Operating Systems for Home Services Providers

Post date :

Jul 31, 2023

Over the last 10+ years the list of options for home services software has exploded. This has created a large marketplace for tools to assist home services providers with everything from lead acquisition to accounting and payroll. While this has helped small businesses scale and improved customer service, it can create confusion on what tools make sense for each individual service provider. 

We’ve created some categories to help you think through what your business priorities are and what tools might help you in these areas. This is far from an exhaustive list, nor is it a definitive guide, but we hope it helps. The outline is structured around what problems exist within the category, the benefits of solving the problem and some examples of tools that could be of help. 

All In One Platforms vs Focused Applications

There are several systems that offer a full ‘suite’ of solutions. These tools are broad and can often do a lot of things well. There are several benefits of going with a large platform provider (and some things to consider). You will see these solutions show up in most categories listed below. 

Platform Benefits:

  • Everything should in theory talk to everything else. If you don’t have an IT department you can expect that their system is integrated with itself and you won’t be trying to make separate tools talk to one another. 

  • These systems usually offer a lot of various tools, so you can solve many problems with a single vendor. They are also usually very strong in several areas and have built broad tools that tie many of your business needs together. 

  • Most of the larger players offer support, education and a community around their software. This can give you additional support that a smaller system may not offer. 

Platform Considerations:

  • Cost is usually the first item of consideration for a large platform. These tools are very expensive to develop and maintain, which translates to your cost. Depending on the system there may also be minimum spends that must be met just to get started. 

  • Larger platforms are built to scale up for larger clients. That can lead to complex rollouts and setup/usage. Make sure that your team has the bandwidth to dedicate to an implementation and understand what exactly is required to rollout and maintain the system. 

  • When you put all your eggs in a single basket, it becomes very painful to try and make a change. In fact, many large software providers are counting on this fact. Consider the true cost to change later, should you become unhappy or the cost/benefits no longer make sense. It is also a good idea to review the contract to understand how you would go about leaving if it made sense to do so. 

  • It’s unlikely that any system can do EVERYTHING well. Sometimes specialized tools offer a better outcome in a narrow area. When you go with a bigger platform, we encourage you to make sure that the main issues that you wish to solve are items they can help with. It’s not all that valuable if your main problem is an afterthought from the all-in-one provider you select. 

Leads & Marketing

In an increasingly crowded field, getting in front of the right buyers is more than just an ad in the yellow pages or naming your business ‘AAA HVAC’ and waiting to be found. Depending on your target market (commercial vs residential for instance) you may want to look at several ‘channels’ for lead and client acquisition. 

The first step we recommend is to define who it is you want to target. Once you have outlined what your ‘Ideal Customer Profile’ looks like, you can begin to look at the channels that will deliver that buyer. For instance, you wouldn’t go to trade shows to find residential clients and you wouldn’t buy ads in local publications to target large institutional buyers. Make sure your methods and your message are consistent with your buyers. 

The benefits of lead and marketing creation is the opportunity to grow your business efficiently. One note is to make sure you set up a method of measurement on any of these options. If you aren’t seeing a return on your investment, look deeper at the root cause and consider how you adjust your strategy. 

  • Angi & HomeAdvisors - paid lead sources

  • Thumbtack - buyer side search tool

  • SEO and Paid Ads - Google and a variety of software platforms offer this service

  • Hubspot - powerful marketing tools for outbound lead generation

  • LocalIQ - SEO and outbound marketing example

  • ServiceTitan - marketing tools in a full operating suite

  • Agencies - you can purchase consulting and outsourced marketing from agencies in most markets

Booking & Dispatch

How do you connect customer demand with delivered services? This will come down to how you look to acquire business and how you then deploy your service tech. Depending on your channel for acquisition, you may be able to use some software/tools to improve conversions to paying customers. 

Throughout the year, your business may ebb and flow with seasonality. That means that there will be times when it is very easy to match resources to requests, and other times where you are actually turning down business opportunities b/c you cannot allocate resources to them. Keeping these processes connected and easy to manage will reduce the rates of unserviced business and (hopefully) make you more money in peak seasons. 

