No matter what industry you’re in, you must have the right tools to do a good job. For tradies, this means showing up to a client’s site with the right set of drills, wrenches, screwdrivers, and so on. But more importantly, they need cutting-edge software to truly ensure they can meet all their clients’ requests.
With the right job management software, a tradie like electricians, plumbers, and HVAC+R contractors will be able to:
- manage deadlines,
- stay organised,
- track payments, and
- serve their clients more efficiently.
The problem is, unlike finding a high-quality Phillips-head screwdriver, selecting a suitable job management platform is a bit more nuanced. Choose the wrong one, and your technicians won’t be able to find an easy workaround.
So how do you choose the right job management software for your business?
Define your business requirements
First and foremost, you need to have a clear idea of what you need your job management software to do. This means evaluating your business processes and listing the challenges you and your technicians face daily.
For instance, you may have poor employee timetabling and job scheduling, in which case you’ll need an app with a project management component. If things like payroll, quoting, and invoicing are challenging to manage and make visible, you’ll need a system with solid financial management features.
In this stage, it’s important to discuss your company’s pain points with all employees to reach a consensus about which job management software features would be most beneficial. Their feedback will give your software selection process some direction.
Get the essentials
Although requirements vary from trade to trade, your job management software must have the ability to easily:
- track work completed,
- materials used,
- invoices outstanding, and
- hold timesheet and analytics features.
These features allow you to produce detailed KPI reports and minimise processes that waste time and money.
Another key feature of a good job management software package is a robust communications’ module. When out in the field, it is extremely valuable for improving customer service and worker productivity, as it allows them to:
- contact clients,
- set appointments, and
- direct technicians.
Look for integration-friendly systems
It may not seem important now, but you need to consider how your job management software will integrate with other applications in the future. That’s because when individual systems are not integrated, you have multiple overlapping databases, which can result in having to spend extra time and effort to stay organised.
Imagine running your job management software and accounting system separately. Any invoices and expenses recorded on your job management software will have to be manually re-entered into your accounting database, which is both time-consuming and error-prone. But when paired together, you have clear, simultaneous visibility of what’s going on in both areas of the business, you can track labour and materials costs more accurately, and you can produce detailed financial reports with a few mouse clicks.
Also, choose a job management app that’s already compatible with your existing software. A field service app like WorkBuddy, saves you time and money since you won’t have to perform an overly complicated integration.
Get a tradie friendly job management app
Because tradies rarely work at a desk, you’ll want job management software that has a robust mobile app. This means the features you’d normally see in the desktop version — such as customer contact details, schedules and appointments, and time logging — must be synced up and available in the mobile version as well.
Fortunately, most job management software has a mobile version. However, the problem with many of them is that they are not as user-friendly as their desktop counterparts.
Try before you buy
With a wide range of job management software vendors claiming to have the most flexible and cutting-edge product, it’s tough to gauge whether a platform is suitable for your business until you actually test it. Besides, the last thing you want is to be stuck with a solution with lots of bells and whistles that don’t apply to your business or are prone to crashing.
Most businesses often make the mistake of not including enough people in the trial run. Feedback should be gained from technicians, office personnel, and managers as they are all critical to making an informed decision about the software.
After a month, ask your employees to rate the software out of 10 based on ease of use, functionality and performance, mobile compatibility, process and flow. Then, add all the results and compare them with the other apps you’ve tested. The top three scorers should be on your shortlist.
Evaluate the cost
As with any business decision, price is usually a deciding factor when selecting software. You can purchase a high-end solution, but this might include having to pay a lot of money for a glut of features and add-ons you may not need yet. Alternatively, it may make more sense to purchase an inexpensive solution that goes for as low as $20 per user per month and upgrade your subscription when your needs and requirements change.
However, base costs are rarely the full amount you have to budget for. There are expenses associated with installations, integration, and ongoing maintenance. These also vary depending on the managed IT services provider you’re working with. What’s more, you’ll also have to train your technicians how to use these apps, which will cost you extra.
After you’ve calculated the costs, you then weigh it against the benefits. Even if a solution is more expensive, you may be justified in purchasing it if its features guarantee significant productivity and performance gains. Meeting with an IT consultant will help you accurately evaluate the costs and benefits of any job management software solution.
If you’re worried about how long the decision process for choosing job management software is, don’t worry. On average, tradies spend at least a month or two researching systems, so don’t feel pressured to come up with a decision immediately. Take your time, get to know the software provider, and make sure you do enough research to be confident with your decision.
Like it or not, looking for a job management platform requires a lot of time, but the payoff is worth it. Not only will you get perfectly suitable software for your trade, but you’ll also have one that will ensure your business’s growth. If you need some guidance, the consultants at WorkBuddy can help. We’ve helped plenty of tradies in Australia find the best solutions, and we can do the same for you. Contact us today.