Customer spotlight – BlackTree LLC

John McBride’s world consisted of stocks, bonds, and everything in between in the world of Wall Street. A twenty-year journey took him from being a stockbroker to then a few other business ventures. However, his burning desire was to get into custom home building.  

“I wanted to do something that was tangible,” he said.  

59-year-old John started his construction company, BlackTree LLC, in 2015. By all means, it is a family business. McBride does all things construction, his son, Jordan, came up with the company name and logo, and his wife, Corrie, does the accounting. The rest are subcontractors. And that’s just the way he likes it.  

“I don’t have ideas of grandeur like I’m going to be a mega builder,” McBride said. “I just want to be profitable at what I do build.”  

He knew he would need software to help him do his job. However, landing on the right one was a fascinating, bumpy journey with twists and turns. McBride’s first taste of construction management software was a product from a company he cannot recall the name. All he remembers was his excitement at the prospect of growing his business with his new purchase. But then, frustration kicked in.  

“I couldn’t make it work,” he said.  

Feeling deflated, he powered through. One day he saw another software product he thought could help him achieve growth. (Co-Construct). He was very impressed and even dished out a few thousand dollars to attend the boot camp the company offered. Again, he was disappointed.  

“I thought they were going to have a person who would guide me so that I could progress through the software and get better over time,” he said. “That did not happen. They would take us out for food and drinks but not spend the time to train me on the software.”  

He was adamant about making it work because of the money he spent on it.  

“I started calling them,” McBride said. “I’m a junkie for information. I have to learn something every day. I read a lot.”  

But, after four years of trying to get information and assistance from them, all of his efforts were unsuccessful; he gave up and moved on. McBride was on Facebook one day, scrolling aimlessly through his feed until something caught his attention.   

“I saw an advertisement about doing takeoffs,” he said. “I immediately called my wife over and said, ‘Look at this! This is exactly what I was looking for!”  

He found Buildxact.  

McBride took the leap. Full of hope, he set up a demo. His aspiration always was to become a builder. Things were finally starting to look up for him. He already had a fantastic setup: a comfortable chair, multiple monitors and his Giant Schnauzer, T’Challa, by his side.   

“Like with everything, the first thing I wanted to do with Buildxact was to see how it works,” he said. “The first person I spoke with was Dustin, and he did a great job at making me ask harder and harder questions.”  

McBride plows ahead with his new tool armed with the knowledge Dustin shared with him. He would soon find out Buildxact employees had more help to offer him.   

“Another day, I get an email from this random dude named Alberto,” he said. “Alberto told me, ‘I’m here to help you learn how to use Buildxact.”   

He couldn’t believe what he was reading, given his previous experience of being left alone to learn new software.  

“I told my wife I just got this email from this random dude who wants to help me with Buildxact. We scheduled a call, and we’ve flown from there!”  

Is McBride satisfied?  

“I feel like I can walk on water now,” he said. “Buildxact reduced my anxiety because I could see clearly what I could not see before.”   

McBride loves it! He even listens to Buildxact training videos while he’s driving around. These training videos are part of the customer success team’s work to ensure people get the most out of Buildxact. While Dustin is in Australia, his counterpart in the United States is Joey.  

“I don’t listen to the radio or music when I’m driving. What I do is I play the Buildxact training videos,” he said. “I’ll listen to Dustin going through the various setups and the things that you can do, but now, unlike when I initially got it, when he says something, I can pick it up and say, ‘Oh, OK, I know what this is now.”       

Over time, and with the help of Buildxact employees like Alberto, Dustin and Joey, McBride’s confidence in using the software has skyrocketed. He’s a different person.   

“It’s empowered me to say wait a second, this is my budget, these are the numbers, these are the things you can do, and if you can’t do it, I’ll find somebody else,” he said. “The numbers set you free. You can stand confidently and say, ‘your number is out of line.’ Now I can say this is what you’re going to get paid because it’s what it’s actually worth.”   

It’s evident McBride appreciated the attention he got from Buildxact employees like Dustin, Alberto and Joey because he kept going back to his experience with each one.  

“The difference with you guys is that you are all the only people that I have seen face-to-face from a software company that I was utilizing. You took me behind the curtain. You let me see how you guys operate,” McBride said.  

Now he looks back at his struggles trying to find the right software solution for his business and is grateful to have seen that Buildxact ad on Facebook. And, as he said, despite any limitation the software might have, Buildxact has a secret weapon.  

“The people that I’ve met at Buildxact are the critical difference in helping me build my business, helping me scale it, helping me organize it, helping me brand it, helping me improve it, make it more efficient,” he said.   

McBride even has a message for custom home builders looking for construction software and even those who might not be satisfied with the software they have now. 

“If 100 people compare software, Co-Construct vs. Buildxact or whatever other platforms are out there, and all of the elements stack up, if they knew what I know about the people who stand with you and behind you and in front of you and support you, there is no way they would spend a dime on any of that other stuff,” McBride said. “You can’t pay for that! The software is phenomenal. The people? Unfreakingbelievable!”

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