Money, It’s a Gas…Unless You’re Losing It

Posted by Stacey Papp

“Money, it’s a gas/grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.”

Words to live by from David Gilmour: This crazy awesome Pink Floyd ditty was written in 1973, a year of many momentous events – George Foreman defeated Joe Frazier, Elvis played Hawaii, the U.S. finally got out of Vietnam, the first cell phone call was made, Picasso died – and that’s just the first five months of the year.

Another thing that happened later the same year was a recession that started in ’73 and ran until about 1975, caused in part by the 1973 oil crisis; the fallout from what was termed the “Nixon Shock,” when the dollar was no longer able to be directly converted to gold; and a stock market crash.

What that meant for the average American was some good old-fashioned penny-pinching – and some people singing the blues instead of Pink Floyd because of rising unemployment.  

In tough times, we zero in on ways to save money. People clip coupons more and cut back on eating out, going to the movies, buying the latest electronics or going on vacations. In fact, the term “staycation” was coined during the summer of ’08, when fuel costs rose and people found it more prudent to use their PTO to clean out the garage instead of road-tripping to Vegas. 

Of course, for business owners, saving money isn’t only trendy when the economy is in a downward spiral – it’s hot all year, every year.

But do you know all the hidden ways you may be losing money? Check these out: 

Invoices aren’t accurate.
A field tech might show up to perform one service and the customer asks for something different, or for an add-on. If the field tech forgets to call the dispatcher to update the job order with the accurate information, then the customer might get a bill that doesn’t correctly reflect the work performed – meaning you’re giving away your services.

Fuel is being wasted. Fuel costs money – there’s no getting around it – but if drivers are going faster than they need to be, or idling unnecessarily, then you’re spending more on it than you should be. 

You let vehicle maintenance slide.
Not maintaining vehicles properly can actually hurt the business’s bottom line – for example, if a vehicle breaks down and a job order can’t be filled, or if something small and simple isn’t taken care of in time, and turns into a big, costly problem.

You have to decline emergency calls.
If you’re not equipped to properly respond to emergency job orders when they come in – for example, if your dispatcher can’t locate a driver in time, and the frustrated customer cancels the order and calls a competitor – then you’re leaving money on the table. 
 
Your back-end processes take too much time. Is your office manager backlogged with piles of paper to file? Is he or she constantly doing data entry to transfer paper job orders into a computer system? You’re paying them the same salary regardless, and an office manager could be engaged in much more productive tasks.

You simply don’t know have all the information.
You can’t be everywhere at once, and you can’t possibly see, hear and process everything that goes on every single day. Without complete visibility into every aspect of the business – and a way to break it down – how can you know where you might be bleeding money?

Technology help give you all the information you need to recognize problems before they cost big.

GPS vehicle tracking technology can identify drivers who are speeding or idling excessively, and send real-time alerts so action can be taken immediately, helping to decrease fuel costs (as well as enhance safety). Its maintenance alerts inform you when each vehicle is due for maintenance, helping to avoid breakdowns and expensive repairs due to missed maintenance. And the tracking features on the trucks help dispatchers during emergency calls – they’ll always know which drivers are where and who’s available to get to a customer ASAP.

On the admin side, field service management software lets employees update job orders from anywhere and everywhere, including via mobile app, so even if a field tech takes a verbal order for an extra service in the field, he or she just has to hit a few buttons to update – no need for E.T. to phone home with the details. This helps ensure more accurate invoicing. Plus, back-end processes take way less time, because all this information is stored digitally, not on paper, meaning less data entry and filing.

What all of this means is that you have full visibility into everything that goes on – and if you ever need to crunch numbers or have a question about historical trends, pressing a few buttons brings up full reports on the information you need.

So shine on, you crazy diamond – you don’t need to be comfortably numb about your current lack of information with the capabilities technology can give you.

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