Information in this Post
Going Paperless – For Your Sanity And Theirs
As the head of a trades business, we reckon it’s pretty fair to say you approach money saving and cost-cutting as something of a sport.
And why not?
With Brexit bearing down on us, the headlines dominated with tales of a flagging economy, struggling high street and major names collapsing into administration, it’s just common sense.
In fact, we’d say that looking for ways to streamline costs, reduce time-intensive manual processes and save time is a matter of survival.
Why then, is your desk still piled high with files and your van home to more pieces of paper than Staples?
Whether you’re in the van, office or on site, the very last thing that you want is to have to anxiously rifle through dozens of sheets of scrap paper when a customer calls you, just to recall what price you quoted them, which client it actually is and whether or not you’ve done the work, given the quote or finished the job three years ago.
If this sounds like any other day, it’s time to go paperless.
Buying A Tablet Versus Staying Old School
Don’t get us wrong, retro has its place.
What would music be without Elvis or Christmas dinner without a prawn salad starter?
Vintage is all well and good in its place but that place isn’t running your trades business.
Customers and suppliers have gone digital which means you must give up the paper, commit to going paperless, buy a tablet and embrace the cost and time savings.
While it might seem like an avoidable expensive, investing in a tablet such as an iPad or a Samsung Galaxy is something that will pay dividends in the long run.
You can purchase a tablet outright for a few hundred pounds (a decent model Wi-Fi Apple iPad will cost around £320) or, pay a monthly fee much like you do your mobile phone.
Costs vary depending on data and network but you could roughly budget £30-40 per month.
So how can you justify that expense when scrap paper and a pen is next to free?
Fingertip Access To Everything You Need
Even with the best filing system and most organised mind in the world, it’s simply not possible to lay your hands on exactly the piece of paper you need when you have a pile of scribbles on the passenger seat of the van and a customer on the phone.
One of the many benefits of choosing a suitable job management software to help take your trades business digital is that it gives you fingertip access to all customer records, including quotes, old job, and job notes, at your fingertips.
Simply type in the name while they’re on the phone and get your entire history with that client instantly.
Your Team Will Also Have The Info They Need
One of the biggest limitations of paper, besides its terrible eco-footprint and the chaos it causes in the workplace, is that it can’t be everywhere at once.
By comparison, once you have created a client record on your chosen jobbing software, whether you use that job management software to create a quote or detail a requested amendment to a job with a client signature, you can give your team instant access.
With job management software everyone can be on the same page, with no physical page required.
Sharing knowledge means your team can work more efficiently, they’ll turn up to the job knowing exactly what they need to do and your client will see a well-prepared, organised and professional workforce.
You Can Use Your Tablet To Help You Stay Organised
If you have a smartphone, you may well use it as your morning alarm clock.
Or, to remind you it’s your cousin’s birthday, or even, your anniversary.
Your tablet can perform exactly this function to keep your trades business running smoothly.
There’s no danger of missing appointments you made three weeks ago because it can remind you with an alert (something your scrap of paper would never do).
You can use it to find the name and number of someone you quoted last week to follow up (near impossible when your scrap paper filing system is scrawled on the back of phone bills, McDonald’s bags and random fliers).
While this initial outlay may seem fairly high if you’re counting the pennies, this can easily be weighed up against the cost of just one lost job and the amount of time you waste trying to find misplaced names, numbers, and appointments.
Add in all of the other jobbing software functionality you can access from your tablet, such as automating client communications, giving quotes and taking payments instantly and the ROI should be clear.
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/