Category: Business operations

Webinar Recap – How-To Ensure Smooth Business Operations During The Covid19 Outbreak

Bruce Davis Sr was the owner of the business Day & Nite Plumbing and Heating Inc which started out in 1986, Bruce Davis Jr joined in 1993 as an apprentice where he was trying to learn more about the trade. He has been through the 9/11 economic slowdown on the sidelines and when the 2008 economic recession struck he was in the manager position. It was quite an ordeal and they have been through it. They have doubled their company size since then and now they are again in the midst of an economic recession. Presently Day & Nite Plumbing and Heating Inc do 40% commercial and 60% residential. The commercial part is done on time and material basis and residential is done on a flat rate basis.

The distinction between 2008 and 2020 recession on the home service business

In 2008 the recovery of the home service business was unpredictable. Business owners could not definitely say when things would get back to normal. Moreover, the business getting back to normal was slow.

The jobs happening in 2008 were more on the commercial as compared to residential as they had to keep it operating. The downside to it was that the margins had reduced and the techs were not happy working but they had to do it as it was better to be out there on the location and working rather than staying back at home. The margins might be low but the business needs to keep going.

Whereas in the 2020 recession the situation is quite predictable as the home service business would get back to normal as soon as lockdown or shelter in place is over. The feeling is quite different right now, people have got the feeling that things are going to get better in a quick time.

The common denominators of 2008 and 2020 recession

  • One common aspect of both the recessions is lack of work, home service business, and the techs were looking at a drop in the work.
  • Laying off people is another common factor but back in 2008 the number was quite high, a big chunk of people was losing jobs but right now in the present recession some people are told to stay at home until the lockdown and some can work from home, which was not the case back in 2008.

The top 3 changes that Bruce had made to his business back in 2008 to overcome the recession

  1. Analyzing each and every expense that goes in for the business operations. Scrutinizing each and every detail and asking questions “ Is this something that our business really needs? “. Trying to look into requirements that would come for a lower price with the same quality.
  2. The predecessors who ran the business were sticking on to vendors even though there were other vendors who were providing the requirements for a cheaper price. The reason for this was because of the close business relationship they had for years.This was something that Bruce sorted out.
  3. Staggering shifts was another strategy which helped them in some cost savings as keeping full labor even on days when there were no jobs was meaningless and this was something that helped him to avoid labor drought once the situation got back to normal

Some of the challenges in running the business 

  • Keeping the techs busy during these times is going to be a tough task for many of the businesses 
  • Being available to some of the customers is a challenge because of shelter in place.
  • Some businesses arrive at a situation where laying off is the only option that they are left with 

In such situations, there are two factors that one majorly needs to focus on – 

  • One is being positive about it, being creative on how to tackle this situation, or at least be on the survival mode.
  • The second one is about taking control over what is in your hands and what you can do about it and letting go of the things which are completely not under control.

3 Business tips for home service owners to operate during this period

  1. First and foremost is understanding the environment and the situation that the pandemic has put the businesses in. Taking the right steps to ensure the safety of the technicians and the customers are going to be very crucial.
  2. Speaking out to the customers through emails, through the radio about the safety measures that your business is taking up builds up the confidence and trust of the customers. Situations might rise up when one of the technicians and helpers is not wearing gloves and that might lead to negative reviews.
  3. Service management platform like SmartServ helps in getting the job estimate approval done without contact. This is something very much appreciated by the customers.

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author April 28, 2020 0 Comments

How Home Service Business Can Earn Good Reviews

Before we get into the steps on how to get the good reviews. Let me shed some light on some facts which will give a better idea of why exactly is getting good reviews so vital for any business and not just home service business.

  • The average consumer reads 10 reviews before he can trust a Home Service Business.
  • 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, with 52% of 18-54-year-olds saying they ‘always’ read reviews

For more facts on why good reviews are important click on this link

Timing of getting the reviews

Getting the reviews by emailing out a link to the customer after a day or even after a few hours can cost you losing a good review from the happy customer. The best time to ask for a review would be right after the job is done by the technician or following him up with an email within an hour of the job being completed.

Make a good impression on the first touchpoint

The dispatcher or the CSR is the first point of contact when a customer makes a call and you would surely want that to touchpoint to be smooth and easy for the customer

Now come the important questions that any Home Service Business Owner needs to think over – 

  • How is the communication process with the customers?
  • Are the CSRs or dispatchers polite, kind?
  • Are they able to understand the customer’s issue or do they repeatedly ask the customer to explain the issue?

Increased customer satisfaction is directly proportional to good reviews and this is a no brainer, no doubt about that

Also, make sure that none of the calls go into voicemail instead try to set up an automated message reply system that says “ Our Dispatcher will get back to you in few minutes”. This will give the customer assurance that you will be getting back to that person soon.

Be ready for the peak seasons

None of the customers who call would want the service to be provided after 2 or 3 weeks until and unless they themselves have asked for it, that’s a completely different case. What I want to convey is that there will be times when you will be completely booked out and that generally happens during peak seasons, so when a customer calls, all you can do is book them for a later date but the customer wouldn’t be happy with that, a good review will come up when you are able to provide service in a shorter interval of time even during the peak seasons. You need to be well prepared for such times so that you don’t happen to create unhappy customers and there is another negative aspect to it – this could also lead to a drop in booking rates when you delay the services. So to cut the long story short have a good number of team members when the peak season is around, u can start hiring process a bit earlier.

