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Cashing Out. What’s Your Exit Strategy?

Exit strategy

There are two types of business sales in the field service industry.  One kind is a stress sale, where businesses are basically given away because the owners never gave thought to an exit strategy until it was too late. The other is a premium sale, where the business is sold based on assets plus three to five times pre-tax earnings. To receive a premium, the owner must begin working on his exit strategy years before he will need it. The problem is that often the business owner will have an overinflated view of what his company is worth, and how quickly he will get paid. From the moment you go into business you should be planning how to maximize your value to avoid becoming a risky business.

Here are the elements of a successful exit strategy for field service contractors:

Profitability – Can you accurately prove the profitability and cash flow of your maintenance contracts? If your business management system does not properly allocate costs against the work orders and contracts, your valuation will be subject to discounting.

Automated Business Processes – Is your business dependant on manual processes from key administrative employees? While every successful business has key employees, if your business processes are manual or dependant on multiple disconnected software products, you will take a hit on the cost to transition your operation to something more streamlined. Buyers will also discount your valuation because you are not operating as profitably as you could be.

Low Risk – If you are using manual or disconnected software systems, buyers will discount your valuation or lock you in longer to make sure that when they take over, there are no surprises that only the owner can deal with. Businesses with documented processes are a lot less dependant on the owner or the people who are loyal to him.

Riskier businesses are less attractive and draw a lower price than efficiently run businesses who use a comprehensive field service management software to take the guesswork out of valuating your business. Contractors whose operations systems are not properly connected to what is happening in the field or in the back office always pay a price when it is time to defend their valuation. If you plan on selling your field service business one day, investing in a system now that shows you are connected to and in control of your operation will help you obtain a better selling price and a shorter transition commitment.

FIELDBOSS is a comprehensive field service software solution designed to continuously expose the vital signs of your business. If you’re thinking about selling your field service business, let us help you create a profitable business that will be appealing to acquisition candidates and sell quickly for an attractive profit. Contact us here.

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Marijuana Legalization a Game Changer for the Field Service Industry

marijuana legalization

On October 17, 2018, the Federal government legalized the use of recreational marijuana in Canada. While many Canadians celebrated what’s come to be called “National Cannabis Day”, not everyone was feeling as jubilant. These changes to the legal status of marijuana have raised occupational health and safety concerns for many employers, especially for those in construction and field service where safety is already a concern and workers must be alert at all times. Millions of Canadians take risks every day in dozens of demanding “safety-sensitive” occupations: elevator mechanics working in shafts, commercial and industrial HVAC technicians working on rooftops or with dangerous refrigerants, and many more. With the legalization of recreational pot, business owners are facing some serious challenges: liability if a stoned employee causes an accident, pushback from workers who resist random drug and alcohol tests, and the lack of a settled standard around either how much cannabis is too much, or how to measure it.

Here are a few things contractors should know in order to reduce the safety risks that may arise from cannabis legalization:

The legalization of marijuana does not mean that employees can be impaired at work. Employers will have the right to set rules for non-medical use of marijuana in the workplace in much the same way that employers currently set rules for use of alcohol. In particular, employers may prohibit the use of marijuana at work or during working hours and may also prohibit employees from attending work while impaired. This zero tolerance policy should be recorded in a written drug and alcohol policy.

The duty to accommodate does extend to medical marijuana. As an employer, contractors have obligations under the Human Rights Code. If an employee is authorized to use cannabis for a medical purpose, the employer must treat it like any other medication and may have a duty to accommodate. The employer may be required to offer to the employee an alternative job that can be properly and safely done while using medical cannabis, if such a role exists.

However, the duty to accommodate is not without limits. If accommodating the employee will raise serious safety and health concerns on the site or significantly increase costs of operations, contractors may be exempt from providing the accommodation. Accommodating an employee does not mean that you should ever let employees carry out their duties while impaired, especially when driving, operating heavy machinery, or working at heights.

Contracting companies’ best line of defence for the legalization of cannabis in Canada starts with an updated drug and alcohol policy. Contractors should work with a legal adviser to ensure their drug and alcohol policies are clear and up to date. It is also important to ensure employees sign a written acknowledgment that they have read and understood the policy in its new and revised form

Train Your Employees About Dangers and Policy. Contractors should educate employees about the dangers of using equipment and working at heights while under the influence of cannabis. Although there have been numerous public education campaigns about the dangers of alcohol impairment, there is less public education about the impact of cannabis on a person’s reaction time and alertness. Employees may be under the misimpression that cannabis has little impact on their ability to work safely. Employees should also be taught all aspects of the new drug and alcohol policy with a particular emphasis on recognizing impairment in others and what to do if you suspect someone is impaired on-site.

