Contractors Services + Software: Tools to Make Contractors More Efficient
Mypointnow.com’s VenturePro Stands Above the Rest
VenturePro Field Service Software is designed for the medium-to-small contractor or service professional that needs the tools of tomorrow but has been unable to afford them.
That is how the gold-winning company — Mypointnow.com — of the 2014 Dealer Design Awards Contractor Services and Software category describes its product.
One of the contractor judges put it this way: “For a smaller HVAC company, this looks like an amazing, all-encompassing solution. I do not feel there is anything else like this for smaller companies.”
VenturePro is full field-service and business management software specifically created for the HVACR and plumbing professional. The mobile-based technology features two interfaces: The desktop interface, which can be accessed from any modern Web browser, and the mobile version, which is supported on all Android and Apple devices.
The company spent eight years researching, designing, testing, and adjusting the product. Designed by HVAC and plumbing industry leaders, VenturePro took two years to build before it went into live testing. It went into beta testing in 2011. A group of contractors were selected, trained, and provided the software package to use and review in a live setting. Each contractor reviewed the software and provided strengths, weaknesses, and recommendations for areas of improvement. The live testing environment provided complex situations that could not be reached without dynamic live testing. After an initial testing period, data were gathered and updates were made based on direct input from active contractors. Since the beta testing ended, Mypointnow has used contractor surveys and specific spot testing to continually improve VenturePro.
“Not only is Venture affordable, it packages dozens of intuitive industry tools into one product,” said Drew Wade, product manager, Mypoint
now.com. “Venture rethinks the model of field-service software by making an industry-tested, affordable, and extremely effective product. The goal of Venture is not to be used in 15 different industries. VenturePro was created for one industry.”
Industry tools in VenturePro include quotes, scheduling, dispatch, MyDay, team and personal calendars, a PDF library, service reminders, integrated customer reviews, QuickBooks integration, and user controls. Among the features, MyDay was designed specifically for the technician. It provides the tech with all scheduled appointments and jobs for a given day on any mobile device. Once the day has been started, MyDay shows what has been done, where the tech has been, and what is left to do. Every appointment or work order not only displays the customer’s name, time, and location, but also has one-click access to the customer’s full record. From the customer record, the tech can immediately access one-touch live GPS navigation, call or email the customer, and access the full customer history. MyDay also features VentureDark, which automatically downloads the day to local storage upon first login. During the day, if a tech loses reception or data connection, he or she retains access to all appointment information and the full work orders for every job.
“MyDay is built to enhance the service technician’s capabilities while saving the office staff from having to verbally communicate information on each job,” Wade explained. “Along with that, something unique to VenturePro is the PDF library. Through this feature, the technician has access to more than 10,000 PDFs from any device. Anything from installation manuals and spec sheets to color literature on a unit can be found in the dynamic library.”
The company intends to continue growing VenturePro and improving the product as long as there is a market to serve. Mypointnow said it will continue to seek support and suggestions from contractors and that it will enhance and sharpen the many tools offered.
“Venture, as it stands, would not have been possible three years ago, and it is exciting to imagine what it could look like three years from now,” said Wade.
The Contractor Portal for the Connected Home is a software platform from Honeywell Intl. Inc. and the silver winner of this category of the 2014 DDA Awards. According to the company, it enables HVAC contractors to provide 24/7 peace of mind along with convenience and comfort to consumers in their neighborhoods. This software solution captures homeowner HVAC system data, sends actionable alerts, and trends and graphs the information over time. It aggregates homeowner data from the HVAC system through the Honeywell connected Wi-Fi or RedLINK thermostat and presents remote access, alerts, and notifications to contractors.
For the Contractor Portal, Honeywell has included a customer report card that technicians can reference before, during, or after a maintenance call to make sure they are prepared for the job. The portal also helps contractors justify or validate the work they conducted, and establishes a baseline of system performance for future maintenance visits. Honeywell’s product also offers HVAC system-alert case management with Google maps embedded into the tool, so the technician can be given his or her assignment, figure out what is happening in the home, determine what tools and parts they need to bring, and map their route to the home, all from a single site and device.
Honeywell intends to update and enhance the Contractor Portal several times per year. As a subscription service, Honeywell said it is aware its customers expect constant improvement and additional features with this tool, and they plan to deliver.
Taking bronze in this category is Field Controls LLC’s latest version of the Healthy Home System iAQ app. Available for Apple and Android devices, the app now includes a tool allowing the contractor to create custom quotations in a matter of seconds. According to the company, this app is a complete education, demonstration, quoting, and selling tool. The app is designed to help contractors design and quote a custom Healthy Home iAQ System for their customers, whether in the office, truck, or customer’s home. It provides options and allows the customer to select the system that best meets his or her needs and budget. The customer can approve the proposal on the spot, and the contractor can email it to the customer and home office to get the order started. The app allows custom, manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), and flat rate pricing. Contractors can add their logos to the app to create custom proposals that represent their brands. They can also use the app to explain the components of the quote, discuss options, and modify the system based on the unique needs of the home.
Contractors are encouraged to use the app to educate, demonstrate, quote, and sell the Healthy Home System iAQ solution. The app can also be used by homeowners as a source of residential IAQ knowledge. It explains to the homeowner why they need to take charge of their indoor air and how best to do it. A short, animated video explains the need for better IAQ. The app also guides homeowners through a simple scorecard analysis of the air in their homes so they can identify solutions that are right for them. Homeowners can also store their contractor’s contact information and set lamp and filter reminder alerts.
The company plans to continue enhancing the app to include additional contractor and homeowner features. Representatives are currently researching the ability to help homeowners find a Healthy Home System contractor. Eventually, the company hopes to add a searchable database of all contractors that sell the system.
Publication date: 7/21/2014