Leveraging Technology to Redefine Trades Business Success
Table of Contents
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Alan short
I’m from Global Business Coaching
I’m the lead coach and founder of this business.
I would be working with i4T Global team on some stuff to do with their software and I’m here to support small business implement software into their business so they can move their business forward really effectively rather than just using the software as an item.
Now when we look at controls today in the webinar, you have got a Q&A section down at the bottom. If you have a question while we are talking, please press the Q&A button and type in your question and then we will see them listed on the screen in front of me and then I’ll be able to respond to those questions.
Most of the questions we will reserve to the end where we will work our way to the questions that have been posted on to that Q&A section. So don’t use the chat. Only use the chat if you are needing to communicate with Cecilia or myself for anything not going quiet right with the program today.
So let’s get on with it.
1. Common questions a business owners has when adopting new technology
Using a software is expensive
So a lot of people who are using or are thinking about using a software often think that using technology is really expensive. It costs a lot of money to buy and a lot of money to maintain it. In the past, they have been thinking when they think technology about computers and about mobile phones and about the old expensive ways software used to be delivered where it would cost 4, 5 or to $600 for a piece of software. And they all looking at that there is a big cost to it.
Using a software is complicated
If you are my age or older, then you are often thinking that software can be really, really complicated and that makes it really hard to use and if it’s really hard to use, I’m not going to use it. I’m a trades person or I operate a property maintenance business. I’m going to focus on what I need to do and this is too complicated and this is not going to help me.
So therefore I’m not picking up a software as a use for my business.
Using a software is not going to make me money
A lot of people also comment to me that it’s not going to make me money. I need to be making money out of everything I’m going in my business and that’s true and what we will explore later is that it will actually you make money, just not necessarily in the way that you have been thinking about.
Using a software is too hard
And often when you are getting a new piece of technology into your business it’s like looking at a mountain you are going to climb up. And a lot of people look at it and go you know what it looks too hard from here and decide not to start climbing.
What we are here is to show you how to integrate technology that’s just walking up the hill, not climbing up the mountain.
2. Disrupting the trades industry just like Uber
And I want to talk to you about an experience I had with Uber.
So years ago, when Uber was just touching the Australian market, I was in a taxi and like Australians do I was sitting in the front seat chatting to the taxi driver.
And he was telling me about a trip he had done to America to see his family. And when it came to the time he wanted a taxi to take him back to his hotel room. He asked his cousin to organize a taxi. And his cousin said we don’t use taxis anymore, we do Uber.
And his cousin showed him how to log into the app, how to request a ride, you can see where that ride is up to so you can view when its coming and then you could pay and rate the driver. And he was amazed at this technology and went back to Melbourne thinking oh well this is going to change how taxis operate in Australia.
Now he owned 10 taxis at the time and he immediately sold 9 of his 10. He had 1 taxi left and that was the one I was riding on. And he got around to all of his friends and said hey, you might want to sell your taxi because Uber is coming, and that’s going to change our industry.
And everybody said to him, no it’s not going to happen here and as history shows it did actually happen.
And if you had a license that you had paid full price for and got a licence for you often have something now that’s worth less than design that you’ve got for it.
3. Qualities a good technology must have
Good technology needs to be intuitive
The other things with technology is to make it really good it needs to be intuitive. You need to be able to use it without having to think about it.
And I don’t know about you but no one ever told me how to use my mobile phone. It has become intuitive. I just started using it and there have been a few product tutorials and from there I have been able to use my mobile phone.
From my calendar, from the emails, and social media and all those sorts of things and all from my mobile device that I’ve never been tough of, because its designed to be intuitive. And good technology should be designed that way.
What I want you to think about is what is it that’s missing.
Good technology makes work simpler and efficient
Now our assumption is especially if we are using a paper based system then we have got everything.
I wanted to tell you a story that happened to a mate of mine.
My mate organized a contract of a tradie coming and installing an air conditioning into his office.
The air conditioning contractor was really busy, really kind of hyped up, lots of work to get done. He rushed in. Had a quick conversation with my mate. Done a really good job. At the end he said I got to run off. I got to go but I would like to be able to send the invoice on the go. And my mate said, no worries. Make sure you do because I’m ready to pay.
