How Ginkgo used an app to keep track of their actual costs



Company name: Ginkgo Construction Inc.

Trade: Residential renovations, remodels, and design

Instagram: @ginkgo.construction

Andrew R, Co-Founder of Ginkgo Construction

People’s goals evolve over time to reflect new priorities and desires, but each accomplishment builds on the success of the previous.


Growing up in Thunder Bay, Andrew Reid had always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, and start his own business. After 8 years of onsite experience, certified as a Renovation Technician and Red Seal Carpenter, Andrew fulfilled his life-long dream and started Ginkgo Construction with his business partner, Nathan, in January 2020.


The Challenge


The #1 rule in a construction business is to charge more than it costs to run a project. Though the estimate aims to achieve this, without comparing actuals to estimates, you have no-way of knowing where you’re making money, and (more importantly) where you’re losing money. In other words, not comparing actuals to estimates is like playing chicken with your business and your employees.


Collecting and keeping track of actual project expenses can be a very tedious and time-consuming job. This is one of the main reasons why so few builders do it, and why builders tend to rely on their bank account to determine how their business is performing. This is a dangerous habit, which often leads to business owners not paying themselves a consistent salary and having to deal with extreme amounts of anxiety, especially around tax season.


Andrew at Conestoga College

When starting Ginkgo Construction, it was important to Andrew that he didn’t become another builder who was booked out for months with no money to show for it. So the challenge for Andrew became finding a system that would make data collection for comparing actuals to estimates easy.


“I was looking for a way to keep data to do post-mortems on my projects. To see what worked, what didn’t work, and how I can improve going forward,” said Andrew.



The Solution


When considering systems to help him manage his business, Andrew put a strong focus on finding a tool that was easy-to-use, affordable, and could be implemented immediately with little to no effort.


“Apps need to be user-friendly for me. I like to be able to jump in and not have a huge onboarding process. This is a major problem I find with expensive systems like BuilderTrend and CoConstruct.” explained Andrew.


Andrew continued to explain, “Level really clicked with me because it’s easy. You just open it up and it’s already being useful, I have my project’s address linked to Google Maps right there. I also have any project's time tracking information, receipts, and daily logs whenever I need them.”

Christmas at Ginkgo Construction 🎅

Level is not only saving Ginkgo time. When asked how Level is helping Ginkgo manage the client relationship, Andrew responded, “A homeowner told me she loves Level! Level’s client portal really helps build better relationships with the homeowner by improving communication on the job.”


A big part of building a successful construction business is setting yourself up for success. By using Level, Andrew is collecting the information he needs to make good business decisions, and his clients love him more for it! Andrew is achieving all this, while still maintaining a good work-life balance by spending quality time with his fiancée, and aspiring to be a motorcyclist.


How Ginkgo Uses Level


Much like Fireside Construction (check out their case study here), Ginkgo Construction creates a project on Level as soon as a lead comes in. All the information needed to create the quote, like assessment photos, notes and more, are included in the project, and should the homeowner show interest, Andrew adds them to Level, too.


Nathan working on a new deck

By adding the client to Level at the start of a project, Andrew can easily get the client’s input during the planning phase of a project. “While in the planning phase, we have customers upload photos of selections to Level.” said Andrew.


During the construction phase, the Ginkgo team clock-in and clock out of the project, upload receipts and permits, and use the photos, galleries and notes features to submit daily logs and manage the material list. This allows Andrew to have all the information he needs to compare actuals to estimates at his fingertips, meaning he’s never left wondering where all his money goes.



Conclusion


If you're not comparing actuals to estimates, you have no idea if you are pricing your jobs properly. If you don't know if you're pricing your jobs properly, you're playing chicken with your business and your employees.


With Level, Andrew knows exactly where his money is going and it's not costing him any extra time to do so. In fact, it's saving him time and his clients love him more for it!


Do you want to make sure you're pricing your jobs properly? Start your Level free trial today!