In South Florida, the challenge of aging infrastructure in dire need of updating has helped Hartzell Construction owner, Anderson Pinto, be well on his way to achieving his grand vision of offering high quality craftsmanship and construction services, from residential remodeling to high-rise concrete restoration, and soon, new home construction. His vision is centered on a course towards diversification, a strategy that will help the firm thrive during the inevitable industry downturns.
Years ago, Anderson helped Hartzell Painting launch Hartzell Construction and the company’s concrete high-rise reconstruction business. He left to go out on his own before returning and becoming Hartzell’s owner. Since 2000, the Pompano Beach, Florida construction firm has added a commercial remodeling and maintenance division, which focuses on property management firms with large complexes and clubhouses, to its residential services. Hartzell also offers municipality remodeling, including local and federal governments, and three years ago, acquired a window company.
This year Anderson is launching Hartzell Plumbing and near-term plans including moving into the new construction business as a developer of new homes, duplexes and apartments.
“Our growth rate is now $1.5 million to $2 million a year, and we should hit $15 million this year,” Anderson says. His plan is to nearly double revenue within three years and grow his team of 60 to more than 150.
After researching software that could handle accounting, estimating and project management, Anderson purchased ProContractor, then a popular choice among construction companies for integrated business management.
ProContractor was Hard-to-Use, Limits Growth
With no one designated to implement the solution, ProContractor sat idle for two years. Anderson hired Reinaldo Mesquita to help streamline operations, including the company’s technology. After Reinaldo attended trainings on ProContractor, he attempted to use the software but found the product extremely difficult when it came to the ability to obtain the insights, reports, and data Hartzell Construction and the expanding business required.
“With ProContractor, there were so many steps to produce a simple change order, it was like pulling teeth,” Anderson says. The legacy program wasn’t user friendly and only ran on-premises. “The search function was horrible,” Reinaldo adds. “To find anything, you needed to be in a very specific area and know exactly what you were looking for.”
Because ProContractor’s per-seat licenses were so expensive, Anderson purchased a 5-user license, but when a sixth person wanted to use the system someone else needed to log out, which he found problematic.
Manual Workarounds and Paper Process
Hartzell Construction created a manual vendor and subcontractor approval process as a ProContractor work-around, which ended up being lengthy and error-prone. “You had to write your approval, put it in a folder, give it to the project manager then he would have to sign off,” Anderson says. The folder then needed to find its way back to accounting and was sometimes misplaced or lost. Without a proper process in place, a check might be cut when it wasn’t correct or approved.
The paper trail per project was often hard to reconstruct and reconcile, and as the company grew, so did the paper – mountainous piles and files eventually filled an entire room.
Because there wasn’t a way to access information from a jobsite, project managers had to drive to headquarters to process paperwork, further lengthening their already long days.
ProContractor’s job cost reporting wasn’t ideal, and project managers and management constantly had to ask the Finance team to run reports to be sure invoices were paid since they had no way to access to the system.
Becoming increasingly frustrated with ProContractor, Anderson and Reinaldo agreed they needed to find a new, user-friendly solution that would better fit the growing construction company’s business.