Notice: Undefined index: HTTP_REFERER in /home/smartservice/dev.smartservice.com/wp-content/themes/smartservice/header.php on line 8
August, 2017 - Smart Service

How Mobile Technology Impacts the HVAC Service Industry

On August 29th, 2017 by

The need for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services has always existed, but the way companies have provided for that need has drastically changed with recent technological advancements. The evolution of the mobile office, including smartphones, tablets, HVAC software, and HVAC mobile applications, can give companies a competitive edge that can greatly improve daily productivity and efficiency. Below you’ll find a list of ways choosing the right mobile technology can positively impact an HVAC service company.

How Has Mobile Impacted HVAC Service Companies?

  • Instant Connection to Information
  • Faster HVAC Scheduling and Dispatch
  • Improved Client Communication
  • Better Fleet Management
  • Online Brand Visibility

Instant Access to Information Equates to Better HVAC Service

Getting work done correctly requires all members of your team to access information quickly. With the development of HVAC management programs, productivity apps, and technicians who can access digital records anywhere in the field from their mobile devices, HVAC contractor businesses can service customers more efficiently than ever. Information such as customer history, work estimates, drawings and images, technician schedules, and job site locations can be shared and utilized at any time with the advent of mobile connectivity, meaning your team can address needs faster, work independently, and avoid missing crucial pieces of information that normally lead to costly mistakes.

Streamline Dispatch and Scheduling With a Mobile HVAC App

A well-oiled scheduling and dispatch operation rests at the heart of every successful HVAC company. The instant connectivity brought about by mobile devices and field service apps can simplify this complicated aspect of business across your entire team. With an HVAC scheduling software solution, your office team can make instant schedule updates for technicians. Techs can then view those updates on their mobile devices, update work orders on the spot, collect customer signatures, and complete paperwork in the field without ever touching a sheet of paper. This streamlined approach to your HVAC operations can reduce operating expenses and vastly improve productivity and customer service.

Build Stronger Relationships With Improved Client Communication

The integration of mobile technology and HVAC service impacts the communication between field techs and your office staff, as well as the communication between your company and your customers. In its simplest form, mobile connectivity has allowed for technicians to call customers while out in the field to communicate arrival times or last minute changes. Technicians can even access customer contact information themselves with a mobile device, rather than disrupting the office team (who may have more important things to work on) by calling up and asking for this information. Empower technicians to answer customer questions confidently and accurately with easily accessible information. HVAC mobile applications also allow for the tracking of technician locations, helping your business provide accurate arrival windows to your customers.

Improved Fleet Management Capabilities

Managing and maintaining your HVAC company’s fleet of vehicles can make a huge difference in keeping your business operating and making it to your appointments. With the evolution of mobile technology, even small HVAC businesses can monitor, track, and analyze individual fleet vehicles and/or the fleet as a whole. Save on maintenance and fuel costs through route evaluation and keep your vehicles in service longer with the assistance of different fleet management applications. Some HVAC management software applications can even allow businesses to track fleet inventory, ensuring your technicians arrive with the right equipment to get the job done.

Increased Online Visibility Through Mobile Web Usage

In a recent 2017 report published by BrightEdge, 57% of online traffic comes from smartphones and tablets, a percentage that has seen consistent growth in the past 5 years. What does this mean for HVAC companies? A web presence is more important than ever. An easy-to-navigate website represents a crucial component to growing leads and finding new business. The best mobile HVAC service websites feature easy-to-use contact forms, organized content that displays well on phones, and a phone number prominently displayed on every page.

As the use of smartphones and tablets become even more commonplace, the relationship between HVAC service companies and mobile technology will only continue to grow. Finding ways to capitalize on current and future mobile technologies will allow HVAC companies big and small to stay relevant. Request a free demo of Smart Service HVAC business software to experience firsthand how a mobile solution can have a positive impact on your HVAC service business.


SSDs vs HDDs – Coffee Break Episode 1

On August 24th, 2017 by

Our customers specialize in every field service niche imaginable, but they still all have one thing in common; every Smart Service user appreciates the value of using technology to augment their business. At My Service Depot, we’d like to become more than just your software provider. We’d like to become a resource for using technology in your business.

That’s why we just launched Coffee Break, a brand new video series that offers helpful technology tips you can put to use around the office. Instead of focusing on Smart Service and iFleet, we want to help you get more out of the other tech tools (computers, monitors, internet browsers, smart phones) you and your business use every day.

