Trade Software Expert
Tyler Sprunt is a plumber by trade. Landing a plumbing apprenticeship at the age of 20, he’s never looked back and today is the co-owner of AXT Plumbing in Yarrawonga, Victoria, Australia.
AXT Plumbing was founded by Tyler’s business partner Ashley Thomson in 2010, with Tyler buying into the company in 2014. The pair have since more than doubled the size of the business, growth which Tyler attributes in part to Fergus. We had a chat with Tyler to learn a bit more about what keeps things ticking.
Time is money for the trades
In the beginning, Tyler recalls everything to do with running the business side of things taking a huge amount of time, especially when it came to invoicing and reconciliation. Ashley’s wife Vanessa took care of as much of the admin as possible, but at the end of the day Tyler and Ashley’s knowledge of jobs meant that they were the ones that had to go over everything.
“The amount of time we were investing into creating jobs, tracking jobs, tracking incoming and outgoing costs was a big problem. We might have been doing 100 invoices a month and matching up our invoices with the job card was laboursome and frustrating.”
Then there was the coordination of the team and the loss of hours and materials.
“Loss of hours from workers was huge. Constantly we’d miss jobs or miss hours. We’d miss materials on jobs because everything was in paper format.”
It wasn’t a sustainable way of working, so the pair set out to find a better way. After hearing about Job Management Software, they checked out a few different solutions before signing up with Fergus. A decision which Tyler puts down to simply being a better fit than other platforms. It was user-friendly and the training and implementation seemed easier as there was less time and money involved to get started.
In the beginning AXT Plumbing made use of Fergus’ free online training and support to get up and running as quickly as possible. They had 3-4 sessions in the first few months, each time learning how to use it better and more productively.
Tyler recalls the biggest challenge was not so much the tech, but the change itself. They were learning as a team and it took a while for everyone to get used to a different way of doing things.
“Once you get past that initial period it’s great. We did all the training videos online together to bring the boys up to speed and they love it now.”
Using Fergus has now become second nature and as the company grows, those new to the team pick it up quickly as they are able to learn from those around them.
Tyler says the growth of the business coincided with them bringing Fergus onboard.
“When I first bought into the business there was only 3 or 4 of us. Fergus helped definitely, we went from 3 or 4, to 8, 9 and then 10 over the course of 2 years. We’ve found a nice little spot in the market now and hover around 10 to 12 people depending on demand.”
When we asked Tyler what he thought about Fergus, his response was “it just solved everything”. The increase in turnover was immediate, which he puts down to things no longer slipping through the cracks.
“We never miss a job and we never miss a product [cost] now. Everything gets billed out. So the difference in turnover and cash flow has been huge.”
Every job used to require a phone call. That amounted to 30-40 phone calls a day to staff, simply to tell them what job they needed to get to next. Now the job comes in, it gets put in the calendar and the team all know what they’re doing and where they need to be before they go to work that day.
Tyler says Fergus reports have given AXT Plumbing greater visibility into the financial side of the business, especially the Financial Summary. Furthermore, the clarity they now have into their costs and margins when invoicing, has put the company in a much better financial position overall.
“I don’t think we’d have a business if it wasn’t for Fergus, and that’s honest. We certainly needed job software that was built for the trades.”
Tyler says the business continues to benefit from all the new features being introduced in the app, including the recent introduction of the Reece integration. As their main supplier, Tyler estimates this saved their office staff an additional hour a day. They are also making good use of Fergus Checklists and Forms, which have proven particularly useful for managing Health & Safety processes.
“Checklists and Forms have been great! We’ve had some really great feedback from customers on these, especially given everything going on with the Covid pandemic.”
Tyler says “just enjoy it”. His biggest tip is not to be a slave to your business and to make sure you are enjoying what you are doing. It can’t feel like a chore and if it’s getting too hard then he recommends doing something to change it, to make it enjoyable again.
Being a business owner, Tyler claims there’s never enough hours in the day, so any time you win back is invaluable.
“The amount of time that Fergus can save you, that you can use to pursue other aspects of your life, whether that’s time with family or for recreation is just awesome. I like to be outside doing something, anything, and the more time I get to do that, the better for everyone involved.”