Contractor Corner

There never seems to be enough hours in the day. Everyone says that and as a busy contractor you couldn’t agree more. There is never enough time to get to those phone calls. Never enough time to schedule all those needed service calls. Certainly never enough time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. So what can you do?

1. Schedule

First, the best thing to do is to schedule your time and stick to it. Too often you probably find yourself varying from the schedule to deal with some kind of emergency. How often does that happen on off hours you should be spending with your family? Blocking time and honoring those time blocks is key to balancing your life.

2. Staffing

Next, be sure you are adequately staffed. All those emergencies could be handled by other service techs instead of by you. If you are that busy, being a solo guy (or gal) is not the best use of your time and resources. Time to hire talented people who can help expand your business by being available when you aren’t. That also means that multiple techs can be on multiple calls, something you can’t do as a solo.

3. Your business number

You probably made the mistake of using your cell phone as your business number. Now there is never down time because all of the calls are coming to your cell at all hours of the day and night. While it probably seemed a good idea at the time, you now realize what a colossal mistake in judgment that was. The solution? Well there are a few, but the first would be go get a new cell for personal use and DON’T give that number to customers. The next is turn OFF the business cell when you aren’t working. It has voicemail so use it.

4. Emergency calls

But all those emergency calls!!! And what about the ringing phone that goes on non-stop during business hours? Well, the answer to that may just be that you need to outsource your customer service to an outside dispatching and scheduling company. Not just any answering service, mind you, but one that understands your business. This kind of service will be helpful to your customers by knowing how to help them technically. They will also understand that not everything is an emergency and schedule them accordingly. Oh, and yes, they can schedule you and your techs for you.

All of these will give you your best and most precious resource back… your time!

If you are looking for real help getting some of your life back, make sure to check out our In Charge Services

 4 Ways To Gain More Time For Your Contracting Business ... There never seems to be enough hours in the day. Everyone says that and as a busy contractor you couldn't agree more. There is never enough time to get to those phone calls. Never enough time to schedule all those needed service calls. Certainly never enough time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. So what can you do?

Customer service is important to any business. It certainly applies to yours and you take that very seriously. The thing is, that if your staff just consists of you that’s a problem. If you have an assistant, can you be there all the time to ensure that your customers are getting consistent customer service?

Outsourcing is the right solution

Outsourcing is a perfect solution for either scenario. No, you’re not sending your customers to an impersonal call center in New Delhi. The outsourcing you’ll be doing will be to a US company that understands your business and customers.

Knowledgeable and quick!

A customer service outsourcing company is there to do everything you can’t. A good one will respond to your calls in seconds, not minutes. They will be knowledgeable about what you do and how well you do it.

Great, right? It gets better.

They will be answering your phones pleasantly and professionally. They will never get sick and tired of answering the same questions over and over. Your customers get friendly yet professional service that reflects very well on your business.

Dispatch and scheduling

The elite customer service outsourcing company will also have access to your dispatch program and schedule your techs for emergencies and scheduled service calls. Your customers will get top notch service and have their needs met immediately. You will relieve yourself of the burden of being tied to your phone or office and worrying about how your phones are (or aren’t) being answered.

Don’t be afraid to look into customer service outsourcing. It could be the best decision you ever make.

Customer Service Outsourcing – How Can An Outsourcing Company Be As Good As You Are? | Customer service is important to any business. It certainly applies to yours and you take that very seriously. The thing is, that if your staff just consists of you that’s a problem. If you have an assistant, can you be there all the time to ensure that your customers are getting consistent customer service?

You are a busy contractor that needs help with the calls coming in. You aren’t sure if an answering service would be best for you versus a customer and dispatch service. So what are the differences?

What an answering service does

An answering service will take your calls and give you messages. More likely than not you wouldn’t have the same person answering your calls. It’s impersonal, but gets you the messages that you need. Then you or your office assistant call the customers back and find out whether the messages are for an emergency or a planned job. If you use an answering service you will need to hire an office assistant, or take time from your day to make return calls.

A customer and dispatch service is different

First, most specialize if servicing contractors and you can find one that will understand your business. So why is that important? Well, when customers call they will know if there is an emergency or not and how to help them. Having knowledge about plumbing or electrical or builders means that the person answering your phones will be able to offer a quick solution in emergencies and get you or your service tech there more quickly. You are also more likely to have the same person answering your phones. Because they also dispatch instead of just taking messages that service tech will get there fast.

Will you need an extra office assistant with a customer and dispatch service?

Probably not. Since the person answering your phones is knowledgeable and will dispatch immediately or schedule service calls the need to hire and pay an extra person is probably nil. The cost of the service will be less than the salary, benefits and taxes you’ll have to pay for an additional employee. So do your homework, but you’ll probably find that a customer and dispatch service will be a great fit for you.

If you would like to learn more about how a dispatch service can help you, give us a call today! (813) 438-3666

How Do Answering Services Differ From A True Customer And Dispatch Service Company? | You are a busy contractor that needs help with the calls coming in. You aren’t sure if an answering service would be best for you versus a customer and dispatch service. So what are the differences?

