Promptly dispatching mobile employees or contractors can be a challenge, particularly if your business deals with client emergencies, or requests come in last moment for any other reason. Making sure that your service staff can be scheduled in an acceptable timeframe is a challenge that requires strong coordination skills from the service team dispatcher. Is that you? Then keep reading!
There are many field service management apps that can do everything – from inventory tracking to client billing. Many of these can be heavy on your budgets, and quickly rack up a bill beyond your expectations.
But today we’re looking at apps that are perfect for quickly dispatching employees to locations. And if you’re a small business that is looking to do just that (without all the bells and whistles), we’re sure that you can appreciate some free options.
Many small businesses have limited budgets and need to stretch their resources as far as possible. Finding a free dispatch app is a great way to save money on staffing and operational costs, while still being able to effectively manage their field service workforce!
What is the difference between dispatch software and scheduling software?
Field service dispatch software is used to assign work orders to field technicians and track their progress. This software can help businesses to improve efficiency by ensuring that technicians are quick to arrive for the most important tasks.
Field service scheduling software is used to create and manage schedules for field technicians. This software can help businesses to ensure that available technicians are always on the clock to meet customer needs.
|Field service dispatch software||Field service scheduling software|
|Focus||Day-to-day operations||Long-term planning|
|Best for||Quickly and efficiently dispatching field technicians to customer locations||Planning and managing field service schedules in advance|
|Key features||Distributing work orders, tracking progress, communicating live||Creating and managing schedules|
The following list focuses on dispatch software aspects, although some of the apps may have decent scheduling features as well.
Free field service dispatch software
Zelos Team Management
Zelos is a very simple human-centric app that lets you dispatch tasks and service requests to your staff. The jobs can be targeted based on skills, location or any other data points, and each new task will instantly notify the relevant team members through smartphone notification or email. The tasks can be manually appointed, or picked up on a first come first serve basis. All activities produce detailed hour reports that are easy to export to payroll and billing.
The standard subscription is free forever, and the number of team members in each project is not limited. The premium prices are also fixed subscriptions, and not dependent on the number of app users.
- Perfect for: quickly dispatching to contractors and freelancers, also at scale
- Weaknesses: no auto-scheduling, inventory or routing
- Special powers: live task pickup and self-scheduling
Fergus is a top-rated job management software that comes with a simple drag and drop interface for assigning jobs to team members, sending them instant job notifications. Fergus provides a perfect visual overview of upcoming jobs and schedules, making it easy for everyone to see all their scheduled jobs and appointments in a clear and organized manner.
The free plan comes with unlimited users, but omits some advanced features such as GPS tracking. The paid plans charge monthly per user.
- Perfect for: assigning work to full time workforce
- Weaknesses: the free version is more limited than other apps on the list
- Special powers: assigning work to groups who regularly work together
Workiz is a field service management platform with real-time dispatch features for quickly assigning jobs to available team members. Staff can easily be filtered based on their location, skills and expertise. Workiz comes with a handy client portal for submitting work requests, and offers multiple features for e-mailing and texting updates to clients.
The free package consists of scheduling and basic invoicing. Workiz offers a wide range of additional features in their paid tier, so it’s an easy to upgrade when you want to extend your work volume, or start running client payments through the same platform.
- Perfect for: when you always need to keep your customers in the loop
- Weaknesses: staff cannot interact through the mobile app
- Special powers: customer portal
Kickserv is a basic platform for scheduling jobs and tracking time. You can deliver notifications to the tech when they are scheduled for new jobs, and send reminders to customers to notify that the service tech is on the way.
The free account comes with basic dispatch and scheduling. Upgrades give access to reports and tracking time, expenses and locations. As the app focuses on customer payments in USD and QuickBooks integration, it can mostly be recommended for doing business in the U.S.
- Perfect for: when you need an easy portal for dispatching staff to client orders
- Weaknesses: free plan requires you to run payments through the Kickserv portal
- Special powers: easy site documentation through mobile apps
Why you should use a devoted app for service dispatch
If you’ve ever dispatched a volume of jobs over traditional communication channels like phone calls, email, text messaging or group messaging, you’re probably familiar that issues are most likely to arise with all of the following:
Inaccurate and incomplete information
When dispatchers rely on manual communication like phone calls to gather information, it can be difficult to ensure that all of the necessary information is collected. Making human errors while communicating complex information can lead to major problems with scheduling, dispatching, and billing.
Poor communication and loss of data
When dispatchers and technicians communicate over the phone, it can be difficult to get all of the necessary information across. This can lead to misunderstandings and delays in service. It can also be problematic to track the status of service calls or the location of field technicians.
Inefficient use of time and increased stress
When dispatchers spend a lot of time on manual communication, it can take away from their ability to focus on meaningful tasks. They are often under pressure to answer calls quickly, gather accurate information, and schedule and dispatch service calls efficiently. Having to manage service calls through inefficient mediums is not an optimal way to use their time, and can lead to stress and burnout.
Field service dispatch software can help to automate many of the tasks involved in managing field service dispatch. This can help to improve accuracy, efficiency, and communication.
If your perfect match isn’t on the list, you can also take a look at our shortlist on free apps for mobile workforce management.
It’s important to consider the specific needs of your organization when choosing software for a core function such as field service dispatch. Our blog post about how to choose field service software can help you plan the selection process.