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Digital Has Come Of Age – Why Every Trades Business Needs To Go Digital
Almost every industry and business sector has been transformed by digital technology.
Think about it. You can order your dinner from an app on your phone without talking to anyone or needing to leave the house.
You can order materials from your computer rather than a catalogue without having to step foot in the building yard.
You can order your weekly shop, work out, book a taxi, make a reservation and even make an appointment to see a new office without having to leave your PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Across the country – and further afield – digital is transforming the way business is done.
Last year, on the shopping holiday known as Cyber Monday a staggering $6.5 BILLION dollars was spent online in a single day.
33.1% of that money was spent by shoppers using their smartphones.
All in one day.
If the high street can use digital to make billions while its bricks and mortar stores struggle, imagine what a smart use of specific technology could do for your trades business.
You can use jobbing software to speed up the quote process and finally see the back of paper-based job management but there are other financial and practical benefits too.
If you’re feeling a bit reluctant to take the plunge and take your job management digital, we get it.
It’s all too easy to get swept away, try the wrong system and find yourself ready to throw your smartphone from the window of your fast moving van.
However, trying the right system by following the four Ps of people, pricing, product and process as you’re weighing up which jobbing software to trial, can make a world of difference.
Think about it – you’re already digital in some aspects of your trades business, so why not your job management too?
There was a time, not too many years ago, when planning, managing, costing, completing and getting paid for jobs was all paper-based.
Whether you’re a plumber, a joiner, an electrician or a builder, six or seven years ago you would have relied on a paper diary, scraps of paper and probably a basic mobile phone.
You would have relied on manual methods to quote, schedule your team, take bookings, process payments and compile inspections reports.
You might have had a Sat-Nav in your van but you’d need your job file printed out to know what you were doing when you got there, what the price you’d quoted was and what had already been completed, agreed to, ordered and paid for.
The First Changes
In the last couple of years, your trades business will probably have switched to online banking.
You’ll pay wages and invoices online and won’t have to go into the branch or visit a cash point to see who’s paid you, who still owes you money and how much cash you have in the bank.
You’ll hopefully have a website and now, rather than word of mouth and print advertising, customers can find you online, submit a form and tell you what they need.
Your accounts may be filed electronically and you won’t mess about with paper payslips, VAT returns or corporation tax submissions.
As we have seen from the examples above, the smarter, more forward-thinking businesses are going digital.
The example of retailers switching to online sales and making billions as high street shops close left and right should give you food for thought.
If not that then consider this, almost every business process and daily interaction you can think of is transforming from paper-based to digital.
From ordering materials to booking gym classes, running payroll to checking your bank balance, filing VAT returns to sending invoices, digital is transforming business process right, left and centre.
There are now more mobile phones in the world than toothbrushes.
There are thousands of business apps helping millions of businesses to shave precious time off daily tasks.
And this revolution is coming to the trades business too.
The Competitive Advantage
- If you can click, quote and send to the customer while you’re stood in front of them, wouldn’t you rather do that than go back to the office, fill in some paperwork and then give them a cost a few days later – knowing that competitors will also have been to price up the job in the meantime?
- If you could take payment by someone clicking on your tablet as soon as the job is finished, rather than going away, printing an invoice, posting it and then waiting weeks for a bank transfer, why wouldn’t you?
- If you could quickly and easily have a customer sign on your phone or iPad screen to acknowledge changes to a job, rather than creating yet another piece of paper which you might lose, wouldn’t that make more sense?
- If, in the middle of a busy day, you could just open your trades job management software and know where you need to be next and at what time, wouldn’t that remove some unnecessary stress and maximise your productivity?
- If you could cut down on your paperwork by using a digital tool to assign jobs to staff and see who is where, when, wouldn’t that make it easier to manage jobs, complete projects and make more money?
Older, more established businesses are slower to change than new businesses because they are tied to their paper-based processes.
Digital job management apps like ServiceM8 are undoubtedly the future and, if you take the time to select the right solution, could put all of the above advantages literally at your fingertips.
Not to mention, with all of those time and productivity improvements, you’ll be perfect placed to outpace those paper-based competitors.
Lisa Knaggs Hunter has spent 25 years helping small, medium and enterprise clients as a software consultant, Lisa now assists clients with software strategies, online training and one to one consultancy to improve efficiency and profitability.
Today Lisa manages the Software Buddy Team sharing her knowledge helping business just like yours overcome the trials and tribulations of managing projects and clients. Lisa also is a partner in her husband’s small trades business Service Buddy, so she work with trades, staff and job queries every day.
You can connect with Lisa on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisaknaggshunter/