Call Center + Field Practices

In too many companies, dispatchers and technicians clash. Getting them to coordinate, or even just coexist, can be as simple as a ridealong or job shadow that creates better understanding. The efficiency that fosters is invaluable.


Pulling Permits

Pulling Permits: A chore with a purpose

The permitting process can be tedious. Pulling permits often feels like one more hoop to jump through just to get your job done.

True—but permits are a helpful necessity in the trades. They show your customers that you are following codes and laws. They also present you as a professional who knows what you’re doing.

Don’t look at the permitting process as a step that slows you down, says Vanessa Gonzales, co-owner and founder of Albuquerque Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. and a ServiceTitan employee. 

“Permitting has been important to us from the beginning of our business,” she says. “We want to protect our customers and our business.”

Gonzales says her company went so far as to create a position with the duty of making sure all permits are pulled and attached to each job.

“This person also calls the customer and schedules the inspections for them,” she says. “We found this can set us apart from other contractors we are bidding against.”

Why is permitting necessary?

Pulling permits gives a layer of protection to contractors. This allows an expert not associated with your company to come out and check your work, ensuring everything is code compliant, legal and safe. 

Jobs that could require permitting and inspections include:

  • Water heater installation

  • Installation of new electrical panels

  • Yardlines (water and sewer)

  • HVAC equipment installations

  • New utility installation 

  • Mercury Tests

  • Remodels

Steps in the Permitting process

Techs are able to submit the information required for pulling all needed permits. Contractors can trigger a form to appear in ServiceTitan when a certain task is chosen in the pricebook. 

Once the form is completed, it can automatically be emailed to the person responsible for pulling the permit and updating the status. As long as you have the permit number field and permit status turned on, you will be able to pull a custom report to track and update the team. 

Contractors will want to create a place where all that research will live. That could be in a three-ring binder, a Google drive, a ServiceTitan content portal or a shared drive on your company’s network.

It’s important for contractors to define which jobs require the company to pull permits, and who will be responsible for pulling the permits on a daily basis. That might be the responsibility of a dispatcher, CSR, install coordinator/project manager or a technician.

Pro tips

Here are a few more bits of advice to make the permitting process flow smoothly:

  • Define the process for after-hours or emergency calls. Determine how the person responsible for permits will get those that are needed on weekends or holidays. 

  • Decide where will you track permits pulled, and what stage they are in. You might pick a shared Excel spreadsheet, a Google drive or a task-management system.

  • Add all required permit numbers to each job invoice.

  • Review your reporting monthly and quarterly. Complete a YOY every month to spot trends and areas for improvement. 

  • Make sure this process is set up and everyone complies with it. 

  • Consider incentivizing the team to and rewarding the department that pulls the most permits and has the highest first-pass rate from the inspections.

ServiceTitan Best Practices

  • Use tags to identify what stage a job is in during the permitting process. Make sure the tag can be seen when the job is on the dispatch board.  

  • Permitting can be tracked and monitored with Task Manager. This will help make sure nothing is missed. 

  • Set a form trigger when the job types requiring permits are selected. This will pull your permit form for a tech to add the required information. 

  • Schedule a report on all jobs requiring permits to run every morning, and email the person responsible for pulling permits. 

Remember: Pulling permits shows customers you are following code and that you know your job. Efficient outcomes will grow your reputation with inspectors—as well as within your customer community.

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