How to Embrace Change and Grow Your Service Business in 2018
The ringing in of the new year has always meant letting go of the past and starting fresh, taking what you learned from the past year and applying that knowledge towards facing the one to come. Usually you see this attitude in individuals striving towards personal goals and desires (the new faces at the gym come January 2 bear testament to that), but you can also apply the same mindset towards making your company bigger and better in the coming year. In fact, many field service industry experts will tell you that owners must embrace change if they hope to remain competitive in their field. But what does embracing change actually mean in business terms? How will you know the best way to implement needed adjustments to your company practices?
Be Critical, Be Honest
As with any other task of self-improvement, your first step involves determining what you and your company could do better. This requires more than a passing glance at your policies and procedures. If you really want to get to the heart of the issue, you’ll have to examine every level of your operations. Consider the following examples of the way special scrutiny can result in a lot of valuable and eye-opening information.
Arguably the greatest challenges associated with working in the field service industry concern efficiently managing the movement of individuals, equipment, paperwork, and information. For example, do you know for certain whether your technicians always take the most efficient route to service calls? Though the proliferation of GPS has made pathfinding much easier in recent years, that technology alone does not guarantee that your employees go from call to call as efficiently as they could.
“The previous owner would drive from one end of town to the other and back again,” says Ryan Heezen, who purchased A to Z Shredding in Rapid City, South Dakota in 2014. By identifying this inefficiency, he knew to invest in a program that could create the most efficient route for a day’s service calls. That program saved him $6,000 in fuel costs in the first year he owned his business.
Not every business owner is as forward-thinking as Ryan, however. In fact, many still insist on using outdated paper records despite the ease and availability of electronic filing. In this arena it’s often easy to give in to laziness or shrug off the task of converting your filing and billing systems, simply because your old paper-based style has always been “good enough.”
Kari Wakefield, owner of Capitol Heating & Air Conditioning in Lincoln, Nebraska once felt that way, too. But once she took a closer look at the hassles associated with paper billing, she realized that her company could not hope to grow if it stuck with the old way of doing things. “After completing each job, our technicians had to write everything on the work order,” she says. “Work orders passed from department to department. As a company, it became difficult to stay on top of things when each individual work order passed through so many hands.”
This clunky and outdated system often resulted in incomplete tasks and general confusion amongst her employees. All that came to a close when Kari transitioned her company to an all-in-one software solution that allowed for the easy, electronic sharing of work orders and other information. Better still, that same program also allowed her employees to remain aware of the status of any particular task. “The best part of the program is that all jobs are immediately updated so we know the status of each job at all times,” Kari says. “New jobs can be easily created and delegated to technicians based on their schedule and location.”
Headaches associated with bookkeeping can become a daily reality no matter what industry your small business operates in. Those headaches, however, can become full-blown migraines for owners of field service companies due to the sheer number of financial elements they have to keep track of. In addition to basic expenses like salary and utilities, many business owners must also monitor fuel costs, loans for equipment and vehicles, training costs, invoices for customers and vendors, and so on.
That’s the problem that Al Fecci, owner of Jersey Coast Fire Equipment, sought to solve. “We were like everyone else,” Al said. “We used paper and pencil.” Eventually, Al had had enough. He decided to entrust all of his accounting and customer management—along with many other vital aspects of his business—to one piece of software. “It’s streamlined our whole way of doing business,” says Al.
All in One Solution
The owners we’ve highlighted in this piece were once in the same position that you might find yourself in now: eager to grow a business but hamstrung by outdated practices and technology. What, then, sets them apart from the countless other small business owners who fail to keep up with the times? Smart Service!
Ryan saved money by using the program to craft efficient routes for his drivers. Kari used Smart Service to create dynamic work orders that can be easily shared among employees and clients. Jim and Kathy discovered that Smart Service could simplify everything from bookkeeping to scheduling to inventory management.
These represent but a few of the benefits offered by Smart Service and its paired applications. Though no business strategy guarantees a way to ensure that a company remains efficient and profitable in the year to come, you won’t find a safer gamble than Smart Service. Countless business owners across the country have used the program to streamline and optimize their operations. You might be the next one to discover just how much of a boost this all-in-one software solution can provide to your company’s efficiency and profitability. Feel free to get in touch with one of our friendly customer service associates if you’d like more information on Smart Service or if you’re interested in setting up a free demo for your company.