Growing Your Company With Plumbing Business SoftwareBy My Service Depot on Friday, May 12, 2017
Taking the step to move forward with business management software is a big decision. For many professionals in the plumbing field, the expression, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” has become the dominant mindset. However, the plumbing business involves much more than just fixing leaking pipes or installing a system in a new house or office building; the plumbing business requires economic conservatism, social skills, time management, and other learned traits. The upfront cost of plumbing business software can intimidate, but in the long run, the investment can save you money and help the overall health of your plumbing company. Plumbing software is more advanced and robust than you may think, helping with a variety of business functions.
Plumbing Software Cuts Down On Overhead
The most obvious benefit of using plumbing software for QuickBooks is the improved efficiency that your plumbing staff experiences. Using the automation features provided through plumber software stops you from wasting man hours from inefficient work processes, reduces overhead, and provides further cost savings through accounting and inventory integration.
Automation Reduces Wasted Man Hours
Many plumbing companies don’t properly evaluate the details of each job. A number of factors cause this. Plumbing companies lack time because the owner of the business has to take jobs, deal with human resource issues, and sign checks for services rendered. With these factors at play, a business owner seldom has time to think strategically about the company.
Reduce the time spent filling invoices, estimates, receipts, and equipment repair logs to help keep your staff more productive. If a technician has to spend 30 minutes per job dealing with paperwork, and they perform just two jobs per day, you’re losing 250 man hours every year for each technician you have on your team. Spending that amount of time doing paperwork is indefensible. By automating that workflow, you can make sure that you’re getting the greatest possible production from your technicians.
If you reclaim these 250 hours per year, you can direct technicians to do more billable work every day, meaning that projects or service calls are completed ahead of schedule, giving you the ability to schedule more jobs during the day. That sort of efficiency impresses customers and builds repeat business.
Additionally, plumbing business software helps improve scheduling and dispatching processes. This can help your technicians tend to even more service calls throughout the day and enhances the likelihood that technicians can get to the job at the scheduled time. This not only saves you money, it also increases your cash flow. Every business should have a reserve of cash available to keep the business running through day-to-day operations. When you establish this stash, the additional income you save can go towards marketing materials or towards attracting new customers. Direct mail campaigns, flyers, brochures, Google Adwords, even social media marketing… these things are not free. An increase in revenue can be used for outreach efforts.
Save Money with Reduced Expenses
Reducing wasted manpower using plumbing dispatch software affords you the time to focus on growing your business. With more time, you can better oversee business processes and try different marketing tactics. But time isn’t the only thing you need to successfully execute a marketing strategy, implement new procedures, hire employees, or upgrade equipment. You need money, too. By integrating plumbing business software into your company operations, you can start reducing expenses, freeing up capital for other endeavors.
Dispatching and Routing: You may not realize how much money your employees waste on gas due to inefficient work routes. Monitoring jobs by location, time, and plumber can add up to a nightmare when you do it by hand. Ignoring these factors makes things easier, so it’s often tempting to do so. However, with the scheduling abilities of plumber software, you can electronically create schedules, optimize routes, track plumbers, and monitor job progress to ensure your workers use their time as efficiently as possible. This software keeps all of your information in one place and allows your whole team to access information in real time instead of playing phone tag or relying on long email chains. Your plumbers no longer have to drive back and forth across town to get to their jobs, saving you time, gas, and money. Additionally, the scheduling and dispatching features allow technicians and plumbers to take their vehicles home. Because they can access their schedule from the software, you can eliminate the gas and time expended driving to the office to pick up schedules every morning.
Tracking Inventory: Not only can plumbing dispatch software help with scheduling and routing, software such as iFleet, allows for managing work orders and tracking inventory. Whether you track large equipment such as portable water jetters or cable machines, or the wholesale stock of pipe fittings, ball valves, and other tools, your software can help manage inventory. Software can help you track bigger items that get used on a job by job basis as well as bulk stock items that run low.
Going Paperless: When you’ve scheduled the job, plumbers can use their phones or tablets to access paperwork, job information, and other details electronically. Your workers can fill everything needed through the software, resulting in a ready-to-bill invoice to send to the office and customer. With schedules, invoices, forms, and other paperwork filed and managed electronically, you reduce the amount of paper, ink, writing utensils, and other supplies you need to purchase. Going paperless with plumbing software also allows you to customize forms and other information based on necessity.
