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How do you organise your jobs?

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David Hammond

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Post Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:28 pm

How do you organise your jobs?

I'm struggling to find a system that works for me.

When a customer rings or e-mails I put all their essential detail on an enquiry form, which I note measurements from visits etc, to enable me to quote.

Trouble is I am having a nightmare time keeping track of enquiries, chasing quotes, with some jobs just going cold, as communication breaks down.

I've tried t-card systems, i've got a massive white board, and had seperare files but just not found something that works.

So how do you organise enquiries and jobs, to maximise time and profits?
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Lee Reeves

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Post Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:46 pm

Hi David

We use clarity free edition its free and works well for us you can download it from their website its easy to quote and email them or print them for the client and it's also easy to track quotes that are still outstanding.

Give it a try it free...

Lee
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David Hammond

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Post Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:39 pm

I've tried clarity free. It is good, but I have been using Sage instant accounts from starting up, which does the job of quoting & billing.

Its more the time before and after quoting things break down.

Typically taking too long to quote or forgetting to quote, and chasing quotes.
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Lee Reeves

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Post Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:42 pm

We also use sage instant accounts, we have an enquiry form for when clients call to take all there details and arrange a site visit on site I will take all the details of the job then when back in the office create the quote in clarity and email the quote then you can see which quotes are still open in clarity my wife then contacts the client 2 days after quoting them to see if they got the quote and if there is anything else we can help them withand ask are they ready to place the order.
Then if they do want to proceed we confirm the quote if they say no we will close the quote so we know not to follow it up anymore as clarity is integrated with sage we transfer the quote to sage which creates the invoice without re-entering them again. Clarity also produces job information so we know what to make and what we need to order.

That just the way we do it and it works for us you need to find a system that works best for you.
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David Hammond

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Post Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:52 pm

Does the free version interact with sage? If so to what extent?

Ie: will customer records from clarity be inserted into sage?
Will clarity follow on sages invoice/quote numbering?
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Lee Reeves

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Post Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:51 pm

You need a code from sage to allow 3rd party integration then clarity can transfer the customer & job details to sage for invoicing it takes a bit of setting up but then it's easy to use the only problem we have had is when quoting a sign and leaflets at the same time as you can't select just one item to be zero vat rated on the free version of clarity.
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Simon Strom

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Post Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:02 am

It can be expensive I guess, but we use FileMaker for job tracking. It's almost strictly for database though (newer versions may have envoicing ... ?). Do you need server support / web access? There are also a few envoicing apps that may cover you. I'm on a Mac so the big ones I know are Billings & iBiz. I'm sure a Windows user may chime in if you need something on that platform. There's also Bento which is kind of a light weight version of FileMaker (made by the same people).
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Peter Dee

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Post Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:28 am

Lee Reeves wrote:Hi David

We use clarity free edition its free and works well for us you can download it from their website its easy to quote and email them or print them for the client and it's also easy to track quotes that are still outstanding.

Give it a try it free...

Lee


Main drawback with the free version is you can only enter 5 line items, so for a detailed quote with many items it's no good.
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Gert du Preez

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Post Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:04 am

We use A4 size numbered estimate/quotation books in duplicate.The original copy becomes the jobcard later on... Quotes etc. are written out at reception, and the original goes to whoever has to work out the price. Usually me or my partner. Then to reception again, who updates the duplicate in the book, and fax'es or emails the quote.

Goes in a box at reception until accepted.

E-mailed requests / jobs quoted via e-mail get printed out, and is attatched to a jobcard as well.

Once accepted, it is marked as such in the duplicate book, and it comes to me. If there is engineering or special stock purchases involved, I do the drawings and give it to the guys in the "noise" shop downstairs, and / or order special stock.

Then goes to designers, who also operates the printers. Simple vinyl cut jobs go to the cutter operator for design and cut. (We have a dedicated "plotter guy")

Once the prints are done / vinyls cut, it goes into the application area, and the jobcard into their box.

The completed job goes to dispatch, and the jobcard for invoicing.