Our inaugural episode compares the traditional hard disk drives found in most desktop computers to the more advanced solid state drives currently on the market. Used properly, solid state drives can greatly increase computer speed.

But, let’s back up for a moment. When you first arrive at the office in the morning, you probably sit down at your desk and turn on your computer, only to wait several minutes for your machine to boot up. This kind of delay is often caused by older hardware, specifically an old hard disk drive that takes a while to access and load data. While you can run out and buy a new computer to resolve this issue, new machines often cost a pretty penny. Solid state drives offer an easy, cost-effective solution to this problem.

Solid state drives (or SSDs) represent the next step in storage technology, surpassing the old-school, traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) most commonly found in office computers. While SSDs and HDDs perform the same function, SSDs are significantly faster and sturdier than traditional hard-drives. An SSD is vibration resistant, generates less heat, and functions more quietly than an HDD due to a lack of moving parts (hence the name “solid state”).

In the video above, we conduct a simple demonstration to show the difference in speed between SSDs and HDDs. First, we boot up a computer with a traditional hard-drive installed. Once Windows boots, we open QuickBooks and Smart Service. The process takes a total of 2 minutes and 34 seconds.

Next, we power down the computer, remove the HDD, and put an SSD in its place. Then, we boot the computer, again opening QuickBooks and Smart Service. This time, the entire sequence takes only 52 seconds.

WARNING: Removing and installing hard drives and solid state drives is a delicate process. We recommend consulting an IT professional or computer expert before attempting such a procedure.

In our demonstration, the SSD outperforms the HDD, offering a greatly improved boot time. This performance improvement will carry over across the board in all other hard drive related functions. These time savings add up big time over the course of days, weeks, and years working on the same machine.

We hope you can put this tip to use. For more office tips and tricks, subscribe to our YouTube channel. We hope you’ll join us again for our next Coffee Break!


Stop Bleeding Profits With HVAC Contractor Software

On August 22nd, 2017 by

You’ve worked hard, made smart decisions, and surrounded yourself with a capable staff of HVAC technicians. So why don’t your profits hit your expectations? Well, sometimes even the most committed owners of HVAC contracting businesses might need help streamlining and organizing their business operations. If you put your heart and soul into your business but haven’t seen the results you hoped for, the time has come to consider a comprehensive HVAC contractor software to capitalize on your profitability and eliminate the inefficiencies that prevent your company from growing.

Smarter Scheduling

One of the first areas that can go off the rails is scheduling. Paper calendars work with a small team, but as your company grows, scheduling this way becomes cumbersome. Going digital with your HVAC scheduling helps eliminate chaos, confusion, and bottlenecks in your company’s productivity. Moving to an HVAC scheduling software represents one of the best ways to set your entire team up for success, allowing you to take on more customers. The premier HVAC contractor software Smart Service can do this and much more, boosting profitability. In the time you spend finding a customer file, writing down job information, wrestling through the calendar, calling technicians to confirm availability, relaying this all to the customer, and starting the paperwork, you could have finished 2-3 additional jobs with a digital solution. Smart Service allows your dispatch team to easily switch between technician calendars and determine their availability at a glance. This makes empty schedules, phone tag, and double data entry things of the past. That wasted time can now be spent providing your customers with unparalleled HVAC service.

Efficient Dispatching and Communication

All successful businesses tend to get the most out of their people. Doing so, however, can pose a challenge for a dispatch-based industry like HVAC. With employees out in the field for most of (if not at all of) the day, communication between them and the home office can get muddled. Any time spent by your team trying to figure out where to go equals wasted time, which hurts your bottom line. HVAC contracting software can work as a smart solution. Digital dispatch operations allow for the sharing of important customer and job information across your entire team, regardless of their physical location. HVAC dispatch software paired with a mobile app, such as iFleet, can keep everyone in the loop at all times and essentially eliminate the need for paper altogether. Technicians can get schedule updates right on their device, complete paperwork in the field, and transmit any new information or completed work orders to your office staff, expediting the billing process and preventing lost information.

