One of the biggest headaches in the construction business is scheduling. When you have a large team of employees and contractors working on multiple jobsites, it can be a huge challenge making sure everyone is where they’re supposed to be at the right time.
It’s a problem that Ben Schultz is trying to solve with his cloud-based scheduling app, LaborChart. Schultz knows exactly what his clients are dealing with: A fourth-generation electrical contractor, he learned this firsthand while working for his father’s business, Schultz Bros. Electric.
Right now, a lot of construction companies either use an Excel spreadsheet or a whiteboard to keep track of their teams. If bad weather or other problems crop up—and they do, frequently—the company has to track down all workers individually to alert them to the change of plans.
This way of doing things is a recipe for missed messages, confusion and unnecessary idle time.
“It was a giant headache,” Schultz said. “It cost the company money.”
LaborChart’s software delivers simple yet powerful tools to address this need.
Contractors create an online profile for each employee or subcontractor. Each profile displays a thumbnail image, work history, safety training records, trade certifications and availability. The software’s drag-and-drop interface enables a project manager to easily add or reassign people to projects.
“The manager can check availability on- or off-site,” Schultz said. “It’s far simpler for individuals or multiple people planning a project.”
The software also facilitates faster, better communication. LaborChart enables the user to automatically text the job location, hours, assignments and other details to multiple recipients without repetition.
LaborChart is sold as a subscription. Schultz will release the next version in October with more tools, including a manpower-forecasting feature.
More than 90 contractors have signed up to use LaborChart. Monthly plans range in price from $50 to $450. Schultz offers free onboarding and 24-7 support via online chat.
LaborChart subscriptions may be modified or canceled at any time. Clients’ staffing needs can change rapidly without notice, so Schultz doesn’t want to lock them into long-term contracts.
“Construction is an up-and-down industry. Most subcontractors work in quarters, not years,” Schultz said. “You can use LaborChart as needed.”
Planning coordinators quickly catch onto LaborChart’s benefits, once they see a demonstration.
“It’s clear to them what we’re doing. I’m a big believer in this flexible model,” Schultz said. “It’s the way of the future.”