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January, 2017 - Smart Service

5 Tips For Saving Money On Pest Control Fleets

On January 19th, 2017 by

Efforts to reduce the costs of operating a fleet of vehicles can create major headaches for pest management business owners. We’ve come a long way since 2011 when gas prices hit an average of $4 per gallon, but cutting costs on fuel, vehicle maintenance, and employee expenses can still do a lot to keep your business profitable. Check out Smart Service’s tips for reducing the cost of your fleet.

Regular Maintenance

As budgets tighten, pest management professionals sometimes make the mistake of putting off essential fleet maintenance tasks. Still, complying with manufacturer recommendations regarding oil changes, tire rotations, air filters, and fuel filters for your fleet’s vehicles saves money in the long run. Closely monitoring vehicle mileage and addressing appropriate maintenance schedules can prolong the life of your vans and trucks to reduce the need for newer replacement vehicles.

Build a Relationship with a Good Mechanic

When your truck does face the odd (but inevitable) mechanical problem, you’ll want a good mechanic on your side. Approach local shops that do fleet maintenance and compare pricing structures. Is your fleet big enough to justify hiring a mechanic to do in-house repairs? Do you have the space in-house to do easy maintenance work such as oil changes and tire rotations? Would hiring a general laborer for those tasks and contracting out more difficult jobs to a local shop be worth your time? Consider these questions carefully.

Advertise on Vehicles

If your fleet does not use the available real estate on the side of your work vans or trucks to advertise, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. Most technicians spend their day outside of your headquarters, where they could be driving around mobile billboards advertising your business. Costs for vehicle art depends on the complexity of your logo and message. However, this up front cost pales in comparison to the benefits. This marks an easily justified expense.

Driver Behavior Modification

Going off-route to stop at shopping centers or fast food restaurants, letting the work van idle between stops, aggressive driving (which makes your business memorable for all the wrong reasons), and other undesirable behaviors all lead to decreased fuel efficiency for your fleet. A good way to promote change is to compare mileage on vehicles against the amount of fuel purchased for each vehicle. Discrepancies make it easier to identify technicians with driving habits that need improvement.

Optimize Routes

In the age of advanced digital communications, using a traditional radio system for dispatching makes little sense. Using a dispatching software for pest control (such as Smart Service) can help decrease wasted drive time between clients. Software like Smart Service sends jobs straight to employees. This keeps workers in the field, preventing them from returning to the office to collect additional work orders. Also, if you are looking to monitor your drivers to help modify their behavior, Smart Service’s workforce tracking features can help you ensure that your payroll dollars are well-spent. Don’t let employees waste time on the clock. Field service management software can make a huge difference in the way employees handle your business.


Top 3 Things to Look for In Field Service Software

On January 17th, 2017 by

Look around. All over the world, industries move to streamline every aspect of their business as part of the changing digital landscape. Medical industries keep patient records in a digital database. Financial industries create apps to help them do their taxes. Restaurants use self-ordering kiosks to process orders. No matter where you look, service software helps businesses succeed. Well, guess what? The field service management industry is no different.

Of course, new technology carries its share of risks and pratfalls. Make sure the field service software you choose for your business addresses the following concerns:

Accessibility

The day to day travel of field service workers poses accessibility issues, especially when your team travels to a part of town that may not have wifi or cellular coverage. One of the most important factors to look for when choosing field service software for your company is accessibility. The software you choose should be fully functional both online and offline, allowing employees to access and input all necessary information on the job. Additionally, look for software that will automatically sync data once it reconnects to the internet. This way, your employees don’t need to worry about syncing the data themselves once a job ends. This will prevent loss of information and allow all company personnel to access the data as soon as possible.

Security

Regardless of the industry, cyber security marks a top concern. Field service employees frequently deal with their clients’ personal information, which is why it is important that the field management software you choose comes with secure encryption, especially when dealing with an industry where clients make payments on site. If your employees use their personal devices as work devices, it’s also important that the field service software used is able to separate personal information from company information to ensure that client information remains secure.

