In 2020, we’ve seen COVID-19 slam into the HVAC industry and completely transform the way business is conducted. Chances are that the industry will be changed for a long time.
As businesses across the nation scramble to adjust to COVID-19’s economic impact, the benefits of field service management software are becoming crystal clear.
Wondering how to use software to generate higher returns in the current climate? In this article, we dive into the state of the industry and highlight how you can use software to make your HVAC operation more profitable.
What Is Threatening HVAC Returns in 2020?
With COVID-19 crashing into the entire business world, it has left unmistakable marks on the HVAC industry. Luckily, companies that are able to recognize the current trends and make adjustments can plan for higher profits. Here are some challenges that HVAC organizations should consider when planning for the future:
- Financial uncertainty: Recent events have shaken the finances of businesses across the nation. Economic uncertainty has caused businesses to make historic employment cuts—leaving a record number of Americans unemployed. Beyond the initial financial hit that companies have been forced to stomach, this economic uncertainty makes financial planning difficult. Without the proper technology to organize financial data and provide insight into spending, it’s harder than ever to make those financial decisions that drive company growth.
- Customer confusion: In all the recent chaos, customers are desperately in need of clear communication from HVAC businesses. One survey found 43 percent of businesses have had to close, at least temporarily, because of COVID-19. Because HVAC businesses were considered essential, there may have been fewer closures in the industry. Still, as companies across sectors close, adjust their hours, and open in phases, many customers are unsure of whether or not these businesses are open, what their hours are, and other details about services. That means fluent customer communication and simple digital processes are more important than ever.
- Shaky customer service: Customer service has long been a critical factor for HVAC companies. In fact, poor customer service costs businesses an estimated $75 billion per year. Now, with the public anxious and unsure about the future, providing excellent customer service is more important than ever. That’s why HVAC services need to be able to resolve customers’ concerns quickly, avoid billing errors, and provide more transparency into their charges.
- Mismanaged time: With businesses searching for the best ways to rearrange their resources, the best businesses will learn to become more productive in the new COVID-influenced world. That requires a clear vision into how efficient their processes are, what practices are reducing their revenue, and how they can improve.
How to Make Your Business More Profitable with Software
Luckily, field service management software can help HVAC companies of all sizes excel in the current work environment. Here are five ways end-to-end software is designed to make your business more profitable:
1. Better Scheduling
With advanced software, drag-and-drop, along with color-coded scheduling and dispatching features, let- you quickly and easily see what’s going on for the day, how many jobs each of your techs has, how many they have completed, and where you could schedule a new job.
What’s more, when work-order changes are made in the office, information is pushed to techs in the field in real time. This allows your techs to stay up to date and informed on where they’re going next without needing to call back to the office to check in after every job.
The bottom line?
Built-in scheduling and dispatching tools create workflow efficiencies and increase communication between the office and field techs. In turn, your techs arrive on the job when your customers are expecting them, which makes for more repeat business and positive referrals.
2. Automated Invoicing for Faster Job Processing
Field service management software lets you generate purchase orders from the office or in the field. That means techs can present them on the spot, and your customers can see exactly what they’re paying for.
Software also allows companies to set progress-based billing. This feature allows large service companies to bill based on job progress. For instance, a company might have a $50,000 commercial-grade HVAC installation, but that bill doesn’t have to land in one lump sum. Instead, progress billing lets the company break payments down based on steps within the job. Also, this feature allows the company to automatically generate bills depending on the status of the job. All of this opens the door to more efficient workflows and it can give the operation more time to pick up more jobs.
Additionally, electronic payments make it easier for the business to plan ahead. In addition to gaining insight into how much revenue is available, you get paid faster, and you know exactly what payments have been made. That way, you’re not left scrambling to gather money from customers.
3. More Efficient Fleet Routing
The more customers your organization can reach in a day and the more effective your techs are, the more money your business will bring in. Field service management software gives your team the visibility it needs to route your fleet more efficiently.
With customer histories, equipment maintenance records, and other key details about a job on hand, it’s easier to send the right tech on the right job. At the same time, it’s easier to see what parts are needed for every job, so techs can accomplish the job quicker, without costly callbacks.
4. More Inventory Control
Inventory management can be frustrating if you don’t have a system in place to keep track of what’s available. If you’re trying to accomplish this in Excel, you’ve probably realized that your records are not always accurate and are creating extra work.
Field service management software allows you to:
- Track on-hand stock levels in multiple warehouses and vehicles
- Track pricing from an unlimited number of vendors for each inventory item
- Automatically generate vendor purchase orders based on minimum and optimal stock levels
- Attach pictures, documents, and spreadsheets to any inventory item for easier lookup
Additionally, as your field techs deplete the inventory in their service vehicles, mobile management will allow them to reorder supplies on the fly. Better inventory management prevents jobs from being delayed or rescheduled, and it allows your team to know what parts are in high demand. That all adds up to more satisfied customers and more business.
5.Streamlined KPI Tracking for Operational Efficiency
With companies searching for the best use of their resources, HVAC organizations need their employees to be more efficient than ever. Software opens paths to more efficient workflows, more communication, and a more productive team across the board.
From the moment a customer books a job, field service management software makes for faster, more efficient processes.
Additionally, software gives you a full grasp on the critical business metrics that drive growth. With advanced software, managers don’t have to go from branch to branch in order to gather the information they need. Instead, they have the metrics they need at their fingertips. That way, they’re positioned to set up important KPIs and morph their processes to generate higher returns.
See How Much End-to-End Software Adds to Your Company
Above all else, we want to see your HVAC business thrive in the evolving work climate. If you’re looking for more ways to gain an edge in the current environment, we have the resources to help. Visit our resource library, filled with tools that can help your business grow.
Ready to see exactly how end-to-end software can help your company succeed? Schedule a demo today for an inside view of our most advanced field service management technology.