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5 ways to use technology in your contracting business
Your residential contracting business may be getting plenty of leads, but your pen-and-paper process is slowing you down. If you find yourself shuffling through stacks of paper, receipts, drawings, and accounting books, there is a better way.
Your business may be overwhelmed by too many jobs, details getting lost, and communication issues with employees and customers. Here are 5 ways to use technology in your contracting business to save both time and money.
1. Accounting and contact management
How do you organize your customer information? If you're jotting down names, contact information, costs, and other notes on paper, you are putting your business at risk.
For starters, your business information is not "backed up," which means if you leave your notebook at home, you have no way of retrieving that information without wasting time to go retrieve it. If you lose it or it gets destroyed, your business is in serious trouble.
What happens when tax season arrives? That information has to be organized and interpreted, leaving a lot of room for surprises. That's a problem that a well-run business needs to solve.
Accounting and CRM software for contractors
Software like Quickbooks and Freshbooks offer accounting solutions for small to midsize businesses in the contracting field. With plenty of training and help documents available online, learning how to use the software is much less intimidating than you may think.
CRM (customer relationship management) software organizes your customer database, including your potential customers. CRM software like SalesForce and HubSpot offer affordable solutions that allow businesses can track and interact with customers and leads.
2. Photos and scanned documents
Paper will always play a role in your contracting business. Whether it's providing quotes, receipts, or payroll information, an efficient business has a solution for collecting and organizing paper documents.
The best business owners know that even the most organized filing system for paper documents has its shortcomings. Documents can still be lost, damaged, or misplaced.
Using the camera on your smartphone or tablet
Nearly every smartphone and tablet have a camera that is capable of capturing clear images of paper documents. There are apps designed to digitally "scan" a document using the camera on a smart device.
3. File storage
Contractors have to move fast, and sometimes that means implementing a perfectly clean, organized, and efficient file storing system does not get prioritized. If you have found yourself scrounging in the backseat of your work vehicle looking for quotes, receipts, and customer information, save yourself time and stress by embracing a digital storage system.
Low-cost cloud storage
Cloud storage simply means your information is digitally stored on a server that allows you to access it from any computer, smartphone, or tablet. Google Drive and DropBox are good examples of free and low-cost cloud storage solutions for small businesses.
All photos, scanned documents, Excel files, PDFs, and other important business information can be uploaded to the cloud and accessed from any device whenever you need them.
4. Site plan drawings
Still using grid paper to draw site plans and floor plans? While this might seem like the cheapest solution for your small business, factoring in the time it takes to draw, edit, and calculate a quote for a job is costing you wasted hours.
Not to mention, the actual cost of the paper used to create site plan drawings can be expensive, especially for bigger jobs.
Digital drawing solutions
Now it is easier and more efficient to draw site plans using a tablet like an iPad. This saves time in designing, implementing changes, and adding prices and products to a site plan.
ArcSite offers a 2D digital drawing solution that helps contractors save time and look more professional to their customers.
5. Quotes and estimates
Generating quotes, estimates, and job proposals can be time-consuming and complicated using only traditional tools like pen and paper, a calculator, and a price list. Most contractors have experienced those dreaded late nights at home finishing up paperwork in order to quickly get quotes to their customers.
ArcSite digital estimation software
ArcSite is an all-in-one digital drawing and estimation tool for iOS devices that makes generating proposals as simple as tapping a few buttons. With ArcSite, your business' products and prices are built into the software, allowing contractors to generate accurate quotes in the field.
Download the ArcSite eBook Why It's Time to Ditch Pen and Paper Forever and see how integrating technology into your contracting business will improve efficiency and professionalism.