Shopping around for job management tools? Saving a little dough on free software might seem tempting. After all, a free sample of a gourmet cake is better than buying the whole thing. Starting this way can help you discover what you like and don’t and what you need, but it’s often not sustainable and won’t feed your craving.
So, why does free software fall flat? Explore our three reasons why free field service management software costs you more in the long run.
1. Functional Limitations
Your software needs to let you rub your belly and pat your head at the same time. While that’s an exaggeration, it is important for the solution you choose to do a lot, and free field service management software puts up roadblocks at every turn, including limiting the number of users, jobs, and available features.
Let’s say your back office has 20 people, and you also have 10 technicians. Add it all up, and your platform needs to accommodate a large group of users. But here’s the rub: Free field service management software only allows approximately 1-3 users. That means making some tough decisions about who has full visibility and access, with the rest of the team creating a new burden of leaning on them.
You also need software to accommodate the 40-hour workweek—plus last-minute jobs. Your operation sees full days worth of jobs, but wait: Free field service management software cuts you off at the knees, allowing just 1-10 jobs at a time. Suddenly you have to revert to manual processes for anything exceeding your limit—and some providers impose the same restrictions per month!
Chances are high that if you’ve taken the leap to implement a software solution, you have a clear goal: to improve your field service operations. And the way to do that is with features that simplify business processes: job scheduling, time tracking, and even job records.
Need to support robust job information? Free field service management software might put the kibosh on this by limiting your attachment storage (photos and records) and only maintaining historical records for 14 days. And if you’re still billing hourly, time matters too, but free software might only support one time clock for jobs.
2. Necessary Workarounds
Because free software only does so much, it’s not meant as a perfect match. Instead, it gives you a taste of better efficiency and productivity in certain areas, but you have to do manual workarounds to make it align with your unique objectives.
No or Few Integrations
As a pared-down offering, free field service management software forces you to get innovative. Unlike all-in-one CRM software, it doesn’t have the best integrations baked in already and might not even play well with third parties. You could easily find yourself signing up for accounting software, GPS fleet tracking software, and billing software—all separate and all managed independently. The result? More manual tasks, time, and effort (the very things you’re trying to avoid!) and workarounds to get your platforms in sync.
3. Limited Support
“We’re sorry. This support option is only available for premium subscribers.”
Between questions, emergencies, and troubleshooting, free field service management software isn’t designed to give you what you need when you need it. You’re stuck at the back of the line—or even left to fend for yourself.
Paying Customers Quash Freemium Users
Feeling like the ugly stepchild? That’s par for the course as a free version user. The field service industry prioritizes paying customers, so you might run into several support roadblocks, whether that means not receiving ongoing updates and maintenance or waiting longer for help requests.
Even if you get some customer support with your free field service management software, it’s not as helpful as you may need. Want to talk to a real person? You’ll probably have to settle with the basics instead, such as an online chat or a FAQ page.
Always remember: Free services require paid upgrades. For better support options, such as comprehensive implementation, onboarding, and ongoing support, you need to make an investment. With it comes access to the best capabilities, including multiple users and reporting features. Think of how much easier life would be!
Get More from Field Service Management Software
If you’re going all in on a software solution, you want it to work for you. The challenge is that free field service management software is good for a test-drive but comes with tradeoffs. Between not accommodating enough users or jobs to leaving you up a creek without a paddle and without support, free CRM software might not fit the bill.
Your better bet? Invest in a trusted system to meet all your needs. Service Fusion is a truly all-in-one platform, delivering benefits across your field service operations, such as:
- Communication tools to simplify employee communication via call routing, on-the-way alerts, and texting
- Automated estimates that allow customers to accept or decline estimates online
- Seamless scheduling via drag-and-drop to avoid over- or underbooking technicians
- Invoicing and payment features to process payments and accommodate progressive invoicing
- On-the-go flexibility via app access for mobile devices and GPS features for fleet insights
See why Service Fusion outperforms free field service management software and how it stands up to competitors. Check out our infographic for a deep dive into how we give you more.