Delivering Field Service using Third Party Contractors – Role of Field Service Software

Service organizations often experience differing service needs depending upon the time of year. Sometimes, there is a less demand of service and sometimes, there are peak demands of the service.  It is a challenge to manage such requirements for service managers. One solution that has been deployed is to use third party contractors to deal with fluctuating demands.

However to manage third party contractors, you would need a Field Service Software like Field Force Tracker to manage such demands.

In this article, we explore the need of Field Service contractor management and various issues associated with the contractor management.

Contractor management refers to the managing of outsourced work performed for an individual company. It is increasingly common for industries to rely upon independent contractors for specialized skills and knowledge. By utilizing outside contractors, companies can achieve three main goals: accessing specialized expertise that is not continuously or routinely required, supplementing limited company resources during periods of unusual demand, and providing staffing increases without the overhead cost of direct-hire employees.

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Challenges Associated with Contractor Management

Because independent contractors are not a regular component of the company for whom they work, there are some unique challenges that must be addressed by companies conducting contractor management. Increasingly, companies rely on outsourced contractors for field service work. This poses challenges in maintaining consistency in service delivery and customer experience, as well as in maintaining visibility and sufficient control over scheduling and other facets of service.

Some of the most common day-to-day challenges associated with contractor management include:

  • Senior leadership commitment
  • Project managers’ understanding of their roles
  • Team members’ understanding of expectations
  • Scheduling and task management
  • Control over labor costs

Companies also must determine how to access the independent contractor population and minimize costly penalties that often result from improper classification of workers and independent contractors. Moreover, companies need to consider how to evaluate independent contractors. On-boarding and administration programs must be in place for successful contractor management.

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Other aspects of contractor management that must be considered are risk assessment and identification, issuing 1099s on behalf of the client, and document completion, collection, and maintenance. Many challenges associated with contractor management can be overcome by employing best practices for contractor management.

Best Practices for Field Service Contractor Management

Freelancing and independent contracting especially are popular among small businesses. Independent contractors are able to fulfill needs that the small business workforce otherwise could not. Contractor management is necessary because of the nature of the independent contractors’ work; independent contractors, particularly field service contractors, often work away from the office and are not under direct supervision. Under these circumstances, even experienced CEOs may find it difficult to manage independent contractors. There are some best practices that help companies and executives handle their contractor management:

  • Clearly define the services that you need to have provided
  • Draft a job description to serve as a reference point when drawing up a contract
  • Determine payment schedules and compensation rates ahead of time
  • Set up a straightforward and clear written agreement at the contract’s start
  • Ensure that you are firmly within legal grounds and document a work arrangement meticulously so that you are correctly classifying your independent contractor
  • Keep in mind that experts recommend that you determine the what and the contractor determines the how – you outline specific goals, but the contractor must provide his own tools, equipment, and facilities to complete the work
  • Guide productivity and ensure that the contractor will produce high quality work while meeting key deadlines by specifying the deliverables in the agreement, making yourself available to answer follow-up questions, and scheduling regular meetings for progress updates

Communicating Demands to Field Service Contractors

Independent contractors, program managers, and company executives not only have a professional duty to communicate effectively, but they must communicate in a way that ensures the contracted work is completed well and in a timely manner. Effective communication is a key component of contractor management throughout the business relationship, from defining services and writing the agreement, to meeting with the contractor throughout the project’s completion. There are several solutions for contractor management available, including mobile management software and solutions, to connect everyone and ensure successful contractor management.

With comprehensive contractor management practices offering visibility and control over the complete service chain, enterprises managing field service contractors and other independent contractors are able to reduce labor costs, obtain proof-of-service, gain real-time visibility into the status of jobs and tasks, and ultimately, provide a more consistent experience that increases end customer satisfaction.

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About Field Force Tracker

Field Force Tracker ( is a leading global provider of its award winning mobile workforce solutions for service-based businesses of all sizes delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS). Our solutions enable businesses of all sizes (from 1 user to 10,000 users) to meet the challenges associated with managing and running complex service operations. It helps in improving the productivity of their mobile workforce.

With Field Force Tracker customers can create service schedule and route quickly, dispatch sooner, collect correct information at once in the field and invoice faster. The field service software makes it easy for users to eliminate waste, get more done in less time and be more profitable.

Field Force Tracker is a wholly owned unit of Rapidsoft Systems Inc. ( Rapidsoft Systems, Inc. has its main office in Princeton, NJ, USA, a US R&D Center in Mercerville NJ, and sales, support and development offices in Palo Alto, CA, USA, Singapore, Dubai (UAE), Bombay, and Noida (India).

Dealing with Fluctuating Service Demands

Service organizations often experience differing service needs. Sometimes, there is a less demand of service and sometimes, there are peak demands of the service.  It is a challenge to manage such requirements for service managers.

You have to always evaluate if your field service organization handle the additional workload when demand spikes without impacting service quality and customer experience.  In many sectors such as utilities field service, demand changes significantly, requiring teams to find agile methods for meeting customer demand.

In the following paragraphs, we will describe a handful of methods for scaling either up or down based on seasonal demand, market volatility, or customer behavior change.

Forecasting Field Service Demand

Calling upon predictive software and machine learning, your organization could model its seasonal demand based on algorithms and historical data. While predictive software analyzes current and historical data to predict future events, machine learning – a type of AI – empowers computers to learn in real-time and create models based on deep historical data. Combined, these two capabilities make it possible for your organization to forecast technician requirements.

For example, you could know the number and type of technicians needed to handle demand at given times of the year. As a result, you can be prepared to staff up and down as needed – in advance – rather than scramble at the last minute.

