Tradesmen and mobile services staff using job management app ServiceM8 can create invoices on their phone, forward them to their accounting program or take credit card payments on the spot with Stripe.
The integration with the payments processor is part of a major upgrade launched last week. Stripe charges a relatively low 1.95 percent for credit-card payments and can be set up in minutes without a merchant account, says marketing manager Darren Ford.
“There are no set-up fees or ongoing fees, so we suggest that everyone get this set up so they have the option with the customer,” Ford says. “They can take the money then and there if they don’t have the cash. They will always have their phone on them so they will always have a method for taking payment.”
ServiceM8 targets trades businesses with under 30 staff and has users in 16 countries. The Stripe integration will work in its major markets, Australia, the US and the UK. The company is still working on introducing it to South Africa and New Zealand.
The update included a new invoicing page which sends invoices raised on a phone directly to Xero, QuickBooks Online, MYOB AccountRight Live and MYOB Essentials. In the previous version users had to wait until they had returned to a desktop computer to finish the invoicing process.
A one-touch invoicing feature will automatically route the invoice by email, SMS or mail. ServiceM8 chooses the cheapest delivery option for sending the invoice to the customer. Australian tradies can send paper invoices through an outsourced service at a cost of A$1.90 per letter.
Customers can view invoices sent by SMS or email online and pay immediately.
Feed is “Facebook for Small Business”
ServiceM8 also added a Facebook-style activity feed that shows messages from workers in the field and in the office, and customer feedback ratings from recently completed jobs.
Job management involves a lot of communicating, Ford says. “It’s about getting the right details to staff, keeping customers informed, improving the communications between the people in the field and the people in the office. We think the feed is a game changer,” Ford says.
Staff can take a photo of a job and post it to the feed. An apprentice could get expert advice on a specific issue within five minutes.
“The apprentice can get a response from someone an hour away and they haven’t had to stop and make a phone call to try and describe what’s going on,” Ford says.
Managers can opt to display only customer ratings over four stars. Employees and managers can comment on a customer rating to congratulate the worker.
If feedback is under four stars the manager can discuss with the staff what went wrong.
Other features in the update included the ability to make staff complete a form before or after each job; improved search which could find job address, job notes and purchase order number; and a simpler calendar that shows when a staff member is available.
ServiceM8 businesses typically have five to eight staff. Service M8 has “tens of thousands” of users, the company says.