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How do flexible working practices on site impact project delivery?

Over two and half years since COVID-19 changed the commercial world forever, construction industry decision makers all over the world have been asking questions about how new operational changes, such as working remotely, will impact project delivery.

It has been difficult to come to a definitive answer; giving changes time is necessary to spot reliable patterns and anomalies in data – essential before conclusions can be reached. Every company is different and an operational change in one company might not work for another. However, two and a half years later, it is safe to say that we now have a definitive answer for most companies working in construction, including the house building industry.

Do hybrid and flexible working patterns reduce costs? The short answer is no, at least according to research by The Construction Pioneer Programme. So if you are a house builder looking to implement flexible working practices on site and you are hoping to save money in the long term, you may be disappointed. Despite this, it has been found that staff retention has seen significant improvements. Could this new way of working be the answer to the skills shortage?

Staff retention, wellbeing and improved productivity are among the main benefits of implementing flexible working practices on site. Job autonomy makes workers feel more valued, essential for employers looking to retain their skilled employees in times where they are hard to come by. The knock-on benefits of flexible working for site workers are a win-win for both employees and businesses.

Have you introduced flexible working practices for on-site workers for your new home development company? Participate in the poll here.

Housebuilder Pro is an end-to-end CRM and property management software system for new home builders. To take a closer look, you can book a free demo here.

 

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Chain Check

Feature Spotlight: Chain Check

Properties on a chain can over-complicate the sale of your newly built home.

Housebuilder Pro allows you to monitor, co-ordinate and track sales of multiple properties in a chain to ensure your new home sells smoothly as part of a larger, more complicated process.

View the latest outstanding tasks relating to a property within a chain and view contact information for the owner, the estate agent and the solicitor.

The following tasks and statuses are recorded along with dates, times and notes, within each property in a chain.

Instructed conveyancing solicitor
Awaiting surveys
Conducted property searches
Mortgage arranged
Sale agreed
Exchanged contracts

For a closer look, you can book a free demo here.

 

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Charworth Homes Case Study cover image

Charworth Homes: End-to-end transformation

Charworth Homes signed in October 2021 following a demo with Housebuilder Pro’s Head of Business Development, Nick Taylor. At the time of signing, Nick said

“The Charworth Homes team have an admirable attitude towards delivering the best possible customer service – something that we can meet with regards to a digital solution”.

Eight months later, Housebuilder Pro has been fully integrated into the Charworth Homes ecosystem. The impact of these changes has been felt not only internally, but by their purchasers too. Adelle Sanderson, Business Development Manager at Charworth Homes said:

“We couldn’t live without this system! It has totally streamlined our sales process and made our buyers’ lives easier. We use it every day and it has had a positive impact on our business processes. It has allowed us to further improve our customer service, as snags etc can be entered in a few clicks. Our buyers can see every stage of their build without needing to chase for updates. We recommend to all developers!”

Housebuilder Pro’s MyHome Customer Portal allows new-home buyers of Housebuilder Pro customers to view, in real-time, exactly where their property is along the timeline. From planning through to completion. This saves sales teams time, not having to answer phone calls to customers enquiring about their recently purchased new build.

Simon Jeavons, Chief Operating Officer & Director at Housebuilder Pro said

“Hearing feedback like this is great. It lets us know how close we are to achieving our goals, even if the goal posts are always moving! That’s what it’s all about. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for both Charworth Homes and Housebuilder Pro.”

Take a closer look at Housebuilder Pro software by booking a free demo.

 

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Noble Homes and Housebuilder Pro, one year later

Noble Homes joined the Housebuilder Pro ecosystem in the Summer of 2021 after an initial search for a customer service application. Glen Wilson, Senior Executive at Noble Homes, said

“Upon presentation of Housebuilder Pro we found the additional benefits of it commencing from reservation point all the way to build and legal completion, to be a benefit for both builder and customer. Our customers love the aftercare part where all the snags can be managed between both parties, and follow up notes can be used to keep them fully informed of the process.

