March 22, 2023

'Payaca has been more than a blessing' - An Interview with DJ Serrecchia

Collage of images of Teklite staff

DJ Serrecchia and his business Teklite Associates are a great example of the kind of business Payaca is proud to support.

As a growing company, one that discovered Payaca independently and has seen its value, Techlite really shows what can be achieved with the software.

We sat down with DJ to get into the detail of how he came across Payaca, what attracted him to it and how it has impacted his business going forward.

So DJ, can you tell us a bit about you and your company Tecchlite Associates?

So I run a company named Techlite Associates. We are based in Long Island, New York, but we work all over the northeast region, including New York City.

Techlite is an audio-visual lighting, and tech integration company.

We integrate technology into churches and large buildings such as hotels, businesses, schools and hospitals. But our main client base is churches and houses of worship.

Whether you're having a meeting, a conference or any sort of event, we’re there to make sure you’ve got the right technology to deliver that event; with the best in lighting, audio and wifi.

What has been your experience with other software solutions?

Before I discovered Payaca, I tried various different CRMs.

There was one company I worked for that went through 3 to 4 CRM softwares within six months.

Many of those companies had a quoting process that I just didn’t like (and they didn’t either) and a big part of the problem was their database.

They actually had a separate database that nobody could access, and you had to dig just to pull any information from it.

The whole way it was all structured was rough, to say the least. You could never find anything and if you somehow did manage it, it took forever to find the documents you were after.

Instead, I ended up using Google sheets.

I spent probably a good night staying up until 03:00 or 04:00 in the morning, bouncing sheets, coding, filling out this, filling out that, and it was frustrating.

It took time learning it, and then if something went wrong, I had to deal with the code myself. It was all on me and I was flat out.

So how did you come across Payaca?

Well, Payaca has been more than a blessing.

Before I found you guys I researched various different CRMs. Many of them I’d worked with before at previous companies and did not like.

Then one day, when I was scrolling through Google, Payaca showed up and I thought, what is this?

I thought it looked interesting, so I went on the website and gave it a read and I knew we needed to give it a go. So I immediately called my business partner, I talked to him and our financial controller and I said we need to get on board with these guys.

How has Payaca made life easier for you?

Payaca solved all my issues: quoting,  invoicing, documentation, Payaca does it all. Just the ability to save items that I’ve built in my quotes and come back to them later, that’s massive.

But time-saving has to be the biggest win.

Before Payaca I was spending hours managing all my accounts, searching for the right job details and most of all sending out emails. Sending quotes in particular was really time-consuming.

I’d be emailing the customer back and forth. Now, once the quote is sent, it's in their ballpark - Payaca has got it handled.

If I were to break it down, I reckon Payaca has saved two or three emails a day. Where that could have taken a day before, Payaca has changed what would have taken at least an hour to just five minutes - if that.

And what’s more, I can even do it on my phone if I need to.

So, when it comes to saving time, I’d say you’re talking at least a day to two days. And it benefits the client too, as they don't have time to spend time on back-and-forth emails as well.

That’s great to hear. And for your customers, have they noticed the difference since you started using the new CRM?

Yes. I have a few trusted customers whose opinions I do value heavily and when we made the switch to Payaca, I got a response immediately.

They were saying, “Wow, this software is much better than those you've used before. It's clean. I'm able to sign. We can pay on it if we need to. And you're able to see the deposit amounts too”.

If you compare things prior to Payaca, there was a lot of confusion for the customer.

When they received the quote, we had a situation where the customer would go to approve it, but then say, “Where do I sign?” or “Where do I make a payment?” and “How do I do that?” as it wasn’t clear at all.

Payaca has removed that confusion.

It’s also about the cleanliness of the software; that has had a dramatic impact - just because of the layout.

I have a very clear way of structuring quotes for the customers, and they’ve responded really positively. They much prefer it because they know what they're looking at now.

Before, a lot of customers would just glance at the number on the quote, scroll right to the bottom and just say, “Oh, okay, it costs $3,000”, or whatever it is.

Just being able to present them with a quote where they can actually go line by line if they need to, makes them feel more comfortable with it. They have even expressed that to me.

And being able to pay directly from the invoice, using the online payment feature, that has been great for the customers too.

It's a very comfortable software from the customer's point of view.

You’ve spoken a bit about quoting and invoicing, what is it about that feature that you’ve found valuable?

The quality of the quotes with Payaca have been outstanding. In particular, the multiple-choice feature within the quote has been awesome.

Just being able to sell systems; where you can offer option one and option two and so on, that’s been great.

And then the best part is when I get phone calls from customers while I'm out in the field.

They tell me “Hey, I'm looking at the quote right now, and I like this one”.

And I can tell them, “Just check the box you want and it will change the whole thing. It will literally just change the numbers according to your choice”.

