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.
Buildiro: How did you first hear about the Buildiro app?
Church: I saw it advertised on Facebook, and then saw it mentioned in the Professional Builder magazine. I’ve been in the industry 20 years, and Buildiro is something that I knew the industry needed. In fact, when I did my master’s degree at Birmingham University, three years ago, part of the thesis that I wrote was regarding an app where you could buy all your building materials. Mine was never created. But being an online merchant, as JMD is, I wanted us to be a part of what Buildiro is doing.
Buildiro: You said the industry “needs” tools like Buildiro. Why?
Church: Every single job proposal has to be so tight with prices for a builder to win that job. Any time wasted in search of materials is really money wasted. Not only that, if the guy who is running the job has to leave site and run around collecting building materials, he could be gone for an hour and a half. We all know that once the boss is gone, everyone puts their tools down, gets their phones out, has a cigarette, drinks a coffee, and nothing gets done. So, by sourcing materials online, and locally, you can send one bloke down to the shop nearby that’s got all the stuff you need, and you can stay on site. For builders, that’s what’s really handy about Buildiro.
It’s also handy for merchants. For example, we won’t have people turning up wanting things and then being disappointed if we don’t have them. Because the stock availability is already in the app, builders know what we have and what they are coming in to collect.
Buildiro: Online shopping is a new trend in the construction industry. How does JMD incorporate its digital presence with its overall business strategy?
Church: We have a physical trade counter, but the bulk of the business is online. We’ve been open for seven months, and my goal is to help the industry innovate. Why can’t people just sit down at home in the evening, or onsite, and just select all the building materials they want – on their mobile, on their iPad – and have them delivered, no hassle? That’s what we do, that’s one side of the business. The other side of the business, we deal directly with the builders, taking orders over the phone. Twenty years of experience on both sides of the counter has given me good insight into what we need to do to keep people happy.
Most importantly, we try to treat people the same way. For instance, if you go into a traditional builder’s merchant and you’re a little old lady, or a lady with children, or even a gentleman with children, you likely won’t get the same treatment and the same pricing as you would if you went in as a builder. We do away with this discrimination and treat any customer the same, whether you are a DIYer or a pro builder. Our prices are a good trade price and a very, very good DIY price. Fair, competitive prices every day– that’s what we are trying to deliver.
When time is money, as it is for the modern tradesman, traffic is the enemy. Inching along the High Street in search of a hardware store for your supplies is not only infuriating; it’s also costly. But what if you could order materials from your mobile phone and then have them delivered right to your job site? With Buildiro, now you can.
With so much competition and ever-diminishing margins, today’s tradesman needs to hustle to build a business and expand a client base. Technology can help. From mobile apps that manage finances to websites that allow customers to leave honest reviews, builders now have access to a plethora of online resources. But in a field full of handheld gadgetry, where to begin?
Profitability, minimising costs, maintaining a good level of cash flow, stock levels and good customer service are key for any business. It’s not just about having the right job management software although that does help!.