With the construction industry already heavily regulated, it’s important now more than ever to make certain your company is in full compliance.  FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed. Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter for all the latest news.

For more information:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/cannabis-legalization#section-8

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Employee Spotlight: Erez Yaron

The Rimrock Corporation team is made up of many hard working, talented individuals with interesting stories to tell. In our Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do, and how they keep Rimrock exciting and fun.

This month we shine the light on Erez Yaron, our software engineer. Erez was born in Israel, then lived in the US, before moving to Toronto in 2013. Prior to working at Rimrock, Erez was coding professionally since 1998. Before that, he manufactured jeans.

In his free time, Erez loves learning new things, jumping out of planes, scuba diving, rock climbing, and slacklining.

Read on to learn more about Erez.

What do you love most about working at Rimrock & how long have you been here?
I’ve been here since June, so about nine months. I love the balance between office and working remotely. It’s just right.

What is your favorite place that you have visited and where is your next dream vacation spot?
Palau is my favorite, and Iceland is high on the list for the next vacation spot.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
I would be an astronaut taking a trip to the moon.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
Jason Statham

If you could have a drink with anyone (fictional, alive, dead, famous, non-famous) who would it be and why?
Joe Rogan would make for interesting conversation.

Tell us a “fun fact” about yourself or your “secret talent” that your colleagues might not already know.
I am writing a book, if I ever find the time.

Any pet peeves?
Stubbornness.

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70,000+ Attend AHR 2019 in Atlanta

The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo), which began in 1931, has grown into the event of the year for the HVACR industry. AHR 2019 was just held in Atlanta, Georgia. A lot has changed since the show was last held there 18 years ago. This years expo drew more than 70,000 attendees and more than 2,100 exhibitors, and hosted industry professionals from every state in America and 165 countries worldwide.

The AHR Expo provides a unique forum for the entire HVACR community to come together and share new products, technologies, and ideas. Everyone from major manufacturers to innovative new start-ups attended, and exhibitors showcased and demonstrated a variety of the latest HVACR-related products. More than 70 free, one- and two-hour sessions were presented by experts from prominent industry-leading organizations. Sessions were designed to allow for easy integration of valuable education time into attendees’ overall Show agendas.

This year FIELDBOSS was excited to unveil Version 3.0 of its HVAC contractor management software at The Software Center. The show was a huge success, and we thank everyone from around the world who stopped by the booth. We look forward to seeing you all at the AHR Expo in Orlando next year!

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DOB Service Updates for End-of-Year Elevator Filings

DOBDOB NOW is the Department’s new public facing web interface that allows customers to conduct transactions online. DOB NOW provides customers with the ability to manage more robust online accounts, making it easier to submit applications, make payments, schedule appointments, check the status of an application or inspection, pull permits, make renewals, and have virtual interactions with Agency staff. The DOB has released several Service Updates for end-of-year Elevator filings.

Here’s are 3 updates you need to know:

1. Elevator Compliance Filings Service Notice (Category 5 Inspection/Test Reports)

  • New functionality in DOB NOW: Safety to allow for the filing of Category 5 Inspection/Test Reports if it has been more than six years since the last filing. These Category 5 Inspection/Test Report filings are required to be submitted in DOB NOW: Safety at www.nyc.gov/dobnow by March 31, 2019
  • DOB NOW: Safety will not accept an inspection date that is older than one year of the filing date. For example, if a filing is submitted on January 15, 2019, the oldest inspection date that can be entered is January 15, 2018.
  • This is an update to Follow-up #4: Elevator Compliance Filings Service Notice that states filings submitted until March 31, 2019 in DOB NOW: Safety will not be charged late fees.
  • If the required report is not filed by March 31, 2019, the device will be subject to a violation for failure to file as per 1 RCNY§103-02.
  • For issues submitting an elevator compliance filing in DOB NOW: Safety (including device not found) please use the DOB NOW Help Form at www.nyc.gov/dobnowhelp and provide the specific device number and the type of report you are attempting to file (CAT1, CAT5, or AOC).
  • Please also note that submitting reports is different than performing inspections – while reports can be submitted through the date as listed above, 2018 inspections cannot be performed in 2019.

