Tag Archive for: Contractor Apps

4 Ways Service-Based Contractors Can Benefit from a Mobile App

In industrialized economies, service-based contractors grease the wheels in the market segments in which they compete. They allow enterprises, large and small, to outsource vital business processes to function more smoothly and cost-effectively. And that’s great, but how do contractors reduce their costs while increasing efficiency?

A way to change gears and turbo charge any service-based business is with a mobile app. And why that’s the case is because a mobile app helps automate various crucial tasks. Thus, reducing or cutting out staffing overheads almost entirely. Furthermore, a mobile app never sleeps and provides service around the clock.

And if you’re a contractor, all this may sound very enticing. But a mobile app doesn’t only help automate things, as it’s also capable of so much more. Below, we’ll go into greater detail about what mobile apps can do for service-based contractors.

1. Reporting Tools For Contractors Working Out In The Field

Let’s consider for a minute that you run a data center maintenance service in your area. And you have several technicians that drive out to these data centers, many of which are out of town. Now, you want all these technicians to keep you informed and report on all the maintenance work done at these sites. Preferably, you’ll want to have all reports submitted as quickly as possible to inform the client of any issues that will impact business.

But how do you do this without having your technicians come to the office or engage in costly phone calls?

Well, the most efficient way is by implementing powerful reporting tools in a mobile app, which may run on a tablet or smartphone. And this app may also include a checklist, which technicians need to check off to show that they’re working within established maintenance protocols. Furthermore, technicians can conduct security audits and report any breaches and discrepancies.

Once they input this information, the app will immediately send it to your servers and update the client’s maintenance report in real-time. In case of a breach, you can respond immediately by sending out a cyber security specialist and notifying your client. The quicker you respond, the higher your chances of dealing with a security breach and keeping your client’s data safe.

2. Enhance Collaboration With A Project Management App

It matters not if you’re running a data center maintenance or a packing service, as you’ll be dealing with customer demands, deadlines, and staff management issues. So, you’ll need tools that make collaboration a breeze, regardless of whether your staff comes to the office, works remotely or both.

A well-designed custom project management app will empower you and your staff to make the right moves. It should have an easy-to-understand user interface (UI) that your non-tech-savvy employees can navigate easily. But user-friendliness isn’t what this app is all about, as it will also need several vital features.

It should have a task tracker that can handle multiple projects, even thousands, if necessary. Moreover, it should accurately track and record the following: assigned staff, client information, due dates, project status, task descriptions, and task priorities. To better organize tasks, use a Kanban board combined with advanced filtering features to sort through multiple projects quickly.

And it’s necessary to implement a timer that accurately tracks the duration of all tasks. You may record this information and make it available in a timesheet. It will also help you determine the completion of projects, bill clients, and pay staff. Furthermore, you can integrate multiple payment processing platforms such as PayPal and Stripe for all digital transactions.

So, you can effectively turn your project management app into a central hub for handling the most crucial business processes. And when you grow your service-based business and need additional features, you have options. You can either add these to your project management app or develop another app that integrates with your existing systems.

3. AI Chatbots Apps Make Contractors Available 24/7

Clients hate it when they can’t reach their contractors on the phone or have to wait for an email response. They expect to speak to a company representative immediately to help them with any issues they may encounter. But as we all know, that’s not always possible, especially if the contractor is small in size without enough staff on hand. Or can’t afford to hire a call center to handle all incoming calls.

However, neither is a good excuse as to why contractors of any size can’t respond to their clients. Not only is this unprofessional, but it will also cause clients to reconsider working with contractors that don’t seem helpful.

So how do we solve this problem and provide clients with a 24/7 response channel? Well, a mobile app can act as a viable communications channel. And if we implement AI chatbots within the app’s messaging service, clients can have their queries answered by these chatbots immediately. In fact, AI-powered chatbots will seem so convincing that many clients won’t even realize that they’re not conversing with actual humans.

