What is a Work Order: How, When, and Why to Use Them
What is a work order?
A work order is a document that service-based businesses use to outline the details of a job before it begins. Typically, work orders are created after you’ve received a work request or after your client has approved a quote. The work order helps to ensure that you, your client, and your crew are on the same page and that you have all the details you need to get the work done. Work orders are often used to:
- Schedule employees or contractors for specific jobs
- Determine which tools or supplies will be needed in the field
- Ensure consistent pricing across quotes, invoices, and payments
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What should I include in a work order?
The purpose of a work order is to make sure you have all of the information you need to get a job done. Here are the elements you should always include:
1. Client details
Include the client’s name and address, as well as any additional contact information, like an email address and phone number. If the job site is located at another address, make sure to include it as well.
2. Job details
Job details cover things like whether the job is one-off or recurring, when it’s scheduled for, and what the job number is. You can also add details such as whether the client will be billed before or after the work is done.
3. Line items
Line items detail the specific tasks needed to complete the job and their associated costs. For example, a landscaper might include separate line items for mowing and a fertilizer application.
4. Contractor or employee information
Work orders should have information about the contractor or employee scheduled to do the job, such as their name and the date and time they are booked for.
You can also attach a timesheet if you track your team’s time.
5. The total cost of the job
Typically, the cost of the job on your work order will be the same as what you indicated on the initial quote. It should include individual pricing for each line item before taxes or discounts.
6. Additional information
Finally, to get the most out of work orders, include any additional details that will help your team complete the job.
These can include client notes and requests, images, or important details whether the job requires specific tools or which company vehicle to use.
How do I make a work order?
Work orders can be added to your existing job workflow. The typical home service workflow looks something like this:
There are two ways to make work orders:
Option 1: Make a work order using a word processor or spreadsheet
To create a work order, you can make one manually by hand or using a word processor or spreadsheet. Manual work orders are harder to create and leave more room for error. Plus, they’re more difficult for employees to update or edit based on changing requirements or client requests at job sites.
Option 2: Make a work order using software
The other way to create work orders is with software that’s built for the purpose.
Job management software such as Jobber can facilitate your entire workflow, from the initial work request to payment.
Digital work orders also make it easier for your employees and contractors to find information about the job and to add images, notes, and additional line items while they’re in the field.
Why should you use work orders?
Work orders can streamline your service business’ workflow. For example, work orders can help you to:
1. Keep job details and pricing consistent
Work orders help to keep job details and pricing consistent and accurate, from the initial site visit to sending the invoice. This is especially true if you’re using job management software since it automatically tracks job details, client information, and pricing from start to finish.
For example, if you jump straight from quote to invoice, you have no formal record of the actual work that was done. This means that you could either end up either charging a client too much or too little in labor or material costs based on what it took to complete the job.
2. Improve employee efficiency
Work orders help your contractors and employees to understand what their tasks are, what tools they should bring along, and whether any materials or supplies are needed for a given job. This means that they can prepare for a job in advance, arriving on the job site with everything they need to get the job done.
This saves time and money spent making multiple trips to a job site or waiting around for supplies or tools to be dropped off due to a lack of information about a task.
3. Record important client notes and requests
Working in and around a client’s home requires special care, which means that sometimes jobs come with special requests or instructions.
For example, you may require a key or passcode to enter a backyard. Or, a client with a new baby may prefer that you call when you arrive instead of ringing the doorbell.
Work orders help you to ensure that important information is passed on to your workers before they head to a job site, keeping your clients happy.
4. Organize your workflow once and for all
Work orders are an essential part of an organized workflow. Not only do they help you to schedule your workers and record job details, but they also help you to create accurate and clear invoices that encourage clients to pay in full and on time.
Part of running a successful home service business means providing your clients with a professional and straightforward experience, both on the job and in the office.
An organized and considered workflow keeps you on the ball and ensures that you have strong communication within your team.
And better communication leads to happier clients, efficient workers, and the potential to increase your profit.
Want to see how work orders would impact your business operations? Create a free work order and see for yourself.