Routing and Technician Location Tracking

Your employees are honest, hardworking people… most of the time. Realistically, even the best of us will occasionally give in to the temptation to slack off if given the chance. The workforce tracking capabilities of HVAC contractor software will help you determine whether a technician is really stuck in traffic or if that delay between jobs was actually used to grab some shut-eye or another bite to eat. Even if your employees never give in to such shenanigans, they still might not always take the most efficient route to their next job, wasting company time and burning fuel. Smart Service gives the capability to optimize and plan out your contractors’ routes before they head out to their first job. As with all other information handled by Smart Service and iFleet, routes can get changed if needed (like in the event of an unexpected cancelation), or if unexpected conditions force your technician to take another course. With these new capabilities at your fingertips, you’ll ensure that every one of your employees makes the most of their time.

The possibilities listed above represent but a few features of HVAC software that can drastically impact your company’s productivity and profitability. As a comprehensive business management solution, Smart Service can assist you in everything from managing inventory to generating invoices and logging payments. You’ve worked hard to establish and grow your business; what you need now is a partner that can help you drive sales, streamline operations, and boost profits.


Managing and Maintaining Fleets with a Field Service App

On August 22nd, 2017 by

One of the most difficult parts of running a service company involves managing and maintaining your trucks, workers, and equipment. With so many moving parts, you might overlook details such as restocking, scheduling routes, and monitoring your fleet. If you already use field service software to manage the day to day operations of your business but don’t utilize a complementing app for your fleets, you miss out on an opportunity to maximize efficiency every day. With a field service app, you can monitor your fleets, manage inventory and equipment, and create optimized routes and schedules.

Monitoring Fleets

With a QuickBooks add-on software like Smart Service, you can schedule and dispatch work orders to contractors and employees, integrating seamlessly with software you already use. Take this automation a step further by integrating a field service app such as iFleet that takes your clipboard and morphs it into an app.

In the morning, or when your employees’ shifts begin, they will clock in remotely using the field service app. This allows you to see just what time they clock in, if they arrive late, or if they take too many breaks. As an employee embarks on their route for the day, the app tracks precise time information, allowing the company to monitor labor hours for billing and payroll purposes. When an employee leaves for a job and arrives at a job, they can mark their times within the app. Many field service mobile apps like iFleet allow for GPS time stamps, so you will know when and where your workers go throughout the day.

When you can monitor the flow of your fleet and their schedules, you can make more informed decisions to streamline business processes further and identify any problem points. If a worker takes too long to get to a job, you’ll have the info you need to determine if they’ve abused company time. With live updates from your fleets, you can carefully monitor your employees without even stepping into the field.

Managing Inventory and Equipment

No two jobs are the same, so the type of equipment used and parts needed for each task can vary drastically. This means that employees occasionally find themselves at a job without the items they need. With a field service management app integrated with your field service software and QuickBooks, your workers can easily record parts used and parts needed to keep inventory updated in real time. Back at the office, you can make new orders when supply gets low. Techs can also see which parts or equipment they need for the upcoming jobs on their schedule, so they no longer have to drive back and forth to the office between jobs.

As we know, jobs are unpredictable, especially when working in the field service industry. For example, a plumber may go in for a simple water leak, only to find a much larger problem. This new problem could require extra time, parts, and equipment, which your office staff needs visibility on so they can bill the appropriate people. iFleet allows your employees to track this in the app, and the information gets sent back to the office, so nothing gets lost in the process. No more phone tag, lost papers, or deciphering bad handwriting on work orders.

Optimizing Fleet Routes

One of the biggest benefits of using a field service app to manage your fleet? Optimizing routes. Your team wastes time when they drive back and forth across town for jobs or return to the office unnecessarily. If an employee lives close to their first job, they would waste a lot of time driving to the office to clock in before reporting there. You could use a standard mapping app to draw out optimized routes by hand, but that could take quite some time, especially with a large number of employees and customers. Use a field service mobile app to create optimized routes for each worker based on where they live, where their work takes them, and the traffic patterns along the way.

After you schedule and dispatch jobs, you can use the field service app to ensure the order of jobs makes sense for the technician’s route, and adjust as needed. If you have an appointment time that you need to meet, you can optimize routes around this appointment to ensure the day goes smoothly. Optimized routes can also improve customer service. Because a mobile field service app carefully calculates the routes, your team can dedicate their full time and attention to the client they service, without trying to rush through the job to account for a miscalculation or error in routing. Employees will work much more happily as well, with less zigzagging, backtracking, and driving across town multiple times.

