The Pros and Cons of Field Service Management Software

If you still cling to the pen and paper method for managing much of your operations but have been thinking about incorporating the aid of computer software, here’s a rundown of different factors to consider

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There is an app for everything, including your plumbing business.

Field Service Management (FSM) software is practically a one-stop-shop that includes customer management, scheduling, dispatching, invoicing and billing capabilities.

A few years ago, only the big guys could afford such software. It was costly to purchase and implement. But mobile internet and cloud-based software have made it possible to run your plumbing business out of the palm of your hand. Monthly subscription pricing and affordable tablet technology have made FSM software super accessible.

Still, some mom and pop shops cling to pen and paper, and due to that technology-resistance, they might find themselves increasingly left behind. FSM software allows you to get more done in less time. It helps you improve the customer experience, sell with confidence, and get paid faster. 

For those who haven’t made the leap or are on outdated technology, making the switch can be daunting and with good reason. While there are plenty of new features to enjoy, change is a painful beast. Still, I can’t imagine running our business today without FSM software. In case you are on the fence, here are some pros and cons to consider. 


  • Streamline Field Communications
    Adding or changing jobs on the schedule midday, tracking time, and cutting down mileage are the tip of the iceberg for FSM software. Logistics is one of the tougher jobs on your admin staff’s plate. Without up-to-date information, a visual guide, and easy communication, you will lose time. Losing time, as we all know, is losing money.
  • Access to Data
    I look at a ton of reports. Job costing and profitability, billing efficiency of plumbers, and services sold by zip code, to name a few. Knowledge is powerful.

    Take advantage of reports provided by FSM software to gain valuable insights about your company. These reports are often nearly impossible with manual records.

    A system that can spit out detailed reports with a few clicks will improve your management practices immediately. These reports provide you with the chance to manage based on facts instead of feelings.
  • Digital Documentation
    Not only is digital documentation faster in the field with FSM software, it is also easier to store and reference later. Paper takes up a lot of space and is painful to sort through. How many boxes would you need to dig through to pull an old invoice? With software, job history for every customer and every location is at your fingertips.
  •  Customer Service Opportunities
    Consumers are increasingly savvy. Small customer service touches are becoming an expectation more than a perk. Everything from appointment text reminders, digital receipts, and online booking options can come with FSM software.

    These customer service perks are often a win-win for your company. They can improve efficiency in the office and in the field. For instance, automated appointment reminders have eliminated customer no-show issues.


  • Learning Curve
    If you are trying to move your team to a software package from pen and paper, the change will be painful. In fact, things may seem to get way harder before they get easier. Keep the faith and invest heavily in time for training. While choosing software, ask a lot of questions about the onboarding process to make sure the software provider has the support you need to get your team up and running.
  • Dependence
    Once you’ve had access to the benefits of an FSM software, going back to pen and paper feels impossible. The developers are so confident of this, in fact, that many don’t require contracts. Migrating your customer record and job history to a new platform is a nightmare I’ve lived. It isn’t for the faint of heart, so choose your provider carefully.
  • Cost
    While an FSM software can help your team do more in less time, it isn’t likely to eliminate jobs. Therefore, it may seem like an unnecessary bill. There are a lot of different software options available, at all kinds of different price points. While you will probably get what you pay for, don’t pay for more than you need. Find a solution that matches your needs to a price that you can afford. Don’t fall for stories about drastic increases in revenue. It is possible that you will see some bumps in efficiency and revenue, but those will because of the behaviors that change in your organization and processes thanks to the software, not directly because of the software. If you can’t afford it without a bump in revenue, then you can’t afford it.

    It is possible to run a plumbing business without FSM software. But I wouldn’t want to. The benefits outweigh the costs by a mile and it keeps your team moving, connected, and on target. 

About the Author

Anja Smith is managing partner for All Clear Plumbing in Greenville, South Carolina. She can be reached at


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