Research Study revealed Trade Contractors Struggle to Realize Aftermarket Service Revenue Potential


IFS, the global enterprise applications company, has released a primary research study revealing that legacy software solutions used by specialty and trade contractors could prevent them from profitably delivering aftermarket services to their customers.

These contractors are finding aftermarket service an important source of revenue growth as project owners wish to outsource asset maintenance to the companies that constructed, fabricated or installed the asset on their behalf.

The survey of 200 HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), plumbing, electrical, building automation, low volatage electrical, signage, overhead door and other specialty contractors paints a picture of an industry in the grips of a digital transformation.

  • 85 percent of study respondents said they have maintenance contracts with customer-specific terms, service level agreements (SLAs) and pricing, but only 14 percent said their software facilitated these contracts “very well.”
  • Many respondent companies did not enable field technicians to improve the customer experience or drive new revenue. Only 38 percent said technicians could access information on the terms of the contract including customer-specific requirements. Only 15 percent of respondents have technology to empower field technicians to upsell or sell new service contracts, only 25 percent could issue new estimates and 23 percent could get customer approval for an estimate.
  • 89 percent of respondents said they use subcontractors, but just over 10 percent have adopted current technology by giving their subcontractors a mobile app to interact with their field service management software.

Respondents reporting greater readiness for digital transformation—Digital Transformation Leaders—are nine times as likely to say their software prepares them well for the essential process of service contract administration. Only 30 percent of Digital Transformation Laggards were even offering customer-specific contracts, while Digital Transformation Leaders were more than nine times as likely to say their software prepared them very well to support these contractual obligations with specific requirements for each customer.

IFS Industry Director for Field Service Management Mark Brewer said, “These trade and specialty contractors are at an inflection point with field service management software. Many of them have invested in some level of field service technology to support aftermarket service work. Often, this same software helps them manage construction crews during the initial project. But now they are at that point where they need to become more attentive to customer-specific SLAs. They need to upsell and drive more sales from each customer and improve the customer experience.”

IFS Senior Product Evangelist for Field Service Management Tom DeVroy added, “The adage is that the future is here—it is just not evenly distributed. This is true for trade contracting, where our data shows that residential contractors seem to be ahead of commercial contractors when it comes to Digital Transformation. This is mostly the result of customer demands that have pushed them towards software that optimizes the field service schedule, enabling them to give accurate estimated time of arrival and issue proactive customer alerting. They are further ahead on automated subcontractor management, automated parts ordering and fulfillment, and field based, point-of-service payment processing. Contractors engaged strictly in commercial work need to catch up as their own customer expectations evolve.”

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