03 Jun GUEST BLOG: The benefits of digitising your trade business
As a trade or service professional, no matter the size of your business, you need reliable tools that are made to last and help you succeed no matter the job.
But have you considered whether the tools you use to run your business are equally as fit for the task at hand?
We chat with a lot of trade professionals in our line of work. When we ask them what they feel is keeping them from the success they deserve, we hear the same problems again and again.
- Not enough hours in the day to complete paperwork.
- Scheduling systems that can’t handle current workloads.
- Communication methods that leave field technicians in the dark.
- A lack of business oversight leading to missed opportunities.
- Slow cash flow and long invoice turnover times.
These issues sound many and varied, but the reality is that they stem from professionals using outdated manual methods to run their business. Pen and paper were once the only way to operate, but times have changed and not searching for a new alternative could be costing your business money.
Cloud-based digital systems have completely taken over the trade and service sector, and savvy professionals are reaping the benefits of going digital. We call this process digitisation, and, in this article, we’ll be covering just a few of the widespread benefits that come with leaving paperwork behind for a digital alternative.
Benefit 1: Effortless job scheduling.
As a trade or service business owner, neither you nor your office staff should ever have to say, “Sorry, we just have too much work to handle at the moment”. But the reality is that using manual methods to manage and schedule work can sometimes leave you struggling under a sea of paperwork and wondering what to do next.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of digitising your operations is that it shifts the heavy lifting related to managing documents like job cards and schedules from people to computers. Instead of relying on your office staff to sift through work and schedule it by hand, a digital system can handle all the small details in a matter of seconds.
Additional functionality such as real-time job management updates that keep your office and field teams on the same page is also a bonus of moving from paper to digital. Instead of having to cross-reference where your team might be, a digital calendar with all the day’s work scheduled can tell you the status of each job and the allocated technician. This prevents your business from making mistakes like double booking, which can impact your workload and cost your bottom line.
Benefit 2: Improved job completion times and better field operations.
The core of any successful trade or service business is decided at times by how quickly its employees can complete one job and move on to the next. After all, job completion time affects billable hours, which affects profitability, which affects cash flow and so on. The use of a digital system can transform field operations into an efficiency powerhouse and let you attend to more clients by cutting down the amount of excess time you spend on tasks in the field.
Administration and data entry are the two biggest offenders when it comes to wasted time. Consider how often you’ve had to stop work to fill in a form by hand, call up a supplier to check part availability or contact your staff for job details. Now think about how much quicker each of those tasks would be if you could complete them all in the same interface. No pen and paper and no phone calls needed, just a digital device with an internet connection, and you’re good to go.
But digitising your operations doesn’t just help you improve on the tasks you traditionally completed by hand; it also offers you additional functionality you couldn’t access before. These tools include remote job scheduling, job timers that feed information directly to your timesheets and even the option to raise purchase orders in the field. These are all features of modern digital packages that make running your business both efficient and easy.
Benefit 3: Increased reporting capabilities and business oversight.
Digitising your business operations has a hidden benefit you might not immediately consider when weighing up the other benefits like the ones we’ve outlined above.
Data is essential; it helps proactive business owners make informed decisions based on real evidence and grow their future success with guidance from their past performance. Digital systems are perfect for generating and storing data, and for a trade or service business owner, this can mean everything when it comes to making good business decisions.
It’s easy to generate anything from a simple profit or loss statement that snapshots your business health to a detailed report on employee productivity showcasing star performers and those lagging behind. The important thing to remember when considering the potential of digital reporting is that the sky is the limit. Any benefit we cover in this article can also feed useful data directly into the hands of you and your employees.
Many digital systems also include report creation as a standard feature. These tools remove the hard work from critically evaluating your business from every angle and underpin just how worthwhile digitisation is for any trade or service business.
Benefit 4: Faster invoicing and payment processing
Quickly completing a job is great. But unless you have a system in place to receive prompt payment for the services you’ve worked hard to provide, then all that effort might not actually affect your cash flow. You may already use an accounting package like Xero or MYOB to dispatch invoices, but that still requires multiple manual inputs like typing out details and dispatching invoice emails by hand.
But digitising your field operations means embracing everything that digital job management has to offer, and the more of your business that’s digitised, the more efficient everything else becomes.
Many modern digital options include the ability to raise and dispatch invoices entirely from within the same system, with some even using details pulled from jobs directly. Now simply add an on-site payment method like Square, and not only can you invoice in the field, but you can also take payment too. Having this utility available in the field allows any trade or service professional to control their invoices on the spot and get paid faster for their work.
With these benefits in mind, we encourage you to sit down and look closely at where your business stands and whether a digital system might be just the answer you’ve been looking for.
This guest article was written by AroFlo, a premier job management software company that’s proudly helping trade and service professionals revolutionise their businesses with trade-specific software solutions for every industry.
With a wealth of experience helping businesses large and small to digitise effectively and grow their success, AroFlo’s job management software has all the features needed to leave physical paperwork behind.
See for yourself what a 100% cloud-based digital solution can do for your business, with a free tailored demo covering everything AroFlo offers and how it can help you thrive.