Powered Now the Gas Engineer Software looks at the benefits of hiring an apprentice.
Appy days – What are the best apps for tradespeople?
Did you know that 87% of people in the UK are smartphone owners? Anyone who owns a smartphone, tablet or computer knows ...
Did you know that 87% of people in the UK are smartphone owners? Anyone who owns a smartphone, tablet or computer knows there is an app for just about everything.
Trade companies can benefit from the rise of the app economy, and from software products in general, by adopting tools that can help them get organised and maybe find more work. Wondering what the best apps are for tradespeople? Here are some of our favourites…
Apps to help your trade business get organised
Getting yourself organised makes a difference to your bottom line. Our research shows that tradesmen who get back to customers faster with quotes win more work.
Powered Now (www.powerednow.com)
I have to declare an interest here. Designed specifically for field-based trades working away from the office we have thousands of trade companies using the app which will streamline your paperwork, appointments and payments.
Book a demo to find out more
The Powered Now app lets you do everything, from creating an appointment, taking notes and photos of a job, emailing the estimate, letting the client accept, managing the work, through to invoicing and taking payment (by credit/debit card or PayPal) while you’re with the customer.
All your information is held in one place and automatically backs up to the cloud whenever there is a wi-fi connection, so even if you break your device, you can download the data to the replacement.
Cost: Free 14-Day Trial /£5 pm /£50 pa
Trello is an organisational tool. While this sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry, it’s one of the best products I’ve ever come across. It is used by thousands of diverse companies, from software engineers to construction firms.
The appeal with Trello is the flexibility and the ease of use. In its simplest form it’s a bunch of digital post-it notes that can be arranged into groups, shared, commented on and moved. In my business we have several groups of ‘cards’ arranged simply into TO-DO, DOING and DONE. It’s insanely simple and the visual approach makes it easy and enjoyable to use.
Cost: Free /$45 pa
Pocket works on Android & iOS devices. It is a great offline reading tool that allows you to select and save web articles, pictures and videos for later reading/viewing.
Cost: Free /£3.95 pm /£35.99 pa.
Slack is a collaboration app that brings the right people, information and tools together to get work done. It can be used on your phone, tablet or computer.
Cost: £5.25 pm per user
Apps to help your small business get noticed
You probably knew you could create a page for your business on Facebook; perhaps you already have. Job done, right? Wrong!
Contrary to popular belief, your customers probably aren’t going to find you on Facebook. You have to find them, and it’s actually pretty easy. Here are a couple of ideas:
Facebook advertising is a comparatively cheap way of reaching the people that matter to your business. For many tradespeople for example, this means placing your advert in front of people who live in your local area. You can download Meta Ads Manager to stay connected with your campaigns, no matter where you are. You can create, edit and get insights from your ads on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Whatsapp and more.
Below is an example of a Facebook advertisement. You can write a small description along with a picture showing your business's product or service.
For just £10, you could reach thousands of people in the town or county you serve and tell them all about your business.
However, if Facebook isn’t your thing there are other alternative options, including LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tiktok, Instagram and Twitter. Each network has its own advertising set up and they are actually really easy to use.
Love it or loathe it, social media is here to stay and needs to be part of your marketing strategy.
However, few have time to maintain lots of social networks so Buffer helps by giving you one dashboard to update multiple accounts simultaneously. You can schedule posts for when your audience are most likely to read them (e.g. on the way to and from work) and it even gives you suggestions of things to say if your mind goes blank!
Cost: Free /$5 pm
One last recommendation: don’t go with free apps
This might seem self-serving but please bear with me. There’s a saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch. That applies to business-related apps but the explanation takes a bit of thinking about.
We’ve all got used to free services on the Internet in recent years, particularly from Facebook and Google. Both of these are consumer services and serve billions of users. These guys make their money from advertising. In contrast, business apps can’t do that for different reasons.
It’s better to know where you stand from day one. That way you know that what you are using is going to be maintained and there are people around to support you when things go wrong. It’s your livelihood, which is something you shouldn’t gamble with.
The trade has always been a little behind the curve when it comes to adopting new technology, however, it’s never been this easy to use new tools or online services to make your lives easier. Most of us have at least one computer with us at all times: our smartphone, and using the right software, it can help you build a better business.