There are many hands-on trades that haven’t traditionally needed technology. Yet modern tech tools help the plumber, carpenter, welder or other tradespeople improve their productivity and competitiveness.
The common tasks tradespeople face daily include:
- scheduling appointments with clients, suppliers and others;
- tracking project deadlines and budgets;
- communicating with project managers, customers and office administrators;
- paying employee salaries;
Yes, these functions can all be done with pen and paper and forms in triplicate, but technology cuts the time spent and lets you focus instead on increasing your bottom line.
The Difference Technology Tools Make
Most of us carry small, powerful computers around in our pockets every day, whether it is a smartphone or a tablet. Internet-connected devices give tradespeople access to a variety of tools to enhance their productivity.
Let’s start with scheduling apps, as tradespeople are often on the move throughout the day. Signing up for a scheduling tool (e.g. Doodle) makes it very easy to set appointments, and you don’t need to be involved in the booking process – customers can go to your website or link to the app and choose an available time that works best for them. You can even set it up to ensure you have buffers between appointments or prevent someone from scheduling a new, big project to start at the end of your day.
Integrating the scheduling app with your website and social media accounts helps customers reach you and connecting to a shared cloud calendar can help your team work together better. Everyone invited into the calendar can see who is out on a call and where they are.
You can make changes to a cloud-based calendar on any connected device and everyone will see the alterations in real-time (helping you to avoid scheduling conflicts).
Your Trade Office On the Move
With cloud-based office software, you can get more done out of the office. You don’t have to make a rushed trip back to the office to enter your invoices and make photocopies of receipts. Instead, you can take pictures on your phone or tablet and attach them to the project file in the cloud, or invoice directly from a secure cloud-based accounting program. You also don’t have to worry about any paperwork getting lost in the back of a truck or bottom of your toolbox.
Programs such as Microsoft Office, Google Docs and associated cloud storage are available from iOS and Android devices as well as a computer. This lets you monitor project timelines, view budgets, and track invoices and payments in the field. Cloud-based accounting packages also let you see cash flow, outstanding balances and pay suppliers out on the road.
Cloud-based software also gives every employee access to business tools in the office. With a virtual desktop, they can collaborate easily (out on a job or in the office) and make changes in real-time. For instance, a contractor could access software to edit a building plan and then actually see the new design in the 3D modelling software.
The great news is that technology is ever more accessible and easy to use. Embracing modern digital tools can improve your customer service and help your business trade efficiency.
Your skill set may not extend to technology, but that’s where we come in. We can help you find the right technology for your business needs. Contact us at 08 8326 4364 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.