Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
9:38 pm EDT
Mon, July 6, 2020

Man of the Year: Bryan Smith

Owner of BP Smith Construction, is serving ‘virtually’ all your home improvement needs.

Photos: Douglas Tyler

BP Smith Construction had an upper hand in the virtual world of construction when a quarantine was put into effect in March due to the coronavirus. The company had already made so many tools available to its customers virtually, via its website and a construction project software called Buildertrend, so they were ahead of the game even before Florida’s stay-at-home order.

Via BP Smith’s new pricing guide, customers are able to select options for their ideal renovation, addition or new construction job. There you are able to view detailed prices depending on job size and materials, and you can even do virtual walkthroughs of your home with owner Bryan Smith.

“We didn’t have to change much businesswise with the quarantine happening, we were ahead of that. Really for us it was customer satisfaction, how can we make it easy for our customers so they don’t have to leave their house,” Bryan says.

Bryan’s wife, Krysta, who serves as marketing director, echoes those sentiments. “As a consumer,  I always use myself as the example customer because I don’t really know a lot about construction. I always say, ‘Well, if it doesn’t make sense to me or I wouldn’t do it, then we need to find a way to make it make sense to me.”

Evolving in the way that the company does certain things such as walkthroughs and estimates has been easy due to the commonalities of many projects Bryan takes care of. Video appointments eliminate drive time for both clients and Bryan, and nine times out of 10 people mainly just want to know how much something is going to cost, Bryan says.

Bryan utilizes Facetime and Zoom for a customer to walk him through their house, while he can stay at his desk answering any questions they may have regarding a current project’s status, an estimate for a future project, or anything pertaining to a job they’re considering for their home.

“Most projects, especially interior renovations, are almost the same, mostly just changing the size. Very seldom you’re gonna get something that’s off the wall where you’ve got four toilets in one bathroom. Typically, if you’re doing a bath remodel you’ve got this set of fixtures in there, so to give somebody an idea of what that’s gonna cost, we can do that, same way as we would in person,” Bryan says.

That was the first step towards adding the pricing guide to their website. “It’s broken up by square footage, and by quality of materials, about how much a bathroom, or kitchen, or addition, renovation, whatever, would cost,” Bryan says.

If you’re considering adding on a master suite, for example, and have no idea how much it might cost, that’s why the website is advantageous. “I think it gives us a little bit of an edge, especially now. If you’re sitting there quarantined flipping through magazines, we can do it (the estimate) virtually. It really doesn’t take that much time to do, to at least get an idea of how much it’s gonna cost,” says Bryan.

As for BP Smith’s use of Buildertrend, the app does everything from offering the ability for homeowners to make their selections online, signing documents and receiving updates in real time on the progress of the project.

“We share pictures with our customers, they can share pictures with us, they can message us back and forth with questions,” says Krysta. “In that same program, we have the ability to track job costs, including our employees’ time spent at each job.” Employees are able to clock in and out of jobs as they come and go, so Bryan is making sure all employees are where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there.

“Each homeowner gets their own portal, so Mr. and Mrs. Jones can go to their phone and it’s gonna show our logo, they’re gonna click on that. They pay their invoices there, they can view what the remaining balance is and view their paid invoices,” Bryan says.

Anything pertaining to the job and any documents that have been scanned in by Bryan’s employees, they can view everything just like the builders do. “We take the photos that get sent to the homeowners, and it also helps our subcontractors. I can take a photo, have the subcontractors view it, it’s almost like they’ve just been on the jobsite,” Bryan says. “Everybody can see in real time what is happening right now. It just keeps that communication as open as possible just
by photos.”

“We can save somebody a lot of money
to do something and we take pride
in that. We want the finished product
to be as close as possible to what
they were hoping for.”

—Bryan Smith

BP Smith Construction typically specializes in large-scale editions, even doubling the square footage of a home with some projects. For second story additions, Bryan says, the company excels in listening to a homeowner’s vision, collaborating with the engineer, draftsmen and subcontractors, and transforming the homeowner’s dream into reality.

The company has done whole house renovations, including kitchens, bathrooms, and projects that consist of tearing almost the whole house down and building it right back up to fit the homeowner’s new needs.

“Our target for new construction is entry level, which basically means if you’re downsizing, you’re a first-time homebuilder, $200,000 kind of price area. We’ve got plans that are targeted towards that. We can save somebody a lot of money to do something and we take pride in that. We want the finished product to be as close as possible to what they were hoping for,” Bryan says.

As for Bryan’s staff, the most important thing they focus on when planning an addition is considering how to add onto a house and make it seem natural, and make it improve the home. “These are home improvements, they’re not supposed to look like add-ons,” Krysta adds.

Bryan’s main goal is to inform his customers and be as transparent about what it really costs.

“When you have to make selections for a house, that’s when people realize, wow, just door handles and what are the hinge colors, baseboard, crown molding… Once you’ve selected everything, then you’ll realize how much stuff goes into the whole process,” Bryan says. “People assume builders must make so much money because it costs so much to build a house. Well, no, it just costs a lot to build a house,” Krysta says.

Bryan wants customers to know that they can call to set up a virtual appointment; the Smiths also direct people to the website.

“With the pricing guide people have an idea of what they’re getting. And if they’re comfortable with that, then we can go into a full estimate. People don’t like to get fudged numbers. This actually gives them an opportunity to get that uncomfortable money talk out of the way,” says Bryan. “We’re trying to be as transparent as possible.”