While endorsements and referrals are used in the early process to narrow down selections, homeowners look at logistical considerations before making their final hiring decision. And, according to Lowe’s State of the Pro report, price is almost always a top factor for homeowners, with availability to start and final written bid coming in close behind Read more
While endorsements and referrals are used in the early process to narrow down selections, homeowners look at logistical considerations before making their final hiring decision. And, according to Lowe’s State of the Pro report, price is almost always a top factor for homeowners, with availability to start and final written bid coming in close behind. Learn more about homeowners’ expectations and how to meet them here.
Top contractor learning and networking event heads to Tucson, Arizona in January 2023 Business Development Resources (BDR), the training and business coaching authority for home services industry professionals, will host two jam-packed days of impactful keynote talks, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, and more for top contractors in the industry at SPARK 2023 Jan. 11-14 in Tucson, Arizona. “SPARK Read more
Top contractor learning and networking event heads to Tucson, Arizona in January 2023
Business Development Resources (BDR), the training and business coaching authority for home services industry professionals, will host two jam-packed days of impactful keynote talks, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, and more for top contractors in the industry at SPARK 2023 Jan. 11-14 in Tucson, Arizona.
“SPARK 2023 is a powerful opportunity for contractors to cultivate new ideas, learn to communicate with younger generations, and collaborate with their peers,” said Bruce Wiseman, president and owner of BDR. “Based on the success of the first SPARK event in San Antonio earlier this year, we’re confident that we’ve developed a unique program that inspires and empowers the leaders in our industry.”
At SPARK, contractors will be presented with opportunities to build significant industry connections and learn key areas of focus for their business in the current economic climate.
The event is headlined by keynote sessions from experts in leadership and team member engagement. Clint Pulver, professional drummer turned employee retention expert, will kick off the event with an electrifying opening presentation. Lt. Col. Waldo “The Wingman” Waldman, executive coach and author of the New York Times bestseller “Never Fly Solo,” will deliver a powerful closing keynote.
SPARK 2023 also features time to enjoy activities in Tucson, a golf tournament, and great food and drinks – all in a uniquely Southwest setting. Held at the El Conquistador Tucson, guests will get to experience the colors, textures, and awe-inspiring views of the Sonoran Desert.
The inaugural SPARK event in San Antonio hosted representatives from 95 home service businesses with a combined annual revenue of $500 million.
For more information, including registration options and a preliminary agenda, visit https://www.bdrco.com/spark/.
Employee satisfaction and motivation is a topic that has been discussed since the creation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Employees are the backbone of any organization and an essential part of a company’s ability to be successful and grow. Maintaining a level of satisfaction is key if you want to have any measure of success Read more
Employee satisfaction and motivation is a topic that has been discussed since the creation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Employees are the backbone of any organization and an essential part of a company’s ability to be successful and grow. Maintaining a level of satisfaction is key if you want to have any measure of success as a business owner.
Keeping employees feeling satisfied and motivated remains a pain point for many in the mechanical world. Technicians are currently in high demand across the home service industry, creating little downtime in an environment that is suffering from a labor shortage. The COVID-19 pandemic created a perfect storm that resulted in more HVAC unit breakdowns and longer days for technicians.
During the apex of the pandemic, many employees across multiple industries had to work from home. Units that would normally get a break while the house was empty were now working an additional eight hours a day. That is the equivalent of driving a car 75,000 miles a year. With the added wear-and-tear on units, service calls increased dramatically.
The combination of more service calls and a limited supply of professionals attributed to workers in the mechanical world feeling stressed and unsatisfied. More service calls also meant long drive times while combating both the physical and mental elements that come with the job – working in the hot sun or communicating with an angry customer.
When it comes to our profession, employees rarely get stressed over the actual repair process. Oftentimes, the stress comes from all the outside factors that would put a mental strain on the worker. But there are ways to help motivate and encourage employees to perform their tasks while remaining engaged.
