A Paperless Business System

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A Paperless Business System

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No Excavato Hire Experience? No Worries. You still can own a Diggermate Location

The paperless business system is the foundation for the Diggermate business and is something that our franchisees rave about after using it for a few months. It totally encapsulates everything that you need in your business without a single piece of paper being used. It was something that I aspired to achieve with the business from the start but pulling off this task and satisfying all the criteria it needed was no easy feat.

Getting Out Of The Gates

When I started Diggermate, I was running another business that had 10 staff and a very thorough business management system. The intense role I assumed in the previous business took a lot of my energy. So when I kicked off Diggermate as my side hustle, I needed to implement systems that would allow me to run the business without too much manual labour. I hated paper work and hated filing cabinets even more so i wanted a paperless business system but more importantly I wanted a system I could run from anywhere.

In early stages of Diggermate I put together a series of systems which, combined and run in a sequential order allowed the business to operate from my phone, these consisted of the following: 

  1. An invoicing app from the App Store
  2. A Google calendar specifically for the business
  3. A series of templated text messages which were stored in my notes section of my phone
  4. A digital waiver system
  5. A payment gateway app from the App Store

I thought it was a cracker, five or so different pieces all perfectly working on my phone without the need for any paperwork to run the business.

Admin Tasks Took a Considerable Amount of Time in the Evening

This is the same paperless business system I still had when I kicked off my first couple of franchise locations. During the following year, the business grew to have five machines plus attachments. It was at this point that it became apparent that it was not a viable option to do the daily management of inventory and invoicing this was any more. The time consumed during the process began to become unbearable.

Before, it only took an hour or so for me to run the business in the morning no matter how many machines I own. However, the admin operations in the evening became time-consuming taking me at least two hours a night to finish. These include:

  1. Making sure all the bookings were locked in
  2. Changing bookings
  3. Answering questions to know whether things were available or not

It was like I’m chained to my phone from when my kids went to bed till the time I had to go to bed myself. The Diggermate franchisees from other locations were also experiencing the same situation. It went from being a simple business to run with very minimal time spent, to being bogged down with admin till all hours of the night. Something had to change.

This is the same paperless business system I still had when I kicked off my first couple of franchise locations. During the following year, the business grew to have five machines plus attachments. It was at this point that it became apparent that it was not a viable option to do the daily management of inventory and invoicing this was any more. The time consumed during the process began to become unbearable.

Before, it only took an hour or so for me to run the business in the morning no matter how many machines I own. However, the admin operations in the evening became time-consuming taking me at least two hours a night to finish. These include:

  1. Making sure all the bookings were locked in
  2. Changing bookings
  3. Answering questions to know whether things were available or not

It was like I’m chained to my phone from when my kids went to bed till the time I had to go to bed myself. The Diggermate franchisees from other locations were also experiencing the same situation. It went from being a simple business to run with very minimal time spent, to being bogged down with admin till all hours of the night. Something had to change.

Climbing To The Summit

It was time to build something similar to that which I had in my previous business. I had gone through the pain of building and implementing software programs before in my boat dealership. I was probably more comfortable with taking on this project than I was trying to reverse the excavator off the trailer for the first time. The priorities I set out were non-negotiable. The system must have these things to be successful:

  1. Manage Inventory
  2. Allow customers to book themselves in online
  3. Handle waivers
  4. Take Payment
  5. Send invoices
  6. Manage notifications via SMS & Email
  7. Allow flexible pricing across locations, so each location to manage its prices according to competitors in their area.
No Excavator Hire experience? You can still become a Diggermate Operator

Failed Over and Over Again...

I initially looked into industry-based systems for product rental. Over several weeks, I signed up and paid for plenty of trial versions of software. I built out the system, picked out the problems, placed tickets with support to get answers. I sat up all night to talk to the developers and even tried to modify things to achieve our targets. I hit brick walls, found show stoppers, ranted and raved at my computer. I even threw my mouse across the room (just a few times) and lost a lot of sleep and lost a lot of money in the process. In all honestly, I’ve failed over and over again for a period of about nine months.

I think I tested out about twenty-five systems and went down into the rabbit hole seriously with four of them, each time ending up with the same result– which was the system could do 95% of what I wanted but I was tripped up on the last 5%. Did someone say frustrating… I thought I was prepared for this project, but as my wife would be a testament to, maybe I bit off more than I could chew.

Building My Own System Was Too Complex...

After picking up my dummy out of the sand, I next went down the path of building my own system from scratch. I dug the cd of the FileMaker software I used before and set out on that path.

I ended up employing someone who quoted me a ballpark for fifty to one hundred thousand dollars to complete the project. With not many options left, I went with it into phase one. Eventually, the task became too complex with too many considerations from too many different parties and the project fell in a dead heap.

Taking The Challenge Once Again...

I eventually mustered up enough courage to pick up my dropped bundle and go again, this time looking outside the square. I left the hire industry alone and looked in all sorts for different business categories. Eventually, I found a system that offered a glimmer of hope. This system popped up months ago and I wrote it off after testing the trial version.

But after hitting so many walls and looking at so many business “operational changes”, the road blocks which were showstoppers looked more like bush walking tracks that I could stroll straight through this time. 

A glimmer of hope after having a few more gray hairs

So I took my experience from the previous months of rinsing my bank account and late-night frustrations then went about modifying the systems and making the tweaks required to fulfil my non-negotiables.

After almost 12 months, a few new grey hairs and enough money to take my three kids and wife on two around the world holidays, I finally cracked it. The system came from nowhere near the place I was looking for it. However, because of the pain I went through, the hurdles I jumped and the roadblocks I retreated from, I found a system that’s better than I initially hoped for.

What They Say About The Paperless Business System

I launched it at the start of the 2018 financial year. The Diggermate Group found instant relief because of it. We immediately eliminated multiple hours in the evening of booking administration tasks. This new paperless business system covered our invoicing and payments, it also eliminated double bookings via thorough inventory control, it has waivers are all tied to bookings to satisfy our insurance and lastly and most importantly has in depth reporting functionailty to allow each location to montior its performance. 

Our franchisees who believe they aren’t good on technology, like Garry in Gympie who claims he will “break the internet if he touches it” even loved the system. “It’s great! If I can use it, anyone can use it!” Wade at Northlakes, who ran a franchise hire business in Africa before returning home to start Diggermate says, “This system is amazing. It’s really efficient and way better than anything I was provided in my previous franchise business.” Even two years in for Craig at Diamond Valley and he is still finding hidden gems that will increase the ease of running his business.

Diggermate Paperless Business System

Paperless Business System -- All Handled In the Digital World

The paperless business system of Diggermate continues to evolve! The only piece of paper you will touch when running the diggermate business is the expense receipts you receive when spending money. Other than that, it’s all handled in an online world that you can operate from your phone, your iPad or laptop or all of them at once.

In the video below, we show you one of the success stories in the Diggermate Family. Dalai, former Sunshine Coast franchisee (and now Diggermate Franchise Manager!) was already a business owner prior to Diggermate. She did not have any mini excavator experience prior to her handling the Diggermate Sunshine Coast. With her coffee shop business, she realised that it had too much overhead so she looked for better businesses that would offer more sustainability. Hear her story and how she was able to build one of the best-performing Diggermate locations!

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If you want to explore the option of Diggermate in your region, click on the link below and fill out the application. We’ll be in touch with your shortly

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