How can VARs, MSPs and IT service providers maximize their tech support team's billable hours? ConnectWise Marketing Manager Brian Troy offers advice and tips.

May 13, 2013

4 Min Read
How to Maximize Billable Tech Support Hours

By ConnectWise Guest Blog 1

If I asked you how much of your billable time you capture and invoice, would you be able to honestly answer "One-hundred percent"? In the technology services world, billable time continues to be the name of the game. Each billable minute that you capture has a direct impact on your profits, and you already know this. So why does this continue to plague so many technology business owners?

There are a lot of reasons for putting off being more profitable, but billable time is one that you really should be capturing today–not tomorrow. So, where to begin? Process. Put in a process, and capture all your time.

That sure sounds easy, but if it were that easy -– I would not be blogging about this today.  So we summarized a few thoughts, if you want we put additional ideas in our latest eBook, Booked Up, Busy, and Billable.

1. Streamline Your Employee’s Morning Routine. Every minute spent driving into the office each day equals some amount of wasted billable time. Hitting the office before the first service call might not seem like a big deal, but over time, the minutes turn into hours, and before you know it, your employee’s morning commute is hurting your profitability. So I say let’s eliminate the wasted time by having your techs drive directly to the client’s location, arriving right at the start of the work day. 

2. Finish the Paperwork Onsite. When field and onsite technicians move on to the next job they will underestimate how long they were actually on site if not done right then and there.  They should finish the paperwork while they’re at the client location to:  Capture all billable time, create accurate and complete notes, and allow the client to verify the works been completed and the issue has been resolved. 

3. Call Before Coming Back into the Office. Shooting the office a call before heading back in allows the dispatchers to keep the technicians in the loop and helps them better plan their days. If your field service person is close to another customer that needs help, why waste the travel time driving back to the office when you can quickly be on site and billable?

4. Account for All Eight Hours. If your techs are still using post-it notes or a pad of paper to account for their time, forget about capturing the billable time accurately. Implementing a timekeeping system will help eliminate lost hours and it’ll also provide management visibility into how team members are spending their days. Make sure your techs are thorough in entering time. At least eight hours per day, five days a week should be accounted for. This must include non-billable time, vacation, personal, travel — and the detail supporting it.

5. Stretch the Job, Enter New Tickets. How many times have you had a tech head out to a job and the client has a bunch of other issues fixed that weren’t part of the original appointment?  This happens all the time, and if you schedule in a little extra time on each job, you techs will be able to complete those jobs and capture every billable minute. But, make sure your technician opens a new ticket for every new issue that comes up, because letting those “little” issues go undocumented and slip through the cracks, will hurt your bottom line every time.

It sure seems easy when I put this on paper, but I realize that people ALWAYS seem to get in the way of process. So, while all good ideas, you have to get your people to form habits from these best practices. ConnectWise partners we have worked with and implemented these simple steps have seen immediate impact on their business. And you can too! In a couple months, and some effort I am sure, you can look at your financials and see the improvements. 

Free eBook

It's eye opening how just a few adjustments to the way you do things can have such a huge impact on your business. We specifically developed the new eBook because of how strongly we feel about this topic. Click here to check it out.

This is not meant to be inclusive, but these are just a few thoughts to get you seeing that increased profitability is not necessarily landing a large client -– it can be done improving the work your employees do each and every day. Feel free to let me know if I missed anything or if you have any other comments about maximizing revenue by keeping your techs busy and billable. 

Brian Troy is marketing manager for ConnectWise, the IT business automation software provider. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy's annual platinum sponsorship.

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