- Posted by Chaker Khabbaz
- On 30/11/2020
The golden rule in the trades services industry is to always come prepared with the right tools. However, that rule doesn’t just involve what’s inside a tradie’s toolbox. Australian tradies are increasingly spending less time in the office so they can focus on completing jobs and turning a profit. Therefore, to work optimally in a highly mobile market, tradies must have the right collaboration apps in their software toolkits.
Here are five of the most crucial collaboration apps tradies ought to be using right now:
1. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a business communication platform where tradies can connect with coworkers from anywhere with an internet connection. It features a chat-based interface where users can create and participate in group channels, initiate conversation threads, and share files. For instance, you can have group channels dedicated to specific building projects, and another channel solely for accounting and invoicing queries. Each channel in Microsoft Teams also has access to a shared calendar, making it easy for tradies to synchronise their schedules.
Beyond standard chat-based communication, Teams users get powerful audio and video calling capabilities. The platform allows a maximum of 49 participants per call session and up to 250 participants for private meetings and webinars. These features are great for instantly connecting with back office staff or other experts who may not be on the jobsite.
Where Microsoft Teams truly shines as a platform is when it’s integrated with applications and workflows your business relies on. If they’re subscribed to Microsoft 365, tradies can collaborate on shared Word and Excel documents within Microsoft Teams. The platform is even compatible with enterprise programmes like Asana for project management and Salesforce for customer relationship management. Taking full advantage of these integrations not only makes collaboration easier, but it significantly increases your team’s efficiency as well.
Otter is a voice recording and live transcription app that allows tradies to make memos on the job. Instead of writing everything down, tradies merely need to speak into their phone’s microphone to keep track of important information. This is especially useful for recording verbal agreements with clients and noting down job requests during an appointment.
Tradies can store voice recordings and transcriptions in centralised cloud storage platforms like Dropbox or OneDrive to leave messages. Authorised back office staff can then take the information from these recordings to modify schedules, change work order specifications, and update invoices. Using Otter this way eliminates inefficient emails, which often lack the means to convey tone and emotional nuance.
CamToPlan leverages augmented reality and machine learning technology to measure any space using your Android or Apple video camera. All tradies have to do is select a measuring tool and scan the space, and the app will do the rest. CamToPlan calculates the area and volume of a space and converts the data into a 2D layout. If you need quick measurements for things like renovations, plumbing and electrical installations, and building projects, CamToPlan is a great solution.
After measuring a space, tradies can forward plans via the cloud or email. They can, for example, send the plan to cost estimation professionals back in the office to accurately quote and price a job.
Todoist is a cloud-based task management app that lets tradies create shareable to-do lists with their team. Tradies can organise all their projects into separate to-do lists and assign them to the appropriate staff members and technicians. You can create something as simple as a material and equipment shopping list so supply managers know what to purchase and avoid unnecessary trips. Team members can also collaborate by adding new tasks to the list and updating priority levels.
The app’s intuitive interface gives users a clear overview of what the team is working on, what tasks are completed, and what’s next in the pipeline. When tradies hover over items on the list, they can see key details like due dates and special requirements. Todoist even tracks how many tasks each tradie completes, and gives them a score to measure their overall productivity.
What’s more, to keep tradies and staff members on track of their tasks, Todoist provides automated notifications. Whenever deadlines are closing in, the app can alert tradies through mobile alerts, SMS, and emails.
WorkBuddy is one of the best job management systems for remote Aussie tradies because of its many features. For starters, its contractor, subcontractor, and technician portals enable teams to communicate and stay in sync. These portals come with centralised dashboards where users can track job progress, work orders, profits, and overall business performance. It also offers robust job scheduling tools, so you can dispatch the most qualified and closest tradies to the jobsite.
Once tradies arrive on site, they can pull up job-specific to-do lists that instruct them how to conduct their tasks safely and efficiently. WorkBuddy puts an emphasis on remote workers’ health and safety with compliance forms modeled after Safe Work Method Statements. These ensure every workplace hazard, including equipment defects, asbestos, and unsafe practices, are addressed before tradies can start a job.
Finally, WorkBuddy seamlessly integrates with accounting software like Xero, QuickBooks, and MYOB Online. That means both your tradies and office accounting staff will be on the same page when it comes to managing price books, job quoting, and invoicing.
Equipping your tradies with the powerful tools to work on the go can dramatically improve collaboration and increase efficiency. If you’re looking to level up your trades business in an increasingly mobile environment, WorkBuddy is the solution. Request a demo today to see how our app can benefit your business.