How apps, websites, and online resources can help the modern plumbing contractor improve their businesses.
Let’s face it, it’s a digital world. Smartphones, tablets, and wireless devices continue to transform our day-to-day activities, including what we do on the jobsite. Why not use them to make your job easier and your business more profitable?
We’ve looked at a number of apps, programs, and websites to come up with a list of some of the most useful tools for today’s plumbing contractor. Here are our top picks:
AO SMITH APP
Available on Android™ and Apple devices, the AO Smith app is free and offers a number of features for the plumbing professional.
The Water Heater Selector: With a few simple questions, the app can run calculations and present you with a selection of water heaters that have been chosen just for you.
Cross-Reference Lookup allows the user to use an existing water heater to find the right A. O. Smith replacement. Simply select the current brand and model number and the app will show you the closest matching A. O. Smith water heater.
The Warranty Check app still makes it easy for contractors to check the warranty status of an A. O. Smith water heater. Simply enter the model number, and you’ll have all of the information you need instantly in the palm of your hand.
VIRTUAL ROOM DESIGNER
The Virtual Show Room from ATS is a free interactive room designer tool created to assist you during the design development stages of your residential or commercial project. Designed specifically for trade professionals, it combines product research and coordination, while confirming code compliance and budget pricing, all at once. With one click, you will be able to create a schedule, generate cut sheets, prepare construction documents and owner presentations, and download individual or combined Revit families all for free. Check it out here.
Delta’s Inspired Pro website is a valuable online resource that helps trade professionals keep up on the latest industry trends and tools. Articles cover everything from design trends and how-to videos to business strategies and marketing tips for plumbing professionals. Visit Deltafaucet.com/InspiredPro for more information.
Mobile apps also include the Delta Catalogs App, which combines product literature you need in a convenient mobile format. With this free app, you can immediately view online brochures, catalogs, collection sell sheets, and more. Or download them for convenient offline viewing anywhere.
MOBILE CREDIT CARD READERS
Have you seen mobile businesses or vendors at events take payment by swiping a credit card through a cube plugged into a smartphone? That’s the Square. The app and credit card device allows you to accept payment on the spot at service calls. Pay 2.75% per swipe and funds are deposited directly into your accounts in 1-2 days. The app works with both Android™ and iOS® devices and includes beefy security with data encryption and regular monitoring to keep all your transactions safe and secure. Download on Google Play and the App Store or read more at www.squareup.com.
PayPal offers a similar (triangle-shaped) device, dubbed PayPay Here. This mobile card reader accepts credit and debit magnetic stripe cards, is available on iOS®, Android™, and Windows® devices, and connects to your smartphone or tablet’s audio jack. The first reader is free, and additional readers $14.99. Transaction fees are similar to the Square. Find out more at PayPal’s website.
NKBA PLANNING APP
National Kitchen & Bath Association Planning Guidelines app was developed to reflect the current industry environment, future trends, consumer lifestyles, new research, new building codes, and current industry practices.
Available on iOS® and Android™ platforms, the app features 31 fully searchable guidelines for kitchens and 27 guidelines for bathrooms, and is illustrated in full color with plans, sections, and perspective views to show planning recommendations and code references and requirements, as well as Access Standards that consider the needs of a range of users. The app provides instant access to the same reliable information found in the spiral-bound NKBA Kitchen & Bathroom Planning Guidelines. The cost is $4.99 at iTunes or Android Marketplace. To read more about the app’s features or make a purchase, visit their bookstore at the NKBA store.
ASPE TABLES APP
This app, created by the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), was made specifically for plumbing professionals. The mobile solution app puts everything you need in one convenient place, including equations, pipe sizing data, and background information. Plumbing system design and installation projects are made easier with this easy-to-use mobile resource center. The app includes applicable data and information from the major plumbing codes and standards used throughout the U.S. It is available on Android™ and iOS®, and is free to ASPE members.