Category: Field Service Business

How To Start Your Own Field Service Business 101: Calgary Heating Services

SmartServ is in conversation with Mohsin from Calgary Heating Services, Alberta.

How did you start your field service business? What was your motivation?

Mohsin’s brother started a part-time field service business in 2009 and another full-time job, which he left years later. He experimented with roles, but things didn’t seem to work out. That was when Mohsin proposed starting with their own field service business on a serious note instead of a part-time business. Right then, they started investing, and Calgary Heating Services took off!

What were the challenges you faced over the course?

One of the biggest challenges for the field service business is keeping steady throughout the year. The field service business is not stable as there are times when some weeks will be crazy busy, some calls might come in the middle of the night. And then there are days when nothing is happening. Therefore, finding work during the off-season is tough.

Another major challenge mentioned by Mohsin was managing the paperwork. The business operations are so extensive that keeping a manual record becomes tiresome.

SmartServ is the first software that Calgary Heating Services started using. Mohsin mentions the business experience to be above and beyond what they were doing before.

Was there a point where you felt like giving up on the business?

Managing a field service business is not a piece of cake. Mohsin mentions that the thoughts of quitting the business keep bouncing back. They usually appear when things are super slow and dull.

He mentions that they left the business in between because they were not earning enough. When they came back and decided to take this up seriously, they built an online presence. They felt that maintenance agreements would be the answer to having steady revenue during the off-season. However, due to heavy paper-dependency, they were not able to pull it off quite well

With SmartServ, keeping track and organizing the maintenance agreements became easy. Now, membership is a crucial part of their business.

When it comes to the topic of services, Mohsin mentions there is no hard and fast rule. In busy times there are jobs they don’t accept. But in slow seasons, they take up all jobs.

Do you feel managing a business today is any different than it was before?

As the business has transformed today, Mohsin emphasizes getting reviews from the customers. He says reviews on google, Facebook, etc. are their number one priority. Most of the customers search and read the reviews of companies before booking appointments.

The second thing on Mohsin’s list is investing in field service management software early. He feels that most businesses like them make the mistake of not going paperless from the start of their field service business.

Mohsin mentions that he looked up many field service software but was not sure. He currently feels that if they had made an early investment in software like SmartServ, they would have been a comparatively bigger business with so many memberships by now. Losing receipts and disorganization ate a lot of their time.

He believes field service management software makes things organized with a few clicks and allows to do so much more from anywhere – field or office. With field service management software, the owners can focus on priority tasks than being tied up with monotonous duties.

What is your vision on expansion for the company?

Calgary Heating Services is focussing on increasing the memberships for their field service business. Mohsin believes that maintenance agreements are the key to financial stability in the long-run. He also hopes to invest in more vans.

Any suggestions for the budding field service entrepreneurs of today?

Many people start their field service business, but more people fail than making it because of a lack of hard work. Mohsin added that less than 10% of businesses stay more than three years in the industry. He suggests that one must not give up during the ups and downs as they are a part of the journey. He emphasizes getting online reviews and investing in any sound field service management software.

The key is to stay at it and not have a lazy attitude. An online presence and investment in good field service management software for your customer database is crucial.

Mohsin, Calgary Heating Services

If you get a chance to meet your younger self, what one piece of advice would you give?

Mohsin states that they didn’t have a proper business plan. They took money from their private accounts and started dumping it into the business. 

If he has to go back, he will find a proper accountant and get advice on where funds are coming from, handling cash, and more. He says it is good to start with an accountant and then go from there. You don’t want to hit the road right away!

Further, he adds that the business foundation should be strong from the start, so if the time comes when you are too busy, you can avoid unnecessary headaches.

Mohsin believes that on the other side of it, no matter what you do, you’ll have your ups and downs, bad and good days, and eventually, busy days look like they will never stop, and then soon the same is the case with the slow days. One must keep going.

How do you keep up with the competition?

