Cloud Software for Trades and Service Businesses
Taking schedules, contacts and calendars on the road.
Plumbers, carpenters, builders and electricians can get a lot out of the cloud because cloud applications are inherently mobile. With a smartphone or tablet tradespeople can enter reports, check in for appointments and log travel times on the fly.
The most useful cloud app for tradies and contractors is the job scheduling or field management program. This tells each field worker where and when they need to be at each hour of the day. More complex, higher-end systems are sometimes called computerised maintenance management systems.
The below list is not intended to be exhaustive. If you have any suggestions please add to the comments at the bottom and I will update the list. Online accounting programs that integrate with the listed programs are included in brackets after the description. This means a job scheduling program can automatically send information such as invoices to the accounting program.
I’ve added a list of job scheduling apps that aren’t cloud-based (as far as I can determine). This should help reduce time checking out a program only to discover it’s not in the cloud.
Connect2Field – job and customer management, inventory (Kashflow, MYOB, Quicken, Saasu, Xero)
FoxBuddy – job and customer management
GeoOp – job dispatch and workforce management, Android and iPhone apps (FreshBooks, Xero)
Microsoft CRM Dynamics Online – includes job scheduling engine
ProWorkflow – project management software, task and time tracking (Xero)
ScheduleFlow – Australia only, includes 200 SMS messages a month, free version up to 40 jobs
ServiceM8 – incl Pad/iPhone apps (MYOB)
SimPro – job management for trade contractors
WorkFlowMax – project management (Saasu, Xero)
Computerised maintenance management system (CMMS)
Loc8 – higher end, integrates with Xero, Saasu, MYOB, Quicken
Click Software – higher end, hosted software not designed for the internet
General ledger and invoicing
(see Online Accounting software: a buyer’s guide for more information on these programs)
FreshBooks – invoicing only
JCurve Solutions – powerful but expensive and complex
MYOB Live Accounts – lightweight, minimal features
Saasu – includes inventory, light CRM and payroll
Xero – market leader, great user interface
Office applications and Email
(see Office 365 vs Google Apps: buying advice for more information)
Google Apps – a fully cloud-based productivity suite (Saasu, Xero)
Microsoft Office 365 – used in conjunction with desktop software (Saasu, Xero)