Dan Tovey travels to Hinckley to Meet Roy and Chris Armstrong, the father and son team behind Hollycroft Software who have been providing electrical contractors with contractor support packages for nearly 20 years.
A day on site can be hard enough so the prospect of a mountain of paperwork to complete when you get home is a reality that most electricians dread. There are only so many EICR or health and safety forms you can complete in one day before giving up on all hope and considering a radical career change where your every move doesn’t need to be signed off on a piece of paper!
Before you do anything too drastic you will be relieved to hear that help is out there. If you are looking for an electronic system specifically tailored to helping electrical contractors manage their admin and paperwork that is backed by nearly twenty years of providing the electrical industry with quality customer service, then you may want to take a closer look at Hollycroft Software.
The story of Hollycroft Software began when founder, Roy Armstrong, a trainer at the ECA at the time, noticed that many of the contractors he met were struggling with the same problem.
“I started off at 15 as an apprentice with the electricity board then became an Electrical Engineer and then got to be a Contract Manager”, explains Roy.
“In 1994 I got out to try something new, started working for the Electrical Contractors Association. I used to lead the training for estimating, producing and handing out the course notes. One day someone asked for the entire course notes on a floppy disc. Soon more people were asking and that’s when I realised this was an area where contractors were suffering.”
Roy saw the potential for a successful business and started offering these helpful notes as a package to support contractors. This continued until 1998 when Roy’s son Chris came on board and developed the company’s first software package.
“There was other software about but it was just too complicated. You needed a course to use it. We wanted to provide a simple office solution for contractors, allowing users to quickly fill out certificates, generate letter templates and complete a whole host of admin all on one platform”, says Roy.
“They needed software that was simple to use , which used programmes like Microsoft Word and Excel which most computer users will be used to”, he adds.
Over nearly 20 years the company’s software has developed alongside changes to the industry. However it has remained faithful to its commitment to deliver a simple, no fuss solution for contractors. Today Hollycroft has over 2000 subscribed users across the breadth of its software packages, which range from simple form filling and health and safety packages to the top-selling full Electrical Contractors Office suite. Chris, Roy and their Renewables Consultant, Mike Halsall, have also developed specialist packages for Gas and Renewables installers.
The very latest version of the full office package has been fully updated to comply with the changes made in BS 7671 Amendment 3 of the wiring regulations earlier this year. The package also includes emergency lighting BS 5266 and fire detection BS 5839 forms, plus health and safety, job management, estimating and cable/conduit/trunking sizing modules.
“In a world of generic call centres and automated phone systems, it has become increasingly difficult to receive personal customer support. Roy and Chris make sure they deal with each customer enquiry directly.”
Customer satisfaction is high on Roy’s priorities and one of the key reasons why he feels they have retained the business of so many of their contractor clients over the years. Upon purchase of the software the company offers a no quibble 14 day option for a full refund if the contractor is not satisfied with the software. What’s more, there is no expiry date built into the software. The company guarantees to keep the software up to date for a period of 12 months. After that, users can still access the software and can choose to update to the next package at another time.
What’s more, in a world of generic call centres and automated phone systems, it has become increasingly difficult to receive personal customer support. Roy and Chris make sure they deal with each customer enquiry directly.
“We provide a service where our users know they are not alone. We always answer the phone and will help users resolve any issues they have. We can even do a screen share with them where we can remotely show the user how to get round the issue and how they can avoid it in the future. This is why people stick with us because I don’t think other software solutions can match our personal service” he adds.
Currently the software is available exclusively on Microsoft Windows, compatible for both desktop and tablet. I asked if they had considered looking at expanding the software, making it available on Apple operating systems and compatible with mobile devices. “Watch this space”, seems to sum up this company’s outlook to the future. With a loyal following of customers and a solid product on a reliable platform, Hollycroft wants to focus on what it does best: Supporting its customers with an easy to use, contractor focused software package.