'd love to take you to lunch one of these days.
@Jeb Brilliant Yeah - I'd be happy to share what I can.
@Dustin H. We do rely on a "Project Manager" as a liason between the contractors and the office. That person needs to be trained in spreadsheets and fixing leaky faucets. It's a tough job to fill because most have experience in construction or in making real estate deals - but few have both.
@Cliff H. I actually bought the house flipping spreadsheet as well and have found it to be pretty useful. I think the developer of that is on to something. I only wish there was a Google Docs version as we use a lot of Chromebooks and tablets these days.
I know I posted a bunch of programs up there, but our staple is Podio due to its flexibility and customization options.
We even hacked Podio to send text messages and emails and it keeps track of our schedules and contacts for us.
I wondered too how much subs would participate in a collaborative environment which is why I've stuck with offline gantt for now using MS Project and Graffle on a mac.
@James Bowie would you mind also sharing with me your templates? I'm trying to figure out what to build next in my tool to replace some parts that people would normally use podio for and would love to see how others use it/have hacked it.
Originally posted by :
Yeah - I'd be happy to share what I can.
Any chance I can get a copy of your templates as well? Thanks!
@James Bowie Thank you for post and comments. I'm making the transition from excel to Podio and Google docs. Are you able to share your setup, hacks, and google spreadsheets you mentioned above.
@James Bowie Your posts finally convinced me to go to Podio.
Did you ever share your templates? I would love to have access to anything you are willing to share. I'll buy you lunch for a 1:1 review of Podio if you're up for it. (I also may be a future client if you're still doing lending).
Let me know, I'm up in Torrance.
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