Scheduling Manager Gemini (Thoughtful Systems, www.thoughtfulsystems.com, 800/759-2532) is a desktop-based integrated suite of business management capabilities addressing job scheduling, estimating and quotes, invoicing, and customer relationship management. It interfaces with the SM-Mobile, a native app with GPS capabilities that runs on Apple and Android devices. (A cloud-based version is also available.)
With Scheduling Manager Gemini, schedulers have access to nine interactive calendars to view schedules; add, change, and complete jobs; check employee availability; and drag and drop jobs to change schedules, and view maps.
Jobs can be scheduled once, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, annually, or at custom frequency. The scheduler can group employees into teams for individual jobs or on a daily basis and as teams per geographical area or type of work.
You can create estimates in different styles, including quick or detailed, and set default pricing globally for each service or each service for each customer. The software can handle six hourly pay rates, commission, overtime, and other parameters. Users can track each estimate by status (open, closed, rejected, accepted). Upon acceptance, estimates can be converted into jobs, ready for scheduling.
Invoices are automatically created as jobs are completed, with various billing options. Invoices created on mobile devices through the SM-Mobile app automatically transfer to Scheduling Manager for accounting. An email module facilitates emailing job reminders, job tickets, and invoices.
SM-Mobile allows field technicians to view the jobs at each job site, view directions and maps, record job start and stop times, add notes and attach images, capture customer signatures and accept customer payments, send emails and SMS messages, and email and print work orders, warranty forms and service agreements. All information is immediately available in Scheduling Manager Gemini.
Data from Scheduling Manager can be exported into/imported from any of several payroll programs, including QuickBooks, Sage, MYOB, and Xero. Credit card capabilities are included.
Scheduling Manager Gemini also features integrated text messaging and the ability to see the locations of all employees via the mobile app. An inventory module tracks all stocked items, with automatic reorder/replenish settings for each. The software offers access to hundreds of reports.
The software’s online portal enables employees and customers to log in to view upcoming job information and allows customers to request a new job, book an appointment, view past invoice history, and pay invoices.
Pricing: One-time payment for the Basic version single user, with added fees for more users and enhanced features. Monthly rental payments also offered. Free trial available. Version options include: Small Business, Professional, Enterprise and ERP.
Thoughtful Systems also offers Service Genius, an online software program, suitable for businesses from one person and up, with functionalities similar to Scheduling Manager Gemini plus other capabilities, including a customer portal enabling customers to view upcoming jobs and current account balance, pay invoices, and leave comments and send messages. It also interfaces with SM-Mobile. Pricing: fee/month for two users, with added fees for additional users. Free trial available.
ClockShark (www.clockshark.com) is a cloud-based mobile time tracking app with GPS tracking that enables recording timesheet data for payroll and job-costing. The app, accessible on the website and on mobile devices through Basic, Standard, and Pro plans, allows field workers, to view daily and weekly schedules and automatically log hours worked at each location during a workday.
The Basic plan is suitable for small field service businesses and can handle up to five employees including the administrator. Standard and Pro plans allow unlimited employees and have additional functionalities.
How it works: Mobile employees, using an Android or iOS mobile device, select the job they will be working on from a list of current jobs, with the tasks for it pre-filled with labor cost codes. Depending upon the clocking pathway, field employees can individually clock in and out of each job and account for breaks or one employee can clock in/out every worker at a location.
The Kiosk Clock™ option (Standard and Pro plans) empowers each employee, using their own smartphone or tablet and four-digit PIN, to clock in, switch tasks or jobs, and record breaks. Employers can enable a facial recognition setting if desired.
The CrewClock™ (Standard and Pro) allows supervisors and managers to clock every employee at a given jobsite one at a time or all crew members simultaneously. Built-in GPS captures the exact location at clock in, including break. Once an employee clocks out, the GPS automatically turns off.
If out of range of cellphone reception, the app records the time worked and jobs completed and syncs the data with the app dashboard automatically upon reconnection.
ClockShark Standard and Pro can send email alerts and push notifications that, based on employee schedules, can alert them when they forget to clock in or out or take a break. An employee can leave time-stamped comments while on the clock and add notes, photos, and other file attachments.
Management can budget hours for each job and receive alerts when the limit is nearing. The solution also includes reports for payroll, invoicing, and calculated job costs.
ClockShark Standard and Pro add drag & drop scheduling of technicians on a color-coded dashboard, file and photo-sharing, the ability to send invoices to customers, direct from timesheets, a quote, or from scratch. Other features include GeoFence™, which notifies administrators when employees clock in/out at the job site; TimeSheet Approvals, which are locked against editing; and the ability to accept online payments within the app.
The ClockShark website also features a free online downloadable timesheet calculator that, upon input of an employee’s hours each day by an administrator or person in charge of payroll, automatically calculates total hours, regular hours, overtime, and gross pay. The calculator prompts selection of type of timecard (weekly, bi-weekly, five days a week, seven days a week), overtime (eight hours a day or 40 hours a week), base hourly rate, and overtime rate (1.5x or 2x).
ClockShark Standard and Pro integrate with various payroll and accounting solutions, including QuickBooks, Sage, and Xero.
Pricing: tiered by plan. Free 14-day trial Pro Plan.
Patti Feldman writes articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. She can be reached at [email protected].