This program from DexterChaney categorizes construction projects

2014 Software Resource Guide

May 2, 2014
Business management software continues to change to keep up with "the cloud" and the ongoing ever-changing needs of HVACR contractors. Here's a look at just some of the major packages that are available for business management or design.
dESCO dESCO ESC Version 13 includes enhancements and added features to ESC desktop software and ESC Mobile for smartphones, tablets, and laptops.  
New additions for the office include: • A new “Quotes to be Scheduled” window shows all the accepted quotes that have not been billed or dispatched. • ° A “Collect Quote Prepayments” program accept prepayments on quotes which will post to QuickBooks as an open credit. • “Print QR Code Barcode Labels” lets the receiving crew print QR code barcode labels when receiving inventory, for faster quoting and invoicing in the field. • New features for the field include a “View Recent Dispatches” function, which allows users to review the last 10 dispatches assigned to a particular device, along with dispatch information and mobile invoice created. Many more features can be tested in a 30-day free trial. Find more information at  Dexter + Chaney Spectrum Construction Software by Dexter + Chaney is designed to help contractors run all aspects of a construction business. Spectrum includes a broad range of applications that all work together to deliver the information necessary to make decisions and take action in the
office or on the job site. Among the offerings is Spectrum Project Management, which can help contractors merge and organize data from multiple applications to manage their projects. Spectrum Project Management provides a single platform that serves every team member,  from the office to the field. All of Spectrum’s applications are integrated, to enable viewing job cost and operational data within one construction software application.dexterchaney.comFieldBoss FieldBoss offers field service functionality specifically designed for HVAC contractors. With FieldBoss, contractors can set up and track HVAC information that is essential for many aspects of an HVAC business. It stores contracts, locations, HVAC, specifications, inspections, repairs, workflow, parts, and labor all in one place. Service requests can be identified as covered or not covered. Automatically generate work orders, track, and renew contracts into sales opportunities and invoices. The comprehensive project management functionality of FieldBoss ensures on time and on budget delivery, sources say. Complex and lengthy jobs are made more manageable, and everyone who needs visibility into project progress can access information on a moment’s notice. You won’t miss a deadline, a billing opportunity, or a critical step needed to complete the project, sources              
Intac International
Wintac all-in-one software for service contractors contains programs for scheduling, dispatching and work order management. It provides daily, weekly, and monthly dispatch
views, drag and drop, color-coded dispatching, work history tracking, equipment installation and service tracking, and visual job costing. It also offers customer and lead  Elite Software Elite’s Rhvac program quickly and accurately calculates peak heating and cooling loads for residential and small commercial buildings in accordance with the eighth edition of ACCA Manual J. The Heat Transfer Multipliers (HTM values) for all the walls, windows, doors, and roofs listed in Manual J are stored and automatically looked up by the program as needed. Users can also enter custom    Onset HOBOlink is a web-enabled software platform designed for HOBO U30 remote monitoring
systems. This data logger software allows you to easily access current and historical data, set alarm notifications and relay activations, and manage and control your HOBO U30 web-based data logging systems.     Quote Express QuoteExpress estimating software allows contractors to bid more jobs, and better manage the projects they win. QuoteExpress Piping is designed for contractors bidding any type of piping or plumbing system, including refrigeration, waste water, high-purity, etc. QuoteExpress Piping enables them to create thorough, accurate, and professional estimates, quickly and easily. QuoteExpress Sheet Metal is designed for commercial and industrial sheet metal ductwork contractors, who need a fast and accurate tool to calculate fabrication, installation, and material costs. /

Service Automation
SAWIN Mobile solutions can be deployed on Tablet PC’s, laptops, PDA’s, iPads, Iphones, Androids, BlackBerrys, or other “smart phone” devices, to meet the specific needs of each contracting firm. SAWIN Mobile solutions are affordable and easy to use, and they feature and use the latest software technology.                        

Team Management Systems
Team Management Systems’ Mobile Work Order not only looks like a standard paper work order, but also works like one, says President Nathan Tuttle.

“The technician simply enters dispatch times, material used, equipment serviced, and what was done to resolve the problem on one easy to navigate screen,” Tuttle explains, “and the sell prices are automatically calculated based on the customer’s billing rates and a professional looking invoice is generated for the customer to sign right on the screen.“ 

By using Mobile Work Order, a copy of the signed invoice can be printed for the customer, and all of the information, including a copy of the signed document, is automatically uploaded back to the office, eliminating the need for manual entry or filing a
copy of the document.                     

Know Your Needs and Compare Before Making a Software Purchase

Wayne Newitts, director of marketing for Dexter + Chaney, Seattle, WA, says enormous technological change is influencing the world of information management, making software choices confusing and challenging for HVACR contractors. “The cloud” has become a new delivery platform for applications and data, and information and applications are becoming like utilities because of the cloud’s capabiliities.

“There are huge efficiencies to be had there, and huge advantages for immediate access to data and applications, wherever you are,” Newitts says.

Another change Newitts sees, are the vast numbers of mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, that contain more computing power than computers had 10 years ago. The cloud provides the “horsepower.”

“You don’t need a terabyte hard drive or a 3-gig processor,” he says. “Work can be done centrally, in the cloud, with the device acting as the interface mechanism.”

These developments, Newitts says, have amplified the need for software that’s specifically designed to take advantage of the cloud and new mobile devices. That’s where differentiation among providers comes in, he says.

“A lot of companies would like to say they take advantage of those two things, but they don’t want to invest in a redesign of their products. So they take existing, old Windows-based software, host it on some remote location, and say ‘we’re in the cloud.’  No, you’re not,” he contests, “because you’ve got to design your software so that it can truly take advantage of ‘anytime, anywhere’ access from any device that can connect. That requires a new user interface, more simplified flow of information, and more intuitive systems.

Newitts says Dexter + Chaney’s approach is to provide more up-front education on the types of technologies HVACR contractors need to think about before they make a software purchase. It’s not something you want to do often, he says, so it must be done right the first time.  Dexter + Chaney’s educational campaign has included articles and webinars on the cloud and mobile devices, how they’re coming together, and what that means for work flow, information flow, and even cash flow.

But aren’t most HVACR contractors up-to-speed on business management software? No; there remain large pockets of active HVACR contractors in need of new ideas and better management systems, says Kara Crider, director of marketing for dESCO, Fort Myers, FL.
“It could be they don’t have current software of any kind, or aren’t happy with their current software provider. It may be that the product they have is not specific to the HVACR industry, and they’re looking for a more robust system,” she says.

Crider finds HVACR contractors are very often in need of help with managing service agreements: keeping them organized, automating service scheduling, and invoicing. In fact, she says accurate invoicing in general can fall through the cracks.
Another key contractor management need Crider points to, is a need for overall improved field productivity.

“Many of our competitors and dESCO have come up with a mobile solution for field technicians which basically eliminates back-and-forth phone calls to the office for appointments, driving directions, or the location of next call,” she says.

“They need to see service history, types of equipment at the site, or add equipment to the record. These updates help them be prepared, and help to reduce errors, improve productivity in the field, and add to the bottom line.”        — Terry McIver