Management Solutions for Office and Field

July 25, 2019
A design tool from Plandroid, an app for mobile forms from JotForm, and online invoicing software from Zoho Invoice are all profiled.

Developed to aid HVAC contractors in designing and quoting retrofit residential ducted air conditioning installations, Plandroid ( creates a sized CAD-style refrigerated, evaporative, or gas-ducted heating design superimposed over a house plan image, using components from your hardware supplier’s catalog or from any of the four generic catalogs, fully automatically. Additional specific supplier catalogs can be added if the market requires them.

The software, which features an intuitive point-and-click user interface and the ability to drag & drop parts, with snap-to connections, supports flexible duct, rigid duct, and wall-mounted air conditioning designs. The designs can be customized with your logo, images, title blocks, and annotations.

You can work from imported house plan images or draw your own building layout, directly setting the scale of house plans.  Using a graphical design process, the software calculates basic heat loads and performs a costing of design and can generate reports for installers, customers, and suppliers using modifiable document templates.  All settings, such as air flow requirements, can be set up for whatever flow rates are applicable in the geographic region. The software will automatically generate costing of take-off lists, including costs of installation labor.

Pricing is by yearly license on a per-computer basis and includes technical support.  

JotForm (, 425/317-0927, available at the App Store and Google Play) recently introduced JotForm Mobile Forms, an app featuring 25+ contractor-suitable templates that enables drag-and-drop creating of an infinite number and types of forms for running a contracting business. The app also supports the ability to drag and drop an existing file from any location on your computer.    

Users can create, edit, view, and send out estimates, work orders, checklists, and other submissions on any mobile computing device, utilizing a wide range of integrations with other apps. Forms are customizable via selectable ready-to-use styles, fonts, backgrounds, and color schemes. Over 300 widgets afford the ability to include configurable lists, terms and condition check boxes, a digital signature pad with smooth pen, dynamic textboxes, and customer-facing calendars that show electable available day/time appointment slots.

Advanced form fields include geolocation, photo upload, QR and barcode scanner, voice recorder, and signature capture. The app also includes Feedback, Evaluation, and Customer Service Satisfaction forms and a Facebook Like checkbox for customers to click. Forms can be accessed and edited without internet access, with submission automatically synced with the contractor’s account when the connection is resumed.

The app accepts mobile and web payments using any of several popular payment methods. Users can view complete customer summaries on one screen, including balance due and invoice aging, and customer notes from office and field. Contractors can also create sales reports for customers and reps in the field, by day, week, month, or custom date. Forms can be shared via email, text, and various mobile apps such as Facebook, Slack and LinkedIn.   

The solution includes push notifications, enabling management? To stay informed about submissions in or out of the office.

JotForm integrates with Adobe Document Cloud e-Signature, DocuSign, and other signature accepting apps, several online payment credit card processing solutions including PayPal, Stripe, and, Google Docs, DropBox, and numerous other productivity-enhancing apps.

The app carries subscription based tiered pricing: free up to 100 monthly submissions of five different forms, with the ability to receive 10 payments and up to 1,000 views monthly and Bronze, Silver and Gold monthly plans featuring escalating limits of number of submissions (1,000, 10,000, 100,000), number of forms (25, 100, unlimited), available GB space, and number of monthly form views, each without JotForm branding.

Zoho Invoice  online invoicing software for small businesses (, 844/316-5544) facilitates creating and processing invoices and payments and includes capabilities for monitoring time tracking and expenses. Accessible on the web and via apps optimized for Android and Apple devices, the solution enables users to generate branded, customized estimates and invoices, charge a customer’s credit card automatically, accept payment through a preferred payment gateway, and send receipts to customers.

Users can bill weekly, monthly, or yearly and can set up recurring and automatic payments from clients who, using Zoho’s Client Portal, can accept or decline estimates, receive invoices, make payments for invoices, and view all payments. They can also give feedback, and rate services the contractor has provided.

Utilizing the Projects feature, a user can assign tasks and track and monitor their progress. A timesheet feature allows tracking time of tasks. Timesheets can be approved by the manager or sent to clients for approval. Once they are approved, the user can bill the time to the client. Expenses incurred for a billable task can also be recorded and invoiced.        

Contractors can edit partially paid invoices to reflect adjustments or offered discounts and can generate reports scheduled for distribution weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly.  

The software, which comes with 15 customizable templates, can automatically convert an accepted estimate to an invoice with a single click and, in real time, monitor the status of customer interaction (viewed, accepted, declined) and level of payment completed (partial, full, overdue, viewed, unpaid). The solution also accommodates sending invoices by snail mail should a customer prefer that.

Zoho Invoice integrates with several payment platforms, including Paypal, Stripe, and Invoice, as well as with Dropbox, One Drive and other software.  Pricing: free for one user with up to 5 customers, with three plans that escalate in price based on number of users and number of customers.

Patti Feldman writes articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. She can be reached at [email protected].

About the Author

Patti Feldman

Patti Feldman writes articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products.

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