Business Management

5 Reasons Why Successful Trade Businesses Use Job Management Software

10 minute read by Elisha Webber

Upgrading from pen and paper and ditching Excel spreadsheets is more important than ever before.

To run a successful trade business, you need to get jobs done on time and to a high standard, and outshine your competitors. This is dependent upon fast communication between you and your staff, and excellent organisation both on site and in your office. In short, effective job management.

Whilst paper and Excel have their uses, successful trade businesses know that they're not cut out for job management anymore.

Writing essential job information on to paper and using physical time sheets leads to disorganisation - it’s a mess. Papers pile up, get mixed up and sometimes lost. Even on a good day, this makes it difficult to easily create accurate job records and quickly calculate job costings - which often need to be transferred to spreadsheets anyway.

And although these spreadsheets are perfect for storing numbers, they’re impractical for allocating notes, pictures, orders and more, to individual jobs. This is because spreadsheets can only be contributed to by one person at a time and can become increasingly cluttered with information belonging to multiple jobs; making it almost impossible to quickly know where jobs are up to and what’s happened with them.

That’s not effective job management. That’s chaos.

You NEED a central place where job information is sorted out and displayed simply for you and your team.

You need a job management solution that you and your team actually like using.

Successful trade businesses have already realised this.

Here, you’ll see the exact reasons why they use job management software and how it greatly benefits them.

1) Find Job Information In One Central Place

If you’re like most trade businesses, then your job data is scattered to the wind. Your materials used might be scribbled on scrap paper, your photographs might be mixed between messages on WhatsApp and your list of jobs might be muddled on mismanaged spreadsheets.

You might be used to this, but its a crazy way to work.

None of these tools for recording information are organised by jobs or client, which makes it difficult to find things and quickly take actions, both in the office and on site.

To get any control, you have to look across your multiple platforms and manually bring together the important information. Its a long, drawn-out process that involves unnecessary communication and needless effort.

Let’s say you’re invoicing a client, you might need to scroll through days of messages, make a few calls, and shuffle through a pile of paperwork simply to find out who was at the job and what they did. This needs cross-referencing with the paper job sheets your engineers filled in last week and the emails you sent back and forth with your client.

It’s not practical at all.

But that’s where good job management software comes in.

You and your engineers can all access a central job sheet and add job information such as labour and materials. People can contribute to this job data in real time, wherever they are and whenever they need to. And after they have been added, your notes, orders and more are automatically organised for you on your desktop and mobile app.

As your job progresses, this brings everything to one orderly place and makes it easier for you to instantly find what you need, no matter your location.

Important Features

  • Shared Job Sheets - Build up an accurate job record in one place, in real-time, as your job progresses from quote to invoice.

Key Takeaway

Look for an app with that organises your information by jobs and client. That way, you will be able to see everything about each job by simply tapping on them.

2) Clean Up Communication

Bringing job data together has clear benefits for communication - it's like someone delivering your job records, neatly filed and easily searchable, to your front door. For you, this means no more searching through paperwork or looking through last weeks’ texts.

But for your engineers, communication involves much more than sharing notes, materials and more with the office. It's also about automation.

A job management software solution allows you to automatically provide your engineers with all the proper details they need to get the job done, and automatically alert them to new bookings and job developments.

In job management, you can include instructions, site directions, files, attachments and images right for the work your engineers are assigned to - all in the press of a button.

Best of all, your staff will be notified at the start of the day about what work they have, where they are supposed to be and what they need - without any input from you.

This saves you from the morning emails, phone calls - or even the inefficient early meetings.

And when the job is complete, your engineers can simply hit a button to notify your office that the job is ready for invoicing.

How’s that for automation?

When you automate communication between your team, you save time and reduce confusion, so that you can get more done and run into fewer issues.

