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Category: Business operations

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 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 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 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 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 company is the worst and recommends another company 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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Atin garg 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

1. 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.

2. 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. 

3. 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 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? 

4. Marketing Strategy

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.

5. 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 in smoothing your workflow, cut extra work hours of manual data transfer, generate quick invoices, get fast payment transfer, generate up-sell 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. 

6. 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 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 Industries 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 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 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 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 the services and the home service industry is one of them. Now many people are not aware of it, they don’t know if your 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 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 maintenance contract with your business. This is one way how you could keep the 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 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 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 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: DeterminingReturn 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 analyses 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. 

The company
The employees
The customers

So before getting into how recurring service agreements can be sold to your customers, let’s understand what recurring service agreements are, and how they can be useful for your company.

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.

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.

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.

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.

To know more about the software – click here.

To Book A Demo – Click here.

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author March 4, 2020 0 Comments

Quickbooks Online vs Quickbooks Desktop: Which One Is Better

Quickbooks online vs Quickbooks desktop: which one is better?

When the question of “which one is better?” arises, the answer is not quite simple. It completely depends on the type of business that you are running, the budget, the features that you require. So we can’t come to a definite conclusion as to which one of them is better than the other. It completely depends on the needs of your business. Both the versions have their pros and cons, but on the whole, after doing a quantitative and qualitative analysis one can say that Quickbooks online outweigh Quickbooks’ desktop version.

Quickbooks Desktop

Quickbooks desktop rolled out in the market way back in 1992 and has made a lot of progress since then, right now they have three different product categories under it

Quickbooks desktop pro – This version is mainly useful for small-sized businesses

Quickbooks desktop premier – This version is mainly useful for medium-sized businesses

Quickbooks desktop enterprise – This version is mainly useful for large-sized businesses

Quickbooks Online

Quickbooks Online came out in 2004 and right now in 2020 they have made many major changes which will be mentioned in the sections below

One major difference that can be put straight up is that QuickBooks Online can be accessed anywhere as it is cloud-based software, whereas QuickBooks desktop is installed on a computer or a laptop and data can be accessed only through that particular gadget.

Cost structure

Let’s start off with the pricing of QuickBooks online and QuickBooks desktop

Quickbooks desktop has a license pricing model.

As of February 2020

Pro falls at a price of $299.95/year

Premier falls at a price of $499.95/year

Enterprise falls at a price of $970.40/year

Quickbooks online has a SaaS pricing model

As of February 2020, the pricing of Quickbooks online pricing is as follows

The self-employed model priced at $7/month

The Simple model priced at $12/month

The Essential priced at $20/month

The Plus priced at $35/month

The Advanced $75/month

Learning Curve and ease of use

The Quickbooks desktop has a steep learning curve. It is much easier to learn and use the Quickbooks online version when compared to the Quickbooks desktop. To learn Quickbooks online one doesn’t need to be an accountant, it can be learned by any business owner.

Quickbooks Invoicing

When we talk about Invoicing, the design or User interface of the invoice report, it is very easy to understand which even a person who is not tech-savvy or a person with not a deep understanding of financial reports can understand.

Whereas the Quickbooks desktop has an old traditional invoice template which is also quite tough to customize.

Other than customizations the Quickbooks online has better automation available

Some of them are –

· Tracking of invoices which will help you see if the client has received the invoice, paid the invoice or not.

· You will have the ability to send invoice reminders to the customers.

· Online payments can also be made by the customers on the client portal.

Financial reports

In terms of reports, Quickbooks desktop is a bit ahead compared to the online version.

Quickbooks desktop has three models as mentioned before, QuickBooks desktop pro offers 130 reports whereas Quickbooks premier and enterprise have 150+ industry-specific reports. So basically you will be getting more number of reports which will provide better insight.

On the other hand, we have Quickbooks online which offers up to 80 reports which actually depends on the type of plan that you choose out of the three plans that they provide.

Customer Support

In terms of customer support both the accounting software don’t perform very well. This particular aspect is where both the versions of Quickbooks fall below the expectations of the customers. Intuit has been working on making the customer service better but still there have been issues with the wait time. The wait times are long and this is a major problem that needs to be resolved.

Some more Important differences

Data security

The Quickbooks desktop is something that is locally handled so the security part is completely on the user and is actually a bit safer as no one else can have access over it whereas in case of Quickbooks online the security is taken care of by Intuit as it is cloud-based.

Software Updates

Quickbook online offers software updates in real-time which will be available to the users as and when they are released and it also provides bug fixes, whereas in the case of Quickbooks desktop you need to wait until the new version is out in the market and there is an additional amount that needs to be paid for it.

Mobile apps

Quickbooks Online provides mobile apps on the iOS and Android operating systems which can be accessed anywhere, anytime but that is not the case with Quickbooks Desktop.

Features and Optimizations

Feature-wise Quickbooks desktop has got some features that are not so effective in Quickbooks online, for example – to manage job costing and large amounts of inventory which is a very important feature for businesses like retail stores, Quickbooks desktop is a better solution.

When it comes to automization, Quickbooks online holds a better stand, business owners can manage their accounts quickly and efficiently. All the debit or credit card data will be synced in real-time.

Conclusion

The present scenario is such that most of the people are making a transition from desktop to online version whereas the people who are using desktop version are using it because their business needs and the features of desktop version strike well and the other set of people are the ones who have been using it since a long time and don’t want to change the way they operate, it’s mostly the people who are not so tech-savvy.