Couple of days went by and my mate hadn’t seen the invoice.
Week went by and he hadn’t seen the invoice.
Called the contractor. Hey haven’t seen the invoice. Have I missed it or have you got the email address wrong.
The response way. No, no, no, I’ll send it tomorrow.
Days went by, weeks went by, in fact months went by.
Before it was 6 months that my mate got a phone call from the contractor. Hey you haven’t paid your air conditioning installation.
My mate said, I haven’t seen the invoice. Happy to pay. Will pay as soon as I get it. But I’m just looking for the invoice.
The next day the invoice came through, dated that day.
So the contractor who had done the work used a paper based system and never got around to the invoice.
If you are using technology to track all your jobs, then technology will make sure that that job never gets missed.
This contract was basically leaving money on the table. He had paid for his own labour, he had paid for everything and now he was seeking costs 6 months later.
If you can capture all that as you go then you won’t be missing work which means you would be making money by using software.
Good technology helps your business grow and prosper
For many of us we know how to do the work and we eventually get paid.
But there is this mismatch of what we are missing that we really need to get our business moving forward.
Some of us love businesses like myself I love businesses like building businesses and systems but most people especially in the trades and property service area aren’t really interested in building businesses.
But technology will be that missing piece that will allow your business to grow and prosper so you can make the most out of every dollar that you invest and you can work less and make more money at the same time.
So what does the data say.
4. Importance of having a field management system in place
So there are a number of studies out there and we have reviewed a number of them and this is some of the key information that we have found.
Did you know that most people look at 10 different reviews before they purchase a trade or property service?
So if they are looking around 10 times how are you making sure that they are able to find 10 reviews from yourself?
Do you have a system in place? Do you have a technology or software in place that’s making sure that you’ve got reviews going up about how good your service is?
Did you know that 64% of the people will switch providers if they are not happy with the customer service?
How are you making sure that your customers are happy with the service that you are providing them?
How are you making sure that you are keeping in contact with them throughout the whole customer journey?
Are you relying on remembering to make a phone call while you are really busy or have you automated it and used technology?
Did you know 39% of business report losing 12 hours a week on miscommunication with their customers or within their team.
A good FSM system can streamline workflows and add to profits
So think about it from the perspective of a simple example.
You send your team to a job site. They get to the job site and the customer is not home. They don’t phone you. You phone the customer. You have communicated or have been clear with the communication with your customer. They then need to organise to be there in the next hour and you have got half hour of your time and 2 hours of your team’s time sitting there and actually waiting to go and do the work, while they are waiting for the customer.
All this communication can be smoothened out to make sure that you are saving time by using technology to automate some of this technology.
If technology is implemented well it can actually add to your profits and 80% of businesses report when they implement the technology well that it adds to their profits.
Now this isn’t add extra sales this is add extra dollars to your pocket at the end of the day.
Profit is what you are after and if you are doing something, once you have taken out the costs gives you more money to your pocket at the end of the day then it’s a good investment.
The other thing is 33% of businesses are concerned about making sure they get payment for the services they provide. You’ve got the software set up properly, you should be able to collect some of your payments, if not all of your payments, while you are still on the job site with the customer.
Have you got software setup then enables you to do that? Or is the technology you’re using limiting you from being able to do that? What I want now to do is to move on to look at job flow, and the types of technology that are used in each part of the job flow. When we talk about job flow, we’re talking about a process that runs from when the lead is first even thought of in the person in the customer’s mind through to you have got paid for your service.
A good FSM system can aid in lead generation
So let’s walk through the individual parts.
The first bit is lead generation, how do you generate leads into your business so that people are contacting your business to get you to do work? How are you using technology in that, and we’ll talk about that in a minute.
Once you’ve got a lead, you then need to go through a process of converting that lead into a job from a job into a completed job. So you can then move on to the next stage of getting paid sending an invoice and then receiving payment for their invoice.
When we look at lead generation, we’re talking about how you get new leads from customers into your business.
Now, for those of you that are old enough, you might remember the traditional way of getting leads was an advert in the Yellow Pages. Now there’s Yellow Pages directories. And there’s a number of directories out there that can be feeding your business leads.
There’s also your website and your social media. So how are you operating all of them? And are you having multiple platforms that you’re using everything for.
