Using automatic, electronic job sheet software is one of the quickest ways to improve your team’s efficiency – the problem is finding the right software to do it. Job sheet software is one of the best ways businesses can rapidly improve their communications, management and the efficiency of their teams. A large hurdle in finding the right software for you and your team is understanding exactly what you need from it. If your business is growing rapidly, or you have big plans for expansion, then you seriously need to consider how electronic job sheets can encourage and support that growth.
What is job sheet software?
Job sheet software was born out of a need for better communication between business owners and field workers, remote workers or even anyone working at different locations. Essentially job sheet software takes away all the paper and administration that comes with working on separate jobs with different contractors and clients, as it makes the job sheets electronic. Everything can be handled within the software, whether you’re sending a job out to a contractor, sending an electronic invoice to a client or monitoring the location of your company vehicles.
Job sheet software tends to be cloud based, meaning that everything you create is safe and available wherever you need it and best of all, it’s easily accessible by multiple parties. It can be accessed via a link on your desktop or through a mobile app, meaning your team are encouraged to update on the go, removing, for example, the need for constant phone calls for a progress update. It means you can see in real-time how a job is progressing and where you have staff available if you have an urgent job that needs completing.
Which industries use job sheet software?
A wide range of different industries use job sheet software, particularly those where workers work remotely. It's popular with plumbing and electrical contractors, maintenance professionals and those that work in facilities management. The challenges faced by the industry, and the effective communication needed on a day-to-day basis created a need for a more effective software application that reduced administration, improved communication and stopped the reliance on emails that could prove to be unreliable.
Job management software has been highly successful for those early adopter companies who are seeking to be best in class. As more and more companies automate their processes, the marketplace has become more competitive, due to the ease of use, and the fact that business owners found that their teams would actually use it, as they could see how they could benefit.
What are the benefits of job sheet software?
There are many benefits to job management software that can transform how your business operates day-to-day. Understanding them can better help you make a decision on which software is the right one for your business. See some of the top benefits below:
1) Improved Communication
You can easily send jobs to your staff or sub-contractors, or even receive job requests from your own customers. In addition to removing the need to email, which can be unreliable, and print off check sheets or invoices at either end of the chain, a manager’s visibility of their workforce is improved to the point where it is unnecessary to repeatedly phone to check on worker's progress or request documents. Some software solutions come with a messaging function that allows you to send quick messages back and forth, so you can get in touch quickly and easily, improving relationships with your staff.
2) Improved Administration
Job management software can really help to cut back on paperwork, as job sheets can be completed out in the field and submitted in minutes without the need for any admin. Automating the cycle of jobs for engineers and other types of field workers can be beneficial because it reduces the time taken to chase incomplete job sheets or invoices, while increasing visibility for the user.
3) Improved Efficiency
Job sheet software that uses GPS tracking is available nowadays and provided through an app so you can easily see the location of your vehicles. The engineer or subcontractor could then update the job status on site using a mobile phone, filling in check sheets or extra job details, attaching photos of the work if requested and obtaining a customer’s signature for acknowledging completed work. You can see the status of all your jobs at a glance, at any time, wherever you are.
4) Improved Finances
Chasing outstanding invoices can be one of the trickiest and most time-consuming aspects of the job! Improve the cashflow of your business with job management software, by being able to see at a glance when invoices are outstanding, and the amount you are owed. You can then send a simple reminder to the customer, encouraging them to pay their bill. You also have the option of exporting all the information to accounting software such as Sage or Xero.
5) Improve Your Reputation
It is often the little things, such as being able to email invoices to your end customers, customised to suit the branding of your business, which can portray a really professional and modern company image and encourage customers to do business with you again. It will improve your reputation with your workforce too, as they’ll be able to easily complete electronic job sheets on the app, enabling them to log their hours, as well as any overtime, quickly and easily.
6) Improved Organisation
With job sheet software you can feel confident that your paperwork is under control, helping you improve your level of organisation. It is believed that job sheet software will save you at least one hour per day, although it can often be a lot more. You can save the time which you might have otherwise spent chasing unpaid invoices or chasing job sheets, whether for plumbers, electricians or other tradesmen.
7) Improved Work Life Balance
All of the above will help you do what you do best, run a successful business! It can also help improve your work/life balance. Instead of spending every spare moment battling through paperwork, catching up with your team or chasing unpaid invoices, you can spend it doing whatever helps you switch off!
What should I consider when picking job sheet software?
The most important thing to consider when choosing the right software for your business, is what is the exact specification you’re looking for – what exactly do you want the software to do? Think about the challenges faced in your business, and areas where you feel the software could really help to move your business forward. Take an average week and think about where communication has failed. This can highlight where job management software can help. Both off-the-shelf software and bespoke packages are available, meaning you could either tailor a package to meet your very specific needs, or identify an off-the-shelf package offering features that will make such a difference, that you didn’t even realise existed!
As technology is constantly evolving, it’s important to consider how you want your software to interact with other applications. For example, certain job sheet apps will have the versatility to speak to accountancy programmes such as Kashflow and Sage, enabling you to export all your jobs and invoices to the system and saving you the time to input the same information in to multiple systems. It’s amazing how much time we waste doing duplicate work without even realising it. It’s simply the way we’ve always done it! You should also check whether your software will be updated regularly, to ensure changes in external software applications do not affect the software’s ability to interact with them.
