As your HVAC business grows, there are some proven practices you should know and follow. From customer communication to invoicing procedures to record organization, here are common HVAC invoicing mistakes and recommendations for how to avoid them by instilling best practices at your company. 1. Allowing technicians to be inconsistent with invoices. As your company expands and you bring on more employees, it’s important to provide training on how to properly write-up an HVAC invoice. For technicians who are completing invoices in the field, consider providing completed example invoices for common maintenance projects, as well as a simple checklist for what information and details need to be included. Maintain consistency with acronyms and abbreviations and make sure everyone is following the same template. 2. Not including contract details in your HVAC invoicing. Another mistake is excluding details about your client’s contract on your HVAC invoice. Think of the invoice as an agreement of services between you and your client. Clearly write out your expectations along with any payment timeline policies. Include a place for a tech’s signature, the customer’s signature, and the date. 3. Completing HVAC invoices with missing crucial information. An HVAC invoicing header with company contact information should be at the top of all paper and digital invoices. Other crucial details include the invoice number, invoice date, an itemized breakdown of charges, and space for the tech to write additional notes. For companies who require proof-of-work or need to attach photos, the InvoiceASAP platform allows you to do just that and more. 4. Sending your HVAC invoice after you’ve left the job site. Best practice for getting invoices in the hands of your clients is to do so while you’re still at the job site. The key here is to have printed or digital invoices ready to go that your techs can fill out and adjust after completing work on-site. Not only will this speed up the invoicing process and cut down on the paper/email trail, but it will also improve the details and accuracy of your company’s invoices. The sooner you are able to put an invoice in the hands of your customer, the sooner you get paid. 5. Not being flexible with your form of payment. Flexibility with your client’s payment options will get you paid faster and create a more positive experience for your customers. In addition to accepting cash and checks, your team should also be prepared to accept debit and credit cards, and bank payments via ACH or eCheck, directly from an invoice. If you’re able to use a portable card reader in the field, make sure your techs are trained to use it correctly. Also, consider offering other payment apps built for mobile devices. Alternatively, your techs can use invoicing software to photograph the form of payment and post it directly to the invoice. 6. Disorganized record-keeping. No matter how you create and send your invoices, you definitely want to prioritize organization when it comes to filing. Use a labeling system that works for your company and train your employees who help manage records to file new invoices correctly. HVAC invoicing software can be very beneficial for making sure records for completed maintenance, payments, customer contact information, and sales history is always up to date and easily accessible. 7. Not keeping customer information updated. In addition to keeping service records maintained and updated, it’s just as important to regularly update customer information. Addresses, emails, and telephone numbers should all be updated in your records whenever you learn of a change. You should also collect this information from new clients, along with their personal preference for how to best contact them. 8. Failing to update maintenance records. Organizing your client’s maintenance history information will help you better understand the type of service completed and document important details about the client you may not remember in the future. These records can also allow you to set check-in times for when your techs may need to perform routine maintenance. Use a system that makes sense to you and meets your needs. Make sure those in charge of updating records remain consistent with how information is recorded. 9. Not providing an itemized breakdown of costs A huge part of customer satisfaction and retention involves providing clear communication. When it comes to invoicing, you want to make it as easy as possible for the customer to see exactly what they’re paying for. No matter the project, always include an itemized cost breakdown to limit confusion and maintain transparency with clients about your services. Invoicing solutions like InvoiceASAP allow you to pre-define all of your services and products in advance, making it easy to add them to an estimate or invoice, and keeping the details consistent across all of your clients. 10. Not following up for future maintenance work. Stay ahead of new jobs and help keep your revenue steady by routinely reaching out to clients for future maintenance work and any other potential services. Your record-keeping and updated customer information will make it easy to send out maintenance and appointment reminders. Get More from Your Invoicing System Interested in learning how to simplify and drastically improve your invoicing, estimate-writing, and payments process? Contact InvoiceASAP to learn more about our full-service dashboard built for those who work in the field. Create a FREE account today!
