Magazine Article | July 13, 2007

Mobile Field Service Billing Cuts Invoice Cycle In Half

Source: Field Technologies Magazine
Integrated Solutions, March 2007

Service and repair businesses juggle a variety of difficult business conditions: fickle customers, heavy overhead costs, and technicians who work independently and remotely. The cumulative effects of these are inconsistent and lost revenue, delayed invoicing and payment, excess paperwork, and conflicting information between service and office staff.

Pro Mechanical Service (PMS), a Riverside, CA-based HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) sales, service, and installation company, is solving all of these recurring issues with one type of technology: handheld computers and software from, a provider of mobile field service solutions.'s hosted, on-demand technology turns service technicians' trucks and devices (PDAs, smartphones, and rugged handheld computers) into mobile offices, giving remote staff the ability to review customer service information and then invoice clients on-site.

PMS' field service solution was built on a Windows Mobile 5.0 platform. The application synchs information in real time between the office and technicians' mobile devices, ensuring all parties have current data. Technicians can recall prior work orders to ensure service and repairs are appropriate for each visit and that they have the required parts; they can invoice customers immediately after completing the job. PMS then uploads all information online, giving customers access to data at their convenience. "Our philosophy is to develop cheerleader customers, not just happy ones," says Tom Willison, president and owner of PMS, and a fourth-generation HVAC business owner. "With, we accomplish that, while making more money and cutting expenses."

By billing on-site, PMS has cut its billing cycle in half, reducing accounts receivable turnaround time to fewer than 45 days. Customers can also ask questions and resolve disputes at the time of service, improving customer relationships and eliminating many follow-up calls and adjusted payments — along with the associated delay of receiving payment for updated invoices. In the office, only one dispatcher is required to manage 34 technicians, and only 2 other employees are required to run the books and the business.

Paperwork has dropped by 2/3; PMS needs just two filing cabinets to handle more than $4 million in annual revenue. PMS daily backs up all data with, ensuring the safety of vast online record keeping. "The overall savings have lowered overhead to 8% of our costs, compared with the industry average of 19%," says Willison.