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ServiceMonster, Sales Tax, and You

One of the more challenging areas of running a software company is anticipating the legal and tax laws, which can change rapidly. My partners and I have often put ourselves at a disadvantage in this area. We ensure we adhere to these rules and prioritize them over our personal benefit. Many of our competitors play by different rules; They take legally risky bets and pay up when they have to. ServiceMonster can’t do that - I don’t have a $2M ‘in-case-we-get-caught’ legal fund. 

One good example is the state-by-state tax law known as Sales Tax Nexus. It defines the level of connection between a business and a taxing jurisdiction. When a nexus determination is made between a state and ServiceMonster, we are responsible for collecting and paying sales tax on our services. Some states don’t have nexus. Others might want to charge us only for ServiceMonster CRM or our direct mail services (FillMySchedule), while other states may require sales tax on both. 

States see their population as a commodity. If we gain access to that market in any meaningful way as defined by the state, and the state has nexus determination events, we could be required to collect sales tax from our clients in that state. 

Until recently, we have steered clear of nexus determination, which has limited our growth in many ways. A common nexus determination can happen if we pay a non-employee (commonly referred to as an affiliate) for leads or sales to the state in which the affiliate lives. Keep in mind that it has nothing to do with sales of ServiceMonster related to the affiliate. When a state makes a nexus determination, we must collect taxes for all the revenue in that state. 

For the last 20 years, ServiceMonster has had nexus in only one state: Washington, where our business is legally registered. For the last 20 years, we have paid sales tax for our Washington state customers on their behalf. Rolling state-by-state sales tax into our operating expenses is not a sustainable model. 

ServiceMonster is pushing several growth initiatives in 2023, including adding an affiliate network (if you want to get paid for bringing us ServiceMonster clients, let’s talk). Last year I asked our development team to make all the necessary changes to identify nexus state-by-state, locate the correct sales tax for a client’s jurisdiction, and apply that sales tax to monthly or yearly charges for ServiceMonster services.

What does all this mean for you? As I’ve said, currently, we only have nexus in one state, Washington. Washington state clients will soon see a change to their bill reflecting the sales tax we collect for the state. Most of our clients will see a new line item on their bill for sales tax, which will default to $0 and 0%. If a state declares nexus with ServiceMonster, your invoice will reflect your sales tax responsibility at your local rate. 

Should we have done this a long time ago? Probably. Unfortunately, the tools required to make this a simple administration task, like knowing the tax rate in every jurisdiction we have a client, are relatively new. Should we have gone with a riskier ‘growth-at-all-costs’ attitude? I guess this is just one of those areas where I’m not a very good CEO. For me, the regulations under which we operate are non-negotiable. The laws, employees, and clients have always come before growth or profits. I know I’ve left money on the table for this idea, but unearned profit is often poison. That’s not how ServiceMonster does business. Our 20-year history with zero lawsuits, zero judgments, and zero audits allows me to sleep well at night, nexus or not. These changes ensure that we will continue to operate with the utmost integrity in every state. 

ServiceMonster News
New Year's Eve Hours for ServiceMonster Support

Hello and happy holidays,

ServiceMonster phone support will be available 7am-1pm PST on Thursday, December 30th and will be closed Friday, December 31st. Our support team will be back in the office with regular hours starting Monday, January 3rd.

The same schedule will be followed for support tickets submitted via email.

Thank you for understanding our revised schedule during this joyous time of year, and happy New Year's from the team at ServiceMonster!

ServiceMonster News
UPDATE: What's New in ServiceMonster 6.5

ServiceMonster 6.5 is here! Every time we release a product update, it's important that our users (and anyone else who is curious) know what exactly has changed. In release 6.5, there's quite a lot to go over... but we're going to tackle the biggest and best improvements in this post. Let's get started!

New Themes & Updated Visuals

Perhaps the most noticeable changes with 6.5 are the multitude of visual improvements. We are so excited to introduce dark mode and light mode, as well as a redesigned and modernized classic view! This is the first step of many in a continued effort to make ServiceMonster not only the most powerful software of its kind, but also the best looking. This update includes other various visual improvements all across the software, some of which we will cover below.

