It takes time and effort to manage your company’s field operations. Keeping track of clients, employee schedules, invoicing, and payment is a full-time job for which not every business owner has time. Then there’s the necessity to hire more staff to handle those responsibilities.
Home service organizations have multiple staff in their home office, and employees are dispatched to consumers through email or phone contact. When you add in the paperwork for billing, things can start to fall apart. Employees may be sent to the wrong location, invoices may be misplaced, or payments may never be received.
Field management software is designed for home service businesses that desire to work in the digital age by connecting all areas of their operations. With this new strategy, business owners may establish clear lines of communication between employees, clients, and the home office.
Benefits of Field Management Software
Field management software can help home service-based companies such as roofers, painters, plumbers, HVAC, and general contractors. There are numerous advantages to this system.
- Digital Software –Your customers communicate with your sales team. Then, your sales team needs to communicate with your scheduling team. The schedulers must pass information to your field technicians. Next, your field employees must work with your customers and report to your accounting team to close the loop. There is a high risk of miscommunication and client displeasure. By moving to field management software, you can eliminate the paper trail and long chain of communication in favor of one single digital platform that can be accessed by all employees, anywhere.
- Improve Inventory Management – Stay on top of inventory with this digital system. Inventory can be tracked by who has what equipment, thus saving time from having to track items down. When field technicians utilize a part in the field, they simply update the inventory level in the app. You can even set up automated notifications to remind your parts manager to refill at certain inventory thresholds, greatly optimizing your inventory management.
- Improves Billing Accuracy – A field management system gives your employees confidence to create invoices for clients. Technicians can enter all job details into the system automatically. Critical data, such as time spent, materials consumed, and parts replaced, are quickly captured. The pricing is calculated by the software, taking into consideration warranties, discounts, and taxes. No longer will calls need to be made to have part pricing or invoices being delayed from going through the communication channel.
- Optimize Scheduling – With the correct roofing scheduling software, scheduling can be done in real-time, allowing field staff to adjust quickly. The right staff can be scheduled for the job, and the home office can keep track of where their staff is working. Utilizing GPS, technicians can be sent to clients closer to their location, thus eliminating unnecessary travel.
- Quicker Invoicing – Instead of clients waiting for the final bill or having to watch technicians switch between accounting and parts management, everything is in one place that the entire team can access. Customers who want to know what they’re paying can have their invoices itemized. They can have their invoice emailed to them, complete with payment options. There is no need to worry about lost invoices or non-payment from clients.
Challenges of Implementing Field Service Management
While a new system can be exciting, not everyone will carry that same excitement. There will always be some staff and clients who will have reservations about something new.
- Employee Adoption – Some employees may be apprehensive about technology and think they may not know how to handle a completely digital system. Some prefer the old way of doing things. It’s essential to train your employees and give them the proper support to feel confident using the field service management system.
- Customer Expectations – Most customers still expect a paper invoice and have to call a credit card number to pay. Changing to a new system will be just as new to them as it is to staff. Taking the time to explain to them how this system works and benefits them should easily convert them.
- New Way to Communicate – Customers want to know that they are dealing with a reputable company with good customer service. High-quality customer service is enhanced through responsiveness, route optimization, mobile access to information, dispatching the best employees for the job, and providing quick service. The easier the process for the client, the easier it is for the staff. Email reminders, automatic booking, and automated billing processes all help to strengthen client ties.
- Stuck In Their Ways – Sometimes, people refuse to change their habits and will not adapt to a new system. Most people will attempt to accept the new approach, but the odd person will not. Staff may require further assistance or training to assist them. Customers may simply desire a paper copy of a bill, which is still possible. With all of the information at their disposal, the technician can easily create a paper invoice if that is all the client requires.
With new technology comes a heavy price tag. While these field management systems are affordable, they do require an investment. Once the system is up and running, you can start to reduce costs in other forms.
Because everything is accessible from a single platform, fewer staff are required to maintain them. If you already have accounting, scheduling, and a parts department, you may be able to combine them into one.
With better inventory management, items should no longer go missing, and unnecessary purchases can be avoided. Optimized travel routes can also reduce travel costs.
A field management system is vital for home service businesses that want to grow and better organize themselves. Staff and customers will appreciate the efficient flow of service and clear communication between all team members. While integrating a new technology into your organization may appear daunting, the rewards far exceed the difficulties.
Garrett Wilson is the President and Co-Founder of FieldBin. FieldBin is a field management software designed for hardworking trade business owners. It allows professionals in the field of Plumbing, HVAC, Electricians, Roofing, and Commercial Cleaning solve their back-office nightmares with ease. Garrett has expertise in Marketing and Project Management, with experience in multiple industries including Cyber Security, healthcare, and manufacturing.