5 Signs Your HVAC Company Needs a Digital Upgrade
By Gabe Pinchev
New technology can be intimidating. This is even more true for many HVAC contracting companies who operate off tradition and legacy – this is how I was taught to manage projects, so this is how I’ll keep managing projects.
Nonetheless, it’s obvious that adopting new technology, software, and apps can greatly benefit contractors – especially HVAC businesses. As we enter the heat waves of summer, or look forward to the cold spells of winter, it’s imperative that we have teams dispatched to care for customers. Not only is this a matter of internal efficiency – getting to your customers quickly means the difference between having a new loyal fan or a disgruntled customer who could harm your business with bad word of mouth. Throughout the year, new system installations, maintenance, and construction projects need to be managed carefully for profitability.
Your business is run best when you have the information you need – whether in the office or on-the-go. If you’re curious if your company needs a digital facelift, maybe this quick list can shed some light on how you can improve your base of operations with some simple upgrades.
1. Lack of Job Information Causes Communication Issues
Have you ever sent out a technician, but then had to deal with calls and texts – sharing updated project details? Or worse, did the technician do a job incorrectly due to lack of communication?
This type of issue is pretty common. But it’s easily resolved with HVAC scheduling software. Using scheduling software allows your technicians to arrive at the job site with all of the information, and tools, they need to work in a paperless environment. They can quickly pull up customer records and see job notes, customer history, and more. This gives the technician all of the necessary details to get started on the work right away.
Status updates keep you informed as to when (and where with GPS check-ins) your employees clocked in and out, completed jobs, and began transit to the next one. Real time communications keep you connected with your team in the field.
2. Routing Problems Are Causing Delays
Calls come in all day, every day – and many need immediate attention. Most HVAC companies are still using phone calls or text messages to get their team out into the field. Not only can this be a logistical nightmare, but sometimes we aren’t aware of which team member is where at any point.
This is also a tell-tale sign that you should begin looking for alternate solutions. It’s also another instance where a quality scheduling software can benefit you.
When you schedule an appointment, you no longer need to call someone in the field to relay the information by phone, and hoping to get an update when they arrive. Instead, appointment scheduling software allows you to capture notes on the call and immediately schedule the job.
Once the job is assigned by the scheduler, a notification in the mobile app alerts the technician to the new job. Like any other scheduled job, they have access to all of the notes and customer information they need to walk in the door prepared. From the customer’s perspective, the technician knows as much about their needs on this emergency service visit as if it was a planned maintenance visit scheduled weeks in advance.
Combine this scheduling method with templated customer communications to easily notify your customers of the scheduled start time of the job. Then keep them informed with real time updates. Instead of a frustrated customer waiting half a day, you can provide consistent and accurate information as to when to expect the technician.
3. PDFs and Written Documents are Getting Lost
Even if you aren’t getting a signature in person, snail mail or even scanning and emailing back and forth can lead to a messy paper trail that’s just too easily disorganized. File upkeep becomes an even more massive headache when it’s time to do financial reports, or if a client project is verging on scope creep and you need to find a signed document to reference quickly.
Over-reliance on scattered paper and PDFs isn’t only a tried-and-true way to frustrate your accountant or office manager. It’s also additional work for both you and your customers.
That’s why e-signatures should be part of any contractor’s arsenal. Need an estimate approved? Or an agreement signed? With the right HVAC software, just email the invoice or estimate and the customer can sign right from their browser. No need to open up Adobe Acrobat or follow the complicated dance of print, sign, scan, and email.
4. The Headaches of Handwritten Estimates
A handwritten estimate really only works under ideal conditions. Not only do handwritten estimates and invoices take a long time to put together, they’re also prone to miscalculations and mistakes. They aren’t easily retrievable, either, and misplacing one can lead to serious complications later on.
With digital estimating and invoicing apps, you can easily and quickly create an invoice for your customer at the job site with a few clicks. All of the math is handled automatically, even taxes and profit margins. You can save commonly used services and invoice items to quickly re-use for new invoices, making the process even faster.
Need to modify an estimate or invoice? With just a few taps, you can automatically adjust your line items to update the subtotal, tax, and total calculations. Once your customers are ready to sign off on your estimate, you can collect signatures right on your mobile phone and easily convert the estimate to an invoice with a simple tap.
5. Too Many Software Solutions
There’s always that guy in the office that wants to use the latest technology. Sometimes it’s to the point that it can go a bit overboard. While it’s helpful to have a solution for scheduling, dispatching, estimates, invoices, e-signatures and more – it can be a headache if you are using a separate app for each need.
The best route to take here is to use an existing field service software that includes all of those features in one place. That way you have one dashboard for scheduling, routing, estimates, invoicing, customer records, and other features that help you manage and grow your business. There are a few solutions, including FieldPulse, that can ensure you have an easy way to manage your entire business from one dashboard.
Now is the Time for a Digital Upgrade
Whether you find yourself with an array of disconnected software tools or communications are plaguing your service calls, it’s time to consider a new solution. Field service software has become a “must have” for the modern HVAC business.
Having the right technology for your team can significantly help you grow your business. Maintaining one place to keep all of your customer, employee, and schedule information takes away so many headaches. All of your paperwork can go digital. With mobile apps for your field team, connected back to the home office, your entire team will be able to deliver top-notch customer service.
About the Author
Gabe is the founder and CEO of FieldPulse. FieldPulse is a field service software that lets you run your entire contracting business from a single app. They help contractors go digital with tools to handle everything from customer management (CRM) and estimates/invoices, to scheduling and dispatching, team timesheets (and GPS location), and much more – available in the office or on-the-go. You can reach Gabe at: [email protected]