Smartphones offer all sorts of conveniences to customers, but for skilled trades workers and contractors, they can also be valuable tools to be used on the job site. That’s why one in four contractors uses smartphones as their main online business platform. Whether you are looking for a better way to help track workflow management on-the-go or need to take quick measurement when your level is out of reach, there’s probably a smartphone app that can help make your job easier. Most importantly, smartphone apps can be used to increase productivity and loss prevention, as well.

Apps as tools

The iHandy Carpenter app is relatively cheap and is available for both iOS and Android-based smartphones through the Apple’s iTunes store and Google Play Store. The app combines five different tools that are designed to help carpenters, but could also be applied to other types of skilled trades. After making sure the app is properly calibrated to ensure you’re getting accurate readings, you can use the app for a variety of measurements. The plumb bob level allows you to verify the verticality of lines while the surface level and bubble level can ensure that a surface is flat. The ruler is used like a traditional metal ruler, but you can measure beyond the size of your phone screen by scrolling. And of course, the protractor offers a quick and easy way to measure and mark an angle.

Apps for document management

Keeping track of paperwork and documentation can include a lot of additional work on top of a contractor’s long day on the jobsite. It’s especially important to be fast with your estimates and invoices when you are trying to win new business or when you’re dealing with demanding customers. Managing your project by quickly producing pricing estimates, creating invoices and tracking payments from your smartphone can free up valuable time and let you stand out from competitors. Joist is free on iOS and Android and is one of the most popular apps designed to make life easier for smaller and independent contractors.

Apps for new business

The health and success of a contracting business is based on the ability to attract new business and win new contracts. It can be difficult when you’re first starting out and you have to rely on referrals and word-of-mouth marketing to gain exposure to a new customer base. While websites like Homestars are a great way for customers to find reliable contractors, and for contractors to branch out and be recognized for the quality of their work, new similar mobile services are popping up.

The TradePros app allows customers to post jobs that are shown to contractors within their area. After being screened by TradePros to ensure that they’re qualified, contractors are able to search jobs and bid on them. This allows the customer to get a competitive and transparent price while giving the contractor the opportunity to show off their work.

Apps for tool tracking

Specialized tools and equipment can be expensive to replace, so they’re an ideal target for thieves. That’s why we offer insurance designed for skilled trade contractors that can cover their tools and rented equipment. Even with adequate insurance coverage, we always remind our customers about the importance of protecting their valuable tools by following loss prevention best practices, like securing their job sites and creating theft management programs.

Now your smartphone can play an important role in tool security. New tool tracking systems are designed to allow monitoring of your tools through a smartphone app –in most cases, with Bluetooth-enabled tags that are manually place on the tool, or with Bluetooth-connected batteries. Major tool manufactures like Dewalt offer Tool Connect that offers tool tracking and finding, plus battery monitoring and managing. Milwaukee also offers smart tools that can be detected through a smartphone app called OneKey, which helps with security and tracking.

These are just a few of the ways that contractors and skilled trades workers can use technology to both improve their business and their security. Stay tuned to our blog for more information on how to make your contracting business safe.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.