Trade Software Expert
With nine years experience owning and running his own trades business, Shane Robertson understands the importance of being open to change and creating processes that make life easier. Having systems in place helps businesses to develop and operate as efficiently as possible, and they can be changed over time as you need them to. But you’ve also got to be practical about what you can afford to spend as a small business owner.
When Shane founded Activ8 - a contracting company specialising in the delivery of smart solutions integrating electrical, air conditioning and security - he was based out of his mother-in-law’s garage. An excel-based spreadsheet, which Shane likes to describe as “agricultural and very organic,” was used to track all his jobs. He admits it was really hard for the first 12-18 months; money was tight and he knew that something had to give so he started investigating job management solutions.
“The real driver for finding a job management solution was the integration with our accounting software. We also needed a reliable and professional system to take us to that next level within our business growth, a system that would grow and move with us.”
But the solution Shane initially chose was clunky, unreliable and not user-friendly. He got a lot of flak about it from his tradesmen out on the road and keeping track of paperwork became a nightmare. As Shane explains, “with 15 guys out on the road all over Auckland, we got really frustrated with chasing the paperwork we needed to get invoicing out in a timely manner - we were pulling our hair out!”
An opportunistic introduction to Fergus at an accounting seminar impressed Shane, so he looked into things further and liked what he saw. Making the switch to Fergus was an easy decision and Shane’s team have now been happily using Fergus for around five years.
“The main factor for us changing to Fergus was how great it was on the guys’ smartphones and how easy and user friendly it was for them to do their paperwork. Without Fergus now we’d be going backwards.”
Fergus has become an integral part of Activ8’s business, from the guys on site through to the administrators and managers. It integrates with their accounting software (MYOB) seamlessly, resulting in a much greater turnover of invoicing. Shane and Marc claim that paperwork is no longer an issue,“straight off the bat I knew it was about half a week for our admin lady that we were saving with Fergus.” What’s more, is that they can now see with a glance at the software, where they’re tracking and what’s happening.
A few years in and Shane says it’s difficult to pinpoint which features they use the most within Fergus, but the utilise as much of it as possible to suit their business.
“We use the supplier quoting and invoicing a lot and it’s so easy to add quotes, photos, and comments et cetera to the job card from out on the road. Certificates are very user-friendly too. We’re definitely pushing what we thought Fergus could do and it’s working extremely well.”
With the right systems and processes in place the Activ8 team are prepared for more growth and looking to increase staff numbers soon. For Shane, he’s now focussed on creating a succession plan that allows him to gradually step back from the day-to-day operations a bit.
“I want more time with the family and more time out from the business and we have a structure now that affords me that privilege.”
Everyone’s happy - especially the teams working out on the road. It’s fantastic to hear what an influence Fergus is having on the success of Activ8.
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