From Paper Trails to Profit: How RJP Electric Transformed Efficiency with Skeleton Key’s Custom Solution

What’s holding your business back? Sometimes, the answer is straightforward, but it can be more elusive at other times. This case study looks at RJP Electric, which has grown significantly in the past few years. While the secret to their success might well rely on several factors, one they often point to is their new labor, material, and billing tracker from Skeleton Key. To understand why it had such a significant impact, let’s examine RJP before and after they hired us.

RJP Electric

RJP Electric is a full-service electrical contracting company based in St. Louis, Missouri. The company was founded in 1995 and provides commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential electrical services. Because of the vast array of projects the company takes on, RJP’s approach can look very different from client to client. What doesn’t change is the paperwork. Keeping track of employee hours, construction material, and client billing was a tall order, especially with dozens of employees who, admittedly, weren’t always great about turning in their paperwork on time.

The Problem

With a paper-based system, it was easy for issues to pile up. Employees and project managers would complete paperwork tracking hours worked and material used in the field. However, RJP would often have to wait for them to return to the office to collect that paperwork for processing. If the paperwork wasn’t ready on an employee’s most recent trip to the office, it might be days before they returned. That meant delays in billing, and often critical costs slipped through the cracks between visits.

Worse, filling out paperwork by hand isn’t always accurate. Workers sometimes put down the wrong PO number, which led to labor or materials being billed to the wrong account. While this was always rectifiable, combing the mountains of paperwork to find the errant document was a monumental task—and one that wasn’t a good use of company time. RJP leadership was ready to grow the company but recognized that it would be a challenge as long as this process was so inefficient.

The Solution

However, not just any piece of software would solve RJP’s issues. While there are a ton of software packages aimed at general contractors, they would have required significant tweaking to work with RJP’s electrical specialty. Even after adjustments, they wouldn’t ever fit like a glove.

With Skeleton Key, RJP Electric was able to get a program with every feature they needed—and none that they didn’t—making it a very efficient purchase. RJP’s new billing, hours, and material-tracking system was optimized to the company’s operating patterns, significantly streamlining operations. The new system handles booking jobs and assigning employees, speeding up response times. It also enables employees to work in the field with tablets and enter job information with a fraction of the error rate of manual paperwork. As a result, the home office receives completed job information in near-real time and bills the customer the same day—a process that could have taken days or weeks before.

The Result

For RJP, one of the most significant outcomes of the new platform was the amount of time it saved. In the past, getting a job update would require a call to the project manager in the field. Now, employees can access a complete job record all in one place in their system, with searchable, historically complete information. In fact, the system was originally conceived for use on larger jobs, but it was so effective that RJP expanded its use to their local residential electrician services. With it, office workers now spend far less time verifying hours worked and materials used, and billing and payroll are completed in a fraction of the time and with far less stress.

For some of their larger customers, the new software makes collaboration even easier. RJP’s new program was built on the Claris FileMaker platform, and they had a customer using the same platform. Even though the two solutions tracked information in different ways, Skeleton Key was able to automate the process of importing and transforming the customer’s data to ensure RJP received updates in near-real time, further streamlining work with this repeat client.

One of the most impactful elements of Skeleton Key’s work is how easy it is to troubleshoot an issue. RJP favorably compares Skeleton Key’s service with support from a major-brand accounting software: If they ever have issues with the accounting software, they have to fill out a form online and wait for a return call…which could mean a delay of hours or more. But with Skeleton Key, they typically have a team member on the phone in just a few minutes, providing real-time support for any of their processes or devices.

The overall reduction in overhead meant RJP was ready to take the next step. When offered more and larger jobs, the company was able to take them without hesitation because they knew they had a system that could handle the overhead, leaving them to focus on doing amazing work.

Continuing Growth

Skeleton Keys’ work with RJP Electric did not stop with the new platform. As RJP has grown, its needs have grown, too. Most recently, the company wanted to update their system for providing safety training, which needed to include the ability to track who has completed the training. Skeleton Key was able to create a system for tracking which employees attending which safety trainings, collect signatures, and provide accurate, up-to-date reports. This has increased visibility into what training employees are receiving over time, which in turn allows them to improve training and report on their training metrics for safety and insurance purposes.

This system is just another example of how companies choose to continue working with Skeleton Key well after an initial project, meeting new needs as new growth is realized.

Prepare for the Next Step with Skeleton Key

Change can be intimidating. But for companies like RJP Electric, it’s often necessary. RJP leadership realized that for the company to grow, it had to streamline its systems to make them robust enough to handle growth. If your software is what’s keeping your business from reaching its fullest potential, that’s a shame. Skeleton Key has helped dozens of companies like yours solve their toughest challenges with innovative software solutions. To learn more about what Skeleton Key can do for you,
contact us today for a free consultation