Skilled trades offer excellent pay, and there's never a shortage of work. However, as you rise through the ranks, you'll likely start your own business and begin employing others. Eventually, you stop being an electrician or a plumber and become a full-time business manager. While that may be the dream for many professionals, it can quickly become a nightmare without the right tools. To make your business grow and enjoy some much-deserved free time, you need software for service companies.
A Complete Suite of Software for Service Companies
Software for service companies delivers all the features that you need to run your entire operation. Forget about the dozens of Excel sheets. Put the pen and paper away. All you need is a single software program designed with your company in mind. By choosing complete software, you save money as well. Instead of dealing with separate companies and combining their tools, you can use one program and do everything you need to.
So, what are the features you should look for in service management software? You need tools to manage your customers and their accounts with your company. You also need to keep track of your employees and their activity on job sites. Inventory management is also vital if you keep certain materials in stock for frequent work. Keep an eye out for cloud-based programs since they'll work on any device, even your phone!
Growing a business starts with quality customer service. Customers expect flawless execution from your company. Anything less results in poor reviews and minimal growth. When a company goes above and beyond the call of duty, customers turn into rabid fans who praise your name and generate leads for you. To provide that level of quality, you need to keep track of your customers and their jobs.
Something as simple as forgetting to call back or follow up after a job is done could cost you thousands. With online customer management software, you'll build a database of customers. You can program the system to send reminders to keep the job on schedule. If you add new services, you can send emails out to everyone in the database. Likewise, you can run promotional campaigns, perhaps a discount on a customer's second job with your company, for example.
Quick and Easy Quoting
One of the biggest obstacles to getting new customers is the quoting process. With many contractors, customers have to schedule an appointment, have the company come out and review the work, wait for a quote, and then negotiate. This whole process can take days or even weeks. However, potential customers want a number now. With online quoting tools, your company can deliver accurate quotes in minutes. You'll close sales faster and get to work before the competition.
To make this work, you have to provide the backend data. Input the services you offer and the rates you charge for those services. You may want to break those prices down by square footage for more accurate quoting. For each service, you can add expected materials costs too. A customer who wants a remodeled kitchen can tick off the boxes for all the services they need, input the size of the job, and get a real quote.
Scheduling and Dispatch Tools
Once you've secured a sale through your customer management and quoting tools, you then need to deliver quality work. Assigning employees to jobs can be a pain since contractors love their freedom and often have irregular schedules. You also have to respect your customer's time preferences as well. Fortunately, scheduling software can do all of this for you automatically. Each worker can upload their availability. The company sets its working days and hours. Input the customer's schedule, and you're set.
Cloud-based computers will calculate the ideal distribution of hours for your workers. If you want to finish a job faster, you can tell the system to allocate more people to the job. With Google Calendar and iCalendar integration, employees will get their schedules delivered right to their phones. Say goodbye to the numerous morning phone calls to tell everyone where to work. Automated scheduling and dispatch allow you to focus on growing your business, not just running it.
Billing and Payment Processing
The company needs to get paid, and so do your employees. As your employees work, you'll get updated figures on how much a job costs and how much you need to pay each of your workers. This data can then be sent to customers as a detailed invoice, providing transparency and reducing conflict. Software for service companies should always include payment processing so that your customers can pay you directly over the internet using their credit cards.
This one feature alone saves you countless hours over the course of a month. All you need to do is review the data and approve payments to your workers. You'll likely find that you trust the system so much that before long, you don't even check it anymore. The business runs itself.
Help Your Business Grow
Businesses inevitably run into bottlenecks as they scale up. When you're the sole manager of a contracting company, eventually you will become the bottleneck. There are only so many people you can call in a day, so many invoices you can write, so many quotes you can make on your own. With the right software, your company can handle much more than it ever could relying on a single person.
Once you've automated many of these tedious business tasks, you'll be free to invest time into actually growing the company.
Cloud-based Software Works Everywhere
One final feature we cannot leave out is the power of the cloud. You must have cloud-based software. The cloud saves you from having to invest in expensive computers, plus you can access your company's software from anywhere. Whether it's a laptop, cell phone, or a desktop PC at home, you can keep tabs on your company. Go ahead and book that vacation knowing that if an emergency arises, your business is just a click away.
ServiceBox is the first cloud-based software for service companies designed specifically for contractors. Contact ServiceBox and take our software for a test drive with our free demo.