Usability

Field service software should help streamline business processes, not make them more complex. Accordingly, it is important your personnel be able to effectively and easily use the software you choose. First and foremost, the field app or software should be integrated with the company’s office software to enable ease of sharing information between field and office employees. The field service management software should feature a user-friendly interface with robust abilities to not only allow personnel to access important data but import data and information collected at work sites as well. It doesn’t make sense to invest in technology that your employees find difficult to use. On the same note, it doesn’t make sense to invest in software that does not integrate seamlessly with other programs or software your company may already use. For example, if your company uses QuickBooks to manage expenses, ensure the field service management software you choose will work with QuickBooks.

Although the built-in features on phones and tablets are becoming more robust, they cannot offer the accessibility and security dedicated field service software can. With technology continually improving, now is as good a time as any to go mobile and invest in a field service management software that can help every aspect of your business.


5 Benefits of Fire Protection Software

On January 9th, 2017 by

Companies and residences alike trust their fire protection service provider to ensure their safety. Clients rely on providers to show up for scheduled maintenance and emergency calls to keep their customers and property safe. Fire protection companies around the country have increased their ROI and overall success by implementing fire protection software. How exactly can fire protection software help your business? We’ve outlined five of the biggest benefits our clients see from using field service software.

Office and Field Coordination

No matter the industry, field service software can improve the coordination between office staff and field staff. When managing employees in the field, it can be hard to ensure a streamlined communication process. This software keeps the field service cycle components in one place, including work orders, equipment information, labor schedules/rates, returns, contracts, and more. Keep all of your information in one fire protection software program, and anytime a pertinent change is logged by an office employee, field workers will be able to access the information and vice versa. With field management software, paper documentation and long games of phone tag become relics of the past.

Responsiveness

Improved coordination between office and field workers can improve the overall workflow of your company. The nature of any field service company involves constant change, making static work plans and schedules hard to stick to. If a customer cancels their appointment last minute or if traffic causes a delay, fire protection software allows field service workers to adapt quickly. Office staff can alert customers or workers to changes in the schedule, all through a single database. Field management software allows a real-time approach, something that a manual system simply cannot duplicate with the same efficiency.

Automation

In addition to improved responsiveness, the office and field coordination provided by field service software can automate all aspects of your fire protection company. The nature of the field service industry lends itself to constant changes that affect multiple parts of the company. Because of this, traditional methods of managing field workers can become frustrating and confusing. Additionally, it can cost money and time to work through common issues frequently. Fire protection software such as Smart Service is designed to help automate cost management, invoices, scheduling, dispatching, and more.

If a field worker needs to access warranty or historical customer data on the job, they can look it up in their app. No longer do they need to call the office and wait for someone else to reference the desired information. This software can also help coordinate a larger project that might require the work of multiple technicians on different trips.

Resource Optimization

Efficiently scheduling appointments and work orders can be one of the most difficult aspects of managing a fire protection agency. With field workers out of the office most of the day, a last-minute change of schedule can throw a wrench into the works. Fire protection software such as iFleet can optimize your company’s resources to ensure you use time and money in an economically conservative manner. iFleet and similar products allow field workers to clock in from their devices and view their daily schedules, all without having to drive to the office in the morning. Right off the bat, this fire protection software saves your company time. Additionally, field software programs can help schedule optimized routes to ensure your workers are not spending unnecessary time or gas traveling back and forth across town. In short, this all adds up to field employees accomplishing more work in the same (or less) time.

For office employees, a software program such as iFleet ensures work orders get assigned to the best worker. Whether their decision is based on skill sets, certifications, locational proximity, or overtime status, office staff will be able to make the right call. All of the pertinent information appears in one place, allowing your company to schedule the appointment for the best available employee.

Accuracy

Field management software allows fire protection companies to consolidate field and office activity into one tool, which in turn, promotes greater accuracy in cost analysis, data refinement, and decision making. From tracking parts and inventory to managing invoices and billing, getting a holistic view of all relevant company data with field service management software improves your company performance.

