Savvy business owners must constantly find new ways to reduce expenses and increase revenue. However, unlike office-based businesses, tradies are constantly on the move in between jobs, which calls for a unique approach for maximising productivity and profitability.
If you run a plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), construction, or electrical contracting company, field service management (FSM) software is key to increasing your profit margins, and here’s how.
FSM for smart planning
High customer satisfaction and fast resolution times are crucial to increasing profit margins. According to a field service article, companies that can’t fix a problem on the first visit report revenue drops of 3%. To prevent this, it’s important to get skilled technicians for the job.
Top-notch FSM software comes with a centralised scheduling dashboard that displays tradie information and pending service requests in one place. It also categorises technicians by skill sets, shift timings, leave requests, availability, and contact information, and automatically assigns the right person who can resolve the customer’s issue the first time around.
Subcontractors are great options for large projects that require specialised expertise, but they tend to cause cost overruns when managed poorly. Fortunately, mobile FSM tools are equipped with subcontractor portals that provide outsourced technicians everything they need to deliver effective and timely service.
For example, you can create an HVAC subcontractor checklist for completing site inspections, equipment maintenance services, and other work orders. You’ll even be able to share information about the job site, full-service histories, and the tools required for the job (e.g., electrical testers and stepladders).
Additionally, the FMS app serves as a reporting tool, giving you the flexibility to manage subcontractor performance levels and ensure high customer satisfaction rates no matter where you are.
Reduced paper-based processes
Collecting signatures and filling out reports are usually done by hand, and then entered into the computer once a field service technician returns to the office, resulting in error-prone data entry and increased costs. In fact, tradies miss nearly $120,000 worth of work a year because of paperwork.
Field service software replaces tedious, paper-based processes with digital, automated ones. Tradies need only their mobile devices to record signatures, capture invoices and write reports on site. Not only will data entry be more timely, cost-effective, and accurate, but it will also cut unnecessary travel time to the office and the effort to recall a day’s worth of service calls.
Invoicing is an important yet time-consuming process. If done manually, it can take weeks to assess the work done, quote customers, and get paid.
Cutting-edge FSM software makes invoicing a cinch. Every piece of information is recorded by your FSM software, including labour costs, equipment fees, and warranties, and is fed into your accounting system.
From there, technicians can generate an invoice on-site with just a few clicks of a button, which in turn eliminates frustrating quoting delays and ensures you get paid faster.
Since tradies spend a lot of time on the road, travel costs tend to consume a large portion of the budget. Fuel is one of the biggest expenses, especially for tradies who take up to three hours a day to get to job sites. Tolls are another significant expense that, according to a 2017 report, cost Sydney-based trade workers up to $8,000 a year.
By integrating Google Maps and GPS tracking systems into your FSM software, trade workers will be able to find optimal routes that save on fuel and time. It even gives them an easy and quick way to log fuel, toll, and other travel costs, so they can claim the exact amount they’re owed, rather than roughly estimating travel costs.
What’s more, FSM provides smarter dispatching based on travel times. For instance, if there is a plumbing job in Hornsby, the software will automatically assign the task to a plumber stationed nearby rather than to someone who has to drive all the way from Cronulla.
FSM software doesn’t just keep track of your technicians, it also gives you a complete view of your operations. The software records every bit of data such as first-time fix rates, travel expenses, and performance reports, and it helps you make informed decisions about increasing profit margins. You may find that you’re wasting money on skilled technicians who aren’t being fully utilised.
There’s no denying that a profitable field service organisation is possible through FSM software, but they’re not all built the same. If you need effective route planning, scheduling, and tradie management, consider Work Buddy. It’s a simple and intuitive app every tradie should have in their pocket. Contact us today to learn more.