TIPS – How to Review Door Service Software
Door dealers using QuickBooks should have a service software program which seamlessly integrates into their bookkeeping software for customer invoicing, sales receipts, purchasing and possibly inventory control. This will help to eliminate double entry and time-wasting duplication in QuickBooks. Many door dealers are also considering a paperless mobile solution for their field service technicians.
So are you ready to start shopping around for new service software? Whether you begin your search at a trade show or on Google, you’ll quickly become confused with all of the service software options. At the end of the day most people tell me that “they all look pretty similar”.
So how can you narrow down your selection to find the best door service software for your company?
Before you start to look at software get prepared with a list of questions to ask each of the software vendors. You’ll save quite a bit of time and money by eliminating those software vendors who don’t “match your specific company needs”.
With over 38 years in the service software business helping thousands of service contractors to find software, I’d like to share Seven Questions and TIPS that have helped hundreds of my clients to find the best service software for their company.
Start by reviewing each of these questions with the owner, service manager and bookkeeper and write down your answers. Next, contact the software vendors that you are considering and take your time asking them all of these questions. Fill out your own comparison sheet by vendor with their answers. Additional TIPS are noted below.
- Is our company looking for service software specifically designed for door dealers or just generic service software?
- Does our company want to rent-to-use internet software on a 12-36 contract basis or own our software operating on our own computers in the office?
- What are our real costs for the software? Over 3, 5 years? Over 10 Years?
- Do we want our customer invoices created inside QuickBooks, or be required to “import” them created from an outside service program?
- Will we have a weekly back-up of our customer history/ data in our office?
- How important is the security and privacy of our company and customer data?
- What service software features are “required” for our company vs. those which might be just “nice to have”?
Door Software Question/ TIP #1 – Is our company looking for service software specifically designed for door dealers or just generic service software?
Is your company looking for service software designed specifically to handle the needs of a door company for residential, commercial and/or industrial service installations? Are you willing to settle for a generic service software program that’s designed for other service industries? Today quality service software is designed and tailored to match the specific needs of each service industry. It’s always better to select service software specially designed for your industry.
Find out if the software packages that you are reviewing are designed for the door industry or if they are more generic designed to handle various service industries like pest control, landscaping, locksmith, electrical, HVAC. Start by looking at the software vendors website Homepage for Industries Served.
Door Software Question/ TIP #2 – Does our company want to rent-to-use internet software on a 12-36 contract basis or own our service software operating on our own computers in the office?
How is your internet connection? Cloud-based subscription software requires a consistent “always-on” and fast connection. Image trying to maintain your busy daily schedule with a slow or no internet connection for part of the day. No more access to your software or your schedule. When the customer calls you always need immediate access to your customer history and daily schedule.
Can you operate your service software depending on the availability of your internet? Service software which is installed on your office computer(s) can be connected directly to your QuickBooks without an “always-on” internet connection.
Door Software Question/ TIP #3 – What are our real costs for the software? Over 3, 5 years? Over 10 Years?
Price is always an important consideration for any company. With the new cloud-based software subscription model you will typically be locked into a 12-36 monthly subscription contract based on the number of office users and the number of field technicians plus training fees. It works like an electric bill making monthly payments year after year. Calculate your cost-to-use fee over 3, 5 and 10 years. You will never own cloud-based software.
Most business owners tend to own or finance their business tools for tax purposes. Renting software is definitely a new paradigm shift of most small to medium size businesses.
You can quickly calculate your cost to own or monthly rental cost over the next 5-10 years by asking for a software quote. Ask each software vendor for their cost assuming “x” number of office users and “x” number of field technicians plus training fees. Calculate and compare the cost of each software program to operate in your business over the next 5-10 years.
Door Software Question/ TIP #4 – Do we want our customer invoices created inside QuickBooks, or be required to “import” them created from an outside service program?
Sometimes this is a difficult concept to understand. Let’s keep it very simple. The best solution is to have your customer invoices created inside QuickBooks. The tax calculations are always correct, you don’t risk creating duplicate customers, and if you track inventory in QuickBooks you are spot on.
If you are using a service software program which does not create your customer invoices inside QuickBooks, they must be imported or synced into your QuickBooks. You need to be away of these common import/ sync errors and issues: Sales tax may be calculated incorrectly; QuickBooks inventory items may not be updated; Customers may be duplicated if they are spelled incorrectly in the service software prior to import; You might forget to import all of the customer invoices from the other software into your QuickBooks. Resolving these types of billing and import issues on a weekly basis may be very time consuming and costly especially if you need to get your accountant involved frequently.
Door Software Question/ TIP #5 – Will we have a weekly back-up of our customer history/ data in our office?
If you decided to rent a cloud-based service software, it’s impossible to restore a back-up of your customer data since you don’t own your service software. You would have pay the cloud software company to print out all of your customer history for every customer prior to stopping your monthly cloud subscription payment.
If you decided to purchase the service software program, which is installed on your office computer(s) you can always restore a copy of your own data back-up to your service software on your own computer.
Door Software Question/ TIP # 6 – How important is the security and privacy of our company and customer data?
We live in the computer age today where protecting your data against online hackers is very important – especially for business owners. Larger corporate internet computers are better targets for hackers because of the amount of available data. It’s difficult to determine just how protected your company data really is with a corporate cloud-based company even though they will tell you that your data is protected ( Ex. Equifax, eBay, Blue Cross -Anthem, JP Morgan, etc.)
Maintaining and protecting your own company and customer data on your computers is easier. You can also have more confidence in the security of your data. You can also control turning off your computer(s) at night so there is no internet connection.
Door Software Question/ TIP # 7 – What service software features are “required” for our company vs. those which might be just “nice to have”?
Don’t get lost in the sales fluff and glitter. Put a list together of the operational office and field features that are “required” versus software features that might be just “nice to have”. Ask all of the software vendors if they can show you how their software will handle your “required” features. The “nice to have” features should not be compared until all of the required features are addressed.
Article Author: Paul Jacques is the CEO of Partners Group Ent. Inc. and has consulted with over 1200 service contractors since 1984 to help them select the right software that fits their service software requirements. Partners Group represents one of the leading door software solutions Fireline Systems DoorPack Service Software for QuickBooks. If you have questions about selecting the right software for your company contact Paul at (661) 254-8511.
If you have other service software questions visit our website or call us at Fireline Systems at (800) 890-8614. We will help to guide you in your software selection process.