We utilise the notifications and document filing to include even our solicitors, which saves time having to send independent emails which can get lost in the ether; all the documents are available to view at all times.

While the software was in its infancy initially, the team at Housebuilder Pro are constantly upgrading and adding parts as more users appear and more suggestions are conveyed, which can only bode well for the future growth of Housebuilder Pro”.

Housebuilder Pro began trading in 2020, initially focusing on CRM functionality and property management. Since then, the product has expanded into other areas with a vacancy for digital transformation within the new home building sector, adding features aimed at streamlining aftercare, and even some parts of the construction process itself. While software is out there for all these different functions, Simon Jeavons, Chief Operating Officer & Director at Housebuilder Pro, recognises that internal collaboration would simply be easier if all these functions were covered by one single system. He said

“Time is treating Housebuilder Pro very well. The more customers we onboard, the more feedback we receive and the more comprehensive the system becomes. Soon enough, Housebuilder Pro will have worked its way into every corner of the new home construction process, helping every team member regardless of function. That’s our goal, as ambitious as it sounds. We have a very talented team and seeing how far the system has come on in such a short amount of time, nothing is off the table”.

Want to take a closer look at Housebuilder Pro software? Book a complimentary demo with a member of our team today.

 

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Bargate Homes sign up for Housebuilder Pro software

Bargate Homes sign up for Housebuilder Pro software

The team at Housebuilder Pro are delighted to welcome Bargate Homes of Hampshire, a new home developer known for their landmark developments, built intelligently and with character.

Andrew French, Sales & Marketing Director at Bargate Homes said

“Signing up for Housebuilder Pro has been a great pleasure. There is something about the team that gives me confidence for a healthy long term commercial relationship. Housebuilder Pro itself impressed us from the outset; we are always looking for ways to improve our internal systems and were impressed to find out that it not only does this but also adds value to the customer experience that we provide.”

Housebuilder Pro also comes with the MyHome Customer Portal, technology previously obtainable by only the largest house builders in the country. Housebuilder Pro offers this in the form of a platform that enables buyers to see a timeline of build stage progress on their smart device, tablet, or computer.

Nick Taylor, Head of Business Development at Housebuilder Pro, said

“We’re delighted to welcome yet another great company to our ecosystem. It was great to visit them recently where we got to learn more about how they operate – all valuable for the longevity and long-term development of the Housebuilder Pro system. Looking forward to seeing the impact we will have and seeing this relationship flourish”.

Simon Jeavons, Chief Operating Officer and Director at Shoothill and Housebuilder Pro said

“The beauty of working in software is that we have the tools to build pretty much anything the client desires. On top of Housebuilder Pro software, Bargate Homes requested a bespoke build management application – a piece of software that will allow the senior management team to have a complete 360-degree view of construction progress, target build dates and notifications of any delays.

This new product will seamlessly integrate with Housebuilder Pro ensuring all teams are kept up to date with the latest construction and sales progress, giving them a little extra boost. With the recent supply shortage in the construction sector and wider economic uncertainty, having this little extra visibility will be invaluable”.

Get a closer look at Housebuilder Pro by booking a free demo here, or get hands on with the system by meeting us at UK Construction Week London between 3-5th May this year.

For a bespoke solution such as the build management application mentioned above, get in touch with Shoothill to find out more.

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Shropshire Chamber Business Awards Finalist 2022

Housebuilder Pro named as a finalist for the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards 2022

We are delighted to announce that Housebuilder Pro has been named as a finalist for the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards 2022.

The Shropshire Chamber Business Awards are an annual event held at Telford’s International Centre in Shropshire.

This year, there are 11 categories; Housebuilder Pro are named finalists in the “Best New Business” category, alongside Quality Medical Group, Shropshire Business Live TV, and Techtimeout – some serious competition and all fantastic companies.

Richard Sheehan, Chief Executive of Shropshire Chamber spoke to Shropshire Live and commented on the level of competitiveness at this year’s event:

“As usual, we have been amazed and delighted by the volume and quality of entries, with record numbers in many categories. Shortlisting each of them down to a final four was a really tough task for our independent judging panel”.

