Commercial and residential service contractors work completely differently. So why would a commercial contractor adopt service management software designed for residential contractors?
While they work in similar fields — HVAC, plumbing, electrical — commercial and residential service contractors work in altogether different ways.
Three key differences highlight the complex work demands that face commercial contractors — and reveal ways in which the right service management software can drive success.
Commercial contractors generally work:
- In long-term relationships wherein both maintenance and repair work is structured contractually.
- On complex systems of capital equipment that require years — sometimes decades — of precise, detailed, and documented maintenance.
- With facility owners and managers who require a clear understanding of the condition of the equipment in their facility so they can make good decisions that reduce the risk of costly downtime.
Let’s examine each of these three differentiators more closely.
Long-term relationships with customers wherein both maintenance and repair work is structured contractually.
The work of residential contractors tends to be transactional in nature — a home’s air conditioner isn’t cooling properly, so the homeowner calls for help. That homeowner may not experience a similar problem or interact with the same contractor again.
So, the residential technician must capture the homeowner’s consent and credit card information immediately, while still at the property, lest the company not get paid for its work.
This contrasts significantly with commercial service contractors who sign long-term contracts with customers detailing exactly what maintenance and service repair work is involved before a technician steps foot on the property.
The commercial service contractor performs their work under contract to make workload and cash flow more even and predictable throughout the year. In return, the customer realizes better outcomes with higher equipment uptime, fewer emergencies, and predictable pricing.
Commercial service contractors require software that manages the delivery of complicated recurring services on specific pieces of equipment within each contract. They also want to communicate information to the customer in a way that validates the value of the contractual relationship.
Complex systems of capital equipment that require years — sometimes decades — of precise, detailed, and documented maintenance management.
Commercial service contractors work with complicated, integrated, and expensive systems — the failure of which puts customers at serious legal, financial, and reputational risk.
The right service management platform helps the commercial service contractor intervene early by delivering on an established preventative maintenance schedule, staying ahead of potential problems, and mitigating that risk of failure.
Say, for example, a commercial technician performs routine maintenance on three compressors for which there are six blowers, and identifies that one blower needs repair. Consulting the equipment’s service history, the technician sees that the same blower has been repaired two times already for the same issue. At that point, the technician might escalate the repair to recommend replacement.
Likewise, commercial service technicians need to see incremental movement on potential problems — a pressure gauge registering 8% now, whereas it registered 4% the month before. More than seeing the potential problem, a commercial service contractor needs to share that information with the customer in pictures, videos, and notes to help the customer fully understand the problem, and appreciate that a repair may be necessary now or in the future.
Appropriate intervention on expensive and long-lasting capital equipment can extend lifespan — and help safeguard the customer against short-term and long-term risk.
With facility owners and managers who require a clear understanding of the condition of the equipment in their facility so they can make good decisions that reduce the risk of costly downtime.
A homeowner can tell right away that the residential contractor did the work they were paid to do because the problem went away.
The facility owner pays for annual preventative maintenance services that may not result in detectable changes. So how does the customer know that the contractor did the work they were paid to do? Moreover, if the contractor delivers their work well, the customer will see no disruptions, no downtime, and experience no drama.
To validate that customer’s trust, commercial service contractors must share reports with the customer that detail what equipment was maintained, when it was serviced, and if any problems were discovered. This is a challenge; commercial customers are busy with non-facility matters, so vendor interactions must be fast, easy, and readily available.
Modern commercial service management software should deliver reports online and offer other conveniences, such as the ability to request service and or view a detailed service history in a portal — showing work in ways that help keep the customer a long-term customer.
Putting relationships over transactions.
ServiceTrade enhances a commercial service contractor’s ability to demonstrate long-term value to commercial service contractors by fostering communication and transparency, and mitigating customer risk.
To learn how ServiceTrade can help your commercial service business build stronger and more transparent relationships with customers, request a demo with an application expert.