Field service management software helps service businesses automate common tasks and optimize field operations. There are numerous solutions on the market today, and deciding which is best for your business can be confusing.
This guide will help you understand how field service management software works, and how it can benefit your business. We will also discuss industry trends, and cover common mistakes to avoid when evaluating your options.
Table of Contents
- What is Field Service Management?
- What is Field Service Management Software?
- Do I Need Field Service Management Software?
- What are the Benefits of Field Service Management Software?
- What to Consider When Evaluating Field Service Management Software
- Common Mistakes When Evaluating Software
What is Field Service Management?
Field service management (FSM) is the coordination of a company’s resources, including employees and equipment, for operations located outside of company premises. FSM is found in a wide range of industries including HVAC, plumbing, and commercial cleaning.
Two important roles in field service management are customer service representatives (CSRs) and field technicians. CSRs interact with customers, schedule work orders, and dispatch field technicians to the job. Field technicians are the workers or contractors that work remotely and deliver services to clients.
What is Field Service Management Software?
Field service management software is a tool that helps service businesses operate more efficiently. FSM software helps your CSRs and field technicians complete time-consuming and tedious tasks, like managing inventory, dispatching, and tracking time spent on the job. FSM solutions are cloud-based, so your field technicians can access the platform remotely on their mobile device.
Businesses of all sizes use FSM software. Some FSM solutions, like Jobber, are better for SMBs. These solutions are moderately advanced and more affordable than other solutions, like ServiceTitan. ServiceTitan is an expensive tool that offers an advanced feature suite, and is best for large companies.
FSM software is typically purchased through a monthly subscription, and pricing can range widely depending on the sophistication of the platform. FSM solutions best for SMBs typically start at around $60 per month. FSM solutions best for large companies and enterprises generally cost about $250 per user per month.
Do I Need Field Service Management Software?
There are several common issues that many service businesses face. In general, these issues indicate that your business is not operating as efficiently as it can, and implementing FSM software can help solve these issues.
We recommend that all field service management businesses experiencing the following issues strongly consider field service management software:
- You have high fuel costs and want to optimize your daily routes
- You have trouble coordinating jobs and communicating with technicians while they’re in the field
- Your customers find it difficult to schedule jobs and pay invoices online
- You’re chasing outstanding payments manually
- You inputting multiple work orders for recurring jobs manually
What are the Benefits of Field Service Management Software?
Field service management software is one of the most valuable tools you can use in your service business. Here are some of the benefits of using FSM software.
Reporting and analytics tools are standard features found in most FSM solutions. These tools help you analyze your business’ performance, and find opportunities for improvement. Most solutions include a dashboard that visualizes your business’ most important KPIs.
You can also generate reports in most FSM software. Here are some examples of reports that you can create.
- Financial reports: projected income, invoices, aged receivables
- Work reports: quotes converted, timesheets, products & services
- Client reports: client re-engagement, client communications
- Expense reports: total expenses
Accelerates Payment Processing
The majority of FSM software includes online payment processing. This allows your clients to send you electronic payments through an online payment portal.
Using third-party payment processing is likely sufficient for most solopreneurs. However, as your business scales, it is more efficient to have a unified solution that combines payment processing with other important business processes. Here are some of the ways you can use FSM software for payment processing.
- Easily create, send, and receive digital invoices
- Automate payment collection for recurring work
- Send automated follow ups for outstanding balances
- Automatically record incoming and outgoing payments in a ledger
Improves Paperwork Processing
Manually managing paperwork using pen & paper is time-consuming and prone to human error. FSM software allows you to go paperless which accelerates the processing of invoices, job sheets, contracts, and legal documents.
Paperwork is safely stored in the cloud, and accessible on any permitted device. Also, most apps allow you to send paperwork to a customer’s email address, so there’s minimal delay between completing jobs and sending invoices.
Adds Flexibility to Scheduling
Every field service business owner has faced an emergency where they had to quickly adjust a technician’s schedule. FSM software makes it easy to re-assign technicians in real-time, even when they are already in the field. You can change schedules and send notifications of reassignment directly on the platform.
With fuel consumption being one of the biggest expenses for many service businesses, it's vital that you reduce the time technicians spend on the road and sit idle between jobs. FSM features, like GPS tracking and AI-based optimizations, can help you find the most cost-efficient routes.
What to Consider When Evaluating Field Service Management Software
There are four primary criteria you should use to evaluate field service management software: features, usability, pricing, and customer support. We’ll give you a more specific idea of what to look for in each category below. We also discuss common mistakes that you should avoid during the evaluation process.
There are 11 common features that you should look for in this type of software. However, depending on the solution, some features we highlight below may not be included.
Call booking helps customer service representatives efficiently schedule jobs while offering exceptional customer support. Call booking forms allow your CSRs to quickly input job details your technicians need. Many software tools, like ServiceTitan, include call pops for incoming calls, so CSRs can greet customers by name and view relevant information.
Many customers prefer to schedule jobs online, which is why online booking features are so important for field service businesses. Most FSM solutions allow you to embed online booking tools into your website, where customers can request quotes and schedule jobs. Some solutions integrate with Google Local Services, so customers can schedule jobs directly from Google’s search results page without having to visit your company’s website.
For businesses with recurring customers, drafting new service contracts for every job is inefficient. FSM software allows you to quickly build service contracts ranging from generic one-off jobs to recurring business contracts. When it comes to renewing these contracts, many FSM solutions include reports that show how profitable those contracts are and whether you need to adjust your rates.
The majority of FSM solutions allow you to create company-branded quotes that can be sent to your clients electronically. The best solutions include automatic quote follow-ups. A nice-to-have feature is the ability to create good, better, and best quote options. By presenting quotes with different equipment, services, and prices, technicians are able to upsell more easily.
Scheduling and Dispatching
FSM software helps you schedule jobs and dispatch technicians. With drag-and-drop calendars and dispatch boards, you can anticipate a technician’s workload, and assign jobs weeks or months ahead. GPS tracking increases visibility into employee location and activity, and helps you optimize routes.
No matter how you prefer to get paid, FSM software can help you process those payments. The best solutions allow you to accept payments through ACH transfers, credit card, and checks. For businesses with a high volume of recurring work, automated payment processing is a significant time saver.
FSM solutions increase visibility into inventory levels, so you always have the parts required to complete a job. You can track parts and monitor the inventory that technicians have. Also, you can generate reports to help you determine optimal inventory replenishment thresholds, so you can reorder parts efficiently.
Online Customer Portal
Online customer portals allow your customers to conveniently approve quotes, pay invoices, and check appointment times. Also, online customer portals can be used to schedule additional jobs, which can significantly reduce administrative work for field service businesses with a high volume of recurring work.
Client Manager (CRM)
The best FSM solutions include built-in CRM software. A CRM stores all client information in a single place, so you can quickly access contact information, job history, documents, and outstanding payments.
Mobile applications are the main FSM tool that your field technicians will interact with. Here are some of the tasks you can execute in a mobile application:
- Access client information
- Access equipment history and track aging equipment
- Access work order history
- Track time spent on job
- Create estimates with images
- Receive payments
- Quickly text, call, and email clients
- Send arrival updates and on-my-way texts to clients
The best FSM software solutions offer real-time reporting tools that help you track financial and productivity trends. All FSM solutions allow you to track the performance of your field technicians. More robust solutions allow you to analyze the performance of your customer service representatives and sales team to see how well they’re converting customers.
If you plan to use a third-party accounting solution, like QuickBooks, you will want a solution that offers a built-in integration. A built-in integration allows you to seamlessly sync financial data between platforms.
Some software is easier to learn and use than others. The best way to test the usability of a solution is to test the product via a free trial. You should do a mock run of a typical workflow and compare that experience with other solutions. If the solution you are testing does not offer a free trial, you should contact the company for a product walkthrough.
Here are some questions to consider when evaluating the usability of field service management software:
- Are features well organized, and is navigation simple?
- Do you hit any dead ends where you don’t know how to complete a task?
- Are there shortcuts to commonly-used features?
- Does the interface look outdated?
- Does the software have a steep learning curve?
FSM management software typically costs between $9 and $398 per user per month. In general, contracts are typically structured as a monthly subscription for a given number of users.
There are two main tiers of FSM software. The lower tier is built for SMBs with under 30 technicians, and includes solutions like Jobber and Housecall Pro. The higher tier is built for large companies and enterprises with more than 30 technicians, and includes solutions ServiceTitan and FieldEdge. Here is the pricing of the most popular solutions on the market today.
Field Service Management Software Pricing for SMBs
|Jobber||Starts at $29 per month for one user when paying for an annual plan, and increases depending on features and number of users|
|Housecall Pro||Starts at $49 per month for one user when paying for an annual plan, and increases depending on features and number of users|
|ServiceM8||Starts at $9 per month for unlimited users, but is limited to 15 jobs per month. More expensive plans come with additional features and monthly jobs|
|ServiceFusion||Starts at $149 per month for unlimited users|
|Workiz||Starts at $65 per month for two users|
Enterprise Field Service Management Software Pricing
|ServiceTitan||Starts at $398 per user per month, and increases depending on additional needs.|
|FieldEdge||Starts at $100 per user per month|
Exceptional customer support can be a time saver when you are troubleshooting issues with a software vendor. Customer support is particularly important when you are onboarding and first learning how to use a software solution. Here are some questions you should ask when evaluating the customer support of FSM software vendors.
- Does the company offer live chat, phone, and email support?
- Does the company offer one-on-one onboarding support?
- Is customer support available 24/7?
- Is customer support available in all subscription plans?
- Does the company provide a publicly available status page that displays any software issues in real time?
Information on customer support can be found on the pricing page of a vendor’s website, or by directly contacting the company’s support line. To get you started, here is a quick overview of customer support in FSM software.
|Software Solution||Customer Support Details|
|Jobber||Email, live chat and phone support offered in all plans 1-on-1 onboarding support offered in all plans Customer support is available from 6 am to 5 pm MDT Monday through Friday|
|Housecall Pro||Live chat support is available from 9 am to 9 pm EST 7 days a week Phone support is only available on their most expensive plan|
|ServiceM8||Email and live chat support offered in all plans, and is available 24/7 Phone and 1-on-1 onboarding support is outsourced to partners|
|ServiceFusion||Email, live chat and phone support is available|
|Workiz||Email and live chat support offered in all plans. Phone and 1-on-1 onboarding support only available in more expensive plans. Live chat support is available 24/7. Other support channels are available from Monday through Friday|
|ServiceTitan||Email, live chat and phone support is available|
|FieldEdge||Email and phone support is available|
Common Mistakes When Evaluating Field Service Management Software
Evaluating software is a convoluted process with many pitfalls. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when evaluating field service management software.
Not Testing Specific Workflows Prior To Purchasing Software
You should always do a mock run of a typical workflow in the solutions you are interested in. This process will give insight into each solution’s usability, and help you find the platform that is the best fit for your business.
Conducting a mock run of a typical workflow is particularly important when evaluating FSM software. Although most FSM solutions are flexible tools that can be used in a variety of industries, some solutions can be better suited for the specific needs of your business.
For example, lawn mowing businesses deal with a high volume of recurring jobs. For this type of business, you should look for a platform that allows you to quickly create complex recurring work schedules. With solutions like Jobber, you can schedule multiple jobs at a single time. You can also configure visit frequencies, and create complex recurring schedules by the day. For instance, you can set monthly visits on the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month.
Not Testing Enough Solutions
We recommend that you test at least 3 to 5 solutions before making your purchase. Switching platforms after implementation can be costly and wastes time.
Purchasing a Solution That Is Not Ideal For You Business Size
The best solution for you will likely depend on the size of your business. Small businesses should not purchase an expensive software solution with advanced features that can not be leveraged to their full potential. Conversely, fast-growing organizations can be constricted by affordable but less robust software, and may need to make a costly switch to a more advanced solution as they scale.
Prematurely Purchasing an Annual Contract.
With most companies offering discounts for annual contracts, purchasing an annual plan can be tempting. However, paying upfront for an annual contract is a waste of money if you decide to switch platforms after a few months. Before committing to a solution, you should consider purchasing a monthly plan until you’re sure you’re happy with the FSM software you’ve chosen.
Field service management software helps service businesses automate tasks and optimize operations. Industry trends suggest that FSM software will become increasingly important in the near future, and should be seriously considered by service businesses of all types and sizes. If you're ready to learn more about FSM tools, check out our in-depth reviews for the most popular field service management software platforms available today.