Rod Plummer, Managing Director at Housebuilder Pro’s parent company Shoothill, said

“Being named as a finalist for these awards really does mean a great deal to us. Housebuilder Pro really is on the path to success and we are delighted to see it getting external recognition. Of course, we would really like to win, but being shortlisted alone is an honour and we pass our sincere thanks to the team at Shropshire Chamber and the judging panel. And of course, good luck to all the other finalists!”

The winners will be announced on the evening of June 10th at this year’s ceremony.

 

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Introducing Emailing, featuring Housebuilder Pro

Feature Spotlight: Introducing Emailing

Contrary to belief, email marketing works.

The average open rate sits at around 20%. This doesn’t sound great does it? The average conversion rate (in other words, the amount of recipients that have completed a desired action such as visit your website) sits at somewhere between 2-5%. This sounds even worse right? Wrong, it’s actually fantastic. Having this knowledge allows you to gauge an idea as to how many contacts you need to fulfil your sales and marketing targets with the help of email marketing.

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways of generating leads for a business because of this, and thus, it was a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ we were going to add an email module to the Housebuilder Pro system.

So how does it work?

In the Housebuilder Pro Contacts section, you have the option to send a mass email. This automatically generates an audience (a recipient list compiled of all existing contacts), and opens up a pop-up box where you can edit the contents of the email, including the subject, the body and attach any images.

You also have the ability to create and customise your own email marketing templates in the Housebuilder Pro Admin section. The ability to customise templates is a huge time saver; you won’t have to worry about rewriting the structure of your email every time you need to send an email of a certain type, such as new product options and new development announcements.

Book a free demo with us and take a closer look at what Housebuilder Pro has to offer.

 

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Charworth Homes joins the Housebuilder Pro ecosystem

Charworth Homes joins the Housebuilder Pro ecosystem

Charworth Homes of North Lincolnshire are known for their individual and personal homes, built to an exceptional standard. We are delighted to reveal that they are the next residential developer to join our ecosystem, utilising Housebuilder Pro software for their processes.

Nick Taylor, Head of Business Development at Housebuilder Pro spoke highly of the team at Charworth Homes, making a point that “[the team] have an obvious and admirable attitude towards delivering the best possible customer service – something that we can meet with regards to a digital solution”.

Katie Smith, Marketing Manager at Charworth Homes said

“Housebuilder Pro is extremely user-friendly – we love the fact that it has a customer portal, having a positive impact on communication between developer and client while also reducing our admin time so we can focus on other things.

Housebuilder Pro is a sales agent’s best friend. It’s great to see everything in one place.

The team at Housebuilder Pro are very personable and adaptable, and are always keen to hear ideas and improve the system as users see fit. They are always keen to help in any way possible”.

We at Housebuilder Pro get a great amount of satisfaction welcoming customers on board and seeing how their processes improve over time, facilitated by Housebuilder Pro’s toolset. We would love to show you more. Book a free demo here.

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Will the Russian invasion of Ukraine impact the UK housing market?

Will the Russian invasion of Ukraine impact the UK housing market?

Towards the end of last year, we went into great depth about what we thought 2022 had in store for house prices and overall market activity. Experts across the industry were coming forward and making their predictions, most forecasting a slowdown in activity but still a healthy market. The slowdown has already begun, slightly faster than was expected. January saw residential property transactions fall by a fifth compared with the previous month, due to a shortage in new homes for sale, among fast-rising inflation and stark increases in interest rates. What we were not expecting was the invasion of a European country.

Despite this, the UK, fortunately, has a very small amount of UK trade links with Russia. Most of the invasion will be felt in energy bills and gas prices – particularly oil, having hit a seven year high of £74 a barrel yesterday. In a response to these higher costs of living, on top of surging inflation, the Bank of England could think twice about increasing interest rates any further, having already hiked them up twice in the past three months. Uncertainty and increased costs of living could encourage the Bank of England to navigate away from the supposed plan to hike rates up again in March, forecasted by economic experts.

