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Exclusively serving plumbing contractors and franchisees | plumbermag.com January 2016
COLE PUBLISHING INC., PO BOX 220, THREE LAKES WI 54562

ELECTRONIC SERVICE REQUESTED
PRSTD STD

U.S. POSTAGE
PAID
COLE

PUBLISHING INC

PREMIERE ISSUE!

▶ in the shop
KEEP YOUR
TRUCKS ROLLING

▶ on the road
SAVING TIME AND
STAYING SUPPLIED

COMMAND&SUPPLY page 12
Alabama plumber creates

a new business model built
for efficiency and productivity

www.plumbermag.com

Page 2

BOOTH
4133

MONEY
MACHINE.

What are these guys watching?
Well, for one thing, they’re watching pro�ts

go up. They’re replacing a home sewer lateral
trenchlessly with a pipebursting system made by

TRIC Tools, Inc., the company that started it all.

For more info visit www.trictools.com or call 888.883.8742

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Page 24

24 January 2016 PLUMBER

BETTER FLEET MANAGEMENT

T he question isn’t why should you use vehicle maintenance software for your plumbing service truck fleet, but why not? Sure, you can store data on an Excel spreadsheet, file drawer or even a
shoebox, but why would you?

Nathaniel Cochran, director of operations for
Dwyer Plumbing, handles dispatching, IT and long-
term strategy for the Alexandria, Virginia, company and
its 30 employees. He’s also in charge of managing the
company’s fleet of 28 vehicles, which includes service
vans, compressors and trailers.

“We had been keeping information in Excel, but
we really didn’t have great records,” he says. “It wasn’t
hard to use, but it didn’t put out as much information
as the fleet software, like scheduling reminders.”
Approximately a year ago, Cochran went shopping
for a program that would keep tabs on service and
fuel mileage, and provide preventive maintenance
reminders.

The program he chose enables him to share
inputting, service and repair data. “I can give a
couple other people access so they can update the
information themselves rather than having it cross
my desk,” he says. “We can pull up the maintenance
software from our phones, which helps when I’m doing
a physical inspection of the vans — just enter it in from
the parking lot.”

Cochran says his insurance provider suggested

going the maintenance software route. “He said some
contractors he works with, the only record they have
of their vehicles is the insurance schedule, which is not
a particularly good way to know about the condition
of your fleet.” What Cochran finds most beneficial is
knowing which vehicles are costing the most to repair
and should be replaced.


CHOICES, CHOICES

Ready for a test drive? A quick online search can
display thousands of software options, from free
downloads to for-fee upgrades. The challenge is
deciding which program best meets your needs and
budget.

Made by Alembx Solutions LLC, FleetVIP’s free
demo tracks two vehicles, while the Standard version
($19.95) tracks up to six vehicles. The Plus version
($49.95) tracks up to 26 vehicles and the Pro version
($199.95) tracks an unlimited number of vehicles. In

Written by Ed Wodalski

Sophisticated equipment maintenance reporting
options will uncover your true cost of ownership

IN THE SHOP

A good fleet management program will help you stay on top of
regular maintenance and catch small problems before major
repairs are required.

“You want a system that can adapt to your needs. You want to track the mainte-
nance of the vehicle separately from the maintenance that occurs on your vacuum
pump. If there are unique things that need to be captured at the time of service,
having a system that is flexible enough to meet those needs is pretty important.”

PRERELEASE VERSION - NOT FOR REPRODUCTION

each case, there are no monthly or annual fees. The
for-fee programs are Cloud backup compatible, while
the Pro version adds spreadsheet export.

Fleetio offers a 14-day free trial of its programs
that range from the free Personal Fleet (one user,
five vehicles) to the 1,000-vehicle Epic Fleet ($689
per month or 69 cents per vehicle per month). The
for-fee programs allow unlimited users and driver
management, and provide email support. The Large
Fleet (100 vehicles, $119 per month), Super Fleet (250
vehicles, $199 per month) and Mega Fleet (500 vehicles,
$359 per month), as well as the Epic Fleet programs,
include phone support. All plans include secure data
encryption, unlimited file storage, and data export.

