With Australians spending more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for kitchen installation and renovation services has skyrocketed. In fact, recent reports found that loans for home renovations have increased by 74% in June 2021. Given this trend, contractors must be fully prepared for the influx of kitchen installation work order requests. One of the best ways to prepare is to make sure you bring the most essential hand and tech tools for kitchen installations. Here are seven that you and your technicians must have:
Before we elaborate on essential technology tools, technicians can’t leave for a job without the right equipment in their toolbox. For kitchen installations, the most practical equipment include an adjustable wrench, a hammer, flat- and Phillips-head screwdrivers, a utility knife, a nail gun, a power drill, a tape measure, and an electric saw.
iHandy Carpenter is a free measuring app in case you forget to bring your tools to the jobsite. The app comes with a ruler, protractor, plumb bob, bubble level bar, and surface level bar. The plumb bob is for measuring the verticality of a wall, while the surface level and bubble level bars are for checking how flat a surface is. Keep in mind that these features will need to be calibrated before use so you get the most accurate readings possible.
Visio is a program that allows you to represent information as diagrams so you and your team can have visual reference guides. It offers hundreds of customisable diagrams that can be especially useful for kitchen fitting and renovation projects. Examples of diagrams available in Visio include:
- Floor plans – These are scaled diagrams that display a building’s cross section, complete with proper dimensions and measurements. Floor plans help contractors understand the general layout of the new kitchen and where certain appliances/plumbing will go.
- Flowcharts – These are plans that direct contractors of the sequence of steps and decisions that go into particular processes. Using different shapes and arrows, contractors can outline the general workflow, from kitchen site inspections and measurements to material ordering and installations.
- Gantt charts – These are bar charts that break down the start and end dates of individual tasks involved in a project. Gantt charts allow contractors to coordinate several moving pieces in a project and ensure the resources (i.e., labour, equipment, capital) are allocated optimally.
- Org charts – These are diagrams that show the hierarchy and relationships of each party working on a project. Org charts are particularly helpful for when a kitchen installation project has multiple subcontractors and technicians. By having a clear hierarchy, everyone will know who to report to and where to get their instructions from.
- Mind maps – These are visual boards where contractors can brainstorm ideas and conceptualise the early stages of a project.
BIMx is an app that can seamlessly translate project designs and blueprints into interactive 3D models. This enables contractors and on-site technicians to fully visualise the kitchen space they’re working on and the project deliverables. They can even navigate the space on their mobile devices to see where everything goes, check measurements for kitchen features, identify material requirements, and evaluate plumbing and electrical schematics.
Having so much insight into kitchen installation projects means on-site technicians won’t have to pause work to clarify key details about a build. For instance, on-site technicians won’t have to ask their supervisors whether the client wants a wood-top or granite-top kitchen island; they can just refer to the 3D model. A precise and informative 3D model also minimises the likelihood of technicians making mistakes that drive up production costs.
Construction Calc Pro
Construction Calc Pro makes it easy to calculate measurements and materials for kitchen installations. It features over 15 measurement calculations that help you determine things like flooring and finish areas, wall siding, ceiling slope length and grade, among others. From there, you can calculate material quantities and estimated costs based on current market trends. These calculations can go a long way in keeping kitchen installation projects within budget.
Xero, QuickBooks, or MYOB Online
Xero, QuickBooks, and MYOB Online are leading financial management platforms that simplify your accounting processes. They can track project expenses and create invoices on site after job completion. If clients are unable to pay immediately, these platforms can be programmed to follow up on outstanding payments. Financial management platforms can also instantly generate expense reports and income statements, helping your business prepare for tax season.
Additionally, Xero, QuickBooks, and MYOB Online aggregate all financial information into a centralised database. With this database, you can analyse which projects are most profitable, what elements are driving up costs, and how much time is spent per project. These insights can then be used to produce more accurate quotes and estimations so you can win more kitchen installation jobs that offer higher profit margins.
WorkBuddy is a leading job management platform that offers everything a kitchen installation contractor needs to stay on top of their workload. For starters, it processes contracts to understand the materials, timelines, and qualifications necessary for a kitchen installation. WorkBuddy then uses its automated scheduling system to search your company roster for subcontractors and/or technicians with the right skills and availability for the job. The platform even provides route planning and optimisation to guarantee that field technicians arrive at the right jobsite, at the right time.
What’s more, WorkBuddy checklists and job forms allow you to break down a project step by step and ensure that on-site technicians are working according to safety standards. As a contractor, you can even monitor your team’s progress through an operational dashboard and communicate with them through smart portals. Meanwhile, technicians have their own portals to log their expenses, message supervisors, and report on job progress and workplace incidents. All these features essentially eliminate slow back-office processes and help your team work as efficiently as possible.