Below is our recent interview with Marc Visent, CEO and Co-Founder of Knowify:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Knowify? What problem is Knowify trying to solve?
A: Knowify is a cloud-based software platform designed to help contractors run their businesses more efficiently. Most of our users are residential remodelers and specialty contractors such as painters, plumbers, and electricians. These contractors are usually more than capable of getting the ‘hammer-and-nails’ work done, and done well; where they struggle is on the office side: preparing bids, requesting change orders, managing materials and schedules, or invoicing clients. Knowify takes all of that administrative hassle and puts it in a single place with easy-to-use tools and powerful reports.
Q: Are contractors ready to change? Is there anything going on in the industry that’s going to compel them to change?
A: The most forward-thinking – and often top-performing – contractors are ready to change; many others, however, are not. The reality though is that the industry is forcing them to change. Homeowners have come to expect a certain level of service in their dealings with service providers, and with the growing importance of online reviews, the archaic, paper-based contractor is going to suffer vs. the modern, paperless, well-organized one. On the commercial side, the big general contractors started to embrace technology a little more than 10 years ago, and now that transformation is largely complete; since they’ve been through it themselves and seen the benefit, they don’t have patience for subcontractors that continue to operate as if it were 1970.
Q: Can you explain the different tools Knowify is creating and what they do?
A: Knowify offers a wide variety of tools. Think about all the different things a contractor has to do each day to keep their business on track: bid out jobs, schedule their workers, collect their timecards, send purchase orders for materials, track job progress (both financially and in pictures/notes)… the list goes on and on. Knowify is designed to help them do all of this in a single place, offering not only a more productive/efficient way to run the business, but also a degree of visibility into the business’s performance that the contractor never thought possible.
Q: What benefits would our readers get from using Knowify in their businesses?
A: Many, from improved visibility on business performance to decreased time performing administrative tasks and a whole lot more. But rather than bandy about empty promises, let’s share some hard data. Knowify has been around long enough that we can cite direct, tangible benefits that our companies capture by using the platform: these companies typically grow by about 20% in the first year on the platform. It comes down to having the ability to bid more efficiently and to project a high-degree of professionalism with clean, beautiful, and easy-to-understand proposals that the customer can electronically sign. As we said above, modern contractors beat out old contractors in the eyes of the customer.
Q: What is your vision for the construction industry 20 years from now?
A: The industry is moving toward much greater integration. Communication between general contractors and subcontractors will move into the platforms they use to run their businesses. Things like emailed change order requests will go away, replaced by an exchange of data between, say, Knowify and Procore. Everyone will have a much better sense of job progress, meaning that unanticipated scheduling delays and other such impactful items will be minimized. Greater integration will also bring more transparency. The construction industry is (in)famous for the lack of visibility among its players. Developers, general contractors, architects, contractors, subcontractors, manufacturers and home owners rarely see the full picture when they interact with each other, which results in trust issues that negatively affect the overall productivity. In the next few years technology will be instrumental to re-build the trust throughout the whole construction ecosystem.