On Monday 29th January 2024, the representatives of 11 different Housing Associations gathered virtually to join us for the third My Home webinar, this time focusing on the My Home Portal for Contractors.

An add-on module to the existing My Home portal, the My Home Portal for Contractors empowers contractors to manage and update work orders whilst allowing Housing Associations to retain full control over the permissions and access of each contractor.

As Housing Online’s Development and Customer Relations Director, Phil Sorrell explained, the My Home Portal for Contractors is “a window for contractors to interact with jobs and other repairs and property data from SDM through My Home”.

"We implemented the portal to drive benefits for ourselves, but it’s been a win:win situation and the contractors have found that it has made their lives significantly easier too."

– Ewan Barr, Cloch Housing Association

Guest speaker Ewan Barr, IT manager for Cloch Housing Association, shared Cloch’s experiences of implementing the module to an audience of often not-very-technical contractors and how they embraced the change.

Historically, Cloch used a national contractor to deliver repairs. With varying degrees of success, Cloch tried to integrate with this contractor’s IT systems. Eventually, the decision was made to shift strategies to use a pool of smaller contractors to carry out these repairs. The main challenge with this is that these local contractors often have a very limited IT capability, with many being single-traders without any sort of IT background. Cloch therefore required some kind of a solution to help automate the repair order management to try and avoid an overly-manual process and to drive efficiencies. Whilst looking for a solution, a chance conversation with Phil on My Home revealed that Housing Online may have the solution Cloch were looking for. Housing Online's flexibility meant that it was a straightforward process to work with them to build in some Cloch-specific functionality on top of the out-of-the-box My Home solution. Initially, Cloch were wary of not only their contractors’ lack of IT background, but also their lack of interest in using a technical solution when they were mostly accustomed to working with bits of paper and a manually driven order process. Picking two or three contractors who were perhaps a little more open-minded, Cloch brought them into the office and gave them access to the demo version of the new contractor portal and gathered their feedback on what they liked or didn’t like about the system. Before the full launch, Cloch also ran some demonstration workshops with the contractors, produced user guides for staff and contractors and looked to market the portal as a tool to make the contractors’ lives easier.

Contractor Portal Admin Dashboard

Since the launch, and after a few months of operation, Cloch are now able to use the modern interface My Home offers to manage all repair jobs at a glance. There is now significantly less manual intervention required in the repairs process, and this frees staff up to concentrate on other tasks. The system provides easy-to-use, near real-time updates on jobs, loading this information (and any accompanying photos) into the Housing Management System, providing staff with improved information for any tenant queries. In addition, there is now an improved relationship with the contractors, as far less time is spent making phone calls to chase updates, which suits everyone involved. From the contractor’s point-of-view, the portal provides a simple, easy-to-use place to access all repair jobs: they are able to complete jobs, cancel jobs (because of issues with access etc), reschedule appointments, send notes to Housing Association staff, add pictures to job orders, all directly from their phones or other internet connected devices whilst on the move.

As Ewan says, “We implemented the portal to drive benefits for ourselves, but it’s been a win:win situation and the contractors have found that it has made their lives significantly easier too”.

You can find a product sheet explaining the features of the My Home Portal for Contractors in more detail on our website.

Thanks to Ewan for sharing his experiences and thanks to everyone who took the time to attend this webinar. We hope that you found the session informative. If you have any questions on the My Home Portal for Contractors, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch at info@housing-online.com

Housing Online are planning to host regular My Home webinars on topics like these. If you would like to attend a future session or to suggest a topic you would like to see covered, or if you missed this webinar and would like to watch a recording of the whole session, please drop us a line at info@housing-online.com. Our next webinar will cover Dynamic Forms & Property Actions.

Read about previous My Home Webinars:

More About My Home

My Home is Housing Online’s feature-rich, affordable portal that enables landlords to provide their tenants, staff and contractors with easy access to the information and services that they need. With multiple options for customisation and personalisation, My Home is well equipped to grow as you grow. Learn more about My Home with our feature sheets:

About Housing Online

Housing Online design and build digital solutions for Housing Associations across the UK and beyond. Our My Home Tenant Portal is live in 30 organisations across Scotland, Northern Ireland and England, many with fully integrated websites designed and developed by our team. In April 2021, in collaboration with seven Scottish Housing Associations, we successfully launched These Homes, a Choice Based Lettings web solution.