I have been working at a window cleaning company in the office for a little while now and I want to move to using computers instead of paper. When I say we use paper I mean for everything. We have a call book, schedule book, day book, unpaid invoice book, plus all the overhead of dealing with invoices a week. I spend several hours each week alphabetizing invoices. One of the biggest challenges is keeping everything accurate, any slip up means you have 2 appointments scheduled for the same time period!
Anyway, I have looked over the offerings people have posted about in this forum. While they both are good at what they do they are missing features I would like to see. For example I would like the software to be able to predict how much work to schedule each week taking into account repeat customers. I would also like to the software to be able to suggest appointment openings instead of searching through a calendar based on location proximity to minimize driving. I would also like to see a lot of maps everywhere. When looking at the routes, on the customer page a map with their location, maybe even a real-time map showing each truck location with GPS, just maps everywhere you could possibly think.
I started to build my own solution (I’ve done computer programming) but would like to know if there is anything else out there that might have features like these which can greatly benefit a multiple-crew company. Even if it does only a few of these things.
i have been wrestling with this for some time but finally made a decision tody. i am going with quickbooks online and servicem8.
i of course looked at the customer factor and jobber (house call pro is not available in canada) .
i know many on this forum swear by either tcf or jobber but both had drawbacks for me.
tcf seems very powerful and Steve has been very helpful when i have talked to him but it seems at this time the mobile aspect for scheduling and collecting is not where i need it.
jobber also seems powerful but in my mind i was thinking it was 39 bucks per month less the wcra discount, but then i saw its only 39 if you pay for the whole year and qb syncing and epay are added costs so it actually quite a bit more than tcf. i just don’t like having to read to read the fine print and discover things. the other huge thing for me was if you discontinue your jobber subscription your data is erased. why would i discontinue and still want my data in case i am audited or decide to resubscribe. quick books and fresh books both allow access after subscriptions lapse for those purposes.
servicem8 bills according to use. the first 20 jobs every month are free and additionals at or below .50 each (usd) so i can let it sit over the winter and still maintain all my data at no cost. when i am busy i can certainly afford .50 per job.
i am sure TCF and jobber are both valuable as are many others but at the moment i’m going with servicem8.
update: gall dang it i love the way this works EXCEPT THE MOBILE SCHEDULING!!!
There seems to be problems with all the current solutions. I got all kinds of ideas to lower my workload and make things as smooth as possible. I think I’ll just have to build my own. I want a one stop CRM integrated with mobile and website ordering. I envision a point where customers can make an appointment online. I don’t want to cobble together 3-6 different programs which is what most people seem to do.
I kind of ‘go through life’ making assumptions.
By this, I mean I have the cust on a recurring schedule, even if it’s not a [B]set[/B] schedule.
I can figure out “oh, Tracy Jones” usually has us the second week of June.
And I can guide her along to with my scheduling solicitation to fit, or confirm her when I have other jobs in the area.
(hope that makes sense, because I’m agreeing with you)
Also, I keep a separate calendar that reads Location first. Then name.
This is so I can look at my calendar and gage according the where we are going to be at any given time.
With the city in all caps, and the name spaced out to read easily with dashes…
[U][B]Monday June 1st[/B][/U]
8:00 TROY – Jones
9:00 TROY – Smith
11:30 ROCHESTER – Doe
1:30 ROCHESTER – McFly
Besides scheduling, I like to be able to say “hey, I’m going to be in Troy at 9, I could quote this new cust on the way.”
I like the idea of maps, to visualize proximity opportunities.
But to be honest, all I want is to be able to look at SOMETHING, and tell where we are going to be
and then fill in my day from there. Be it a job or a bid.
Has anyone tried Service Monster out. I was thinking of switching to them. Seem pretty good. I’ve used service Ceo in the past but it is pretty expensive. Service monster has a lot of what you’re asking about and it syncs with quick books. They also offer a free trial to try it for a few weeks. I sent an email and the owner contacted me and answered a lot of questions I had. Worth a shot
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I do like the D and just fill in my old school calendar just to know where I am on any givin day and time. That seems to work for me and it’s less work and faster than to log onto a software program to dial in where I’m going to be in the after hours of business.
This is what we basically do also and it works great…if you manage 1 truck. But when you are juggling 15 or more appointments a day between multiple crews it breaks down unless you have the highest attention to detail. I was out sick last month for several days and there were so many scheduling problems when I got back.
That sounds like a little bit of a trick. I think you’re going in the right direction if you’re able to make up your own program. One you get it up and running sell me a copy. I want something that’s a one time buy rather than a monthly payment.
I think you are going to be VERY lucky if you find something that suits you 95% of the time or more
I currently use TCF and for me it’s better than Jobber… however it’s not the ideal solution. It’s a good all in one CRM but it’s not a great CRM, there are issues to contend with, that are really starting to bug me.
I’m always look for something else… however im thinking that a complete all in one product doesn’t exists for what I want. So im looking at getting a few different systems in place, rather than an all in one…
A scheduling and basic accounting system
a email/postal quotation system
a postal card/flyer sending system
an online appointment system
If i have to pay more, so long as it’s not a complete headache to sort it could be more beneficial and make me more money.