This is a re-print of a blog article that Design Build Planners wrote for Lowes. It is the first in a series called "Tech Tools of the Trade." CLICK HERE to view this article published on the LowesForPros website. Upcoming topics include "Utilizing Houzz Ideabooks for Project Design and Development" and "Using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software." In the remodeling industry, not all “tools” are kept in a tool box or belt. Many crucial business tools are software and technology. The internet has been a game changer for many industries and remodeling is no exception. There are many software programs and websites that can greatly assist remodeling companies in many ways. Each department, accounting, marketing, sales, and production can find help with today’s technology. For some smaller companies, these departments may be compromised of just one or two people wearing multiple hats. Years ago, when I was a carpenter in the field, the newest technology was a pager. Yes, now you can probably guess how old I am! At the time, the thought of improved access and communication was exciting. That was until I received numerous pages, seemingly each time I was at the top of a ladder. Smart phones are now a staple of most people’s lives at both home and work. A phone yes, but it is really so much more. Smart phones offer the combined uses of many electronic items in a compact device. Smart phones are mini computers that provide internet access, a calendar, a camera, and oh yes, a pager to send text messages. Having a smart phone with internet access allows one to download dozens of useful business apps. The word “app” is the commonly used, shortened term for application. It is an application of a software program available via the internet. Most apps are free to download. The service that the app provides may have a fee for its use. I believe a “must have” app for a remodeling company is one for credit card processing. There are many companies that offer credit card merchant services with an app and swipe attachment for a smart phone. The attachment allows you to swipe the credit card, process the charge, and have the client sign on the phone’s touch screen! Two popular service providers are PayPal and Square. This tool of convenience provides several advantages for the different departments. The sales staff can speed up the sales cycle by taking a credit card payment on the spot. Waiting for a check or financing can slow the process down. Sometimes the additional time will cause the client to change their mind about the remodeler or even the project. Furthermore, when a sales rep asks a homeowner for a deposit, if they do not have the funds available, they may balk and stall for no other reason than not wanting to share that information. The ability to accept a credit card payment makes it much easier and for a client to say “yes” and move forward. The accounting department gets an organized, electronic itemization of payments collected for analysis, reports, and transfer to the company’s financial tracking program such as QuickBooks or an Excel spreadsheet. These apps and websites also allow a company to create invoices for clients. Additionally, funds are typically available faster as opposed to endorsing and depositing a check in the bank and then waiting for it to clear. Credit Card Processing For Remodelers is beneficial for both the company and the homeowner. Are you interested in becoming a Design Build Planners Preferred Remodeler or Builder? CLICK HERE for more information.