Pipe Doctor grows revenue 30% using ServicePal
Full service plumbing, heating and air conditioning firm increases efficiency and delivers superior customer service using flexible and affordable mobile field service solution.
Living the American Dream
For years, Michael Diack worked as a field service technician perfecting his trade, solving problems and making customers happy. He’s still in the field, but now he’s the boss. “To supplement my income, I bought a truck using my 1999 tax refund, came up with a cool company name and fixed heating and plumbing problems for my friends and neighbors on weekends and after hours. By 2008, Pipe Doctor was my full time job”.
Today, Mike owns six trucks, employs six technicians and serves about 1,500 customers each year in the greater Long Island, New York area. “Pipe Doctor mostly does heating and air conditioning, whole house generators and plumbing; what we’re best known for is providing genuine commercial and residential emergency services day or night – just ask my wife who answers the phone and dispatches jobs 24×7”.
Too Much Paper, Not Enough Time
Like any field service business, the Pipe Doctor generates many types of documents: work orders, estimates, quotes, invoices, receipts, etc. Keeping track of this paperwork in addition to answering the phone, servicing customers and doing the billing simply became unmanageable especially after Mike added his first employee two years ago.
“I figured there had to be technology that would allow me, from the truck, to see customer information, view prior service history and perform mobile invoicing. At the time, the only thing I could find was a software program called Wintac, but it didn’t work. I couldn’t email invoices or receipts easily from the field – it was too primitive and I spent most of my time trying to make it work and ended up being less productive”.
After a month and spending $4,000 on software and hardware, Mike abandoned Wintac and went back to using paper. He hired his wife to answer the phone and text them the jobs. The problem was Mike didn’t see his employees each day because the technicians would wake up, go on jobs and bring the trucks home at night. When they finally did meet up, his employees would be holding onto a week’s worth of paperwork and payments.
“There were times when the customer would call back a day or two later with a question, but I had no visibility into what had been done. Over the course of a week we’re talking about 25 jobs where I had no idea what happened. Plus, it’s inefficient trying to get in touch with your employees when they’re working on a job or talking to a customer”.
In October 2012, nearly 100,000 Long Island homes were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy – the second-costliest hurricane in United States history. While the Pipe Doctor benefited from high service demand and new customers, it exacerbated the existing paper-based inefficiencies in Mike’s business. Once again, he went looking for technology solution.
“The next thing I found was ACOTRUCK – they had an iPad version of their application and that’s what I wanted. Unfortunately, it was the most complicated software to use – you needed an office staff to manage it. I tried hard to make it work but, after 3 days, I gave up. At this point, we had iPads but still no application that met our needs”.
Post-Sandy, Mike and his team worked 5am – 2am every day replacing entire systems. One morning, Mike came home and searched the Apple iTunes Store for a solution. He found a couple of applications, including ServicePal, and emailed each with questions.
“In minutes, I got an email from Jan Sondergaard (ServicePal CEO). We spoke on the phone for an hour – at two in the morning – about my needs and how ServicePal could help The Pipe Doctor become a 100% paperless company. This was the beginning of my relationship with ServicePal and I’ve never looked back. Today, it’s the lifeblood of my business”.
ServicePal to the Rescue
ServicePal is a cloud-based offering that streamlines job scheduling and dispatching, provides real-time visibility into service operations and equips mobile workers with the vital information they need to consistently deliver services. One of ServicePal’s most powerful features allows businesses to create custom, professional-looking forms to electronically capture and share vital service delivery data.
“ServicePal makes it easy for us to create forms that are fully functional and easy for my employees to use. When we create a job, we attach the right form based on whether it’s warranty work, system maintenance, etc. And if a technician needs a different form, he simply picks one from the library on his iPad while he’s at the customer site”.
ServicePal provides The Pipe Doctor team access to customer and job data 24×7 using an iPad. Mike’s wife loves not being tethered to a desk. She can work anywhere and, when the phone rings, all of the information about the customer including prior service history is at her fingertips. She simply enters and schedules the job at which point it automatically appears on the dashboard of the technician to which it’s assigned.
In the field, ServicePal empowers Mike and his technicians to do what they do best – solving problems and delivering outstanding customer service. “My guys love being able to see their job schedule and, when they get to the service location, everything they need is right there on the iPad – prior jobs, what parts we’ve used, how to access to the property, etc. They simply mark the job as ‘in progress’ so we can see in real-time where everyone is and what they’re doing. When the job is complete, we can electronically process payment on the iPad and email completed forms such as invoices and receipts to the customer. It’s easy, efficient, flexible and best of all everyone is on the same page”.
Growing the Business … Smartly
Using ServicePal, The Pipe Doctor has grown revenues 30% and has achieved 100% paperless operation which benefits all stakeholders. As Mike explains:
“For me, ServicePal works, it’s affordable and it gives me peace of mind. It’s a secure service that’s always on and, because it runs in the cloud, I know my data is safe and I don’t have to worry about managing equipment – because there isn’t any. It’s a great product, the company stands behind it and their customer service is first class.
For my employees, ServicePal makes their lives easier because all of the information they need is in their hands – in the field – and they don’t have to worry about losing an invoice or having to call the office to understand service history or special customer requests. It’s the power of the Internet and my guys love having modern tools to get the job done right.
Most importantly, ServicePal fits perfectly with our reputation, values and commitment to 100% customer satisfaction. Our customers appreciate that we’re a ‘green’ business and when they see our service techs using the iPad, they’re blown away. They love receiving forms via email because that’s how they prefer to manage their information. ServicePal reinforces our professional image and genuine desire to build lasting relationships”.
The Pipe Doctor continues to grow and it won’t be long before Mike is adding more service technicians, trucks and iPads. One thing’s for sure – ServicePal’s monthly “pay as you go” model will allow Mike to expand his business without adding a lot of cost.
“ServicePal will benefit any mobile business – electricians, landscapers, contractors, etc. There are primitive solutions designed to be used on a phone, but I wanted something modern that could be easily customized for my business. When I fill out a form on the iPad and show it to the customer, they’re amazed. They can sign an invoice or approve an estimate right on the screen and, with a single press, I can email it to them. ServicePal is a life saver and I can’t imagine ever running my business without it”.
- Michael Diack (President and Founder)
- Founded 1999 (Long Island, New York)
- Commercial and Residential Services
- Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning
- 6 Technicians, 1 Dispatcher
- Serves 1,500 Customers Annually
- Enables 100% Paperless Operation
- Native, Easy-to-Use iPad App
- Custom, Business Forms
- Dispatch anytime, anywhere
- Mobile Access to Customer / Job and Payment Data
- Email forms to Customers
- Real-Time Service Operations Visibility
- Zero IT Investment (24×7 Cloud Service)
- No Setup Fees or Contracts
- Efficient, Flexible, Rapid Time-to-Value