Software and apps can make running your handyman business much easier.
In fact, since I started my handyman business, I’ve operated almost entirely from my phone, only using my desktop for monthly accounting and marketing purposes.
When it comes to managing customers, quoting jobs, taking notes, tracking payments, taking credit cards, or scheduling, it’s all done on this amazing little device they call an iPhone.
No paper what. so. ever. I like it that way. And, the best part is that all of this software is so affordable that anybody can use it. For example, the main App I use to run my business only set me back $12.99. (now it’s only $5.99)
Not only does this technology save me some serious paperwork headaches, it adds value to the customer and makes my business more efficient.
So, if you’re still walking around with a notepad, a schedule book, and a rolex of your customers, it’s time to upgrade. Here’s how to do it for practically no cost.
Step #1: Get A Smartphone
Personally, I’m a fan of the iPhone. It’s easier to use, more intuitive, and has better apps available than the alternatives. For example, the app I use for all my customer management is only available for the iPhone.
Based on this article in Forbes.com, developers make more money developing apps for iOS. Since it’s more profitable to create apps for the Apple platform, it stands to reason that more quality apps will be released for the iPhone.
Now, my intention isn’t to sell Apple phones. Any smartphone will work. But, if you’re trying to figure out which one to get, I’d go iPhone. There’s very little chance you’ll ever have app envy.
Step #2: Choose A Customer Management Software
This is the most important and helpful app of all for simplifying your operation. A good customer management system will not only keep track of your customers, but it can even keep track of you.
Track customer information for future reference and easy access.
Send pre-formatted quotes to customers via e-mail
Send receipts to customers via e-mail.
Track paid and unpaid jobs.
Keep a list of invoices and customer history.
Schedule jobs for customers.
There are two apps that I have used and recommend. ServiceCall and Breezeworks. Here’s a little about each.
ServiceCall Icon for Service Call iphone app
ServiceCall is really easy to use and extremely cost effective at only $5.99.
This is currently what I use and I’ve used if for the last 4 years. I love this app. There is certainly some room for improvement by adding some more functionality and features, but there’s also something to be said for the elegant simplicity of it.
ServiceCall can do everything that I’ve listed above. And when it’s time to do your accounting, you can simply e-mail yourself a file of all invoices for the month for easy processing.
BreezeworksBreezeworks Handyman Software Icon
(Available for iPhone and Android devices.)
Breezeworks has all the functionality of ServiceCall plus some other awesome features.
For example, you can sync it with Quickbooks and even take credit cards directly through the app.
There are several other bells and whistles that can make running your business easier as well. Download it to check them out.
There is a small monthly cost for this software, but it is a better overall software than ServiceCall and has more support and features.
Not sure which to choose? I’d recommend downloading them both and trying them out – then see which one you prefer.
Step #3: Get a Credit Card App
Square Payment Icon
Credit cards apps are awesome because they turn your phone into a credit card processing machine. There are several to choose from and two of the most common are Square and Paypal.
Personally, I’m a fan of Square because they pioneered the industry and I’ve had a great experience with them. All I have to do is plug in the reader to my headphone jack, take a payment, and within a day the money is in my bank account.
Square is easy to setup and the app is free. You just need to pay a small processing fee (less than 3%) each time you take a credit card.
Step #4: Get Familiar With Note Taking Apps
Icon for Evernote
Just like everything else, there are many apps to choose from for taking notes. I use a combination of the native iPhone note app and Evernote.
Evernote is awesome because it automatically syncs with your home computer, tablet, or laptop so you can see your notes on any device. That means you can add a note on your phone while on the job, then pull it up on your computer later that night while writing up an estimate.
This is probably one of the most valuable free apps out there.
Take job notes during a quote. (you can even include pictures in the notes)
Keep a running list of supplies needed from the store.
Keep a running list of customers to follow up with.
Create checklists for common tasks.
Step #5: Download Google Maps
Icone for Google Maps
I always think it’s funny when customers start explaining how to get to their houses. Like I’m really going to write down directions when I’ve got a GPS in my pocket.
As far as apps for navigation, Google Maps is the best one. iPhones come with a native Maps app, but it’s not as good as Google’s version. Not only does Google Maps NOT sound like a retarded robot, but it’s addresses seem to be more accurate and up to date.
You can just use the native iPhone Maps app, but after showing up in a completely wrong part of town once or twice, you’ll probably take my advice and download Google Maps.
Guided navigation to your customers’ homes.
Finding local hardware stores.
Finding local restaurants for lunch.
Step #6: Setup Your E-mail
I’m not sure if being able to check your e-mail from your phone is a blessing or a curse. But, many customers want to communicate via e-mail instead of over the phone so you’ll want to be able to check it from your phone.
If you’re using an iPhone (and probably any smartphone), you can set it up to sync with multiple e-mail addresses.
So, if you have separate personal and business e-mail accounts you can have them both download to your phone.
And that’s it!
As you can see, running your business on your phone is simple and cost effective. Obviously, if you have employees things get a little more complicated, but for the one-man show like me, it’s a breeze.