Mohsin says that they are not too concerned regarding competitors but the work ethic and quality of service. They leave the result for the customers to figure out themselves. And with quality service, the customers usually stay with the company.

When it comes to online competition, Mohsin does not carry the experience with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). They are a small company, and they have a few people outside the firm who look after their website, including SEO. The current investment towards the same is close to $75 per month. However, he mentions that SEO is for big companies, which have a hefty marketing budget.

For Calgary Heating Services, google reviews have worked the best. He says that people will look for business in their areas and read reviews. With just a few years, he noticed the difference right away. 

 He repeats that everyone is reading reviews these days.

HomeStars reviews also made it easy for them, especially with the older generation. The only place Mohsin pushes his customers is in getting honest reviews for the service they provide. He mentions that he does promotions stating – we ask for honest opinions over the best reviewsand they gift a 10-dollar coffee card to the customers.

How do you deal with bad reviews?

Mohsin mentions that as their focus has always been on providing quality service to their customers, they haven’t had any such experience. However, one person did write a negative review for them who was not a customer but a competitor who runs an HVAC business in the same area. When Mohsin tried dealing with Google, they said that the same is not against their policies.

He intends that such instances take place during the course of field service business, but one must not lose focus on their goals and values.

SmartServ presents you with the blog series: How to start your own field service business 101. We aim to dedicate the series to budding or new business owners who wish to start their business from scratch. If you wish to ask any questions or want us to cover anything that would help you build your service business, let us know in the comment section!

SmartServ is an all-in-one cloud-based field service management software. We are expanding to providing affordable marketing services for small businesses. To book a free demo, reach us out at https://www.smartserv.io/demo-request/

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Ava Larson March 2, 2021 0 Comments

How To Start Your Own Field Service Business 101: Kye Bowman, Fine Pipes Plumbing

SmartServ in discussion with Kye Bowman, the Owner, Fine Pipes Plumbing

With two generations worth of experience in the field service business, FinePipes was built in 2018 to innovate the plumbing industry in Lethbridge. Kye Bowman, the owner of Fine Pipes Plumbing, shares his journey with SmartServ, from day one to date.

How did you start your field service business, and what was your motivation?

From a very early age, Kye knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He grew up around trades with the heavy influence of his father, who was a plumber. It was around his later teens and early twenties when he got keen on doing something on his own. He did like the trades but never thought of being in this business.

Lately, he eventually came around plumbing as he wanted to honor his dad and felt the field service industry is the way to go. Kye also mentioned that the field service management industry is a forgiving form of business, and good work ethics would take you a long way. Thus, he was motivated to start his journey here as an entrepreneur.

One thing which was clear for Kye was his will to innovate. He wanted to operate an innovative service business and not just end up as a mom-and-pop shop. Therefore, the spark was to build a proper company and carry on with the family legacy.

What were the challenges you faced over the course?

As per Kye, organization proves to be tricky. He had to work on systemizing as many things as possible so that his field service business could stay on top of providing high-level client service.

Was there a point where you felt like giving up on the business?

Kye said he definitely had moments of giving up, where he would shake his head and wonder. He shares that he never worked for a company as a journeyman because he started his field service business when he got the license right after getting out of school. Kye felt that the amount of work one does in the beginning matters a lot. 

He added that, eventually, he learned a lot from the ups and downs and enjoyed the process of growing. The bigger problems you solve, the more you can make at the end of the day. Kye suggests one to be a good problem solver first.

“One thing that has stuck with me is you get paid in proportion to the problems you can solve.”

– Kye Bowman, Owner, Fine Pipes Plumbing

If you get a chance to meet your younger self, what one piece of advice would you give?

Kye suggests incorporating right away. He waited almost two years after starting with his field service business. Now he is corporated, but in the eyes of law, he runs a brand new company. It makes certain things harder for him, like getting loans, line of credit, etc. Also, when you incorporate, you are personally protected from liabilities.