Working On, Not In, Your Plumbing Business
As your efficiency improves, it can allow you, the business owner, to have a fundamental shift in the operation of your business. If your company started as a one-person operation, as many do, it is very easy to become trapped in the one-person mindset. Without breaking this way of thinking, you’ll struggle to grow your operation.
By shifting your focus from working in the business to on the business, you can strive to eliminate potential bottlenecks (including yourself at times), which improves workflow for everyone. This shift in mentality is beneficial. Using plumbing service software helps you start to think of things differently. What other inefficiencies exist within the business? How can you help your employees make the right decisions? How can you empower your employees to “own” jobs, not just work them? These are all questions that you must ask as you grow your business from 10 to 20 to 50 employees and beyond.
With more time, you can start to question some of the practices of your business that may not bear fruit. By using plumbing business software, you’ll have the time to evaluate your business and ask hard questions.
Direction: What are your goals? Why are they your goals? These questions hint at the fundamental issues at the heart of any business venture. Many well-meaning entrepreneurs start businesses to “beat the competition” or to “make a lot of money.” While these are acceptable goals, they are not definable end goals with a realistic deadline. Making clear goals, for example, “We will increase revenue by $X per month by the next fiscal year” or “By 2025, I will have successfully sold my plumbing business and retire to Hawaii” means creating goals that are both measurable and time-bound.
Hiring: Are you hiring the right plumbers? Would you be better served by someone with a background in human resources and recruiting? Hiring is a key factor in putting the right people and processes in place to remove yourself from the day-to-day operations. As a business owner, you need to focus on growth. This requires trusting the people you hire to execute the day-to-day work.
Firing: Are your technicians performing their duties well? Do you consistently receive complaints from customers who deal with a specific technician? With additional time on your hands, you can address underperforming plumbers, attempt to reconcile complaints, and take the appropriate actions toward termination, if necessary. With more time, you can recruit a new technician who fits your company culture better, completes work more adeptly, and leaves satisfied customers at every job.
Marketing: Is your marketing strategy creating a positive return on investment for your company? Do you outsource your work to a marketing firm that fails to produce quantifiable results? Does your marketing company provide enough solid leads that you should increase their budget? Good marketing means knowing your potential clients and getting their attention in a compelling way. Figuring out what works and what doesn’t can make and save you a lot of money.
Community Outreach: What efforts help you build your brand? With community outreach, you can form favorable impressions among your target audience. A time-tested combination of outreach efforts can help improve your business’ profile in the community. Sponsoring a little league team, hosting a networking event, attending public functions, even organizing a volunteer night at a local animal shelter can raise community awareness. You should make time to fit these things into your day.
When you’ve hired the most qualified plumbers who embody the brand you want your plumbing business to project, you want to keep them underneath you for as long as possible. The best plumbers give you a competitive edge over other companies, and retaining staff helps avoid the additional expenses associated with onboarding and training new employees.
Plumbing business management software such as Smart Service offers employee-portal functions such as daily news, information center resources, and other tips and tricks that can help your employees perform more efficiently. Using this type of business management software allows you to curate content for employees such as best practice guides, how-to guides, and other industry news, improving your plumbers’ overall performance.
Plumbing software can also help you communicate with your fleet more effectively. No need for phone trees, mass emails, or other communications that get lost in the shuffle. Use your software to post company announcements, send individualized schedules, reminders, and other company information.
All of the benefits of using plumbing business software to grow your business can contribute to stronger customer relationships. Word of mouth advertising is crucial, and the most trusted recommendations come from clients that have been with a company for an extended period. Streamlining schedules to avoid late arrivals and long waiting times can improve relationships and trust between you and the client. Inventory tracking ensures your technicians never show up to a job unprepared and electronic billing ensures a bill, statement, or invoice never gets lost. These features help strengthen client relationships.
By crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s, you will ensure you aren’t losing valuable customers due to inefficient work processes.
Expanding your business takes much more than plumbing knowledge; it takes a business-oriented perspective. As the owner of a small plumbing business, you’re often pulled in multiple directions, from billing to scheduling and from taking calls to purchasing inventory. By investing in a robust, multi-functional plumbing software that integrates with QuickBooks, you will save both time and money that you can refocus on growing your business. With a new plumbing software, you can communicate more efficiently with employees and clients, reduce paper waste, optimize schedules and routes, manage inventory, and focus on your brand. All of these save you time and money.