So what's one of the most annoying things that you find yourself doing on a Sunday afternoon? Is that invoicing?
Does that just do your head in that you've got this stack of invoices to get done on a Sunday afternoon? Or you get to the end of Friday and there's a stack of invoices and you, or your team, just haven't got through them all - that delay impacts your cashflow as that is money that is just not being actioned quickly - alarm bells should be ringing when you are not invoicing your customers same day.
All of this is because you're deferring something that should be just done as soon as it is humanly possible. Every time you defer a task, you actually add more time to get that task done! From a systems point of view this is called a task that should be Single Thread.
When in the field, if you could spend another several minutes after a job to fill out that extra bit of information, such that an invoice can be sent by the office straight away, then that's where you should spend your time. A bit of time that saves time....
- for the tech as they don't have to remember what they did,
- for the Scheduler as they don't have to chase up the tech for the information,
- that also gets your Invoice out sooner :)
How do I find the time?
Capture your procedure:
Each Procedure needs
- Last updated
- Status: (Draft, Approved, Archived)
- Procedure - Steps 1,2,3,4
- Completion Checklist - This is Completed when the following is done.
Also any Reference Sheets, Templates... more on this next week.
So once you have your Procedure (also consider this a part of a SOP 'Standard Operating Procedure', or Training Manual)
That your guys/gals in the field are going to follow when in the field to ensure you capture all you need to. i.e. If you're doing a Job using job management software or doing a Quote using quoting software or doing an Invoice using invoicing software, this even applies if you are using paper.
The philosophy is 'do something as soon as you can in your workflow to reduce the overall effort to getting it done'. This is a lesson I learnt myself pretty #$%$# fairly painfully. :)
Every deferred activity adds time and cost - what you want to do is increase accuracy for both
- you; in getting paid what you are owed for a profitable job and
- the customer because the invoice comes straight after the work is completed.This increases payment rates.
- Also if you use the signature form in our software, the customer's signature appears on the Invoice further increasing payment rates.
How do I make the change and for it to stick?
So part of making this work is actually systemizing what you're doing. We suggest to sit down with a systems expert (if you can); we use Steve Grech who is based in Melbourne or a business coach - our partner is Business Strategies for Tradies as this is how you will achieve the growth and freedom you want; of course you can do it yourself and here is the handful of steps we recommend:
- Write 'what's the purpose of this process' we're doing in the field.
- Capture all of the activities to do to complete this job; ie Notes, Job Type, Time expected to complete
- Pre-Job Checklist JSA/SWMS
- Capture the steps we need to complete.
- Post Job Checklist JSA/SWMS
Then, from a field point of view that's done. And then it goes to the office, so then that job is completed.
So then the office's activity might be:
- to grab all the completed jobs
- they can get an Email or SMS notification saying a job is complete
- the calendar instantly changes color to reflect completed jobs
- Action as soon as they come up as completed (during the day) or the office staff action all invoicing at the end of the day based on what work has been completed
Nothing more to do, no more 1.00AM invoice finishing, no more Sunday night work when you could be having dinner with your family or hanging with friends.
Opportunity to do it differently.
Wouldn't it be pretty awesome to have those systems in place, your team ticking along nicely, you reviewing and following your own procedures, the randomenss of success gone, just predictable delivery and growth of your business, a way to continuoulsly improve, and giving you some time to yourself and to really be working on the business not in it.
This flexibility allows you to hire new staff, give them clear guidence and take the load off of your shoulders.
Let us help you streamline and systemise your business so you get time back in your day and work stays at work! :)
Flick us a question I would love to hear your thoughts, and how you are going with systems and software :)