Running an Australian plumbing business is no small feat. Even though you’re a master of your craft, there’s no guarantee that the management end of your business will work efficiently. You need to consider admin work, project management, finances, health and safety, and so much more. If you handle any of these elements poorly, your business will suffer major productivity and profitability losses.
However, with the right solutions and strategies, you can streamline the various processes involved in managing a plumbing business. The following list offers important tips on how to make your plumbing business run like clockwork.
Plumbing companies do mountains of paperwork. Technicians and plumbers can easily spend hours filing work orders, estimates, invoices, and repair logs. Some even have to write the same information multiple times on different forms and databases, which is time-consuming and error-prone.
The obvious solution is to go paperless. That entails digitising paper documents and storing them in a centralised cloud database using document management software (DMS). This way, workers won’t be subjected to tedious manual data entry and they’ll have access to the same information. Additionally, DMS software automatically indexes documents, so plumbers can retrieve the files they need from the cloud in seconds.
Going paperless also means eliminating manual processes using mobile and cloud technology. For instance, instead of distributing paperwork orders, plumbers can send digital work orders using job management software like WorkBuddy. They can also access job specifications and requirements through the app, saving plumbers a trip to the dispatch desk.
Utilise operational dashboards
Having an operational dashboard where you can oversee work orders from start to finish offers a host of benefits. For starters, it lets you create a workflow on how to approach each job — from job quoting to execution to payment. You can then assign specific instructions for those undertaking the job so they’re fully prepared. This can include bringing the right licenses, materials like pipe fitting and ball valves, and other necessary equipment.
The central hub also tracks job progress and summarises job allocations to the different subcontractors and plumbers. Plus, if there are noticeable delays, the dashboard makes it easy to identify bottlenecks in your processes and hold plumbers accountable.
Optimise job scheduling
A major challenge for plumbing companies is scheduling jobs and dispatching plumbers closest to the job site. Managers have to consider locations, appointments, and worker availability, which can be a huge headache when done by hand. What usually ends up happening is managers create a rough schedule that’s likely to result in increased fuel costs and late arrivals to job sites.
With WorkBuddy, scheduling everyone’s workday is a breeze. It comes with intuitive dashboards that track everyone’s availability, location, and workload. From there, you can electronically assign work orders to nearby plumbers so they don’t waste most of their time behind the wheel.
WorkBuddy even integrates with Google and Apple Maps to optimise travel routes based on traffic patterns and the weather. This enables your plumbers to use their time efficiently and keep customers happy by always arriving on time.
Streamline finance management
When managing your company’s finances, there are a few things you must do to stay in the black. The first is to understand how much money your plumbers are bringing in and what you pay. Accounting software like Xero, QuickBooks, or MYOB Online tracks revenue and expenses in real-time, enabling you to forecast cash flow. This is particularly helpful for spotting seasonal trends and making timely investments, like when to hire new plumbers or purchase equipment.
Incorporating accounting features with job management software simplifies other money matters, too. It lets you expedite payments by automatically generating invoices upon job completion and accepting electronic payments. You can even streamline payroll transactions by tracking timesheets and scheduling payments via direct deposit.
Prioritise work health and safety
The most important step to a smooth business operation is minimising the health and safety risks your plumbers may be exposed to. WorkBuddy’s technician portals help you manage risks by delivering workplace safety compliance forms for each plumber on-site. These forms are modelled after plumbing-specific Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) and can be configured depending on the job the plumber is undertaking.
A plumber assigned to pipeline disinfecting, for instance, will be prompted to complete specific safety checks like testing for bacteria and reducing chemical hazards. Meanwhile, a plumber who’s hired to do a fire sprinkler installation will have a different set of safety procedures and inspections to follow.
More importantly, WorkBuddy prevents plumbers from completing jobs unless they address every item on the compliance form. This not only keeps people safe from potential hazards, but it also protects your business from costly liabilities.
Whether your bottlenecks lie in health and safety, paperwork, or finances, there are many aspects to managing a thriving plumbing business. By investing in WorkBuddy job management software, however, you can make your life a lot easier. Schedule a free demo today to learn how our solution can increase your company efficiency and profitability.