Improving Cash Management While Maximizing Rewards
Case Study: How growing construction company Creative Builders, Inc. used their corporate card to optimize payments
July 27, 2021 6 min read
Founded in 1971, Creative Builders, Inc. is a general contracting company based in Greenville, SC. It is one of the fastest growing general contractors in the region with a vast portfolio of commercial properties. The company strives to deliver high-quality projects by promoting a collaborative team that clients can trust. Their relationship-driven philosophy extends beyond clients to its many product and service providers.
The Search for a Best-Fit Program
Creative Builders was seeking a card program for everyday business expenses that offered competitive rewards. The company also required ample access to credit, with reasonable payment terms and a partner willing to help grow the business. Creative Builders’ first card program could not provide the acceptance levels or partnership it was looking for, which prompted the initial move to the Capital One® Spark Card. The card offered a much broader acceptance base, superior rewards, and met many of the day-to-day payment needs. However, as its business matured, Creative Builders needed a program that offered an even larger credit line and more capabilities for its growing needs.
Jim White, Creative Builders’ CFO, recalled, “With the Spark Card program, in order to pay our growing list of vendors, we had to make payments to Capital One on a daily basis so that the credit line would refresh. We knew at this time we had outgrown the program and began the search.”
Creative Builders looked at other payment programs and found them overly complex, requiring more effort and resources than made sense for its business needs. The goal was to simplify an expanding payment ecosystem, while keeping the rewards associated with a traditional card program. The firm found both these capabilities in the One Card from Capital One.
The One Card from Capital One: Transition and Ongoing Management Success
Creative Builders outlined its key needs during the initial meeting: competitive rewards, sufficient credit and program simplicity. The One Card’s ease-of-use became immediately apparent during program implementation. After just a few transition meetings, Capital One’s dedicated team had the program up and running. With minimal downtime, Creative Builders was on a pathway to move its immediate spending to the One Card.
The simplicity of the program did not stop at implementation but continued with the day-to-day use of the card. Capital One’s online platform helped the company’s Human Resources Manager, Claudia Figueroa, easily manage and adjust cardholder credit lines when paying for larger expenses such as building permits and vendor invoices. Claudia explained, “It’s quick and easy to adjust an employee’s credit line in real time for any large ticket purchases they may need to make. No more having to process three separate transactions for a $60,000 expense. As soon as the purchase is processed, I simply change the cardholder’s credit line back to the original amount.”
In addition to using the One Card for everyday purchases and expenses such as gas and food, Creative Builders’ Accounts Payable Department has also been using the card to pay vendor invoices, including utilities, advertising, building materials and permits. While vendors and spend vary by project and can be seasonal, Allison Taylor, Creative Builders’ Controller, has been a strong advocate of the card program, identifying and paying accepting vendors and even subcontractors with card instead of check. She said, “Shifting vendor payments to card has proven to be more efficient and the incremental spend contributes to additional rewards.”
The cost savings potential of a card program is tied to both direct purchases that avoid the purchase order and invoice process altogether as well as making invoice payments. By using commercial card solutions, it is estimated that companies save nearly $70 per payment using a physical card versus a traditional PO process1 and $26 on invoice payments as compared to check payments2.
The Keys to Success
With the One Card program, Creative Builders has been able to reach its growth goals, gain efficiencies, earn valuable rewards, and spend more time focusing on value-add activities. This success can be traced to these key program attributes:
- A Strong Partnership: A consistent and attentive service arrangement has built a level of trust that goes beyond the typical corporate relationship. CFO Jim White remarked, “When you can text your bank sales manager for an urgent need, that demonstrates both dedication and a high level of comfort and collaboration. We see this as a long-term partnership, and we know Capital One is there to support our needs, from everyday transactions to planning for the future.” With regular in-person meetings to keep things on track, Creative Builders’ local Capital One sales manager helps optimize the card program by identifying vendors most likely to take card and sharing the latest tools and new features to meet expanding needs.
- Competitive Rewards: Creative Builders earns rewards on its day-to-day business expenses. In turn, the leadership team is sharing these earnings with employees through gift cards for work anniversaries and other performance or event-related milestones. The pool of reward funds has grown to such a considerable size that the team has begun to take a statement credit and is looking at funding annual bonuses going forward.
- A Simple, Flexible and Secure Solution: The One Card is easy to use and offers a line of credit with flexible terms to meet the growing company’s needs. Creative Builders can now manage cash and operational expenses without having to worry about exceeding its credit line. Enhanced security and visibility round out One Card’s array of attractive features. Jim White emphasized, “We have seen a tremendous reduction in fraudulent activity as we move away from checks. With the One Card, we have been alerted immediately of any potential fraud, and we can easily order a new card if needed.”
Impressive First Year Results
Creative Builders’ first year with the One Card program has seen both a significant boost in vendors accepting card as well as increased card spend volume month over month.
The company has:
- Converted more than twice the number of vendors, compared to the original goal
- Expanded vendor payments and cardholder purchase capabilities, resulting in a 14% increase in card payments over checks
- Provided the flexibility and scale needed to meet its annual rewards goal
The Future of the Partnership Between Creative Builders and Capital One
Creative Builders and Capital One are a stellar example of a thriving partnership. Capital One has helped Creative Builders grow and find new ways to reward its employees. The next steps are clear:
- Continue to focus on converting additional vendors from check to the One Card;
- Keep a pulse on adding Virtual Card to the mix as more vendors, including sub-contractors, begin to accept card; and
- Work with Capital One to gain more efficiencies over time as new innovations and capabilities become available through the online platform.
As Jim White summed up, “It is quite simple actually—the reasons we love working with Capital One are incredibly proactive customer service, superior rewards, and an intuitive online platform.”
To find out how Capital One can help your organization streamline its payments processes, visit capital.one/corporatecard.
- Source: RPMG 2017 PcardStudy
- Source: RPMG 2018 Electronic Accounts Payable Study
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