Was thinking about using technology for my plumbing business and implementing a software solution for my accounting, contact, prospects, quotes, invoicing, etc. Would it be a worthwhile change?
Anybody else using business software and if so, what kind?
I've been looking into some programs, but not sure if they're the sort you're talking about. For what you've mentioned, it seems QuickBooks might work. For estimating there's HomeTech Advantage, and for customer/contractor job tracking there's Co-Construct and BuilderTrend. I've heard good things about the last two, but haven't used any of them yet.
Which ones have you been looking into?
I use Quickbooks Contractor Pro premiere edition and it does the trick for me. I am not sure the size of your company, but for the estimating, job tracking and costing, payroll, banking, and so on it has everything that I need.
But there are literally hundreds of programs you could use. Why not download a few trials and see what works best for you in your situation. You could even get by with using a software as simple as my invoices & estimates, like $30 at staples.
But as everything else in this industry, you get what you pay for.
It is a good idea to look at a couple of different programs or management tools before deciding what works for your company. There are many available and you can find one that suits the size and complexity of your particular business. I find, however that it is not so much the actual software itself which is critical, but paying attention to the steps and processes needed to run the business of the sales and office side.
Many business people think that adding a software program will turn them into a organized office machine with proper quotes, job cost estimates, budgeting etc. all being done very professionally and that is simply not the case. It is more important to have a system and structure in place (hence any program will be effective) rather than having a great program and not the willingness to use it properly. A simple notebook which tracks calls, follow ups etc. can be as effective as a sales management program for the person who uses it properly.
I tried many different programs both online (cloud-based) and stand alone. You may be different, but my experience is that because of time constraints, it is much more efficient for me to just organize all my receipts and invoices, etc. And give to an accountant. The cost of paying an accountant to prepare my accounting or bookkeeper is small compared to the cost for the amount of my time to learn a new system and then a new habit of daily or weekly input to use the new program -it's just not worth my time.
All the best Joe.
Regarding quotes, I have a much broader field of work and materials to consider. And the prices of all of the above vary consistently. Commercial sales etc. So a program might fit your line of work well.
I keep my own notes regarding book keeping. And I will give you a laugh here, but every contract has its own files and a large bag. All of the receipts are placed in each contracts bag.
I then pay my accounting firm to organise the material and my accountant then does the year end. It costs me more to go this route. But my time is money. And I make more on site with my employees than I do sitting in the office doing accounting.
Hope that helps. Everyone is different, you will find what you are comfortable with.
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