 

2. New option in DOB NOW: Safety to allow for Elevator Inspection/Test Reports (ELV3) to be filed without a Witnessing Agency.

  • To accommodate circumstances where Appendix K, Table N1 of the NYC Building Code allows for the completion of an Elevator Inspection/Test Report (ELV3) without a Witnessing Agency, the following question will be added to DOB NOW: Safety on November 21, 2018:
  • Does NYC Building Code Appendix K, Table N1 allow all of the inspection(s) and/or test(s) referenced in this submission to be completed without a witnessing agency?  Yes  No
  • −If ‘Yes’ is selected, the fields for Witnessing Agency Director and Witnessing Agency Inspector will not appear for completion or signature.
    −If ‘No’ is selected, the fields for Witnessing Agency Director and Witnessing Agency Inspector must be completed and electronically signed.
  • NOTE: The above question will apply to all Elevator Inspections/Tests in a particular filing. Elevator Inspections/Tests that include a Witnessing Agency cannot be filed in the same submission as Elevator Inspections/Tests that do not include a Witnessing Agency.

 

3. Deadline for resubmissions is extended to June 30, 2019 for ‘rejected’ Elevator Inspection/Test Reports (ELV3) and Affirmation of Correction (ELV29)

  • The deadline for resubmissions is extended to June 30, 2019 for ‘rejected’ Elevator Inspection/Test Reports (ELV3) and Affirmation of Correction (ELV29) filings for 2017 and prior year reporting cycles.
  • After this date, violations for Failure to File and Failure to File Affirmation of Correction for these cycles will not be dismissed upon resubmission.

 

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the elevator world. Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter for all the latest news.

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Door Lock Monitoring Deadline Approaching for NY Elevator Industry

It’s crunch time for the New York elevator industry as the deadline to comply with the Door Lock Monitor code is quickly approaching. The City of New York issued new guidelines for elevator door lock monitoring systems which requires completion of upgrades and changes by 2020..

The new law requires all elevators to be equipped with an electronic fix that accomplishes two things: it prevents the elevator from moving if the doors are not properly closed; and it prevents the doors from opening if the elevator cab is not present. The deadline for compliance is January 1, 2020. A second upgrade, due by January 1, 2027, requires installation of an emergency brake. The deadline for compliance leaves less than one year to apply this safety device to the elevators. As the deadline is less than a year away, elevator service companies need to advise their clients as to the rule and its implications for non-compliance.

Elevators installed since the 2009 building code most likely have this type of system in place. It already might be in the elevator control system but just not activated, or it may just need some software or type of hardware. Elevators – generally older ones – without such a door-monitoring system will be more expensive, since new equipment must be integrated with the existing elevator control system.

It’s important to note that there are several DOB requirements besides simply installing the Door Lock Monitor.

  • Even if the component is already in place, the elevator servicing company has to file a permit.
  • Next, they must get a set of electrical prints showing the DOB that it exists electrically within the control-board circuit and have it stamped by a professional engineer.
  • Finally, the DOB must come out and test the elevator.

 

Elevators deemed non-compliant by January 1, 2020 will be subject to steep fines and potential shut-downs. It is a time consuming process that shouldn’t be left to the last minute as it can take up to 6 weeks just to obtain the necessary city permits to proceed.

The good news is that FIELDBOSS can help manage the process and ensure that all your elevators are compliant before the deadline.

FIELDBOSS can be configured to:

  • Easily monitor which elevators require the door lock monitor device, which have already been installed and which have yet to be installed
  • Create drop down lists under each elevator to keep track of Door Lock Monitor device status
  • Create quotes in seconds and send to those customers in need of a Door Lock Monitor device
  • Create easy to read dashboard views of Active Door Lock Monitor quotes, Active Sites for Door Lock Monitor Installations, and Building Locations without Door Lock Monitors so you can easily stay on-top of what’s going on and keep your customers devices compliant.

 

Contact us for more information on how FIELDBOSS can help manage your Door Lock Monitoring device installation.

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HVAC Salaries Continue to Rise

Skilled trades professionals continue to earn high wages, according to The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) 2018 Construction Craft Salary Survey. More than 130 industrial and commercial construction companies across the U.S., representing over 350,000 employees, participated in the survey. The most significant pay increase was for HVAC technicians as HVAC salaries continue to rise.

