So you’ve put in the time, the time you simply do not have, to find the best HVAC software solution for your business and you’re excited about putting the system to use ASAP.
Yet, one of the biggest misconceptions about software is that after it has been purchased and set up, it will just begin to run your entire business. For example, it’s going to acquire new business for you, schedule all your jobs, oversee your techs, restock your inventory when it’s low and, bill all your overdue customers- but that is not the case.
These are unrealistic expectations and if you were told otherwise, you have simply been misled. It is true that you will find software helpful to you transform your business but not without some upfront effort from both you and your staff.
Once you begin to utilize your software, you’ll find that it will improve and streamline most, if not all of your manual processes for you, with automation. Automating tasks such as scheduling, dispatching and invoicing, will create organizational and operational efficiencies throughout your entire team. It will also reduce the amount of paperwork and back and forth phone calls between your office personnel and technicians out in the field in the process. You’ll also gain greater, more transparent insights into your business and be able to provide your customers with better service experience. Altogether, HVAC software will work to help get you organized and become more profitable but it won’t get you there alone.
The number one thing people should tell you about HVAC software before you purchase it is that in order for it to truly transform your HVAC business, both commitment and effort are required upfront.
In the beginning, if you’re expecting it to run your business for you like a man-eating Rambo, you’re going to be disappointed. After you’ve made your purchase, there’s a lot that goes into implantation and digitizing all your paper records.
See that filing cabinet over there? Yup, that one. In order for you to use your software, all those records need to end up in there! Now, depending on the size of your business, how long you’ve been in business, if you’re equipping all your field techs with tablets, and so forth, this process will look and be different for everyone.
It’s also important to remember that no matter how “intuitive” a system claims to be, for someone who has never used or seen HVAC business software before, there will be somewhat of a learning curve to get used to it. In the first few days after you’ve purchased software, you’ll most likely doubt your decision. You’ll sit down to look at it and it will stare blankly right back at you. There will be no data there and you’ll probably be overwhelmed with where to begin. The phones will be ringing and you’ll quickly be pulled in many directions.
This is where we see many first time HVAC software buyers fall short. They know they need software to run a better, more organized, and profitable business but they lack the resources and/or time needed to get the ball rolling. Like other small business owners, if time is against you, you might need to appoint an internal ‘team leader’ to get you up and running and your team caught up to speed. Entering all of your customers’ records is somewhat of an undertaking as it’s time consuming. If need be, you could always outsource this work. Services like fiverr and TaskRabbit, where you pay someone to complete miscellaneous or random jobs for you, are a viable option for some small business owners who need some extra help for just a few hours. Services like these make the rather daunting chore of digitizing all your paper records tangible and possible.
It’s also wise to choose a software provider who offers live technical support. Your point person, as they begin to learn the software and input data, might have questions related to the workflow or why they are receiving an error message, for example. Because the software is so new and maybe even foreign to you, it’s nearly impossible to not have a question or two here and there and as you’re getting ready to deploy the software among all of your employees. The last thing you want is to be set back for days because your provider doesn’t offer live phone support or technical support at all.
If you’ve already purchased software or are still exploring your options, our best advice for when you’ve found that solution is to dive right into it. Unfortunately, if there’s always a million things happening all at once, you might find that there might not ever be an ideal time to sit down and enter all your customers into the system. If you can outsource some work or stick to a plan to enter 20 customers per day, for example, you’ll find that you’ll be up and running with software much faster than you thought possible.
Putting in the upfront effort will allow you to get to a place where your HVAC software is working for you and your business.
- Organize and manage all of your customer and prospect information in one place
- Reduce the amount of paperwork you have
- Automate your scheduling, dispatching and invoicing
- Provide you with greater visibility in to your businesses overall health
- Improve your customer satisfaction ratings
- Lower your operating costs
- Reduce callbacks
- Eliminate double data entry
- Streamline daily tasks to make them more efficient
- Provide mobile access to your field technicians
- Expand your marketing capabilities
Software will NOT:
- Fix all your problems overnight
- Find more customers for you
- Guarantee that your techs do good work
- Replace you or your technicians
This certainly won’t mop up your floor, but then again there’s always TaskRabbit for that!
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