How to Make More Profit from Contracting
You’ve done the apprenticeship, been on the tools, learnt how to fix, repair, install and service the equipment and after a few years at different companies and lessons learnt, you’ve decided to go it alone and build your own empire.
That’s great, but you feel nervous, excited and worried about going it alone. You’ve got some contacts, they’ve given you some work and you have done a good job. You get a bit more and things are looking good. You get a workshop/office and someone to do the books and admin. Things are looking up.
But inevitably you fall into the trap of spinning lots of plates at the same time. You are the only one fixing, installing, repairing, ordering materials, keeping the customer happy, finishing the work on time, remembering what you did, who for, how much to charge, Invoicing, paying the bills etc. etc. in fact it gets worse the more work you get.
To keep your customers happy you get asked to do more jobs further and further away- which makes the day longer and gives you less time at home with the family and less time to do all those mundane tasks – none of which were ever taught you.
How do you take back control, shorten your week, get paid quicker, manage your customers projects and improve customers service?
Managing the amount of Business
M&E business owners should know the total amount of business they can handle – whilst still offering a good service – and without burning out. This often means the number of jobs, clients or projects.
Many of the M&E business owners we meet are overwhelmed with the sheer number of responsibilities of running their Businesses – they’ve done an great job of building up their business and reputation, but now with that success they just can’t keep up with the demand for their products or services.
Poor Customer Service will cause problems
Unfortunately as a result of trying to manage too many M&E jobs, their customer service is often forgotten, and if left that way will mean they will lose many of those new customers that have taken a long-time to win. When things go wrong, it doesn’t take long for people to share their bad experiences on social media. Bottom line – You must know the limits of how much work you can take on.
Working out How Much work you can take on
To start with, M&E Business owners need to set aside a minimum of two half days a week where you must tackle admin, invoicing and planning. Don’t make the mistake like many where you try to do that in evenings and weekends as it will become a chore, but this will definitely increase the risk of becoming bored with the paperwork of running your own business.
It’s really important to step back from doing the work to focus on running the business. Many M&E Business owners aren’t administrators by nature and will roll their eyes at the thought of tackling those items, however on the flip side, there is almost an immediate short-term benefit and financial dividends. If you really are against doing this then you could outsource it to a local Virtual assistant
Once you have tackled those issues, you can then easily work out how many working hours you have for chargeable work and how many clients, quotes, orders, sales or projects you can manage properly in that time.
When you have a small M&E team, when you know your capacity it can pay off in two ways.
- It makes you focus on Business development and Marketing if the orders drop below what you know you can comfortably look after
- Or it gives an early warning of when you should start thinking about taking on your next team member if regular orders start to get near to your maximum capacity figures.
What I did with my Business
I speak from my own experiences, the first people I engaged were specialists and took responsibility for the day to day admin, and an M&E Web Development and SEO expert to look after Customers M&E Web Designs, M&E marketing campaigns and social media. These people are specialists in their areas, which aren’t mine! This frees me up to work directly with clients. All my team aren’t full time and are self-employed, meaning that I’ve increased my capacity to look after my customers but not my overheads.
You Need Field Service Management Software
Running and Managing Customer orders whether M&E Installation, Repair or Service for different customers can be a challenge, and the busier it gets the worse the more organising it takes.
I’m sure you don’t need reminding what they are, but here are just some that come to mind.
- You have to make sure you price things properly from the outset.
- Sending Estimates/Quotes to Customers on time.
- Chasing up outstanding quotes.
- Buying materials from the best suppliers at the best price.
- Organising any specialist sub-contractors and agreeing fixed costs up-front.
- Organising your own labour making sure they are all available when you need them.
- Placing orders on suppliers to ensure materials arrive on time.
- Managing multiple customers, multiple sites, multiple assets, different pieces of equipment.
- Invoicing after completion of the work – ensuring your costs are fully covered.
- Getting Paid.
So taking all the above into account, what is the best way to make more profit from contracting?
Probably the best place to start is to get in control of all those orders, improve your Customers Service and maximise profits is by getting the best Field Service management Software that you can afford.
Traditionally most people who set-up their own contracting Business make reminder notes manually or on Documents or Spreadsheets – even on a whiteboard – somewhere to organise themselves better. Then they get distracted because they get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work they have to undertake.
Once you have all the basics in place from your project management software then by default you will be better organised, and you will realise that you will make more profit from contracting in a straightforward more organised way.
Doing regular work for current customers and keeping them happy is often the best way to get new work, as they will trust in your abilities to look after them.
So which are the best Field Service Management software systems available in the UK?
In our Opinion, there are only really 2 Contenders – Simpro and Joblogic. Both Options offer a Free Trial, so you really have nothing to lose. If you don’t like one then simply cancel before the end of the trial period. So lets take a look at each one to see the differences.
Rather than us telling you about it, you can find out for yourself by clicking here There are so many modules built into the software including: –
- Project Management
- Service Management
- Inventory & Stock Management
- Planned & Reactive Maintenance
- Estimating & Quoting
- Job Scheduling & Dispatch
- Accounting Software Integration
- Payment Processing
- Field Service Management
Its really easy to use for both office and field based technicians, and they integrate seamlessly with many 3rd party software systems. There are also several other modules being developed including SFG20 and FGas reporting.
Its tried and tested by multiple trades including Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC, Fire & Security, Facilities Maintenance, Solar etc.
There is a Free trial Available from this link
JobLogic is a Low-Cost centralised Project & Service management system that can handle a high volume of jobs, and most importantly, can connect a company’s back office with their field engineers.
Joblogic, is one of the UK’s leading field management software providers for companies in the M&E, HVAC and FM service and maintenance industry. Their all-in-one online system creates a logical workflow system. Put simply Joblogic connects your back-office team to field technicians, ensuring that jobs are easily tracked from the point of generating quotes, to job scheduling and all the way to invoicing.
There are only a few suppliers of specialist joined-up M&E, HVAC & FM Business Management software systems that can improve the margins of all new and existing jobs, whether a new Installation, a refurbishment or Maintenance project. No longer do you need separate software systems for accounts, PM etc. They also include F-Gas and SFG20 modules as standard.
To decide if Joblogic is the right match for your business, why not sign up for their Free 30-Day Trial to access all its features. No card details required, no commitment needed. Sign Up to a Free 30-Day Trial
There is very little difference to choose from when deciding what Field Management software is best for your Business. At the end of the day it comes down to personal preferences especially when it come down to navigation, functionality, Value for money and reports. Both solutions will be more than adequate.
We have experienced many different systems and most want exorbitant fees for what they provide.
Both options go way beyond all other systems for a low monthly subscription. If you want to get back in charge of your M&E Business and then you could do a lot worse than choosing either Simpro or JobLogic
Getting back in control of your M&E Business, whether a Manufacturer, Distributor or Contractor is vital and by organising everything in a structured way and hopefully with the use of Field Service Management Software will help you to price properly, organise and prioritise, collect what you are owed, so you can have the piece of mind that you are in control of your Business
Would you like help in setting up your systems? Marketing for Contractors have the skills and experience in setting up these systems for many different M&E Businesses. Get in touch on 01252 413596