Fire protection revolves around the ability to go mobile and respond to work orders and requests as needed. Streamlining your scheduling, billing, inventory processing, and coordination can improve your company’s efficiency and cost management. If you are interested in fire protection software from Smart Service, request a free demo today.


Managing Remote Window Cleaners Better

On January 3rd, 2017 by

When you send your window cleaning crews out for the day, how are you making sure that they have everything they need to be productive and effective? Because of the remote nature of field service work, managing your employees while they are out of the office can be difficult. You can’t leave success here to chance. Closely managing your field workers forces them to perform better, cutting down on wasted time, wasted energy, and saving you money in the long run. Here we outline six tricks to better manage your window cleaning team with field management software.

Make Sure Workers are Prepared

Your window cleaners cannot find success in the field if they are not equipped with the right information, the right equipment, and the right skills. Prepare your cleaners by making sure that their schedules are ready before they head out, that their vehicle is well stocked with enough supplies and equipment to complete all their jobs, that their invoices and work order paperwork are organized, and that you are giving them opportunities for continual learning. When a window cleaner is prepared and properly equipped for the day, you avoid productivity slowdowns and wasted time. No one likes to see workers waste trips to the office to pick up the basics they need.

Keep Open Communication with Cleaners

The most common complaint among remote workers is the lack of communication between field worker and supervisors. This can be avoided with clear daily schedules, helpful and accessible client notes, crew meetings, briefings, and clear protocols put in place for communication. However, not all of these things are simple to implement and manage every day, which is where window cleaning software solutions and mobile applications come in handy. Integrated software solutions allow you to automate and simplify the communication of this critical information. Moving as much as you can to a mobile software application that your window cleaners can utilize on the road can give them immediate access to the information they need to be self-sufficient and get the job done. Good software creates less room for miscommunication and frees up more time in the field!

Build a Trusting Relationship with Your Window Cleaning Crew

Working remotely and managing remote workers requires a lot of mutual trust. Hard working employees with good work ethic want your trust. In order to build that, you need to have a good rapport and relationship with your cleaners. Get to know them and what is important to them. Do they have a family? What are their interests? Where are they from? Build a relationship with your cleaners and show them that you care about them as people. This can go a long way in building mutual trust.

Track Your Window Cleaning Crews’ Locations

How many times have you gotten a call from one of your clients complaining about a window cleaner arriving late? Imagine if you could tell them exactly where their cleaner is at the moment they call. You could reassure them—with confidence—that service is on the way. Track your cleaners in the field with iFleet and you can reassure them about your team’s imminent arrival. Pride yourself on great customer service. Window cleaning software solutions that provide GPS tracking make life easy. Track your service vehicles to keep yourself reassured, keep your employees honest, and provide relief in the case of a vehicle breakdown or emergency.

Optimize Service Routes

If your window cleaners are constantly driving back and forth across town, you are missing out on an opportunity to save costs, cut wasted time, and increase profits. Effective and efficient route scheduling can not only save time, but also save on transportation costs and mileage. In planning and scheduling your window cleaning jobs, try to be tactical in how you group them or send them. If your territory is large enough, breaking it up into regions can keep your crews from traveling over long distances. If you have a job that is pretty far away, see if you cannot schedule something around the halfway point so as to increase the return on all of that travel.

Join Crews Out in the Field Every Now and Then

Sometimes it benefits both you and your crews to dust off your squeegee and hop on a route. This allows you to observe your crews and their interactions with customers, build your own relationship with both your cleaners and customers, provide immediate feedback to your employees and experience the day-to-day of your business first hand from a different perspective. Maybe you find out that a process you put in place for on-site work is inefficient, despite it sounding great on paper when you originally came up with it. Jumping in on the labor side of things can also go a long way in developing respect from your employees. Long term, this results in better work ethic and loyalty.

Want to see for yourself how field service management software can help your team of window cleaners? Smart Service offers a free demo so you can see how this field service scheduling and dispatching software can fit your window cleaning business’ needs.



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