BUSINESS IS ROARING back, yet certain things are hindering us. Nationwide shortages of just about everything are rampant. Rising material pricing is engulfing entire industries and gobbling up profit margins like wildfire!
Raw materials such as aluminum, steel, wood, and even wrap vinyl might as well be on the endangered species list. Now, more than ever, we must pay strict attention to how we price jobs, and even what jobs we choose to take on! Every business we talk to is slammed busy … so sign companies need to make conscious decisions to take on the best projects they can. Obviously, your major, returning clients remain at the top of that list. But new clients? Make sure they will be the best use of your time and your possibly limited materials during this crazy period.
Which brings us back to finishing up my assessment of Square Coil, the sign management software we implemented two months ago. In my last column, Aaron Clippinger, founder of Square Coil, had just arrived from San Diego to walk us through his three-day Immersion Clinic training. The first day was wrought with apprehension as Aaron first guided all 34 employees through the entire program, so all of us would have an overview of the system and how it worked. After that, we broke into department groups to delve further into the software.
During the full-group introduction, Aaron was met with a room full of blank stares, but once in smaller groups, training was easier over the next two days. He met with the sales team, then project managers, then designers and so on. Finally, on day three, all hands were on deck again to walk through a project together, start to finish.
And that’s also a great feature of the program: Set up in steps, it systematically walks users, step-by-step, through the entire sign selling/manufacturing/installing/costing, and my favorite — money collecting — processes. Follow the steps and you end up with a successful, hopefully profitable, project.
One of our big issues was scattered communication on every job. On a daily basis hundreds of emails were searched like a K-9 looking for contraband to locate the single piece of info needed. Square Coil offers dedicated, numbered job “folders” that the salespeople populate at the very beginning of the project. All contact info, scope of work, design PDFs, survey photos, install calendars, etc., are dropped into that job folder, and all correspondence regarding that job is conducted inside the program. No more endless questions; everything is fully accessible to all employees from their laptops, tablets or phones, 24/7. The install section even features a Google Maps link to the job site, and a five-day weather forecast to boot!
Reports are In
I could write another entire column on the software, as this is just a snippet of all it does. But let me finish by saying, in our first month, we ran $503,000 in sales through the program, with full controls over product cost with our specific overhead pre-loaded, and we know exactly where we stand in profit, in organization, and in company-wide, trackable communication.
Does it take some effort to load everything specific to your company? Sure it does. Is the software flawless? Of course not, but it’s damn close, and Aaron and his team have been awesome to work with. They’re dedicated to constant improvement of the system, evident in his willingness to listen to all his clients to make changes based on our suggestions.
If you’re struggling like we were, give Square Coil a once-over. We think you’ll be impressed. We are!
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