The techs on the field should be on the spot with their work and behavior

The technicians primarily need to be good at two factors-

One is the technical knowledge and practically how good they are at applying the knowledge and fixing the issues. The first time fix rate of the technician should be good. The customer should not face the hassle of calling up and reporting an issue with the job which has been done recently. It would surely leave out a negative impression of your Home Service Business which eventually might lead to a negative review. Make sure all the techs are updated with all the industry knowledge.

The second one is the values, the way he communicates and carries himself at the job location.

Being presentable matters not just in the way the technicians communicate but also the dress code or the attire that they wear. Are they arriving at the job location with messed up hair, dirty shoes? This is something that actually does matter. Make sure all the techs follow certain rules and regulations when they are at the job location.

Converting the negatives into positives

Every home service business receives the negatives and positives of the service they are offering. Now how you deal with the negative reviews is crucial. It starts out with communicating back to them, knowing what exactly is the factor that led the customer to write a negative review is important so that you can get back to the customer and correct it and if you are able to make the customer understand that you truly value them, the customer will not just convert that negative review into positive but in fact, might become a recurring customer.

Great Customer Service

This goes without saying. It is simple logic that providing customers with great customer service will give you back great customer reviews. It is obvious that in the end, it all boils down to  “customer satisfaction”. Making your customers happy and satisfied with the service, being spontaneous with the work, and reaching out to the customer and getting the problem resolved is what will be valued and remembered.

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author April 17, 2020 0 Comments
Businessman drawing Cash Flow concept on blurred abstract background

Getting The Cashflow and Building a Pipeline During Covid19

Right now the situation is such that all the businesses have been facing the heat of COVID-19. Home service businesses too have been impacted quite gravely by the pandemic. Some of the services in this industry fall under the essential services so they are still running but the call volume has gone down quite a bit and the cancellation rate too has spiked a little in some zones.

In such situations, any Home service business need to focus on two major aspects 

  1. Following all the safety guidelines, rules and regulations set up by the government to protect the customers and your team members.
  2. Maintaining the business cash flow and trying to build a future pipeline rather than pulling back the business.

Time to make changes in the pricing structure.

Getting the cash flow is what keeps any kind of business going and also the team members motivated to put in more effort. 

Given the present scenario, cutting down on the pricing just enough to make a bare minimum profit seems right. For some businesses, it would even be good enough to set the pricing at an amount where you don’t make a profit and neither do you run into a loss.

The home service businesses which fall under non-essential and are incomplete lockdown can actually offer discounts to the customers who are booking in advance for any service calls.

Applying this would be the right thing to do as this would be a way how you can retain clients. If you are using a CRM ( customer relationship management ) platform it would make it all the more easier for you to get reports on your list of customers who make frequent service calls and that would be a great data insight as that would give a precise idea on who you need to reach out to. Smartserv is a great CRM platform which help you streamline your business operations and make scheduling, dispatching, creating invoices a lot easier. To know more click on this. It also provides multiple customized reports which will help you understand your customer well.

Follow up your past customers and also reach out to new prospects.

Make use of every social media platform where your customers are active and also run email campaigns to reach out to people so that you can get yourself completely booked for the coming weeks because if you are not doing it then your competitor out there might be grabbing this opportunity. Try to get your hands filled up with some service jobs ready to be done as soon as the lockdown is over.

Note – If your business falls under essential services and partial lockdown is in place, you can pitch in a discounted service offer to your existing customers, this is how you could get the cash flow and at the same time build a strong relationship as you are willing to provide services in the tough conditions. They will realize you want to serve the community even during the tough phase.

Start contacting customers with maintenance contracts

Most businesses are experiencing a decrease in repair/installation service calls and some are completely down. These businesses can check on their list of customers who fall under the maintenance contract list, so now is the time to make the phone calls and ask them if they would be needing the services and offer discounts to book more appointments.

Communicate more with the customers

As the concerns about the covid19 have increased, some businesses are still in shock and are not able to understand how to react and communicate with their customers

Create a plan or a strategy on how you want to position your business right now, it needs to be clear and you must keep the safety and health of the customers and team members at top priority while planning all this out.

  • Offer contactless appointments with virtual quotes and payments
  • It would be better to put their services on hold rather than cancel
  • Look for alternative services to offer, such as deliveries, or providing remote services via video call. SmartServ has come up with Smartview which will make remote services feasible.
Smartview 

1. Video Conferencing –  The customer will be able to join the video conferencing through a link sent by the dispatcher and will be able to show the equipment with their mobile phone camera. 

2. Notes – These notes will consist of all the media and can be shared with the technicians so that they have a proper idea about the product and the problem.

3. Screen Freezing – The customer/dispatcher will be able to freeze the screen.

4. Telestrations – After freezing the screen the user will be able to mark the particular part of the equipment which has the issue.