*Note: You will see overlap with scheduling systems here very often

  • Platforms like ServiceTitan, ServiceFusion, etc… - full software suites

  • Calendly - offers a free and paid version for booking meetings

  • Jobber - booking is part of a broader offering

  • FieldEdge - booking and dispatch centric solution

  • Appointy - focused on booking events

  • ServiceAutopilot - dispatch focused system

Client Communication

Historically this was handled by having a phone line and posting your phone number on your website. More recently this has expanded to include things like chat bots on your website for live chat with your clients, voice over IP ‘internet’ phones, zoom and other virtual meetings tools, text and SMS tools and outbound email campaign systems. This is a very broad category so the list goes far beyond what we could list here. The issue that most of these tools seek to address is a jumbled mess of communications methods to and from clients and prospects. We recommend that when looking in this category, focus on consolidation and trying to keep all the communication in a few vendors as possible. That will help with tying the data together and keeping it simple for your team to execute simple and fast customer communication. 

  • Weave - Dialers and phone systems that also handle text and other office to client communication. 

  • Your operations platform - if you are using one of the bigger platforms, they will likely offer various parts of this category.

  • Twilio - if you are large enough to have your own IT staff, you may want to create communications tools from an enterprise platform. Twilio offers a variety of tools for you to build out a very robust solution on their platform.

  • Dialpad - Very end to end tool with strong presence in phone (VOIP).

  • RingCentral - Another strong VOIP offering with additional features.


Not only are you going to be looking at coverage throughout your operating business hours (scheduling your available assets and on-call assets) but you will need a way to prioritize your specific jobs throughout the day and week. Look for a system that offers mobile access for your team and the ability to easily reschedule or adjust your jobs throughout a day/week as needed. 

Creating more efficient schedules can increase your jobs per day and allow you to run more revenue through the business with your existing team. It can also benefit your clients by giving them more clarity on when you are likely to be on site. Your employees are also likely to appreciate the ability to have a clear understanding of their working hours weeks in advance and available in a mobile format. 

You’ll see the larger players on this list as well as more specialized tools for those companies that aren’t ready to jump into a full ‘management platform’. Depending on your size and scale, you might want to start with something for just this problem and look to consolidate into a larger system when you are at a larger size. You will also find that many of these scheduling tools are paired with bookings and event creation features, so you may be able to consolidate those features into a single system. 

Quoting, Billing & Accounting

Getting quotes, invoices and managing your books are all critical business processes. If you are not able to keep this all organized you are likely going to suffer from poor account receivable outcomes, late payments and a lack of clarity into where your costs and profits are coming from. Also, if you can’t produce clean financial reports you are unlikely to get much interest from possible investors or a potential buyer of your business. How can they offer you fair market value if it's not clear where money comes from or how it is spent. By tightening up on these items you will have a much clearer understanding of the health of your business and where you might invest time or money to grow. 

Most quoting and billing offerings will offer to connect to quickbooks (the world's most popular accounting software). Larger systems may offer their own general ledger to remove the need to sync back to quickbooks entirely. Regardless of which path you go down, just make sure that the information moves quickly and easily in and out of your system. A tool for quoting that can’t talk to your billing system isn’t of much value. 

Get your accountant involved in this review, whether that be your staff accountant or outsourced resource. Not only are they likely to have experience with many available tools, but they will be using or interfacing with most of the items in this category.

We will forgo listing options here as nearly all larger platforms offer some form of quoting or billing solution and accounting is usually provided via integration to your existing system.

Customer Surveys and Reputation Management

Prospects will often look for online reviews of your business when making initial decisions about who to call first for their project. That has driven a large market of solutions that specialize in helping to obtain, aggregate and distribute online reviews about your business. 

This is important for growing your business b/c the first person that a prospect calls is going to have a huge advantage in being able to win that business. So you want to make sure that the odds are they call you before anyone else. Being able to manage your online reputation and collect strong customer feedback to post online will help you optimize this aspect of your business. There are even services that will work on having inaccurate/disparaging reviews voted down in their visibility or removed entirely. Clients today have a huge number of ways to review your business, so monitoring all of these can be extremely time consuming. 

  • Podium - Collect customer feedback and reviews easily

  • Igniyte - Reputation management software and service

  • Birdeye - Customer review software for aggregating feedback

  • TrustRadius - Collect and post online reviews

  • Reputation - Reputation management software

  • Yext - Customer review system

  • Sprout Social - Customer review system focused on social media