CHICAGO — There is so much technology out there these days that at times it can be challenging for contactors to stay abreast of the newest and latest apps and software that will help them run efficient businesses. Plus, once you think you are up-to-date with the latest and greatest technology, something new comes out on the market. Here is a rundown of the latest apps and software that will enable contractors to run more efficient businesses, save money, and have some fun with new technology all at the same time.
Coolfront is a flat rate pricing field app by Profit Strategies. Currently there are approximately 2,000 contractors using Coolfront and running more than 30,000 service calls per month with the app, according to Jim D'Amico, Profit Strategies President.
“Coolfront is the only cloud-based application that provides service-call dispatch, invoicing, flat rate pricing and Quickbooks integration, all for zero-cost,” said D'Amico. “It can be used on any smart device and requires no investment in software and servers. Coolfront truly is one of a kind."
According to D'Amico, there are several reasons why contractors should use Coolfront.
Coolfront was designed as a cloud-based web application, and consequently, it works across virtually all smartphones, tablets and laptops.
“That's important because contractors don't have to buy software or specific devices to use the app,” said D'Amico. “Contractors can use a mix of iOS (Apple) or droid devices with equal success. And Coolfront provides more than 25,000 plumbing, HVAC and electrical flat rate repairs that can be accessed by plumbers, technicians and electricians.”
Plus, service calls are dispatched from the office computer to the field staff by assigning the call to the appropriate person.
“Because Coolfront syncs information in real time, calls are transmitted within seconds from the time they are assigned,” said D'Amico. “Coolfront also works both online and offline. If the field person loses connectivity, Coolfront continues to operate and then syncs back to the office when connectivity is re-estabished.”
Coolfront also builds a work order and invoice and captures the customer's signature right on the device. Repair quotes and invoices can be emailed to the customer right from the field person's device. Last but not least, Coolfront provides a zero-cost flat rate pricing and invoicing system that is not available from any other source."
Just recently, Profit Strategies’ released a free E-book focusing on flat rate pricing and going mobile. The eBook is “It’s All Up From Here!” and is available for free download at coolfront.com/itsallupfromhere. The E- book offers an easy read with takeaways on how to grow profits, gain customers and build wealth in a service business. The E-book is written by D’Amico, and takes the reader through a journey of two HVAC contractors who meet at a popular dealer show and share their experiences in the service business. The men spend the day learning about flat rate pricing benefits, the payoff of maintenance agreements and going mobile.
ServiceMax delivers technology to help contractors perfect field service delivery, drive revenue growth and serve customers, all at the same time. Mobile offerings include ServiceMax Mobile for iPads, smartphones, and laptops.
“Mobile is the wrapper around everything we do,” said Stacey Epstein, CMO of ServiceMax. “Our customers are inherently mobile and they are in the field, so access to everything they need on a mobile device is core. We believe the technician is the face of the brand, so you need to make sure the technician is equipped with everything he needs to do his job.”
According to Epstein, there are many benefits for a contractor to use ServiceMax.
“Part of it starts with managing contracts and entitlements of customers,” said Epstein. “Many companies do no keep record of what customers have, what product they have, is it in warranty, when the warranty expires, etc. A lot of it starts with a better way to manage contracts and entitlements.”
Epstein also pointed out these benefits of using ServiceMax:
1. Dispatching and routing of technicians to the customer at the correct time with the correct products to fix the problem.
2. Tracking the inventory and parts. A contracting company needs to keep track of the new parts, old parts and where they are at.
3. The social aspect of mobile apps. This allows for collaboration inside a company. For example, a field service technician is a silo in the field, so if they can go online and collaborate with people back in office that can help them solve a problem faster.
5. The value of a mobile device in general. Once a field service technician has a mobile device, they will realize how much easier it makes their job. They can look things up to solve problems, they can collaborate with others, access manuals, videos, etc.
6. The analytics and the visibility. Now everything is tracked, reports can be run, and a business owner can see trends, etc. This allows contractors to take action to improve their business.
Last month, Square added Square Invoices to its robust register service. Service contractors can get paid fast with free unlimited invoices and no monthly service fee. Contractors in the field can accept payments in person, online in Square Market, and through Square Invoices for a 2.75% transaction price.
The neat thing about Square is that contractors can track all sales from their Square Dashboard, making it easy to manage all of their business operations from one place. The Square Dashboard displays all of a contractor’s Square activity, so that they can easily manage their account. With the Square Dashboard, contractors have access to the important data they need to make efficient decisions about their business.
The online invoicing market is growing rapidly as businesses move away from traditional paper methods and look for more efficient ways to manage customer payments. Square Invoices eliminates the need to track customers down and take payments over the phone. Sellers don’t have to worry about scribbling sensitive customer info on paper or paying card-not-present rates. With Square, contractors can create custom invoices and collect payment securely from the same service they use to run their entire business.
Square’s inventory tracking provides contractors with simple inventory management tools to manage goods. This free feature is a core part of Square’s Register service. Inventory tracking is applicable to any/all service professionals selling products and easily integrates with a Square Market page.
“Square Feedback is also a new product that turns digital receipts into a powerful channel between buyers and sellers,” said Catherine Ferdon, Square spokesperson. “Square Feedback prompts customers to send feedback on their experience directly to the business owner through their digital receipt. Sellers can also respond directly to customers, resolve issues one on one, and protect their reputation.”
In just the last month, Square launched inventory tracking, Offline Mode, a customer feedback service, a pre-order for pickup service, partial refunds, an integration with Stitch Labs, a business financing product, and new ways for businesses to see their sales reports in Square Dashboard.
The Square Reader, the free credit card reader for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, allows businesses to accept credit cards anywhere and anytime. Square’s suite of business tools includes Square Register, Square Dashboard, Square Market, and Square Stand. Square also created Square Cash, the easiest way to send and receive money.
Other nifty apps, software
Contractors can provide great customer service and make their work more efficient with FieldOne Sky Mobile. From dispatch and routing to completing work orders and managing invoices, Sky Mobile delivers the capabilities and resources contractors in the field need to provide customers with the best service possible on a mobile device.
Just a few of the things you can do with FieldOne Sky Mobile is display up-to-the-minute, multi-day field agent schedule and job details; access vendor, manufacturer, jobsite and client contact information; perform and submit paperless inspection processes; change an unassigned slot to other field agents; reassign schedules directly from the handset; see work order problems on the schedule; and enter and track parts or materials used.
Sky Mobile apps are available for IOS, Android, and Windows phones and tablets, offer powerful offline capabilities, and have centralized multi-platform customization and management for all platforms.
Available for Apple iOS and Google Android, is Field ID providing cloud-based safety and inspection software. Contractors can manage safety and compliance with the web, smartphones and tablets. Field ID's construction safety software solution makes inspections, audits and reporting as simple as possible.
Contractors need to maintain complete compliance and site safety assurance for all workers. With Field ID a contractor can achieve excellence in construction safety management. With Field ID, all information is stored safely and securely in the cloud; identify the safety status of any person, place or thing on a jobsite; and RFID or barcoding technology simplifies and speeds up identification. Plus Field ID offers cradle-to-grave traceability and real-time reporting capability; corrective and preventive actions; easy to use web interface and mobile apps for a safety team; and safety standards and compliance built into a customized Field ID.