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9 min read

The trades guide to job management software

In this guide, we'll cover the basics of job management software and how it can help you run your businesses more efficiently, saving you time and increasing profitability. We'll also explore some of the top options for job management software and how to choose the right one for your business. Read on to find out more about this essential tool for any tradesperson. 

Small business owners often have to juggle multiple roles, especially when you’re just starting. Finding ways to automate and streamline admin means you can focus on the core work of your trade business. 

Staying organised can be one of the biggest challenges your business faces. Making sure that jobs are finished on time and within budget, that you are invoicing and paying on time, ordering materials and booking jobs to keep regular work coming in are all part of the job …. often all at the same time!

Job management software – JMS for short – can help you stay organised and on top of your cash flow and is an important tool to help you manage your workload and keep your business running smoothly.

 

What is job management software?

Think about all the tasks you have to do every day across your business - from scoping projects, quoting, getting the jobs done and then managing the money.

Using spreadsheets, customer files, and paper invoices may feel simple, but in reality, it’s disjointed, increases the chance of mistakes and is also a waste of effort and time.

The busier and more successful your business gets, the less free time you have as more and more paperwork comes through. This is where job management software steps in.

Job management software is just like any other tool in your business – it’s there to help you get the job done right the first time.

An all-in-one tool that helps you manage your customer jobs from start to finish, job management software helps you keep track of job details, customer information, invoicing, and more.

You can then manage customer jobs quickly and efficiently, saving time and money for your business.

Job management software lets you store important information about each job in one place. This makes it easy to access information about current jobs, previous jobs, customers, invoices, materials used and other data. You can also easily manage work orders and assignments with job management software.

Your work isn’t office-based, so your job management shouldn’t be either. The best job management software is also on an easy-to-use platform that you can access from any device – a computer, mobile phone or tablet – so you can quickly create job sheets, assign tasks to team members, and generate reports from anywhere at any time.

This means your trade business can organise and manage customer jobs more effectively and efficiently.

"We got onto Fergus and in just one quarter we smashed an extra 20-30% onto our sales through sheer organisational-efficiency.”

Duncan, J.T Carter  

 

Boost your cash flow and run a better trades business

Job management software is a powerful tool for tradespeople who want to boost their cash flow and run a more efficient and profitable business.

Imagine a dashboard where you can see all your current projects in one place, the stage of each job and what needs to be done. Seeing scope creep, lags and trends not only helps you fix any emerging issues, it creates a clear line of site, helping you identify ways to improve project delivery.

As your business grows and you put on staff, job management software also gives you real-time information about where your people are and which jobs they are working on, meaning you can better schedule their upcoming jobs and manage productivity. Knowing which team members are a drain on the business or who’s the most productive is invaluable – as a business owner, you need workers who will help grow your trade and win more projects.

 Instead of relying on manually inputting the materials required for each job, JMS automatically allocates these to each project and updates your inventory at the same time. This means you will never be caught short without key materials for jobs.

Scheduling and monitoring of jobs not only mean you can see the productivity of your team, you will also be better able to monitor costs and profit – two key areas of a successful business.

With the ability to generate detailed reports of your progress, JMS helps you make informed decisions about your business and keep track of your progress over time.

Offering an easy way to communicate with customers and team members, JMS tools allow everyone involved to stay in the loop.

Ultimately, the software provides a convenient, user-friendly way to manage your business and keep everything running smoothly.

 

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Which tasks does job management software manage?

  • Quoting - with up-to-date information relating to materials costs and labour, quoting has never been easier.

  • Scheduling - your dashboard means you can book jobs in a sequence that reduces travel for team members and gets more done in less time.

  • Tracking jobs - see in real-time how a job is progressing, the milestones reached and manage variations as they occur.

  • Managing on-the-job - improve real-time accuracy and log purchases and use of materials on all of your jobs and track all time spent on the job, whether you bill it or not.

  • Managing teams - have complete visibility of your team members, where they are and which jobs they’re working on. Monitor performance and also improve their safety in the event they are working alone or on higher-risk jobs

  • Invoicing - as soon as a job is done, automatically generate and send your invoice to your customer by email or SMS.

  • Reporting - see how a job is tracking and how much it’s making or costing you. Running over budget? See what’s going wrong before you lose your margin. Reporting tools should also provide broader insights into your trade business performance.



What features are included in job management software?

Features can vary between software providers and payment packages. But at the very least a basic package should include:

  • Job creation and job allocation - Create an online profile for each of your jobs where you can include details such as the customer, the job type, the date, and the location. Once a job profile is created, you can then assign the job to one of your staff with job allocation. This sends an email or SMS to that staff member’s phone along with all the details of the job.

  • Job schedules and timesheets- Each job, once assigned to your team, can live on one calendar on your dashboard to give you a big-picture view of all jobs and their status. Staff can view their day, week and month ahead of time, put in sick leave or annual leave, and make sure there aren’t any clashes in their schedule. While they’re out on a job, they can also keep track of work hours by completing time entries on their phone.

  • Staff location tracking - Through the use of smartphones and GPS, you can view the exact location and route that someone takes while travelling to a job and when at a job. This is great for finding out an ETA without disrupting someone while they’re driving and also means you know exactly where your team members are at all times.

  • Financial management tools - Using custom templates, you can create quotes and invoices quickly and send them straight to customers via email or SMS. You can keep an online record of your statements and have the most up-to-date information in one place. Financial tools also offer the opportunity to track business expenses, making it easier to charge clients for jobs and keep track of taxable items.

