Faq

Service Business Software FAQs

What is service business software?

Service business software describes a class of software programs, created with the intention of serving one or more field service businesses. This generally includes businesses such as plumbing businesses, maid service, commercial cleaning, fire extinguisher maintenance, pest control, tutoring, irrigation, home health care and similar types of businesses. All of these businesses share common characteristics. The business exists to service the needs of a client base, which is distributed over a wide geographical area. The software is designed and developed to introduce operational efficiencies, which will help these businesses save time, money and improve their bottom line.

What are the key components of service business software?

Generally, any software program designed for service businesses will include, at minimum, a section for entering, viewing and maintaining customer information, as well as a section for creating and viewing job or appointment information. However, each of these components will have several important features to help improve the efficiency and overall effectiveness of the business.

What does SMS mean and how can it benefit a service business?

SMS stands for “short messaging service”. It’s generally referred to as “text messaging” in the U.S. It is now very widely used by everyone who has a mobile phone. It provides a way to send a short, pithy, time-saving message to anyone else you want to make contact with. SMS messaging has also been widely used for commercial purposes, including for job scheduling. In our Scheduling Manager service business software, for example, there is a facility provided whereby the user can send a text message to one or more employees, informing them of the details of a new job. Sending a text message in a case like this is quick and easy, and means the message recipients don’t have to stop what they’re doing when they receive the message – as they might have to do if they received a phone call. So, a user can use Scheduling Manager desktop version for job scheduling at the home office and send out the individual job schedules to the employees scheduled to do the job.

SMS messages can also be sent to customers in Scheduling Manager. One popular use has been to send reminders about scheduled jobs to customers via text message. The user simply clicks a button on the job scheduling calendar screen and all designated customers are sent an SMS message, reminding them of the time and date for the job. This is a great time saver, which has saved hundreds of hours for management in several cleaning, home health care and HVAC companies. The software system reads the job scheduling database and simply sends out the messages at the scheduled time. This has also been shown to significantly cut down on customer “no shows” and “lock outs”.

What is QuickBooks Real-time?

Scheduling Manager software for service businesses is designed primarily to excel at doing things many other software products don’t do. When we first created this scheduling software program for service businesses, we concentrated on the issues and needs surrounding the job scheduling needs of our clients in a wide variety of service industries. Job scheduling also requires a database of customers, a database of employees and a database to record details of invoices and payments from customers. As time went on, we added several other service management features, which make the work for management staff at each service business easier, day-to-day including job mapping, text messaging, etc.

Many users like to use QuickBooks as their general accounting program – to keep track of accounts payable, and to run profit and loss reports and balance sheet statements and so on. So, we designed a method, which would take any new customer information entered into our Scheduling Manager service business software and have that flow through seamlessly to QuickBooks. Also, we designed our QuickBooks interface to take new and changed customer information from QuickBooks and transfer it to the database files of Scheduling Manager. In addition, any invoices created in Scheduling Manager are seamlessly transferred to QuickBooks. Any payments entered into Scheduling Manager are transferred to QuickBooks using the same seamless real-time system we designed.

Other features in our real-time QuickBooks interface include capabilities to transfer all relevant information from QuickBooks to The Scheduling Manager upon startup. So, when the user first uses the software and they have the QuickBooks real-time module installed, then a prompt automatically appears, which asks the user if they want to transfer all customer information and service code information from QuickBooks to our multi-functional job scheduling software. Once the user accepts the prompt, the data is automatically transferred to the Scheduling Manager’s database.

The QuickBooks Real-Time interface makes both QuickBooks and Scheduling Manager more versatile, powerful software programs.

What mapping features are included in service business software?

Scheduling Manager job scheduling software for service businesses incorporates several job mapping features.First, when you enter a new customer into Scheduling Manager, you can use the “Check Address” button in the customer information screen to verify the address you have entered. Many users have found this very useful as sometimes a zip code may be entered incorrectly or a street name misspelled. This enables you to check all of the details have been entered correctly.

Secondly, there is the “Get Directions” button in the customer information screen. Clicking this will bring up a map showing the driving directions from your home office to the client’s address. You can use your favorite free online mapping software to perform this function. You simply enter your preference in the Customer Options section of the software.

Thirdly, there is the Microsoft Mappoint directions button on the customer screen. Microsoft provides the ability to directly connect to their software, so we can “grab” the driving directions from Mappoint and paste it into Scheduling Manager for you. When the Mappoint button is clicked, the directions to the client’s location is calculated, along with an estimate of the total distance and the driving time. Also, the driving directions are copied to the Public Notes section of the Customer Information Screen. When the user prints out (or emails) job tickets to the employees scheduled to perform jobs for the customer, the directions are also printed on the job ticket. Many users have found this feature to be a great aide to their daily job scheduling tasks.

Fourthly, a user may click on a particular day and team in one of the Job Scheduling calendars and then click the Mappoint button. Mappoint will calculate the driving directions for the complete route for the day for the particular team. The resulting map and directions are displayed on the screen. In addition, the user may click the Optimize button on the Mappoint screen to determine the optimal driving route for the day’s jobs. This is a very powerful feature, previously found only in very costly mapping software programs. Microsoft has done a good job with this software.

(Note that Microsoft Mappoint must be purchased separately. Many of our users have been able to find inexpensive versions of the software online. Scheduling Manager will work with all versions of Mappoint from version 9 to the current version. You might want to consider not buying the latest version if you want to save a few dollars. You only need the latest version if you are in an area where new streets and developments are common and/or street-name changes are common.)

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