If we need to install on site, or brand a vehicle, the job goes to dispatch, but the jobcard to the workshop controller to arrange installation, plant hire, book vehicle etc. Then the JC goes for invoicing.

Each guy in the line keeps a book, writing down the date, time and person he received the jobcard from, and the same for passing it on. Papertrail......

Quotes not accepted are scratched out on the duplicate book.
Jobs done have their invoice number written in the duplicate book. This means you can page through the duplicate book, and follow up on quotes gone cold, and track jobs down that were accepted but not invoiced.

This way nothing falls through the cracks. It sound complicated, but once everybody is used to it, it actually goes quite smoothly with a minimum of effort and fuss. We do too many jobs to keep track in your head. Anything from 10 to 50 jobs per day, some small, some requiring several days or even weeks to complete.
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Martin Cole

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Post Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:24 am

This is the simple trusted method I have used for over 11 years now.
Just keep the details brief.
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Jobs Board.jpg
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Phill Fenton

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Post Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:30 am

My system is old fashioned and low tech, but works for me.

I use a three tier paper tray to track work in progress. The top tray is where I write down/print off details of new enquires. Once these have been quoted the details are transferred to the bottom tray.

When a job is given the go ahead the details are placed in the middle tray (work in progress).

Once the work is completed and invoiced the details are removed from the middle tray and filed or shredded.

Every now and again I sort through the lower tray and follow up quotations than I haven't been given the go ahead. Once the quote has gone dead it is removed and binned or filed away.

This way I can keep track of what is happening on a daily basis simply by checking the content of each tray.
Attachments
4-tray-organizer.png
example of paper trays
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Dave Bruce

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Post Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:40 am

I used the T card system with the following headers,
Enquiry, Quoted, Design, Cut, Make, Install, Invoiced
I also had file trays with similar headings and moved the individual file and T card as the job progressed. I and anyone else in the office could see at a glance what job was where in the progress. The cards had the customers name at the top with the enquiry date, then underneath details of the job and when I had invoiced them.
I did quite a few different types of jobs s I had different coloured T cards for each type of job, Red was for print work (stationery), Blue for clothing, Yellow for vehicles, White for signs.

I found it very effective and as I was always moving cards and files as the jobs progressed, it gave me a mental note of every job in the process and thus an over-all view of the work.

Hope you find something that works for you.

Cheers

Dave
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James Sahota

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Post Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:44 am

David,

Try ACT from sage.

This will link with sage instant account, its a complete client relations management software, only costs around £120.00 per year.

A very powerful tool to keeping on track.
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Graham Shand

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Post Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:54 pm

I have three trays, IN , OUT, and "shake it all about"
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Robert Lambie

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Post Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:33 pm

i have a web based solution that if i ever get two minutes to breath i plan putting in place on UKSB servers.
ive been using it for a few years now and works very well regardless the amount of departments involved in the job procxess.
however, its not perfect as it does not and cannot be connected to an accounts software package, nor does offer pricing. but still... for job tracking, from phone call to completion i would be lost without it.

regardless to what software you use it always has to have the human input. if this is not done then right there is the break in the chain.
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Jason Xuereb

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Post Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:18 pm

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Nicola McIntosh

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Post Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:00 pm

like rob we use a cms (content management system) built and designed by one of the boss's it works brilliantly from the quote right through to scanning the APC note, nothing is missed unless someone doesnt click the right button :lol1:
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David Hammond

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Post Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:06 pm

I'm looking at a demo of sage act!

Not sure if there's a way to automate reminders to follow up quotes.

I like how I can keep a record of calls with customers, see how inactive customers are and then follow them up too.
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James Sahota

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Post Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:19 am

David,

I strongly recommend you give the ACT team a call....they are fantastic

I think you should be able to do exactly what your after buddy....

Some people hate sage for the way it works, infact I hated sage products for many years but soon realised no much compares to it.
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Gordon Forbes

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Post Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:22 am

Outlook has it all there for reminders appointments meetings etc etc. You can enter any details for an appointment you want reminders too.

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