There are just not enough hours in the day!’ you cry with a desperation rivalling Tom Hanks’ Wilson-I’m-Sorry and fall to your knees in despair.
Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic. But if you’re a business owner, I’m sure that sentiment or something like it has at least crossed your mind before. Maybe more than once.
And when you’re working crazy hours six or seven days a week just to get everything done, sometimes a deserted island with only a volleyball for company doesn’t actually sound so bad...
But before you pack it all in and head to the sports store for your new best friend, hear first from Matthew Shinners, Managing Director of Shinners Plumbing, and how he’s got more than enough hours in his day.
The Shinners are grinners
So, who’s Matthew Shinners and why should you care?
Matthew manages Shinners Plumbing, with seven guys out in the field and three staff in the office. The business has been plugging along in Victoria, Australia, since 1953.
Successful Managing Director; that’s Matthew. And since ditching the old-school ways of running business, he’s got a whole lot more time on his hands. Time to strategise and grow the business, to take his family to America or across Australia, or to play a round of golf of Saturday mornings with his head in the game, not anywhere else.
Matthew’s methods of running a business could have you rethinking yours.
Picking up hours here, there and everywhere
It’s a given that you manage mobile teams as a trade service business, which can be a challenge – and a time sponge.
But it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve got the right tools, that is.
Say your field team meets at the shed each morning. There’s a quick chat to organise the day, maybe job cards are dished out, maybe there’s a stop at the suppliers on the way to the first job.
What if, though, your field staff knew exactly where they needed to be, and with what materials, as soon as they were up for the day?
What if your field staff could see their daily (or weekly or monthly) schedules on their mobile phones, and they were updated in real time as any changes were made to them in the office?
They could skip the stop at the shed and go straight to the first job from home. They could go from job to job throughout the day without calling, texting, or dropping by the office for more details. They could get to impromptu jobs quickly.
This is exactly how every Shinners Plumbing field tech has ‘picked up an hour’ each day with simPRO and the Connect mobile app.
As Matthew says: ‘My guys were losing about a half an hour in the morning and a half an hour in the afternoon. Now, they’re scheduled right away and can see on their phones where they need to be.
‘They’re ready and responsive throughout the day; they’ll even call up after their last job and say: look I’ve finished; I’m ahead of schedule. Can I get another job scheduled to me?’
“At the end of the week our staff on the road are picking up about an extra thirty billable hours!”
Quotes galore out the door
‘Everyone hates the paper trail and that was the exhausting process in our business pre-simPRO,’ Matthew says.
From field staff travelling with important paperwork on site, to quoting with a sluggish four-step process, the old paper way really wasn’t doing Shinners Plumbing any favours.
Matthew would write up a quote, send to his PA to type up, get it back to proofread, and then finally send it out to the client.
Now, though, quotes are created digitally in simPRO and emailed to customers in one quick step, and Matthew can send more than 20 quotes a week for jobs priced from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
‘There’s no way with the old fashioned process we’d get 20 quotes on in one week,’ he says.
‘We can meet a deadline for a client quickly without the exhausting process.’
The happiest place on earth
So, how does Matthew and Shinners Plumbing benefit from all the time saved?
Well, Matthew’s been able to think strategically about new avenues for his business.
‘I’m looking at areas of work that we can specialise in, to get new clients and grow even more,’ he says.
He’s also been able to enjoy his weekends, as, in his words, ‘they aren’t tied up with work so much any more.’
‘Come that Saturday morning you don’t have to be in the office catching up on the week’s work. It’s “me” time now; time for golf.’
Matthew’s thinking strategically about his long service leave, too. Will it be to Disneyland in America or will it be a trip across Australia in the caravan?
One thing’s for certain, though: it’ll be quality time with his wife and two young sons without the pressure of having to get back to the business.
Thank you to Matthew and the team at Shinners Plumbing for taking the time to share their simPRO success story with us.