A reader writes: “One of my customers is suggesting that I start using a web based scheduling and quality control program that was not budgeted. How do I respond?”

Although I do not keep count, it seems that there is a new scheduling, management, bidding, quality control product rolled out at least weekly, if not more often. As we become more “web dependent” with everything on the cloud (which I lovingly refer to as the fog), we need to migrate to products that enhance communication and provide better documentation. Gone are the days (except in very small accounts) that a Day Book or Communications Log is sufficient to meet the needs of the customer and tenants.

It appears that she saw a promo from a vendor that has some good points when considering going to web based management tools. Note that price, flexibility, support and ease of use are all factors that should be considered in choosing software. For very small accounts, a simple paper based system may work with 0-100 scoring. There are also vendor (chemical and equipment manufacturers) that provide various products for buying from them. I believe that you should be able to research this subject on this web site (including this one you used to find me) and get a lot of great information. Note that the larger the account, the more important it is to consider using appropriate technology to enhance communication and have clear documentation.

Since she named a specific product, you need to do your homework by investigating this and comparing it to similar products. What are its strengths and weaknesses? What is its true cost to install and maintain? Is there a monthly fee? How many phones/tablets can you use? Is this what the customer really wants?

You may be able to negotiate the costs to the customer since they are requesting it. Have your numbers and facts in line before broaching the subject and consider splitting the cost.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.