On the contrary, taming inflation has been an obvious goal for the Bank of England since the beginning of the year. Inflation currently stands at 7.5%, the highest it has been in four decades. Economic uncertainty could be enough to deter another hike, but at the current rate of inflation, the Bank of England could be tempted to increase interest rates regardless. This would be the first time since 1997 that interest rates have been raised three meetings in a row.

What would this mean for the housing market?

Higher interest rates, of course, make borrowing more expensive. This has a direct impact on standard variable mortgages. Increases in costs of energy and gas will increase the costs of owning a home and, combining these factors, buyers may be deterred from moving into a new home – possibly encouraging home sellers to lower their prices.

Melissa Lawford of The Telegraph said that “Any rate rise will hit hard in the wake of rapid house price growth that has dramatically reduced affordability. In short, it will trigger the end of the house price boom”.

What do you think? Do you think the invasion of Ukraine might encourage the Bank of England to be wary about further increasing interest rates? Or do you think it does not impact the UK enough for us to make any economic changes?

Do you think the invasion of Ukraine might encourage the Bank of England to be wary about further increasing interest rates?
  • No 60%, 3 votes
    3 votes 60%
    3 votes - 60% of all votes
  • Yes 40%, 2 votes
    2 votes 40%
    2 votes - 40% of all votes
Total Votes: 5
25 February 2022
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Legacy software

Legacy Software: Is it time to upgrade your software system?

Technology moves incredibly fast – you only have to look what was considered a mobile phone in 2001 to what we consider a mobile phone now, to see that, sooner or later, the systems that are piggy backing your internal commercial processes are going to call it a day.

So what is ­legacy software as opposed to just ‘software’? Legacy software is software that has been a part of any business for a long period of time, is no longer supported by the developers of that software, but is still plays an essential role in the continuity of commercial operations. Hardware, as opposed to software, becomes much harder to maintain than software overtime and, if the software is built and tied to a specific OS (operating system) or hardware model, the users of the software may be forced to continue using it, no matter how dated the software may be – resulting in endless frustration as it begins to cough and splutter.

One of the main factors deterring businesses from changing or upgrading their commercial software systems is fears related to downtime, but the reality is, downtime for any software system is inevitable if it is no longer supported – whether that would be the system breaking entirely or you undergoing a much needed upgrade. There is no better time to upgrade your system, but here are a few indicators that let you know that you are ready.

You are paying an extortionate amount of money for a server

These days, everything is online. Housebuilder Pro, like most SaaS (software as a service) packages, work utilising a vendor such as Microsoft. The days of paying for your own servers are long gone for most businesses. If you find yourself paying eyewatering server hosting and maintenance costs still, it may be time for a change.

Different day, same frustrations

If you spend large amounts of time using the system every day, you will get to know the software inside out – and its many potential problems. If these problems are becoming more frequent or more severe, the problem is unlikely to solve itself without any professional intervention. If your system is no longer being supported, you will have to live with these problems, and either inevitably buckle and upgrade, or wait for the day the system breaks entirely and becomes unusable.

Portability hurdles

In a world where working from home is now widely adopted even after the removal of pandemic-related restrictions, your workforce are going to need easy access to internal systems to maximise their productivity. If you find that your systems perform poorly (or fail to work entirely) on portable devices such as tablets and smartphones, your workforce are going to be restricted, and their productivity could be impacted. Even using a laptop or a computer remotely may have boundaries if the correct technical infrastructure is not put in place, such as the ability to access files using cloud technology. Without this technology in place, files can be easily lost.

Functionality restrictions

Like we have mentioned previously, if your company is growing, your systems must grow in parallel. As your company grows, you will find that you will demand much more from your software – such as integrations with your favourite CRM systems and websites. Housebuilder Pro, as an example, has zero limitations to data storage and is updated frequently with new features to suit new home construction companies – ensuring that the system can facilitate the needs of a company of any size.

Whatever stage you are at with your current system, it is never too late to upgrade. An ever growing system, with comprehensive new home sale and property management tools – Housebuilder Pro.

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