Running your own business is hard, and doubly so when the operations end consists of multiple employees who spend their workdays scurrying about between numerous different job sites. Managing a plumbing service company often consists of trying to juggle several clients at once, each of who claims to have an emergency, and trying to match them with staff who may or may not be available at the times you hope they’ll be.
Unless you have a system in place, just coordinating this can eat up time better spent on other, more strategic management functions. Luckily, there are now software options available to streamline the daily havoc, and you should look out for these important features as you shop around for the perfect package.
Team and Job Management
If you frequently find yourself having to phone your staff on the road and ask: “Where are you and what are you doing and how long will it take?”, this feature will be like a dream come true (or at least a nightmare gone away).
An integral feature of any plumbing software is the scheduling function. Ideally, as each job enters the system, it will be assigned a time slot according to the amount of time it’s expected to take and what other work happens to be pending. This is then converted to a work diary for each employee, which sets out his program for the day. Should a job take longer than expected, a van break down or some other unexpected event occur, the employee should be able to easily and quickly inform the office from his mobile, allowing automatic rescheduling. Employees’ work diaries should be adjusted to accommodate the change, and everyone can even be automatically informed by text message.
For increased efficiency, GPS should be integrated into the system. Making decisions is much easier if you can view a map showing where each job and work crew is physically located, while the software can provide employees on the road with directions to each job site, reducing the time wasted searching for the correct address.
Accurate, Instant Invoicing
It’s a dirty little secret in the world of small business: invoices are often inaccurate and occasionally aren’t generated at all. A dedicated plumbing software package will put paid to this, if you can excuse the pun, by accurately tracking time spent on the job site as well as materials used. In addition, your invoices will look professionally designed, while information about accounts receivable will automatically be passed on to your accounting software package.
Impressive Management Support
Many smaller businesses do not yet have a CRM solution in place, perhaps because they haven’t realized how much easier this makes things. The best plumbing software helps you keep track of current and former clients using a simple interface. From the moment they first phone you, generating and accepting an estimate, right through the client acknowledging job completion and billing, you can instantly see the status and history of any client on your books. Additionally, you’ll be provided with an overview of your business with no more than a mouse click, giving you a quick look at the basics on which profit and loss rest.
If you are still doing all of these tasks with a pencil and paper, chances are that you are losing time, money and customers. Automating these functions can help your business run more smoothly, while letting you have more time to spend on important issues. In this way, this software can be expected to pay for itself in no time at all.