The right tools
Before the cloud, small trade and service businesses just weren't equipped for the realities of managing a business with staff working in the field all day, every day. Paper-based and spreadsheet “systems” are not fit-for-purpose, and inevitably throttle business efficiency, productivity and professionalism, along with the owner’s lifestyle.
Now, cloud-based job management solutions solve age-old information and communication issues inherent to these field-based businesses.
Think about some of your tradie or home services clients — the ones that manage jobs and staff in the field, like the plumbers, electricians, cleaners, locksmiths, fire safety experts, pool care, garden maintenance and pest control businesses.
How are they coping with the sheer amount of administration involved in managing so many jobs at once, on the go? Scheduling, communicating with clients, accessing job details, providing timely quotes, keeping track of staff and jobs, responding to urgent jobs, and so on? What systems do they have in place to manage it?
Every field service business is different, but the signs they need a front-end job management solution are common. They might be:
● Drowning in paperwork, and frequently losing customer & job details
● Finding it difficult to keep track of staff & jobs
● Struggling to maintain productivity & service levels
● Slow to get quotes & invoices to clients (or forgetting entirely!)
● Experiencing poor cash flow
● Spending their nights catching up on paperwork
● Feeling stressed & like they don’t have control of their business
● Hitting a “growth ceiling” they can’t break through with their current systems
How are these issues affecting them and their business health? What opportunities are they missing out on? How is it affecting your ability to help these clients?
The good news is, in this age of mobile and cloud technologies, things have changed. Job management software are well established, affordable, and accessible “off-the-shelf” for small trade and service businesses.
What is “job management” software?
Generally speaking, job management solutions are cloud-based apps for managing jobs, staff and customers in industries which work with jobs and staff in the field. They’ll typically feature functionality around recording job details, scheduling, client management, job and client history, quoting and invoicing, time tracking, and integration to accounting packages. There’ll be a mobile app for field staff, and a browser-based web app for office staff and account management.
So, you can think of job management apps being a “front-end” solution for capturing and streamlining the management of work throughout what we call “the life of a job”, from the moment it comes into the
business, up until it gets to the accounting package.
Just like all trade and service businesses are different, the job management solutions which have emerged to serve them are different as well. They can vary in terms of the breadth & depth of functionality, design values, and focus (e.g. business sizes and the type of work and industries they’re optimised for).
For example, ServiceM8 is a job management app designed specifically for the needs of small trade and service businesses, ranging in size from sole traders up to 20 staff, which manage a high turnover of relatively small and short jobs. ServiceM8’s not just for the typical “tradies” that spring to mind either (e.g. plumbers & electricians) — in many ways, the type of work that needs to be managed is as much a factor in assessing whether ServiceM8 is the right fit for a business. It’s all about finding the perfect solution for your clients needs.
ServiceM8 — smart job management
With smart scheduling, easy client communication, quoting, job notes and photos, digital form completion, online bookings and automations, ServiceM8 frees businesses from paperwork to run a more organised, productive and professional operation. Integration with leading accounting packages forms an end-to-end field service package.
With ServiceM8, trades and home services can:
● Manage their jobs, staff & customers with the ServiceM8 app, anywhere
● View staff locations and job status in real time
● Schedule work to staff, and efficiently respond to urgent jobs
● Manage jobs from start to finish from the app
● Access all client and job details in the field
● Create professional PDF quotes, invoices, reports & certificates on site
● Keep clients in the loop using professional email & text templates, sent direct from their job card
● Record and access a complete history of every job — emails, texts, signatures, photos & notes
● Streamline communication between the office and field staff around scheduling, job requirements & updates
● Connect with Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks Online to streamline accounting & reduce
Accounting package integration
We think one of the single best things you can do with a job management solution is integrate it to an
accounting package. This kind of connection provides great benefits in terms of saving administration
time, avoiding double entry and streamlining the invoicing and payments workflow. Real time data allows greater visibility over the business as a whole and provides information which advisors can use to guide their client.
For instance, when integrating with ServiceM8, all clients, items and tax settings in the accounting package will be synced to ServiceM8, and from that point, changes made in either system will update the other.
From there, to use ServiceM8’s integration with Xero as an example:
● Invoices are raised in Xero when approved from ServiceM8 (app and web), including the job
number, client name and billable items.
● Payments received against an invoice in ServiceM8 will be synced to Xero.
● Payments received against an invoice in Xero will sync back to ServiceM8.
● Changes made to tax settings in Xero will sync back to ServiceM8.
● Each job will have a single job number from creation in ServiceM8 through to finalisation in Xero.
Helping clients make the change
In terms of setup, clients can implement ServiceM8 themselves, or engage a certified ServiceM8 Partner (like TradiePad) for setup and training.
We all know how time-poor small business owners are, and it’s hard to beat a tailored approach when introducing new business systems, which is why getting a certified cloud integrator involved in the setup of a job management solution is such a great option. They can streamline the entire setup and training process, add a heap of value around tailored customisations and workflows, and ensure the business is positioned to get the most out of their new system from Day 1.
If your field service clients struggle with problems caused by inefficient, paper-based systems, helping
them discover a job management solution like ServiceM8 is a great way to help them streamline the
front-end of their business, eliminate administration and transform their productivity, service and cashflow.
Further, with ServiceM8 and cloud accounting software instilling best-practice processes, you’ll spend less time trying to make sense of your clients’ numbers and paperwork, and more time helping them succeed.
Guest post written by Skye Taylor, ServiceM8 Partner Manager.
For more information check out the:
● ServiceM8 Introduction Video & FAQ’s
● ServiceM8 Feature Tour
● Demo the ServiceM8 iOS app