Every business, organization, and person has struggled with wasted time at some point. When it comes to running your field service business, there are few common-culprit timewasters right within your project estimate, invoicing, and payment processes that you should be sure to weed out. If you don’t, these inefficiencies will only grow and continue to eat into your profits as you hire new employees or take on more or larger projects. Here are three common timewasters to look for.
When times are busy, it’s easy to become disorganized. If you are still handing out paper estimates and invoices to customers and keeping a physical record of all projects, that process is likely adding to the chaos. Even if you’re one step ahead and use digital paper trails sent via email, it’s likely your inbox is just as messy as a paper filing cabinet. Sometimes just searching your sent emails can be stressful because the email address can be something random that doesn’t relate at all to the customer’s name. Then, you have to go on a wild goose chase when a question arises on an estimate or invoice. How long does it take you to find what you’re looking for? Even if you have everything in the most organized piles or folders, digging for information can be stressful. And it’s even more stressful if there is more than one version of the estimate you’re looking for.
With Project 2 Payment, we take care of the organization and versioning for you, so you can easily find any project, estimate, invoice, or customer that you need information on. For example, if you have a customer who has multiple projects that you have worked on, you can pull up that customer’s name and see which projects you have worked on, the dates you worked on them, and which ones still require payment.
Some jobs require a chisel, some a sledgehammer, and others a jackhammer. Knowing which tool to use helps with the efficiency of the job. If you are using multiple tools to send estimates and invoices and receive payments, you are using the wrong tools for the job and wasting time moving from one tool to the next. Tracking can become a nightmare if everything isn’t kept within one software tool.
Project 2 Payment is a single software tool that helps you manage projects from creation to payment. There’s no re-entering the same information multiple times, adding data into spreadsheets, and always falling behind on billing because the process is such a pain. Rather, you can easily add items from your item library to your estimate and send your estimate electronically to your customer right from within the tool. You can request customer approval and a down payment if you’d like. Once you’re ready to receive final payment for the job, just click the button to convert the estimate to an invoice. Project 2 Payment emails the invoice to your customer and includes a payment link for your customer to electronically pay online. And the best part? You’ll be able to view every step of the process within Project 2 Payment. You can see what’s been sent, what’s been paid, and what’s outstanding, and you can even get new project requests sent to Project 2 Payment right from your website contact form. Project 2 Payment is like a jackhammer with chisel precision.
The work is completed and all that is left is payment. When customer payments are late, small field service business owners are often forced to float their own personal money to keep business moving. Plus, they waste a lot of valuable time tracking down payment. In fact, 12% of total construction costs are comprised of slow payments that take more than 90 days to get paid. Slow payments mean one in three contractors are forced to finance cash flow needs which add carrying costs like interest.
In the past, personal financing was the only option to keep business moving. Now, field service businesses are combating the cost of wasted time waiting on payments by switching to software like Project 2 Payment. Field service software helps contractors accept digital payments and track payments more easily. Not only that, but you can set up automated invoice reminders so you don’t have to spend your precious time tracking down payment for work you’ve already done. Customers are looking for more convenient and secure ways to pay, and you are looking to get paid more quickly. Software like Project 2 Payment is the perfect solution for everyone to get what they want at the end of a project.
To get to the true cost of wasted time, you’ll need to solve a little math problem. This is going to involve a little guesswork since you’re probably not keeping track of how you spend your time – and if you are, we’re impressed. You’ll need to add up the approximate number of hours of wasted time for the week. This could involve tasks like driving back to a job site to pick up a check and drop it off at the bank, searching for project data you could have sworn was in your truck, or data re-entry to complete your billing process. Next, multiply that number by your average hourly rate. That is how much wasted time is costing you on a weekly basis. If you want a more concerning number, you can multiply that number by 52 to get what wasted time costs you over a year. If you have employees, that number multiplies again.
The dollar figure may seem bad enough, but the true cost of wasted time doesn’t just affect your bottom line. Wasted time on the job means lost time doing things you want to do, such as spend time with family, enjoy time outdoors, or take a vacation and travel. Depending on how you look at it, your time can be more valuable than money. Take steps to streamline your estimation, invoicing, and payment process now so you can spend more time doing the things you love to do.