If you want to know more about Quickbooks online versions watch this –

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author March 4, 2020 0 Comments

Trends Of Digitalisation In The HVAC Industry

Technology has changed the pace of every business, and it doesn’t matter which industry you belong to. The new generation of Customers is getting advanced with time. “Time is Money”, It is a world where everything is done in a few clicks.

The Traditional way of doing business is history now. The process is changed. Everything is automated and the focus has shifted to higher recurring revenue with increased loyal customers.

For HVAC Contractors, there is a big difference between Digitization and Automated Digitization.

Contractors who have already adopted technology into their process has experienced the following biggest benefits in a very short period.
1) Transparency in day-to-day operations
2) Right Business Metrics at all the time
3) Higher customer satisfaction
4) Increased sales and productivity
5) Secured Financial Information 
6) Efficient in Customer Engagement 

Automated digitization has reshaped the HVAC business in recent years. As per the studies, demand for HVAC has increased by 6.8% annually in 2019 about a total of $20.4 billion. Mobile Solutions have played a bigger role in this growth.

Now contractors are getting smarter and doesn’t matter if it’s a small or mid-sized business, residential or commercial, someone starting the business from zero is able to experience a very quick growth at the initial stage with the help of few powerful features like in-build Call Integration, Smart Scheduler, CRM, Accounting Integration, Automated Maintenance Agreements, Inventory Management, Picture Price Book, multiple Payment Integration options, etc. 

This industry-specific mobile software is available at very reasonable prices in the market. However, every single one is different from the other due to its limitations and specifications.

Only the United States is expecting revenue growth of around $60 billion in the coming 12 months. Climate changes are forcing the contractors to have a robust solution and manage all the existing customers from a single touch-point ensuring high-quality services, and long-term relationships and it is possible only through a Smart Application accessible to all the members within the business on real-time.

Contractors still carrying out the business manually, are facing stiff competition on various levels and losing customers gradually within a short period due to poor operational stats and lack of data available to them.

Example- Nokia’s legacy in the Global phone market came to an end due to the following reasons-
1) Ignored the Market

2) Overlooked the threats from Competition

3) Choose to stick with the same old platform 

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4) Lack of Innovation and Adaptability
As a result, Apple and Google are the legends now for continuously being Innovative and creative in their technology.

Learning — HVAC contractor has to evolve and adopt automated digitization not just to get a competitive advantage in the market, but also to maintain the revenue curve higher during non-seasonal periods.

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The development of the Internet of things (IoT) technology, cloud computing, big data solutions, wireless and network solutions are replacing traditional solutions. Data analytics, and big data solution have become popular with the introduction of smart Solutions and digitization of HVAC systems.

This data can be used for future operational decisions. Data analytics is helping HVAC owners save energy consumption and money which are mostly invested in purchasing unnecessary equipment or replacing outdated equipment.

With the help of these tools, the office staff knows who be the right technician to perform a specific task, and what has been the customer’s service history. As a result, the technician is equipped with the right information before reaching the job site.

The HVAC owner, on the other hand, is having a complete watch on both the office and field team on a single screen and can make quick changes that are updated in real-time to everyone.

The days of paper invoices and forms are over. These Mobile Solutions enabling the techs to create estimates, invoices, and any other form in just clicks by making the office-workers job a lot easier. Instant payment integration has kept the cash flow coming in on an everyday basis.

Through digitized solutions, the owner is now able to identify the Market knowing exactly how much revenue sourced by various job types, locations, etc. through data analysis. Also, it helps discover which marketing campaigns are yielding revenue and which types of services are being sold the most.

The HVAC owners are staying connected with the customers through intuitive and real-time engagement touchpoints by sending pre-job and post-job greetings and alerts. Letting customers know when their technician is dispatched and arrival time. Sending them emails or texts with attachments to their invoice and collect feedback before the tech leaves the site to ensure a high-quality experience.

It provides the technicians with access to a complete history of past records, and an opportunity to increase conversion of quotes, do invoices and collect payments, much faster. Also, allowing the in-house team to convert more calls into booked jobs and increase the average job ticket size by allowing the field techs to sell more estimates and equipment in the field.

On the field, this has been a great relief as now it is much easier to collect comprehensive information about the problem using custom forms & checklist. They are able to collect open-ended data or dynamic drop-downs to the customers a list of options to choose from. Even trigger techs to automatically fill this out in different parts of the job cycle, making sure the techs collect every information.

It allows business contractors to import and upload their own price-book which is on excel, or in any other format and easily implement any updates on pricing across the board for the entire company account. It is much easier now to build estimates and email those out to the customers to track and get converted to a full-blown job.

Out in the field, techs browse the price book, any descriptions, product information, and easily build beautiful, and optimal estimates that convert much faster. It’s much easier to set up recurring membership services through digital platforms and searching through service agreement files for scheduling prepaid visits becomes a breeze. Prior notification for renewal as it can set up the contracts to automatically renew and convert additional opportunities through recommendations from the past equipment health.

Technicians can easily log in their travel time, clock-in, clock-out and break intervals for each job while on live which later sync back to their payroll in seconds. With the help of digital signatures, techs can collect payments on the jobs as soon as the job completes. Whether capturing cheques or credit cards, making it as easy as capturing them using the camera and keeping the office notified with open balances on invoices.

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author March 4, 2020 0 Comments