Types of Information to Consider
Initially, you must enter a fair amount of information into Chronicle to get it set up correctly. You can save yourself a lot of time if you gather all of the information you need before you start. Some of this information will already be listed somewhere; for this, it’s just a matter of getting the information from the right person. In other cases, the information may exist only in someone’s head, and you (or that someone) will have to identify what the information is. We recommend identifying and gathering this information before you continue the setup process:
- types of businesses and organizations,
- types of people that you deal with,
- types of sources work comes to you through,
- types of documents that you collect
- a list of all equipment that you want to track the location of,
- employee information.
We’ve commented on each of these in more detail below.
Types of businesses and organizations that you deal with
You deal with a variety of other businesses and organizations in the course of doing your business: insurance agencies and adjustors, various types of subcontractors, people who service your vehicles, vendors that you buy supplies from, and more. Identify all the types of organizations that you deal with, and also the subcategories in those categories. For example, Vendor is a general category for organizations that you buy supplies or services from, but you might have several types of vendors: suppliers of cleaning supplies, suppliers of building materials, suppliers of various services, and so on. Similarly, businesses that you subcontract work to make up another category of organizations that you deal with, but within this subcontracting category, there are many possible subdivisions: Carpet, Plumbing, Electrical, and Masonry are just a few of the many possibilities here. Defining these categories and subcategories for the organizations you deal with lets you quickly find any type of organization: all your plumbing subcontractors, all State Farm insurance adjustors, and so on. We’ve provided a number of standard categories, but every business is different, so you’ll probably have others. To learn more view Organization Categories.
Types of people that you deal with
In addition to organizations, you deal with many people. You need to identify the different types of people you deal with: customers, employees, vendors, potential customers (prospects) and so on. Having the right categories and subcategories helps you find the people you need. For example, if you were doing a marketing campaign and wanted to send something out to all potential carpet cleaning customers, if you have the right categories and subcategories, you can identify all of the people you need with the click of a button (and with few more clicks, print labels or send a fax to them all); without the right categories, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish these people from anyone else in your system. Some people will be associated with organizations, so the categories those people are in will correspond to your organizational categories. For example, people who are Subcontractors and Vendors will correspond to organizations that are Subcontractors and Vendors. To learn more view People Category.
Types of sources that work comes to you through
A job might come to you because an agent referred you, or as a result of a direct mailing, or because the customer found you in the yellow pages. Keeping track of where your work comes from helps you analyze how effective your marketing efforts are: Which sources bring in the most jobs? Which are least effective? Two of Chronicle's reports can show how much of your work has come from various work sources and subsources. To learn more view Job Source Categories.
Types of documents that you collect
For each and every job you do you collect different types of documentation such as estimates, purchase orders, work authorizations, and job photos, just to name a few. Are any of them forms that could be made into templates to have Chronicle auto fill customer information? Jobs may have different aspects such as construction and mitigation. Construction might need copies of permits and mitigation will need to document moisture readings. Take a look at the documents that you now collect and make a list of the names, types, and areas of the business you collect them from. To learn more view Defining Documents.
Equipment you want to track the location of
As your number of jobs increases, it becomes increasingly difficult to remember what equipment is where, whether everything got brought back from each job, and what billable equipment was used for each job. So you don’t lose equipment and so you can bill for equipment if appropriate, Chronicle lets you keep track of what you have and who it’s assigned to. To do this, you must enter the equipment into Chronicle. Some users implement Chronicle gradually, and if equipment tracking is something you plan to start using later rather than right away, it is fine to do equipment setup later. To learn more view Equipment Categories.
- a list of all employees, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, etc.
- security levels that you want to assign to each person (To view possible security settings see Security Setup.)
- pay rates for each employee