Take control of your company and manage your fleets better with the help of a field service mobile app like iFleet. With iFleet, you will monitor your fleets, track inventory, and create optimized routes with ease. If you’re interested in trying iFleet for your field service company, request a demo today!


Best Desktop Applications For Any HVAC Business

On August 16th, 2017 by

The HVAC industry is a massive and competitive one, filled with countless businesses each fighting for a piece of the pie. These days, hard work and determination alone don’t suffice; you need HVAC software solutions tailored to your needs to ensure that your business achieves the sales you’ve worked for. In a previous blog post, we listed some of the mobile applications most essential to the running of a modern HVAC business. Though software development increasingly trends towards applications for mobile platforms, there still exist exceptional applications out there that have beefier desktop versions or have not yet made the jump to mobile. A few of these programs specifically address the needs of an HVAC business owner, whether through assisting in the day-to-day company operations or in providing industry-dependent information on parts, supply, load calculation and design. We’ve crafted a list of four such programs that will drive sales, encourage greater service, and help sophisticate the processes of your HVAC business.

The XREF HVAC Encyclopedia

There are so many different parts involved in HVAC products and services that even an industry veteran can have a hard time keeping track of them all. Though online databases can help, those resources are often limited and biased; they either lack information on the specific part you’re looking for or are designed to guide you towards the purveyor’s products. In response to these concerns, XREF has created a comprehensive encyclopedia of virtually every part utilized within the HVAC industry. Their unbiased, cross-referenced database allows its users to quickly search through 1.3 million records consisting of over three million part numbers. That database includes an exhaustive listing of suppliers and printable material safety data sheets. Though its initial cost might get too steep for new HVAC business owners, those established in the industry will get their money back and then some through the daily time savings provided by this “HVAC bible.” Don’t lose any more sales because you couldn’t find the one part your client needed. Plus, XREF offers its users free support, training, and semi-annual updates to ensure that you remain abreast of all the changes occurring within your growing and constantly-shifting industry.

Right-Suite© Universal

As the owner of an HVAC business, few thoughts unsettle like the suspicion that one of your company’s installations was not properly designed. If that suspicion proves true, it could mean a cost to you of thousands in materials and labor to fix the issue, to say nothing of the client you’ll almost certainly lose in the process. Make sure your installations are designed right the first time with the help of Wrightsoft’s Right-Suite© Universal, the only combined residential and commercial software solution that allows users to easily manage every aspect of a project’s design. Through Right-Suite©, you can calculate loads, design, and size an installation, produce part lists, and prepare all of your documentation and reports. What’s more, Right-Suite© is completely customizable; at any time you can choose the residential and commercial modules you want to add to your program, keeping you from spending money on information and features you don’t need. An application with capabilities this massive can intimidate the non-technologically minded among us, so Wrightsoft made sure to include a built-in video guide to assist users learning Right-Suite’s© features.

QuickBooks

For nearly twenty-five years, QuickBooks has served as the go-to accounting software for businesses of every type. Though QuickBooks is now available on a wide variety of mobile platforms, it still offers a robust package of features through its original desktop application. The program offers its users assistance in running nearly every aspect of their business; HVAC owners will especially appreciate the features that allow them to track miles and time, file invoices, create estimates, and pay contractors. No more guessing on how much mileage to compensate for, no more inaccurate estimates, and no more dealing with the complicated hassle of 1099 forms. What’s more, QuickBooks’ tiered pricing structure and variety of products make it easy and affordable for businesses of any size to get started. Don’t hold your business back with the outdated, disorganized processes of paper-based offices. Let QuickBooks help with the day to day operations so you can focus on providing your clients with unparalleled service and value.

Smart Service HVAC Software

Running your scheduling and dispatch operations without the help of HVAC software can bog your office down and lead to costly miscommunication. Experience boosts such as quicker response rates, better first-call resolutions, efficient resource allocation, and improved customer service with the efficiency and organization an HVAC management software such as Smart Service can bring to your business. As an add-on to QuickBooks, Smart Service takes the features offered by the industry-leading accounting software and expands upon them to focus on the needs of field service business owners. Smart Service automatically integrates all the data in your version of QuickBooks, allowing you to immediately increase the efficiency of your business and its employees. In addition to providing regular product updates and help desk support, Smart Service also offers a comprehensive mobile app to keep HVAC technicians connected and organized while out in the field. If you’re looking to take your HVAC business to the next level, Smart Service can help.


