How a CMMS can help improve your maintenance ROI | Dan Roberge - Maintenance Care
About Maintenance Care
Dan: We are a CMMS, which is a computerized maintenance management system. The name of the company and the product is Maintenance Care. We help maintenance teams manage their daily work orders, preventative maintenance, all the assets in their buildings, and everything you do regularly in the maintenance team.
The biggest problem that we see daily is that the teams aren’t organized. They don’t have a good schedule for their day, they don’t maximize their time. Often, the managers themselves don’t know what their staff is doing, so our system helps organize everybody and maximizes their efforts. People come to us sometimes they’re using paper, and they’re not even using another system, not even email or anything like that, they’re using paper. They gain the most when they transition to software like ours. But, even if they’re using another tool, sometimes our software is very unique in that it focuses on day-to-day productivity.
Best Maintenance Care features
Dan: The top three maintenance care features must be work order management. Those are things that come up every day. Let’s say there’s a light bulb that goes out, so they notice it, they can submit a work order and say – hey, the light bulb is out, and the maintenance team can go and fix it. That number one is work orders that come up daily. The second one would have to be preventative maintenance. Those are things they need to schedule for compliance or just to keep the equipment up and running properly, so they know when they’re supposed to do it, and they can track when they have done it last, and so on.
And then the third one is asset management or asset tracking. They’re tracking how much they’ve spent on repairs related to their pieces of equipment. If it’s time to replace it, they can do capital planning from that and say – it’s time to replace these pieces of equipment. Those three have to be the top three, it does a lot of things, but those are the features our users like.
Maintenance Care pricing plans
Dan: We’ve been able to stay competitive in the market because we have been self-funded since the beginning. We don’t have investors that come in and say, this is what your price has to be. It has to keep going higher. We’re lucky that way, and we stay competitive. We have three plans, and one of our plans is free forever. You can sign up, it’s one user, and you have limited usage of what the software can do, but you can use it for free. And then there’s a work order edition, which is just for work orders, so you’re not doing preventative maintenance or asset tracking or anything like that, just for work orders. That one is a hundred dollars a month.
Then there is the Full version, which includes every feature and everything. It has unlimited users, so it doesn’t matter how many people you add to it, it’s included, and that one’s $200 a month if you pay yearly. That’s very competitive because you could have like 20 users on that, and you’re still only paying that $200 a month. If you look at our competitors, as soon as you get over two or three users, and sometimes they’re sharing user accounts so they can save money, you’re not getting the real productivity you need out of the tools.
How do you differentiate from your competition?
Dan: I think what happens is when you’re shopping for software, you’re looking at features, you want a red button, and it’s in the top right corner. Many people are looking for something specific, and I say you could build anything you want these days, right? Ten years ago, maybe you couldn’t find some software that wasn’t evolved enough that you were struggling with. But these days, everybody has the features, other competitors have work orders and preventative maintenance, but there are some key differences.
For us, the key difference is how we support our users. The ability for us to train them and to have unlimited customer support, they can call us anytime and talk with us over a chat function. That level of support is not available in every company. Sometimes it’s only chat support, sometimes, they don’t really care about their users. We have no long-term contracts, so our customers can cancel at any time if they want, with just a 30-day notice. It’s really important for us to focus on long-term relationships with our customers and make them successful.
It often gets overlooked when people shop for software because they focus on that button instead of those supporting it. I think that’s a big differentiator. I’d say another one would be just the fact that we’re self-funded. That allows us to make decisions that are motivated by servicing our customers and not necessarily by some investor who’s just looking to say if we can up the price because he wants to make some extra money here. We can focus on what our customers ask, and we can do that. And we’ve always been that way, and I think that’s a huge benefit.
