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case study

Norse Ironworks

Marion County, OR
·  
Structural Steel
·  
15
employees
Norse Ironworks is a leading structural and miscellaneous steel contractor based in the Portland, Oregon area, founded in 2020 with just $10,000 on hand and a garage full of tools. Today, with a remarkable backlog exceeding $5M and a team of 15 skilled professionals, Norse has earned a reputation for setting a higher standard of work within their region. The majority of their work is in the public sector, including universities, housing developments, and infrastructure projects. Norse takes pride in working on projects that positively impact the community.
80%
faster billing workflow
10%
additional working capital unlocked

The Challenge

Since Jordan, Ross Latimer, and Jason Brasmer founded Norse Ironworks in 2020, Jordan has managed all of the back office paperwork himself. As the business started to grow and they took on more projects, the billing process became more and more cumbersome. They use Quickbooks for accounting but quickly learned that it didn’t handle the complex billing process like retention, custom forms, and lien waivers.

The complexity of billing requirements for each job made compiling invoices a time-consuming and error-prone process, especially when Jordan was required to use non-fillable PDFs provided by his clients. Pay apps with errors, mistakes with retention calculations, or late submissions led to payment issues, affecting their cash flow and ability to invest in necessary tools to grow their business. ”Every input system was different, and it really took a lot of my time to try to navigate all of those. And not to screw it up, too!” said Jordan. “All it takes is a decimal point in the wrong place in a spreadsheet and the whole thing falls apart.”

As a small business owner, Jordan has many responsibilities and found the biggest source of stress was the billing process and managing their cash flow, especially because he didn’t have a centralized tool to track everything. He was living in fear that they wouldn’t make payroll because of a missed pay app or something slipping through the cracks. He often spent many late nights and weekends working on pay apps.

“There were a lot of phone calls asking for forgiveness after getting my pay applications in a day or two late,” said Jordan. “There were instances where the GC wouldn’t pay us that cycle, which was extremely detrimental in the early days. Any missed invoice meant we weren’t getting a paycheck for a couple of weeks or couldn’t buy that tool that we needed.”

“[Before Siteline], With each client breaking down their billing paperwork in a different format, you can’t get in a good rhythm filling out your billing paperwork. Everyone needs you to fill it out in a different way and staying on top of that is a bear.”
Jordan C.
Owner
,
Norse Ironworks

The Solution

Jordan uses Siteline to automatically generate all of their clients’ billing forms. Instead of spending an hour per project, he spends less than 15 minutes on each pay application.

Jordan relies on Siteline’s dashboard to ensure that they never miss billing cycles. As a steel contractor, they can wait years for final retainage to be released. With a growing business, it’s easy to move on to the next job, so it’s important to have a good system to keep track of outstanding retention. With Siteline, they are reminded to bill for retention on their jobs.

This change has not only enhanced their financial management but has also elevated Jordan's overall quality of life. Previously, Jordan dedicated his weekends to handling billing paperwork, but now, by using Siteline, he can effortlessly generate intricate billing documents with a click. This newfound efficiency frees his weekends up for time with his family.

Prior to Siteline, pay applications often had errors, with 10% being rejected and 60% missing deadlines, but with Siteline, they have not encountered any rejected applications or missed deadlines. Siteline estimates that by preventing pay app kick backs, Norse is able to free up roughly 10% additional working capital.

“My time is limited,” said Jordan. “Time and consistency are the two things I worry about. Will I have enough time to do it and will I screw it up. Having Siteline in place, I know I will get through billing a lot quicker, and now that I am not doing it manually, it’s going to be exactly what the customer wants to see. There won’t be any holds on billing. Everything will flow through and my cash flow will be maintained.”

Additionally, Siteline’s seamless billing tool has not only enhanced Norse’s reputation as a best-in-class  contractor, but has also built more trust with fabricators and vendors due to consistent and timely payments.

“I am thankful to say that, since I implemented Siteline, I can’t think of one weekend where I needed to stay in and do my billing.”
Jordan C.
Owner
,
Norse Ironworks

The Results

Winning more business and improving relationships with lower-tier subcontractors

As an up-and-coming steel contractor in the Portland area, Jordan and his team uses Siteline to boost credibility with clients. The team at Norse were known as impressive builders, but Siteline brought polish to the cumbersome paperwork required on larger jobs, giving Norse a competitive edge. They went from building a truck rack for one of their friends as their first project to working on major universities for general contractors. Now, they have more opportunities than they have the capacity for.

“Siteline adds a lot of credibility as we establish ourselves as a professional outfit,” said Jordan Copeland, an owner at Norse. “We aren’t backyard fabricators here. We are working with top-tier people so we want to meet them at their level. Siteline makes our billing process trustworthy and prompt.”

Potential clients were impressed by the system Norse had in place to handle the billing paperwork. Siteline gave their clients comfort that their billing paperwork would be complete and on time. Clients were more inclined to award Norse more work because of the professional systems in place for the back office, with billing through Siteline mentioned as a particular highlight.

“To have that polish right out the gate,” said Jordan. “To me, it’s the difference between taking off like a rocket and really having to work your way to build up your momentum.”

Siteline has not only improved Norse’s relationships with its clients, but it has also improved the company’s relationships with its fabricators and vendors. With Siteline, Norse has deeper insight into cash flow and has been able to pay partners faster.

Since contracts are pay-when-paid, if a payment is put on hold for a paperwork mistake or missed deadline from Norse, their lower-tier contractors also feel the pain.

“We’ve never not paid our vendors on time since implementing Siteline,” said Jordan. “With Siteline, we’ve actually been able to pay some of our vendors early, even before we get paid because we are confident in our cash flow projections. We always know when our money is coming in now. Paying early helps keep our projects going, makes us look good, and builds a stronger relationship with our customer.”

Reduced risk of payment delay

Before Siteline, Jordan didn’t have a system to track all of the requirements to get paid on each of his projects. As a small business owner, Jordan had many responsibilities. Due to the lack of process and overwhelming workload, up to 60% of their monthly pay applications were submitted late. On top of that, 1 in 10 pay apps would get rejected for clerical errors or incomplete paperwork.

With Siteline, all of their pay applications are submitted on time with correct and complete paperwork. Today, Jordan can’t remember the last time that Norse missed a billing cycle or a GC kicked back a pay app, which Siteline estimates frees up about 10% of their working capital.

Not only is Siteline improving the accuracy of their pay apps, but Jordan is able to breeze through the entire billing process 80% faster. Previously, it would take over an hour per project to bill. Now, Jordan knocks out billing for all of their active projects in under an hour.

“Billing used to be such a headache. Siteline is the painkiller.”
Jordan C.
Owner
,
Norse Ironworks

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