InvoiceASAP is great for sending invoices on the go, but that isn’t the only reason our customers love us. Our customers love us because their customers love us. InvoiceASAP is one of the most popular mobile invoicing tools out there. It has a simple interface, syncs well with different accounting software, including Quickbooks and Quickbooks Desktop, and works across multiple devices. But scratch beneath the surface and you unlock so much more. The InvoiceASAP platform can double up as your biggest customer service ally, helping you to inject greatness into your interactions with clients. Here are five ways you can truly delight your customers with the power of InvoiceASAP… 1. Tailor Customer Experience Through Personalized Notes Isn’t it nice when someone provides you with a service and it really feels like they know you? Like when your Cleaner remembers how you like your fresh laundry folded, or when your Landscaper brings along doggy treats to mellow your 80lb German Shepherd pup in the backyard. Even something simple like your favorite restaurant knowing your name and remembering how you like your favorite meal. That warm fuzzy feeling – it’s great, and it’s what keeps customers coming back. What’s even greater is that with a little help from InvoiceASAP, it’s super easy to provide this kind of service to your customers. The Customer Notes feature on InvoiceASAP allows you to add private notes about your customers to share internally. Get familiar with it. If used right, it can really help to supercharge your customer interactions. Whether you use InvoiceASAP as a team or you’re just a one-man-band, this feature will allow you to store notes so that you can provide a more tailored service to each of your customers. Now, you and your whole team can personally get to know your customers and give them the personalized service that will keep them coming back and feeling like family. Here’s how to add customer notes on a mobile device:. Check out our forum post on adding customer notes for more info. 2. Easily Download Customer Data and Send Exclusive Updates and Deals Did you know that you can download data from InvoiceASAP? Well, you can, and what’s more, you can do a ton of amazing things with this data to improve customer experience. If you have a company update or special offer you want to share directly with customers, you can easily pull contact data from InvoiceASAP to get in touch with your customers en masse. When you download data from InvoiceASAP it gets stored as a .csv file on your computer which you can then upload into an Excel spreadsheet. If you’re a bit of an Excel whizz you could even filter your customers by city or state or by the products or services they’ve purchased then send them targeted email or mail. A quick guide to downloading data: Head to the Manage Account website (www.invoiceasap.com) and log inClick on ReportsSelect the report category (i.e., Invoice Reports) and then the specific report you would like to viewHere you’ll see a list of all the data in that report. Use the calendar to search for data within a specific timeframeClick Export 3. Attach Before and After Photos to Your Invoices If you fix, build, clean, create, paint or do anything that visually transforms something – start adding photo attachments to your invoices and estimates. This is a great tool for showing proof of work and demonstrating your incredible handiwork, giving customers another reason to keep coming back. One InvoiceASAP user we recently spoke with told us why he loved this feature. Working in the maintenance industry he was required to send out proof of work to clients after a job was completed as they were often not able to sign-off on the work in person. He’d send out an estimate with an image of what he was working on before the fix, then after the job, he’d attach an image to the invoice. Not only did it demonstrate his great work to clients, but it was also super easy to do. Check out our blog post on adding proof of work photos to invoices, to learn how. 4. Offer More Ways For Your Customers to Pay Make it easy for customers to do business with you and they’ll be more likely to come back. We’ve all been there before – you’re midway through an order at the local coffee shop to find they only accept cash and you are penniless aside from your bank card. What do you do? Go off in search of the nearest ATM? Maybe. Cancel your order and walk away? Probably. The same thinking can apply to any one of your customers at the point you make a sale. By limiting your payment options, you limit your customers. With InvoiceASAP it’s really easy to add new payment methods to your account. The payment services that we connect to include Square, PayPal, Authorize.net and WePay. By broadening your payment options, your client will not only be happier, you’re also more likely to get paid faster. After all, the hard part is getting customers. Accepting their money should be the easy part. Quick guide to adding a new payment method: Head to the Manage Account website (www.invoiceasap.com) and loginClick on My Payment MethodsSelect the payment service you wish to connect your InvoiceASAP account to. If you want to add Square or PayPal, you will need to create an account with these services before you can connect.Click Save then follow the setup instructions. To add Square, PayPal or Authorize.net you will first need to be on a Base, Plus or Biz plan. If you’re not already, you can upgrade here. 5. Audio Notes Add a Personal Touch A little personal touch can go a long way. That’s why we decided to introduce audio notes for invoices. With this feature, you can record a short voice memo and attach it to a client’s invoice or estimate. Maybe you have further comments to share on the work carried out, or you just want to add a friendly greeting. Whatever you do, see it as an extension of your great customer service and make your customers smile. Learn how to add voice memos to your invoices. Boost Your Customer Experience with InvoiceASAP! So now you have the knowledge, what are you waiting for? Get delighting those customers! Get started with InvoiceASAP by signing up for your free account. We’ll make invoicing your customers easier, while also helping you personalize your invoices and boosting your customer interaction.