Of the 32 construction positions surveyed, average annual salaries ranged from $47,700 to $92,500. Project supervisors and program managers topped the list, earning over $88,000 and $92,500 respectively. Professions earning more than $65,000 include boilermaker, mobile crane operator, tower crane operator, millwright, industrial electrician, power line worker, pipe welder, instrumentation technician, and combo welder. Additionally, seven more craft areas made more than $60,000 per year.

The most significant pay increase was for HVAC technician, up 20 percent from previous years. Since NCCER’s previous survey of 2015 salaries, the average annual pay for HVAC technicians has increased the most (20%), from $52,026 in 2015 to $62,472 in 2018.

The HVACR industry is stable and thriving, HVAC technician salaries continue to rise, there are jobs to be filled and HVACR companies are busy. This is truly an exciting time to be a part of the HVACR industry.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the HVACR world.  Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter  for all the latest news.

Read here to find out how the HVACR industry is tackling the labour shortage.

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6 Ways Your Field Service Business is Stronger with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and FIELDBOSS

Dynamics 365 and FIELDBOSSFIELDBOSS was built for the Microsoft Cloud and within Microsoft Dynamics 365. Dynamics 365 is the next generation of intelligent business applications that empowers your service organization to transform and evolve. This solution connects CRM and ERP capabilities with custom-made applications that work together seamlessly as one connected system. The result is a powerful tool that will increase productivity, cut costs, streamline processes, meet customer needs and capture new opportunities.

Here are 6 Ways Your Field Service Business is Stronger with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and FIELDBOSS:

1.      End-to-End Field Service Management
An end-to-end field service software solution is vital to the success of any field service operation. Given the increased complexity of the field service industry and constantly evolving best-practices, field service operations that don’t use a comprehensive software solution are out-performed by competitors that do.

FIELDBOSS stands out because it is a complete end-to-end solution that allows our system to show important metrics such as profit on a work order in real-time. From customer relationship management, to field dispatch resources, to accounting, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) – our end-to-end, seamless integration provides an unprecedented level of clarity that, when combined with other FIELDBOSS tools, drives new opportunities and new levels of service.

2.      Connected Interactions
FIELDBOSS empowers technicians with a 360-degree view of customers and real-time guidance to improve resolution time and earn customer trust. By using the common data model in Microsoft Dynamics 365, all core information such as customer and product data is saved in one central place. Access to this data is available in real-time across multiple applications within the Dynamics 365 suite.

3.      Integration to Outlook and Other Microsoft Technologies
Since Microsoft has many common technologies that businesses already employ such as MS Outlook, Office and Exchange, they’re the clear winner in integrating those technologies with Dynamics 365. Even though some organizations choose to work with other platforms, most of them are still working with MS Outlook, Office and Exchange. These organizations will find integration to be more challenging and limiting in terms of functionality.

4.      Development and Flexibility
One reason we chose to build FIELDBOSS within Microsoft Dynamics 365 is for development. The Microsoft Dynamics platform employs common, universal web standards such as Java, .Net and HTML. This means that field service businesses have the advantage of developing their own customizations based on their individual needs without having to rely on a single or specific type of programming language. And, if they don’t have the capabilities in-house to handle these customizations, there is an extensive network of trusted, experienced partners (like Rimrock Corporation) that can effectively handle their needs.

5.      Real-time Customer Data
For an organization determined to create superior customer engagement, end-to-end integration offers another strong competitive advantage. Enhanced visibility and control of customer information to field technicians on site can ensure that warranty repairs are properly made, non-warranty repairs are invoiced, and new warranty upsell opportunities are taken advantage of. Dynamics 365 and FIELDBOSS will ensure that customer data is shared and synched in real-time across the organization to be of optimal use to sales, marketing, and customer service.

6.      Future Proofing Your Business
No organization invests more in research and development than Microsoft. Our approach when developing FIELDBOSS was to leverage the best technology and functionality platform available . So while Microsoft’s focus is on R&D and innovation, we can focus on solving industry problems and staying ahead of industry trends. The result is that FIELDBOSS customers are always future proofing their businesses, reducing technological risk and protecting the company valuation.

