For the founders of Housecall Pro, providing home service professionals with a comprehensive, mobile app was right in their wheelhouse. How so? CTO Adam Perry-Pelletier fills us in, explaining how the app got started, why they integrated with QuickBooks Online, and where they’re headed in this installment of the Intuit Developer Spotlight series.
Getting Started at a QBO Connect Hackathon
Housecall Pro was a brand-new app in 2015. Two of the co-founders, Roland Ligtenberg and Reza Olfat gathered with other developers in the Intuit community for the 2015 QB Connect Hackathon, and their efforts earned them the best integration for an existing app – here was their pitch. It also gave them the opportunity to share their vision with a large audience as well as the chance to spend time with—and get help from—other developers in the ecosystem.
“Being part of the ecosystem allows you and your team to deploy powerful solutions to your customers that you would struggle to build on your own. It allows you to focus on what you believe your company’s superpowers really are,” Adam says.
What exactly does Housecall Pro do?
“Our app provides home services professionals the ability to run their business whether on the road or in the office,” Adam explains. “From scheduling, dispatching, invoicing, payments, online booking, homeowner remarketing and more, our system allows our customers to run their businesses effectively and grow.”
One of the Co-Founders (and SVP of Growth) Roland Ligtenberg addresses the app’s ability to help its users grow in a Firm of the Future post. He writes, “Our customers, on average, grow their business 30 percent within the first year of using Housecall Pro. Our Superpros make 209 percent more than their local competition because they use all of the features that Housecall Pro has to offer.”
Here’s a look at these features:
- Dynamic drag-and-drop scheduling/dispatch
- Automated invoicing, receipts, payments, and communications
- Automated email and postcard marketing campaigns
- Online customer booking and reputation & review management
- Full customer database and CRM system
The feature-rich app comes with a few pricing options, including Simple, Modern, and Advanced. Full details are available on their QuickBooks App Store page along with some thoughts from their customers, such as this five-star review calling out the great support users receive as well as the app’s QuickBooks Online integration.
“Housecall Pro has streamlined so many parts of our business! Scheduling, customer database, estimates and invoices, QuickBooks Online integration, marketing…it has it all! The price is awesome, too! But the REAL value is the DIRECT interaction you get with the leadership of the company. They talk to their Pros (as they call us) on Facebook daily and then have a weekly FB Live event to talk about features and industry info. I cannot overstate how important and rare this is. I dare you to find a company in this space that is this transparent and personally involved with their customers.”
Another reviewer rates the app five stars and notes, “Housecall Pro really thought through the accounting integration when it comes to QBO. Features such as job and customer tags make sorting and analyzing your income by job type super easy.”
Two Important Components: Mobility and QuickBooks Online
From the outset, Housecall Pro was designed as a mobile-only app. The founders were well-versed in what was going on with mobile technologies, having come out of Qualcomm.
“We saw that mobile technologies would benefit businesses that were mobile in nature. Most of the founding team has friends and families in the mobile home services space and we quickly found that building a robust, easy-to-use operational tool would benefit these potential customers,” Adam says.
A major benefit is time savings. Working in the field normally requires catch-up time in the office, but Housecall Pro’s mobility capabilities allow users to complete their work while they’re on the go. The team goes so far as to guarantee that users will save ten hours a week on paperwork.
The time-savings benefit is also linked to the team’s decision to integrate with QuickBooks Online, eliminating countless hours of double-entry. Their customers needed a powerful accounting system that could seamlessly integrate with their multiple business processes.
“We knew that our customers needed full accounting support and also knew that those systems and platforms were already in place,” Adam says. “You don’t have to look too deeply to see that QuickBooks was the accounting system our customers were using to keep track of their finances.”
According to Adam, working closely with the Intuit Developer team to get their app launched successfully has emphasized the fact that Intuit “recognizes the significance of their software in the day-to-day work of home service professionals.” It has also helped them fuel their success on the QuickBooks App Store.
“It allows us to concentrate our development efforts on the features that help our pros operationally when they run their business and serve their customers. It allows us to offload the bookkeeping to a system that is not only best-in-class, but also the market leader,” explains Adam.
He adds that working with the Intuit Developer team has offered additional benefits, such as receiving insights into where QuickBooks Online is going, how the ecosystem is maturing, and what they need to be working on from an integration perspective.
Keeping Their Customers First
Moving forward, the Housecall Pro team is committed to building “outstanding, best-in-class operational software for home services professionals.” This includes continuing to add features that will help their pros grow their businesses and help them provide their customers with excellent service.
Adam’s experience has given him some advice for other developers in the QuickBooks ecosystem.
“I think the big thing with building an app for the QuickBooks App Store is for developers to understand that accounting is not simple and has a long history. Although you can get started quickly, an integrated app with sufficient functionality to benefit end customers is not something that you can build out over a long weekend. Build with longer term perspective in mind, verify your progress with customers, and build the feedback into your offering.
“There are existing open source libraries for your integration language of choice. You should have a look at these and try to adopt one for your project. They handle a lot of the boilerplate code you’ll have to write and maintain to get your integration up and running,” he says.
He also says, “You cannot build your app in a silo. Having an open API is a trending requirement for building a successful ecosystem for your customers as well. Something we are holding ourselves accountable to this year and going forward, both internally and externally.”
Building a successful ecosystem is a top priority for the Intuit Developer team. We offer the support and resources (such as the Intuit Developer Support Community and the Intuit Developer Blog) that can help you get your app into the hands of the right people. The continuing Intuit Developer Spotlight series is also a great resource for learning how other developers are finding success in the Intuit space.
If you have a question or need advice, please contact us today.
And before you go, Adam has a few more words of advice: “Expect and build robust capabilities around the app integration. You will benefit from getting this part of your technology stack in good shape early in the progress. Stay up to date on the latest API changes and additions because your customers will expect it.”