Managing a field service business takes a lot of hard work. Unfortunately, not all that work generates revenue. So, if you want to increase your revenue, a great place to start is to work on reducing the time you and your team spend on non-revenue-generating tasks. Chief among these tasks is admin, and so we thought we’d share five surefire ways you can drastically save time on administrative tasks by streamlining your admin.
1. Go digital
Going through paperwork can take up a huge chunk of your time. You have to physically sort, file, print, and store all that paper, and the volume of paperwork will only get bigger as your business continues to grow and gain more clients.
One good strategy to save time and to streamline admin work in this area is to shift to using digital documents. Sure, there is also a bit of organizing to be done when it comes to digital files and folders, but a flick of a mouse and a few clicks is definitely faster and easier than having to go through drawers filled with documents and papers.
The best part is that the computer’s built-in functions can help you search through documents (even duplicate and copy-paste) with ease. If you organize your files accordingly and put them all in one place where everything can be searched, admin work will definitely fly by faster. You’ll save money on paper and printer ink too.
2. Shift your perspective on emails
Emails are another big time-waster no matter what industry you’re in. And getting overwhelmed and even burned out just by going through emails is a reality in this day and age. But shifting your perspective about them can really help you streamline admin work and keep a level head while doing so.
The best way to get on top of emails is to turn off email notifications and instead of reading emails as soon as they arrive, set specific hours per day for reading emails. This way, emails are not in control of your time, you are. If needed, you can specify the hours you reply to your emails in your email signature (while also specifying that you are open for calls in case of urgent matters).
The exception to this if you don’t have an administrative assistant, is quote requests. You do want to respond to these as soon as possible. If your email program doesn’t enable you to allow notifications for specific kinds of emails, you can set up a dedicated email address for quote requests and enable notifications for that email address only.
3. Automate repetitive tasks
Oftentimes, you’ll find yourself doing the same tasks over and over again. These tasks are a goldmine when it comes to saving time as you can usually automate them. Nowadays, you can automate almost anything. Bookings, invoice-creation, follow-up emails, marketing campaigns — the list goes on.
To start, it’s best to take a step back and identify which processes are the most repetitive, and then try to divide each process into parts that can be automated. Scheduling subtasks and automated responses are actions that are likely to be easily automated. And field services management software can make the actual process of automating admin super easy.
Although some tasks can be automated easily, other tasks are in need of that human touch. For those, outsourcing can be immensely valuable.
Many small business owners balk at the idea of paying for someone else to do admin tasks, thinking there’s no way they can afford it. But the thing is, outsourcing can actually make you money, especially if you outsource to someone who can do specific tasks at a significantly lower cost than what your time is worth — or someone who has expertise you don’t.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a plumber. Now, the average salary for a plumber in the US is $28/h. (Your time is worth much more than that as a business owner, but let’s go with that statistic as a baseline.) Did you know you could outsource some of your admin tasks to a virtual assistant for $9/h. So, if you outsourced 2h of admin tasks a week, that would cost you $72/month, but you could earn an extra $224/month by spending those 2h/week fixing leaking taps and toilets. So outsourcing 2h of admin tasks a week could actually earn you an extra $152/month.
Not bad, right?
And if you’re trying to grow your business. Outsourcing your marketing activities to an expert will be expensive. But as long as you choose someone who’s good at what they do, you’ll easily make back your investment in additional clients and jobs.
5. Use templates
The humble template is one of the best time-savers in modern times. Templates make it much quicker and easier to create professional documents and marketing materials yet still offer the flexibility to customize the output.
Here are some useful admin templates to get you started.
Admin work can be quite the chore, but once you ‘work smarter, not harder’ and start using templates, automation, digitalization, emailing scheduling, and outsourcing, you’ll find you can not only streamline admin to save time, but you’ll be able to recoup your costs and actually earn more money.
Having more time to focus on your revenue generators is definitely something worth investing some energy into. And who knows, maybe you’ll be able to apply these tips and tricks to other areas of your business as well.