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DSW Homes helps to rebuild lives after natural disaster with BILL

Customer Stories >

DSW Homes helps to rebuild lives after natural disaster with BILL

“The speed of business is huge for us. When [BILL] says, ‘this is what we can do and this is what it’s going to be,’ there is no exaggeration in that.”

When natural disasters strike, it often turns devastating to the affected communities. From flooding and wind, to mold and debris, the effects can often take months to build back, but with DSW Homes, they are committed to cutting that time in half and getting their communities back into their homes.

DSW Homes started in 2009 and focuses on the relief, rehabilitation, and new home construction for homeowners and individuals affected by natural disasters. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston Texas, in August 2017, they were one of the first organizations to be boots on the ground to help rebuild homes. Jason Stewart is the Corporate Controller for DSW and says they rebuilt about 3,500 total homes in a three-month period by March after Harvey hit.

“We always want to make sure that what we do is go into a place and leave it better than when we found it,” Jason said. “So whether it be flood, hurricane, tornado, or fire–we try to be boots on the ground as soon as possible.”

“Normally, once we get an assignment, we try to get a home completely rebuilt within 60 to 90 days once they allow us to step foot on property.” By working under such stressful and time-sensitive conditions, DSW Homes doesn’t have time to lose when it comes to handling the large expenses it takes to get a job done.

“Normally, once we get an assignment, we try to get a home completely rebuilt within 60 to 90 days once they allow us to step foot on property.”

Before they discovered BILL Spend & Expense, Jason said that expense management was almost non-existent. “We had a combo of two American Express accounts with 10 to 12 cards attached.” Over the 7 years he has been at DSW Homes, he says it was getting hard to track and manage the spending across different corporate cards.

“A lot of times we have municipalities that require a credit card or a check in person to get a permit in order to start the build. Or you may have vendors that you need supplies from that you don’t have an account with. So 50 to 80 different people in the organization might have access to five or six Amex cards. What ends up occurring is you end up dispensing a lot of charges monthly because no one wants to fess up to what it was.”

Not to mention, DSW Homes has since expanded into almost 10 different states in the past five years, so managing multiple cards across different locations was nearly impossible. At one time he could have 10-15 employees using one card for many different transactions. “When you’re trying to close the books within 10 to 15 days every month, you’re kind of at the mercy of the people who made these charges. It just became such an ordeal that we knew we had to find a way to better manage this, to better track this.”

Thanks to BILL Spend & Expense, all that card sharing and unaccountability of card holders is no more.

“BILL Spend & Expense is a breath of fresh air to employees, management, everyone.”

The more houses DSW Homes builds, the more volume they accrue, which means there are more situations where employees have to use their corporate cards for large purchases. In one month alone, Jason said they spent around $600,000 on their BILL Divvy Corporate Cards, $500,000 of which were strictly job costs associated with building a house. The other $100,000 going towards other overhead like travel, meals and office supplies.

Before, Jason had no real insight into who was making which transaction or which job code it should be tied to. Not to mention it all came out of the same budget within their Amex accounts.

“Being able to limit the spend and the ease of use with requesting funds, putting limits on people, and being able to see what they’re spending day to day based on trust level, that is huge.”

With their budgets easily created in BILL Spend & Expense, Jason now has full visibility into what every cardholder is spending and can view everything from the BILL Spend & Expense mobile app and dashboard. “The transparency of all of our expense management where anyone–if you’re an admin or if you’re the owner of a budget–you get to see every transaction under you.”

However, the final deciding factor to make the switch over to BILL Spend & Expense was just how fast the budget process actually worked. “The speed of our business means everything needs to be as quick as possible. So one of the things that we asked at the beginning was if I request funds right now, how long does it take?”

With BILL Spend & Expense’s mobile app, budget owners can send funds to every cardholder within 5-6 seconds of making the request, ensuring their employees can get to the jobs faster.

“This has 100% helped us be faster and be more nimble. When you say, ‘this is what we can do, this is what it’s going to be,’ there’s no exaggeration in that.”

Now about 100 employees have their own BILL Divvy Corporate Card and are utilizing BILL Virtual Cards. With virtual cards, they can seamlessly pay those municipalities and vendors that were getting manual checks before. “It’s easier for that team to just not have to worry about pulling [a card] out of their pocket. It’s just right there on their phone and there is no difference in functionality.” “Every single month it would take, no joke, two to three days to get all of our expenses booked within American Express. Now, once everything is coded and receipts uploaded, it’s completed right then.” Their reimbursement process alone would waste an entire day. “A person uses their personal card and they submit for reimbursement, which means we would cut them a check, which is not great for job costs.”

90% of their work is done at the time of a transaction since implementing BILL Spend & Expense companywide.

Since implementing BILL Spend & Expense companywide, 90% of their work is done at the time of a transaction and Jason says it takes less than one day to close all their books. Best of all BILL Spend & Expense integrates with their accounting software, Sage 300, creating a full circle accounting process.

“In finance, you want everything to be very transparent. [BILL’s] customer service, ease of use, and implementation company-wide gives us just that.” With BILL, DSW Homes can now focus on the jobs at hand: rebuilding the lives of their customers one home at a time.


DSW Homes

DSW Homes specializes in disaster relief, rehabilitation, and new home construction with a unique dedication to homeowners and clients.



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BILL Spend & Expense

Before BILL Spend & Expense:
  • Two major credit card accounts with 10-12 cards shared across the company.
  • 3+ days to close each month.
  • Very manual way to track spending in relation to job codes.
  • Manual process to reimburse employees by cutting checks.
After BILL Spend & Expense:
  • BILL Divvy Corporate Cards and virtual cards for every employee.
  • Less than 1 day to close each month.
  • Expenses are instantly captured and routed to the correct job code.
  • Now employees utilize BILL Divvy Corporate Cards and budgets to pay for job costs.

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