FIELDBOSS and Microsoft Dynamics 365 deliver a powerful combination of business management software with field service management.  Contact us to find out how FIELDBOSS can help boost productivity and profitability, as well as improve customer service.

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Employee Spotlight: Stuart Taub

Stuart TaubThe Rimrock Corporation team is made up of many hard working, talented individuals with interesting stories to tell. In our Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do, and how they keep Rimrock exciting and fun.

This month we shine the light on Stuart Taub, our development tester. Stuart was born and raised in Toronto. Prior to working at Rimrock, Stuart worked as a Senior Buyer in the Automotive and Food Industries. He was also a procurement officer at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).

Read on to learn more about Stuart.

What do you love most about working at Rimrock & how long have you been here?

I have been with Rimrock for about 4 years in the testing role. What I like most about my job is pointing out the errors in the program done by others (hey, it’s part of the job).

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I stay away from the computer as much as possible. I like reading, taking care of my dog, and watching the Toronto Maple Leafs.

What TV shows/music/apps/Podcasts are you currently obsessed with right now?

My favorite TV shows are Big Bang Theory, Survivor, and Brooklyn 99.

Tell us a “fun fact” about yourself or your “secret talent” that your colleagues might not already know.

I am a member of IPMS Toronto (International Plastic Modelers Society) and AMPS (Armor Military Preservation Society).  These groups mainly assemble scale models and help restore recovered military equipment from the past.  I also enter my completed build projects in competitions and have won several 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in show categories.  The next show we are doing is March 24th at the Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton.  We usually get about 700 entries amid the backdrop of WWII and modern jets in the Museums hanger. Next time you see me, ask me what I am working on and I will likely have a picture of it.

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Global HFC Phasedown Begins

Global HFC PhasedownThis might be the biggest New Years resolution ever as 197 countries around the world have resolved to scale back the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, a game-changing climate treaty, entered into force as the calendar turned to 2019 and with it, the global HFC phasedown begins on some of the most potent greenhouse gases on Earth.

The three nations making up North America – Canada, the U.S. and Mexico – are each at different stages in reducing their HFC consumption as 2019 begins.

Canada, having ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol in 2017, started cutting HFC consumption as of January 1 by 10% and will move to 85% by 2036.

The Canadian plan also puts caps on the GWP of gases that can be used in specific applications. Starting on January 1, 2020, stand-alone commercial refrigeration systems will be limited to 1,400 and 1,500 GWPS for medium- and low-temperature units, respectively, while centralized refrigeration systems and condensing units will be held to a 2,200 GWP refrigerant.

Much of the Canadian regulation focuses on imports since HFCs are usually imported into Canada in bulk for use in the manufacturing, servicing and maintenance of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, and in the manufacturing of foam-blowing products.

Mexico voted to accept the Kigali Amendment in September 2018.  As a developing country, it will freeze average production/consumption in 2024 at the baseline, which is the average production/consumption of HFCs in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

67 countries have ratified the Kigali Amendment, including the European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia, as well many developing nations, and the United Nations said it expects more to join in the coming weeks. Notably absent are China and the U.S., the two biggest manufacturers and users of HFCs.

While China is expected to sign on, it doesn’t seem like the U.S. is in any rush to do the same despite widespread industry support for ratification.  Just last year, 13 Republican senators asked the White House to send it to the Senate for ratification. The refrigerant industry supports ratification and even published a white paper showing it could result in an additional 33,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs and $12.5 billion in additional economic output to both replace HFCs and destroy the climate-warming chemicals. The industry has also suggested that China could get a leg up on the U.S. if it ratifies the treaty before the U.S. and begins manufacturing and distributing HFC-free refrigerators and air conditioners to the world.

Even if the amendment doesn’t make it to the US Senate for ratification, the U.S. still has some pathways forward to not fall totally behind. Individual states have begun to lead the way with California at the front of the pack. California has already banned HFCs in new air conditioners and refrigerators and a handful of other states, such as New York, Connecticut and Maryland, have followed suit. As well, 17 Governors from various states have formed the Climate Alliance. Aside from upholding the goals laid out in the now defunct Paris Climate Accord, they have targeted other climate and environmental changes and regulations including HFC refrigerants.

The U.S. may end up with a piecemeal of states that phase down HFCs but if enough states jump on board then manufacturers will be forced to use lower GWP alternative refrigerants.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the HVACR world. Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter for all the latest news.

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