5.Screenshot – Customer can click the button for screenshot and the screenshot will automatically be downloaded

6. Video call logs – The whole video call with audio, notes, screenshots will be saved under a folder with the meeting name. Users can rename the title of the video call history anytime according to his/her reference.

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author April 9, 2020 0 Comments

Ways to remove false reviews from Google and Yelp

Importance of Reviews:

Before talking about how to remove negative reviews about your Home Service Business, you need to understand the importance of online reviews. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter about which business vertical you belong to, as long as you have a business profile online you need to keep a check on it. The fact is 90% of customers read online reviews before contacting a business. According to a study, 84% of people take online reviews almost as equal to a friend’s suggestion. 

According to one Moz study, even a decrease in 1 star (5-star system) can result in a significant decrease in the number of website visitors. I guess now you know the importance of having online reviews and the need to keep a check on them.

Effect of negative reviews:

Negative reviews can be like a parasite, you will get it unknowingly and it will continue to suck your Home Service Business growth as long as you don’t get rid of it. Just like you do for any other diseases. I understand the hard work and sweat you have given to your Home Service Business in order to build its reputation and it will be a complete disaster if one person decides to put negative reviews about your company all over the web. 

If you have been running your Home Service Business for even 6 months and have an online presence then you must have got some really bad reviews. The thing is that it’s okay, you don’t need to panic because it’s not something that can not be worked upon.

Yelp:

Yelp was founded in 2004 by Jeremy Stoppelman and has become one of the most popular websites for listing small businesses. It gives you the capability to not only show your business but to also book appointments directly from Yelp.

It has been a perfect place for the customers to get to know about the business and to see how other customers have rated their experience with the company. 

It can be really hard sometimes for a business to stay away from negative reviews. These reviews can be from a competitor trying to defame or it can be a disgruntled former employee who wants to make you look bad or it can be an unhappy customer who might have said more than required.

Identifying the bad reviews:

  1. If one of the reviews says that your Home Service Business is the worst and recommends another Home Service Business at the same time then definitely something is fishy there.
  2. If someone pretends to be your customer and writes a negative review, you can cross-check about him in your customer list and if you don’t find any connection then go ahead and report the review.
  3. New account: Make sure to check the account details once you receive a bad review and look if the account was just made to send bad reviews or is it a pre-existing account.

Procedure:

Once you have identified all the negative reviews, your next step will be in identifying the right approach in order to remove it. 

Yelp doesn’t really allow you to remove any kind of reviews from the platform but if you can present a document with proof then you might have some chance! The first step is to flag the fake review for the moderators of Yelp. The moderators will get back to you about the status and during this process, they might just ask you to provide some documents to back your claim.

Since Yelp is a bit hesitant in removing the reviews, your best option is to reply to that review quickly as Yelp allows the business owner to reply to all the comments. Let’s talk about the ideal case scenario when an unhappy customer posts about your service.

For example “Just got a new inverter installed at my home from Jacob electric after waiting for 2 days. I mean how hard can it be for them to install and connect wires?.”

In this scenario look for the details about the job and reply with empathy and professionalism. Focus on what went wrong and show your concern. Your customers need to know how much you care. 

A proper reply to the above review will be “We are sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the amount of time it took for us to connect the inverter connection. We strive to give the best customer service and while working the technician encountered a leakage current in your internal wiring. We are extremely sorry for the amount of time we took and we hope to serve you soon.”

To summarize, the Yelp algorithm does not allow any random review to come to the top. They segregate them into different categories so if someone randomly created an account to give your business a review then it will just be put into the “not recommended” section.

Google Local:

Google is the world’s number 1 website and having a bad review on it is something you don’t want right?. In case you have a lot of reviews about your business then it’s okay to have some bad ones but if you only have a few reviews then it will be best that you take some actions. So now the question is how to take care of any false review you received? 

It is the same as Yelp, it can be an ex-employee trying to sabotage the image of your business, it can be a competitor’s conspiracy or it can be a really unhappy customer. You need to be able to defend yourself on the largest platform of all. To identify if a comment is fake or not follow the same process as you did for Yelp.

When it comes to reviews Google has different policies as compared to Yelp, they try not to get involved at all but if the review falls under the categories like spam, fake content, and off-topic rants, threats, impersonation, and conflict of interest then they will surely consider it.

The procedure here is simple: 

Just sign in to Google My business, select reviews on the menu and click on the 3 dotted line on the right side of the false review to flag it. Since Google isn’t really involved in getting the false review down, what you can do is to contact the customer personally and request him to take the review down and probably solve whatever issue he had. If it is a fake one your best bet is to respond to the review in the same manner as we did for Yelp. That way you can come out as the one who really considers whatever review you get and try to work on it.

In conclusion, yes reviews do play a very important role in developing your business image in front of the entire world and hence have a direct connection to the number of jobs you will be getting but if you stay true to your service and do your best then you don’t have to worry about false reviews at all things will just fall into their perfect place.

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Author April 3, 2020 0 Comments

How To Get Repeat Customers For Your Home Service Business

We can broadly classify customers into 2 groups – one is the recurring or repeat customers and then the other group is the new customers. Now arises the question of why one needs to focus on getting repeat customers. In fact, the cost of retaining a customer is less than acquiring a new customer. Let me pull up some statistics which will give you a clear picture about the statement.