FleetWise’s suite of products start at $100 for the
FleetWise Lite package designed for smaller fleets (10
vehicles) to its full-feature flagship FleetWise VB that
includes vehicle and equipment information for an
unlimited number of vehicles, repair order system,
inventory control and fuel management ($700 for
stand-alone program without inventory control; $1,350
with inventory; $1,500 for network program without
inventory; and $2,700 for network program with
inventory).

Fleetio’s Dashboard provides an overview of maintenance history, service
reminders and service costs.


LOOK FOR WEB-BASED PROGRAM

Tom Summerville, founder and CEO for
RareStep of Birmingham, Alabama, maker of
Fleetio, says maintenance programs enable
fleet owners to understand the overall cost
of owning and maintaining each piece of
equipment, from truck engines to vacuum
pumps and trailer tires. “All that additional
equipment is going to need preventive
maintenance and documentation as well,” he
says. “Even if you have a very small fleet, you
still need to be maintaining records and staying
on top of the operations of that fleet from a
maintenance perspective.”

When shopping for a program, look for
something that is Web-based and online
accessible, he says. It should store all your
information in one place, but more importantly,
it should be easy to use.

It should also be mobile. “Having
information at your fingertips is a very
effective and powerful way to monitor things,”
Summerville says. And it should seek you
out. The system should come to you with
notifications — emails and text alerts of what’s
wrong and needs work.

It should be flexible. “You want a system
that can adapt to your needs,” he says. “You
want to track the maintenance of the vehicle
separately from the maintenance that occurs
on your vacuum pump. If there are unique
things that need to be captured at the time of

service, having a system that is flexible enough to meet
those needs is pretty important.”


BETTER DATA

Peter Michaelis, owner of All About Computers
in Jacksonville, Florida, maker of FleetWise, says
one advantage of a maintenance program over a
spreadsheet is data validation. “You might have a
column that says ‘repair order costs,’ but there’s no
checking if the number you put in is correct.”

Maintenance programs can perform multiple
functions, such as automatically updating parts
inventory when entering repair costs. Could the
same be done on a spreadsheet? Certainly, says
Michaelis, but you would have to go to the repair
order spreadsheet and put in the cost, then go to the
inventory spreadsheet and subtract your part. It’s not
as efficient, he says. “The general rule of computer
systems is if you have to do something twice, then the
chance of it being wrong is twice as great.” ■

FleetWise Lite is designed for smaller fleets (under 10 vehicles). Its
maintenance history form includes status, date scheduled and completed,
total cost, odometer or hour reading and reason for repair.

PRERELEASE VERSION - NOT FOR REPRODUCTION

Page 25

plumbermag.com January 2016 25

BETTER FLEET MANAGEMENT

T he question isn’t why should you use vehicle maintenance software for your plumbing service truck fleet, but why not? Sure, you can store data on an Excel spreadsheet, file drawer or even a
shoebox, but why would you?

Nathaniel Cochran, director of operations for
Dwyer Plumbing, handles dispatching, IT and long-
term strategy for the Alexandria, Virginia, company and
its 30 employees. He’s also in charge of managing the
company’s fleet of 28 vehicles, which includes service
vans, compressors and trailers.

“We had been keeping information in Excel, but
we really didn’t have great records,” he says. “It wasn’t
hard to use, but it didn’t put out as much information
as the fleet software, like scheduling reminders.”
Approximately a year ago, Cochran went shopping
for a program that would keep tabs on service and
fuel mileage, and provide preventive maintenance
reminders.

The program he chose enables him to share
inputting, service and repair data. “I can give a
couple other people access so they can update the
information themselves rather than having it cross
my desk,” he says. “We can pull up the maintenance
software from our phones, which helps when I’m doing
a physical inspection of the vans — just enter it in from
the parking lot.”

Cochran says his insurance provider suggested

going the maintenance software route. “He said some
contractors he works with, the only record they have
of their vehicles is the insurance schedule, which is not
a particularly good way to know about the condition
of your fleet.” What Cochran finds most beneficial is
knowing which vehicles are costing the most to repair
and should be replaced.


CHOICES, CHOICES

Ready for a test drive? A quick online search can
display thousands of software options, from free
downloads to for-fee upgrades. The challenge is
deciding which program best meets your needs and
budget.