  • A version for smartphones and tablets - In today’s world, most software is “mobile friendly”. This means your team members can log into their jobs and provide real-time updates directly into the system, sending information directly into your system to keep time sheets, product and materials inventories, invoicing costs and more up to date

  • Able to integrate with other software - Any JMS should have the capability to link with other software, such as accounting packages. This means information flows directly from one system into the next - again reducing errors and saving time. 

 

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The top 10 benefits of job management software

  1. Increased efficiency - Efficiency is so important to your business’s cash flow and bottom line, doing jobs on time and right the first time means you aren’t spending extra time, money and resources to fix mistakes or start again. Job management software helps you organise and manage your jobs more efficiently. You can easily schedule appointments, assign tasks to employees, and monitor project progress. This means that you spend less time managing your jobs and more time doing them.

  2. Improved productivity - Productivity is the result of efficiency – when you’re working well, tasks just get done better. When you use job management software, you can quickly identify bottlenecks in your workflow. With this information, you can make adjustments to ensure that your employees are working at their best. This leads to improved productivity and faster completion of projects.

  3. Cost savings -  Being able to access a software platform from anywhere at any time is a time saver and a money saver. Increased visibility of jobs and your people means you will be able to streamline jobs and get more work done. Automating workflows (all the steps to complete a job from start to finish) through JMS also saves time across administration – meaning your people can focus on helping you grow the business.

  4. Better customer service - Job management software includes features to automatically keep customers up to date as their project progresses via text or email. This offers the customer certainty and also reduces unplanned phone calls and emails. A great customer experience means referrals and a strong portfolio of work you can use to win the next job.

  5. Better record keeping - Job Management Software tracks customer interactions from enquiry through to customer payment and feedback in detail. You’ll have a complete picture of what parts or materials were used and their cost, which team members worked on which stages of the job - and the time used for each work package. This means you are better able to manage any potential issues in the future - and that all costs are accurately attributed to the right project.

  6. Better business planning - Knowledge truly is power when it comes to managing your business. Information from projects will help you understand which projects take longer and cost more. You’ll then be able to build better informed estimates and potentially be able to focus on higher paying jobs.

  7. Reduce wastage - Information and workflow are key in reducing wastage - use data from your software platform to understand which people, products and jobs are creating waste. You’ll be able to more accurately estimate products and materials required to get jobs done on budget and on time - meaning reduced product wastage.

  8. Avoid materials shortages -  Have you ever arrived at a job site and not had what you needed to complete the job? With your materials and product inventory linked to the JMS, you’ll be better able to monitor stock levels and automatically trigger replacement orders.

  9. Less stress - With a range of tasks automated, reduced errors and improved productivity, you’ll spend much less time worrying about missing information and catching up with administration and other tasks. This gives you the power to be able to focus on other key aspects of your business without unnecessary stress.

    No more late nights and weekends catching up on admin.

  10. Put your best foot forward - Job Management Software means information flows where it’s needed when it’s needed. Information will be at your fingertips 24/7 - and makes your business more professional and competitive.

"If I could give one piece of advice to other tradespeople starting out is that you should implement the system before there’s even a real requirement for it. It’s good to get it early, even if there’s not much happening, so you can start playing with it and learn how to use it. Get Xero and Fergus before you do anything else.”

Jim, JMTEC Services

 

Choosing the right software for your business

Choosing the right job management software for your business can be a daunting task, but it’s an essential part of ensuring your business runs smoothly and efficiently. To choose the right software for your business, think about your specific needs, budget, and available resources.

Step 1: Determine what your exact needs are to help you find a product that meets your requirements. Consider what tasks you need to accomplish with the software and if it supports any other programs or systems you already use. Additionally, look into how user-friendly it is, as well as the range of features and customisation options available.

Step 2: Consider your budget. Different software packages have different prices and features, so make sure to compare several options to find one that fits within your budget – including whether you can pay monthly, annually or if there is a one-of cost. Check to see if the software offers free trial periods or discounted introductory offers.

Step 3: Assess the resources available to you. This includes assessing the availability of staff who can manage and support the software, as well as any other resources such as data storage and IT services. By taking all of these factors into account, you can be sure that you find a software package that fits all of your needs and is affordable for your business.

Use a buyer guide to help evaluate your options and select the system that works best for you.

 

How do you get started with job management software?

In real life, most people spend time and effort looking at their options and testing them before committing to big decisions.

Most platforms offer free trials alongside demos for interested buyers. They also usually have online resources, tips and tricks to show you how to use different features of the software step by step. Some also include remote support to help get businesses up and running.

 Once you’ve decided on a job management software solution, the next step is to create an account and set up your system. You’ll need to provide basic information about your business, such as contact information and payment methods. This will help the software tailor its services to meet your specific needs.

After your account is created, you’ll need to start entering data into the system. This includes customer information, jobs and any related tasks or materials needed to complete them. The software will store this data for you, allowing you to easily view, organise and manage your job list. You’ll also need to connect it to your account software or anything else you will use with it.

Choose a person – this could be you, too! – in your business, who can become the “subject matter expert” and give them the time and support they need to learn all aspects of the system. This expert can then mentor the rest of the team as they each use the software to do their jobs more effectively.

By following these steps, you can quickly and easily get your business up and running with a job management software solution. With the right system in place, you can save time, money and boost your cash flow.

 

Where to from here

When your business is just starting out is the best time to invest in tools such as job management software. As your business grows, the right JMS will grow with you, making it easier to hire staff, quote on bigger and more complex jobs and keep your admin time to a minimum.

Job management software helps you to future-proof your business. You’ll be able to focus on what you do and doing it well – which will bring more business and help you build your bottom line.

Don’t be afraid to investigate different options. Get started with Fergus today.

 

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