Design tool, quote software, CRM, project management system, sales accelerator, lead service. What do these have in common? What do they all mean?
The right software can be the difference between a scrappy startup and an established solar installer. Every interaction with a customer - from introduction, to proposal, to signature, to installation, to maintenance - affects your brand. Good software is designed with this in mind, and makes every step easy and professional. With this in mind, picking the right software is an important decision.
What are all of the different options available for solar installers, and which do you need for your business?
The average solar installation company has a few main business functions:
- Finding customers
- Creating quotes & proposals
- Project management
- Customer relationship management
- Employee management
That is a lot to keep track of, and the best companies seem to do it really well. So what is the key?
The key to managing a professional business is the right software
When installing solar panels, the right tools can be the difference between a job well done and a job not done at all. The same is true of running a business: the right tools can set you apart and allow you to focus on what is important.
So what are the software options for solar installation business?
To find new customers, you can advertise, cold call, or buy leads. Advertising can be costly, and difficult to measure, but if you do it well you can reach a lot of potential customers. In our post How to generate organic solar leads, we discuss how you can use your quote tool to close more sales for free, which is better than cold calling.
There are a few companies to buy leads from, and which one you use will depend on your area and business type.
Creating Quotes & Proposals
We've already outlined everything you should include in a solar proposal, but there is more to a quote/proposal tool than just the proposal. You have to make sure your proposals look professional & consistent, include everything a customer wants to know, and have accurate drawings and numbers. It is also key to be able to make the quote while you're with the customer so they can ask questions and review it with you. You should make sure your quote tool is built into your CRM and other software, so you can access all of your information in one app.
Once you have an approved proposal, you will have to coordinate with your installation team. There are many software options available for project management, and you should look for one that can integrate into your other software and has unlimited users for all of your team members. Solar-specific software like Solargraf has these features and more, designed specifically for solar installers.
When it comes to installation, quality comes down to your staff. Properly training employees is critical. Ensuring all of your installers are qualified and experienced is a great way to be sure your installations will go smoothly. Software can not offer too much help here yet, though we are working on it!
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Customer relationship management is key to any business. If you aren't sure what it is, we ave this article describing what a solar CRM is. In our article about how to choose a solar CRM, we outline what you should look for when choosing your CRM software.
Everything you need to know about marketing your solar installation company is covered in our Solar installer marketing guide. Whatever marketing/advertising tactics you do, it is important to consider how they contribute to your overall company image. Most of the time, solar installers emphasize trust, quality, and building relationships.
Picking the right software can set your solar installation company apart
Ultimately, the goal of software is not to dictate how you run your business, but to make your life easier. By using the right platform, you set yourself apart with a professional appearance, organized operations and staff, and good customer relationships. Whichever platform you choose, the most important thing is that it is designed for your business, it is easy to teach employees, and helps you succeed!