3) Ongoing Support
Getting a great software application upfront is really important but even more important is the ongoing support you receive afterwards. Once implemented, the software will really affect how your business runs day-to-day. You will come to really rely on the software, as will the rest of your team. Job sheet software is often paid for on a monthly basis, and come with ongoing IT support. You can ensure that, if your software is not performing, you have someone on hand to get it back up and running quickly. Be sure to ask before committing to a package what the ongoing support includes. You want to know that you have the right level of service to fit your business needs.
Consider how your business will change over time and how you’ll need your software to adapt to these changes. Some job sheet software companies will always be adapting and evolving their systems based on feedback and changes within the marketplace. Adding new features helps them to retain and attract new customers, so your software is always the latest available. However beware as some companies may charge for new features, tweaks or updates. If your needs suddenly change, this could lead to a bigger bill, so discuss their flexibility before you commit.
5) Safety and Security
It's worth considering the safety, security and performance of your system, to ensure it meets your needs every day and protects your clients' data. When you’ve shortlisted a few software applications, speak to the relevant companies and ensure they keep their software up to date and well protected against the latest threats. You know how important your clients’ data is, it’s your responsibility to ensure that it’s well protected.
“AS HACKING ATTACKS ARE CONSTANTLY EVOLVING, YOU MUST BE ABLE TO MONITOR YOUR SYSTEM CONSTANTLY.”
It’s important to find out where your data will be stored too. For example, is the job sheet software cloud-based, meaning your data is available on any device that has the permission to access it, and also protected in the case of system failures locally, or is the software a simpler desktop-based package, meaning all data is stored within your internal systems, leaving you with the responsibility to ensure data is backed up and protected if anything were to go wrong?
6) Cost of Job Sheet Software
Job sheet software tends to be very affordable as you simply pay a monthly subscription to cover both the implementation and ongoing support. Be wary of businesses that offer free job sheet software as it can prove to be unreliable and lack the features you require. For example, some free job sheet software packages only allow you to input a small number of jobs before they’ll begin to charge you, so ensure you’re clear on the costs before you commit.
What are the alternatives to job sheet software?
There are a couple of alternatives to electronic job sheets that you may want to consider if you feel that job sheet software isn’t the right solution for your business at this time.
1) Free Job Sheet Software
There are a number of free job sheet software applications available online, as well as free job sheet templates. Free job sheet software, more often than not, is offered as a trial but it could be useful for you to play around with and understand its features. For those that are actually free, features tend to be very scarce, often reducing the amount of jobs you can send out each day. They can often prove to be unreliable and quickly fall out of favour with your team. Free job sheet templates such as Excel job sheet templates are also available, but still don’t deliver the performance and features of job management software, making them an ineffective solution for business owners.
2) Bespoke Package
If you feel that the job management software out there won’t meet your needs, then you may want to consider a bespoke package. This is essentially software that is designed to meet an exact specification set by you. Unsurprisingly, a bespoke job management software package will be more expensive but it can be tailored to the size of your business and the unique needs that you may have identified. You will need to consider your confidence in briefing a design team to create such a package, and whether you feel you know exactly what you want and need the software to do, as they will be looking for a very clear and detailed brief. You need to factor in if the support will be there after your package is up and running and where data is stored through the software to ensure it’s safe and secure. Bespoke packages are normally opted for by large-scale organisations who want the software to speak with other bespoke applications they may have in their business.
3) Desktop Package
There are a number of simple desktop packages available that may prove to be more affordable, giving you a basic system that is housed on your computer. Look carefully at the features before going ahead with it as you may find that it doesn’t meet all your basic needs. The software will have been created to appeal to as many different industries and sectors as possible so you may find it has features you don’t use or serious limitations that could lead to your team taking steps to avoid using it. The absence of an app will also mean that information isn’t updated in real-time. Again, consider the security of your data, and how reliable the system will be.
4) Accounting Packages
Some businesses may opt to use accounting packages like Kashflow, Xero, Clearbooks instead of job sheet software. They are more affordable and often you already have them within your business. A benefit of using accounting packages is that it can easily be used for job costing, invoicing, or as a database to store your customers key details. However, again you need to consider that often accounting packages don’t have supporting mobile technology, meaning that the status on a job is not updated in real-time and you will still have the problems of ringing up your engineers finding out where they are, if they’ve completed the jobs etc.
5) Google Calendar
Google offer a free piece of software known as Google Calendar. If you’re wanting to see how job management software is received and used within your business, then Google Calendar could be a decent place to start. You can schedule jobs in a linked calendar that your team can access from their computer, tablet or mobile. It’s a basic way to schedule jobs with your team, and likely won’t satisfy your needs for the long-term, but could potentially be a good starting point.
You could, of course, continue to simply use no software at all and stick to age-old methods of physically handing over jobs to your team in the morning, waiting for their time sheets, and submitting your data in to multiple systems. You know best how your business runs and you may feel like it isn’t broken so why go and fix it? That being said, job management software can have a real impact on your business, your time and your bottom line. It’s certainly worth considering!
Okappy Job Management Software is available on iOS operating systems from the Apple App Store, or registration is possible via www.okappy.com/get-started. 14 days of free usage is offered before customers opt-in to a monthly plan for continued use.
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