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Last Updated on July 17, 2023
Written by Megan Ng
The mechanical service industry has changed, yet mechanical contractors are often plagued with the same old challenges they have been experiencing year after year. When it comes to managing workflows and serving customers’ needs seamlessly and efficiently, many mechanical contractor business owners find that there is room for improvement. However, with legacy systems and outdated processes, these challenges can be difficult to overcome.
In this article, we’re taking a look at some of the most common challenges that mechanical contractors face and how mechanical contractor software can help to alleviate these issues. Instead of dealing with these ongoing concerns, we’ll discuss how you can free up time to focus on better serving your customers, increasing your profitability, and growing your mechanical contractor business.
Work orders and invoices are critical components of any project. Work orders highlight and itemize the scope of work required while invoices apply budgetary agreements and payment schedules to the project.
Without mechanical contractor software, these two documents likely exist as papers that are printed, distributed, delivered, and signed. Each time a technician or tradesperson comes to a site, a new work order is created and needs to be signed off. This manual process is not only tedious, but it can waste valuable time.
When a customer seeks to obtain a work order or invoice, they may need to access an email trail or worse, look through an old filing system to retrieve them. If misplaced or misfiled, the customer may need these documents to be resent to them. All in all, this can contribute to resource inefficiencies, duplication of services such as printing and emailing, and lost time, resulting in a poor customer experience.
Mechanical service software alleviates customer frustration by empowering mechanical contractors to use one platform and a single-entry point to update, download, print, or email any necessary work orders and invoices. Document management efficiency is the key benefit here. Work orders can be updated on the fly, which means changes to project status happen in real-time, so all company contractors are in the know. With a fully automated, paperless workflow, the customer signs off on completed work and can be invoiced right away. Speed and efficiency give companies with mechanical contractor software a leg up on the competition by providing their customers with transparency and eliminating redundancy.
Mechanical service technicians are always on the move. From one job to the next, their time is valuable. The field to office commute not only can add stress to their day and negatively impact their well-being, but it has associated costs, including gas and driving time that delay their arrival at the next job site. Where billable hours drive revenue and profit, time is often the most valuable commodity.
Empowered with mobile field service software accessible via mobile devices in the field, technicians can avoid unnecessary trips to their home base to submit their work orders and invoices. Instead, they can forego banter with their AP department and can transmit these documents directly from the field to the office electronically. By eliminating the unnecessary commuting time, mobile mechanical service software enables a streamlined workflow that can directly support your bottom line.
Companies make every effort to ensure that their projects are delivered on time and on budget. After all, overages can irritate customers, and they are often the result of a mismanaged workflow.
Scheduling is at the heart of any good project. However, traditional dispatching can create headaches as situations evolve quite quickly. Workdays have limited hours, so when contractors are delayed at one site, it may impact the schedule, resulting in delays or even missed appointments. Missed timelines can also have a domino effect on a project. If the mechanical contractor is unable to make their booking, other trades that are dependent on the completion of that task will have to wait. These delays impact scheduling and costs associated with the overall project. This can also negatively impact the customer experience.
When using mechanical service software, scheduling can be accessed and managed remotely to electronically distribute instructions to the contractor and the customer in real-time. If delays do happen, the customer can be informed immediately with alternative scheduling proposed and booked.
Robust scheduling software can also mitigate missed bookings. Digital scheduling tools can organize the schedule electronically and visually by showing all affected work areas. The right tool will further provide real-time reporting, allowing managers to filter the type of work by date and organize data as well as work orders using a visual dispatch board.
Customer complaints can be the Achilles heel of a business. In a competitive environment, positive reviews provide advocacy, while negative ones create doubt and aversion. Customers prefer doing business with companies they can trust. A company that is perceived to be hard to deal with or, worse, incompetent and unprofessional can be compromised in the court of public opinion.
For mechanical contractors, missing invoices or documents are just the tip of the iceberg. When mechanical contractors have low visibility to information like previous work history, technical drawings, or photos of the work area, they may not be as readily prepared to necessitate repeat visits. Customers want their service calls to be efficient and for the tasks to be completed as planned.
Mechanical service software reduces customer complaints by getting to the source of the problem – ensuring that the contractor has access to all required information while on site. These may include technical drawings, documents, photos, or even videos obtained either from the company or from a preexisting visit by a technician. By synthesizing all this information in one place, the contractor will be more prepared. No more chasing missing work orders or clarifying invoices. With mechanical contractor software, it’s all right there at your fingertips.
If you are holding unused inventory in stock and must warehouse it, or you’re paying costs for employees who are sitting idle because you have not effectively managed the ebb and flow of your business, you will have incurred unnecessary carrying costs. When inventory is held for too long, it eventually amounts to losses. While carrying costs are part and parcel for most companies looking to respond to customer requirements in a timely manner, they can be managed and mitigated.
Inventory management is a key component of mechanical service software. It tallies inventory usage in real-time and provides robust reporting on materials and equipment. By managing workflow and inventory usage, software becomes a predictive tool that can limit excess inventory, ensuring you buy it when you need it.
Through scheduling and effective dispatching, your contractors can also be better-allocated based on job requirements, thereby mitigating resource waste and carrying costs.
Is your business not growing its bottom line as much as you want? Has your business plateaued? Despite your best efforts, you’re stuck with the same volume of work orders and unable to increase your profits. Your contractors are dispatched in the same way and go to sites to perform their tasks in the same way. Not wanting to cut corners nor significantly expand your operations, you feel you’ve hit a proverbial dead end.
Fortunately, neither expansion nor increasing your price is necessarily the road to greater profits. Mechanical service software can perhaps be one of the most impactful assets in your toolbox. By managing your workflow, you can drive greater efficiencies and apply business processes that reduce errors and deliver higher-quality service to your customers.
By implementing mechanical contractor software, as an example, technicians can access data in the field electronically. This includes the previous history at a given customer location. With this real-time knowledge, not only can the contractor better complete their task, but they may also find an opportunity to upsell other offerings such as maintenance service.
They’ve got what you don’t have: a larger operation, better marketing, and resources, and an integrated software platform to access, communicate and service their clients seamlessly. Implementing a robust digital strategy has changed the game, and now they are going to eat your lunch!
Retaining your current rolodex of customers and growing your customer base requires a new approach. The way you have been doing things for years is no longer a recipe for success. Customer loyalty is not what it once was. Customers want a fast and frictionless experience that delivers cost savings and reliability. Paperless transparency is just around the corner. It’s time you took a good look at investing in mechanical contractor software to take your business to the next level and avoid getting left in the dust.
Amongst providers of mechanical contractor software, Jonas Construction leads the pack in terms of the scope, key features, and robustness of its platform. The software delivers capabilities that can be subdivided into four pillars.
Mechanical contractor software can alleviate business challenges and provide business-boosting benefits allowing your operation to realize greater efficiency and deliver an unmatched customer experience. For more information on how mechanical contractor software can enhance your bottom line, contact Jonas Construction Software today!
Megan is the Content & SEO Manager at Jonas Construction Software. She is fascinated with ConTech and is dedicated to providing educational content and stories to support the challenges and needs of construction and service businesses.
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