Made by Alembx Solutions LLC, FleetVIP’s free
demo tracks two vehicles, while the Standard version
($19.95) tracks up to six vehicles. The Plus version
($49.95) tracks up to 26 vehicles and the Pro version
($199.95) tracks an unlimited number of vehicles. In

Written by Ed Wodalski

Sophisticated equipment maintenance reporting
options will uncover your true cost of ownership

IN THE SHOP

A good fleet management program will help you stay on top of
regular maintenance and catch small problems before major
repairs are required.

“You want a system that can adapt to your needs. You want to track the mainte-
nance of the vehicle separately from the maintenance that occurs on your vacuum
pump. If there are unique things that need to be captured at the time of service,
having a system that is flexible enough to meet those needs is pretty important.”

PRERELEASE VERSION - NOT FOR REPRODUCTION

each case, there are no monthly or annual fees. The
for-fee programs are Cloud backup compatible, while
the Pro version adds spreadsheet export.

Fleetio offers a 14-day free trial of its programs
that range from the free Personal Fleet (one user,
five vehicles) to the 1,000-vehicle Epic Fleet ($689
per month or 69 cents per vehicle per month). The
for-fee programs allow unlimited users and driver
management, and provide email support. The Large
Fleet (100 vehicles, $119 per month), Super Fleet (250
vehicles, $199 per month) and Mega Fleet (500 vehicles,
$359 per month), as well as the Epic Fleet programs,
include phone support. All plans include secure data
encryption, unlimited file storage, and data export.

FleetWise’s suite of products start at $100 for the
FleetWise Lite package designed for smaller fleets (10
vehicles) to its full-feature flagship FleetWise VB that
includes vehicle and equipment information for an
unlimited number of vehicles, repair order system,
inventory control and fuel management ($700 for
stand-alone program without inventory control; $1,350
with inventory; $1,500 for network program without
inventory; and $2,700 for network program with
inventory).

Fleetio’s Dashboard provides an overview of maintenance history, service
reminders and service costs.


LOOK FOR WEB-BASED PROGRAM

Tom Summerville, founder and CEO for
RareStep of Birmingham, Alabama, maker of
Fleetio, says maintenance programs enable
fleet owners to understand the overall cost
of owning and maintaining each piece of
equipment, from truck engines to vacuum
pumps and trailer tires. “All that additional
equipment is going to need preventive
maintenance and documentation as well,” he
says. “Even if you have a very small fleet, you
still need to be maintaining records and staying
on top of the operations of that fleet from a
maintenance perspective.”

When shopping for a program, look for
something that is Web-based and online
accessible, he says. It should store all your
information in one place, but more importantly,
it should be easy to use.

It should also be mobile. “Having
information at your fingertips is a very
effective and powerful way to monitor things,”
Summerville says. And it should seek you
out. The system should come to you with
notifications — emails and text alerts of what’s
wrong and needs work.

It should be flexible. “You want a system
that can adapt to your needs,” he says. “You
want to track the maintenance of the vehicle
separately from the maintenance that occurs
on your vacuum pump. If there are unique
things that need to be captured at the time of

service, having a system that is flexible enough to meet
those needs is pretty important.”


BETTER DATA

Peter Michaelis, owner of All About Computers
in Jacksonville, Florida, maker of FleetWise, says
one advantage of a maintenance program over a
spreadsheet is data validation. “You might have a
column that says ‘repair order costs,’ but there’s no
checking if the number you put in is correct.”

Maintenance programs can perform multiple
functions, such as automatically updating parts
inventory when entering repair costs. Could the
same be done on a spreadsheet? Certainly, says
Michaelis, but you would have to go to the repair
order spreadsheet and put in the cost, then go to the
inventory spreadsheet and subtract your part. It’s not
as efficient, he says. “The general rule of computer
systems is if you have to do something twice, then the
chance of it being wrong is twice as great.” ■

FleetWise Lite is designed for smaller fleets (under 10 vehicles). Its
maintenance history form includes status, date scheduled and completed,
total cost, odometer or hour reading and reason for repair.

PRERELEASE VERSION - NOT FOR REPRODUCTION

Page 47

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Page 48

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