Doing away with the paperwork once and for all

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By getting smart with new technologies, your trades business can improve its bottom line.

A typical day in a plumbing business sees the team out on the road, on site, at the merchant and in the workshop. It’s a diverse job and it’s always on the go.

Let’s be honest. Most tradespeople are the hands-on type, and don’t have much time—or inclination—to be stuck at the desk doing the paperwork.

The fact is, though, there’s a lot more to running a successful business than providing great service and skilled workmanship. There are estimates and quotes to generate, stock to order, bills to pay, compliance requirements to meet… and the list goes on.

This is where new technology comes into its own, as it enables you to do all these tasks without a piece of paper in sight.

For example, you can use software to track your vehicles, enabling you to see where your field staff are at any given time. This lets you dispatch the nearest person to the job—helping keep your workflow on schedule, your customers happy and your fuel bills down.

With software, you can estimate jobs quickly and accurately. When the work’s done, you can invoice the client instantly and get paid online, or even on the spot.

Meanwhile, accounting software does away with the need for spreadsheets by connecting directly with the bank. Your staff can submit their payslips and timesheets, and get paid, online.

If you’re working on a larger project—new housing, a major renovation or commercial work, for example—you can use job management software to manage the whole project from start to finish.

Today’s emerging BIM (Building Information Modelling) technology, also allows you to collaborate closely with other parties on the project, such as the architect, engineer and builder.

Installation manuals, safety data sheets and compliance documents (think AS/NZS 3500 or G12/AS1) can now be accessed on desktop and mobile devices—there’s no longer a need for print copies that gather dust on the shelf or dirt in the van. The other bonus is that you see the most up-to-date information, and access it anywhere, 24/7.

If you’re a gasfitter, cloud-based software is available to complete your certificates of compliance and gas safety certificates online, send them direct to clients and keep your own records.

Plus, all tradespeople can use today’s technology to manage debtors, complete on-site health and safety documentation, do CPD training… even read their industry magazine!

If you’re not sure how to access all this new technology, your trade membership organisation will be able to point you to what’s available.

Now is the time to throw away the filing cabinet and in-tray, clear the shelves of paperwork and take advantage of what’s out there to help you in the effective day-to-day running of your trades business.

By developing streamlined systems, better reporting and time efficiencies, your bottom line will soon see the benefit.