How HVAC Companies Solve Field Service Problems
HVAC companies face some unique challenges in field service.
For many, some or all of their work can be emergency calls which come in that day. These then need to be prioritized and worked into the day’s schedule as soon as possible, but this then means changes to the planned work and it is understandably difficult to make on the spot decisions about what should give.
Many HVAC companies we speak to are still relying on paper-based processes to some extent in managing their workflow. This brings additional difficulty to making changes to schedules and allocating work to technicians as those in the office may not be working with all the information they need.
HVAC companies often also cover a lot of different areas of work. These are highly complex and require the right skills, parts or tools for the individual tasks. Workflows may have a number of dependencies which need to be stuck to, to complete the job. Many companies cover everything from design to install, renovation and service work, meaning each day is different to the last.
The use of paper-based processes can mean that up to date information is not available until a few days after the work has been completed, so delays occur in checking stock, re-ordering parts and getting out invoices.
A further issue that HVAC companies face is how fast the industry is evolving. Equipment is becoming smarter with HVAC units becoming much more complex and more connected and intelligent buildings are growing in their popularity. Customer expectations increase alongside this technological evolution and service delivery must keep pace with these advancements.
Here we look at how some of our FieldAware HVAC customers overcame the issues they faced in their evolving businesses and see the benefits and results they achieved.
One of our customers had a paper-based work order system they’d been using for decades that was inefficient and expensive. Technicians had to visit the office every day, so travel costs were high and technicians had less time for jobs. Processing the paperwork meant significant administrative overhead and time as it took 7-10 days to invoice customers from the job completion.
FieldAware solved the paper problem. All work orders are now generated and submitted electronically. As a result, the company:
- Significantly reduced the number of office trips by technicians, cutting travel costs and increasing revenue-producing hours.
- Eliminated the need for administrative overhead dedicated invoicing.
- Decreased the time from service completion to invoice from days to minutes.
More Efficient Service Calls and Improved Cash Flow
Another HVAC company realized that cloud-based technology was the best way to make their business processes more efficient, and maximize profits. They have both residential and commercial customers, so wanted a solution that could handle both. Through using FieldAware they now can connect with a specific technician or multiple technicians to assign jobs or alert them of a new/changed job, which they can see on the mobile app. The dispatch capabilities provide alerts, location tracking and GPS routing. It also works as a time sheet to ensure that work is being recorded. The price book in the app means that an estimate can be emailed, which the customer can sign off, saving time as well as keeping an accurate account of what has been done.
They estimate saving 40-60 hours a week. “No time is wasted, the technicians get jobs faster, and we can track the job status so they can immediately go to the next job. Jobs are completed more quickly, so we can schedule more jobs per day with the saved time.”
The highest praise comes for the accounting features. “The easy sync with QuickBooks eliminates double entry of invoices in our accounting system and we can simply e-mail invoices to customers.”
Better Customer Service
One of our HVAC customer was looking for ways to reduce paperwork and increase the profitability of their business as well as deliver even better service to customers. Prior to FieldAware the dispatcher would receive calls and dispatch jobs to the technicians through manual text messages. Technicians would write out paper estimates on site and then return completed work orders to the office at the end of day, causing extra drive time and lag time.
Now, the dispatcher can quickly review each technician’s status using the scheduler and assign new jobs to the next available technician. On site, technicians can collect more information with the mobile app. For instance, the tech can record the model and serial number of each piece of equipment. “With this type of information stored in the customer’s record, we can easily determine what parts are needed to complete the job.”
They also use FieldAware reports to predict customer needs. “If I see that 20 of our customers have the same furnace model, it makes sense to start carrying replacement parts for that model.” That means faster service since they no longer have to order parts through their distributor when the need arises. Instead the trucks are fully-stocked with the proper parts.
FieldAware leads the way in simplifying field service for HVAC companies. Our solutions let you automate your field work - from dispatching work to updating job info on site and instantly sending electronic invoices – all from our easy to use mobile app.
For an idea on where to start in getting rid of your reliance on paperwork see our infographic: Going Paperless – The Benefits You Will See.
To find out more about FieldAware join one of our 30-minute webinars.