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Location, Location, Location!

The catch-cry of every real estate agent, this pithy little observation is expressing a simple truth of the property industry. The truth is, the right location, particularly for a business, can mean the difference between make or break.

So, how does location affect the collection of operational data in your business?

Firstly, here's a pop quiz for you to consider.

  1. What is the length of time between completing a service for your customer and the raising of the invoice for that service?
  2. How many services go un-invoiced for more than a week, or more than a month?
  3. How many services are never invoiced at all?
  4. What improvement would there be to your cash flow if you didn't change your payment terms, but you could invoice within 24 hours of finishing the job?
  5. What about if the invoice could be raised immediately?
Of course, you will have noticed the trick question at number 3. Almost everyone answers "none". Those that give a little thought to the question might answer, "Probably a few", or "very few". The rare few that know their business really well will also answer, "none".

The problem is that it is impossible to tell the difference between a well-run business and a badly-run one, simply by polling those who answer "none".

Collecting data at the location of the job is essential if you are to control your operations. I defy anyone to trully invoice 100% of all service activity without a mobile solution that gathers job data at the point of service. In fact, if we accept the pareto principle, anything over 80% should be considered a good result!

If you are in a non-competitive market, and your nett margins are over 20% then you have nothing to worry about for now. But, if like most, you compete every day to keep your head above water on ever-reducing margins, then you need to invoice for all work, not just most of it.

Collecting job data at the point where the service is performed does three things:
  1. It ensures the job is not forgotten.
  2. It ensures any stock items, parts, or "extras", are more likely to be remembered and included.
  3. It collects location (address or GPS) data that is invaluable for creating schedules for future work.
There are more very good reasons for collecting data at the location of the job, but these three alone are enough reason to consider a mobile solution; and it doesn't have to cost the earth either.

Location, location, location - there's more to that cry than meets the eye.

Posted by Mark Chimes
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