Professionalism

People have been spending a lot more time at home due to the covid pandemic, and even though things are beginning to level out a little, it still means there is more plumbing work to be done because people are using more water and heating their homes more often. However, due to the unfortunate amount Read more

People have been spending a lot more time at home due to the covid pandemic, and even though things are beginning to level out a little, it still means there is more plumbing work to be done because people are using more water and heating their homes more often. However, due to the unfortunate amount of people who have been put out of work due to covid, there are a lot more plumbers out there who have just started out and are eating into the sales of long term plumbers. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s just business. But it does mean plumbers are looking for extra work. Here are some tips worth considering. 

Check Professionalism Standards 

This isn’t to say you aren’t professional. It’s just to reaffirm a couple of areas which you may want to pick up on. It doesn’t even concern the work you carry out (which will of course be to a high standard), or whether you’re using a tennant t7 or a titanium tubing cutter. It’s the simple things. Following up on a job with a text or email to ask how things are looking and whether the repair held or if it completely sorted the issue. This also builds on the chance of you receiving a positive review. Wearing shoe covers so you don’t walk mud through a home, keeping a mask on with regional regulations, etc. These little things are what can leave a big impact on a lot of people and lead them to recommending you to others. Keep them in mind and you’ll see more sales role in. 

Use Social Media

So many people will search for tradespeople on social media these days instead of searching on Google or Bing. That’s how powerful social media has become. It’s why you really need to ensure you have a presence. Set up your business page with a powerful logo and your key business information including number, email address, or instant messaging facilities. It also provides a great platform for reviews. If they find you on Facebook, when you’ve completed the job you can ask for a review on Facebook which will again pull in more sales. It’s a great way of interacting with your local community. 

Build Search Engine Visibility

Go to google and search for plumber in … (wherever you operate) and see what comes up. That’s where you need to be. On the first page, offering a free quotation, or no obligation quotation. How? You need a website, you can create one for free. You then need to build some useful content on your website. Being searchable is huge and will directly increase your sales. You can get help with this from SEO specialists but in reality you can do it yourself if you have the time so long as you can get some decent content on there. It also builds on the professionalism of you and your business. People do look for websites these days and having one will set you apart from those that don’t.

Callbacks are often preventable—if you understand the common causes. Learn how to reduce callbacks, maintain your reputation and boost productivity with a few best practices. “I’m not happy with the work.” They are the words no contractor ever wants to hear. They mean less attention to other jobs, a smaller profit margin and the potential loss Read more

Callbacks are often preventable—if you understand the common causes. Learn how to reduce callbacks, maintain your reputation and boost productivity with a few best practices.

“I’m not happy with the work.” They are the words no contractor ever wants to hear. They mean less attention to other jobs, a smaller profit margin and the potential loss of future business.

Callbacks can hurt a business’ reputation in several ways. First, referrals are adversely affected when homeowners talk with one another and share their unpleasant experiences. And when those same homeowners take their displeasure online and leave negative reviews online and on social media, the impact can be much more permanent. Finally, callbacks can also hurt a company’s productivity by inhibiting the ability of the team to move on to other projects.

The good news? Many callbacks are preventable. Here’s a rundown of three key strategies for avoiding them.

Educate the Customer

Very often, customer satisfaction comes down to one very important factor: A contractor’s ability to manage customer expectations.

“We get fewer callbacks when we educate the client about things like materials and warranties,” says Cal Phillips, who has owned and operated the Denver-based Eco Paint since 1990 and has been painting homes since 1977. “We’re the professionals, so it’s up to us to educate the client so they can care for their home.”

Education should start as early as the initial onsite visit. Managing a customer’s expectations is essential, especially when it comes to color variations, service parameters and ongoing maintenance.

And consumer education doesn’t stop after the last coat is applied. Phillips makes sure his clients understand their responsibilities for continued care after the job is completed.

“On an exterior project, we’ll let a client know that the paint needs to be maintained by making sure sprinklers are properly adjusted, with gutters and downspouts in good operation so that water is adequately removed from painted surfaces,” he says. “We also inform them to keep vegetation pruned back away from the substrate.”

This kind of dialog does more than help prevent callbacks. It can also instill a trust factor with your customers that tells them you care about the lasting quality of your work, even after the job is complete. And that can have the fringe benefit of turning first-time customers into repeat clients.

Maintain Clear Communication — Inside the Office and Out

Rarely is poor work the reason painters get called back to a job site. The most common reason is poor communication.  Communication breakdowns between estimators and painters or between painters and customers can result in mistakes. Like applying an accent color to the wrong wall or painting trim the customer had wanted untouched. That can often mean lost productivity and bad customer reviews.

At Two Dudes Painting, a leading commercial and residential painting company in Lancaster, PA, painters receive a copy of the client’s paperwork to ensure everyone understands what the client has signed off on.

Samantha Seifried, who holds the role of Client Advocate at Two Dudes, says for longer projects, the company encourages clients to communicate with painting crews.

“When a project lasts more than a couple of days, we strongly encourage homeowners to review the work daily and let us know if they see errors or details they’re not happy with,” says Seifried. Regular dialog with the customer makes the company more efficient—and clients are more satisfied—because if errors crop up, painting crews can make corrections while they’re still on site, rather than having to come back after they’ve committed to another job.

Re-scope the Job When Needed

When customers fail to understand the process or timeline, or ask their painting contractor to perform work outside their area of expertise — carpentry or electrical work, for example — professional painters can sometimes find themselves tasked with a job in which they’re less-than-comfortable. Painters may not have experience in carpentry, drywall finishing or electrical work, and therefore trying to perform work in these areas could end up worsening jobsite problems. Knowing when to call in a specialist, as well as rescope the job with the customer, is crucial to ensuring your work and reputation remain intact.

For companies that offer a variety of service lines, it makes sense for crew members to request assistance from others who specialize in that line of work when needed. Trusting your field staff and giving them the authority to call and ask for help if they feel uncomfortable taking on certain aspects of a project can reduce callbacks significantly, since certain contractors have more experience in certain areas than others.

For smaller companies or one-to two-person crews, it makes sense in such cases to simply recommend an outside contractor to tackle repairs that fall outside the scope of the painting job. This is especially true with exterior paint projects, where it’s not uncommon to run into damage like rotted wood. It may be the last thing small painting companies (or homeowners, for that matter) want to hear, but in the end, the customer will appreciate your honesty and have a better overall experience because of it.

In the end, callbacks can cost a painting company dearly, both in reputation and production. It’s essential to take proactive steps to prevent them if you want to build a more profitable business.

“We don’t want callbacks,” Seifried says. “But, more than that, we want great reviews and ratings. That’s why we work so hard to deliver a whole project experience.”

Diane Walsh is Vice President of Market Development and Sales Operations for ShurTech Brands, LLC, maker of FrogTape® brand painter’s tape. Diane also serves as director of the ShurTech Brands Professional Paint Advisory Board, working with leading contractors from across the country to explore industry trends and share innovations for the benefit of the entire trade. Diane was awarded 2018 PDCA Associate Member of the Year.