Like many builders, you’ve probably got a good back-office set up for keeping track of payment schedules, invoices, and billing. But even the best system can come crashing down if your clients don’t know when and how much to pay you.
Don’t despair: keeping clients accountable to a construction payment schedule is one of BuildBook’s many uses. In this post, we’ll show you how to use Projects, Posts, Tasks, and Documents to make sure you never have to hear your client ask, “What invoice?!”
You should already have a Project set up with Groups to track updates, material selections, and more for different collaborators — your subs, the designer, the architect, and, of course, your clients.
Since Groups are exclusive, an easy way to track a construction payment schedule for a specific Project is to create a new Group to collect invoices and track payment milestones. Name the new Group something like “Payment Schedule,” which will act as your discrete workspace just for billing, uncluttered by other project details and discussions.
Next, be sure you’re working in the new “Payment Schedule” Group and create a Payment Milestone by adding a new Task:
If you already have invoices to add, then repeat this step for each anticipated milestone in the project for your contractor payment schedule. The Task list is sorted by default to show the Tasks due soonest, so you’ll see all the payment milestones in the correct order when you’re done.
Return to this Group as invoices come in and create a new Task for each one.
A core function of BuildBook is Document management — and there are few documents as important as the invoice. You can upload any Word doc, Excel sheet, or PDF. Here’s a quick reminder how:
Be sure to match the name with your new Payment Milestone Task (“Payment Milestone 1 of 5,” etc).
Note: You can edit the document name and move, share, copy, or download the document once uploaded.
From the Project, click the “Payment Schedule” Group you just created and click the tool icon in the top right, then tap “+ Add Member.” If your client has already been added to another Group, just click their name to add them. If they haven’t yet been added to the Project, enter your clients’ email addresses one at a time and hit enter or click Done at the top right. Click "Add Members" when prompted to send the invites.
Once they accept the invite, you’ll see an update in the Project telling you that they joined. So keep an eye out here and if you don’t see that, reach out to them. Remember: this doesn’t work if your clients don’t join the Project.
Repeat this step for each anticipated milestone in the project. The Task list is sorted by default to show the Tasks due soonest, so you’ll see all the payment milestones in the correct order when you’re done.
Now that you’ve got an awesome set up for your contractor payment schedule and plan to use this space to track all invoices and payment milestones for the project, create a post explaining your intention to the Project members. This ensures no one is caught off-guard or thinks you're just lobbing invoices at them. Try something like this:
Hey Team - I created this new Group for “XYZ” Project to keep track of our construction payment schedule. We’ll limit the members to just us, so we can have discreet conversations about budget and billing. For everything else — like selections, schedule, site updates — please refer to our other Group, [insert Group name here].
I’ve created a payments schedule in Tasks and uploaded any current invoices in the Documents section. Please take a look. If you have questions, simply comment on those items or create a new Post and I'll respond ASAP.
Remember that the most recent Posts will float to the top — so we do this step last to make sure clients see it when they first log in.
Alright, you’re ready to get paid. In the extremely unlikely event that the schedule should shift (ha ha ha), you can always edit a Task to reflect the new dates. (Just hit those handy “three dots” on the Task detail and tap "edit”). And if you’ve agreed on a scope or material change in the project, use Documents to upload a change order, followed by a Change Order Task. Then, create a new Payment Task o track the amount and status.
Hopefully, you found this easy and helpful. As always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions or for more advice on how to make BuildBook work for you.