  • The probability or chances of selling your services to an existing customer is 60-70% whereas the probability of selling the services to a new customer is 5% – 20%.
  • It costs 5 times as much to get a new customer as compared to retaining an existing one.
Offer discounts to the Customers who book in advance for maintenance calls.

There are 2 benefits of offering them rewards if they book in advance.

You can plan your schedule properly well in advance. It becomes a lot easier to manage your technicians and the schedule during the peak seasons when you would probably be receiving multiple calls throughout the day.

The second benefit is quite obvious – the customer would be happy to receive a discount and would keep that in mind and if the service that you are providing is up to the mark then probably he will keep calling in the future too and that’s one way of how you build a relationship with the customers and convert them into repeat customers.

Follow up your new customers

When you have completed a job for a new customer. Do you follow them up? If yes then how often ?.

Let me take an example to make you understand why following up a customer after a job plays a great deal in customer retention.
Suppose a customer got his HVAC unit repaired from you recently and then the office manager makes a call asking them “ how is it working ? is everything alright ? “ that small call creates a big impact on how your customers view your business. It makes them realize that you take your job seriously and care for the customer. It need not necessarily be a call. A customized email would be good enough. It is also important to follow up with another email after a month and then do it again after 3 months. You can automize the email workflow according to your plan. This is how you do not just retain a customer but create an impression in their minds which later on translates into the word of mouth reviews.

If possible, try sending the same technician to the repeat customer

This simple step can help you score repeat customers. The customer is most likely to recognize the technician when he gets to the job location and it becomes easier for the customer during the communication process, the technician can easily build a good rapport with the customer and in case the job is for the same issue, he will be able to resolve the issue quickly as he has worked on it before.

Homeowners prefer the same technician to visit again. It actually creates a trust bond which leads to more bookings.

Note – This might not be quite possible in the peak seasons as the service calls are quite high and it is more important to focus on booking the calls but do try your best to follow it when the call volume is not so high.

Make use of CRM software 

There are many advantages of having a CRM software and one of them is marketing. Good CRM software will help you in storing the customer information right from contact information to invoices, the nature of the job that was done at the location.

  • Marketing during dull periods becomes easier as you just need to run an email campaign to the list of customer email databases that you have.
  • Consider an HVAC company – You have access to the notes and documents made at job locations so you have an idea about when it would require maintenance, so accordingly, you can make calls to the customers during the dull seasons asking about the condition of the equipment and try to book appointments that way.
  • It becomes easier for the technicians and office managers to track down any customer information anytime.
“Customer experience should always be on-spot”

This is something which you must have heard numerous times, but I would like you to answer this question to yourself – “ Are you really trying to put customer satisfaction on top ?” 

 “ 2 + 2 = 4 “ this logic is going to remain the same even ages later and the same goes with customer experience. You need to believe in providing a great customer experience. It is all the simple things that you can offer to the customer-

  • Providing good repair/maintenance.
  • The technician is polite to the customer.
  • The way the technician is dressed up when he arrives at the location.
  • The follow-up calls on how the service was.
Analyze the situations when existing repeat customers leave

Try to understand the various parameters on what is causing them to leave your business services. As I mentioned, in the beginning, it requires more effort and money in bringing a new customer than keeping an existing customer.

  • Was the repair service poor which caused the problem to repeat.
  • Was the team member rude during the service.
  • Was it a pricing issue.

Just try to think of all the pointers which led to the customer leaving because it should not be repeating again with the other customers. This is also what helps in building a winning culture for the company.

Sending out feedback forms in the mails is an important thing that can help you out in understanding how the customer felt about the service and where exactly you need to improve.


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author April 1, 2020 0 Comments

6 Tips for Growing Your Electrical Business

Do you feel like your business can be doing much better? According to IBIS World, there are about Two lakh ten thousand five hundred eleven (2,10,511) registered electrical businesses in the USA with a market size of 180 Billion dollars. Looking at the current trend, the number of electrical businesses is just gonna keep on increasing.

The current truth is that there are a lot of electrical service provider companies who are able to manage their workflow efficiently and generate quite a lot of revenue and on the other hand there are some companies who are not able to do so well, but the difference is not because of the quality of work, or the service charges. In fact, it’s because of the difference in their business plans.

For an electrical company, branding is the most important parameter, generating jobs is going to be an issue if people don’t know about you. It’s all about creating your presence in front of the customer. Once you have that you need to be able to make them trust you by providing them the best service and following basic marketing tips and once you are able to make them trust you, then you will see exponential growth in your business, they themself will work as a marketing engine and refer you to their friends and family. Following are 6 tips you need to follow to help you grow your business:

  • Business Plan: Running a successful electrical business requires a plan on how to reach and implement your vision. You need to be able to think through all the problems you are going to face and get through it all. If you don’t have a business plan then it’s high time you get one. It’s also important to constantly change your plans depending upon the circumstances. 

