Ease the business burden

Ease the business burden

Operating a small heating and plumbing business can be a challenge, with numerous tasks to take care of before even starting ‘the day job’. PHPI spoke with Tulloch Priest, Co-founder of Gas Engineer Software, to discover some ways to ease the burden.  

Q. When it comes to admin, what do you see as the main challenges for owners of small businesses operating in the sector?
The single biggest challenge for small business owners is juggling all the different aspects of their company alone.  

Unlike bigger businesses with specialised staff, they have to do everything from tax to customer management, marketing, insurance, and merchant ordering themselves. This is especially difficult for new business owners as most of these skills aren’t taught, but rather learnt along the way through experience.  

On top of this, there’s the problem of time: sole traders want to maximise how long they can spend on jobs that actually earn them money, leaving little for all the paper and admin work. Maintaining a work-life balance like this can be hard.

Q. What kinds of things can plumbers and heating engineers do to streamline admin and make running a business smoother?
Software is a huge benefit for many. Nowadays, there are apps for just about anything – from simple gas rate calculators to invoices, accounts, and so on. My single most important piece of advice is to find an all-in-one software system that helps manage the flow of jobs through your business. Each step – from quote to invoice – is interconnected and based on a detailed database of customer information. It makes sense to use one software to streamline this whole process and free up time for more important tasks. 

Q. How has the software been tailored specifically for the Heating & Plumbing sector?
Paperless records & certificates are one of our most valued and used features. We have several domestic and non-domestic gas records specific to the industry – including gas safe certificates.  

Homeowners (landlords in particular with their legal responsibility) like to service their boiler each year. Our software helps gas engineers capture repeat business by sending out automatic annual service reminders.

Q. Can the software help with quotations, invoicing, job allocations and regular servicing?
The short answer is yes. Quotes and invoices are easy to make with professional (and customisable) templates that use customer data pulled from your database. Jobs are then easily tracked and allocated with our schedule and calendar, while simple filtering lets you see any jobs that are uninvoiced or have outstanding payments so you can get paid faster. The software also helps with regular servicing and repeat business by sending out automated reminders to customers in advance of their boiler service date. 

Q. Does the software help engineers produce and store gas safety certificates?
Gas safety certificates are one of our core features. We recently sent a survey out to our customers which highlighted how much they value our certificates’ ease of use. With the software, they are easily filled online, pre-populated with customer information from your database, and automatically saved on the cloud for future reference.  

Going paperless with gas safe certificates means you can leave all the endless binders and filing cabinets behind. All records and certificates are safe and easily accessible, while copies are instantly sent to customers via email.

Q. Heating engineers and plumbers are often on the go from dawn to dusk. Is the software accessible from a smartphone?
Yes – it was important for us to make Gas Engineer Software usable both on mobile devices and the web for this very reason.  

The web version contains the full feature set for admin staff and engineers working at home, while the mobile version contains everything needed on-the-go. Job management and scheduling, for example, can be easily viewed and edited in real-time. There’s also the ability to create and complete gas safe certificates, quotes, and even invoices directly on a smartphone so there’s less paperwork to do on evenings and weekends.  

Our software is also usable in remote areas without internet or mobile data access, and will sync later on.

Q. Is there any support available in case users struggle with any elements of the solution?

We know that learning how to use new software isn’t easy for everyone. Our customer support team is always available on weekdays from 9-5 to help with anything and everything – we don’t believe there are any questions not worth asking. Users can also book a free one-to-one demo with our team if they would like a more detailed walkthrough.

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