Canadian Contractor


Your office: Coming to a smartphone near you

With the HomeStars for Business app you can receive quote requests and manage your branding, exposure, and business leads all from your smartphone

By Nancy Peterson

Nancy Peterson is the founder and CEO of HomeStars, an ANGI Homeservices company.

Have you ever considered ditching your office? You spend the majority of your time driving from one jobsite to the next, so why not take advantage of modern technology and turn your truck into a mobile office? Odds are, if you own one of 38.6 million mobile devices in Canada and own a business, you are already headed in that direction.

Real estate is expensive, whether you own or rent. Warehousing of materials may be non-negotiable for you, but modern technology is making it easier to manage both staff and inventory from afar. With everyone, including individuals, using cloud technology to store and share content across regional “borders”, it has never been easier (or less expensive) to embrace the power of digital technology. And the best part? Your online activity can be shared across devices, meaning whatever activity you engage in on the jobsite is automatically shared to your laptop, other devices and employees.

Apps Rule

How do you do this, you might ask? One word: apps. Apps, or applications, can help you manage everything from time tracking, to payroll, to invoicing, and even managing online reviews using just your smartphone. According to IT World Canada, Canadian mobile app use grew by an average rate of 74 per cent in 2016, far exceeding the global average of 11 per cent. An Intuit survey also showed that more than half (56 per cent) of successful small business owners use up to five different mobile apps regularly to keep their organizations running — and some 19 per cent of respondents were fully reliant on a mobile device to keep operations moving.

This year has been a year of mobile tech innovation in Canada and the emerging digital ecosystem is becoming more accessible than ever before to small and medium-sized business owners.

Tools of the Trade

mHelpDesk is a fantastic resource for busy pros. It provides powerful mobile tools designed specifically for field service professionals, including automated tools for workflow management, scheduling, GPS tracking, staff communications and even payment processing.

Speaking of payments, there are many options now to process mobile payments on the jobsite, including giving your clients the option to pay upon completion of the job with a credit card. Mobile payment companies like Square offer free readers that use the earphone jack in your smartphone to accept credit, and now even debit cards, for a small percentage of the transaction. Other apps, like Inventory Control by WASP Technologies, and time tracking tool, Toggl, can give you a great snapshot of inventory and staffing needs on the fly.

Maximize your digital reputation

Even managing your online reputation, which in the past involved creating a digital presence for your company online, is now easier than ever.

Did you go to the trouble of developing a website for your company only to find that it doesn’t look great on smaller screens? When potential customers look up your company on their smartphone, make sure that they can read your website, as well as see your job photos and read your reviews.

With the HomeStars for Business app, all you need is your phone to build up your online reputation by requesting reviews from your happy customers right from the jobsite. Plus, you can earn new business by receiving quote requests and managing your branding, exposure, and business leads, all from your smartphone. You can even share your reviews in a unique banner on Facebook and Twitter. The days of “I’ll get to that once I’m back at the office” are slowly becoming a thing of the past!

Getting the most from your business, while leveraging some fantastic new technologies that streamline the online user experience, is the way of the future. You may never look at your office the same way again.










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