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Leveraging the Contracting Staff

A growing number of technicians are open to working virtually and as contractors. In fact, Gartner predicts that 40% of field service work will be handled by contractors as of 2020. By calling upon this contingent workforce, your organization can easily staff up as needed.

Let’s say, for example, your business sees peak demand in the winter months because you are running a snow removal service. Instead of hiring at the start of the season, you could engage contractors with the needed skills throughout the season. Moreover, you can access talent that may not be readily available in your immediate area – a tremendous benefit if your service organization covers a wide geography. Instead of being limited to local talent, you can find the most fitting technicians for your needs.

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Support Technician With Mobility App like Field Force Tracker

Hand in hand with preparing your organization to vet and onboard talent for part-time “gigs,” you should be ready to support technicians’ mobile needs. Whether your technicians are contractors or full-time employees, more of them are likely to be considered mobile in some regard or another. Consider that over the past 10 years, the number of mobile employees grew by 25% and is likely to grow another 50% by 2020, according to PwC. Equipping them to capably handle service calls using mobile technologies is a must. Plus, it benefits your business.

A certified contractor that you hire for a gig could inspect downed equipment in a remote location. Using a mobile app that you supply, this on-call technician could then share the findings and analysis with your experts back at headquarters and receive instruction on how to proceed. Once the problem was resolved, you could end the contractor engagement.

Offload Repetitive, Task-based Work to Field Service Software

While essential to keeping the business running, manual tasks are labor-intensive and not necessarily always a value-add. Your field service organization can handle a prescribed level of these tasks by applying artificial intelligence (AI) software.

During times of peak service demand, AI software could process and route work orders. It could also handle the scheduling and dispatching of technicians. Rather than staff up a command center with numerous dispatchers, you could call upon AI software designed to rapidly analyze lots of data to make the best scheduling and routing choices. By taking into account seasonal patterns, the software can also predetermine schedules.

Eliminate Unnecessary Service Visits

As you know, truck rolls are an expensive, time-consuming part of your field service operations. You can only afford to keep a certain number of trucks in commission, and the number of trucks in your fleet essentially caps off the number of service calls you can handle at a given time. Fortunately you can take steps to serve more customers regardless of your fleet size.

One option is to take advantage of real-time video chat combined with a mobile app that allows customers to reach a service technician as needed. During the video chat, the on-call technician could direct the customer to aim the camera at the equipment experiencing issues and diagnose and hopefully fix the issue remotely.

Another option is to apply preventive maintenance measures to reduce the chances of equipment breakdowns and service outages. By regularly and proactively applying updates and fixes as needed – and remotely when possible – your organization will find itself responding to fewer service calls even while satisfying more customers.


Empowering Field Service Employees

Field Service Software is being adapted by more and more organizations. In today’s technologically advanced world, an organization relying on outdated tools puts entire organization as disadvantage.

A Field Service software like Field Force Tracker can help you in many ways.  It can optimize your service operations and improve employee productivity greatly. It can increase software usage and thus make employees happy.

If your company is still using paper based system, Field Force Tracker can help you quickly rollout services.  However, to move from a paper based system will require that your organization make a change. As a field service manager, your  job is to connect the dots for your higher ups, helping them see that the value of this change will make it worthwhile.

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Field Service software can help you save money. Here is a not-so-difficult dilemma – would you rather be paying your employees for hours spent providing prompt service to customers, or for time spent on tedious paperwork and manual record-keeping?

The answer is a no-brainer – the more clients that a company can cater to on a daily basis, the better a reputation it gets and the more it can flourish. Field Service Management helps companies with a mobile workforce achieve exactly that: higher productivity, more satisfied customers and less overtime for employees.

Use Automation to Replace Manual Work

Manual work is not only time consuming, but also prone to error. Scheduling, for example, becomes inefficient and does not take all the factors affecting an employee into consideration. This can lead to employees wasting billable hours and having to spend time unnecessarily commuting to far-apart locations.

As opposed to this, features like auto-scheduling in Field Service Management tools (like Field Force Tracker’s solutions) help maximize the service successfully provided to clients. At the same time, wastage of resources is minimized by taking factors like an employee’s location, urgency of a job, cancelled jobs in an employee’s schedule, etc. into account.

Location tracking in real time is a feature that all good scheduling software has. It keeps the central office updated on the movements of their mobile workforce and helps optimize appointments and the time spent travelling. Home locations of employees are parameters too, and jobs at the end of the day are assigned such that they lie on the same route. This helps members of the workforce balance their professional and personal lives better.

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Retraining Your Work Force on New Software

Skill is also an important aspect that Field Service Management considers when scheduling appointments (which can be overlooked in manual work). A worker assigned a job that necessitates his particular area of expertise will naturally excel at it, which serves as an additional motivator for employees to perform well.
Safety of employees is also a major concern in field service. Workers may be placed in potentially dangerous situations during repairs and other services which may pose a safety hazard (e.g. elevator repairs). Field Service Management software which can notify dispatch about the whereabouts of a worker as well as send out information to the central office in case of an emergency provides employees with security. It reduces the risk of accidents and subsequent job changes by workers who feel that their safety is not a priority.

Enabling  Field Technicians

Field Service Management tools also provide employees with all the information required for a job – saving time that would otherwise be spent in redundant research due to unavailability of relevant data. Field employees can update inventory, place orders for extra parts, manage expenses and issue invoices, all in real time. The offline mode in Field Service Management software lets employees make important entries regardless of network availability as early as possible, saving data and updating databases once they are online again.

Field Service Management software ensures that customers do not get neglected in case the job cannot be completed the first time around. Customer inputs can be taken in the form of e-signatures if the task is completed. If not, the scheduling software can immediately plan for further appointments and rectify whatever prevented the completion of the job the first time around. Thus, Field Service Management is crucial towards ensuring happier clients and likewise, happier employees.