-written by Jason Knott and originally featured on CE Pro.
Integrator Mosey Levy of Backstage AV in New York City says D-Tools Cloud has ‘changed the way we do business for the better.’
Like many custom integrators, Mosey Levy of Backstage AV in New York City has tried multiple pieces of software over the years, but he didn’t find the best fit for his business until he adopted D-Tools Cloud about a year-and-a-half ago.
Backstage AV has been in business for 15 years specializing in high-end residential installations, integrating audio, video, security, shades, climate control, lighting and more.
“We take a lot of pride in our work and making sure everything is super clean, but also we really rely on systems, repeatable practices and software to make the entire backend function,” says Levy. Fifteen years ago, Backstage AV used the original D-Tools SI server-based software solution.
“It was really powerful, but complicated,” recalls Levy, who realized his company was better suited for a cloud-based solution. So, over the next dozen years Backstage AV alternated across multiple cloud software solutions.
“We probably switched every three for four years because we were always looking for what makes most sense for us,” he admits. “All the software solutions that we chose were not made for the AV industry; they were just regular project management software that we had to mold ourselves around to fit into it.”
D-Tools Cloud Proposal Feature Is Tipping Point
All that bouncing around trying different software changed after Levy got a demo of D-Tools Cloud a few years ago.
“When we saw what D-Tools Cloud was doing, it was an eye-opener. We love the way they are doing proposals. It is very advanced and faster. It just makes more sense for the way our brains work. We started using D-Tools Cloud for our proposals and got great feedback from our clients and potential clients about the quotes. The way that D-Tools has grown has actually changed the way we do business for the better,” he says.
Using D-Tools Cloud, Backstage AV’s proposals are also more accurate from a labor standpoint. The system automatically attaches a labor calculation to every product that is added into the proposal.
“You can adjust your labor times to match your company,” notes Levy. “It’s so fast… you don’t have to think about what kind of labor you’re putting in a quote. You just add the products, and it does everything else for you.”
“You can adjust your labor times to match your company. You just add the products, and it does everything else for you.” -Mosey Levy, Backstage AV
When Levy says the software has made the company more efficient from the proposal all the way through to the completion of the installation, he means it. In a nutshell, when the Backstage AV team creates a proposal in D-Tools Cloud, it simultaneously makes an itemized list of all the products necessary for the project. When the proposal is approved, the Backstage AV team creates a purchase order for the equipment and marks them as ordered in the software. When the products arrive, the status is updated to “received” and placed on the shelf ready for staging.
Then, in D-Tools Cloud Levy can build a list of specific tasks, creating a project plan and easily filter them by location (such as isolating the Family Room) and attach individual products from the quote directly to the task. When the technicians arrive on the jobsite, they can access the tasks assigned to the appointment, see the list of products needed, and mark each product as “installed” once complete.
“It’s not perfect yet, but it’s really good, and the software is getting great feedback from my team,” comments Levy.
Managing Project Payments and Change Orders Are Gamechangers
Levy points specifically to the project payment schedules and change order functionality within D-Tools Cloud as a game-changer for his business.
“Managing a payment schedule of all products and labor is complex, and has always been a really hard thing for us to do accurately. When D-Tools introduced payment schedules and payment tracking within the software, that small feature helped us collect money correctly. Instead of relying on making these huge invoices, we just reference the payment schedule and the payment amount in the D-Tools proposal. It enables me to collect the right number every time,” he says.
Within the software Backstage AV can mark the payments as “invoiced,” “paid,” or “past due.” That system allows the company to track its payments and collect money without the giant task of creating complicated invoices to collect money.
The change order module has also helped transform the money-collection process at Backstage AV.
“Now if anybody sneezes, we create a change order. I was leaving money on the table previously.” — Mosey Levy, Backstage AV
“I don’t want to sound mean, but now if anybody sneezes, we create a change order. I was leaving money on the table previously. It could be a positive change order, or a change order that is in favor of the client’s wallet. Everything is documented,” explains Levy. Similar to how the payment schedule works, once a change order is accepted by the client, D-Tools Cloud tracks the payment and adds it to the schedule. Also, Backstage AV has recently adopted the D-Tools Cloud project management module.
“We’re embracing the whole thing now,” comments Levy. “Every month D-Tools releases an update to the software that just moves it forward and brings it more in line with our business. The most refreshing thing is that it’s made for us. We’re not suffering trying to adapt the way we work to fit the software. Instead, the team at D-Tools is thinking like we think, and they’re taking feedback from us all the time.”
Service Management Features Are Coming
Levy is eager for the highly anticipated service module to be added to the software. The upcoming service management suite will enable integrators to sell more service agreements and efficiently track service calls.
“Service is an issue for us,” admits Levy. “We don’t capitalize on it and we are a little bit weak on it. I think a lot of integration companies like us may not invoice for every service call. Many dealers don’t offer service contracts because they’re intimidating, but it’s money left on the table. When D-Tools Cloud adds its service module, that feature is really going to change our company. We are going to be able force the customer to choose one of the service plans at the end of every proposal, even if it is a free plan. It is going to be very clear to them the level of service they are going to get from us once the job is done. Beyond that, we are going to be able schedule service calls in the software and track if the client has exceeded their quota of service calls in the plan they have chosen.”
“When you run a company, there are only so many things you can concentrate on. As you grow, you hire more people to help fill in the gaps so you as the owner can start concentrating on other things. That’s what the software enables me to do. It takes a huge load off of me so I can spread the work out to other people. That allows me to step back and look at the company and say, ‘Where are the areas of improvement? How can we be more successful?’ That’s what the software is doing. It frees me up and helps the company grow,” he concludes.