A good FSM system will yake care of all job management tasks.
When we look at job management, there are a number of job management systems out there that can take it from a quote, to complete a job, they walk you through the process and manage that process using software.
A good FSM system will help you getting paid on time.
And the final bit is getting paid.
Now, most of us have actually used technology when it comes to pay, whether we’re at a service station or the supermarket. When we exchange our credit card, we pay wave and enter our pin number, we’re getting paid and paying for a service on the spot. We can do that with the right technology.
Are your tradesmen and field service staff actually carrying around an F POS machine, or are they using technology to be able to deliver the same services and F POS machine, but using something like a phone or a tablet. Because if you can get paid while you’re on site, you can improve your cash flow, and you can guarantee that you’re getting paid for the work that you’re doing.
5. Technology as an end-to-end solution
So the bit I like about i4T Business and the whole platform is it’s actually an end-to-end platform, rather than having to use multiple pieces of software, multiple times.
This allows you to use one software that’s interconnected across the whole workflow. So let me walk you through it.
i4Tradies – Find-a-Tradie platform
There’s the i4Tradies app, the i4Tradies app and website is allows a customer to log into the app or go on to the website and search for trades businesses, and then request work from those trades businesses. There’s also an SMS service for emergencies that start by a call centre. So this is a effectively a trades directory for you that can be feeding into your business, but you don’t have to input the information, it comes straight across directly into your software.
i4T Maintenance – Property Management platform
There’s also the i4T Maintenance platform. Now, what’s this used by is by property managers and strata managers who manage multiple tenancies or multiple lots in a building. And when what they need to do is then organize trades businesses to go out and make repairs in those tenancies or in those houses. And if you’re on the i4T Business platform, which we’ll talk about in a minute, then you’re registered and they can see you as a provider in that area.
What this is going to do is expose you to new Commercial leads that you may not be able to access at the moment. So i4T Maintenance allows you to do business with property managers and strata managers, you may not be doing business with at the moment.
Then the next bit is i4T Business, the actual platform itself.
i4T Business – Field Service Management platform
Now what’s good about this platform is it picks up on some of your lead flow information. So there is an actual web plugin that you can use. So people, customers can actually log a request directly into your website, and it goes straight into your system. There’s also social media ranking after you’ve done a job, you can take a social media post and automatically have a template to send it straight to your social media. So you can be getting a social media profile with very little effort.
And then it’s got all the job management section.
So it follows the job from quotation through to getting awarded the quote through to them doing the getting the job assigned out to your team, your team, then completing the job, and you’ve now got a completed job flow done. And that’s the job management workflow, which can all be done within the platform.
And the final bit is getting paid. What I really like about it business is that it has the ability to create an invoice while you’re on site, and then get that invoice paid either through the I4T consumer app, or directly on the tablet, using credit card payment.
If you can reduce how long it takes to get paid, because you can invoice and get paid while you’re on the job, then that’s fantastic. What I forgot to mention is, what is also good about i4T Business is there are over 450 different ways that a job can be started leaking into the platform. And it can go out at the other end as a completed job.
It is completely customizable to how you run your business. You don’t have to fit your business to its mold, it allows you the flexibility to be able to change and move with that.
That’s a bit about the software.
And we’ll get to some questions that I can see coming through at the moment that we’ll answer in a little bit. But also wanted to talk to you about how you learn how to use the software.
6. Learning how to use the software
So there’s a couple of different ways that you can learn how to use a new software program. One of them is you can learn how to do it yourself. Now if you’re anything like me, you’re not on technology all the time. When it’s not intuitive, we don’t know how to use computer programs. So therefore we find this really cumbersome and takes too much time. And we usually give up before we actually get the benefit from the software.
Training to learn the software
A lot of software relies on coming in and doing intensive training session with you for half a day or a whole day. And while they give you all the information they can, if you’re anything like me, only so much can go in one ear without it all starting to fall out the other.
So I retain a lot of the information at about the start of the process. But all the detail towards after the first hour is all forgotten about because I can’t retain that much new information.
