A mobile app for iOS and Android affords assignment of jobs to technicians in the field, who can access job details and service histories, generate new work orders and invoices, and accept customer sign-offs, digital signatures, and payments at the worksite. The app works online and offline and syncs back in real time after an interrupted connection is resumed.
The intelligent scheduling, designed to help find the most efficient time and technician for each job and useful for both suggested appointments for each job and mass scheduling, utilizes algorithms to analyze driving distances, technicians’ skills, shift patterns, service windows, and locked events. The system can automatically sync schedule updates to technicians’ calendars.
The software’s customer portal enables customers to receive automatic confirmation of an appointment as soon as it is scheduled as well as a reminder of the appointment at a contractor-selected interval before the scheduled date/time. A customer can also visually track the technician on the way to the jobsite.
Technicians in the field using the mobile app can accept a job assignment, report current job status (traveling, arrived, completed), generate quotes, work orders, and contracts (including service agreements), access and complete forms and checklists, upload photos and videos to each job, and place parts requests to the office or directly to the vendor. They can also collect digital signatures for signoff by the customer and generate branded PDF invoices from any location (with the ability to select from multiple payment options) deliverable by emailed or through the online customer portal. They can also collect payment in the field. A contractor can also take payments from a customer online or over the phone and have that payment accounted for within Commusoft.
Parts and inventory features include abilities to track multiple locations and request latest part prices and ordering of parts from the contractor’s list of vendors. An optional standalone mobile inventory warehouse app, utilizing a built-in barcode scanner, can track every part in your warehouse and technicians’ trucks. Users can manage job and asset history and create custom asset classes and detailed histories for individual assets, including type, model, and service history of the asset at a property. With a single click, a screen can show all assets at a property.
Commusoft integrates with QuickBooks Desktop and Online, Xero and other popular accounting packages. Training is available via screen sharing, phone, and online resources.
Pricing: per month, per user
Extracker (https://extracker.com) is a cloud-based collaboration platform for general contractors and subs to create, administer, monitor, and share change orders and time & material tags remotely, helping enable adherence to jobsite distancing requirements.
The solution, which comes with audit-approved customizable templates, includes the abilities to save labor and material and equipment rates in groups or by projects, instantly convert T & M Tags into Change Order Requests, and share documents among stakeholders.
Field technicians can create time and material tags on their mobile devices and submit them directly for digital signature by the customer. The signed Tag is logged in the home office and ready for instant pricing as a COR.
Change orders can be sorted in various stages of request and approval and viewed by both parties on a single screen in list form. CO logs can be exported to Excel or as PDFs.
Pricing: Many basic features are free and the software is free for the receiving party of T & M Tags and CORS. Subcontractors can leverage the premium features with an annual license based on project volume.
Update: Schedule Engine (see May 2018 column) recently introduced Live Virtual Technician Support, a service contractors can offer their customers that enables homeowners to connect remotely with real expert technicians, trained in virtual service, for professional diagnosis of their HVAC, plumbing or electrical problem, with the aim of helping the homeowner resolve low-ticket nuisance calls without an onsite visit. If the issue cannot be resolved remotely, all information gathered by the remote technician, including potential parts needed to complete the repair quickly, is provided to the contractor through Schedule Engine’s software.
How it works: As eligible calls come in, contractors confirm homeowner willingness to start with virtual service and schedule a virtual service appointment at a convenient time for the homeowner, (typically within an hour of the initial call). Schedule Engine’s expert technician calls the homeowner at that time and proceeds with virtual diagnosis, using video if the homeowner is comfortable with it. If the issue cannot be resolved remotely, the technician uses Schedule Engine’s integrated software to book an onsite appointment with the contractor while the homeowner is still on the phone. The contractor receives the necessary information to aid in fast onsite resolution. For calls resolved remoted, the contractor may charge their customer for the service directly. According to Schedule Engine, nearly 50% of qualified eligible issues are resolved remotely and over 80% of those unresolved are solved in a first visit by the contractor’s technician.
Patti Feldman writes articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. She can be reached at [email protected].