Like now, during this coronavirus epidemic, you need to take care of the safety of your technicians and get the job done as well. Now the question is how do you make a business plan? One of the best and simple ways of doing this is by creating a SWOT analysis (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). This will help you position your business properly and move forward accordingly.

  • Branding – It plays a major role in creating your presence in front of the world. Have you seen a lot of companies having their own t-shirts and caps? Well, there’s a reason for that, it helps them get exposure whenever they go for a job.  What about your website? Have you thought about it? If you don’t have a website then you need to make one right now, and if you have an old version of the website then get it modified. 

Presence on social media and web platforms like BBB, yelp is a must. People need to know about your company, they will call someone whom they have seen and can trust and that will only develop if they can search about you on the web platform, and read customer reviews. You need to present yourself as a brand in order to be one. 

  • Relationship with vendors: When it comes to commercial business, keeping a reputation with contractors, property dealers, architects & construction companies is very important. You need them to get information about any new project which might be coming up, and they need a person who they can trust and get the work done in quality time. But what if you don’t know anyone of them? Then you will never get notified of the new projects that are coming up, no matter how much you are ready to bid, you might just end up losing the job. 

These relationships are not only important in maintaining your electrical business but they also help you in your personal life. Having a friend who not only does business with you but also goes out with you and looks out for you is something anyone would love, isn’t it? 

  • Marketing: This is where you can overtake your competitors. It’s not always about who does a better job will get more jobs, in fact, the one who is able to showcase what they do, gets the job. In order to start your marketing, first, you need to have a website, without it, you really can’t do anything. Once you have a website you need to start with content marketing. Hire a guy or write it yourself. Choose topics your customers would read like “How to save electricity”.  

Get your SEO boosted up with the help of content. Search for what are the short and long keywords people would search on google and use of those keywords in your blog. Just like we did to reach you. Make sure you are able to showcase the core values of your company with the help of social media. Keep posting regularly, be careful with the content which helps in creating a connect with your audience.

  • Use Technology: Almost everyday new software hits the market that enhances productivity and helps you generate more revenue. I know you feel like you are doing great without using any of these tools and software but that’s a very big misconception. A perfect field management software will help you smoothen your workflow, cut extra work hours of manual data transfer, generate quick invoices, get fast payment transfer, generate upsell opportunity, generating work efficiency, and so on. 

You just need to pick the right software for yourself, and you will see exponential growth in your revenue generation but a false one will only result in you losing your money. 

  • Fast Payments: One of the major problems faced by electrical companies is in managing their cash flow. This almost occurs with every electrical business owner during the month-end. A good solution to this will be generating the invoice right after the job and getting it signed and paid right then. In the case of commercial contracts, try to get a milestone payment contract, so that you have a source of revenue even when the job is going on. Use field service management software to generate invoices quickly and efficiently.

Managing an electrical business is tough, you need to plan for a lot of things, and prepare your business for the worst conditions, but if you use these 6 simple tips then you will be able to plan for your business and keep it running in during worse circumstances. Planning is very important for your electrical business, and modifying it according to the situation is even more important.

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author March 27, 2020 0 Comments

How Home Service Businesses can Operate during Covid19

The corona pandemic has created a lot of fear in the minds of people, but the focus should be shifted from it and has to be more on how to progress the home service business in such times and provide people with the services which they need.

1)The gravity of the situation is quite understood but the following steps can be taken in the right manner only with the right mindset, the value of safety and hygiene needs to be understood.

Undoubtedly the first point which pops in the minds of home service business owners, technician, and customers is the safety issue. Let’s focus on what are the minimum requirements that need to be focused on –

Neat and Clean gloves – the gloves need to be sanitized after every job. After every visit to a location, it needs to be cleaned. Some home service businesses also can make use of disposable gloves.

The mask is a must, there is no doubt about it. If you are a home service business owner you need to ensure that every on-field worker is wearing it not just on the job, but throughout the travel to the location.

Hand wipes, sanitizer or alcohol-based hand wash to kill the germs, make sure every employee has it and knows how to use it.

Maintain 6 feet of distance with the customer, some of the installation and services don’t require the technicians to enter the home, the installation is done outside the home but if it requires the on-field worker to enter the home then the following 2 points need to be kept in mind

  1. Ask the customer if anyone in the house is ill, has any symptoms. ( this will be for the safety of the technicians )
  2. During the course of work inside the house, the worker needs to make sure that he does not touch too many things inside the house and ask the customer to keep the distance.

2) Many businesses have been shut down since the lockdown but some essential businesses still have not been put under lockdown as people require these services and the home service business is one of them. Now many people are not aware of it, they don’t know if your home service business is running or has it been closed down for a brief period of time. 

Now you need to make people aware of it and this can be done by making use of every social media channel, your website, you can run ads too. If your company is quite big then you should make your marketing team focus on this aspect primarily. If you have a good number of repeat customers you can send out emails to them.

3) When the customers make a call for any kind of services, ensure that you are asking them about their health, try to ask questions on 

  1. The state of their health.
  2. Any recent travel history to other countries or even within the states.
  3. Anyone in the home having any kind of symptoms.

Ask them in a polite manner so that the customer realizes that you want to ensure the safety of everyone – the customer and the on-field workers.