Furthermore, the beauty of chatbots is that they’re incredibly versatile. You can make them conversational so that they can be more engaging. Alternatively, they can operate as virtual assistants and be very informative to help clients with deeply technical issues.

And from a development standpoint, all the major technology companies have a chatbot or virtual assistant platform. Apple has Siri, Google has Dialogflow, and Microsoft has Azure Bot Service.

4. AR & VR For Interactive Training Sessions

Perhaps your company offers online and offline training services to clients. But you want to stand out by providing them an interactive and meaningful experience they won’t get anywhere else. And the best way to do this is with augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) mobile apps.

You’ll opt for an AR app if your training sessions require interaction and representation of the real world. For example, you may be training a client’s employees to detect and repair gas leaks on actual gas pipes. The AR app will aid them in correctly identifying the fittings, piping, and tubing as they pass the smartphone camera over these. And on the smartphone display, a description of the part with a visualization of the tooling and repair methodology will pop up.

But you may opt for a VR app if you need to simulate various dangerous scenarios related to gas leaks. Perhaps, you need these employees to fix gas pipes located in areas with highly combustible materials nearby. But you don’t want to put these employees in harm’s way, so it’s preferable for them to receive training in a virtual environment that’s completely safe.

The VR app will show a realistic 3D representation of the test environment with the pipe fittings. And each employee will wear a VR headset made exclusively for smartphones, such as the Samsung Gear VR. Then, the app will use a smartphone’s accelerometer to track head movements and the VR device’s controller to execute actions. For most employees, the experience won’t seem much different from playing a game from a first-person perspective.

The Bottom Line

Service-based contractors have become indispensable in modern economies. They help businesses of all sizes achieve their goals by providing services that are beyond the capabilities and scope of these businesses. And with the right kind of mobile apps, contractors can meet and surpass the expectations of even their most demanding clients.

Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you create outstanding mobile apps for your service-based contract business!

10 Mobile Apps Contractors Use To Boost Business

The proliferation of the Internet and mobile technology is driving the current “on-demand” economy. Customers in this type of economy expect to receive a high-quality product or service as soon as they need it.

Uber was one of the first businesses to successfully provide on-demand services, and is best known as a personal transportation services. But, Uber also allows customers to outsource basic life tasks such as buying groceries and laundry. This was accomplished in part by providing Uber drivers and customers access to the same mobile website and also providing both with unique interfaces.

Today’s on-demand economy has also changed the business operations of independent contractors, also known as freelancers in some industries. Contractors are more likely to compete for projects that are beyond their normal scope by outsourcing work to a third-party.

A Mobile App development can be a highly effective way for contractors to eliminate these middlemen, allowing contractors to connect with potential clients more directly, complete recurring tasks more efficiently and much more. This strategy generally increases the quality of service and return on investment.

How Contractors Are Starting To Use Apps

Uber’s early success in an on-demand economy also gave rise to similar businesses such as Taskrabbit, which provides household services. Heal is a similarly run company that allows healthcare providers to make house calls to patients. The success of these businesses makes it clear that on-demand services are useful for both general and specialized industries.

For example, Amazon Home Services was launched in 2015, and currently shows listings for over 900 professional services. Users simply specify the search criteria for a particular service to obtain a list of contractors offering that service.

These middlemen can be beneficial to both contractors and clients, but they also have some disadvantages. For example, home repair contractors often fail to acquire a significant portion of their business from these services, since their customers tend to choose a contractor based only on price.

This hiring behavior can reduce the quality of work and increase upsells of additional services to increase profit. These contractor “matchmaking” sites also standardize competition, making it more difficult for contractors to distinguish themselves from their competitors. For example, the contractor profiles on Angie’s List must all fit the same general parameters.

How Contractors Can Gain A Competitive Advantage With Mobile Apps

Mobile apps provide a promising option for allowing independent contractors to gain a competitive advantage while ensuring that customers receive high-quality work. These apps can save customers time and money, and increase the value of individual brands for a range of professional services.

