If you are in the field service industry, I’m sure you’ve been in the market for service management software at one time or another. So, what’s the best software for a HVAC company? With so many solutions on the market, it’s hard to find one that checks most (if not all) of your boxes. For example, the right solution would ideally fit your business model, functional requirements, budget, operating system, and integration needs.
With everything considered, is there one particular program that fits all these possible combinations? Of course not, which is why we have listed (8) of the most critical attributes you should seek when shopping for the most value-added software for your HVAC business!
- Remote access
As the owner of a HVAC business, you are well-aware that the workplace doesn’t end at your office walls. In fact, it’s as wide as your service area. This s why mobile access in HVAC management software is a must-have. The ability to seamlessly transmit dispatching information, capture costs, create invoices and affect changes to orders and quotes while in the field, are all extremely valuable to HVAC contractors and service companies.
Ask yourself, how accessible is your data? No matter how you answer, it’s important to consider data visibility when you evaluate different software solutions. Reason being, strong search utilities, such as archiving functionality, versioning, and customizable report views, are all examples of system-wide attributes that determine the degree you’ll be able to have visibility into your data.
HVAC work is extremely dynamic. Customers changing orders, contract negotiations, and cost variations are just some of the challenging curveballs that regularly get tossed your way. Understanding how each software system adapts to these changes is critical when evaluating your needs.
4. Control and Security
Control and security are always important when considering adding anything to your business. Ask yourself, “Who can access what information in my new software?” Sharing the same level of access for executives, accounting personnel, project managers, and field staff generally isn’t ideal nor secure. A key difference between systems is the granularity with which you can control functional access. It’s also important to sort out which tasks can be specifically defined to require approvals. Features such as password protection, encryption, and the presence of audit trails to report changes, are all key security considerations you should keep in mind.
At the core of every software purchase is a desire for more automation. When it comes to HVAC business management, there are plenty of opportunities for it. The more leveraged, the greater the return on investment (ROI) and the lower the chance of human error. To evaluate automation, start by looking for three things: the ease of converting documents, calculation utilities, and the ability to see any changes made in one area of the platform reflected in another.
6. Ease of Use
Closely related to automation capabilities are ease-of-use considerations. It’s not just what the software can do, but the degree of difficulty required to do it. A good way to compare ease of use is to count the steps required to do a standard system task (adding a new user, perhaps). The organization of menus and other graphic user interface (GUI) elements, and access to help functions, should be part of the ease-of-use evaluation, as well.
Integration is also an important consideration, because the ability transfer data (and even convert documents from one type to another) helps achieve several critical business goals. An integration between modules reduces the chance for data errors, minimizes the amount of required administrative labor, and helps maintain a single version of the truth when it comes to your business records. Even if you don’t have a single end-to-end management solution, taking advantage of programs with application programming interfaces (APIs) to move data (i.e. estimating to job costing, or dispatching/order scheduling to invoicing) can provide major savings.
Given the complexity of the back office, it’s easy to overlook the fact that many HVAC systems also play a role in presenting your company’s professional image. Customer quotes, contracts, and invoices aren’t only responsible for clearly communicating information. Templating and customization tools can also help ensure your customer-facing documentation provides a professional, polished impression.
Regardless of whether you are looking for accounting software, field service management, estimating and job costing, or any other critical HVAC-related business management software, the attributes listed above are what you should always seek in order to ensure you are finding the best fit for your company to further your success!
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