It's all too common for HVAC companies to be run with pen and paper. Even today, 52% of field service businesses have yet to digitize their business operation. But why are so many companies run this way, and why have they yet to step into the world of automation? HVAC business owners are commonly assumed to be hard-working, good-hearted people whose primary goal is to satisfy their customers. This leaves them stuck using yellow notepads, cumbersome spreadsheets, or even chalkboards where they manually enter their appointments, sales leads, and other data. This will lead to costly errors, money loss, and wasted time.
Is your HVAC company managing its business with paper and spreadsheets?
Your company may still rely on paper billing and computerized spreadsheets to run itself. How are these inefficiencies wasting time, losing revenue, and slowing down the growth of the business?
Keeping your customer's information in a paper address book or a Rolodex can be a very time consuming process. Especially when attempting to maintain the most current information for your customers.
You keep double or triple-carbon copy receipt books to fill out for each job. You must fill out all the information, give one copy to the customer, and file the other copies.
You have an extensive filing system to house all the paperwork you generate.
You have to know what stock you have. Every time someone takes something from your business, you need to know and remember it to stay on top of your inventory.
Scheduling in a pen-and-paper company means you do your best to ensure that all of your employees and yourself have their jobs lined up for the day, and they will have enough to do to stay busy for the entire day.
How leveraging software can revolutionize your business
Luckily, there is now an easier way for HVAC companies to operate efficiently, software. With the help of software, HVAC companies will be able to automate the scheduling, billing,payroll, and inventory required for proper operation. These programs are often found to be affordable enough that even small companies are able to take advantage of them. But how exactly will they help your business?
- With HVAC business software, you can quickly access and maintain all of your customer's records. If they have recently moved, what problems they have had in the past, unit information, notes about the customer or their house, and more. You will no longer have to look through a Rolodex or address book only to find a faded piece of paper that doesn't have the contact information you need. Or look through cabinets of files to find a note about a previous repair that you should have remembered to write down. By using FSM software, you provide customers with a better experience. Your customers will see this, and your retention rate may improve by up to 42% as a direct result.
- Billing and Filing
- Most people prefer debit or credit cards to pay for their purchases. With FSM software, this is another way to accommodate your customers while benefiting yourself since you can receive payment after the service. As you complete the job and receive payment, your system will automatically fill in your files. You can mark the job as paid, fill in your notes, and check it off your schedule. No more forgetting to bill customers or letting invoices slip through the cracks. According to Dataforma 83% of businesses that utilize FSM software receive payment for their invoices quicker than before they implemented the software.
- With FSM software, you and your employees can clock in and out of each job, giving you an accurate labor cost for each project. It will also allow you to see the unused time of the employee's day and fill it in accordingly, increasing the day's productivity. If you have multiple employees in multiple company trucks, you will also be able to utilize the GPS feature in many FSM software. This will allow you to designate the closest employee in case of emergencies or urgent calls.
- You can schedule your customer's jobs following a map to help you be as efficient as possible. You can move employees from one job to another, accurately tracking their time spent on each job, ensuring your employees are working effectively, and moving employees from one location to another as needed. By improving your scheduling practices, FSM software can enhance your productivity by 30-40%.
What to look for in an FSM software platform
When evaluating a software platform, there are several things to look for:
- It needs to be easy to use
- You don't want something that makes you jump through hoops just to start using it. This is especially true if you are not up to date with technology.
- Ensure that the software is affordable
- Businesses need a solution that fits the budget while giving all the functionality required for an FSM program. Most FSM software will give the customer multiple pricing options depending on what they require. FSM software can range from $20 a month for the basics to $2000 a month for the entire package.
- The FSM company should offer quality customer support
- It's crucial that if something goes wrong with their product or service, they are available by phone or email whenever possible so that issues can be resolved quickly without costing clients money due to out-of-pocket expenses.
- The software should be cloud-based
- This means that everyone can access their needed information from anywhere, on any device, either in the office, field, or otherwise, and always have access to the latest version of your system.
Businesses Run Smoother with FSM
With HVAC business management software it will help businesses keep employees on task, cut down on data entry, avoid scheduling mistakes and improve customer experience. According to webinarcare 89% of customers want to see their technicians using high quality, on demand, software while scheduling their services. It goes on to say that those same customers would be willing to pay a premium amount for the improved experience.
50% of managers who use FSM software agree that being able to reroute their field service tech to an urgent service has tremendous effects on their performance as seen here. Being able to quickly respond to customers in need will increase customer satisfaction, encourage repeat business, and improve the profitability of the company.
Ultimately, it's important to remember that an HVAC company is a business and an investment. Confirming that it continues to operate efficiently and effectively is the best way to ensure that the business will continue to grow. If your business is managed with pen and paper or spreadsheets, it might be time to look into software solutions.