It's not easy being a restoration contractor; professionals are tasked with the challenge of restoring fire, water and mold damage to pre-loss condition. However, in the event of a home catastrophe leading to such an incident, they can also be dealing with home and business owners during an extremely fragile time.
In addition to work challenges, it's also key for restoration contractors to get to job sites quickly after a loss. After all, the faster they arrive and begin work, the more likely they are to contain the loss and save more belongings, as well. After the loss, it's also important for restoration contractors to minimize their travel times, as doing so increases work efficiency and reduces fuel costs. If it's so important to get to jobs quickly and reduce travel times, why do so many restoration contractors struggle in this area?
Here is a look at some ways that contractors can reduce travel times and enhance their efficiency in the process:
  1. Enable GPS tracking: GPS tracking doesn't just help contractors efficiently get from Point A to Point B, but if you purchase tracking units from a dealer that designs its equipment specifically for the service industry, you'll also find a lot of safety benefits. For instance, units can be programmed to send owners and managers an alert if the driver is speeding or driving erratically — an incident that can serve as a teaching tool from boss to employee. Alerts can also be set on these units to remind owners when certain restoration equipment, such as truckmounts, need servicing, per manufacturer recommendations.
  2. Embrace mobile workforce management solutions: Most restoration contractors have ditched the extensive paperwork to adopt advanced workforce management solutions to track jobs and stay in contact with the insurance companies easier. While there may be a learning curve associated with some of these workforce management solutions, they can increase efficiency and streamline jobs to the point where trips from job sites to the office can be reduced or eliminated. Instead, communication can all be done with the workforce management solution via mobile devices through the cloud.
  3. Use apps to your advantage: While GPS tracking certainly helps contractors get to jobs faster, GPS systems often don't account for current traffic conditions. There is where a mobile app, such as Waze, comes in handy. The app is based on a crowd-sourcing platform, so other drivers who use it send alerts about traffic conditions, road hazards and even where police have been spotted. The app configures this information and helps drivers reach their destinations in the quickest way possible based on these conditions.
  4. Ensure you have the appropriate inventory: Restoration contractors need a lot of equipment based on the job they are performing. For instance, on water jobs you will need air movers, dehumidifiers and either portable or truckmounted pumpers to remove excess water — and that is not even counting power strips, extension cords, mold-preventing chemicals and other necessities. The bottom line is, if you forget items and don't pack them in the truck before heading to the job site, you will have to make an unnecessary trip back to the office garage to get it. Be sure to have techs write and sign a checklist confirming they have all necessary equipment before driving to a job. This ensures they are double-checking their trucks to make sure everything is included.
  5. Keep your vehicles in good condition: Nothing adds to travel time like blown out tires, failing engines, dead batteries and other vehicle maintenance issues. That is why, in addition to having your restoration equipment serviced per manufacturer recommendations, you should also have your vehicle fleet serviced. If it's your goal to get to a job within an hour of getting the call and the van won't start because the battery is dead, you're not only likely getting to the site late, but you risk losing the job altogether.
As a restoration contractor, efficiency is crucial, and excess time spent on the roads only cuts into productivity and profits. Be sure to consider ways to reduce your travel time, today.