Editor's Note: This is the final installment in a four-part series that focuses on specializing in the trade contracting niche. This article discusses how the cloud-based software revolution is drastically changing the landscape for trade contracting companies.
The cloud software revolution is taking over the trade contracting sector. Soon, anyone not on board and up to scratch with the industry’s best technology will begin to fall short of the competition that is making the most of it.
Because cloud-based business management software powers a more efficient (and paperless) workflow. For trade contractors, it means a speedy turnaround from quote to cash. It means complex project and maintenance jobs can be managed and monitored every step of the way.
It means complete visibility across every job, no matter how big or how small, from the technicians on site to stock on hand, to margins, markups and profits. It means everyone in the business is connected – from the office to the field – working from the same information and with the same resources.
And, it means a trade business owner can control his business from anywhere and at any time (provided he has an internet connection – so if he wants to control his business while on a remote island, he might be out of luck).
Around the world, trade contractors such as plumbers, electricians, maintenance technicians and even security guards are using cloud-based job software to boost their profitability – and it’s certainly working.
Here are five reasons why trade contractors are embracing cloud-based business management software:
Field mobility – keeping the entire workforce connected – is critical in today’s business, where customers demand high quality service, speed and convenience.
With job management software, field mobility is easy to master.
Field technicians can use intuitive apps on their mobile devices to view their entire work schedule, share data with the office in real time, and invoice and collect payment on site.
Gone is the need for the field tech to text, call or drop by the office. This not only maximizes billable hours, but also provides a high standard of customer service – favorable for earning repeat business and building the business’ reputation.
With the right apps, field techs can invoice and collect payment on site with their mobile devices as soon as a job is complete, working wonders for the business’ cash flow and saving on admin time.
A major complication for trade contractors working with out-of-date systems and processes (or no systems at all) is not being able to see. These trade contractors work from the seat of their pants without adequate knowledge of who’s where and for how long, how much stock they have and where it’s spread, and whether or not they’re making a profit or a loss on a job (and as a business overall).
Or, maybe they do have this knowledge – just buried somewhere in that stack of paperwork.
Business management software makes it easy to see everything that goes on in the business, from workforce schedules, to stock and storage locations, to tracking job profitability in real time.
Trade contractors with the right software can forecast profit or loss before a job is even scheduled, and track actual project costs from the moment the job is underway – all in one easy, digitized view.
Accurate, up-to-date job reporting is another key benefit of business management software that powers trade contractors to build better businesses. Detailed Work In Progress reports, coupled with accurate job financial data provide complete visibility of where money is made – and where it is lost.
When connected to a cloud accounting software package, business decision makers can easily see and understand the business’ overall financial position, and take the necessary actions to make change, drive growth and push the business on the right path.
4. Integration with Accounting Software
Many trade contractors already use accounting software to manage their finances. And now, with job management software, they have access to a complete and powerful business management solution.
As trade contractors use business management software to operate at peak efficiency, an accounting link ensures the financials are left to the experts.
5. Growth, Wealth & Freedom
When was the last time your trade contracting clients had a vacation?
With the right systems in place, many trade business owners find they have more time to work "on" the business, instead of "in" the business to spend with their family, enjoy their hobbies, get fit or take that long-awaited, much anticipated vacation (to that remote island, perhaps?).
You can help your clients pursue what they're passionate about, whether it’s business growth, personal wealth or the freedom to pursue life outside of work.
Kim Gill is Director of Marketing for simPRO US, bringing 20 years of experience in marketing and association management to the position. She is responsible for developing U.S. marketing and communication activities in line with corporate strategy, designing and implementing lead generation campaigns, managing and coordinating events, and initiating and maintaining association partnerships at the local, state and national levels.