- Weekly trip to office to drop off paper forms eliminated
- $405,000 Billable hours saved annually by eliminating paper
- Weekly time for payroll now processed in 2 hours instead of 2 full days
- Invoicing done daily instead of weekly
- HVAC Work Order Ticket
- Scheduled HVAC Equipment Maintenance Report
- Daily Job Site Report
- Plant Engineering Report
Noyes Aire Conditioning Contractors, Inc., or NAC Group (www.nacgroup.com), was founded in 1983 by the Noyes family. They have been involved in the HVAC service industry since the 1950s and their early commitments to integrity and excellence have allowed NAC to flourish and thrive in the Washington, DC Metro area. As a full-service mechanical contractor who specializes in HVAC systems, NAC Group is one of the most innovative providers in the industry. From being one of the first to offer 24-hour equipment monitoring to being members of the US Green Building Council, NAC Group has continued to evolve to better serve their customers.
They provide a range of HVAC services including Design/Build Construction, Mechanical Renovations, Repair/Maintenance Contracts, Emergency Rentals and Energy Efficiency Consultations just to name a few. In order to continue to provide better services to their customers and continue to expand the business, they needed their HVAC technicians in the field to work more efficiently. Valuable time was being lost to outdated paper processes and systems.
Like many businesses today, NAC historically used a paper process for documenting their HVAC work and recording their technicians' time. Technicians filled out paper forms in the field and drove them back to the office each week for processing by the office personnel. According to Chris Kaufman, General Manager at NAC Group, “Capturing our technician’s time accurately on Monday mornings was a two-day ritual.” It required two full-time employees 48 hours to complete so that payroll could be entered on Wednesday.
Also, says Chris, “Details about repairs that needed to be quoted usually required a second trip by a Sales Engineer.” In the DC Metro area that averaged out to a 3 hour trip at $100.00 per hour not including fuel costs.
In September of 2014, NAC went live with the GoCanvas platform to address their challenges. GoCanvas, the global leader in mobile apps for businesses, has helped thousands of HVAC businesses replace cumbersome paper forms with highly customizable mobile forms (We call them apps!) that improved their data collection and productivity.
Businesses can search for over 20,000 mobile app templates in the GoCanvas Application store that can be completely customized with the online, drag-and-drop App Builder tool. Using that same tool, many businesses elect to build their own from scratch. Factor in features like Dispatch, Workflow, uploading your price and customer lists, and integration with other systems and GoCanvas dramatically changes the way work gets done.
“Before choosing GoCanvas it was a complicated and difficult experience. We tested several tablets and platforms as well as using fillable PDFs and third party file sharing apps. At one point we thought we had finalized an acceptable process using iPads and a file sharing service, but we discovered GoCanvas and it was an enormous change for the better”, says Chris.
Like most GoCanvas subscribers, implementation is done in stages. It takes a time commitment, but the benefits are substantial. “After testing some GoCanvas Apps with five users”, says Chris, “we went all-in and pushed it to the field with very little difficulty. Surprisingly it was very smooth.” GoCanvas worked closely with Chris during the entire process from the testing phase to the full deployment.
NAC now has over 50 technicians on the GoCanvas platform. Over 1,200 mobile HVAC forms are filled out each month by NAC’s HVAC technicians. All of the data is immediately transmitted to the office so their business can keep moving.
- The HVAC technicians receive their jobs on their mobile devices via GoCanvas’s Dispatch feature. This tells them where to go and what to do on the job site.
- The HVAC Work Order Ticket app offers a list of items that the technician might service (Boiler, Chiller, Cooling Tower, Heat Pump, Evaporator Coil, Etc.) and detailed information is collected about the work they do and the materials they use. They take pictures of the unit name tags on each piece of HVAC equipment they service.
- Drop-down fields and checkboxes are used whenever possible to speed up the data-entry process.
- They also use the “talk to text” feature on the iPads so they can quickly capture information. This allows them to provide more detail than ever but not take any more time.
- They record their hours and capture their current GPS location for each job for tracking and payroll purposes.
- They do not receive their next job until they have sent in their completed ticket or HVAC report.
- Payroll is still completed on Monday mornings. A spreadsheet is automatically generated from a database that has everyone’s time for the week added up and calculated. GoCanvas’s Professional Services team connected GoCanvas to a SQL server database to automate this process.
- Billing is now done daily instead of weekly. Most of the time NAC is now billing their customer within 30 minutes of completing their HVAC services.
- Sales Engineers can quote jobs more accurately and much sooner without having to drive out to the job site. Pictures of the HVAC equipment and unit labels show them exactly what they are dealing with.
The impact of using GoCanvas has been dramatic to say the very least. NAC Group’s new process has delivered in a big way.
- $405,000 in saved billable hours annually. Since all technicians do not have to come to the office every Monday morning anymore, NAC Group is saving a ton. This does not include fuel savings. Each HVAC technician spent an average of 2 hours making this trip each Monday. We figured this on 30 technicians at $135.00 per hour for 50 weeks.
- $47,940 in annual savings for processing payroll. What previously took 2 employees 16 total hours per week now takes one employee 2 total hours per week.
- “Rather than wait for Mondays to collect tickets for billing we are actually billing daily so cash flow has increased”, says Chris.
- Increased customer satisfaction. By providing more detailed documents to their customers, they feel better about the value being delivered. For example, a $50,000 annual service contract seems like a lot of money to a customer when they only get four one-page maintenance reports each year. Now some inspection tickets are 20, 30 even 80 pages long as there is no fixed limit to a GoCanvas App.
Chris’s advice for going mobile with your HVAC business?
- “Start with GoCanvas!”
- “Don’t waste time trying to figure out the perfect setup. Get things moving.”
- “Adjust on the fly to fit your need.”