Their challenge: Juggling project management with constant client communication

Like many young companies, Cardinal Crest Homes in Kansas City, Missouri, started with a couple employees. So, as co-founders of the company, Joe Christensen and Adam Shaeffer wore all the hats. Juggling architectural and interior design in addition to day-to-day scheduling and project management tasks.

“We were using Excel and Google Sheets trying to organize budgets, draws, email messaging and file management,” Joe said. “I got frustrated on a couple things and said, ‘there’s just got to be a better way.’”

Joe knew they needed something that would keep everything organized in one place – a complete construction management platform that could manage jobs from start to finish.

What he found was all of that and more. Buildertrend not only provided solutions for streamlined construction project planning but also gave them a tool that would change the game for their client experience.

“I could just tell with the way the system worked that it was designed to be very intuitive for builders,” Joe said. “There’s a sense that Buildertrend really listens to builders and contractors to create tools that make sense.”

Company name
Cardinal Crest Homes

Custom homes

Kansas City, Missouri

Favorite Feature

Ready to strengthen your business?

Their solution: Home builder software that simplifies selections

There was one ultimate selling point for the Cardinal Crest team that convinced them Buildertrend was the perfect fit.

“The Selections tool was huge,” Joe said. “As soon as they showed us Selections, there was no question.”

The selections process is an exciting time for clients, and Buildertrend’s Selections feature allows them to interactively choose the products for their home. Clients can choose their selections online, keep track of their project’s running total and sign documents electronically. This provides transparency for everyone and keeps jobs moving quickly.

Kitchen built by Kansas City home builder Cardinal Crest Homes.
Photo credit: Matt Anderson

Managing selections for both the architectural and interior design side was a big challenge for the Cardinal Crest team. There was no effective way to do it and do it well. So, after seeing Buildertrend’s robust Selections feature, Joe was sold. Selections is now one of the most-used tools for their team and is an essential asset to the holistic client journey they provide.

“It’s an invaluable tool that helps us do our job efficiently internally while showcasing professionalism externally to our clients,” Joe said.

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Their success story: Building more than a dozen Kansas City custom homes per year, totaling upwards of $20 million

As recent recipients of construction management degrees, Joe and Adam decided to turn their college friendship into a business partnership. Seeing the lack of job opportunities in the 2011 market and knowing they both had prior experience in construction, they decided the time was right. After weighing the pros and cons and doing their own market analysis, they made the move to Kansas City.

After putting in a good amount of sweat equity on remodeling projects, the partners saved enough money to build their first speculative home – owning every piece of the process including architectural drawings and interior design.

Eleven years later, Cardinal Crest Homes has a talented team of 12 that produces 18 to 20 homes per year with an average cost of $1 million plus per home.

A tool like Buildertrend adds convenience, saves time and gives homeowners peace of mind.

Joe Christensen

Founder and owner of Cardinal Crest Homes

Cardinal Crest Homes custom home exterior.
Photo credit: Matt Anderson

As a design-build company, the Cardinal Crest team works with homeowners from initial concept to final walk-through and handing over the keys. They even go as far as giving their clients the opportunity to be involved at the start of the architectural and interior design planning.

An intricate pre-construction process like this requires a higher level of communication and transparency, which Buildertrend’s Selections feature provides.

“There’s a creative process when designing custom homes, and oftentimes we have to go through two or three options to find the right one for everybody,” Joe said. “So, the Selections feature really helps us keep track of it all.”

And their clients? It’s safe to say they love it, too.

“I think selections is probably their favorite part of the process because they can really dream about their home,” Joe said.

With so many decisions being made, the Selections tool makes it easy to keep everyone on the same page. Joe and his team can see comments made by clients, make changes and see which options are accepted or rejected.

Once approved, selections are added as an expense to the PO system for easy payment tracking on both sides. Large amounts can even be split into multiple payments.

“Now, that $10,000 ceiling detail we’re going to do is spread out across five POs and added to the budget, which is awesome,” Joe said.

In addition to being highly involved in the selections process, Cardinal Crest clients can track their spending and see their budget updated in real time.

“They love to see where all their money’s going,” Joe said. “When we’re building homes, there’s usually one person who’s more finance driven and one who’s more design driven. I think the Selections tool is the answer for both of them.”

Buildertrend’s construction software also provides an organized workflow for the Cardinal Crest team and their clients. Every piece is laid out, so when it’s time to build, the production team can see what needs to be done in detail. They can then decide if they need more information or if they can execute as is, which helps to prevent mistakes and rework later in the project.

“Construction is so prone to human error because there are so many moving parts,” Joe said “It’s not if mistakes will happen – it’s when. One of the biggest returns on investment for us is being able to manage those mistakes, and Buildertrend really helps with that.”

In the construction industry today, it’s nearly impossible for builders to be successful without using a construction project management software. Project planning, running an efficient job site and managing client relationships are all processes that are much more tedious with just pen and paper.

“Without Buildertrend, we wouldn’t be as organized and service oriented as we are,” Joe said. “In the world we live in, most of the information we need is in the palm of our hand, and people want that convenience. A tool like Buildertrend provides that convenience, saves time and gives homeowners peace of mind.

“I couldn’t imagine building without it.”

Cardinal Crest Homes bettered their business with Buildertrend. You can, too.

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