Scheduling: How to Solve the Most Common Problems Building Service Contractors Face
Building service contractor scheduling can get messy quickly, especially for large companies with many customers and employees to manage. When managed poorly, these problems can spiral out of control. This can lead to unhappy customers who aren’t getting serviced quickly and unhappy employees who aren’t getting the shifts and schedule that they want.
There are several factors that lead to schedules getting out of control but with proper planning and care, managing building service contractor schedules can be done efficiently. By following best practices for managing building service contractor schedules, companies can increase their first-time fix rates for new customers and better retain existing customers by keeping them happy with on time and efficient service.
Four Common Problems in Building Service Contractor Schedule Management With Usable Solutions
1. Overly Complex Shift Management
Building service contractors schedules are often early in the morning or late at night for services such as janitorial or carpet cleaning. Since their schedules have shifts at odd times, shift management can become quite challenging to manage, especially for large companies.
With a 24/7 schedule, pay periods can become an issue as a single shift can overlap to a new day or week for a service provider working at night or over the weekend. This also poses an issue when considering overtime work. Sometimes overtime will be due but because the shift was split between a day or a week, the overtime doesn’t automatically show up and needs to be adjusted for. Another shift to consider is holiday pay since building services never stop.
Creating a shift schedule with a large amount of employees with different skill sets, customers, and sites can be a huge challenge by itself. If employees can’t easily see what shifts they have far in advance or what shifts are available to choose from, they could end up becoming unsatisfied and disgruntled with their work as they aren’t getting what they want.
There are several solutions for overcoming complex shift demands but the first thing that can be focused on is planning as far in advance as possible. It doesn’t even have to be a solid schedule but at least a tentative schedule of one month out will help ensure that your scheduling demands are met and customers are served.
A one-month advanced schedule will give employees greater control and insight of their schedules and ultimately their lives. Using an online schedule that can be viewed by the entire team will make this easier and will also enable employees to cover each other’s shifts when they have to miss work. This also makes it easier for employees and employers to see which shifts will require holiday pay, overtime, or work overnight.
Along with having the schedule out in advance, you can also use an online platform to allow employees to select shifts that have not been claimed yet by viewing the available shift schedule or ‘job board’ online. This will help to ensure that the schedule is built out as much in advance as possible.
Another solution for managing shift complexities is to color code the schedule based on certain types of jobs and the expertise required. This will allow employees to easily pick up or cover shifts that they know they are qualified for and help to keep all shifts covered well in advance.
2. Failure to Match the Right Service Technicians to the Right Jobs
When managing a building service contractor schedule, you will have a large list of contractors next to a large list of jobs and it is your responsibility to make sure the contractors skills are a match. It is isn’t just about timing and getting someone out there but getting the right person every time.
This is especially important for first time customers as the first-time fix rate for building service contractors is incredibly important. According to a study by Aberdeen Group, companies with a first-time fix rate of over 80% have a 90% customer satisfaction rating, while companies with below 50% first-time fix rates fall below a 50% customer satisfaction rating.
Making sure you send the right person to get the job done well is going to make a huge difference toward your companies success and is one of the most important aspects of scheduling.
Know your technicians’ skills inside and out and empower them to take shifts that they are best qualified for. Each of your technicians will have unique skills and experience. It is your responsibility to understand their strong suits and make sure they are taking the right jobs.
When managing building service contractor schedules, have a map or a profile of your technician’s skills so you know who is qualified for what. Better yet, allow them to select jobs from an online portal but only the jobs that they are qualified to take based on their unique profile of skills and experience.
There are many resources out there that will help you organize your technician’s skills for better building service contractor schedule management.
3. Failure to Meet Expectations for Immediate On-Call Service
Some field-services require technicians to be on-call after normal hours to fix important problems that pop up. This needs to be accounted for in your building service contractor scheduling.
The tricky part of this is scheduling people to be ‘on-call’ instead of having a normal shift. Some companies will dedicate on-call staff and some will rely on normal workers and pay them overtime for on-call duties.
Either way, building service employees need to be aware of these expectations so that they can plan their lives accordingly. Otherwise, you may have nobody to fulfill those late-night emergency calls from clients or have unhappy employees who don’t like taking unexpected last minute calls leading them to eventually quit.
The first thing to do here is manage expectations on both sides. This means you need to let employees know if and when they are expected to be on-call as well as set the proper expectations of service turnaround time for clients.
Once expectations are clear, utilizing an online system to get the word out quickly to on-call staff for new jobs that pop up is crucial. Otherwise you will be spending tons of time calling employees one by one until the job is filled. The system should immediately notify all available employees with the right skill set and allow the first person available to snag the job.
4. Poor Location and Route Management
Building service contractor scheduling along an efficient route seems like common sense but it is often overlooked as jobs are booked in order based on immediate need and not geographic location.
This can lead to service technicians spending a ton of time in traffic or constantly driving across town and then back again for the next job. Ultimately, this is time and money wasted driving around when your employees would rather be working and your clients would rather be having their problems fixed.
There are many possible solutions for more efficient route management but a good working knowledge of the geography of your town and where technicians are based out of is all you really need to get started. Once you know that, you can begin to plan accordingly.
For less urgent jobs, you can batch them based on location so that your technicians can work on one side of the town for the day, rather than driving all over. For on-call jobs, you can use assigned technicians based on not just who is best qualified but also who is closest to the job site.
Overall, the solutions are generally common sense but often overlooked. Enabling more efficient routing of jobs is a no-brainer for saving time and money.
Route Can Help You Better Navigate the Complexities of Building Service Contractor Scheduling Today
Route is a web-based software that was built by building service contractors who understand the problems that building service contractors face, especially with scheduling. That is why Route built tools that enable you to manage the complexities of building service contractor schedules with what we call our ‘superpowers.’
Route superpowers include:
- An easy to use online portal to view your schedule, tasks, and teams that your entire staff can access and use to collaborate in real-time.
- Shift management tools such as the job board so employees can easily see what they are assigned and what jobs are still open. This is especially useful for highly-skilled jobs or on-call jobs that need to be filled immediately.
- Technician profiles that showcase completed work, skills, performance metrics and other information so that you can quickly match technicians to the right jobs and increase your first-time fix rate.
- Much more including workflow management, achievements, points and rewards.
Building Service Contractor Scheduling Doesn’t Have to be so Hard
While there are many issues that face building service contractors when managing complicated schedules, there are also many solutions. Online platforms that enable collaboration and communication while empowering employees to better manage their schedule and lives are the wave of the future for the building service industry.
Route software was built to solve the problems of complex building service schedules by people who manage these schedules themselves. Route takes into consideration every common factor and pitfall of the building service industry and offers a solution that empowers managers and employees to get work done faster and more efficiently.
Ready to create a more efficient schedule for your building services company and give yourself a leg up when dealing with these complex scheduling issues? Get started with a free trial of Route Software today.