5 Questions to Ask When Conducting an Energy Audit Software Comparison

Jason Lopez | Sep 22, '21

5 Questions to Ask When Conducting an Energy Audit Software Comparison

Energy audit software comes in many shapes and sizes, from bare-bones apps to multifeatured platforms. (Or, some lighting retrofitters choose to cobble together their own solutions using spreadsheet software like Excel or Google Sheets.)

The differences between auditing tools – in terms of capabilities, usability, extensibility, support, and other factors – can be vast.

So why is it that, when conducting an energy audit software comparison, so many lighting retrofit businesses focus almost exclusively on cost…instead of value?

Purchasing energy audit software is an investment in your business. And as with any investment, true value is revealed over time. As you conduct your energy audit software comparison, we encourage you to think about how each option will positively or negatively impact your business as a whole … now and into the future.

Here are some key questions to ask when performing an energy audit software comparison:

1. What Do We Need the Software to Do Right Now?

“Use the right tool for the job,” goes the old saying.

These wise words don’t just apply to hammers and screwdrivers. Your energy audit tools should be well-suited to your current needs, as well.

Choosing the right energy auditing software for the job starts by understanding what the job is.

If your current lighting retrofit workload consists of one or two simple projects per quarter, for instance, a relatively lightweight software platform might be appropriate (keep your growth goals in mind, however). Simpler energy audit software requires less training time, but there is often an efficiency trade-off when it comes to doing largescale data entry.

On the other hand, larger, more complex projects typically call for expanded software capabilities. No-frills energy audit tools may lack the features you need to manage the data collection demands of a national rollout that includes dozens of sites.

How Does SnapCount Address This?

Powerful software platforms such as SnapCount include features that will help keep your company organized and efficient throughout the lifecycle of a retrofit project of any size, from the audit, to the proposal, to ordering materials, to project management.

2. Will We Need the Auditing Software to Scale With Our Business?

One of the drawbacks of making an energy audit software comparison based on price alone is that it fails to account for how your company’s needs may change in the future.

If, down the road, you find yourself needing a more advanced software platform (for example, you want to take on some of the larger projects we mentioned above), that low-cost or free solution may not seem like such a bargain after all. It’s not just the price of buying new software. Switching platforms requires retraining your team and changing your processes, taking up a significant amount of time and resources.

In the long run, it may be more cost-effective to invest in energy auditing software that will scale with your business.

How Does SnapCount Address This?

SnapCount is an example of one such solution. SnapCount lets small businesses transition from paper and pencils to tablets and smartphones, helps medium-sized businesses instantaneously generate beautiful winning proposals, and empowers enterprise firms to deploy material and labor efficiently across multiple worksites.

3. What Level of Quality and Vetting Do We Require?

For a cash-strapped contractor, ultra low-cost or free energy auditing software options are tempting. However, many of these options are fairly new on the market and have achieved their low prices by skimping on support and quality control. If something goes wrong, you may not even be able to get a live support person on the phone – which can severely hamper your company’s chances of meeting your deadlines.

This is where it’s helpful to refer back to Question 1 in this blog. If your needs are light, a lack of live support or some glitches might not be a deal-breaker. However, if lighting audits are your bread and butter, then performance and quality should be high on your wish list.

How Does SnapCount Address This?

Tools like SnapCount, on the other hand, are well-established in the lighting retrofit industry. SnapCount has proven itself time and time again through countless successful deployments, including for some of the biggest retrofitters and ESCOs in the world. If you have any questions or run into any issues using SnapCount, expert support is only a phone call away.

4. What Are We Willing to Invest (and What Are We Willing to Risk)?

As with anything in life and business, you tend to get what you pay for when you invest in energy audit software.

As you’ve likely seen with your other software solutions, a well-designed platform can be a dream to work with, saving you time, effort, and frustration. On the other hand, a badly designed one can be a nightmare, bogging your projects down with delays, inefficiencies, and errors. (There are actual instances where retrofit companies have lost significant amounts of audit data due to using inexpensive or untested software, forcing expensive 2nd trips to re-audit.)

Obviously, not every software you use has to be a star performer. If the solution is something you only haul out and dust off once in a while, and you have plenty of manual backup, occasional underperformance might be acceptable. (If you’re already doing an energy audit software comparison, though, we’re guessing you do more than a few audits a year, making you naturally more risk-aware with your workflows and data.)

How Does SnapCount Address This?

Well-designed software like SnapCount is fully supported and continuously improved, so glitches are vanishingly rare – and if they do happen, we have safe backups of your data. For lighting retrofitters looking to grow, it saves you time, money, and frustration in the long run by eliminating tedious manual processes and reducing errors, freeing up your people for more profitable projects and add-ons (such as installing controls and IoT devices).

5. Can We Use This Software to Augment Our Team (If Needed)?

As the size of your projects and your company’s geographic reach grows, you will most likely begin teaming up with auditors, contractors, and other lighting professionals around the country to perform your audits and complete your work. If your firm is more established, you likely already have an extensive and trusted network and can immediately touch base with them to set up a partnership.

Others may be at square one – and worried about partnering up with someone who’ll be a shrieking nightmare to work with.

But how do you find the really good, professional people?

As it turns out, some of the best software is not just a solution, but a community. Instead of being on your own, you’re immediately linked to a broad and deep network of connections and resources, helping you use the software to solve problems you never thought it could touch, let alone solve. Finding people to work with and getting them up to speed on your processes is much easier when you have the ability to choose widely recognized industry leaders over obscure (or do-it-yourself) alternatives.

How Does SnapCount Address This?

For example, SnapCount is not merely energy auditing software. SnapCount gives your company access to a nationwide ecosystem of professionals who are trained on the software and capable of jumping right into your existing workflows. The SnapSource Service Marketplace helps you find competent service providers – and helps other professionals find your business, as well.

This gives your company the flexibility and responsiveness to scale up quickly at nearly a moment’s notice to compete for projects of any size in any region. It also gives you access to some skillsets you might have been looking for.

Are You Conducting an Energy Audit Software Comparison? Start Here!

The days of performing lighting audits by hand are coming to an end. These days, the best lighting retrofitters rely on software tools to perform efficient audits, present stunning proposals, and manage projects effectively.

Is your company ready to upgrade to efficient, scalable software? Learn how the right software can revolutionize your productivity and help you close more deals with your free copy of the Lighting Retrofit Software Buying Guide.

Download the Retrofit Energy Buying Guide

Jason Lopez

Written by Jason Lopez

Jason is responsible for growing and maintaining StreamLinx’s SnapCount customer base. Jason’s experience in high-value solution selling along with field experience estimating, proposing, and implementing projects brings tremendous value in relating to the common challenges faced by the retrofit industry. Jason enjoys challenging the status quo of “That’s the way it’s always been done.” Jason holds a degree in Construction Management from Illinois State University. Outside the office he focuses on continuous education of the industry and traveling the world.

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