Working out in the field can make teamwork tough. In the absence of face-to-face interaction there’s a lot that can be missed. Thankfully, we live in a world now where mobile and cloud-based technology can help to bridge the gaps in communication and support greater collaboration. In this post we’ll run through a few essential tools that will help managers overcome the physical limitations of mobile working, helping team members feel more connected and productive than ever. 1. Get the right devices If your team is on the go a lot, they’re not going to be particularly productive if all they have to hand is a cell to make calls and a desktop computer sitting back at the office. We’re in the 21st century guys! Technology means that we can bring our office with us, wherever we are. Whether you decide to provide employees with the devices they need or operate a BYOD (bring your own device) kind of deal, make sure that every employee has a device that suits their work pattern – whether it’s a tablet, smartphone, laptop or all of the above. 2. Arm your team with mobile collaboration tools Now having the right device is great but it means nothing if your team in the field can’t access the important work tools and information they need to do their job. It’s important to keep the flow of information transparent so that members of the team know what’s going on at an individual level, at a team level and at a company level. Having a central platform that each member of the team can check into, no matter what device they’re using, will enable employees to collaborate and keep track of tasks and schedules wherever they are. Trello and Yammer are two industry-leading platforms that help to support great project management and team collaboration. For more day-to-day communication with colleagues, also check out Slack and HipChat. 3. Keep your team connected with regular virtual meetings It’s a known fact that with any kind of teamwork, good communication is absolutely key. If your team is remote or regularly working out in the field, you miss out on a lot of the behavioral cues that you get with regular face-to-face interactions. It’s for this reason that you really need to up the ante on communication and make sure crucial information isn’t lost between colleagues because they’re not in the office. It’s often best in these circumstances to over-communicate rather than under-communicate and discover that your team are misinterpreting or missing out on updates. If it’s not easy to bring your team together for regular in-person meetings, there are a ton of tools out there that help to support virtual meetings. Google Hangouts, Appear.in or Skype are a few that support video calls on mobile (as well as web) and can help to inject that feeling of connectedness that’s often lost in your standard voice calls or phone conferences. 4. Speed up your sales with mobile invoicing and payments For mobile teams, paperwork is the worst. It’s messy and it slows things down. And when it comes to invoicing, slowing things down is the last thing you want. If your team in the field are responsible for taking payments from customers, a mobile invoicing and payments app will be central to speeding up your sales cycle and improving your cashflow. InvoiceASAP is a mobile app designed specifically for businesses on the go. You can send and pay invoices and easily access all your customers, products and services in the cloud, wherever you are and with any device. If you already use an accounting platform like QuickBooks or Xero, it syncs your invoices and payments across too. RIP paperwork! Summary Unlike office-based teams, mobile teams have their own unique set of challenges which can make teamwork harder, but not impossible. Managing a mobile team requires a digital toolset that will help to support the team rather than hold it back. By selecting business tools that work across multiple devices, you will ensure that you can cater to the needs of both your field-based employees as well as those back at the office. Photo credit: © gpointstudio
Invoicing correctly isn’t all just about what’s written on the invoice. A large part of getting it right comes down to effective communication and relationship management. Here we run through our top 10 invoicing tips to help you not only get paid faster but also keep those customers coming back! 1. Get a contract First things first, get a contract and get it signed. Starting off on the right foot, with everyone on the same page will go a long way towards setting the tone for the remainder of the project. It’s in both party’s interest to get a contract signed. Without one, you’re at risk of being left in the lurch with no payment and they’re at risk of being overcharged or being left with an incomplete or inadequate end product. Now that’s no fun for anyone! 2. Be really specific Before you provide an estimate, make sure you uncover any unknowns so that you can be as accurate as possible with your figure. Make it really clear on your invoice what you are charging for. For a customer, it can be really frustrating receiving an invoice for which the charges are unclear. 3. If you’re out and about regularly, consider a mobile invoicing solution Getting paid quickly is largely due to getting your invoices out quickly. If you work in the field or you’re on the road a lot, consider a mobile invoicing solution to enable you to send invoices on the go. InvoiceASAP is a great tool that does exactly what it says on the tin. It also allows you to attach voice memos and photos to all your invoices and estimates which is great if you need to show before and after photos or proof of work. 4. Set your own payment terms This includes your invoicing dates and due dates. Take into account that there will, inevitably, be late payers and adjust your payment terms accordingly. Consider charging a percentage of the overall amount upfront, or setting payment milestones so that you get a steady flow of cash whilst carrying out the work. Be clear with your customers about your payment terms. For example, you may require a signature on estimates, and include due dates in every written piece of communication with your customer. 