4) Keep your on-field workers motivated because they are the vital cog in your business. They are the ones who are moving out in the field. They might have some kind of fear in their minds as they are out there in the field moving from one location to the other. 

So if any technician is going through too much anxiety and fear it would be better to give him leave rather than sending him forward for the job. 

Focus on providing them with all the sanitization requirements so that the tools and equipment are sanitized time to time.

5) Many small businesses might consider the option of cutting down the salaries of the employees ( back-office managers and on-field workers ) or laying off the workers. Let us address both the aspects 

  1. Cutting down the salary immediately is not the right step as that would set up a bad mindset for the workers, they would lose the trust in you and your business values.
  2. Laying off the employees is definitely not the solution to the problem until and unless the number of calls has drastically reduced and the revenue is plunging deep down.

            The reason why I am saying, it is not a primary solution is that summer is around the corner and there is going to be a surge in demand for the services. At that point of time, you would need your on-field workers to keep your business going. The best bet is to stay calm and wait for a few weeks until this passes and then the business operations will be back to normal.

Until then you can consider the option of giving unpaid leaves to some of them and make the staff understand the reason behind it which they would obviously understand in the present scenario and stand by your decision.

6) Focus on getting the emergency repair services done first and if there are home service businesses that are receiving a very small number of service calls then you can focus on maintenance contracts. In such a scenario you can reach out to customers who have a maintenance contract with your home service business. This is one way how you could keep the home service business going if the service calls have seen a drastic impact.

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author March 25, 2020 0 Comments

6 KPI’s for Your Home Service Business

If you own a smaller business, it can get really difficult to know how to measure success and to make sure you’re primed to grow. However, there are true-and-tried KPIs that can help you monitor the trajectory of your company and also, correct the course as and when you face new challenges. Having a small Home Service Business can be intimidating and in a competitive market such as HVAC, electrical, and plumbing, all you need to know is how to keep the finger on the pulse of your operations. By reducing in on several key metrics, you can assess where your company is succeeding, where it could be doing more, and what can be done to ensure your business thrives.

According to the New York Times, the home service businesses are booming right now and will register a compound growth rate of 49% in 2021. But what does it mean for you? It means that with the coming year the number of home service businesses is going to increase even more, which will result in more competition and hence will make it hard for you to get your presence known to the world.

But you don’t need to worry about it, as long as you use and identify the right Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to run your Home Service Business. KPI’s are the best way for any Home Service business to identify the right path which will lead to proper planning for future growth. But the question here is How to identify the right KPIs for your Business? The answer to that is not simple in fact the KPI of two businesses in the same vertical might be very different from each other. KPI  largely varies from business to business, it is influenced by regional factors, industry trends, company practices, and some more parameters.

Understanding what is a KPI with example in this video

This does make your job a bit harder, but it’s not impossible at all, because all the answers you are looking for are right in front of you. You know your business the most, you know where do you earn profit from, you know where do you spend it and if anyone can make that perfect KPI for your business then that’s definitely you. 

Now to talk about how will you make that perfect KPI for your business is by first identifying the different types of expenditures. You need to be able to differentiate between what will be a quarterly/yearly expense and what will be a monthly expense. There will be quarterly expenditures like when you order stock for your inventory and there will be monthly expenditures like fuel cost for your truck so you need to be very clear about what to include in determining your KPI’s depending upon the time period.

Choosing the right KPI’s is the most important part here, you have to identify what are the factors that affect your business the most. In the case of Home Service Business you should focus on the net profit margin, sales figure, expenditures. Here is a broad description of all the factors that can help you in discovering the right path for determining the KPI’s of your business.

  • Sales Revenue: You need to have a very clear idea about how much you are able to earn from your primary sales strategies. Sales revenue is nothing but the amount of money that is coming in from the sale of your products and services. This will account for how much you are able to earn and then decide how much you will be spending on all of your expenses. It’s also imperative to look for trends in your sales revenue and monitor them regularly. Have you noticed any seasonal trends in your Home Service Business?
  • Profit Margin: The most important factor for a business to succeed is by having a significant profit margin. Now to calculate the profit margin you need to take into account how much sales you are able to make removed by all the expenses your company is making as a whole. It is crucial for you to have a very clear picture of the profit your business is making so that you can plan for what’s coming and invest accordingly. During hard times you need to be able to make decisions, and you will only survive if you would have planned for it. This is the truth, by keeping the exact profit margin into account you will be able to make the right decisions for your company at the right time.
  • Financial Reporting: I think you know how it gets when it comes to reporting if you have been in the business for even a year. You know it gets really hard while managing all the reports. The mistake here is that a lot of companies do not plan, they just start. As a result, they go into the reactive phase rather than a proactive one. Identifying the right report to use is the key here, you need to choose what kind of reports should you actually be focusing on. Whatever you choose should have a direct impact on your business. When it comes to the home service business the most significant impact on the growth of any business is made by Service Charges, Scheduling and employee charges. So maybe try focusing on these!

