UK Pro Build: Bold pricing key to a successful future

UK Pro Build believe being bold with its prices has resulted on one build firm not only grow but improve its bottom line and bring in more business than it can handle.

UK Pro Build Charles OKell

Starting out as a collection of tradesmen who came together to offer their joint services, UK Pro Build Ltd originally focused on offering maintenance and refurbishment work.

However as time progressed the business, which includes Charles O’Kell, moved to offer a more complete construction service carrying out renovations, conversions, new builds, loft conversions and everything in between!

Including chapel conversions, bungalow new-builds, student accommodation and refit work, more recently the business has focused its efforts on extensions, as Charles and the team see this area as a much better way to make better margins.

And key to UK Pro Build’s success is, according to Charles, due to the way he and his colleagues make the most of HBXL’s suite of software solutions.

Charles said: “Having the knowledge at our fingertips with material prices means we can be bold with our pricing strategy. This sends a clear statement to our customers that we know what we’re doing.

“Because we know the software is totally accurate, it gives us the confidence to be forthright with prices. That’s the price, no negotiation!

“Although we don’t come in as the cheapest, we know that it’s the most accurate. If someone else wins the work, then that’s fine with us but what we won’t do is go in to repair others mistakes.

“We moved away from student accommodation work as the customers wanted high-end finish but on very limited budgets. It just wasn’t feasible to do the work and make any money so we steer well clear from this type of work. We know this because the software uses material prices of the day so there’s no point compromising our business because the customer wants to pay rock bottom prices.

“For some there is a preconception that the software is expensive but the reality is it helps win more work – too much work in some instances.”

Having invested in HBXL’s Premium tool kit gives Charles access to some of the most powerful software available for the SME build sector. This includes EstimatorXpress, PlansXpress, Contracts Xpert and Health & Safety Xpert.

It allows Charles and the team to provide architect quality drawings and plans, highly accurate estimates using ‘that day’s’ material prices, water tight contracts and guidance on all health and safety issues needed under UK law.

Taking on the full suite has now formed the catalyst as to how Charles does business.

Charles added: “We felt it was better to get whole package at once and learn from the beginning rather than bolt on bit-by-bit.

“With EstimatorXpress we know from the very beginning that we’ve priced the job right. To produce legally sound contracts shows you are not messing around and by presenting along with the quote a full health and safety file reassures the client.

“We then print off everything needed and present it to the client. This helps make us look as good as we really are!

“It also saves us thousands of pounds in quantity surveyor fees, so even after a couple of projects the software has paid for itself.

“When we showed our accountant the software he was so impressed he left the meeting to call two other clients saying they need to take a look at it.”

One other area Charles is keen to stress are the new CDM 2015 regulations and in particular the rule regarding domestic client responsibilities.

He added: “The CDM regs are a bit of a minefield especially with domestic clients now having the take on initially the responsibility of site health and safety. Most architects we know are not prepared to take on the CDM responsibilities in case it put up their professional indemnity risks.

“However with Health & Safety Xpert on board we are quite happy to take on those responsibilities of Principal Designer and Principal Contractor.

“In our quotes we put warnings about CDM 2015 but say we’re happy to take on the role.

Health & Safety Xpert is a real gem and we cannot recommend it highly enough. It gives us complete confidence, keeps us complaint and shows we know what we’re doing.”