How to Choose (and Use) Mobile Devices for Your Home Service Business
Choosing the right mobile devices for your business is a challenge, especially if you’re just getting started or if you’re used to paper and pen. How do you know which construction phone will keep your team connected, or which contractor tablet will help you on the job?
To answer these questions, we interviewed three different home service companies:
- Stephen Richardson from Pure Professional Window Cleaning
- Katrina Teeple from Operation Organization
- Brandon Pacheco and Tyler Wren from Guest Plumbing
They’ll share how they chose their devices, what features and accessories they looked for, and how they use their devices to accomplish more every day.
We aren’t being paid to promote any of the products listed in this article. We’re just listing items that some businesses have found helpful in the hope that their experiences might help you, too.
Stephen Richardson, Pure Professional Window Cleaning (1 Employee)
Stephen Richardson (aka SteveO the Window Cleaner) is the owner and one-man team behind Pure Professional Window Cleaning, a window-washing company in Boulder, Colorado.
He depends on his work phone (which is also his personal phone) to keep him in touch with clients and new leads. Even a single day without it can seriously affect his business.
When Stephen is shopping for a new contractor phone, he looks for these features:
- Large screen for added visibility
- Interconnectivity of Apple devices
- Ease of use
- Photo and video quality
- Bluetooth connection in vehicles
READ MORE: This cleaning business uses Jobber’s mobile app to get the job done
These features are the reason why Stephen uses the iPhone 12 Max. He considers it one of the best cell phones for contractors.
Water and electronics don’t mix well, so Stephen uses an OtterBox case to keep his iPhone safe on the job. He also pairs the phone with AirPods so he can take calls without taking the phone out of his pocket.
These are just a few of the business-related tasks that Stephen uses his phone for, as well as the apps he uses:
- Planning the day’s jobs (Jobber, Weather, Maps)
- Promoting his business (Instagram, Local Service Ads)
- Managing client reviews (Google My Business, NiceJob)
- Invoicing clients for jobs (Quickbooks)
- Communicating with other business owners (Slack, Voxer)
Stephen also uses his laptop at home for billing, editing his YouTube videos, and other large tasks that are harder to do on a small screen.
PRO TIP: Stephen buys his phone from his service provider so they can set it up in-store with zero hassle for him. You can also get your device from the Apple Store, as well as service, training, and wallet-friendly rates with a business account. There are benefits both ways!
What’s the best contractor phone?
Here are some of the best cell phones for contractors at the time this article was written. There are usually variations in each product line, like Pro or Max models, so you can get slightly different features depending on the exact make and model you choose.
– iPhone 12
– Samsung Galaxy S21
– OnePlus 9
– Google Pixel 5
– Motorola One
Katrina Teeple, Operation Organization (7 Employees)
Operation Organization is a home and office organization business with locations in California and Texas. Owner Katrina Teeple uses mobile devices to keep her teams connected, no matter where they are.
Katrina looks for a few major features when she’s buying a contractor phone or tablet:
- 4K video recording for higher definition
- Storage space
- Cloud connectivity for photo storage
- Interconnectivity for team communication
All company employees use iPhones. Katrina has an iPhone 11 Pro Max for both personal and business use, so she only has to keep track of a single phone.
PRO TIP: Only want one phone, but don’t want to give out your personal number? Get a contractor phone number that redirects to your personal phone, keeping your real number private. And yes, you can have multiple phone numbers on one cell phone!
Lead organizers also have iPads, and the office staff use iMacs. Because everyone is using Apple devices, they can sync and share their files through iCloud.
READ MORE: The Home Edit shares 22 tips for organizing your business
Instead of an iPad, Katrina uses the reMarkable tablet, since she likes the textured feel of pen and paper. She uses it to sketch designs and assemble estimates to add into Jobber later on.
These extra tools make Katrina’s devices a little more portable while on the job:
- A magnet for the back of her iPhone that connects to a phone holder in her car
- The reMarkable case, which safely holds the tablet and matching pen
- The Safe Sleeve iPhone case to block EMF transmission and hold business cards, credit cards, and receipts
- The slim, grippy Pela phone case as a backup (and it’s compostable, too!)
PRO TIP: Everyone at Operation Organization uses read receipts on their phones. That way, even if someone can’t respond right away, the sender knows they got the message.
Katrina uses her devices to manage her business while she’s out in the field, including:
- Staying in touch with her team (Zoom, Slack)
- Keeping track of jobs, tasks, and tools (Jobber, iCal, Acuity, Siri, Reminders, Notes)
- Storing photos and contracts for jobs (Google Drive, DocuSign)
- Marketing the business (Instagram, InShot, BeatLeap, Lightroom)
- Staying creatively inspired (Clubhouse, Audible)
What’s the best contractor tablet?
Here are some of the best tablets for contractors. There are variations in each product line, like lighter, smaller, or more professional models, so different makes and models have different features.
– Amazon Fire
– Samsung Galaxy Tab
– Lenovo Tab
– Microsoft Surface
Brandon Pacheco and Tyler Wren, Guest Plumbing (25 Employees)
Based in Ancaster, Ontario, Guest Plumbing provides plumbing and HVAC services. They use mobile devices to stay organized, save time and paper, and stand out from competitors.
We spoke with Brandon Pacheco (Plumbing Project Manager) and Tyler Wren (HVAC Project Manager) about Guest Plumbing’s mobile devices.
When the company first started looking at contractor phone and tablet options, management did their research and chose devices with:
- Versatility and capability
- Easy usage in vehicles and on the go
- Interconnectivity in the office and in the field
The goal was to make the right decision the first time so their devices would continue to work well together as time went on.
Guest Plumbing uses only Apple devices. All technicians have an iPhone 8, office staff use iMacs, and all lead technicians and management staff have an iPad Pro.
And because plumbing and HVAC jobs are full of ways for expensive devices to get broken, Guest’s teams use these tools for protection:
- OtterBox iPhone cases for everyone
- OtterBox iPad cases for managers
- Apple Smart Folio keyboard iPad cases for field techs
- Amazon laptop bags for tablets
READ MORE: Find out how Guest Plumbing cut back on callbacks by 50%
Managers also pair their iPads with a Brydge Pro keyboard and a Bluetooth mouse. This gives them all the flexibility of a tablet with the same functionality as a laptop. Win-win.
While techs are out on a job, they use their devices for tasks like:
- Taking and editing photos (Camera, Photos)
- Creating estimates (Jobber)
- Communicating with other employees (Messenger, Mail)
They even have an app for their furnace combustion analyzer, which connects with the phone or tablet via Bluetooth.
PRO TIP: If you’re always on the go or working in remote areas, get a data plan for situations where you aren’t connected to WiFi.
These three businesses use mobile devices to keep workers connected, clients happy, and operations running like clockwork. If you’re thinking of investing in mobile devices for your team, their needs and recommendations should help you get started.