You can get a mobile app for anything these days … usually for things you never thought were needed. But if you’re a tradie who spends a lot of time on the road, there are certain certain buttons on your mobile device that could become invaluable, allowing you to be more effective and more productive.
Here are examples of smartphone and tablet apps that we think are particularly handy for any mobile worker:
1. Communication: Skype (free: iOS, Android, Windows)
Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) apps offer cheap and reliable audio calls or video chat via the internet, and Skype is the best-known of these services. Either connect up with colleagues who are on Skype for free or use Skype Credit to call other mobiles or landlines.
2. Accountancy: Freshbooks, Xero, Quickbooks, MYOB (price varies: iOS, Android)
These cloud-based apps allow you to keep track of your accounts from anywhere, and they’re so easy to use, especially when integrated with other business software. You can track hours, pay receipts and send invoices from anywhere through your mobile device.
3. Productivity: Asana (free up to 15 users: iOS, Android)
If you’re a mobile worker who likes to check off lists, Asana is ideal for you. You can “chat” with team members within tasks, assign and track jobs and attach documents. It also integrates with other software, such as Google Drive and MailChimp.
4. Navigation: Google Maps (free: iOS, Android)
Whether in the car, on foot or looking for a bus, this is an essential app to help you get around. A nice feature is being able to use the app’s GPS even when you have no internet or Wi-Fi connection.
5. Accommodation: Airbnb (free: iOS, Android)
Not only is this app handy when you’re looking for holiday accommodation, it might be invaluable to find a place to stay when you’re away from home on work duties. Even if you need a place at short notice, Airbnb can be a saviour.
6. Navigation: Navman RoadMate ($84.99: iOS)
GPS navigation systems have become so popular it’s hard to believe we survived so long with a printed Gregory’s or Melways. This iPhone-friendly version includes Yelp and Foursquare recommendations for reliable food or entertainment options.
7. Budget control: Expensify (free: iOS, Android)
This app helps you keep track of your work-related expenses while away from home. You can use the app to scan receipts using your phone camera, track time or mileage and create simple expense reports.
8. File management: Dropbox (free: iOS, Android, Windows; “pro” version $139 per year)
Dropbox makes it easy to share work files with colleagues from anywhere. You can also make files available offline.
9. Security: 1Password (free: iOS, Android, Windows)
This one is a beauty for those of us who struggle to remember complicated passwords, especially when out of town. With a single “master” password, you can secure website logins, Wi-Fi passwords and credit card numbers. With the desktop version, you can sync to mobile via Dropbox.
10. Productivity: iAuditor (free: iOS, Android, Windows)
If your work involves doing audits or inspections, this app is perfect to take on the road. You can build checklist templates, store photos and add drawings, and export files in a range of formats easily.
11. Utility: iHandy Carpenter ($2.99: iOS)
Described by its developer as the “lightest, prettiest and most handy carpenter toolkit in the world”, this app gives you a plumb bob, surface level, bubble level bar, protractor and ruler. All in your iPhone or iPad.
Then, of course, there’s GeoOP (field service management).
This cloud-based job management app is the ideal mobile work companion. You can track jobs, invoices and customers while out on the road, and it integrates with other leading business software.