Fill out Work Orders on your Smartphones and Tablets

By Jason Good on May 8, 2014

Editor's Note: this post was originally published in February 2013. We've updated the post for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

How many work orders do you fill out each day? Plumbers, HVAC technicians, and other contractors doing commercial or residential work might do 4-6 per day. It could be more.

You might be carrying around one of those clipboard cases filled with 3 part work order forms. I'm guessing that case doesn't close all the way, right?  You've got completed forms in there that your accounting department needs and you've got brand new forms. Maybe you keep your own copy for good measure? It's a mess, right? Can't that smartphone in your pocket get you out of this mess? You betcha!

So here is what a standard plumbing work order looks like.  You have some customer information at the top.  You might have a work order number in the upper right hand corner.  Then you'll have a pricing section that might have labor costs and material costs.  There is space to write up a description of the work completed.  This one has a checklist so the customer can easily see what was done and/or what should have been done. Of course, prices are captured, tax amounts are entered, and a final price is entered. 

The customer will sign it and one of the carbon copies is left with them for their records. The other copies eventually make their way back to the office. Sometimes they never make it!

Work Order

Why are work orders an enormous pain for everyone?

  • Illegible handwriting
  • Fields aren't filled in
  • Pricing is entered incorrectly or calculated incorrectly
  • Forms get stuck in trucks for days and weeks at a time
  • Work orders get lost or damaged (Coffee and paper forms don't mix!)

What happens next?  Your sale cycle slows down.  All of the above issues cause delays.  If a form is lost then you might just have to write that business off completely.  A heck of a lot of time is spent fixing these problems...that's for sure!  And time is money the last time I checked.

Paperless work orders are one of the most common uses of Canvas.  I can't tell you how many customized work orders I have built for a wide variety of businesses.  Canvas allows you to completely customize your own work order that is tailored to how you do business. 

Include the fields you want.  Name them what you want.  Upload your own pricing list and auto-populate your prices.  Canvas will calculate everything for you quickly and accurately.  Any field in Canvas can be required too, meaning your technician can't skip it!  Every finished work order is transmitted right away back to the office and a copy can be emailed to your customer right away.

Canvas's powerful app builder allows you to edit your mobile forms anytime you want.  You can build a Canvas app from scratch anytime you want and edit it anytime you want.  You can then share it with any of your employees or colleagues that need to use it.  Here is what our app builder looks like:

Work Order - Canvas App Builder

Once you have customized your work order you can then publish it so it is available on your mobile device to use!  Canvas apps can be built and published to your mobile workforce very quickly.  In the screenshots below you can see on the left the list of forms now available on your mobile device. 

On the right, you can see my plumbing work order.  By the way, you can create as many Canvas apps as you need.  Work orders are just the beginning.  Invoices, estimates, time cards and more can all be filled in with Canvas.

Mobile Work Order

Mobile Work Order


The Canvas Application Store is filled with pre-built Canvas apps that you can then customize with our app builder to fit your needs.  The Plumbing Work Order seen above is there, too! 

Are you ready to save time and money?