Product tutorials to learn the software
Another way of doing it is using product tutorials. Product tutorials are short videos, that might be two to five minutes long that tell you how to do one specific part of this software. It might be add a customer, it might be add new employee, it might be schedule a job. Each individual thing has a short video that you can watch when you need to learn how to do that skill, you watch it, you do it, and you can follow along as you go.
One-on-one or group coaching to learn the software
But what we’re also doing is adding in some coaching. Now, if you’ve got a coach who can work with you and walk you through how to implement this in your business, what you can do is maximize the return on your investment.
A lot of us get a piece of software we leave it out here as something that’s added on to our business. Rather what we want to do is we want to integrate our business with the software to get the most benefit out of it. And coaching that’s included in Trial, we’ll talk about that in a minute, allows you to be able to do that. It allows you to get access to a coach and that coach is me to be able to step you through the process of learning and integrating software into your particular circumstances.
14-Day Free Trial
So, we’ve got coming up a free trial of the software. And what we’re offering is a two-week trial. Now the two-week trial, we’ll send you links on how to access that trial. It’ll be in the emails that will follow. With this recording, it’ll give you access to the software. This includes both the desktop version, and the version on your mobile phone or tablet.
You’ll also get set up one to one setup. And this is where you will actually once you’ve set up the software, when you’re installed the software on this system, and you’ve made some basic information that you need to record in there, like your business registration, and your insurance will then schedule a time with one of our support staff who will better understand how your business works. And then using that information, they will customize the setup so that the software is set up how your business already operates.
So we’ll start to mold the software to match how you work rather than forcing you to fit with the software. Then we’ve got product tutorials, I’ve recorded a number of product tutorials that walk you through each of the steps you need to do to set up the system and get it operational from setting up a customer or job setting using the app.
All of these things have their own product tutorial that you can watch. And you can observe it while you’re doing it so you can follow through step by step.
And lastly, we’ve got an implementation coaching program. This is a coaching program that includes some video tutorials, but it also includes coaching by myself in a group where we will talk through your particular circumstance and how to integrate the software into your business so that you can get the most value out of it.
Now that’s all I’ve for the main part of my presentation. If you’ve got any questions, remember, click on the Q&A button at the bottom and type your questions in. And I will endeavour to answer them in the best way that I can. Now we’ve had already a question entered.
A: Great question. And there are three different cost structures for the software.
If you’re a solo operator, then it’s 4950 per month to use the software.
If you’ve got a team, then it’s $99 per month.
And if you’re using subcontractors, or you are using multiple trades, then it’s $249 per month.
The only additional costs that come along with that is if you’re using the i4Tradies app or website to take new leads, if you’re generating leads just within your business, then there’s no additional costs.
The other thing to note is if a lead comes in through the i4Tradies website, or SMS service, you have the option to accept it or not. If you don’t accept it, you won’t be charged for that lead.
A: They see the information that you want to put on this specifically, there’s some baseline information, I say they see a description of your business, and you get to customize that they see the certification that you’ve got. So you might have a police check or working with children clearance, or that your company’s registered all of these things, they’re able to check that you are legitimate or you trade licenses as well.
They will also see reviews that you’ve had. So after you’ve done work for somebody, especially if they use an app, they’ll be prompted to give you a review. And then using that review, those reviews will be shown up on your system.
A: Yes, they can. You can’t remove a bad rating. It’s exactly the same as if it’s on Google. Or if it’s on Facebook. If you get a rating that rating is there permanently. Now you need to have a way of managing those ratings but you can’t get rid of bad ratings and you can’t get rid of good ratings.
A: What i4T Business does is allows you to automatically download all of your invoices directly into your accounting software, particularly Xero and Myob which is which are the two software’s that account for the majority of the market.
A: The answer is no. the idea is, especially if you’re a solo operator, you can effectively run all of your back and house from your, your phone or tablet. If you’re using the I4T Business, or the i4T Business Pro, which is a little bit more involved, you can have a balance of doing a lot of it while on site, and only a little bit while you’re actually in the office.
So you can also set up alerts when new jobs come in, that can be coming through to you by email or SMS, or by in app notifications. So the ability to notify you about new work is almost limitless to your imagination about when you want to do it.