The Employee Experience
In our line of work, we tend to put our primary focus on the customer experience and making the customer happy. While these actions help drive revenue, we don’t need to forget the importance of employee satisfaction. Our team members are the greatest assets we have. I discovered a long time ago that if you take care of the employees, they will in turn take care of the customers.
Taking care of the employee means more than just offering them a decent paycheck. It encompasses a wide range of areas. It means providing the necessary equipment to ensure safety as well as giving the job a purpose. For example, a heating and air company I worked for purchased an ice machine so team members wouldn’t have to purchase ice to fill up their coolers every morning. We also made healthy snacks and drinks available throughout the day. That was just one small gesture we made to keep our employees satisfied.
All of these items help create loyalty. A team member will not want to leave if they feel like they are being taken care of regularly. The moment they feel differently, they will become disengaged and leave you for someone offering a dollar more per hour.
A Path to Success
One of the best ways to motivate an employee is to give them a purpose. That includes providing an individual career path. Many individuals working in the mechanical world don’t have a real career path. Their life revolves around a continuous cycle that includes doing similar tasks daily. So, if business owners can discover what success looks like to the employees, they can help them achieve their goals through a detailed career plan. On the flip side, this allows owners to hold the employee accountable to key performance indicators.
In addition to a career path, business owners should help inform employees financially. While compensation is a great motivator, it isn’t the only sticking point for most people. Providing tools that allow team members to be educated about financial matters shows that you care about their future outside of work. Teach employees how to set money aside, save and invest in their future.
The Power of Positive Reinforcement
Another mitigating factor in motivation is determining what motivates the entire team. It is important to communicate with team members about what they want and what can encourage them to perform at their best. More times than not, the team members will be honest in their responses. One example I have pertains to the use of contests and prizes. One company I was working with in Florida had a big special going on to see how many service agreements they could sell. For each agreement that was sold, the employee got to put their name in a raffle for some great prizes. The reward for selling an increased amount of service agreements greatly outweighs the cost of the prizes, and it got team members motivated to go out and sell, sell, sell.
Creating a Positive Culture
I believe business is a function of its people. You’ve got to take care of your people. We need to stop focusing on what we are not getting right and start focusing on the 99% of the things we excel in. We can still talk about the things that need improvement or can be done differently, but we’ll have that conversation in a private one-on-one setting. As a team, we need to celebrate the wins. It’s about enforcing the behavior that you want to see in your company. I’m always trying to create a positive culture, and all my actions reflect that. For business owners, the majority of their focus should be geared toward creating the desired behaviors they want because that’s where they will get the results.
Stephen Dale is director of training for Power Selling Pros. Stephen brings over 20 years of experience as an operations manager in the home services industry working for two large MEP companies in the Dallas area. He has been a coach and trainer with Power Selling Pros for six years, working with hundreds of companies and vendors during his tenure. His passion for the industry illuminates through his ability to discover client’s pain points and offer solutions for success.
We all see those posts on chat boards about, “My phone doesn’t ring, I’m desperate, what should I do?” Even those of you who have been in business for a few years have those dry spells don’t you? So, what do you do? You don’t throw a gazillion dollars into SEO marketing, get a new website or Read more
We all see those posts on chat boards about, “My phone doesn’t ring, I’m desperate, what should I do?” Even those of you who have been in business for a few years have those dry spells don’t you? So, what do you do? You don’t throw a gazillion dollars into SEO marketing, get a new website or get a new Facebook page. The reason all that doesn’t help is because you run out of money before it can start to work. Statistics say that you have to see an ad seven to 35 times before you call for the product or service. That’s why you see the same commercials over and over on TV. But who can afford that?
Marketing and advertising are good, of course. You need your name out there. So how do you get business fast? You must understand that we are in a very different situation today than a lot of us grew up with. Here’s what’s different now:
- Customers in most of the USA only want to know three things:
- Will you answer the phone?
- Will you show up?
- Will you actually do the work if I say yes?
