What was the scope of their involvement?
They created an Android app and a web-based platform, which is a custom development. Our business starts from when the phone rings for service. Once the phone rings, we can see if there is a history, and we then schedule a call. We had developed a dispatch portion of the program which gets the information to our technicians, and this has been really convenient. I had already gone digital using an application called GoCanvas, but it could only go so far with what I wanted, which is when I brought in Chicago Software Solutions [CSS] as I needed something a little more custom. From the dispatch, the information goes to the techs. They work on tablets and use the mobile application Pendragon. They can fill out their paperwork that way, including receipts. They are also able to draw sitemaps and attach those to the property, and an email is sent out to the customer right away.
CSS also built up the credit card processing portion of the program for us. This has been really great as we were previously having a lot of issues with our other system with liability on credit cards. They were able to implement a custom API with Intuit, who I already used for credit card processing, but customized it to a way where it was a lot safer and was all uploaded into the same program. There are a few reporting options included, which allow you to see how many jobs were done, the days they were done, and it is really nice that it is all in the same place.
We have several different divisions in the business. There are 4 divisions that do different things, and we started out by making 3 of the 4 in this program, which were completed in April or May 2017. We had waited to tackle the biggest component, which is grease trap service. That division works on routing, which is a recurring service that we offer statewide for commercial restaurants. Because of the in-depth nature of that division, we wanted to wait as I knew it would be a huge project to take on. CSS provided the estimate for that earlier this year, and we have been working on that for the last few months. It is in progress, but most of it is completed.
What is the team dynamic?
There were around 5 people working on this project. We worked with Dan [Founder, Chicago Software Solutions], and Chris [Director of IT, Chicago Software Solutions], who heads up most of the upfront stuff, and there at least two or three developers that work on the backend side.
How did you come to work with Chicago Software Solutions?
A Google search led me to a few companies that I had called. Right off the bat, Dan showed interest in the project. The first time I called there, we were on the phone for about an hour, he kept asking me more questions about how the business works. He put together a proposal, which was nice, and had asked me what my budget was. The other companies I had called had mentioned their minimum is $50,000 to spend, which turned me off. They are trying to filter out people who may not be as serious; however, from a customer service standpoint, it didn’t make me want to use their business.
Dan made me feel comfortable with the company and made me decide to go with them.
How much have you invested in them?
At least $100,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with CSS in September 2016, and the work is ongoing. They do everything on the backend.