Going Paperless: The Ultimate Guide to Gas Certificate Apps & Software
For many, the process is a necessary evil: Filling out these forms is a staple part of the job, but it’s also extremely monotonous, tedious, and time-consuming.
It should come as no surprise that gas engineers in the UK have been looking for ways to reduce the amount of time and energy the task requires. Increasingly, they’ve been turning to gas certificate apps and software to stay highly organised and reduce the burden of paperwork.
By digitising their workflow and going paperless, they are able to save hundreds of hours each year. This time can then be reinvested into completing more jobs, developing a better quality of service, or simply relaxing.
Still – for some gas engineers, it’s not only about learning what a gas certificate app can offer them. Rather, how the transition from paper can be made, how it will affect their workflow, and how existing customers will react are crucial questions to ask.
This blog will cover all of the above, but feel free to navigate here to find out more specific topics relating to gas safe certificates.
Why are gas engineers turning to gas certificate apps and software?
We can answer this question by taking a look at the current status quo and analysing its shortcomings.
Fundamentally, completing gas safety certificates on paper does the job. But in today’s world, it’s an outdated process.
First of all, paper forms need to be filled out from scratch each time. Much of this data may already be known from previous jobs for the same customer (fields like address and name), but have to be entered each time nonetheless. Apart from being time-consuming, this opens up opportunities for human error like spelling mistakes that can cause (small, yes, but highly irritating) issues for future you.
Most importantly, keeping track of all these countless forms is nigh impossible – especially if you’ve scaled up your business and are managing more customers than you’re used to. Anyone reading who still relies on paper: think about how many forms you have stored away at the moment. How many years’ worth do you keep? How much storage space are they taking up? And how many more will you have in 5 or 10 years down the road?
You also have to factor in all the time spent manually cataloguing these records and finding them at a later date when necessary.
“GES does everything I need in terms of providing certification and invoicing. Previous records are available as and when I need them and it’s all paperless. Bang on!”
– Richard Bowes, Whittle Gas
In the same way the introduction of thermal receipt printing machines in the 1960s allowed the retail industry to quickly and rapidly print detailed receipts, gas certificate apps speed up the entire process and provide several key benefits.
5 benefits to using software to issue gas safe certificates online
1) A paperless solution makes it far easier to stay organised.
Stacks of paper records build up over the years and take time to organise and sort through. Software consolidates everything in one neat and tidy place you can easily access at any time, anywhere.
2) Everything is instantly stored on the cloud where it’s extremely safe.
Reputable software providers should give you no reason to worry about the safety of your documents and data at all. For example, Gas Engineer Software uses the same type of encryption your bank does, and we will never sell or otherwise misuse your data. You can read more about this here.
3) Previous records are easily accessed in seconds.
Gone are the days of sifting through filing cabinets packed with records for your customer’s information. Finding previous records is as easy as typing in the first few letters of your customer’s details.
4) Forms come pre-populated with existing customer information and other frequent field inputs.
With software, you only have to fill out what’s unique for the job at hand. With repetitive fields pre-filled and a more streamlined workflow, you’ll save plenty of valuable time and effort.
5) Integrated form templates mean you’re always prepared for the job.
If you’ve ever forgotten to print or bring a form forcing you to return to the customer another day or work in your free time, you’re not alone. With a gas certificate app, you can rest assured you’ll have the right form without having to remember to print and bring it.
Transitioning from paper to software: 3 ways to manage customer expectations
If you’ve been working with paper for years, making the move from to digital might sound a bit jarring. In reality, software providers have made it their job to streamline this process as much as possible every step of the way. Here’s what we would do in this position:
1) Familiarise yourself with the software.
This goes for both you and any of your employees. It’s crucial to play around with the software (perhaps through a free trial or live demo) to get an idea of how it works before you fully implement it. Complete some practice certificates and send them to yourself as if you were a customer so you can see the process from start to finish.
Think of it like a relay race: you want to start running before you’ve been passed the baton so there’s no break in tempo.
2) Explain to your existing customers that you’re using a new software.
From the perspective of a long-term customer, it can be nice to get a heads-up when something has changed.
Fortunately, from your customer’s point of view, not much is different. The only noticeable thing is that they’ll be receiving their certificates via email, rather than in the post.
3) Let them know what the benefits are – for them and you.
You can also explain to them why you’ve chosen to use software, and how these benefits will trickle down to them. For example, the time saved means you can spend more time on the job and answering their queries. Not to mention – less paper is always a plus for the environment.
How to choose the right gas certificate app
With so many different software options out there, it can be a bit overwhelming to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Before starting the search for your ideal software, you should know that those which allow you to file gas safe certificates online frequently offer a useful range of additional features. Even if they are not your primary objective, it’s smart to consider the whole package, its price, and any other benefits.
Feel free to use the following as a checklist to identify the best gas certificate software for your business.
