How to Master Field Service Optimization

There are several strategies that any field service business can adopt today for smarter scheduling, more valuable work and faster earnings. We’re going to walk you through them — think of this as a checklist or a master plan for growth. 

Integrate your CRM with other tools

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How to connect your integrations to your CRM platform?

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Techbit is the next-gen CRM platform designed for modern sales teams

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Why using the right CRM can make your team close more sales?

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What other features would you like to see in our product?

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We’re all used to hearing that time is money, and a penny saved is a penny earned. But, realistically, how do you optimize your business? It’s better to ditch the cliches for a more practical approach to help your field service do more with less when it comes to optimization for HVAC, plumbing or electrical contracting. 

There are several strategies that any field service business can adopt today for smarter scheduling, more valuable work and faster earnings. We’re going to walk you through them — think of this as a checklist or a master plan for growth. 

Optimization will not only help you extract more value from every technician and office administrator, but also make their lives easier. It’s a great investment toward retaining the skills you need as well as honing profitability. It all starts with realizing how many manual processes hold you back and which you can let software handle instead. 

Fine-tune your scheduling to complete more jobs 

Wondering where to start for optimization? Try route planning. After all, field service workers shouldn’t be stuck on the road for too long till they arrive at the next job. You’ll waste several hours every day (along with fuel), including the time it takes a technician to visit the office and check in for guidance. 

We’ve seen far too many field service businesses relying on whiteboards or SMS updates when mapping their routes for the day. It’s costly, slow and outdated. You can fall into a situation where contractors are traveling for dozens of miles between assignments because they aren’t sure where they should go or whether they can complete several visits near each other. 

However, if you automate field service management, then scheduling becomes a breeze. Generally, this relies on a few factors: 

  • Giving your speciality contractors a real-time GPS map for locations they’re due to visit. 
  • Prioritizing work orders based on their urgency, complexity or expense — completing the most essential jobs first.
  • Estimating work hours, so no one has to return to finish a maintenance request the next day or later in the week. 

Field service management software should make all of this possible. By building schedules for you and providing work order templates, it enables your office staff and technical teams to see what’s ahead before they even start work. If something changes — for instance, a technician becomes available in the morning or afternoon — then you can drag and drop a new work order into their real-time schedule. You’ll finish more jobs per day with optimized planning, and you don’t have to give directions yourself for where to go or what’s required. 

Empower your field team with more information 

Similarly, work orders must be optimized by design. Think about what every field team needs for a quality, reliable service: 

A description of the task at hand 

From describing the problem in detail to offering guidance for the best fix, work orders should explain what the technician is about to do, so they’re fully prepared and won’t call you with any questions. 

Supporting guidance and service histories 

When did the asset last break down? Is it under warranty? Does it demand emergency maintenance or regular, less critical repairs? Documents, pictures and other attachments ensure that your field team does great work every time. You might also want to provide directions for where to find the asset and any safety concerns to keep in mind on site. 

Matching the right inventory to the job 

If someone has to leave the customer to retrieve  specialist equipment, they’re going to cause more delays. Technicians should be prepared  before they start work. Plus, you want to limit carrying costs wherever possible, which means knowing exactly which inventory is useful for the service requests that bring in a lot of cash. 

All of these considerations allow your teams to make the most of their time and skills, rather than waiting for guidance or answers. That’s why field service management software lets you use or customize work order templates, eliminating the need to create new orders yourself with all the right information. Once you set rates, service types and priorities, you and your staff can filter incoming or active requests, finding all the information you’re looking for in seconds. What does that mean? No more errors! And, you’ll never leave someone hanging in the field.  

It’s worth looking into real-time messaging, too. Helping technicians and office staff communicate easily prevents urgent issues — which will occur, even with resource scheduling optimization — from being solved. Quicker, more accurate work will increase your earning potential and customer satisfaction. It’s a no-brainer. 

Assess which customers and field technicians are the most profitable

A key part of optimization is understanding which resources and people are paying off more than others. When you’re managing a field service business, this involves keeping an eye on inventory, vehicles, fuel spends and the rest of your expenses and overheads. But, it also accounts for the people you hire. You have to know whether they’re performing maintenance well or why they might be struggling. 

By assessing technician performance, you can retrain or rehire for positions that aren’t making you more profitable while rewarding employees who are smashing every job. A workforce tends to appreciate this benchmark because it’s fair and removes personal bias. As a result, technicians are motivated to work harder and reduce field service costs; they realize their success can be measured over time. 

Again, here’s how automated field service management software can drive optimization for your business: 

  • Easy, instant updates are shared for jobs that are due, in progress, completed or require a second visit. The field app UI should show all of these details clearly with color codes. 
  • Working hours are captured when a project starts and ends. You see exactly how long workers have spent on site. 
  • Then, it’s important to compare estimated hours versus the actual time it took to complete the task. The variance (positive or negative) reveals who worked faster or which employee might have to explain slow progress — for example, if they didn’t know what to do or found the project became more complicated. 

Field service optimization levels up even further when you bill automatically for the time you’re tracking. Leading software can calculate what every service assignment costs by adding recorded working hours to the customer rates, parts and materials you quote for. Over weeks and months, you’ll begin to understand which clients are bringing in the most money. From there, you can focus on that relationship and upsell your field service. These insights and accurate billing records are always running in the background, while you can change rates or expense fees whenever you like.

Optimize billing, invoicing and payroll 

We’ve discussed billing, but aside from automating your calculations, it’s also useful to have a flexible platform for accurately quoting a job on the spot. If you empower field workers to do this themselves, they can generate a quote and send it to you for sign off. Instead of hopping back and forth on calls to technicians who can potentially win you more business, you simply wait for an updated quote to arrive on your platform dashboard. 

That bill is sent straight to an invoice template once the work is done. Operix, our field service software, is pretty special for this: We’re the only provider to offer QuickBooks integration for companies like yours. Time-tracked work orders are fed into the accounting tool you’re used to, creating accurate invoices for same-day payments. It’s field service optimization that removes the burden from your and your office staff. Just review, send and sit back. Since these invoices are generated with all the right fees for work and consumables, nobody will refuse to pay due to an error or mixup, enhancing customer satisfaction once again. 

Finally, Operix helps accounting optimization by cutting payroll time down from a week to an hour. It doesn’t matter how large your workforce is; our automated system handles the small stuff, preventing mistakes or delays for the workers on your books. As you grow, you’ll spend less on payroll administration. Our solution scales with you. 

So, that’s the way forward for field service optimization. Ready to try Operix? There’s a free demo waiting to show how you’ll finish more jobs per day and improve your field service operation in any territory. Stay lean and agile. We make it simple.

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