A: Inside the job management part of the software, you’ve got the ability to assign a job to an individual. When you assign the job to the individual, you then have the ability to schedule when that occurs. This is really useful because it allows you to see at a glance, when you’ve got gaps in your work schedule. And with those gaps, you can take on new work to fill up rather than just assuming that everything’s been taken care of, or not knowing whether or not your team have space in their calendar or not. So the scheduling can be looked at either as a grid calendar, or as a running schedule for the day. Or it can be looked at across weeks. So multiple use, you can change it so that it looks the way that you want it to look we’ll look at that you’re most comfortable with.
A: Once you’ve claimed a lead, if it comes through the website or the SMS service, once you claim that lead, it is now your lead. If there is a lead that’s directly to your software to your business, then nobody else has access to that lead. So once you’ve claimed the lead, it’s your lead no one needs to worry about it.
If you’re a solo operator, then we’ve got the i4T Business light, which is a much smaller package, which allows you to run all of your software from your device, which makes life a lot easier and a lot simpler.
A: Same question might happen if I’ve got three people in the field? Do I need to buy multiple license? And the answer is no. One license for one type of trade business will cover as many people as you need in the office and as many people as you have in the field.
The extra cost only comes if you move from having one trade to multiple trades. So you might have a plumbing business then you might add an electrical business to that. That’s two different trades and then you need to go up to the next package. If you’re also using external subcontractors and managing them through the system, then you also need to go up to the to the I4T Business pro package.
Let’s have a look. I think I’ve answered most of the questions that come in. If you do have any questions, then please contact us through the website either I4T Global.com or you can email us at support at I4TGlobal.com. And the support team will be happy to answer any questions you have about the software and how to use it. But my best suggestion is if you think this is the sort of technology that would take your business to the next level, that you enrol in the free trial and get yourself set up and commit to the next two weeks to using the software and seeing if it really works for you.
It’s intuitive, with the product tutorials and the coaching from myself. It really allows you to take your business to the next level and you really won’t be able to access coaching like what we can offer and what we’re offering in this trial package anywhere else at the price that’s being offered.
So we don’t have any more questions I think we’ve answered most of them either live or my Cecelia, who’s helping me today is typing some answers to some of those as well.
I’ll just repeat one of them because I think I talked about it. But I wasn’t sure how clear I was about getting notifications about anything to do with the app, you don’t need to be logged on. We can send bulk notifications through either email, SMS, or through the in-app notifications, like what you’re already getting on your phone, for your social media feeds.
You can customize when you get those notifications. And that’s for your staff and for your employees. So it’s completely customization that you can do whatever you need to do, how you want to be notified.
One of the key things it’s always worth remembering is how are you are actually being notified about this at the moment,
i4T Business platform will actually take that to the next level. So although it might not do everything that you dream about, it will do most of the things that you ever need, and more than most other platforms will.
So one of the questions there is:
A: Inside the software is some product tutorials that talks through specific training aimed at getting your employees to use the software. Inside the implementation coaching program, you’ll also be able to talk through that in your specific situation so that we can talk through how we’re going to make that work for your team. There’s a few tricks that I’ve used in implementing software in my own field service businesses that you can use in yours, as well as a number of tools that I’ve got in my toolkit that I’ve used with other businesses that I’ve coached who have gone through a similar process.
A: Just by being on the platform, you’re already visible to them as a contractor that they can use?
I think that we have answered most of those questions that have been coming up.
Just hold for a few minutes if you’ve got a question, please put it in there for us.
Fantastic. I don’t think we’ve got any more questions coming through. Like I said, I highly recommend that you jump on board. Get on the free trial. As part of the free trial, you’ll have to set up your account. So you’ll need things like your registration for your company, your insurance, and any trade certificates that you’ve got. You add them into your system as well as a description of your company and your addressing bits and details like that.
The program takes you through that step by step. So it’s really easy. Once you’ve done that, you’ll then be scheduled a time with one of our support staff who will get to understand your business better. So they can set up some of the settings to match how you’re doing work. And then once you’ve done that stage, you can then jump on board and work your way through the production tutorials. And the product tutorials have been designed to follow you step by step through setting up and using the software platform. You will also get access to the coaching implementation program. That includes additional product tutorials as well as live coaching with myself. I hope that’s been helpful. I look forward to seeing you inside the coaching that we’ll be providing.
Have a great day. Talk soon. Bye.