Basic requirements of good software:
- It’s stable, reliable, and keeps your data safe
- Software that is buggy, crashes, and doesn’t have the correct data safety protocols is useful to no one.
- It allows offline access
- Not all job locations will have internet access. Well-designed software allows you to work offline and sync later.
- It has built-in signature capture
- It’s not truly a paperless solution if you have to print it just to sign it.
- It’s simple and easy to use
- Gas certificate software should lessen your workload, not add to it.
- Friendly and helpful customer support
- As a paying customer, you’ll want to have someone that can answer your questions and solve your problems.
Features that a gas certificate and record app should have:
- A built-in send feature
- This will allow you to complete and send gas safety certificates to homeowners and landlords all within the app, quickly and easily.
- Get reminded of customers that will need a new gas safe certificate and boost revenue from your existing customers.
- Auto-populated fields
- Any customer data the software already knows or fields like date can be auto-populated to reduce workload.
- Customer data records
- It’s useful to be able to access previously issued certificates and find all your records in a consolidated location.
- A range of different certificate templates
- The software should ideally be an all-encompassing solution you can fully transition to.
- Add your logo to look more professional in front of customers and fit the software into your workflow.
How to use an app or software to issue gas certificates
The most important thing to remember is that the certificates – whether done on paper or digitally – are fundamentally the same. If you’ve already been filling out certificates, transitioning to software is a matter of doing a couple of test runs and seeing how the process works for you. A free trial is perfect for this – you can start one with Gas Engineer Software today.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how you would create a new record in our software:
|Step #1: Select “New Record”||Step #2: Select the Record Type||Step #3: Select an existing or create new Job|
|Step #4: Fill out the details as necessary||Step #5: Approve and preview the record||Step #6: Sign the form and email it to the customer|
Alternatively, here’s a concise flowchart:
All software providers worth their salt will offer live demos with a customer support agent who can walk you through the process step by step and answer any questions you may have. You can book yours with Gas Engineer Software here.
A standalone feature or full ecosystem?
From our experience, the ability to issue gas certificates and records online consistently ranks among the most important features for gas engineers in both small and large companies.
However, many software vendors offering a gas certificate app also include several other additional features as a sort of software bundle. Features like job management to scheduling, estimates, quotes, & invoices, a customer management CRM, and user management capabilities are common and highly beneficial for your business.
Generally, we would suggest trialling these other features to see how they could benefit your workflow. For most software developers, each feature is designed to interplay seamlessly with one another and create a cohesive ecosystem that boosts efficiency.
Is it safe to store only software copies of gas safety certificates and records?
In short, yes. With there being no tangible collection of records and certificates, opting for a software alternative might feel less secure. In reality, there are several layers of security to ensure your records are practically indestructible.
At Gas Engineer Software, we use bank-level encryption and servers that are protected behind several firewalls, isolated subnets, and hardened load balancers. We also make regular backups so that data can be restored to any second in the past 2 weeks, or any day in the past 4 years.
Compared to paper storage, which is susceptible to fire damage and being lost or misplaced, software is undeniably the more secure option.
How many gas engineers use software for certificates?
By the end of 2018, there were 140,000 registered gas engineers in the UK. At present, we remain a market leader with over 5000 companies using our software. But even when combined with other software vendors, there’s still a significant portion of gas engineers who stick with paper.
We like to think of these people as potential customers and work hard every day to showcase the benefits of software to these people.
For you, this means a chance to give yourself and your business a competitive advantage in the market. A streamlined business is one ready to grow and primed for success.
What certificates can be completed through software?
Gas Engineer Software is designed as an all-in-one job management software. It wouldn’t be much use if we only had the option to handle gas safe compliance certificates, meaning you have to straddle both the paper and paperless worlds.
Instead, we’ve gone ahead and provided a software alternative to all the forms commonly used by Gas Engineers. Here’s a full list:
Domestic Gas Records:
- Homeowner Gas Safety Record
- Landlord Gas Safety Record
- Gas Warning Notice
- Gas Service Record
- Gas Breakdown Record
Non-Domestic Gas Records:
- ND Gas Safety Record
- Leisure Industry Gas Safety Record
- LPG Gas Safety Record
- ND Gas Testing & Purging Record
- ND Catering Record
Domestic Oil Records & Miscellaneous:
- CD/10, CD/11, CD/12, CD/14, TI/133D
- Legionella Risk Assessment
- Minor Electrical Works Record
- Unvented Hot Water Cylinder
Get started with a free trial of our software
We could talk about our software and its benefits all day, every day. But a free trial is the only way you’re going to see for yourself how it will change your day.
Send your questions to our team
If you have any questions or want to learn more about taking your business paperless, we’re here to help. You can get in touch with us via phone, email, or chat. Our support library is also a great place to look for some quick help