Back in 2016, when I was working as a tradesman in London, my team had a box on the floor of our office. At the end of every shift, anyone who had purchased materials that day would toss their sales slips onto the pile. Things got messy, fast. I can still remember the late nights spent at the end of the month trying to decipher smudged digits so my accountant wouldn’t have to.
Much has changed in the building trades since I left the United Kingdom, but amazingly, the bookkeeping process remains antiquated. While today’s builders typically take a picture of their receipt and send the image to the front office, mistakes are still common. One accountant told me recently that image-reading apps are imprecise while a lack of standardised processes for transmitting photos – some builders use WhatsApp, others SMS – eats up any time saved.
Buildiro 2.0 – which will be available in the Google Play and Apple App stores next month – has been designed to eliminate these inefficiencies. Going forward, materials ordered or paid for in the updated Buildiro app will generate a digital sales ticket, and this proof of purchase can be automatically uploaded to any accounting system. Not only will this new e-invoicing feature aid tradesmen navigating the UK’s Making Tax Digital scheme, it will also close the books on the monthly accounting nightmare.
I’m so confident that Buildiro 2.0 will revolutionise the way tradesmen search for materials and process their purchases that we are creating an affiliate marketing programme to incentivise industry accountants to share the technology with their clients. Every time a tradesman shops for supplies on Buildiro, saving time and money sourcing items near their job site, the affiliated accountant will be compensated. It’s the very definition of win-win.
When I first developed the idea for Buildiro, it was out of a desire to make our industry more efficient. Improving the accounting process is key to this effort. After all, wads of illegible paper are more than an accounting headache; they are also a metaphor for an industry aching to innovate.
Buildiro is making life easier for tradespeople and merchants, but the innovations go far beyond the job-site. An e-invoicing feature set to launch next month will save industry accountants time – and could even earn them a little extra cash.
It’s no secret that tradesmen are creatures of habit. Let’s face it – from the tools we use to the methods we employ, when we find something that works, we stick with it. But while that might engender customer loyalty, these days, being obstinate can be costly.
Coupons aren’t the most rugged tool in a pro builder’s toolbox, but for anyone with jobs south of London, they might be the smartest. Earlier this month, Buildiro teamed up with JMD Building & DIY Supplies, a family-run supplier in Hailsham, England, to offer all Buildiro customers 5% off their bill. It’s our first discount deal with a UK-based merchant; it will not be our last.