The redesigned classic view (above)
The all-new light theme (above)
The all-new dark theme (above)

New Home Page View

We've completely redesigned the home page. Now, see your most important company data, stay up-to-date on the latest ServiceMonster news, and view each training course all from one page.

The new home page has 6 or 8 tiles visible, depending on your screen size

"Job" is Now "Appointment"

It often has been difficult for us to convey the difference between a job and an order. An order within ServiceMonster is WHAT is being done, whereas a job was simply the time blocked on the schedule for each trip to complete that order. To help illustrate the difference, think about a situation where you are cleaning a rug in your own shop rather than in the home. You could have a scheduled event to pick up the rug, time dedicated to cleaning the rug marked on the schedule, and another scheduled event to drop off the rug. One order, three different events.  

Moving forward we will now be calling these scheduled events "appointment" rather than "job." To alleviate any confusion, we are changing the term “job” throughout the software to be “appointment” (or “appt” if an abbreviation is necessary).

New Dashboards

The home page has multiple new dashboards to give you quicker access to your data. We’ve also added new dashboards on the Leads, Accounts, Orders, Scheduling, and Marketing sections to give you easily digestible & targeted data based on each specific area.

An example of the new dashboards found on the Accounts page (above)

An example of the new dashboards found on the Orders page (above)

Navigation Menu Overhaul

The navigation menu has had a massive makeover! The collapsed view gives the menu hover functionality so that you can instantly access any section of the software in one click. The expanded view gives you easier to read menu titles as well as more detailed expandable sub-menus.

This image shows the expanded navigation menu mode (above)

This image shows the collapsed navigation menu mode with hoverable sub-menus (above)

In-App Training

We know that there's a lot to learn within ServiceMonster. To aid with that learning process, we are now offering in-app training lessons that will slowly walk through the various sections of the software. These 1-to-2 minute long lessons are then grouped into larger courses so that you can track your progress and continue your ServiceMonster education.

Additionally, there will be a full course dedicated to all of the 6.5 changes. Plus, every new release moving forward will also have dedicated training materials so that you can take advantage of the new features right away!

In-app training will be accessible from the user dropdown (pictured above), as well as in the home page "Training" panel and in the "Home" submenu in the main navigation menu

The Training panel on the home page gives you a visual indicator of your progress (pictured above)

The actual lessons page is where you can find all of the courses and lessons that we offer (pictured above)

Updated Grids

Grids have had a makeover, with some new default views and a new “advanced options” toggle.  Now you can customize each grid via the advanced options and those changes will “stick.” Or, simply just enjoy a cleaner default view! The choice is all yours.

Marketing Wizard

The all-new Marketing Wizard is here to make building campaigns much, much simpler! Create an email, letter, call, or export list quickly with built-in campaigns and a step-by-step walkthrough of the campaign process. Those of you that have more advanced chops can still create any campaign from scratch.

Drip campaigns will be added to the marketing wizard in the future as well!

The beginning of the Marketing Wizard (above)

Order Screen Improvements

We’ve beefed up the bulk add items process and made it the primary way to add your products and services to an order. Those of you that prefer to add items one at a time on the primary order screen can still do so.

More order updates coming soon!

The new Bulk Add Line Items screen (above)

New Account

Quickly adding an account is easier than ever. Use the "+ Account" button to open a modified version of the Quick Add to enter in all basic account information and scan your account list for potential duplicates. Keep your data clean!

The new account screen (above)

... And So Much More!

This release is packed full of many other improvements, fixes, and new features. Like we've been saying, it's seriously massive! Please contact us if you have any questions or need help understanding a new feature or change that you're seeing. Be on the lookout for full release notes soon!

Also, don't forget:

The 6.5 Release Live Webinar

Join us Thursday, March 26th at 5:00 pm PST for a live webinar showcasing all of the new features and improvements in 6.5! A recording will be available sometime following the webinar. Make sure to register here.

ServiceMonster News