Slim margins mean restorers are less keen to invest in new property restoration software without a guaranteed return. In this guide, we outline how restorers can prepare themselves to reduce the risk of poor investments.
Investing time, energy, and money into researching new tech can be daunting. But these days, technology is pretty much a prerequisite for running a profitable restoration business. Let’s face it: even finding the right solution can be tough. The options are overwhelming — there are more than 60 property restoration software solutions in the tool box with more continuing to be added to the mix every year.
Making a significant financial investment in technology can change the way your business operates, but with margins as slim as they are for restorers (74% of restorers rate profitability as a big challenge), it's understandable that restorers are not keen to take risks rolling out new systems across their companies — even if the solution can help their business run more efficiently.
In 2023, the 2 top areas of planned investment for restorers are:
- Employee training (52.5%)
- Advanced software systems for operations (20.5%)
So if you are part of the 20.5% that plan on investing in new tech this year, here’s a guide to help you start off the purchase on the right foot.
Have you ticked all these boxes?
☑️ Is it worth it to make a switch? It’s going to be an endeavour for your org to add new property restoration software into the mix. But, compare the cost of the software you’re considering to the value that it will deliver your business. Will the cost be worth it in the long run because of added efficiency? How much time is currently being wasted doing things manually?
☑️ Have you leaned on your network? Does the system you’re considering have a good reputation in the industry? Is it reliable? Talk to your peers — someone who’s on your level, with a similar size business dollar and team.
☑️ Are free trials and flexible contracts available? Are you able to test out the software before you buy it and pilot it in a real-world situation? Is the vendor trying to lock you into a multi-year contract? Make sure you’re confident and familiar with what you’re purchasing before you sign anything.
☑️ Is onboarding straightforward and easy? Do you feel like you’re being treated in the same professional, friendly and helpful manner that you shoot for on your jobs? Is the solution easy to train and will the vendor help onboard your team onto the new solution? Will someone be available to help you should any needs arise in the future?
☑️ Are training materials, educational resources and tech support easily available? Whether your team prefers in-person training or virtual sessions, YouTube videos, or just plain ol’ figuring it out on the fly, every org has a system that works best for them — so keep that in mind while you shop for property restoration software. Look for vendors that provide additional educational content, a dedicated onboarding manager, or have a built-in learning platform, so your teams can train at their own pace. With the labor shortage so rampant, you’re going to want to shorten the learning curve that comes with the new app as much as you can. Here’s a great start if you’re looking for some top notch (and free!) restoration resources.
☑️ Will the app work well in the field? This is a tricky one, because you need the tool to be versatile. It has to work for the folks back at the office, but the most important step is that the data needs to be collected by a tech, from the loss, right away — so it needs to be easy and practical in the field too. With more carriers mandating the use of tools to benefit their own processes, restorers still need to focus on tech that will improve field documentation, customer comms, and integrate with their core systems too.
☑️ Will the software scale with you as your company grows? Will the property restoration software you’re leaning towards still be useful years down the road? The needs of your organization will scale over time - can the software scale with you? The unfortunate reality is that it is possible to outgrow a solution, and then you’re back to where you started.
☑️ Does it integrate with the other tools you use and help with real-time data flow? Every day, more companies are announcing integrations that they hope will deliver value to their customers, but sometimes the idea of setting an integration up can be overwhelming. The good news? It’s likely not as complicated as you think and totally worth it in the end.
Where do you stand? Do you find the ability to communicate between the apps you use daily pretty seamless or is it still kind of rough? Is the option there to integrate two tools that you need, or is one of them closed off and not open to integrating? At the very least, can we agree to collectively bid adieu to double data entry? 😨 👋
You’ve vetted your options and chose a system...what's the best way to roll it out to your team?
Restorers state that the most common reasons they are not achieving full product return on their investment include: a lack of initial training, limited functionality, and poor adoption across the workforce.
Owners express frustration at a lack of sufficient training on new systems, leading to difficulties onboarding tech to their teams and low adoption across the board — a classic case of failure to launch. Plus, a poor tech stack can have a negative effect on employee satisfaction — not great during a labor shortage. To avoid digital drop out, it's important to keep your team engaged and working towards a common goal.
In regards to limited functionality being a key factor that contributes to low software adoption rates: have you investigated the potential app’s functionality thoroughly during the trial phase? You should know the extent of the software’s functionality, before you purchase — so there’s no surprises, or disappointments!
If we could leave you with 3 pieces of advice:
Does your company resist change? ▶️ Start slow and celebrate the small wins as a team!
Is there low confidence in technology? ▶️ Take the time to properly train your team on the tool.
Limited functionality? ▶️ Test the heck out of that software (on a job!) and ask questions before you buy!
If all else fails… just remember that It’s more important than ever to do your due diligence researching your options. Whatever you choose needs to create value within your organization, or else you won’t use it. Keep in mind, an all or nothing approach is not practical in the restoration world, it’s okay to take baby steps and introduce new solutions in stages… just be deliberate and patient in your implementation and the rest will come!