There are so many excellent apps on the market, both free and paid, for business and personal use. It's hard to keep up! We've collated a list of five of our must-haves and we'd love to hear yours.
1. Construction Master Pro
Construction Master Pro is the only paid app on this list but it's too good to neglect simply because of price.
As the name suggests, Construction Master Pro is for almost anyone who works in construction or building design but there are plenty of great features for glaziers. It handles:
- Dimensional math and conversions
- Right angle solutions including expanded or arched rake walls
- Area and volume including roof pitch, siding and paneling
- Trig functionality
2. Tiny Scanner
Tiny Scanner is a neat little app that turns your phone into a little document scanner in your pocket.
Using the app, simply take a photo of a piece of paper, crop it on the screen and choose whether you'd like to save it in color, greyscale or black and white. No one will be able to tell you've done it on your phone, it looks just like a normal scanned document.
WhatsApp is a free* messaging and voice/video calling app which you may be using already to keep in touch with friends in family. Have you ever considered how you could be using it in your business?
The power for businesses lies in group messaging. In group chats, you can share messages, photos, and videos with up to 256 people at once. You can:
- Tag others in the group using the @ symbol
- Star important messages to keep track of them
- Mute conversations if you need to tune out the world and concentrate
- Save time by instantly recording and sending voice messages
- Talk in real time using either the voice or video call functionality
If you and your team are regularly on the road, WhatsApp group messages are a great way of sending short, sharp messages without the formality of group emails.
4. Storage for documents and photos
There will be some kind of default storage built into your phone but if you'd like to organize and file your images and documents, as well as access them from any device, a cloud-based storage system is the way to go.
We recommend Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive as they're popular solutions that are being constantly improved upon. In addition, you can generate work orders, installation instructions, quotes, invoices and more in Smart-Toolbox and access them via any of those three solutions. It works in reverse too — upload photos and files from site to Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive and sync them to Smart-Toolbox back at the office. You'll have a comprehensive record of everything to do with your job, stored on the cloud and accessible wherever you have an internet connection.
P.S. After you complete the job, you could turn those great photos into a portfolio on your website!
5. A schedule you can check on the move
You can't get the job done if you don't know where the job is or when you need to be there. That's why a calendar app is your best friend when you're out on site or travelling between jobs!
We recommend either Google Calendar or the Microsoft Outlook apps as they're user-friendly, efficient, reliable and they look good. As an added bonus, appointments can be set up in Smart-Toolbox scheduling tool and synced to your installer's phone.
Google Calendar. Easy to use and highly customizable so you can have a calendar system that works the way you do. You'll receive reminders on your phone prior to the appointment and be able to see the customer's name and contact number, as well as job information and comments from Smart-Toolbox. Selecting the address for the appointment will take you straight to Google Maps for easy navigation to the job site.
Microsoft Outlook. A calendar and email app in one! If you're already using Microsoft Outlook for your emails in the office, this is the app for you as you can sync them with your phone and check messages on the go. From your inbox, you can switch to the calendar screen and see your upcoming appointments or schedule in new ones. This is a great multi-purpose app that keeps your communications and appointments all in one place.
That's our top 5, we hope you've found some interesting apps on there. What apps do you use to keep your business running while you're on the road?
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2017 and was updated in February 2019 for accuracy and relevancy.