You’ve probably heard of the “paperless office”: a work environment where the use of paper is eliminated or substantially reduced. This is not about saving trees (although that is a good side benefit).
It’s about reducing your workload, saving time, being more efficient, and presenting a more professional image to your customers. Whilst many people think that going paperless is complicated, it’s not!
Here’s how to do it in five simple steps.
Step 1: Buy the right software
In a past article, we helped you to identify potential “pain points” suffered by plumbing and heating companies that are plagued by excessive paperwork. If one or more of these symptoms apply to your business, purchasing the right software will pay for itself in no time. Start by doing some online research to compare different jobs management software offerings. Just Google the term (plus “plumbers”) and read the reviews.
Contact two or three vendors and get quotes. Remember: as with everything else, you get what you pay for, so the cheapest is rarely the best. Ask your employees (both office staff and engineers) what would make their jobs easier. (Hint: today “paperless” also means “mobile”, i.e. it’s not just your office that needs to be paperless, but also your field engineers.)
Choose the software that best meets your requirements (you can also check out our blog post “How to buy job management software”.
Step 2: Set up your system
If you made the right choice at Step 1, setting up your system will be really easy.
Once you have signed your contract, you'll receive your login credentials. Enter your company details, company numbers, bank details, customer account numbers etc. Upload your company logo and enter your email address and signature.
Set up your templates such as your email for quotes and estimates, job confirmation email and invoice email. Plus a few other details such as postcode lookup and SMS. The software will guide you through this process.
Step 3: Read the guide and do the training
If you have chosen a comprehensive job management system, specifically designed for a plumbing and heating company, you will be able to centralise every single task in the system.
In order to take full advantage of these time-saving features, you should arrange a training session with the software vendor’s client service team.
The vendor should provide this as part of the package (another reason why the cheapest option is usually not the best).
Make sure that the people who will use the software most take part (this definitely includes office admin, but you should also select at least one engineer: one who you consider to be best able to pass on knowledge to the rest of the team).
Invest a little time in reading the software guide and documentation – however, today’s high quality job management software is very intuitive, so you will find “learning by doing” will soon bring you up to speed.
Steps 2 and 3 should take just one or two working days – you really can be ready to “go live” in just 24 hours!
Step 4: Use the software and start enjoying the following direct benefits
- Reduce costs and improve cash flow by invoicing onsite and on time
- Eliminate much of your admin overhead
- Keep track of your workforce – manage their time more effectively
- Take cash, cheque or credit card on site with your Android device
- Win new business and increase customer loyalty (e.g. with automated service reminders)
- Manage your suppliers and inventory more effectively
- Increase revenues and profitability
Step 5: Integrate your job management software with your accounting package and online payment system
After two weeks you should be feeling comfortable using your job management software. In fact, if you have followed Steps 1 to 3 diligently, you will be wondering how you ever managed without it. To save even more of your precious time and become ultra-efficient, you should now integrate the system with your accounts package (hint: that’s another thing to ask about when selecting vendors at Step 1). This will save time and eliminate errors because you will avoid double-data entry.
If you offer your customers the option of paying online, you can further increase speed-to-payment, and therefore further improve cash flow, by integrating your job management software with the paperless pay system. Commusoft offers full integration with systems such as SumUp, Stripe and Worldpay.
With relatively little investment of time and money, you will soon find that you have more time to for what you do best – serving your customers – and as a bonus, you will have more time to spend with your family and do the things you enjoy most. All the steps you've read about and much more is available when using Commusoft as a job management software. Check out the demo and request a free trial!
Want to learn more about the paperless office? Check out this related article as well: