Within any business, having a clear, concise and fully operational invoicing process is vital. At the end of the day, invoicing is a crucial step towards receiving payment for any work completed. One of the things that can help streamline operations and bring processes together is field service software.
There are lots of different options available, but having one central system which everyone can access is invaluable. It can increase efficiency, productivity and speed up the process of money coming into the business. So how do you manage your HVAC business to maximize revenue and implement a functioning HVAC invoicing system?
Understanding the HVAC Invoicing Process
It’s an exciting moment seeing money come into your business. Having a seamless process for your customers to be invoiced and submit payments can make customers happy and encourage repeat business. The last thing you want to do is leave your customers confused or with any misunderstandings about payments. Having a clearly defined invoice process helps prevent that from happening.
Developing a reusable HVAC invoicing template will help to speed up the process to create invoices. In addition having a professional invoice and a consistent document builds brand credibility and trust with your customers.
The HVAC invoicing process is similar to the invoicing process in a lot of field service businesses.
- A customer will first request a service, and then a technician will go and assess what work needs to be done.
- A quote can then be drawn up and sent to the customer for the HVAC service.
- The customer can then decide if they want to go ahead with the work.
- Once the work has been completed, an invoice is issued to the customer. This tends to be an email but some businesses operate a more traditional paper approach.
- If the work is for recurring commercial work, this invoice will likely need to be sent on a regular basis–typically monthly or quarterly.
What is HVAC Invoicing Software?
Fortunately there are a lot of tools out there that make HVAC invoicing easier, and one of those tools is software. Investing in an invoicing software for your HVAC businesses can take a lot of the stress (and manual work) out of using paper and pen. Many HVAC invoicing software programs offer integrations with accounting software (like Quickbooks integration or Xero integration) so that you can keep all of the work in one place.
It includes things such as invoice templates, automated invoicing and the ability to collect payments a lot faster. In addition to giving you one central hub to organize invoices, many programs allow technicians to collect payments while out on the field via a mobile app.
How Can Your Business Benefit From an HVAC Invoicing Software?
As a business owner it’s important to keep your business moving at a pace that will increase growth and promote scalability. With invoicing software, benefits include improved efficiency and accuracy, a reduction in administrative tasks and faster payment processing. So, to give you a little HVAC invoicing help, let’s take a look at how these benefits can help your business.
Improves efficiency and accuracy
Let’s be honest, if you’re stuck manually writing out documents for different customers, it gets a little mind numbing. This also leads to more mistakes made, as it’s a manual process involving a lot of repetitive steps. And, even if you are using a disconnected program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs to type them up each time, you are likely spending lots of wasted time keeping track of payments.
In our recent Voice of the Trades industry report, 35 percent of respondents said that they experienced invoicing issues, and 58 percent said that invoicing challenges led to bad debts or writing off losses. While software does require repeat steps, because it’s using a digital process, the margin for error is a lot slimmer.
With a traditional invoicing process there’s more room for human error and there may be times when a customer queries something on an invoice. Instead of having to scramble through reams of paperwork involving messy scribbles and deciphering a colleague's handwriting, invoicing software allows you to easily find information fast. This means that you can answer invoice queries quicker and put customers’ minds at ease.
Reduces administrative workload
Another advantage of using integrated software for invoicing HVAC services is that it cuts down on a lot of administrative tasks, saving you time and resources. What could have taken you hours at the end of an already busy week, can be done in a matter of minutes or even completed real time as the work is completed. With everything being stored on the software, there’s also less necessity for office supplies, saving you money too.
Increases profitability through faster payment processing
Having a digital invoice will increase the speed you bring payments into the business, especially since you can generate an invoice at the tap of a button. A lot of software will save various pieces of information and preferences, meaning they’re generated in minutes instead of hours.
There’s the added bonus that customers don’t have to wait two to three days for their mail to arrive, as would normally be the case with a traditional invoicing method. With good HVAC invoicing software, field staff are able to generate an invoice on-site through a mobile app, further speeding up the rate of payment. It’s important to think about profitability as a business owner and allowing your customers to pay with speed and ease will add to your bottom line, and keep customers happy.
Key Features to Look for in HVAC Invoicing Software
There are lots of different software options on the market, so make sure you weigh up your options before taking the plunge. There are some very common features that you want to look out for including integration with other field service management software, customizable templates and automated payment processing. Let’s take a look at why these features benefit your invoicing process.
Integration with field service management software
Selecting an invoicing program that integrates with your existing HVAC software will help you save time. You will want to consider if the program is a good fit for the HVAC industry. For example, does it easily integrate with your HVAC dispatch software so that you can quickly send invoices after a job?
Additionally, if your company already uses accounting packages, such as Sage or Xero, it’s worth looking for software that integrates with your existing accounting software platform. This means a lot of your financial data can be easily transferred across without the extra time spent inputting manual data. It also helps to keep processes streamlined and means you can have one central source of information that all of the relevant departments can access.
Customizable invoicing templates
Having one or more templates for your invoicing will speed up the process for your business and customers alike. With templates you don’t have to worry about building or formatting them each time, as they act like a blueprint. Once you’ve set them up, you’ll have a handy pre-formatted invoice template to use every time work is completed.
Whether commercial HVAC service or residential, your staff can generate an invoice for the customer on-site immediately. As a result, your business brings in revenue faster and customers have a smooth, streamlined experience.
Automated payment processing
The amount of payment options available to us as consumers makes it very easy to spend money, and it all revolves around technology. Whether it’s a contactless card payment, mobile or PayPal, all of these options involve a ‘click’ or a ‘tap’. Investing in HVAC business invoicing software should involve a streamlined, automated payment process. For example, giving your customers the option to pay online or even while field staff are on-site with them, will streamline operations and bring in payments faster.
Bring communications completely full circle with the inclusion of mobile accessibility to strengthen the invoicing process. Payment information can be captured on site and there’s complete visibility at all times. If a customer queries parts of an invoice, this can be resolved in a matter of minutes, since it’s easy to check important details on the go. In addition, a comprehensive invoicing software works in tandem with field staff and the office, syncing the data at regular intervals. Saving time and avoiding misunderstandings between staff and customers.
Implementing HVAC Invoicing Software in Your Business
Once you’ve picked the right software, you’ve got to implement it into your business and make sure the process runs as smooth as possible. You’ll want to make sure you make all the relevant teams aware of the incoming change, when it’s happening and how it’ll affect their day-to-day operations. Take the time to schedule training sessions at a time that suits all staff. It’s important that everyone feels supported, and that often means having multiple sessions to account for different departments and their workloads. What’s more, if you outline the benefits that the introduction of invoicing software can bring to your staff, they’re less likely to resist the change. And finally, be open to talk about any concerns staff may be having about the impending change. It’s important that their voices are heard and you get the opportunity to put their minds at ease.
The thought of implementing new software doesn’t have to fill you with dread, as long as you do your research into which will suit your business and staff. Making the leap from traditional paper-based methods, you’ll see the benefits it can bring in no time. Take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Invoicing Software for Field Service Businesses for an in-depth look at what to look out for when shopping around.