  • Employee Salary:  You need to be able to determine how much you can really pay your employees depending upon the position and industry standards. The key reason is you need to decide when your company is ready to expand and when you need to cut some ties. This is how business works. If you know that your company is doing good and now it’s time for you to increase your reach then that’s great! But make sure you have thought about it clearly and have a proper plan for expanding.
  • Customer Retention: Even if you have started the business recently you will have existing customers and these customers are the ones who create value for your company and they will continue if they are provided with the right service. You just need to keep these guys close. If you are able to increase your Customer Retention Rate then you will never go out of business because they will do referral marketing for you. Just keep in touch with them. Show them your care. One of the best ways to increase your customer retention rate is by asking them for feedback, this will help you build trust and improve your service.
  • ROI Analysis: Determining Return on Investment is going to be really important for you in deciding your KPI’s. This is something which will help you in making decisions like where to invest & when to do it. Is it working out or not? If not then what should I do? Whenever you run a marketing campaign you need to do these ROI analysis in regular intervals to choose the right path for you and not just marketing campaigns. It helps you in making decisions about when to invest and expand your business.

To summarize it all-determining KPI for your home service business is very important, you can’t run your business without them, selecting the right KPI is what will keep your business going and to do that you need to look for all the factors that affect your business directly, prioritize them and use them to create a successful business.

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author March 18, 2020 0 Comments
Technician inspecting heating system in boiler room

Bulletproof Team Structure For Winning Teams In The HVAC Industry

Just like how being proactive with all of the home services, finding the perfect HVAC company can save you money long term. Do your homework before you choose a technician or manager to work in your organization. 

The HVAC technicians are in a high demand to install, build, & maintain our constantly evolving systems. Experts have predicted that the demand for HVAC technicians will only rise through 2026. The Bureau of Labor Statistics especially predicted a growth of 21% in the field between 2012 and 2022, which will be increased in the coming time. 

Why is it that the HVAC technicians are so sought-after? 

The HVAC industry continues to speed along, never stagnating in its quest for smarter and advanced ways to operate and the answer lies in this- These days HVAC systems are much cheaper, more efficient, and more environment-friendly than ever before. At present, a lot of HVAC systems are connected to the IoT(Internet of Things), with computers that are handling tasks for automatic temperature control and air quality.

Although people in many other professions are sweating over the fear that they could be replaced by robots and automated processes, it seems that HVAC technicians don’t have much to be bothered about. Here are a few reasons as to why HVAC technicians are still – will continue to be – in high demand.

1. Nowadays Smart Systems Require Trained Specialists

As new HVAC technologies are becoming more and more sophisticated, the technicians have become much more valuable for their experience and specific training. Today’s complex HVAC systems and their components require technically sound technicians who can easily adapt to the changing landscape of the industry.

This is mainly because HVAC systems are increasingly integrated into the digital landscape through the IoT. Smart HVAC systems use technologies like sensors and timers to automate the temperature control for our homes and other commercial sites; setting them up and keeping them working properly longs the work of software specialists and tech-savvy technicians.

Smart and sophisticated systems are already popular and are expected to become common — experts predict that the smart home market will be valued at $80 billion by the year 2022. The ability to control indoor climate floor-by-floor (and even room-by-room) and the flexibility offered by modern systems appeal to modern businesses as well as homeowners. They can maximize the money spent on temperature control while minimizing their energy use and environmental footprint.

These days HVAC technicians need more than the tools in their literal toolbelt to deal with installation and maintenance — they need an education and understanding of the electronics and networks associated with modern systems.

2. Any New Tech Requires On-Site Installation

At the simplest level, the many developments in technology in the HVAC field mean new systems are continually replacing the outdated ones. Some of the developments in this industry are led by changing regulations; from banning freon to introducing incentives to homeowners for environmental up-gradation, necessity and advancements in scientific knowledge often drive the innovation in the HVAC business industry. 

Every time there’s an advancement in HVAC technology, someone needs to build the new system, and someone needs to help homeowners and businesses make the switch from their old systems — this requires the skill of an HVAC technician. Even the handiest person will need the help of an HVAC professional when installing a new system.

All HVAC systems (new and old) also require skilled workers to maintain them. With 95 percent of houses built since 2000 containing HVAC technology, there are plenty of systems to keep technicians busy with maintenance, repairs, and more.

The HVAC industry has been innovating independently for nearly a century and a half now, with no signs of slowing down. There will be better systems to come that will replace even the most efficient designs today; and when they do, you’ll call in an HVAC technician to make the switch.

 3.  Grads Like Green

It’s clear there will be jobs in the HVAC industry for years — if not decades — to come. While this is great news for those looking for stable, lucrative careers, it’s good news for HVAC employers, too. As a leader in green energy, the HVAC industry is primed to attract new graduates.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, jobs that support energy-efficient developments are on the rise. The regulatory environment and rapidly growing popular demand for energy-efficient products make it one of the fastest-growing fields. New graduates want to be involved in green work, and the HVAC industry’s energy-efficient projects draw young talent.

The HVAC industry not only has an environmental draw but also appeals to young professionals drawn to high-tech jobs, as HVAC systems are becoming more technologically advanced. There is ample room for innovation in this space, creating a dynamic work environment that is both stimulating and rewarding — which, along with social impact and sustainability, is precisely what new grads are looking for in a job.

