Managing an HVAC company is a tough job. Between organizing and scheduling appointments and doing all the back-end paperwork, there’s hardly a moment to keep up with employees in the field.
That’s why HVAC GPS tracking software is integral to so many field service companies.
GPS tracking provides you with the transparency and insights you need to properly manage technicians in the field.
To help you understand the benefits of this technology, we’ve gathered data and spoken to experts in the GPS tracking software space. In this article, you’ll learn how these revenue-boosting benefits and best practices can help your business.
What Is HVAC GPS Tracking Software?
In addition to GPS tracking, these systems commonly include some or all of the following functionality:
- Appointment scheduling
- Technician routing
- Employee management
- Customer management
- On-site management (e.g., note-taking, payment processing)
Despite these great features, many HVAC business owners are still not using general field service software, let alone software with GPS tracking.
Software Advice’s most recent buyer analysis reveals that 29 percent of HVAC software systems use manual methods or nothing at all to manage their business. Another 40 percent use only QuickBooks software.
In fact, 74 percent of HVAC businesses aren’t using any kind of software to manage their field operations.
When we look at data for those businesses that do use field service software, however, we find some compelling stats:
- 66 percent use GPS-enabled scheduling software
- 61 percent use GPS-enabled routing capabilities
- 45 percent use stand-alone GPS tracking capabilities
Obviously, your peers in this space see the value of GPS tracking systems. Now, let’s dig deeper into the specific benefits of this software.
Transparency to Improve Travel Times
The most obvious benefit of HVAC GPS tracking software is the transparency it provides, allowing you to monitor and direct your technicians in the field.
With GPS-enabled systems, users can pinpoint technicians’ locations and dispatch them to the nearest job(s).
This makes it much easier to manage schedule adjustments and emergency jobs that pop up throughout the day. As Robert Hall, president of Track Your Truck, a GPS vehicle tracking system for small to midsize businesses says:
“A good GPS tracking system includes routing tools to find and route the closest vehicle to a newly received service call. And because business owners and managers have a handle on where each employee is in the field, they can route them accordingly and cut down travel distances and time.”
According to one of our studies, GPS tracking software greatly improves overall travel times for technicians and drivers.
A whopping 92 percent of service businesses we surveyed see improvement in this area.
Accurate Resource Allocation
Another advantage of GPS-enabled software is that it offers insight into which trucks in the field possess which tools, parts, equipment and more.
Few things are worse for an HVAC company than dispatching an ill-equipped technician to an appointment. That’s why the mash-up of real-time inventory management, routing and dispatching capabilities these systems offer is so valuable.
With this ability in hand, you can ensure you’re not only routing the closest tech to the job, but also the closest tech who is properly equipped.
Our research shows that 85 percent of field service companies using GPS tracking systems see an improvement in first-call resolution rates.
Likewise, 95 percent of service companies using GPS tracking software see an improvement in the average number of work orders completed on time.
As Hall says, HVAC GPS tracking systems allow you to manage technicians in the field and make sure the best-prepared techs are dispatched for each job. If your techs have all the tools they need, they’re more likely to get the job done in an efficient and timely manner.
Completing jobs on time will make it easier for your dispatchers to maintain the overall schedule. And this will help improve customer service and experiences, too.
Improved Customer Service
The enhanced routing and dispatching capabilities of HVAC GPS tracking software offer many benefits. Perhaps the most impactful of these benefits is the opportunity to improve customer service and experiences.
Our consumer research reveals some striking data:
- 64 percent of customers we surveyed would never rehire an HVAC company if the technician arrived an hour or more late for a scheduled appointment.
- 23 percent wouldn’t rehire a company that was 30 minutes late.
- 12 percent would never rehire a company that was 15 minutes late.
Clearly, the punctuality of your technicians is crucial not only for delivering great customer service, but also for ensuring repeat business.
This is where GPS tracking systems can help: 95 percent of service businesses we surveyed saw an improvement in their punctuality and arrival times after adopting the software.
However, George Karonis, president of GPS tracking software provider LiveView GPS, acknowledges the unpredictability of traveling between job sites. He says the best course of action if a tech is going to be late is to let the customer know as soon as possible.
“When customers call asking for an ETA of their drivers, dispatchers [with GPS tracking] can provide them with instant answers.” -George Karonis, president of LiveView GPS
The ability to keep customers informed is a critical component of good customer service.
In fact, our consumer data shows that nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of field service customers would be more likely to rehire a company if they were notified the tech was running late. This can have hugely positive impacts on repeat business and on the success rates of your employees.
“Successful employees are happy employees,” Hall says, “and happy employees naturally treat customers better.”
Not only does GPS tracking software enable employees to be more successful, it also helps you hold employees accountable.
You can easily monitor your technicians’ whereabouts and time spent at various locations—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what these systems can do.
“Many metrics can be monitored, including fuel usage, driver behavior (harsh braking/turning and fast acceleration), service intervals and driver ID (used for timesheet reporting),” Track Your Truck’s Hall says.
There are other positive outcomes of such accountability, he continues:
“When employees know they’re being monitored,” he says, “there is no temptation to utilize company time inefficiently. This results in happier customers, because estimated completion and arrival times to new jobs are now being met or exceeded on a consistent basis.” -Robert Hall, Track Your Truck
However, it’s not all about preventing your employees from doing the wrong things. Hall believes it’s critical to engage with and monitor your remote workers just as you would any other team.
“By questioning employees’ [accountability] using valid and credible time points,” Hall says, “business owners learn about the real causes for delays and can, many times, rectify such causes—resulting in more efficient job completions in the future.”
Reduced Fuel Costs
As you might expect, one direct outcome of more efficient routing is a drop in fuel costs.
After all, if you’re not driving as far or sitting in traffic as often, your fuel costs should naturally decrease. Our research shows that service businesses using GPS tracking do see an improvement in their average fuel costs.
But more efficient routing doesn’t deserve all the credit for this.
“[With GPS tracking,] owners and managers can eliminate negative employee habits of traveling to non-business related activities, cutting down costs,” Hall says.
“Owners and managers can also ensure that employees are not using vehicles as climate control machines. Excessive idling is monitored, and can be eliminated when using a good GPS tracking system.”
The same metrics mentioned above that hold employees accountable for safe, efficient driving can also be tracked to reduce fuel costs. Factors such as braking, acceleration and time spent idling can greatly impact fuel consumption.
Thus, monitoring and encouraging proper driving habits can help your company stretch that bottom line.
Hall does a great job summing up the importance of adopting GPS tracking for your HVAC business: Rather than looking at software as an expense, he says, business owners should view it as an asset.
“[GPS tracking software is] a valuable tool to improve employee morale and customer interaction, ‘cut’ expenses and earn more business. A good GPS tracking system offers HVAC business owners a tried-and-tested solution for strengthening their business. It’s an optimal tool they can use to effectively and efficiently manage their employees. Those that realize this are already one-up on their competition.” -Robert Hall, Track Your Truck
If it still seems like a daunting task selecting your system, we can help you out. Let us help you get pricing quotes and build a short list of the best software for your business. Take advantage of our services today—free of charge—and turn up the heat on your HVAC business.