Mobile apps can also create another channel for local contractors to contact new customers when they’re combined with a company website. This benefit is particularly useful for local contractors, who often rely on referrals and word-of-mouth.

Mobile apps provide contractors with a single platform for broadcasting their brand and integrating communications with their customers such as email, newsletters, and social media. Contractors can even use a mobile app’s push notification to immediately contact loyal customers with incentives.

Other features such as calendars can prevent missed appointments and double bookings, in addition to facilitating the coordination of team members. Mobile apps can also include a payment system to invoice customers and help ensure they pay on time. These features are particularly helpful for independent contractors, who are routinely paid late.

Apps That Contractors Are Using Today

1. SiteMax

SiteMax is a cloud-based site management system that increases a contractor’s accountability and transparency, thus establishing trust with clients. Features include custom site reports, digital timecards, digital purchase orders, progress photos and 24-hour weather reports. These capabilities allow contractors to incorporate their current paper processes into a single electronic process.

2. Snappii Mobile Apps

Snappii offers a collection of mobile construction apps. These apps can optimize the workflow between the office and field, which reduces paperwork and increases operational efficiency. The most popular of these apps include Change Management, Daily Logs, Equipment and Inventory, Project Management and Safety Inspection. Contractors can also convert existing paper forms into a digital format and customize them to meet specific needs.

3. FACS

FACS is a cloud-based software suite that includes several project management solutions for construction projects. It also allows users to customize their workflow for their particular needs. FACS is primarily intended for project managers, but it’s also useful for contractors, owners and employees who need to eliminate project delays caused by outdated document management systems.

4. CommittedCost

CommittedCost is an online software solution that manages project costs. It uses committed field costs and daily progress reports to estimate the project’s final costs. CommittedCost tracks all of the costs for a project, including procurement, engineering and on-site costs. Contractors can begin using CommittedCost very quickly since it doesn’t require installation or IT expertise.

5. Knowify

Knowify is a suite of tools for dispatch management and contract jobs that are specifically designed for residential remodelers. It helps users to operate in a paperless environment and improves their insights into job performance. Knowify’s many capabilities include contract management, project management, project estimates, invoicing, scheduling and time tracking. It also synchronizes with QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online.

6. Lessons Learned Database

Lessons Learned Database helps contractors learn and apply the lessons learned from an after action review or similar event. It provides a repository for information captured during a review and maintains it for future use. This capability is valuable because such information is often lost after a review or never used for future projects.

7. ControlBoard

ControlBoard is designed to solve problems in commercial construction such as the scheduling, dispatching and tracking of resources. It directly addresses resource allocation for a specific project and time period, rather than simply planning project activities. Contractors can begin using ControlBoard within 30 minutes to improve their resource scheduling.

8. dapulse

dapulse is a project management solution that helps team members collaborate more effectively. It increases productivity by helping users to focus on a project’s most critical tasks. dapulse also shows users the status of each task at a glance. Additional benefits of dapulse include improving operational efficiency by reducing meetings and emails.

9. Bridgit Closeout

Bridgit Closeout provides construction contractors with a punch list, allowing them to complete projects on time and on budget. It’s typically used by general contractors on commercial, multi-family, education and hospitality projects. Bridgit Closeout includes a mobile app that lets contractors use photos to quickly log tasks, which can greatly reduce the time spent tracking critical issues. This mobile app also automates the communication between contractors and subcontractors, keeping team members accountable and in sync with each other.

10. CoConstruct

CoConstruct is intended for builders and remodelers who need to design custom projects. It’s an all-in-one tool that allows them to estimate the project’s cost by entering data only once. This data can then move through the various phases of a project’s workflow, including specifications, proposals, bids, change orders and budgeting. CoConstruct can also move project data to and from QuickBooks.

Finding The Right Mobile App For Your Business

Many contractors will be able to find a helpful mobile app in the list above. Just remember that just like every business is unique, so is every app. If you want to optimize the way your business operates and find the perfect app for your business, contact NS804 to learn about customized mobile apps for contractors.