The Handyman Business in the 21st Century

On August 1st, 2017 by

In a world driven by the latest developments in technology and the increasing ubiquity of mobile devices, small business owners—especially handyman professionals—must utilize any and all resources available at their disposal to find success.

If you own or operate a handyman business, you’ve likely noticed the increased role technology plays when it comes to marketing. This highly competitive field service niche that once relied heavily on word of mouth to generate new business now relies on search engines like Google to connect with potential customers.

The increased role of technology doesn’t stop with marketing, either. Any handyman business—whether composed of a single handyman or a sizable team of contractors—must leverage the latest technologies to remain as efficient, flexible, and detail-oriented as possible.

To satisfy the growing demand for digital business solutions, many companies now offer specialized field service software designed to streamline your operations. Keep yourself poised for success in today’s modern business landscape. See below how different software options, such as QuickBooks and handyman software, can help modernize and streamline your enterprise.

Bookkeeping/Accounting

If your handyman business still writes invoices by hand or outsources its accounting needs, consider moving on to an accounting software application. Most regard QuickBooks by Intuit as the industry standard for small and medium sized businesses. QuickBooks is extremely user-friendly, while at the same time powerful enough to handle all of your business accounting needs, from invoice creation to tracking business expenses.

Transitioning to a software solution for everything from invoice creation to general accounting tasks alleviates the majority of headaches traditionally associated with running a small business.

One important advantage of switching to an accounting software like QuickBooks? The real-time availability of all relevant information to your staff, accessible from one centralized location. With easy access to all your figures, invoices, and customer data, you’ll amaze yourself with the amount of time QuickBooks saves. Free up your entire staff to focus on the more critical aspects of your business.

QuickBooks also reduces the likelihood of clerical errors, while simultaneously freeing up valuable square footage in your office space by eliminating the need for clunky filing cabinets.

The ability to integrate with third-party software further sets QuickBooks apart from competing accounting software. You can enhance the functionality of QuickBooks by pairing it with a variety of available add-on applications.

For example, should you choose a field service software application that can integrate with QuickBooks, you’ll gain the power to manage all aspects of your handyman business from just one interface. Simply enter all of your data into a handyman software add-on and it will become available immediately in QuickBooks. Say goodbye to duplicate entries and redundant administrative work!

Handyman Scheduling

When managing a fleet of handyman pros, each with varying skill sets, expertise, and territories, using traditional paper schedules can often lead to mistakes, wasted time, and headaches. Going digital with handyman software represents the best way for your business to eliminate downtime and keep communication streamlined. Paper records and schedules can easily get lost, crumpled, messy, or become hard to read, which can lead to mistakes and costly errors. Moving your handyman scheduling operations into the digital world means that everything gets consolidated into one system.

By putting the power of an efficient and automated scheduling system in the palm of their hands, handyman scheduling software will allow your entire staff to view scheduled appointments, important billing info, client notes, and other relevant data from their mobile device while out in the field.

Handyman software doesn’t just streamline operations at your office or headquarters. It empowers your entire fleet with all the information available to get the job done while out in the field, without unnecessary back and forth communications with your dispatcher. Your entire team will have access to every detail they need, from notes on prior repairs or services to equipment details.

Handyman Dispatching

Many handyman businesses still manage customer service, scheduling, record keeping, invoicing, and dispatching on paper. Many times, the same person manages all these different elements. Augmenting these processes with a handyman software solution can keep work orders moving and your office in control of any situation. Empowering your office staff with the best and most intuitive software means your customers get served more quickly and with the best handyman available for the job. In any field service industry, satisfied customers often become repeat customers, people much more likely to recommend your services to a friend or colleague.

Handyman dispatch software eliminates wasted time and unneeded communication between the office and your fleet of handyman workers. Your dispatcher will have all of the scheduling and client information they need, accessible from one simple interface in real-time. In an industry that places emphasis on timely service, handyman dispatch software functions as a valuable commodity.

Improve Your Handyman Business By Going Digital

While many tasks out there require a manual touch, operating your handyman business for maximum productivity and profitability is not one of them. Going digital with the management of your business keeps you competitive and agile, two traits that can help your business grow in the 21st century—and beyond!



Deprecated: File Theme without sidebar.php is deprecated since version 3.0.0 with no alternative available. Please include a sidebar.php template in your theme. in /home/smartservice/dev.smartservice.com/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5579