We have received a lot of emails over the past couple of months about using an iPhone on the job site, so we thought it would be appropriate to cover some of the basics such as protection and different apps.
The iPhone has been a craze ever since it was introduced, and now with over 75,000 different apps, this is truly a mini computer. For this article we will cover just a couple simple ideas that every contractor should know about the iPhone and what apps are great to have.
As you know the first thing we must cover is protection of the phone. Naturally you are going to drop the phone or accidentally toss some lumber on the phone so you need to protect your phone. We haven’t found a better phone protector than the Otter Box. The whole phone is protected by a hard plastic case. There is a film that covers the screen which adds protection. Over the hard plastic case is a nice rubberized shell which provides shock protection and adds better grip. With that said, it does make the phone a little more bulky, but well worth it. It might take a user a little bit of getting use to typing with this protector, as some of the letters on the side might be a little hard to type, but nothing that a user can’t get use to. The case also provides a water resistant protector in case of rain or spilt coffee, but it is not water proof.
There are so many apps out there its hard to cover all of them that would be beneficial for a contractor, such as on site surveys, but we will cover some of the basics.
The first essential app is the the Weather Channel app which as you may have guessed, provides weather updates. This is a very easy app to work with and even stores your city in memory so your not always typing it in every time you want the weather. You can see live broadcasts, live radar screens and more. This is a great app to have when your on the road and want a quick update.
The next essential app is Merchant Warehouse. This allows a contractor to accept credit cards on the spot. Now you do have to sign up for an account and pay the fees, which are in line with other merchant accounts. This is a great app for making sure you can collect money for those hard to reach clients. Now when you’re talking with them, you can get their information and receive payment right away.
The next app is Invoice to go. They do offer a lite version, which is what we use. The lite version gives the user everything they need to create an invoice, PO, or estimate on the spot. The organization is great and lets the user pull up any old invoices, estimates or PO’s. The great thing about this app is you can email the invoice or estimate right away to your client.
There are a lot of different calendars out there, but the one we found was Pocket Informant. This is a great way to keep track of your schedule and more. You can even sync it with Google Calendar. There is also a To-Do list. Once nice thing is you can easily categorize your appointments by work related or personal related.
A couple other cool apps are the Hole Space and Iball it. Hole spacer is pretty neat. All you need to do is enter the length, then just touch the plus or minus button to show how many holes you need. The app will automatically show where each hole needs to be drilled in inches. Say you’re installing lights over a 30′ ceiling and you have three lights. Just type in 30 and you can hit the plus button three times. The app will show you the spacing is 7 1/2′. The app will show that you need to put one light in at 7 1/2′, 15′ and 22 1/2′. iBall it is a very cool leveling tool with 7 different screens so a user can check horizontal and vertical levels. This app also has a large and small grid system for different applications. This app uses the camera in the phone to project the level on your phone.
ESPN also offers a great app called scorecenter. You can look it up under ESPN. This is a quick way to check scores from any sports category and you can even enter your favorite teams for quick look ups. The one downside to this app is that it loads very slow.
Again there are a boat load of apps out there, so we only covered a few. They even have a coin flip app, in case you don’t have a coin. Great app to decide who is picking up lunch that day.
We are always looking for cool apps that help contractors. If you know of any, please let us know so we can pass it along.