From Netflix and Apple Music to Dropbox and Xero, there’s a subscription for everything these days. There’s even a subscription to help you manage all your subscriptions!
Unless your company lives under a Windows 98-shaped rock, you probably use subscription-based software at work. Most providers charge customers a monthly fee to use their software-as-a-service (SaaS). Some even let you trial it for free.
Several field service management firms now offer their software completely for free. The catch? You have to upgrade to a paid subscription to access its most powerful features.
For some businesses, so-called ‘freemium’ software is fine; for others, free field service management software just won’t cut it.
We’ve spent hundreds of hours researching the best solutions to help you decide whether free field service management software is right for you. Read on for our top five picks, or request quick quotes for paid solutions.
The Best Free Field Service Management Software for Small Business
Our research has found that these are the five best free field service management software programs available:
Best overall free field service software provider
Has an excellent smartphone app to connect you with your drivers
Strong asset management features, but only supports 25 work orders on the free version
Offers a huge range of helpful features, but that can feel daunting at first
Brilliant drag-and-drop interface but can only schedule up to 20 jobs per month
This Australian field service software provider wears a commitment to customer service on its sleeve. That’s why even the free subscription includes 24/7 live chat support and a thorough online knowledgebase. It’s pretty powerful for a free solution, but you’ll want to upgrade to the Pro+ tier for access to asset management features.
Loc8 Free Features
- Jobs scheduling and dispatching
- Quoting and invoicing
- Calendar and mapping dashboards
- Pre-built reports
Fun fact: Loc8 Founder and CEO, David Hodges, has 25 years of experience in the software industry. He started asset management firm Smartpath in 2004, laying out the blueprint for what was to become Loc8.
2. Branch Messenger
Branch Messenger is the ultimate app to keep your mobile workforce connected. Employees can install the app on their phones to view each other’s schedules, set their availability, swap shifts and chat with managers. The free version supports all this in real time, while the paid versions introduce useful features like geofencing.
Branch Messenger Free Features
- Unlimited locations, employees and managers
- Private and group chats
- Team activity feed
- 24/7 email support
Fun fact: The Branch Messenger app has tens of thousands of active users from big clients like Walgreens and Domino’s.
UpKeep’s maintenance management features help companies with lots of assets and equipment to look after. The software also offers easy work order scheduling, thanks to a clearly laid out dashboard. The only problem is the free version supports just 25 work orders. Upgrading to a premium subscription is the only way to get around this limit.
UpKeep Free Features
- Unlimited work order creation
- Unlimited assets and spare parts recording
- Barcode scanning for asset and inventory tracking
- In-app messaging
Fun fact: UpKeep sends its customers a special gift for every company they refer that signs up to the service.
Fergus’s logo is a dog, which is appropriate because the software will quickly become your best friend. It includes invoicing, scheduling and work order history features, plus there's a mobile app for field service technicians. Best of all, the free version offers all the features of the paid versions. In terms of sheer generosity, no other freemium software comes close.
Fergus Free Features
- Real-time employee location tracking
- Detailed quoting tools, with customizable templates
- Drag-and-drop job scheduling
- Automatic invoicing
Fun fact: Fergus founder Dan Pollard used to be a plumber. He came up with the idea for the software when he realised how little visibility he had into the financial workings of his plumbing business.
ServiceTrade helps repair technicians deliver great customer service with a raft of features for work order management. Standouts on the free version are the simple drag-and-drop interface and a digital quotes creation tool that’s much faster than paper-based quoting. On the downside, free users can only schedule up to 20 jobs per month, and have limited access to customer support.
ServiceTrade Free Features
- Daily jobs dispatch board
- Map-based scheduling
- Unlimited electronic quote creation
- Plentiful support documentation
Fun fact: ServiceTrade runs software certification courses to facilitate speedy staff onboarding and outstanding customer service.
Pros of Free Field Service Management Software
You Don’t Have to Spend Money to Make Money
The biggest reason to go freemium is of course that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. In other words, you can enjoy the benefits of better job scheduling or faster client invoicing without paying for them.
Say Goodbye to Buyer’s Remorse
Sometimes a seven-day free trial just isn’t enough time to make up your mind about a product. But with free field service software, you have all the time in the world, meaning you can make a truly informed purchasing decision. If, at any point, you want to turn your free trial into a paid subscription, your supplier will be more than happy to oblige.
Cons of Free Field Service Management Software
Paying Customers Take Priority
The customer is always right; but paying customers are more right than others. That’s why companies that provide free field service management software tend not to provide much by way of ongoing updates or support. Given the choice between replying to a help request from a free user and a paid subscriber, support agents favor the latter every time.
Prepare for Tradeoff(s)…
Look beyond the appealing price tag and you’ll find all free field service software sacrifices something important. The free version of Fergus, for example, offers zero integrations with popular accounting tools like Xero and Quickbooks. HouseCall Pro recently got rid of their free service tier entirely, causing customers to get hit with unexpected charges. Not great.
It Can Kill Growth
Every cash-strapped startup wants to save money, but never at the expense of growth. Yet that’s exactly what can happen if you use free field service software that doesn't scale with your business. If you need more users or you’re desperate for a certain feature, do yourself a favor and spend the extra few dollars on a paid subscription.
As you can see, free field service management software has its pros and cons. On the one hand, everyone loves a freebie, especially one that can boost your bottom line. But it cuts both ways; freemium software is often free because it offers limited functionality and support. In the long run, not only is this unhelpful for your growth – it may actually stifle it.
What’s great about the free field service software packages highlighted on this page is that there’s an optional paid version of each one. So, you can use the free version for as long as you like, but you’ve always got the option to upgrade if you need to.
Sometimes, the best things in life really are freemium.
Are you in the market for field service software? We can help you find the best deals. Choosing from hundreds of suppliers can be daunting, but if you tell us what you’re looking for, we’ll point you towards the best solutions for your business.