One way that many trade professionals stay organized is by turning to technology – tablets are especially useful tools in the field. If you’re a plumber or contractor (or other tradesperson) in the market for increasing your business efficiency with a new tablet, we can be your guide. As an e-commerce plumbing supplier, we at SUPPLY.com happen to know quite a bit about the tech side of things AND a thing or two about the plumbing industry.
Why Use a Tablet?
In case you’re unsure if you even need a tablet, below are few reasons we think you could benefit. Already set on boosting your biz with a tablet trade-up? Skip on down to the “Top Tablet Picks” section below.
- Scheduling – The easier it is to plan jobs, the more work you’ll get. Use scheduling software for keeping both customers and employees organized. We recommend Service Titan as a good plumbing contractor software to use.
- Invoices – A tablet is a great way to document finances and write up customer invoices immediately. Using on-the-job technology cuts down on the chance for error and speeds up the process.
- Photos – The ability to take high-quality photos or videos of jobsite issues or progress is helpful, especially when there’s a question for a boss or a long job that changes over time. With a tablet, store everything together without having to use your personal phone or tote around a camera.
- GPS Implementation – Use GPS systems not only to navigate to a job, but to keep track of company vehicles and any other mapping needs.
Our Top Tablet Picks
Okay, so you want a tablet? Good, we have a few recommendations to help narrow down the overwhelming search. These top picks are the most durable, most efficient, and all-around-best for jobsite scenarios (not too bad for shopping an online rough-to-finish plumbing catalog either 😉).
It’s freaky fast and, with a long-lasting battery, won’t die too soon. You can work in AutoCad and Photoshop, along with other design and image-based softwares, but you can also use the Fire HD 10 for office work with Microsoft Word and Excel.
The name says it all – “outdoor business” is exactly what this tablet is made for. It’s resistant to practically every natural element – dust, cold, heat, water – and the Gorilla Glass screen can be typed on with gloves (perfect for the coldest and dirtiest situations). Additional perks include compatibility with microSD card reader, WiFi + Bluetooth Combo connection capabilities, and front and rear webcams (for the apprentice who needs to call in with a question).
On the more affordable end of the tablet spectrum, the ZenPad features both a USB port and Bluetooth, as well as dual band WiFi (this helps speed up usage and decreases connection issues). The camera features on this tablet are especially great for the trades, with features like low light, and the durable construction and high-quality screen sweeten the deal.
This tablet is made to run at a high-speed; perfect for using multiple programs at once, while also preserving the battery with the low-power design. A great feature is the laser barcode scan capability, which is useful for a warehouse or shipping setting. It can also withstand moisture and extreme temperatures, along with harsh drops.
The Toughpad is, well, tough. It is made with extreme durability and can take the daily wear-and-tear of a jobsite, all with a fanless design that passes IP65 standards that protect against particles. Its screen is made to work in bright sunlight, a major bonus for those working outside.
The lightweight Vanquisher fits in one hand, while still maintaining a large display area. According to the product description on Amazon, it meets military standards for “drops, shocks, rain, vibration, dust, and liquid.” There’s an integrated U-blox GPS module, which works without WiFi or cell signal.
To many, the iPad will always be the best tablet on the market. It’s versatile and user-friendly, especially for those who are used to an iPhone. Some models are even available with cellular capabilities, essentially making it a bigger and badder cell phone. Storage space is abundant, the camera is amazing, and Apple has accessories like keyboards and scanners available out the wazoo. Only thing; iPads aren’t made specifically to be durable, so a rugged case will come in handy.
We didn’t even get in to all of the apps available to trade pros. We recommend checking out software sites like Service Titan and Field Edge for information and free demos on how their services can help organize your business.
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