Buildertrend, a 15-year-old Omaha-based software company, is forging a first-of-its-kind partnership with the world’s largest home improvement brand, The Home Depot, to help professional contractors, homebuilders and remodelers increase customer satisfaction, reduce delays and eliminate communication hiccups amid a flurry of activity within the construction industry — heavy workload represented partly by several months’-worth of backlogged projects.
Leadership indicated the integration of Buildertrend’s software with the giant’s Pro Xtra loyalty program may be a first, but it won’t be the last — as it’s keen
to carve out partnerships with other suppliers — and the program is spurring additional value-adds for customers.
“The goal was to not only diversify revenue streams, but also expand the scope of our relationship with the residential contractors who signed up for our project management software,” said Chief Strategy Officer David Arnold. “Outside of our involvement with The Home Depot, this exploration has led to offerings such as payment processing, Builders Risk Insurance, as well as a focus on contractors’ material purchasing needs.”
Based out of 11818 I St., Buildertrend’s cloud-based project management software has grown to be used by more than 1 million users across 100-plus countries. In late August, the companies announced their “newly integrated experience,” which was characterized as allowing Buildertrend users who enroll in the Pro Xtra program to view real-time availability and buy products from The Home Depot within Buildertrend’s app. Buildertrend users can also enjoy discounts on products at The Home Depot, and Pro Xtra members are also eligible for discounts on Buildertrend’s software.
Arnold was the lead strategist and key player behind the two brands joining forces.
“Buildertrend has been evaluating partnership opportunities with The Home Depot for years and, ultimately, formalized a strategic partnership in March of 2020,” he said. “Both companies have had great respect for each other from the very start of our discussions.”
But, Arnold noted, it did take a number of conversations, trips and pilot collaborations to determine how the supplier and software-as-a-service, as he puts it, “could and should work together.”
“What brought the companies to the table originally is the same thing that runs throughout all the partnership focus areas: a laser-like focus on helping contractors by providing them tools and services that save them time and money,” he said.
Additionally, Arnold said that millions of professional contractors are members of the loyalty program.
“This mutual target audience represents a big opportunity for Buildertrend,” he said.
Partners like The Home Depot make “strategic sense,” he continued, adding that Buildertrend is taking on private equity partners and increasing investment in new growth opportunities related to this rife-with-opportunity contractor market. “We … have long-term plans to duplicate this partnership model with other material suppliers in the industry,” he said.
Corporate Development Strategist Michael Vandevoort oversaw integration beta testing with a select group of Buildertrend users.
“It’s been a multiple-year iterative process,” he said, describing a “lightweight integration” in 2018 with a simple Excel import and export into Buildertrend.
“With each feature update to the integration, we would spend one-on-one time with customers to ensure we were receiving user feedback through every step of the process,” he said. “We are lucky to have such a strong relationship with our customers to ask for their feedback during the development of this integration. Their feedback ensured that we were creating the best experience possible for our customers.”
Vandevoort recalled how those early testers liked the integration’s seamlessness; updates on daily pricing and inventory from preferred The Home Depot stores are pushed out.
“Having the ability to give them confidence in both price and materials availability is a game-changer and can significantly impact accuracy and profitability of their businesses,” he said.
Vandevoort also described “a lot of excitement” associated with its receipt management tool.
“It automatically syncs purchases made at The Home Depot, online or in person, to the corresponding Buildertrend account,” he said. “It includes a feature where you can manually upload and reconcile receipts to a specific job.
“It is not uncommon for construction crews to make several trips to The Home Depot to purchase miscellaneous supplies during a project. It is easy to lose sight of these transactions. And, all too commonly, these purchases can really add up.”
The receipt management tool’s overall expense management benefits allow builders, he said, to focus on what they do best.
“While Buildertrend helps them better manage their businesses,” he said.
When asked how the recent integration has gone over with users, Vandevoort said more than 13% of all eligible customers had connected their Pro Xtra accounts to their Buildertrend accounts just seven days after the launch.
“We are extremely encouraged,” he said.
Over the longer term, Vandevoort indicated the partnership will significantly improve customers’ efficiency.
“This integration seamlessly helps builders from project start to finish, and helps to manage and organize all the hiccups in between,” he said. “Builders who utilize this tool will never have to guess on material pricing or if they are staying on the project’s budget.”
Buildertrend and its subsidiaries are powered by almost 800 employees, 650 of which are in Omaha, and in more than 25 states, according to Vice President of People Brandy Menaugh.
“We plan to continue to grow over the next 12 months,” she said, adding that they project a net headcount growth of at least 150 employees. “The hybrid work environment allows us to explore remote opportunities for more focused positions, which expands our footprint and enables us to pursue the most qualified talent nationally.”
Menaugh, who oversees people and recruiting teams (and all HR efforts), is actively growing its executive-level team with top talent to lead new business units, which support the growth and expansion of revenue streams.
She also said that they awarded eight hours of volunteer time off at the beginning of 2020 to each employee for use throughout the year.
“VTO was originally intended to encourage teams to engage in community service activities together,” she said. “The pandemic broadened our view of our VTO program and led us to foster deeper relations in the community by getting involved and assist with more organizations in need.”
This year, Buildertrend expanded the ways VTO can be used (individually and virtually) and by awarding each employee 16 hours annually. A quarterly volunteer spotlight award also debuted, which recognizes an employee for his or her outstanding contributions to the community by donating $1,000 to their choice charity.
2021 also saw the debut of Buildertrend’s employee wellness program, providing incentives to employees for wellness activities and volunteerism. Since the pandemic, Menaugh said, employee favorites for in-person service activities include Heart Ministry Center, ABIDE, Nebraska Community Blood Bank, Together Inc., Food Bank for the Heartland, Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy, Girls in STEAM, and Completely Kids.
“Virtual engagements have included the United Way’s virtual read-aloud, Keep Omaha Beautiful, and Big Brother Big Sisters Mentoring program,” she said. Company-wide efforts range from Project Harmony and Adopt-a-Family
(through the Salvation Army) to Habitat for Humanity and Brew-Haha. Long-standing relationships include those with Habitat for Humanity and Building Homes for Heroes.