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During August 2021, we engaged the research consultancy Opinium to survey field service businesses about how they fared since the UK government eased their strictest lockdown measures.

Although, for the most part, many companies are doing better now than they were in July 2020, the survey revealed that 13% of organisations are still struggling. In fact, those in the worst affected category fear they will go out of business in the next year as costs continue to rise and COVID-19 support measures are phased out.

At BigChange, we’re committed to making a difference to the way you work and helping your business grow stronger. In this article, we’ll share the top three ways to increase profits for your business and bounce back post-pandemic.

How to Boost Your Profits

1. Reduce Travel Expenses

One of the best ways to maintain a healthy profit margin is to reduce business expenses. With petrol prices rising by 18% and diesel leaping by 16% to a near-record level over the last year, it’s worth looking at your current travel costs and devising ways to minimise them. 

If you’re currently relying on spreadsheets to schedule your technicians’ working days, you could be missing out on the opportunity to optimise their routes. Thankfully, technological advancements in recent years have made it simple to assign relevant workers to jobs based on their location, skills and qualifications and vehicle type. 

A job management platform optimises routes, which helps to reduce the amount of time each technician spends on the road. Lowered travel times increase the number of appointments technicians can attend each day, making it a worthwhile investment. 

2. Improve First-Time Fix Rates

Did you know, companies that achieve a high first-time fix rate of over 70% enjoy a 4% increase in revenue? Subsequently, it’s crucial to equip your technicians with everything they need to complete their assignments the first time.

Keeping a close eye on your stock, equipment, and assets will ensure that you always have the correct items for each job and allows you to attend more reactive appointments. Modern asset management systems give you complete, real-time visibility over your inventory and allow you to assign gear directly to jobs. 

By allocating equipment before each job, your technicians can rest assured they have the right tools to finish the work there and then. Plus, an increase in first-time fixes will liberate more time for your workers to take on additional jobs — which will prove to be particularly lucrative, as the workload has increased by 70% across the field service industry.

3. Digitise Your Processes

On average, we found that users of job management software grew faster than businesses still relying on spreadsheets and paper processes last year. Better still, those that made the most of the latest technology are now in a better position to take on further work and deliver it profitably in 2022.

Using job management software like BigChange, you can digitise all your processes and manage them on one easy-to-use platform. As a result, your back-office team can handle bookings — from the moment the client makes an appointment right up to invoicing and payment — at the click of a button. 

Furthermore, the system records all customer interactions, meaning you’ll have a comprehensive record of information to refer back to whenever you need it without having to sift through mountains of paperwork. Additionally, you’ll reduce business costs by eliminating the need to store documents on-site or pay for storage.

Consequently, your team will have more time to spend on activities that contribute directly to business growth, leading to significant profits further down the line.

Job Management Platforms are the Future

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has taken its toll on field service organisations. Currently, fewer than half of field service firms are profitable. That’s why business leaders will need to think outside the box and look for innovative solutions that will help their companies bounce back.

In order to stay ahead of the curve and thrive in a turbulent economic landscape, you must consider how technology will help you overcome the obstacles you’re facing presently. Job management platforms arm you with all the tools you need to boost profitability and provide a great return on investment, which will benefit your business long after the effects of the pandemic have disappeared. 

Help Your Business Bounce Back Stronger than Ever on BigChange

BigChange’s job management software is helping field service businesses across the UK win more work, take control of their operations and deliver winning customer experiences.

Bring your customer relationship management (CRM), job scheduling, workforce management, financial data and business intelligence onto one easy-to-use platform and begin enjoying the benefits of a smarter way of working today.

Want to find out more?

Discover how your business can grow stronger on BigChange, arrange a free demo today!

BigChange’s first health check of the UK’s field-service sector suggests that most firms are growing due to soaring demand, but that isn’t always translating into profits. 

Demand for UK trades has boomed in the year since the end of the initial lockdown. We discovered that 72% of the UK’s field service businesses are growing – but only one-in-five are growing stronger.

We worked with research company Opinium to compare the health of businesses in the 12 months leading up to July 2020 with the 12 months since then, during which pandemic constraints have eased. The findings are detailed in our State of the Field Service Sector report.

Workloads grew by an average of 70% across the UK’s field-service sector. Our research suggests that demand grew fastest in the Plumbing & Heating, Plant Hire and Drainage sectors.

Almost one in five businesses did twice as much work as in the 12 months to July 2020.

Turnovers have soared by 79% across the sector.

But the headline figures mask some significant challenges.

Despite booming workloads, fewer than half of companies (48%) said they were profitable in the year to July 2021. Covid complications, compliance issues and surging costs (particularly for fuel, people and materials) were the factors hitting firms hardest.

Covid-19 is still a drag on the sector, with 81% of businesses saying it had hampered their growth or profitability in the last 12 months. The rising cost of materials, fuel and labour were also problems for more than 70% of respondents.

Debts have increased by 117% among the worst financial performers in the sector, and one-in-eight firms fear they will fail within a year. And this isn’t because they aren’t winning new business: workloads increased fastest among firms struggling the most right now.

There’s a big difference between growing and growing stronger.

Almost everyone is working harder, but the strong, profitable businesses are succeeding by working smarter to stay in control of their operations, keeping a lid on costs, and making their teams more productive.

They are using technology to improve management oversight, plan better and automate processes. And they are improving communication and response times to make customer experience their competitive advantage.

Nserv, Subscan UDS and Celsius Plumbing and Heating have successfully navigated current challenges and are growing stronger post-pandemic. We spoke to them about our research.

Slick processes and strong finances put booming Nserv on track for further growth

Nserv provides facilities maintenance and construction services across the South East. It grew turnover by 75% and delivered a healthy profit in the year to August 2021.

“Work with our retail and restaurant customers was affected during the initial lockdown, but we came out of that period three times stronger,” said Dean Barber, Nserv’s Managing Director. “We picked up big new contracts in the South East and introduced new technology to help manage jobs and our workforce more effectively.”

“Growth has been incredible since then. We’ve doubled the size of team but talent has still been an issue. Skilled tradespeople are hard to find; we could have grown even faster if there were more of them.”

Midlands expansion helps drainage specialist improve service and cut costs

Leeds-based Subscan UDS, which provides a range of drainage, utility, and surveying services, has seen demand increase by a fifth over the last 12 months and anticipates growth of 20% next year.

“Subscan are growing strongly due to significant contract wins and recruiting at pace,” said Kirk Mason, the company’s Operations Director. “Shortages of skilled staff has been our biggest challenge. We are having to pay more to recruit and retain HGV drivers and Brexit has made it harder to bring in the specialist surveyors from Poland and Lithuania. We’ve got 30 people in that department doing the work of 45.”

Celsius targets £1 million mark after a rebound year for residential plumbing

Celsius Plumbing and Heating works with homeowners, private landlords and property agents across Edinburgh. Although the company took a hit when forced to focus on essential work during the first lockdown, its fortunes have bounced back since.

Celsius increased turnover by 36% as demand rebounded, expanding its team from 12 to 18 by August 2021. It targets similar growth this year.

“Demand for our services went crazy,” said Company Director Michael Cairns. “People were desperate to get work done, and we had a backlog of almost 500 jobs.”

“We’ve now also optimised our operations so we can almost guarantee a same-day response. Clients love that attention to detail, they are recommending us and demand is increasing as a result.”

Download BigChange’s State of the Field Service Sector Report today.

BigChange

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