Important Features

  • Notifications - Instantly receive notifications about new jobs and new job developments.
  • Directions - Add a client to a job and then hit ‘directions’. No more typing on a Sat Nav.
  • Files & Images - Upload files and images for use on-site.
  • Scheduling - Plan your week and book in new work. Your staff can access their personalised schedules from their mobile app.

Key Takeaway

Keep everything streamlined, right where it needs to be, in order for your team to get jobs done quicker and to a higher standard.

3) Be Accountable For Actions

Having accountability for actions is important for identifying issues with the way your company operates and preventing them from happening again. Traditional methods of communication and work management fall flat when it comes to accountability.

This is most obvious when it comes to purchase orders. Whatever system you currently use to make orders for materials, it almost certainly doesn’t record when the purchase was made and who made it. This is problematic when you start receiving random invoices for orders you don’t recognise. Unless you record who made the order, you cannot find out why the order was made and what it was for.

The same is true for using van stock and recording labour hours.

This lack of accountability allows staff to repeatedly make costly mistakes or get away with laziness.

A job management solution keeps everyone accountable.

How? It can tell you precisely who made purchase orders, when and where. It can tell you when your staff arrived at and left the job site. It can tell you who used what from the back on the van.

Important Features

  • Engineer Profiles - You can see every action an engineer make on the system so that you can hold them accountable.

Key Takeaway

Know who has done what, when and where with a job management solution.

4) Don’t Lose Details

I have already mentioned that using paper and spreadsheets to record job information is messy and disorganised. Not only is the information recorded on paper and spreadsheets jumbled around, but its also not searchable, making it hard to find details.

Perhaps more importantly, however, is the risk of permanent loss of these systems. Paper can suffer from irreversible physical damage or go missing, and computer files like Excel documents can be deleted, become corrupted or even lost, too, if the device they’re stored on is damaged, stolen or misplaced.

This can have serious consequences depending on the importance of the data - and successful trade businesses know this.

Storing your job information in a secure online Cloud is the best solution. Online systems are protected from physical damage and cannot go missing. And with end-to-end encryption, your data is also protected from theft.

“But there’s a big flaw”, I hear you say. “What if I don’t have an internet connection? Useless then isn’t it?”

Many online systems now support offline use. And some of the best job management solutions allow you to use your app just as though you were online - so there’s no excuse really!

Important Features

Key Takeaway

Don’t rely on outdated systems. Store your information in a protected online Cloud.

5) Focus On What's Important

Your team and company are probably trying to accomplish multiple goals. Finishing off jobs? Speeding up your work rate? Winning more jobs? Gaining new clients?

Spending your time on menial tasks doesn’t help you to achieve these goals.

Traditional methods of job management are full of such tasks. And depending on your exact method, you can be spending a lot of time doing these tasks.

Instead of getting the job done, you might be sitting in the van filling out a job sheet. Instead of quoting for new jobs, you might be collating information for invoicing old jobs.

No trade business became successful by ignoring these issues.

Remember, your goal with job management is to effectively manage your work and stop the chaos. That way, you can focus on what will help you to become more successful.

Job management software handles all of the small, time-consuming tasks so that you can focus on what will improve your profitability.

Important Features

Every feature!

Key Takeaway

Choose a software solution that handles the time-consuming, mundane tasks for you, so that you can focus on what is absolutely the most important thing for your business.

Conclusion: Keep Up With Competitors

Using job management software is the easiest way to improve every aspect of your business. I have only listed 5 advantages of job management software here, but there are dozens more that you are also missing out on.

Successful trade businesses have managed to get ahead by bringing their job information to one simple place, cleaning up their communication, improving accountability in the team, storing information safely and focusing on winning more work.

If your competitors have already ditched paper and spreadsheets for job management software, then it means that they’re getting ahead where you’re not. With a more efficient team, they are able to get more done and to a higher standard.

For you to keep up with your competitors, let alone get ahead, you also need to automate communication between you and your staff, and improve organisation both on-site and in your office.

In 2019, the successful way to do this is by proposing to work smarter by investing in a good job management tool.

What are you waiting for?