5. Keep communication with your client open, especially if the scope of work creeps Often you start working on a project with a client and realize, after you draw back the curtains, the full scope of the project was greater than anticipated when you initially provided your estimate. If you think you will go over the estimated amount, make sure you communicate this clearly to your client as soon as possible. No one likes being stung with an unexpected hike in price. So, rather than giving them a nasty surprise at the end of the project, or worse, undercharging, be completely open and explain exactly what you’re charging for and why. It is also worth addressing scope creep in the initial contract with a client. Many clients may require a Change Order to be signed which is essentially a secondary contract listing the additional hours, work, products or services required to complete the job. This way you will avoid leaving clients with a sour feeling at the end of a job and maintain a positive relationship with them. 6. Get a secondary contact for your invoices in case the primary contact is on vacation There’s nothing worse than receiving an out-of-office message from a client letting you know that they’re on vacation for the next few weeks, just after you’ve emailed them an invoice. Rather than waiting it out, make sure you have a secondary point of contact who you can call on to get the payment processed. Also, if you can be clear on invoicing dates from the start, you should get the heads up from clients if they will be away during those dates and ask for an additional contact during those periods. 7. Invoice as soon as possible after, or as products and services are supplied The sooner you submit your invoice, the sooner you’ll get paid. Honor your commitments too – if you deliver on time, you’re more likely to get paid on time. 8. Broaden your payment solutions Make it easy for customers to do business with you and they’ll be more likely to come back. By increasing your payment options, your client will not only be happier, you’re also more likely to get paid faster. 9. Keep on top of cash flow, track which invoices have been paid and which haven’t Always be on top of what’s been paid and what’s owed and have a timely system of reminders, monthly statements and phone follow-ups to lessen the risk of running into cash flow problems. 10. Consider using late-payment fees or prompt-payment discounts. If late payment is a common occurrence, consider dishing out penalties to those who don’t stick to your payment terms or offering discounts to those who pay up early. Do make sure this is included in your contract so that they are aware of the implications and so that you have something to refer back to if they take issue with paying a fee. Finally, when it comes to getting paid on time, it may feel like the majority of control is with the client. But by taking the lead, being organized, open and clear you will have more influence over when you’ll get paid. Photo credit: © XiXinXing istockphoto.com
From smartphones to tablets – technology is not only changing how businesses communicate, connect and discover, it is disrupting entire industries. The construction industry is by no means isolated from this revolution. Early adopters are investing now in more innovative mobile solutions to outperform their peers and become more efficient in every way. The mobile mega-trend is driving business innovation at a rapid pace as more and more construction businesses are reaping the rewards every day – don’t get left behind! Thinking strategically about an approach to on-site estimate and invoice management is one element of this shift. It is no longer necessary to be tied to a desk in order to carry out administrative or back-office tasks. A Site Manager can be onsite responding to emails, checking in on the latest project updates and creating customer estimates and invoices on the spot. Mobile invoicing specifically is a small step that goes a long way in helping businesses to increase efficiency, reduce payment errors and drastically improve their cashflow. What is mobile invoicing all about, and what are the fundamental benefits for those in the construction industry? 1. Create invoices, estimates and sales orders from the construction site Mobile invoicing solutions transform mobile devices into powerful business management tools, increasing the efficiency of teams in the field enabling them to effectively take their office with them, wherever they go. 2. Instant billing and faster payment Unsurprisingly, the faster an invoice is sent, the quicker a business will receive payment. Mobile invoicing enables businesses to create and send an invoice the second the job is done, thus cutting out the need for the customer to wait days for this to (hopefully) turn up in the mail. 3. Cloud storage – one central location for all information that can be accessed on any device. By storing all estimates and invoices in the cloud, every single document can be accessed and edited on a mobile device or computer whether staff are out in the field or back at the office. Using a mobile platform also means that staff working onsite are able to input customer data directly into the invoicing software using their phone or tablet, and it will update everywhere. 4. Integration with accounting software A mobile invoicing solution is great as a standalone but it also needs to work in sync with accounting software. Thankfully, there are some great mobile invoicing solutions out there that integrate fully with major accounting platforms which eliminate the risk of double entries, enabling smoother and more accurate financial management. 5. Capture signatures With touchscreen technology, clients can sign with a finger or stylus on a mobile device. This can be especially useful for receiving approval on an estimate or for businesses who need to add a signature to an invoice before sending to the client for payment. Signature capture on mobile devices can also be cloud-stored securely with the signed document. 6. Attach photos easily to show proof of work Showing proof of work is a common requirement for construction pros. Using a mobile invoicing app, means businesses can easily attach before and after photos to estimates and invoices without the need to be switching between devices or sending photos as separate attachments. 7. Big cost savings By cutting out manual payment processes, and speeding up the payment cycle, businesses are realizing big cost savings. A 2012 global e-invoicing study stated that 56 percent of businesses experience a reduced cost of invoice processing when using more sophisticated technology in comparison to using more rudimentary processes. Finally… Cloud-computing and mobile technology are transforming construction, period. When it comes to accounting technology, it’s not a question of ‘if’ businesses in the sector will adopt, but ‘when’. The forward thinking-companies who adopt these new ways of financial management will be the ones who get ahead. Photo credit: © TommL, istockphoto.com About the Author Paul Hoeper is CEO and Founder of InvoiceASAP, the first fully integrated mobile invoicing and payments platform. He is an industry expert in mobile commerce and business software solutions. Learn more about InvoiceASAP