Another thing that Kye feels he would have done differently would be, for the first year, sitting down with the accountant and bookkeeper. He would have found one or both from the same company, which focuses on small businesses. Apart from having them do the accounting or bookkeeping, he would have done much himself to learn the process.

If he had to go back, Kye feels he would have got a platform like SmartServ sooner. He knows when you analog, it is easy to lose information. A field service management software adds value to the business.

Do you feel starting a field service business today is any different than it was before?

While comparing, Kye Bowman realizes a big difference in business today and what it was during his father’s time. Today, for every service company, the brand is a huge part of the business. The brand is everything unless one wants to just work on 1-2 jobs per day and call it a day. If one aspires to build a successful company, he needs to make his brand stand out. He feels the same was not the case before. If someone was to show up in a nice pristine van with the logo on the side, people would get suspicious. But today, even if one shows up with a stained T-shirt, they might have a hard time getting a job. For Kye, focussing on the brand, with a nice van and logo everywhere, his closing ratio was 80-90% in the first year, and he didn’t get push-backs on the pricing. Thus, it is a crucial action.

As per Kye, his dad was not much of a businessman, and his dad feels the same. He was good at his trade but didn’t know much about the business, plus he didn’t enjoy that part. 

Having a business sense is important, Kye mentioned. Fine Pipes is not a family-owned field service business; he has built it from scratch. Consequently, everything Kye does, he has taught the same to himself.

Did you ever feel the need to have a backup plan?

When asked about a backup plan, Kye said he does better when he is under pressure to succeed when he has to either sink or swim. He feels he has learned a lot and has a lot to learn, but does the best when he has no contingency plans.

He does, sometimes, have some supplement income here and there, which he wishes to reinvest back into growing the field service business, and take as little as he can as a salary.

Did you ever feel the need to expand your business?

Within the next couple of years, Kye would like to expand into HVAC (service furnacing, indoor air quality, and so on). He might have to rebrand Fine Pipes into something broad in meaning.

He also foresees expanding within the plumbing industry into water purification, which will be a big one for him. Kye aims to offer specialized services in not only installation but maintenance and is focussing on improving the client service experience. 

How do you envision your company’s work environment?

As the owner, Kye emphasizes the value of being positive, proactive, honest, and accountable; and encourages care for one another.

He wishes to maintain a structure where people are compensated for hard work, i.e., good pay + extra for hourly wage success.

Most importantly, Fine Pipes Plumbing believes in creating a company that not only looks after the people but provides room to grow individually and at work.

Any suggestions for the budding entrepreneurs of today?

Kye Bowman’s advice to new entrepreneurs in the field service business is you can not do it on your own. You might be really good at the work, but it is not all that there is. The business itself is the most important thing to focus on, and the work comes second. The client needs to be the focus of the field service business, even over the work. One way to be prepared is by making a written step-by-step list of actions that need to be there when providing service to a client. Consider the key things you want, and do it every time. It will naturally help you in providing better customer service.

Keep the consistent focus on growing business knowledge, and determine how you can provide a constant good experience for your customers. It will eventually lead to callbacks, referrals, and growth.

Lastly, Kye suggests the aspiring field service business owners surround themselves with people who know more, not necessarily trade people. He asks to look for advice from other companies, people who might have experience in different areas like marketing, finance. 

He believes there are so many opportunities for young people in the trade – one needs to keep a simple mind, do good work, and care for people.

SmartServ presents you with the blog series: How to start your own field service business 101. We aim to dedicate the series to budding or new business owners who wish to start their business from scratch. We will be sharing our one-on-one interviews and discussions with numerous successful service business owners from the field service industry. If you wish to ask any questions or want us to cover anything that would help you build your service business, let us know in the comment section!

SmartServ is an all-in-one field service management software. To book a free demo, reach us out at https://www.smartserv.io/demo-request/

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Ava Larson February 22, 2021 0 Comments