Bryan Exhaust Service Inc.

Automating a gritty, vital service for food preparers.


Cleaning services


Apps built with Claris FileMaker automated operations and streamlined work between technicians in the field and the home office.


Simplifies and organizes work, making employees and daily processes more efficient, which leads to increased revenue.

Like most companies that have been in business for decades, Bryan Exhaust used to rely on numerous Excel spreadsheets and piles of paperwork to log appointments, contracts, and work orders. Nowadays, the company uses custom business applications, created with Claris FileMaker, that digitally automate manual processes, eliminating cumbersome paper and streamlining business operations.

Goodbye antiquated paperwork.

Bryan Exhaust manages operations for hood cleaning companies that do the gritty work of scraping and scrubbing food facility exhaust systems to comply with fire safety regulations and prevent grease fires. The family company had been using old-fashioned paperwork for decades, ever since Ed Bryan founded the business in Burbank, California, in 1978. Ed has now passed business operations to his son, Matt Bryan, daughter-in-law, Lisa Bryan, and nephew, Brendan Bryan.

A few years ago, Bryan Exhaust’s management team decided to build custom apps that streamline work from several systems. The company uses two apps: a mobile app for technicians in the field to receive assigned jobs, report issues, post pictures, and get approvals, and a second desk-based app keeps track of invoices and job assignments.

“Previously, the Scheduling department would have to print out all these work orders, so our printers would be running all day,” explains account manager, Marilyn Wellner.

Mobile app connects field workers to the office.

“Claris FileMaker solved the problem of having multiple systems and having to repeat work many times over,” says Lisa, who manages the computer systems. “We wanted to move away from duplication of administrative stuff and into customer service. FileMaker has really streamlined our operations. It’s fantastic!”

Prior to using FileMaker, there was no centralized database, and workers tracked things their own way, generating errors and wasting time. The main goal for the initial custom app was to get everything into one system to coordinate field work and create smooth communication between the office and technicians, who carry mobile devices from job to job.

The management team is especially fond of their mobile app.

“The mobile app allows technicians in the field to receive their work orders without having to physically come in, fax, or email the office,” Lisa explains. The workers can then get their paperwork approved on the spot and immediately email a copy to the customer.

“Our (mobile) app transformed all of our technicians’ business as well,” exclaims Brendan. “The job comes up, the contact’s there with directions, the details about the job, everything. The information is all in one place.”

Digital processes help keep restaurants running smoothly.

Bryan Exhaust also uses its mobile app to put customers on a maintenance schedule to help alleviate emergencies, such as a grease fire or a fan belt breaking during a restaurant’s lunch rush. However, when a part breaks unexpectedly, the technician can use the mobile app to check inventory, pick up the part at the Bryan Exhaust office, and head to the restaurant for installation, saving time tracking down parts and improving repair efficiency.

Enjoying a return on its software investment.

Brendan likes to provide the level of detail that helps customers simplify the maintenance workflow and remain focused on their business, not Bryan Exhaust’s paperwork. “We see it from a service company’s viewpoint. The software compiles all the details about each specific client in one space and makes the information usable,” he adds.

The compilation of customer data has also increased Bryan Exhaust’s revenue. When the company kept records on paper, employees didn’t formalize billing, and some of their longer-term customers received the same rate for years. Now Bryan Exhaust has auto-renewal for contracts with inflation costs already factored in. “It’s a huge win for our company,” Matt says.

Need to clean up some manual processes at your business? Check out how to create a custom app using Claris FileMaker.

Would you rather have someone else help automate those processes for you? Find a Claris Partner here.