Commercial refrigeration and air conditioning are Rob Mcilvenie’s forte – he’s been in the industry for more than a decade. Two years ago, armed with his expertise and his supportive wife Tara by his side, he decided to take the plunge and launch Connect Air and Refrigeration.
“We just decided, you know what? We’ll give it a shot. We’ll start our own business,” says Tara.
When it started, Rob was a one-man band – but things have moved rapidly. As their second anniversary of starting the business approaches, they’ve expanded to a team of five. This includes a tradesman, an apprentice and a casual – and they now service both residential and commercial properties.
Rob works on the tools and does the invoicing, and Tara takes care of the back-office admin.
What started as a chance opportunity has taken off, but when you’re balancing a new business, raising two young children and a brand-new puppy – a sub-par software system just isn’t going to cut it.
1. No time for bookkeeping
Before diving headfirst into their business, Tara and Rob knew they’d need a system that didn’t cut corners – something they could rely on, that would help run things smoothly. Luckily, they had a friend who was in the industry and he recommended Tradify.
“He just sort of said, ‘This is what you need to get’,” Tara explains.
Fortunately, they didn’t have to sift through other software to find the winning fit, and Tara says she’s relieved they’ve used Tradify from the beginning.
“We’re lucky, because I don't know how we could have run without it. Honestly, not with staff and everything.”
2. From employee to business owner – no stress with Tradify
The move into running your own business can be pretty stressful – managing staff, organising jobs and filing accounts, alongside everything else. Being ill-prepared is how you get your business started on the wrong foot.
Tara thankfully says that hasn’t been the case for them – Tradify has made the transition to running their own business smooth: “It’s not a challenge, it’s not a difficult system to manoeuvre.”
Learning how to navigate new software, on top of all the other stressors of starting a business, can be, well – stressful. But Tara says that’s been a breeze – for them, it’s one of the best things about Tradify.
“You don’t really have to learn how to use it. There were no issues at all. It was a very easy system to move into.”
3. Getting ducks in a row from the get-go
Having Tradify in place from the outset has saved Tara and Rob’s business organisation – especially in the beginning when Rob was running the whole show. All Tara needed to do was load the jobs into the app.
“Rob could just go into the scheduler and see what he had for that day. That really helped – having the scheduler from the get-go.”
Without the Scheduler, Tara fears things wouldn’t be smooth sailing. Rob would have to physically go through his phone, check who messaged or called him, and hope that he’d not missed anything.
With a growing team, the Scheduler makes light work of staff and job management. Even when the team is busy on another project, Tara can add a job into the Scheduler – and know the message will get through.
“It saves that time of stressing.”
4. Easy-peasy quotes and invoices
Tara says Tradify’s quoting and invoicing functionality have saved her a lot of time.
“From a quote, I can just go in, create an invoice and email it directly from Tradify if we need to. That’s definitely time-saving for us.”
She also likes that a customer can accept a quote, which gets the wheels in motion – and means winning work faster. Tara gets the job booked in straight away – not a few days down the track.
“If my husband gets a phone call but forgets to tell me or doesn’t tell me straight away, I can still get in touch with the client as soon as they’ve accepted the quote. I can schedule a date, and he doesn’t even need to think about that. That saves me a whole lot of time, too.”
5. Keeping tabs on overtime and jobs
Without Tradify, Tara says she’d have to chase staff for their overtime – relying on their memory weeks down the track. They’d scurry to try and retrieve hours recorded on loose pieces of paper in the back of their vans.
“Now, when I do the pay, I don’t have to call staff – I just go in and update their overtime based on what’s in Tradify.”
As well as minimising stress and an unnecessary paper trail, Tara says Tradify puts the responsibility back into their staff’s hands. If they don’t update their overtime, she doesn’t have a record of it – and they aren’t paid.
“It helps to give them back that responsibility.”
6. Connect Air and Refrigeration are big fans of Tradify
- Mobile-friendly: simple and easy for staff to access job info.
- Monitoring staff hours: digitally keeping tabs on overtime.
- Job optimisation: quote jobs promptly, win work quickly.
- User-friendly: easy transition into new business life for Rob and Tara.
- Cloud-based: job info accessible anywhere, anytime.