Running a service business with techs in the field requires more than just finishing projects and picking up tools. That's just the job part, and for some - the easy part. Running a business means doing paperwork. A lot of it. How else do you keep track of who owes you money, what job is scheduled Friday and are the numbers working at the end of the month? If you've been using google calendar, spreadsheets and email to organize your business I feel your pain. I've been there. If you're here reading this you know there's a better way. All that double-entry is not sustainable. Sure it may work for a time. Even years. But it gets old and so do you. Don't spend your life doing paperwork in triplicate. You need some automation in your life Jerry. Check out one of these products. You'll thank me.
I know long blog posts aren't for everyone so I put the highlights right up top. BUT PLEASE make sure you read the following no matter which software you use:
Quick Note: We are partners with both software companies so we get a kickback no matter which one you sign-up for using our link. Win Win.
Why? Because I actually use the software I am reviewing. Both of them every week. I have multiple service businesses with different needs. I've discovered the benefits and the limitations in my specific use-case and I want to share them with you. And yes, there is one I prefer. In fact, if I could switch and still keep this review current I would use only one. In my mind there is a clear winner... and It's not even close match.
Jobber is a great software put out by some very friendly people (see Canadians). I've used their software for a long time and 90% of my complaints were fixed years ago. They have greatly improved their mobile app as well as added many features in the last few years that have really made the software easier to use. Where Jobber really shines is in their UI (user interface). These friendly people really know how to make a user-friendly dashboard that looks modern and is built on a great foundation to build features into for a long time. Jobber isn't just a spreadsheet with a pretty paint job, the features are solid. I like nearly everything about their platform. The estimates and invoice templates are customizable, their client profile layout is easy on the eyes, and their calendar is the best I've seen. We've customized the calendar to show different trucks on the road and it makes it easy to see your team at a glance. I do wish they would bring monthly calendar view to their app though. Also their time tracking features need more meat. HCP's timesheet is not much better but at least they total hours for all employees on the same page.
The Jobber team has really put a lot of thought into how new businesses and established ones will use this product. It's jam-packed with features and yet it appears very simple. It is a model for user-friendliness. Although I could imagine a couple of more tweaks I can tell that Jobber listens to it's clients. I sent them a list of 20 items they needed to change years ago and I think all but 2 of them are missing today. Unlike HCP, their customer communication and service has impressed me from day one. It a very solid platform that doesn't over-hype itself. I'd recommend Jobber to anyone.
HCP is a good product with many features. It does almost everything I want it to. Although it is missing some 'nice to have' features it will still dramatically help your business if you are looking for an all-in-one solution for your field service business. However it's not perfect. The workflow and the layout certainly need some work. It appears dated compared to some of its competitors, and it doesn't allow for as much customization as I would like. Although I can mostly look past these things, my staff is not a fan of HCP. I think that has to do a lot with their exposure to Jobber though. It's hard to use HCP after using something better. With Housecall Pro I feel as though I am doing more clicks to accomplish the same thing as Jobber, and I can't understand why they don't focus on fixing some of these issues. I think that the developers of this product didn't put enough effort into making it awesome before calling it that. That being said HCP isn't so far behind that they couldn't catch up. They just need to redesign their dashboard and tab structure and add about 5 key features to be on-par with Jobber.
Where they shine though, is in their community engagement. It's on the level. Classes, pro groups, advanced training. I would venture to say that their Facebook group is better than Jobber's as well. There are a lot of pros helping pros there. It's a great resource for new service business owners. I just wish they would focus on their product more. That's what businesses pay for. Not to say that no one prefers HCP over Jobber. I know a couple guys who prefer HCP. Why? I can only conclude that they never truly gave Jobber a chance. Also it's hard to change software like this once you've committed and gotten used to a product. Actually its not, but when you have a lot of other things going on, it feels like another mountain you have to climb. That being said I think I'd love HCP too if I never gave Jobber a chance. It saves you time and organizes your business. That's definitely worth something.
Ok lets go over their features point by point.
Both products are priced near to each other until you get to the higher end plan. Although they are priced the same for the top non-enterprise plan, jobber allows for 30 users vs 9 at HCP.
Some people have told me that Field Service software is too expensive to make the jump from google calendar or spreadsheets, however I would say that getting a real CRM is just what companies that want to grow do these days. If you're on the fence about it consider this - YOUR TIME IS MONEY. DON'T SPEND MORE OF IT TRYING TO SAVE MONEY.
Jobber wins this one through customization. Both software allow you to send estimates using prescribed products and pricing however, Jobber allows you to customize your email text so that you don't have to keep writing a new email every time you send a bid. Housecall Pro does allow you to add default text to bids, however this same text will appear on your invoices too. What?!
If you create a recurring job with Housecall Pro it assigns the invoice numbers ahead .. far ahead. We're talking a couple of years buddy. And it freezes the screen for like a minute while it messes up your invoice sequence. So when you send a new invoice it may be hundreds off the last one you sent as it already assigned the in-between numbers to future invoices you haven't even done the work for yet. Probably makes your customers think they are the only job you have cuz its been years and the invoice numbers don't skip. Another gripe I have with HCP is that when you click on the Invoices tab to see all your invoices you cannot click to open one. You can only open it from the job itself. Hmmm.
Jobber payments is super easy to set up. So is HCP's payments. This makes it easy to get paid. They both even offer instant deposits if you don't wanna wait 2 days (plus weekend) for the money. However HCP may make you submit 3 months of bank statements before approving your account for taking payments. They say it's the processors requirement. I know that both Jobber and HCP use Stripe to process payments. Jobber doesn't ask for bank statements. Makes you wonder why Stripe requires only HCP to do this. Hmmm.
Both products allow you to drag and drop and all that. That's a given these days. However the difference for me comes in the recurring jobs. When scheduling recurring jobs HCP seems buggy to someone not used to the way they do things. If you are fixing your schedule from a previous week, maybe adding or editing a recurring job, HCP acts strange. It may not schedule your first job if its in the past. Also when you make a change to one it may not ask to change all of the future ones to match. When you are dealing with a lot of recurring jobs that don't always get done on time this is very frustrating.
Online booking is available for both. But with Jobber a customer can request their preferred time but can't book directly to your calendar. I would imagine most service businesses would prefer not giving over control of their schedule to their site visitors. Daily scheduling needs change to rapidly to allow for that with my businesses.
Both companies have descent customer service after the fact when you run into issues., however one of them lets you pick up the phone and call them, no matter which plan you are on. That is Jobber.
I found that both companies provide a good onboarding experience. They're friendly and thorough. But this makes sense as they are trying to win your business. What really matters is what happens down the road.
I'm no security expert but I've never gotten an email from Google saying my password on Jobber has been compromised. I've gotten multiple about HCP.
Although I hate that jobber doesn't show you a full month's schedule as a tech, their app is otherwise brilliant. HCP's app needs to step into the future.
I'll make this simple. We prefer Jobber hands down.
However, both products will do the job. One is really good at building community and hype. The other is better at building the product.