December 14, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Back when they attended Millard West High School together, there was little or no indication that these three guys would someday run a very successful business. More unlikely still: It all began with one of those usually hair-brained ideas spawned during a night out with the boys.

Not long after that evening, BuilderTREND Solutions, a web-based program and mobile app designed specifically for home builders, professional remodelers, and home improvement companies, was created by brothers, Steve and Jeff Dugger, and their friend, Dan Houghton. Like so many precocious teenage entrepreneurs, they started it in their basement.

Eight years later, the company has approximately 65 employees, with clients in 25 different countries and half a million users worldwide.

“The program basically acts as a project management and collaboration tool for the contractor,” Houghton explains. “The system really manages everything, from their clients to their lease to their financial management.” BuilderTREND software allows the contractors to build out budgets and manage purchase orders, as well as management for documents, photos, and change orders. If there is a change to the job, the program will automatically track the change.

The program also allows the contractor or the clients themselves to choose—or change—paint colors, counter tops, or anything that can make their new space their own. “There is a piece that allows the homeowner—or the client, if it’s a commercial job—to actually log in and track what is going on,” explains Houghton. This allows the homeowner or project owner to collaborate with contractors and subcontractors more easily and stay informed on the latest changes, updates,

and photos. Most important, says Houghton, “it’s about eliminating mistakes.”

BuilderTREND’s success is even more impressive given that the business started in 2006, the same year that the housing bubble burst and new home construction virtually stopped. Houghton reflects on the early years, admitting that it was a difficult time to sell something that was an extra expense to the construction industry when little money was coming in. “I think all businesses got hit hard, especially our industry,” he says. “Basically, we needed to make some changes to our marketing and development strategies.” By appealing to the remodeling industry as well as the new home construction, the partners were able to increase the original scope of their business plan.

“We’ve always grown,” Houghton says. “It’s just how fast you can grow, and during those times it was obviously more difficult.” Houghton credits the improved economy, as well as their dedicated employees, for BuilderTREND’s continued success.

The company will soon be moving into a new 20,000-square-foot headquarters and has hired more than 30 employees this year alone. “We’re having a great time,” he says.

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