Let us give you some advice and show you the reality of buying field service software for your business. The first one is - you need to work hard to make it work for you. You won't be lying on a beach earning 20% anytime soon. You are running a field service business - not a hedge fund. We are going to give you some tough love here.
And by the way, we call it Field Service Automation software now, field service automation software? Well that was the last decade!
Well, that depends. If you are a small company, maybe a one man band and you want to stay that way - then really - no you don't. If you have tried and tested procedures, a small well run team of people all pulling in the same direction and again, you're not looking to expand and things are good the way they are. Then, no. You really don't need any Field Service Software. The cost and time it will take as a small business to implement will most likely negate any of the benefits of using it. That is the truth of the matter.
However, if you do have a field service business that you want to grow and expand, then at some stage you are absolutely going to have to purchase Field Service Software. That doesn't mean it has to be Flobot but it is going to have to be something.
The simple answer is to say 'that's up to you'. But this is a cop-out. Realistically, this will take you a month to implement and get running with it. Whether it takes longer to do or indeed a shorter is how much time you devote to it, how determined you are and your resolve.
That really is the key to it. The determination, the stamina and the courage to make the changes required to get the system installed and bring your business to a new and better level.
Here is how it works. Field Service Management software has two costs associated to it. The cost of the licences per month or year and the cost to implement the software in the first place.
Just like the sale or lease of say a car, you will see low headline figures for monthly licencing that don't take into account the true cost or total cost for the software. For example, a low monthly licence figure means you are likely to find a high cost of implementation and vice versa. If you don't have the money to pay for the implementation up front you will find a much higher monthly licence fee or you will be tied into a longer contract. For the vendor they have to recoup the time and money it costs to get the software up and running for the customer and their staff trained on how to use it. This can be a very significant cost. So, don't be surprised if you seem to be paying a lot of money per month for licences if you didn't pay anything for the installation in the first place.
Purely in monetary terms it is going to cost you a minimum of £300 to set-up and £70 per month to licence. As the number of users increases the price to implement and licence goes up. For enterprise level clients with thousands of staff they would pay much, much more.
The cost to implement must also take into consideration the amount of time and resources it takes internally. Again this will depend on how big your company is, how many processes you are encapsulating into the software, how much other software you are replacing, whether you are using this opportunity to analyze and stream-line your existing processes and how many staff members you are involving in the implementation. So yes, Field Service Management software is expensive but the idea is you are going to save all that money and a lot more once it is implemented.
Learning to use Field Service Software is like learning to drive. It's hard to do at first (anything worth learning often is). Once you have mastered it, it's seems very simple. You can do many things now while you drive - many of them you shouldn't - and still get to your destination and achieve your objectives without hardly even thinking about it. Field Service Automation software is the same and in that respect Flobot is no different to any of the others.
We find that approx 40% of companies that sign-up never actually get it implemented. The single biggest reason for this is that they try and implement it themselves. They do not engage with one of our freelance consultants and they don't want to pay for implementation and training. This is a mistake. Service software is always a large implementation because it encompasses all parts of a business and everyone in it. You are gong to need help - and every penny you spend you will get a return on. This is an investment in your business.
Well, we hate to break it to but if you haven't managed to find a software package by now it's because you have unrealistic expectations about what you will get for the money. 'It doesn't do this and it doesn't do that' is generally a failure of imagination on the part of the potential client.Unless you are willing to pay for bespoke customisations (which of course we provide!) the chances are you will never find a software package that matches your requirements exactly. There are just too many requirements and variables for any one vendor to cater to the whims of every single service company. You need to compromise, in some cases you need to change your processes and a lot of the time you really should change your processes because if the whole software market hasn't catered for them - it's because most likely there is no logical reason to do it the way you are doing it. Other than because 'that's the way it's always been done.'
OK, so there is another reason you might think you have to do things a certain way. Because your client says so. Well, we say 'no' to that. Some demands from clients are just plain silly. Man up! Take back control. Go and read Tim Ferris.
And if you are unwilling or unable to change the procedures of your clients or unwilling or unable to change your clients (ask Tim) then you are going to have to weigh-in on the customisations.
One more we forgot to mention. So many small business owners get caught up and obsessed with the minutiae of the implementation. They want everything to be up and running 100% in every area before they switch over. Every aspect has to completely complete.
But life doesn't work that way and if you wait to get everything just right you will never end up implementing it all. It will never be 100% right. This guy has something to say on it and he is pretty smart.
'If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late.' Reid Hoffman.
This is a nice report on the Field Service businesses and software. Probably worth a read. We don't agree with all of it but it's still pretty good.
If you don't have time to read it, basically it says if you want to grow your field service business then you have to get some software to help you do it. And even if you just want to keep playing, most likely in the next 10 years you are going to have to get in the game to stay in the game. Because field service software is going to be even more automated. It will probably use AI to schedule engineers, collect invoice payments, even communicate with your clients. And it will replace your office staff - or at least a lot of them. So if you are still paying salaries, you won't be able to compete with your competitors unless you are offering something radically unique (and let's face it you won't be doing that).
We think that is correct but it's already happening. Right now, on the latest version of Flobot (and admittedly the most expensive at this time), we can automate all of the processes except AI scheduling and answering the telephone to your clients (and we can cheat on those processes with web forms and logic by the way). So, with careful implementation we think that we can automate your field service business to the point where you can run 10 full time field contractors per 1 admin staff.
That means if you have a 40 field user business your office staff should be 4 administrative assistants and one book-keeper. We have several companies doing that already. From where they started they are saving an average of £90,000 per annum on staff salaries alone. And we have one company that turns over £1M per annum with 1 office admin, 1 part-time estimator, 1 part-time book-keeper and 7 field contractors.
Flobot is simple to learn but why not save time? Find out it will work for you with a real-time demo. What are you waiting for?