And for the customer, having the ability to choose and adjust the quote from their end, is huge.

Everything is optional. Every single item is optional. It’s all organised into systems: so we have system one, system two, system three…

We can take parts from system one and parts from system two, and then that makes system four. We’re using combinations of those systems.

The price point might increase, but then the customer can at least put it together and understand, “Hey, this isn't in budget” or “Okay, this is in budget. What if we just did these two?”. Things like that.

Having that, being able to put everything together rather quickly - because I build all my stuff right on Payaca - being able to build all the quotes so quickly with the options - that has been great.

So your customers like having that choice within the quote?

Oh yeah. Customers really like being able to have a play with the quote. By giving them that ability to manipulate things, that adds a lot of value.

The way we phrase it to our customers, especially in our billing, we like to let them have control.

It's in the same way that if we go on to Amazon, or go on any other shopping website, we have the ability to choose the products we want and compare the prices that are available.

With Payaca, by providing that optional option, you almost have something like Amazon shopping.

We’ll give them the information and say this is how much it costs and then the choice is theirs.

So from a team perspective, how have your technicians found using Payaca? Has it helped them with the day-to-day within the business?

So what we did is, we actually installed a 55-inch TV in our shop. I’ve linked that up to a little computer and I can now display Payaca with all the active jobs in the pipeline on it.

So when I, or anyone in the team, are working in the shop and we want to know what jobs are going on, we can actually see the entire list of jobs.

We use that with a job board that contains all the matching paperwork, so if one of my team wants to pull a job and find what they need, they can find the matching number and pull out the details so they know what gear they need for the job.

With Payaca, the guys are pre-pulling jobs and taking stuff from other jobs and are able to manage things much better.

For example, they can see that this job is going out tomorrow or that this one's not happening for three weeks. Or they can see if we're still waiting on stuff to come in.

They know when it’s okay to start taking things from another job to supplement our inventory.

So that's really where it's been so helpful, with them just being able to increase work efficiency and actually understand what’s going on in the business.

And how about when they’re away from the office?

Yeah, it’s also been great when we’re out in the field.

I think being able to just clock in and clock out is great. Everybody has their own job report, and everybody has the same login, and then I'll make a job report for each of them.

That means I can pull each person separately and just see their perspective on it.

Because sometimes, especially when things happen on a job, I like having multiple perspectives.

For example, I might find “Oh, this was installed upside down, this was installed right side up”. Now I can actually understand who is right, as I’ve got the evidence attached in Payaca.

But for our team, they really just love it.

They can write everything they need, so if we need more parts, they can detail that and say this is what we need.

It also makes them more accountable. With the ability to get a signature on any quote, our team can be verified and our customer can say, “that’s fine he was here”.

I can prove he was there and verify that he didn't just drive somewhere and make a whole story up.

Being able to do all that has been great. Our team loves it.

You mention having a visual record of the jobs you’ve done, have you found the ability to add images and documents to be valuable?

Not just valuable…essential!

The ability to upload images of where me and my team have been and record the projects we’ve worked on is so valuable.

I can include attachments or other documents like tax alongside the images, which is super useful.

My team are using it all the time. I always get them to open up the app and take pictures of the jobs they’re on.

It means that we always have a visual record of what’s been going on that we can refer back to down the line.

So when I need to, I can punch right in on Payaca and find the job. I can go through it and find the pictures that were submitted in the job report and see what was written.

My technicians will have written what happened, how long they were there and included pictures.

And from that, I can work out whatever might have happened and get whatever needs sorting sorted.

So for me, that's a game-changer right there. Just being able to track everything with those images.

What has your experience been like getting started with Payaca? Especially as someone based in the US, how have you found the level of support?

Honestly, I didn't even know you guys were based in the UK.

Even though our time zones are different, if I have any questions at all, you guys are available to answer or will get back to me as soon as you’re online.

What’s great is there are different channels you guys reach out on. Between the app on my phone and email, I’m all covered. If I get a message at 06:00/7:00 in the morning, and I’m not yet up, it will also notify me in the email for support - which is really helpful.

I love that you guys always have this way of just pushing and reaching out. We really value that.

As a business who are known for our support, being able to see that reciprocated from you guys is awesome.

And when it comes to learning the software, the resources you’ve got available are awesome. You’re always posting videos explaining how to do things and you have got very helpful frequently asked questions, which I’ve found great.

And it was quick too, you know, quick to be able to learn and just jump right into it.

So the support and getting set up has been fantastic.

And the other thing, you guys are always constantly updating and listening to our voices - which a lot of companies don't do. It really makes a difference actually feeling like we’re listened to.

Well thanks for talking to us DJ, we’re looking forward to seeing where you take things next with Payaca.