The Complete Guide to Workforce Scheduling for Field Service Businesses

Getting organised isn't always easy, but for your plumbing, electrical, HVAC, gas, property management, and fire & security company, the effort can go a long way to getting your business on track.

More engineers and more customers lead to more complexity when it comes to scheduling. First and foremost, your scheduling strategies need to grow with your business.

Below, you'll find tips and tools that can help you create an efficient, optimised schedule.

What's the Best Way to Schedule my Engineers?

Calendar diary

Scheduling the right way impacts everything in your business, from your customer satisfaction ratings to your employee motivation. And, of course, your profits.

We recommend opting for digital workforce scheduling, but if you’re not quite ready to digitalise your scheduling, we have a solution for you, too.

Let’s tackle the basics first with these helpful tips and resources about best practices, intelligent scheduling, and more.

What Is Schedule Optimisation Software? – Commusoft

Key quote: ‘Schedule optimisation software (also known as dynamic scheduling or intelligent scheduling software) helps field service business owners and operations managers send the right engineer to the right job, by considering which engineer has the shortest travel time and also has the best qualifications or certifications to perform the repair or installation. Some solutions also offer a “map view”, where you can see where all your jobs are in relation to the one you’re booking at the moment.’

How to improve overall productivity by optimising your field service scheduling – GetApp

Key quote: ‘By taking advantage of the benefits of IoT in field service and automation, businesses can move to using predictive maintenance processes. Use sensors on equipment that can send signals and collect data to advise when equipment is broken or in need of maintenance so that your business can plan with anticipation and therefore schedule more effectively. These types of preventive processes have business benefits for both you and your customers; you get to reap more potential profit, have fewer scheduling challenges, and your customers experience less potential downtime.’


Download: Getting Started with Automated Service Scheduling


Workforce Scheduling Basics: How to Send the Right Engineer for Every Job – Commusoft

Key quote: ‘It may make sense to route a technician three miles out of his way to get the right tech to the job based on the situation, the age of that equipment, and the technician’s skill set—versus getting a technician there more directly who’s not as skilled.’

Service Scheduling Software: 8 Key Questions to Help You Choose the Right Solution – Commusoft

Key quote: ‘QUESTION #3: Does the mobile app sync with the service scheduling software automatically? Even better is to not have to manually update the schedule and push details out to your field service engineers, and instead let the software do it. With some systems, the schedule automatically syncs to the field service engineers’ mobile app, which streamlines the process and reduces confusion and no-shows.’

Field Service Scheduling Software and What You Need to Know – Field Service News

Key quote: ‘The reason why scheduling is so excruciating of a task is that there are numerous factors that a field service organisation would need to create and evaluate to determine the optimal assignment for each field service engineer. This is a time-consuming activity that requires an extensive amount of computational power to achieve. Many companies have suffered from a loss of time and resources in dealing with confusion and potential human error. The solution is Dynamic Scheduling Software.’

Save Time, Earn More: How to Create the Most Efficient Job Schedule – Commusoft

Key quote: ‘Consider introducing a service agreement plan, where customers pay monthly for a certain number of maintenance visits. This will give you a good idea of how many jobs you’ll need to do each month to fulfil those contracts.’

How Can my Business Survive the Busy Season?


Whether you’re a plumbing and heating company that gets slammed in the winter, or a pest control business that’s crazy busy in the summer, the busy season creates scheduling (and other) challenges.

Here are resources to help you even out the feast-or-famine nature of field service work with optimised scheduling, smart engineer management, and service reminders.


How Everyone Wins With Service Agreements – Contracting Business

Key quote: ‘Because maintenance work can be scheduled at the company’s convenience, it’s usually performed during seasonal slowdowns or other periods of slack demand.  This means hourly employees have work to do and are not sent home.’

How to Hire, Retain and Manage Your Engineers During the Busy Season – Commusoft

Key quote: ‘Automate as many tasks as you can. For example, schedule your email newsletters and blog posts in advance, use automated service reminders, and set up a digital invoicing and payment system so you don’t need to manually send invoices.’

Help Employees Avoid Burnout During Busy Seasons – Construction Executive

Key quote:Hire extra staff about a month before the busy season starts. You want to allow time for new employees to be oriented before the busy season hits, not during it. Otherwise, training new staff will be another task employees don’t have time for.’

How to Prepare for the Heating Season—And Skyrocket Your Winter Profits – Commusoft

Key quote: ‘Your plan for handling the busy heating season might include hiring temporary staff, implementing new productivity tools, triaging so your engineers tackle the most urgent jobs first, and taking steps to spin the busy winter into a profitable summer.’

Maximize Productivity with Effective Employee and Vehicle Scheduling – Fleetio

Key quote: ‘Employee scheduling not only helps ensure that you always have someone available to service your customers but that you are doing so in the most efficient way possible. With employee scheduling, you can optimize where and when engineers serve customers to reduce non-revenue generating periods—the time employees spend travelling or waiting between jobs.’

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Service Reminders – Commusoft

Key quote: ‘You may fear you’re annoying customers with emails or texts reminding them of needed boiler servicing, but in reality you’re doing them a favour. Without your reminders, your customers may wind up with no heat in the middle of winter, expired gas certificates, or worse.’


Download: How to Creative a Powerful Service Reminder

Should I Offer Emergency Services?


Offering 24/7 emergency services is another scheduling challenge. These resources can help you decide whether it’s right for you—and, if it is, how to make it happen.

Adding emergency services can boost your profits, but there are pitfalls. Here’s what you need to know:

 Should You Offer 24/7 Emergency Services? Tips & Best Practices – Commusoft

Key quote: ‘When an emergency call comes in, you may need to reschedule or reroute your engineers to get someone to the emergency ASAP—and an intelligent scheduling solution can help keep everything on track.’

Irregular Work Scheduling and Its Consequences – Economic Policy Institute

Key quote: ‘Less than 11 percent of workers on “regular” work schedules report “often” experiencing work-family conflict in contrast with as many as 26 percent of irregular/on-call shift employees, and 19 percent of rotating/split shift workers. Similar differences appear for reporting that they “never” experience work-family interference.’

How AI in Field Service Management Can Streamline Your Business – Capterra

Key quote:Ten percent of emergency field service work will be both triaged and scheduled by artificial intelligence by 2020.’

How to start a plumbing business – Startups

Key quote: ‘Long-term projects such as bathroom fittings which take weeks of work may give you a nice lump some of cash but if you’re not being paid until the job is finished how will that affect cashflow? Emergency call-out jobs, where you invoice and receive payment on the spot, can be a much steadier form of income during the early days.’

Free Job Status Spreadsheet

Computer tech reports

If you need help with organising and tracking your jobs—but aren’t quite ready to go digital—download our free job status spreadsheet. This simple tool is loads more helpful and efficient than a manual system (or no system at all).

Just click below, fill out the form, and you can download your spreadsheet for free!

Easily track and organise your jobs with this simple Excel tool. Designed to take the stress out of managing your schedules, it’s a great tool to get you started before implementing the more powerful alternative, and go paperless with diary management software.

Job Management Spreadsheet on a computer screen with a tablet and hourglass over the top - download your free job status spreadsheet