Computers have been transforming the pest control industry since they became personal. With computers, it was suddenly possible to keep track of your customers preferences and schedules in ways no card or notebook system could. The ease of billing meant that fewer people were needed in the office, allowing, instead, better service and phone support. Without a doubt, computers have made a huge difference in a very short period of time. Those companies that computerized early, simply outcompeted those that did not. But, it wasn’t the computer that made the difference….it was the software.
In those early days, software was sold as a static product, like a book or a tool. At first this model seemed ideal and appropriate. After all, software was basically an amazing ‘tool’. Adding this new ‘tool’ to your others, gave you a distinct advantage over your slower competitors. The advantages of Pest Control Software were immediately obvious. Suddenly, you could keep track of thousands of customers and work orders. Even more wonderful was the fact that software could easily manage your Acts Receivable with ease. Think back to 20 years ago, and you will recall that managing the customer’s ledger cards was the single biggest office challenge. And sending out statements was a MAJOR task. But with software it became almost easy!
And it wasn’t just in pest control where this change was happening. Every industry was being altered in amazing ways by computers and their software. The 80’s and 90’s were an amazing time. As industry after industry went through crazy transformations that the software allowed, features and capabilities started to cross industry borders. Features typical in one industry suddenly started to be valuable in others. Like cross pollination, ideas and techniques have begun leaping from industry to industry. And this meant that software began to change ever faster. Software has gotten faster, easier to use, and more powerful. Lots of changes and great new features have become common place. PestaRoo, for example, has added many dozens of new features in the last 2 years alone. So, software is changing from a static ‘tool’ to a dynamic changing resource. It has become a subscription.
Software as a subscription is perhaps the biggest transformation yet for computers. There are two reasons for this change. Expensive to build software can be much more manageable if ‘sold’ monthly. This is really a minor detail. The real value of subscription-based software is its ability to morph for the ever changing business environment today. This is a very big deal.
Lets look at some examples from only the last two years. With PestaRoo, I could easily give you a dozen new features delivered by subscription updates to our users. But lets just look at three of them.
- Reminders to customers. The computer automatically sends out ‘text’ reminders to your customers a day or two before your service call. Even if this saves only one or two “No one Home’ stops per day, it is incredibly valuable. And beyond a single click on the the customer’s record, it just happens without any effort on your part.
- Card processing with card stacks. The use of credit cards and debit cards has grown from near zero to a landslide of transactions in only 10 years. The vast majority of these charges are still processed through local expensive terminals or via web sites. The typically time per transaction varies from 40 seconds to 90 seconds. By using tokenized card stacks in pest control software, we get better security and much faster approvals. In PestaRoo, the typically charge from the customer’s card stack takes only 2 seconds! This is a dramatic time saver! Multiply that interval times your average number of charges per day…. Wow! And the prevalence of card uses is going to continue to increase for years.
- AutoPay for repeating services. Companies that are well managed have a large part of their services delivered on a repeating schedule. (A ‘subscription’!) In PestaRoo we call these “PreScheds”. Whether the service is every month or every quarter they help insure your customers are well taken care of, and your cash flow is more consistent. With ‘AutoPay’, these services are automatically charged to the customer’s card. So, for example, your quarterly service might be assessed a smaller consistent monthly charge. Again, automatically so you do’t have to send out a bill.
Each of these three basically came out of nowhere in the last few years, to quickly rank as critical to top pest control companies. Static software, not purchased as a subscription, would have missed all three. The rapid cross-pollinating of ideas between industries is leading to an amazing plethora of great new ideas. This is why the best software is only sold by subscription now.
Software as a subscription means freshness, improved ease of use, and new competitive features every year.