Management, Consumer Financing & Automated Messaging

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Markate field service software (www.markate.com) is a mobile-ready management solution suitable for HVACR and home service businesses with up to 20 employees. It provides core functionalities to help run a business from a desktop computer or on the go (phone/tablet). 

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Markate CRM helps to capture customer related information. Business owners or office administrator can generate estimates, invoices (one-time, scheduled, and recurring), and work orders. The field technician and/or team management can assign work orders, optimally route technicians, and utilize GPS tracking. Technicians can communicate with each other through the provided tech chat. The software also includes project checklists and time tracking of work at the job.

The solution helps business owners monitor business performance with intuitive customizable reports such as Total Sales, Profit and Loss, Job Forecast, Invoice Overdue Aging, Expense, and business performance.

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Users can take advantage of business productivity options such as email and SMS blasts, email branding, online payments, postcard campaigns and promotional URLS to help maintain current business and attract new business.

Markate add-on options include Add Employee, online booking by customers through business website, lead contact form, branded customer portal, a virtual phone number, call forwarding, a customizable proposal kit, Ask for Review (via email or text), virtual video estimates, and individual employee permissions to allow existing staff to undertake various business functions.

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Markate payment opportunities include Square, PayPal, Stripe, WePay, and Authorize.net, with free of charge customer financing option through Wisetack. Other integrations include QuickBooks, QuickBooks Payroll, Google Contact, and Google Calendar. 

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Pricing: fee per month, with pay as-you-go add-ons. Two-week free trial.

Wisetack (www.wisetack.com) offers consumer financing by integrating with field service management platforms. It facilitates real-time consumer lending on the spot, including during sales and service calls. The solution features a short application and quick decisions 24/7.

How it works: an application (100% paperless) is completed by the customer. Approval takes less than a minute. Once approved, the customer is offered up to six options, with terms from 3 to 60 months. There are no origination fees, pre-payment penalties, late fees, or compounding interest. When the customer takes out a loan, Wisetack pays the service provider directly and the customer pays Wisetack over time. 

Another, job management option for companies within a size range, GeoNext (www.geoworkforcesolutions.com) is a cloud-based job management platform for small to medium sized trade and home services businesses. Featuring GPS tracking of workers in the field, it handles quotes and invoices (using a branded template with your company logo), job scheduling by area of employee location viewable on a map (enabling assignment of jobs to team members based on who is closest), team management, job tracking, including tracking billables for material and time for each job, invoicing, and payments.

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GeoNext can show, on one screen, the jobs scheduled for each day of the week, by employee, with the total number of jobs scheduled for each for the week, with each job listing giving the estimated hours of job onsite and a brief description of that job. The Job Card feature shows all job details on a single screen, including job description and details, lead source, and present and past bookings.

Workers in the field can capture signatures on their device screen and can attach images, notes, and barcodes and can convert a completed job to an invoice to send to the customer via email or SMS. 

The software, which works offline with updated syncing of data when back online, integrates with accounting partners Xero, MYOB, and QuickBooks.

Pricing: monthly, per user, free 14-day trial.

Hatch (www.usehatchapp.com) is a messaging platform that automates communication between home improvement and home services businesses and their leads over text, email and voicemail drop.

The solution, which intends to increase conversion rates with initial instant engagement followed up with the lead’s choice of mode of communication, utilizes instant response as an effective means of helping ensure a business does not miss an opportunity to engage a lead, thereby increasing the conversion rate of leads to customers. Hatch’s operative premise is that while the vast majority of consumers (about 97%) ignore calls from unknown phone numbers, most (about 95%) of texts are read within three minutes. 

How it works: Hatch uses text to initially reach out to a lead within minutes of being received and then follows up with text, email, and pre-recorded voice mail, enabling customers to respond and engage with your business in their preferred manner. The solution provides customizable templates for both text and email messaging for use by your staff to generate the best response. Upon response, each lead is entered into an automated follow-up campaign, utilizing the lead’s preferred channel.

Reporting capability: Hatch keeps track of generated conversations, including such data as the number of contacts who respond, the amount of time it takes to respond to each lead, and which campaigns are performing at the highest rate.

Hatch also integrates with various lead generation, business productivity, and project management platforms for home improvement contractors.

Patti Feldman writes articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. She can be reached at productpad@yahoo.com.



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