Your business relies on field technicians and service providers, but you may sometimes feel like the job of hiring and managing those workers is all-consuming. There’s the task of scouting the top talent and securing them at competitive rates. That can be a complex challenge in and of itself.
However, even after you secure the right talent for your job, you face the task of managing and deploying them efficiently. You have to get them the information and resources they need to to do their job. You have to pay them on time, as well as generate supporting documents like 1099s and W-9s. You have to monitor the quality of their work to ensure that it meets your expectations.
Without a system in place, field service management can consume your time, resources, and your business. Fortunately, there’s an alternative approach that could save you time, money, and energy. It’s field management software, also known as FMS. They’re also sometimes known as freelance management systems.
What is an FMS? It’s simply a software platform or tech system that allows you to manage your contracted field workers in one centralized location. You can use your FMS to scout and hire available talent, distribute information and resources, and even follow-up on their work. In theory, an FMS should improve your efficiency and reduce your costs while improving quality of field service.
However, an FMS isn’t the right solution for every company. It may not be feasible for your budget, or an FMS may not align exactly with your needs. Before you commit to an FMS, it’s important to consider all your options. Below are some pros and cons of an FMS to help guide your decision:
Pros of an FMS
- Increased efficiency. Perhaps the biggest reason to invest in an FMS is to bring efficiency and cost-reduction to your field management process. You can scout and hire workers with a few clicks of a mouse, instead of sending emails and playing phone tag. You can distribute job information and deploy workers in seconds, and communicate in real time. This should bring substantial cost savings over a manual approach.
- Enhanced competition among field workers. An FMS should bring competition to your pool of field workers, and competition almost always drives down costs. Rather than deploying jobs through one field partner, you can enroll a broad range of talent into your system. They’ll then compete for your work by offering high-level service at competitive prices. You get cost transparency and improved quality.
- Reduced time spent on administrative tasks. How much time does your team spend processing 1099s and W-9s or payroll? An FMS does this for you. The worker inputs their information when they enroll in the system. The software then generates all necessary forms and processes pay as jobs are complete. That frees up your team to focus on more productive tasks.
Possible FMS Cons
- Some workers may resist the new system. While an FMS may be beneficial for you and most of your field workers, some could resist the new system. They may feel that the system brings a “race to the bottom” among rates and they prefer not to compete in that way. They may think that their work quality won’t get the credit it deserves in an automated system. Some people simply resist change. Whatever their reason, be prepared that some of your field techs may not appreciate your new FMS.
- Quality of work may fluctuate. One of the major benefits of an FMS is that it allows you to expand your talent pool. However, that also means bringing in workers with whom you may not have much experience. You may find that some of your new workers don’t provide service that meets your expectations, or their methods may be different from your guidelines. It’s on you to develop the talent, and be aware that there could be a learning or trial and error phase as you grow your pool of field workers.
- You may struggle to find right FMS for your needs. The FMS landscape is relatively young, and it can be difficult to navigate if you haven’t explored and FMS before. You may find that there’s no single FMS that meets your needs or fits your budget. You may need an FMS modified to achieve your goals.
It can be helpful to partner with a company that can guide you through the FMS selection and management process. They can help you find or build the right solution for your needs. They can also manage the implementation of the system so you can focus on what you do best.