Investing in Technology for Home Service Contractors
“Should I Buy a Drone?”
Technology is having an impact on all aspects of our lives. For contractors, technology has improved our marketing and customer service. Innovation has helped us manage our inventory and job teams better. Advances in materials and equipment have helped us deliver better value and dependability to our customers.
So, there’s no question that tech is terrific for contractors.
But while the question of “if” we should invest in technology is answered, the questions of “why” and “how” are still really important to ask.
A roofer we know was recently considering the purchase of a drone system. The marketing materials and the drone company’s sales reps made the purchase sound like a no-brainer. And while the potential sounds good, the reality bears more consideration.
This applies to drone systems, IR (infrared) cameras, AR (augmented reality) display systems and others. No matter what technology you’re considering ask yourself the questions below before you buy.
Questions to Ask Before You Invest in Tech
What are the real costs?
Everything you buy for your business comes with a price tag. But, especially for technology, that price may not reflect the entire cost of the item. Tech often comes with “hidden” costs.
What are these hidden costs? For something like a drone, it might be batteries or maintenance. For things like SaaS (Software as a Service) computer platforms it might be tech support or add-on costs for integration with your current systems.
New tech equipment and software often also demands the investment of time to make the most of it. It may require additional training for existing team members. It may also require additional personnel to regularly manage or deploy it. And this leads us to the next important question.
Are you ready to change the way you do business?
New technology is disruptive. It really is MEANT to change the way you do business. The sales brochures all promise that the change will be a good thing. And it probably CAN be if you’re willing to embrace what the technology requires.
I’m sure all of us can relate to having purchased some piece of home technology where we gave up using it because, after the initial excitement wore off, it just seemed too complicated. Now it sits gathering dust on a shelf or in a box in the garage.
Business tech is no different. Right up front, it’s vitally important to be honest with yourself about what you’re willing to change to fully deploy new technology.
- Are you willing to get through the learning curve?
- Are you willing to put new processes in place?
- Are you willing continue team training as employees move in and out?
- Are you willing to continue to invest in upgrades and maintenance to keep the tech operating properly?
All of these things will come into play if you’re going to make the most of your technology investment. Look past the “shiny object” and fun of buying the new tech and think about how it might really impact the way you do business. Chances are there are both “good” and “bad” changes you’ll have to weigh.
That brings us to our next critical question about technology for contractors.
What Are the Consequences of NOT Getting New Tech?
At the most fundamental level, any investment in technology should give you a competitive advantage. Technology that doesn’t make you better, faster or cheaper shouldn’t even be considered.
On one hand, you’re competing with other professionals in your industry. Technology should help you maintain levels of responsiveness, service and professionalism that put you ahead, or at least in line, with what customers are experiencing from other companies.
On another hand, more contractors are finding themselves competing with DIY and “off-the-shelf” products and solutions from big box home improvement stores. In this case, technology might help you differentiate yourself with better outcomes or lower risks.
The bottom line is that new technology will always be a part of providing home services. The key to having it improve your business – instead of gather dust – is to ask yourself the hard questions BEFORE making the investment.