Developed by tradesman, Tim Mullock the Kiistone App is your companion for the lifetime of a project. Professional Builder’s Lee Jones finds out more.
A builder’s lot is never just about bricks and mortar because seeing a job through to its successful conclusion requires multiple skills – not least in project management. With many years of undertaking high end refurb jobs to his credit, that’s a reality that Tim Mullock is all too aware, and his new Kiistone app is the product of that experience.
“Over the years I’ve taken on bigger and more complex projects but, regardless of the scale of the works, the same issues will always arise,” reveals the Lancashire Luxury Developments proprietor. “It’s not unusual for a £40,000 job to be agreed on a handshake – with no guarantee that you’ll see the money – and I’ve seen some very good tradespeople go under as a result. At the same time, there’s no point denying that consumers can have bad experiences with tradespeople. The Kiistone concept really came from a conviction that there must be a better way.”
The idea that Tim initially conceived has since developed into a full suite of useful tools for the trades, but his starting point was to find the common denominator for any building company. “Money is always the great leveller so my ambition was to create a service that would ensure that all parties are invested in a project’s success and eliminate any potential points of conflict.”
At the heart of the App is a system of staged payments – held securely by one of Europe’s largest Escrow providers – which are triggered at agreed job milestones. The tradesperson can then facilitate better cashflow management, whilst the client is empowered with the authority to only release those funds when they’re satisfied with the progress on site, but that’s only the beginning of Kiistone’s functionality.
“Disputes invariably originate from failing to record extras or misunderstandings from verbal agreements,” continues the 41-year-old builder. “If nothing’s written down there’s no recourse, but the app offers a solution. All the messaging pertaining to a job can be conducted through Kiistone, together with supporting photography, providing a chronological timeline, whilst everything is time and date stamped. From the customer’s perspective they can then demonstrate how long it’s taken the builder to respond once they’ve raised an issue.”
Initial quotes can also be produced through Kiistone, customised to a builder’s own company, whilst any additions or concessions can be included along the way. The app will then update all the costings accordingly, allowing both builder and customer to be more flexible and reactive as to what is included as part of the price. “It’s there on your phone on site so it saves time in admin, and you can generate an invoice for any stage of works right there and then with the necessary paperwork updated on the spot.”
It is beholden on the client as well as the builder to download Kiistone, but Tim believes the benefits in terms of trust are invaluable. The app is free to use, with payments for the services that builder and client enjoy generated by an increments on those staged payments. Over the last four years Tim has combined running his successful construction firm with the hard work of realising the Kiistone App, and he now believes he has a solution that can work for any building business.
“The App contains all manner of useful tools, but you can use as much of it as you need to,” concludes the Lancashire-based builder, “and it’s web-based so you can use it on any device. I like to think of it as like a black box on a plane. It provides a continuous record and reference point for all parties. I want the app to be a vehicle for change and help the industry to move beyond the old stereotypes of cowboy builder and rogue customer. What we’re crying out for is a more collaborative culture.”
For further information on the Kiistone App visit https://www.kiistone.co.uk/