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Last Modified: May 15, 2024

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Foundation Software trainer Melissa Wood helped Bud’s Electric get started on a strong construction accounting system that fit their business and worked well for their company. But the story isn’t quite as simple as it might sound.

As a matter of fact, “We didn’t know about FOUNDATION® at that point,” remembers Michelle, office manager for the Arizona-based electrical contractor.

You see, Melissa wasn’t working at Foundation yet, and that new software vendor wasn’t Foundation.

UG to Job Costing

The Good Software That Left Them

At the time, Melissa was an independent consultant. Bud’s Electric hired her for her proven expertise with construction back-office software. And sure enough, the program she started them on really was a solid system. “Software A” did basically everything they needed, and it did it well. When Bud’s Electric started encountering problems after a few years, it wasn’t because of the product they were paired with, like one might expect. Instead, it was the company.

What they felt most was a steep drop-off in support. That’s also what Michelle remembers most acutely. “We would have issues,” she says, “and they always wanted more money for no support. We couldn’t get any help.”

What Bud’s Electric didn’t know at that point was that Software A was in the process of being acquired. The original vendor was preparing to make its exit, leaving Michelle’s team to hold the bag. Meanwhile, the sacrifice in quality client care was already evident. “I would call for support, and they started arguing with us,” Michelle recalls, still incredulous. “That was the last straw.”

Bud’s Electric didn’t stick around to see its software gradually phased out.

The Good Software That Wouldn’t Go With Them

After a disappointing experience with Software A’s vendor, Bud’s Electric looked on their own for what it hoped would be a more stable company — a big name in small-business accounting software. “Software B” certainly came with benefits: affordable, easy-to-use and widely reputable. However, it just wasn’t built for construction.

“It was even worse. It was a nightmare.” Michelle remembers, “It wasn’t working the way we thought it would work.” The biggest problem was job costing. As a general-purpose accounting application, it simply wasn’t designed to track different project costs and tie them out to the G/L. Going to a more basic, inexpensive system was actually costing them a lot in their ability to monitor job performance, progress and profitability. “Reports weren’t coming out right. Nothing was working.”

Bud’s Electric hadn’t planned to switch from an application as technically good as Software A. Now, having invested additional resources into Software B, Michelle’s company definitely wasn’t eager to make another change any time soon. But after only a year, there was no denying Software B just couldn’t go forward with them.

It was time to call on a friend who had given them good technical advice the first time.

The Good Software That Stays With Them

“We had lost contact with Melissa after she got us up and running on software A,” Michelle continues. They were still friends on social media. “When I got back in contact with her, I didn’t know she was at a different company. I asked about where she worked.” This time, Melissa was able to connect Michelle with a company that had been proving itself the whole time and the software it’s been supporting for just as long: FOUNDATION.

As it turns out, each of the three programs released around the same time. Each took a different path. Unlike Software A, FOUNDATION stayed committed to its original ownership under its original programmer, CEO Fred Ode. Unlike Software B, FOUNDATION’s always focused solely on the unique needs of contractors, with accounting, project management and mobile tools that fit the industry.

Those are the differences Bud’s Electric experiences now — the everyday benefits of a company with one owner, one industry and one priority. Since becoming a Foundation Software client, Michelle and her team again enjoy job cost reporting, construction billing features and a payroll module that can actually handle their complex labor. “I like payroll,” Michelle can say now. “For us, payroll is easy.”

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From sales to support, Michelle’s experience of the company has all been positive as well. “I haven’t ever had a problem with support. I like them when I have to use it.” But, she admits, she doesn’t have to call for help very often. “Everything’s worked for us. It’s easy.”

“I was very worried about the transition,” Michelle reflects, looking back on the last turn of a long journey to finding the right accounting software company to stay with them. “We didn’t have any problems with any of it.” It’s a journey that, happily, has ended with a new partner and with an old friend. “I didn’t have an issue with anything. It was easy with Melissa’s help — it’s easier when someone’s along with you.”

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