Using SmartSheet In Our Remodeling Business

Posted by David Chism | Mon, Dec 29, 2014

I have a grow­ing num­ber of clients using a project man­age­ment pro­gram called SmartSheet the past cou­ple of years. I stum­bled upon SmartSheet awhile back myself when research­ing oth­er cloud-based project man­age­ment pro­grams. I had been hooked on Base­camp for almost a decade, but it lacked some key fea­tures for my audi­ence. For this next blog, I’ve asked my good friend and client, Bar­ry Stohlman, to write about his expe­ri­ence using SmartSheet in his Design-Build firm in the DC Metro area.

Guest Post By Bar­ry Stohlman of Stohlman & Kil­ner Remod­el­ing Contractors

Our res­i­den­tial remod­el­ing com­pa­ny has been using SmartSheet now for going on three years. I was recent­ly asked how we use this pro­gram and that prompt­ed me to go back and look and reflect on what we like about SmartSheet. The best way to review how we use it is with exam­ples. I will focus on two doc­u­ments that we rely on for every project we do — Prod­uct Selec­tion Sheet and Project Calendar.

Prod­uct Selections
SmartSheet Screenshot

In the world of remod­el­ing there are always a myr­i­ad of details to be man­aged and com­mu­ni­cat­ed between client, con­trac­tor, ven­dor and sub­con­trac­tor. With our Prod­uct Selec­tion Sheet we are able to list in a typ­i­cal spread­sheet style the per­ti­nent details. What SmartSheet allows us to do in addi­tion to the usu­al spread­sheet func­tions is that we can eas­i­ly attach a rel­e­vant file to any line of the spread­sheet — i.e. — on the Tile line we can attach the order from our ven­dor. This proves to be huge when our field man­ag­er is look­ing for infor­ma­tion about any aspect of the project. He has (or should have) all the data he needs in SmartSheet — either in the cells of the spread­sheet or as an attach­ment. And we can attach just about any file, PDF or pho­to we want. There is also the abil­i­ty to com­ment or dis­cuss about a detail right inside of the pro­gram and alert­ing all those involved so that you can quick­ly get response to issues or ques­tions. This fea­ture itself cuts down dra­mat­i­cal­ly on the ran­dom ques­tions and con­ver­sa­tions about a detail.

If instead you want to share your sheet with a client but NOT give them the abil­i­ty to make changes you can pub­lish a link which gives the client a View Only” ver­sion of any sheet. Keeps them in the loop and always updat­ed as changes hap­pen real time. This is a great fea­ture that has proven more than once to save our back­sides when a detail was not cor­rect. It can be caught and cor­rect­ed before the actu­al work is done.

Project Cal­en­dar

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 3.33.18 PM

Our Project Cal­en­dar works on the same basic plat­form. In this case we take advan­tage of the date, pre­de­ces­sor and dura­tion columns which in turn serve to gen­er­ate the Gantt views and the cal­en­dar views. It is as sim­ple as that! Enter the data in the spread­sheet and it cre­ates the oth­er views for you. And we also use the very handy col­umn prop­er­ties” to cus­tomize the ways that our columns func­tion. This is part of what SmartSheet such a great tool for us. These built-in tools, like the attach­ment and com­ment func­tions, are very pow­er­ful and make SmartSheet so easy to use!

And we con­tin­ue to dis­cov­er new and smarter ways to use the pro­gram through­out our com­pa­ny. It has been very sim­ple to intro­duce peo­ple to since it only requires basic knowl­edge of how a spread­sheet works. Then the added tools and fea­tures have turned SmartSheet into an essen­tial part of our day-to-day com­mu­ni­ca­tions and data management.

Give SmartSheet A Go

David: Like any gad­get or tech­nol­o­gy you pur­chase, the key is to stick to and use it. I con­tin­u­al­ly get asked to review cloud pro­grams and am told that this one is bet­ter than that one. Each pro­gram and device on the mar­ket has a place in the mar­ket. I tend to review and rec­om­mend prod­ucts that I feel will work best for con­trac­tors while keep­ing in mind that many of these guys are slow to adapt­ing new tech­nol­o­gy. SmartSheet is one of those pro­grams that can be intro­duced on a very light scale and grow to be a very pow­er­ful and inte­gral part of one’s busi­ness. Give SmartSheet a go and let me know how it helps your busi­ness be more pro­duc­tive and profitable.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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