One of the first subscription-based companies
Dan: We built this tool and formed the company three years later, in 2006, when we saw that there was a product that we were ready to sell. In those years, the landscape of the computer world wasn’t what it is today. Nobody was doing software as a service or monthly subscriptions. Nobody was doing that. It was a CD that you used to buy. We were one of the first who started selling software as a membership. I think there was another company doing it called Salesforce, they used to do memberships back then. They were kind of one of the first that started we had a similar model, and we built our software from scratch to be software as a service. And because of that, I think we were able to displace a lot of our competitors easily.
What do you think was your best growth tactic?
Dan: As soon as the iPod touch came out, it blew up our business greatly because we were giving away iPods for every subscription. It was going crazy because every maintenance person wanted to try it out. That was definitely the biggest growth tactic we’ve ever had. We’re always trying to replicate that now, thinking about what else we can give away to motivate the maintenance people. Giving away a $300 iPod touch is nothing compared to a customer’s longevity with us. For us, that was worth it at the time. That’s how much they were back then. You can get a $300 iPod touch, and we will buy them in bulk. We would buy them 50 at a time, and we would order them and then just give them out. That had to be the most successful.
Lately, we’re focusing on what we call inbound marketing. We put out a lot of social media and training videos, just videos about how to change filters or something that our maintenance customers would want to know, right? And then, we would divert them to start to nurture those leads and bring them down to a funnel to the point where they either sign up for our free version or reach out for a demo of the software. Inbound marketing has been our focus in the last probably three to four years. It’s the core of our business model. Somebody once told me you don’t want to be the person at a party that is just talking about themselves but not listening. We want to be that person that brings value. In our case, people can find resources that actually help them.
Running a small and effective team
Dan: Regarding our team, we kept it fairly small. Even though we have tens of thousands of customers across Canada, the US, and around the world, we are about 25 people. We’re not a huge team. We’ve managed to do that because we utilize a lot of software. We use HubSpot, we use communication tools that we chat with within the team, and all these things. We can keep our productivity going even though there’s a small team because we’ve automated a lot of stuff. One of the key places where we invest a lot in development, obviously, and support makes us stand out. I think investing in our support team and ensuring they’re always there to answer a phone call is important.
And that’s very important for us because we have maintenance people who maybe are not that strong with computers. They don’t want to chat, they don’t want to email, they won’t talk to somebody and say, which button do I press? We’re there to do that. I’m always confused when I find these large companies, I’m not going to name names, but these huge software names, the only time you can get ahold of them is through email. I’m pretty good with computers, and sometimes I struggle to find some features. I think that is a serious flaw in their business model. Maybe they can make money right now, but the minute a competitor comes along that offers that, people will think nothing of switching to somebody that gives them proper support.
Why did you choose not to raise any funds?
Dan: When we were working at the insurance company, we’ve had different businesses throughout the years, but I always wanted independence. We wanted the freedom to really make decisions about our customers. The insurance company I was working for was privately held, but then they went public while I was working there. I saw the transition of a company and the effects of the employees going from private to public. People were being let go not because of how well they worked but because it made the budgets look better for the public.
I was looking at that translation. I think that we need something where we have control over our own destiny, that was our goal. It wasn’t to make a bunch of money, it was just that we wanted independence. Now our competitors are getting a $70 million investment, while our model is revenue-driven. A decision-making process must be made at a certain point for us to go if we want to compete with them. Luckily, our marketing strategy’s structure has kept us from having to get investors. I think we’re going to be successful at that. I think we can keep that going because we have so much growth every year, and so many customers stay with us.
Our retention is pretty high, so we can take that money and reinvest it into marketing, and we don’t need to get investors. If somebody did come along and wanted to invest, we’d be a really good investment because we make so much money, but at the same time, that would take away our freedom. And I still want to be free, and I’d rather do that than get somebody to come in and just have different agendas. That was our decision-making, it’s not for everybody, we struggled through many years of remortgaging our own houses and getting loans and thinking we weren’t going to make it or be able to pay our bills. It’s not a fun road, but ultimately it paid off. In this case, we were lucky and fortunate to get there.
Connect with Dan
Maintenance Care: maintenancecare.com