The one thing both schools have in common is that software can have a significant positive impact on your business.
Sometimes it's through the automation of processes, other times it's the actual process itself. And sometimes it just makes you more efficient. No matter what, there is no doubt that software has a direct impact on your P&L for better or worse.
Software as an Employee for your restoration business
The best way to think about software as a business owner is to imagine that the software is an employee. That means that there should be specifically defined functions. The software should be used in a certain way, and there should be no other way that it's utilized. You can think of anything from data entry to marketing automation.
Consider the entire process, and think about areas of your business that are time-consuming. And areas that are subject to human error, or rely on specific data. This is where the software will shine for your business, and become one of your most valuable assets.
Business software is helpful for business owners because it can automate processes and make work more efficient, which will make the company more profitable.
A cost-benefit analysis is an important part of the decision-making process when it comes to investing in software for your business.
There are a few things you need to take into account when performing a cost-benefit analysis:
-The cost of the software
-The benefits of the software
-How long it will take for the benefits to pay for the cost of the software.
You also need to consider things like how much time the software will save, and how much money the software will make.
Once you have all of this information, you can perform a simple calculation to figure out if the benefits of the software outweigh the costs.
The first major type of software that is crucial to any restoration business is a CRM. This stands for a customer relationship manager.
The CRM is where you will manage every single interaction that you have with a contact, from when they first discover your business to the final payment of their restoration invoice.
A good CRM allows you to organize information in a way that's most convenient for your team. In addition, it keeps the sales team and marketers aligned.
Most of the time, marketing software is an add-on to your CRM. This way you can keep track of all of your contacts and interactions that are directly related to marketing efforts.
There are three types of marketing software: direct email marketing software, paid advertising management, and social media management.
Email is an absolute requirement for any company. Your email hosting provider should integrate with your CRM software. This way any interactions with leads, customers, adjusters, and more are captured.
Our favorite setup is to use Gmail for your business email. You can see their offer here.
Some CRM's have a built-in phone system. Others have integration with popular VOIP providers such as call rail or Twilio.
We recommend using a phone system that works on your mobile device, so you can go anywhere and take business calls. And also log the call to your CRM against that contact record. This way you never lose this information.
You can send SMS messages with your phone, or through an online service like Twilio. This allows you to send automatic replies, targeted messages with personalized content, and more.
We recommend finding a phone system that works with you're CRM and also includes SMS features.
There have been some lawsuits against companies over SMS marketing. So make sure that you've carefully read through their terms of service. And it's also best practice to get authorization to send messages before you do so.
Calendar integration is important so you can see if someone is available. As well as remind the team of events and set up meetings.
You'll also want to schedule recurring tasks and reminders, such as follow-up calls or emails. Once this information is stored in your calendar, it's easy to keep track of what was said and when.
Having a calendar integration with your CRM will help your team organize their time and manage the workload.
There are also calendar scheduling tools like calendar, go schedule, and wp calendar.
These tools allow your customers to set up appointments with you, either in person or via video conference. They integrate with your email system, calendar, and CRM software.
A key component of any CRM is marketing automation. This feature will allow you to send automated emails, conduct outbound phone calls, and generate targeted ads based on a contact's interactions with your business.
Automation is a great way to save time and ensure consistency in your marketing efforts. It also makes it possible to send product updates, new deals, or other relevant information.
We recommend segmenting contacts based on their actions so you can quickly identify which group they belong to and what type of message.
Marketing is required for any business in the restoration industry. Since everyone needs to attract customers, and maximize profits.
Another key aspect to consider in a CRM selection is integrations with other programs.
If you're using a business management program such as Teamwork, QuickBooks, Podium, or other third-party software, you'll want to check that your CRM has integrations.
This way the data is shared between two programs without having to re-enter it. This can save a lot of time and effort, especially when managing leads, contacts, and customers.
Certain CRM's are more Sales focused, such as salesforce.
If you're a sales team and this is the primary function, then we recommend going with a Sales focused CRM.
This will allow you to structure your leads and target customers and agencies and filter by geography, price range, and more.
Most Small to Medium restoration companies don't need a sales-heavy feature set. Since the sales process is generally very short. And there is usually not a need for a large sales team.
On the other hand, there are certain CRM's that focus more on Marketing.
We recommend restoration contractors use a marketing-focused tool. Since you need to gather more data about your customers and leads.
These CRM's will allow you to tag contacts, segment them into groups, and track their actions. They can also help you generate targeted ads for better lead conversions.
The final CRM is the kitchen sink. It's the CRM that tried to do everything but didn't do anything particularly well.
We don't recommend using a kitchen sink CRM, since that will only complicate things.
It will be hard to manage your workflow and harder for you or your team members to use it on a daily basis.
Restoration companies need more than just good marketing tools. They also require people to manage jobs. If your team struggles too much with any piece of software in particular then it will drag down efficiency.
Software to help on the Job Site
Software that helps on the job site is a huge help.
Many of the Restoration companies we work with use some cloud-based solution for operational efficiency. These different pieces of software can make your restoration jobs go more smoothly.
Restoration Management Software
Restoration Management Software is a project management tool for restoration projects.
This software will help you manage all the steps of a restoration job. They typically integrate with your phones, email, calendar, CRM, etc.
When combined with your scheduling features they make it easy to track labor costs and call out team members who are behind schedule or off-site.
This job management software will make sure that your whole team has insight into the details of each job.
Most Job management software has a time tracking feature. IF not, many programs that have time tracking and clock-in/ clock-out features. Keeping accurate records of labor hours, and accurately costing against the correct water restoration project.
This is a necessary function for team management and collecting the appropriate job information.
Vehicle tracking is a great tool that is sometimes included in water restoration software. If not there are fleet management tools that will keep track of your company vehicles.
They will track mileage, fuel costs, GPS location, and more. They can then share that data with your staff, letting them know where a certain vehicle is located or if it's been used for over the allowed miles over a set time period.
They can also help you schedule maintenance and repairs on your fleet. And these tools can even help you track driver behaviors. The helps reduce your insurance liability. And prevent tickets and risk-taking behaviors.
Equipment tracking is a feature of some restoration software that helps you keep track of your company's equipment. It can help you keep track of the age, location, and maintenance history of your equipment. This information can help you make better decisions about when to replace or repair your equipment.
This can prevent equipment from getting lost. And creating an audit trail for the job file that you will share with insurance adjusters. This is a powerful way to track equipment and save money.
Inventory control is a system that businesses use to track the items they have in stock. This can help businesses manage their stock more efficiently and prevent them from overstocking or understocking items.
Some Restoration software includes inventory control features. There are also specific inventory control tools and databases that you can use.
This will help you to track consumable use against a specific job. If you have all the information about a job you can protect both your job and operations.
And by granting access to specific employees to track the consumables use, you can forecast much more accurately. This can help you keep customers happy and outer compete with other contractors.
Accounting software is a program used for accounting. Utilizing such software can help you track your company's financial health and meet certain objectives. They may also be useful for managing your inventory.
Some restoration software has accounting features built-in. But in this case, we really recommend using a best-in-class tool like Quickbooks. This will help you manage your finances. Integrating with your scheduling software and tracking equipment purchases and depreciation. Often you can integrate with inventory control software as well, to have a granular look at the exact costs of every job. This allows you to earn more money as you become more profitable.
And your ability to share financial information with accountants and CPAs easily in the software they prefer to use.
Document Signing is a huge necessity in the Water restoration industry. This is often built into restoration management software, and also many CRMs. This allows you to collect signed documents easily and access them when needed. This protects you and your clients.