This is my interview is with the president of JobFLEX, Kim Phillipi. We discuss the possibilities and benefits of using mobile tools for generating construction estimates out in the field.
Can you say a few words about you, your company and its background?
JobFLEX is a mobile sales and estimating tool for the residential and light commercial construction industry with a primary focus on specialty trades. Our target market is small and medium size contractors who are interested in growing their business with simple, easy to use technology.
After obtaining an Engineering degree from Michigan Technological University, I was principal shareholder for over 20 years of an employee owned technical services firm specializing in testing, engineering, and certification for the Automotive, IT, Consumer, and Medical Device industries worldwide. As part of that journey we also had a Construction engineering company who provided civil engineering, geotechnical engineering and field inspection services.
After a brief stint in retirement, I pursued different businesses until in 2013 we formed GreenFIT Homes, a residential construction firm specializing in energy efficiency and air sealing/insulation. After struggling with the availability of simple technology focused on sales and basic business processes, we combined our construction industry and technology backgrounds to develop JobFLEX in 2014 and released our first mobile app on Google Play in 2015.
Since our release in the summer of 2015 we have over 5,000 companies using our app in the US and Canada and were identified twice as one of the top free Google Play business apps. We felt there was a gap in the industry where most tools were focused on creating an invoice but not focused on a sales tool to help contractors increase business, identify work in the pipeline, manage scheduling, and monitor multi-user sales performance.
What are the problems in a contractor’s business that you want to solve?
Homeowners and consumers are extremely tech savvy today and expectations will continue to rise as millennials become one of the largest buying groups of products and services in the construction industry. Professional quotes that can be delivered quickly are the new norm and are no longer the exception. When homeowners can go online to get multiple quotes and access to contractors, they are not expecting to wait days and weeks for contractors to deliver quotes and services. Expectations are changing and contractors will have to adapt in order to stay competitive in the market.
Labor shortages in the specialty trades and construction industry at large are also driving technology adoption as contractors will have to find ways to improve efficiency and productivity. Margins in the industry can be thin to begin with, so using technology to improve quote close rates, meet customer expectations, and improve business processes will be a key factor for those contractors with a long term outlook on their business.
Can you explain briefly what JobFLEX is and who should use it and for what purposes?
JobFLEX is a mobile estimating and sales app that allows contractors to do quotes and estimates in the field and deliver them immediately to their customers. Contractors can create new customers in the field or pull customer information to their phone or tablet so all the information is ready to go for the sales person going to do the estimate. Contractors also no longer need to worry about that pricing spreadsheet that hasn’t been updated in years as they can modify their material list and pricing in the field or back in the office.
JobFLEX is designed for small and medium specialty contractors in over 20 industry categories including: carpentry, concrete, decks and patios, drywall, electrical, fencing, flooring, foundation, general contracting, handyman, HVAC, insulation, landscaping, remodeling, plumbing, painting, pool and spa, and more.
How does a contractor take JobFLEX into use?
Android users can download JobFLEX free on Google Play or sign up for a free trial on our website. We encourage contractors to try it out for free before they make a commitment so they can create quotes and estimates and see just how easy it is to set up and use. In addition, we have live customer support for users who have questions or need assistance. We find many contractors only have time to look for tools at night or on weekends so we are committed to making customer support available.
What are the business benefits of using tools like JobFLEX in construction?
The benefits of using a mobile tool like JobFLEX are fairly simple. Mobile estimating tools will assist contractors in closing more sales by delivering professional quotes to the customer faster. Having the resources to build and edit materials list or line item costs on the fly can prove to be invaluable when bidding on a job. JobFLEX also includes features such as sales appointment and installation scheduling and automatic reporting for open quotes, sold jobs, and conversion rates. With JobFLEX Basic, small contractors gain access to use the mobile app for any quoting or estimating they do. With JobFLEX Pro, users can also access the entire system which helps them manage their business with CRM, scheduling and reporting tools for their sales and installation processes. Essentially, JobFLEX is aiming to help businesses operate more efficiently and professionally overall.
How do you see the future of mobile tools in contracting?
Mobile tools and technology are making it easier for contractors to have access to cost-effective solutions for their businesses. The key is to have complete solutions for an industry without the tools being too complex for the small and medium size contractors. The resources you have when you are a $50 million or $100 million firm are not the same resources available to a $1 million firm. Ease of implementation without the need for extensive training or resources will be the key for the mobile technology firms servicing the small- and medium-size markets in the construction industry.
The huge increase in places for homeowners to get quotes for construction services online, increasing share of the market millennials are gaining, online contractor ratings by homeowners, and the continued labor shortage will all continue to drive technology as a necessity to compete in the construction industry. The industry hasn’t always been the fastest at adopting technology but there are too many market drivers, including our customers, to allow contractors to sit on the fence this time around.
Where can our reader learn more about your product?
Google Play Store: play.google.com