Mar 15, 2023

We customised simPRO quotes, invoices, and job cards for a local Adelaide business.

Logo of the job management company simPRO.
Customising quotes, invoices, and job cards ain't easy.

We recently worked with an Adelaide based electrician contractor that works on significant projects around South Australia to help customise their quotes, invoices, and job cards in simPRO. I heard several clients mention this software simPRO since I work with other local tradies in Adelaide such as SIMAC Air Conditioning and RP Connections. However, I never directly worked with the software myself.

simPRO allows businesses, in particular tradies, to manage their jobs much easier. For example, to generate quotes with costs of materials and labour, management of client information, inventory management of materials, and much more. simPRO works great except the quotes, invoices, and jobs cards generated by the system show in a default output, not specific to how a business necessarily desires. It also shows information that a business might want to keep private from quotes, invoices, and job cards.

The company we worked with said they used simPRO for a significant amount of time but the quotes, invoices, and job cards failed to show the way they desired which meant they refused to use them. Instead, they copied and pasted information generated from simPRO into their own Word document with the styles and information they desired. This meant double handling of information which wastes time, effort, and money.

Instead of the double handling of information they decided to call us to receive help from my brother and I, both qualified Software Engineers based in Adelaide.

Why is it so hard to edit quotes, invoices, and job cards in simPRO?

To edit quotes, invoices and job cards in simPRO requires basic knowledge of software programming which I assume the majority of tradies lack. My client attempted to edit the quotes, invoices, and job cards themselves but found it too difficult. Rightfully so. To perform the changes simPRO uses an internal software product called OnlyOffice, which provides an interface similar to Microsoft Word but with a basic programming language to edit templates. In other words, immeasurably difficult for a person unfamiliar with software programming. To demonstrate the complexity the image below shows a snippet of the code to edit a quote.

A screenshot of a quote inside the software program simPRO that uses internally Only Office.
Absolute gibberish for a tradie to understand.

To any tradie this surely looks like gibberish or weird alien language. I am not sure why simPRO chose to allow customers to only edit quotes with OnlyOffice. Even after I spoke with a simPRO support worker on the phone they admitted their awareness of the difficulty to edit quotes, invoices, and job cards. For someone like myself I found it relatively easy to edit, however, tradies consist of their target audience so I find their decision quite surprising.

How I customised the quotes in simPRO

simPRO provides basic documentation on how to edit the quotes, invoices, and job cards on their website. However, I found it lacked important information that required a lot of guesswork to understand how it correctly functioned. I highly recommend any tradies that use simPRO to hire a local Software Engineer like myself to ensure they receive the result they desire.

For my client I first customised the quote template and went back and forth until I delivered the quote how they desired. I then continued onto the invoices and then finally the job cards. It took a bit of back and forth because simPRO gave very little assistance with their online documentation. However, in the end we achieved the desired result.

Conclusion

As Software Engineer contractors we work with the most random software packages. simPRO serves as a perfect example. simPRO unfortunately utilises a very complex template system to customise quotes, invoices, job cards but I successfully bridged the gap between the software world and the tradie world with my expertise.

For any local businesses with simPRO in Adelaide or around Australia that require customisations to their quotes, invoices, and job cards feel free to reach to us.