Do you want to make more money? Then check out your AP accounts: do you know where your money is being spent?  Kind of important to know. You may be making money hand over fist, but if you have more going out you’re still failing in business.  So do you know what is being paid out of your accounts payable?

Spend it to make it

There is an adage in business that says you have to spend money to make it.  On many levels that’s true.  You can’t make money unless you spend some marketing of yourself and your business.  You can’t make money if you don’t spend it on the equipment and supplies you need for jobs.  You certainly can’t make it if you don’t have a means to get yourself to jobs.  The problem occurs when you are spending more than you are making, or have no idea what you’re spending.

Budget

Like your home, your business should have a budget.  Like your home, your business should follow that budget.  Knowing what you are spending now can help you know if you need to look for less costly options for the things you need for your business.

For instance, do you need to have the best and fastest internet or could just a touch slower and less expensive do the same job and save you money?  If your utilities are suddenly much higher can you shop around for better rates?  Better yet do those higher utility bills tell you that you need to turn off the lights or turn down the air conditioning (or heat, depending on the season).  Using a fan or wearing a sweater to keep them lower (just like at home) can add more to your bottom line.

Quality over price

A few areas to place quality over price would be the supplies and tools you need to use on site.  Don’t endanger your customers to save a buck.  If they know they are getting the best they will refer you and you WILL see more business.

Knowing your AP accounts well will help you make more money, so go look… NOW!

If you need help with your AP tracking and collections, give us a call today! (813) 438-3666 or check out our Contractor Services page!!

Want To Make More Money? Stay On Top Of Your AP Accounts! Do you want to make more money? Then check out your AP accounts: do you know where your money is being spent? Kind of important to know. You may be making money hand over fist, but if you have more going out you’re still failing in business. So do you know what is being paid out of your accounts payable?

Big companies, online businesses and other types of businesses use mastermind communities or mastermind groups to challenge and improve their business. Service businesses should do the same.

What is a mastermind community?

A mastermind community is a group of people with common goals who meet regularly to share, learn and challenge each other. Whether they meet in person, on the phone, via Skype, chatrooms, meeting software, etc., members are highly motivated. Meetings consist of the sharing of ideas, questions, triumphs and downfalls. Members ask for and provide feedback to each other. They hold each other accountable for goals and gain knowledge and wisdom from each others’ experiences.

Most meetings are held in a specific formal format

At the beginning of each meeting members talk briefly about goals set at the last meeting. Afterwards a predetermined person shares details about issues, complications, questions and concerns about his or her own situation. The rest of the members can respond by offering suggestions or comments based on their expert knowledge or their experience. At the end each member talks briefly about any goals they want to accomplish by the next meeting and the person to share specifics is chosen.

The best part about mastermind groups is that each person gets a chance to get their questions and issues answered and addressed. They also can and do learn new ideas and solutions they may not have thought of on their own. They are also a fantastic way to hold members accountable for the goals they set.

As a service contractor it may be a bit of a challenge to find a group specifically for contractors, but even one for general businesses can be a boon for ideas that could work for any type of business. It could help you think outside the box. If you think it would help, then create one for contractors!

Here are two that I am associated with:

Service Round Table – www.serviceroundtable.com
CEO Warriors – www.ceowarrior.com

Why Service Businesses Really Need To Be Part of a Mastermind Community | Big companies, online businesses and other types of businesses use mastermind communities or mastermind groups to challenge and improve their business. Service businesses should do the same.

You have the best pricing plan for your contracting business, or so you thought.  But do you really?  Flat rate pricing is truly a game changer for contracting.

Happy customers

So what if your customers could choose a price that fits their budget and fixes their problems?  Do you think they’d be happy?  Happy enough to sing your praises and get you more customers for your contracting business?  That’s the beauty of flat rate pricing.  Now you probably charge for parts and an hourly rate for labor.  Sure that’s standard for the industry, but is it your best choice?  How many jobs have gone by the wayside because they just can’t afford that kind of price.

Your customers can choose the price

The beauty of flat rate pricing is that your customers can choose a price that fits their budget.  Knowing that they won’t be facing a bill that keeps going up will make it easier for them to choose your services.

Should something more need to be done, then you can present that as an additional job, but not one that will add to their current bill.  What you “lose” in hours billed will more than be made up with additional jobs for your contracting business.

So how does it work?

Well you set a price for all your typical jobs, taking into consideration the time it will take and the parts needed.  Then you tell your customers that call what the job will cost.  Not an estimate but bottom line.  They can be assured that it will only cost that.  You can add that should the job be more complicated than you expect there will be future flat rate jobs necessary.

What it means for you is more work and a better bottom line.  Oh and happy clients!

Need some help working out your flat rate pricing options? We recommend Profit Rhino!

Profit Rhino - Why Having Flat Rate Pricing Is A Game Changer | You have the best pricing plan for your contracting business, or so you thought. But do you really? Flat rate pricing is truly a game changer for contracting.