"ServiceM8's central in the running of the business now, and it’s definitely something we wouldn't want to be without."
Finbra is a family-owned plumbing & heating business based in Suffolk in the United Kingdom. Servicing residential & commercial clients, Finbra offers a range of smart plumbing and heating services including installations, service & maintenance, bathrooms, kitchens, and renewable energy solutions.
Delivering a professional customer service is absolutely key to our business.
For us, what’s important is personal service for our customers, tailored to each customer. We aim to provide good communication channels to our customers and our staff, and strive to be as efficient as possible, because it all improves our service.
One factor is our high rate of returning customers, by creating customer loyalty.
It's just about doing a good job, making sure that you not only deliver the quality, on time, but also if there are any problems, that you go back and fix them. We have a reputation for making sure that we meet our objectives and customer expectations, and we get most of our work by word-of-mouth, based on our reputation.
Before ServiceM8, we had no online software packages to help at all. It was just a diary and a phone. It was a very paper-based, “traditional” way of doing things. Invoices went out as and when time permitted. No tracking, no planning.
It was disorganised and inefficient, and this impacted cash flow and profitability, there's no doubt about it.
We needed to modernise processes and systems. We needed to organise work scheduling and planning, and get everything integrated into one package. We wanted all scheduling and resource management to be in one place. The added bonus was that ServiceM8 offered integration with Xero, our accounting system.
We got in contact with a ServiceM8 Partner, Hazel Whicher, and paid to have training with her, which was really good. Hazel also created online template industry forms for our business. These customised forms look professional, as well as saving time and paper.
We had two or three hours of training with Hazel, which was well worth it. And because Hazel has a lot of first-hand experience in the plumbing industry, she gave us lots of tips and ideas, and that was really helpful.
We're better organised. It's definitely improved our work planning.
For example, ServiceM8 focuses us on scheduling jobs in the same area, reducing overheads on travel time and fuel. It focuses us to work in a more productive way, as it's a very visual tool which is user-friendly for the whole team.
ServiceM8 definitely saves us time. For example, we don't ask our staff to come to the office first thing in the morning to get their jobs for the day. It’s in the cloud, online and accessible to every member of the team. Everyone has the ServiceM8 app on their iPhone — they can manage their jobs and schedules from anywhere, so there’s time saved there.
ServiceM8’s definitely a very valuable tool in the way that we run our business. It’s central in the running of the business now, and it’s definitely something that we would not want to be without.
It's certainly improved communications. Communication is key, which can be challenging in the construction industry.
We’ve recently started sending text messages to customers confirming appointments through ServiceM8. This has resulted in better time management and fewer cancellations at short notice.
What I also like about is the audit trail. You can see that you sent a customer a text, or you sent them an email, and we're building on that. Everything is in one place, and you can communicate effectively with customers if you use it to its full potential.
We like to email everything out. We really are cutting right back on paper. We very rarely post anything. The fact that you can email invoices through ServiceM8, and attach an online form, such as a gas safety certificate, has made a huge difference to our administrative productivity.
Yes, it’s made it easier, everything’s all in one place, and it's team orientated.
So, for example, we have a job form, and all the job information is put in there. Which means anyone can do the invoicing. So, our staff go to a job, they put the information in using the app, and once that job’s completed, there’s no reason why the invoice can’t go out that day. That has improved and sped up the whole process.
ServiceM8’s cut down the paper — we don't have bits of paper come to the office. It's all done through the app.
Every job is directed from the office as to where staff go, and what they do.
The Dispatch Board in ServiceM8 is the main scheduling tool. For example, one morning, if someone can’t handle a job themselves for one reason or another, we can just move people about on the schedule. That works very well.
We're very pleased with the certificates we can complete in the app using the Forms Add-on, like gas safety certificates. Before it was paper-based only — we’d leave the top copy with the customer, and rely on the engineer to return the other copy to the office.
Now, our staff do it in the field, on the app, then when the invoice goes out you just attach the invoice and gas certificate to the email.
ServiceM8 definitely cuts down the administration and speeds up the invoicing process. It helps cash flow, because if you can get your invoices out more efficiently, then you are more likely to receive money more quickly.
We invoice out of ServiceM8 because that's where the job is. We send 99% of our invoices out of ServiceM8, because we've had our terms and conditions attached in a template, and it's easy to send it out. So, invoices go to customers from ServiceM8, then we do all the finance and accounting in Xero.
ServiceM8 helps us on the finance side because it integrates with Xero, which is fantastic, because it forms a whole package for us.
I think ServiceM8’s integration with Xero is fantastic. It makes my life very easy, because otherwise I'd have to be manually doing things. And the speed that the data syncs between ServiceM8 and Xero is very quick. Once I approve invoices in ServiceM8, and go back into Xero, they’re all there ready to be actioned.
Yes, definitely. ServiceM8’s a very integral part of our business, and an essential tool to all our business operations. It makes our customer service stand out.
I think it’s making us more professional because we live in an online world, a cloud world. With ServiceM8, we're keeping up with and moving with the times, because we need to take advantage of technological improvements, and what's available, to make us more efficient.
It's great, the future looks bright. We have lots of work. We want to expand the domestic/residential side of our services, and that’s where ServiceM8 will be key to helping with that development and growth of business.
Learn more about ServiceM8 for UK plumbing and heating businesses.
"I was surprised how easy it was for my older technicians to use the app because they don’t even own computers."
"I went through a lot of other software before I found ServiceM8. Everything I found was either clunky, or it was not intuitive."
"From where we were this time last year, to where we are this year, it’s like night and day."
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