4. Is it still a cool thing? 

At the end of the day, Americans really like to be cool. There is a demand for comfortable workplaces and homes which aren’t going to disappear any time soon — ensuring a steady stream of opportunities for those who build, install, and maintain HVAC systems for the foreseeable future.

While digital advancements like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) may help HVAC technicians do their jobs more efficiently, but it’s unlikely to replace the need for a human technician entirely. HVAC technicians’ ability to assess the unique situations presented by each system — and determine the proper course of action — suggests they will continue to be in high demand.

HVAC Technicians Must Continue Learning

The best HVAC technicians are those who have changed with the times; bringing a solid understanding of HVAC mechanics to the table, while also pursuing training opportunities to stay up-to-date with the latest trends.

While current HVAC technicians aren’t in danger of being replaced by robots, they may be outpaced by more tech-savvy peers if they don’t pursue continued education. Above all, HVAC technicians must be flexible and willing to learn in order to keep up with the fast-paced industry. Those who can adapt to changing technology and hold an understanding of the physical hardware that makes these systems work are destined to succeed as the field continues to grow over the next decade.

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author March 6, 2020 0 Comments

How To Sell Recurring Service Agreements

The maintenance agreements have actually become an integral part of the business workflow of home service industries, we have 3 main categories of people who will be benefitting from it. 

  1. The company
  2. The employees
  3. The customers

So before getting on to how recurring service agreements can be sold out to your customers,

Let us have a brief understanding of “what are recurring service agreements ?”, “How it is useful for the company” 

What are recurring service agreements?

Recurring Services Agreement means an agreement with a New Customer for the provision of services on a continuing basis. It can be monthly or yearly basis, which typically varies from business to business.

How it benefits the company 
  1. Service agreements are the means to keep the business up and running during the periods when the demand/requirement for services is quite low. It helps bring in the money during the seasonal lulls. The service agreements are mostly prepaid and it is a contract made on a monthly or yearly basis.
  2. It helps in building on the trust of the customer on our service. It helps in building customer relationships The maintenance agreements are generally sold at a discounted price, so if a customer would have called for a service that does not fall under a service agreement it would have cost him more. One more point which is worth keeping in mind is that the preventative work is done consistently on a regular basis, so customers can actually avoid a sudden emergency expense and with the HVAC, electrical and plumbing unit running efficiently, it will help them cut down on utility expenses too.
  3. The service agreements also help in retaining the employees. The employees who do not have work during the seasonal lulls have the tendency to jump from one company to another. Service agreements are the means which provide a sense of stability as they are tied up to some kind of work even during the seasonal lulls. It creates a win-win situation for both the company and the employees.
How to sell out recurring service agreements

I.  You need to understand the timing of when to pitch to your customers about the service agreements, basically understanding the customer mindset is the key to it. The customer should not feel that you are just trying to draw money out of his pocket. The right time to pitch the service agreement would be when the customer is getting installation or service done as that would be the point when he would be actually understanding the importance of proper maintenance. Every customer is different, their requirements are different so telling them the benefits in a way that you create a sense of need or create a scenario of what future problems might arise will help close the deal. It’s basically a sales pitch so training your technicians on how to talk to them is going to be critical. They are the ones who will be on the field in direct contact with the customers.

Now How to pitch it is quite important, you must not bug down the customer with all the technical details. Putting forward the important details and explaining “what is in it for the customer” is the right way.

Stressing on both monetary and maintenance benefits. For example -Offering discounts which will basically depend on the extent up to which you can play on profit margins, based on which you can make the decision on what would be the optimum discount percentage you can offer and when you do this, mention the amount which they will be saving. This will increase the chances of swaying the customers into your direction.

To sell out recurring service agreements, it is important to track down all the customers who fall in the list of service agreement customers and nurture them using emails/message or build a connection with them on social media accounts throughout the year and not suddenly start contacting them just at the point when the agreement is going to terminate. The customers are pretty intelligent and with a plethora of good options available in front of them, it won’t take them much time to discontinue the agreement in case of people who are in-contract paying on monthly basis. In order to make them loyal to your brand or company, you got to earn their trust. The service agreement should be a way to show the customer that you are the best company offering the best services and this is how you take one step forward towards a long-lasting relationship with the customer. It will happen only through regular touchpoints not just on the field but even online, which can be done by providing valuable information about general utilities (HVAC, electrical, or plumbing ). For example – What are the simple things that the customers can do to keep the units working efficiently.

Let’s have a quick look at the increase in service agreements that Andgar Mechanical LLC made after they started using Smartserv software

Andgar corporation is into different businesses and one of them is HVAC and plumbing, It started out in 1973. It is one of the top-rated HVAC company in Northwest Washington.

Smartserv is a field enablement software which will help in keeping the schedule organized, the invoice synced with Quickbooks and it has many more useful features which eventually helped Andgar manage their business workflow in a better manner.

Andgar started using the Smartserv CRM platform from mid of 2015 and they have made significant progress over the years, especially in terms of service agreements. There has been a 6X increase in service agreements.

To know more about the software – click this

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author March 4, 2020 0 Comments