- It’s so hard to get a contractor to do even one of those things, when 30 years ago it was a given that all three would take place. It’s not about money anymore, it’s about finding someone to do the work. As long as your price isn’t crazy, you should get the job. The number of actual companies with call takers, dispatchers, managers and service techs is closer to 10% now, compared with 80% that was the norm 30 years ago. But Facebook advertising makes the one-truck guy often look like the big company. That means the technician is trying to fix your equipment, while taking calls for three more service jobs. Not only is that not professional, it means your equipment is not getting his full attention. He is going to do a quick fix and likely still charge you as if he actually tested it completely before closing it up.
- The companies that do have management staff are often only concerned with sales numbers. This means they are pushing the techs to sell sell sell and get done fast. This has been the worst thing for the service industry, and it is a big reason manufacturers are going full steam into DIY equipment, like mini-splits.
- And here is one of the toughest changes. When you don’t have a part for your customer, who’s fault is it? Today, it’s the fault of a system that has some holes in it. Here’s an example. Yesterday I got a hankering for a peach iced tea, so I stopped into one of those gas stations with the huge convenience store. Their choices were massive, but there was no Snapple Peach Tea. I finally chose some other brand of tea, but not peach. When the only cashier in this huge store finally showed up, I asked her if they normally carry Snapple products. She pointed to a cooler that was mostly empty. “That’s the Snapple area, but the distributor can’t find any drivers so we have to wait.” Imagine that, a distributor who can’t get products delivered to them because somewhere out there a bunch of people just don’t want to work. These are really different times.
So how do you get work today when your phones won’t ring?
In this economy the customers are desperate, waiting days and sometimes weeks to find a skilled tradesman. They are tired of unanswered phones, broken promises, and time wasted waiting for someone to show up. So, here’s the fastest way to get business when you need it today. Get on the telephone – pole. Yes, staple your message on telephone poles in neighborhoods you want to work in. Place yard signs on corners going into neighborhoods you want to work in. Your message should be simple, because it is for the frustrated people who can’t get an HVAC guy or plumber to call them back.
“We Fix Air Conditioning”
Simple as that.
Your yard sign can be prettier with your logo, but make sure the phone number is big. Why does it work? Because they see it seven to 35 times. And they see it when they need someone right now. So, they call.
The beginning of friendship marketing is “Get business IN the neighborhood that you want to work in!”
Now, once you start getting work and you like the neighborhood, then get something you can set on the driveway on the driver’s side. When they come home, they see it. Why is that so special? Because what do people look for when they come home today, that they didn’t 30 years ago? Packages from Amazon. They are already looking for a package, so make one for them.
About the package:
- It doesn’t have to actually look like an Amazon package. Be creative.
- If you are a plumber, set out a plunger with your name and phone number laminated to the handle.
- If you are not a plumber, you can still use the plunger because it’s an excellent place to zip-tie a zip lock bag with your stickers, coupons, gifts, nice stuff. Who doesn’t like gifts?
- Inside the bag should be a magnet that says, “My Personal Cell Phone Number” then your number.
- Do NOT put candy in the bag, because pets will think it’s for them.
- Don’t be salesy or give out coupons like every other company. It is time for someone different. The goal is to be the neighborhood’s friend. Make a “Get out of the heat free!” card for AC, with a line under it that says, “Free service call with repair.” That last phrase has worked for 30 years, and still does.
- If you don’t use a plunger, you can use a 2’ long pole of some kind. But if you are going to stick something in someone’s yard, you better put something nice in it.
- You can test ads, test yard signs, test phone pole signs, test driveway gifts. Test test test. You will be the only one doing it.
When you have selected particular neighborhoods, your marketing can be targeted and directed to that neighborhood. This skyrockets the efficiency of your marketing dollar. Why is that so important? Because efficient marketing can be sustained, and you don’t run out of money. What else do you need to know? Getting the customers you want is spelled w-o-r-k. Here’s the good news: it’s pretty easy work, easier than crawling through attics. Ask me, I know.
Pricing enthusiast Rodney Koop is the founder and CEO of The New Flat Rate, a home service menu-selling system designed to put profit directly into the hands of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC contractors. Rodney can be reached at (706)581-0622 or email@example.com.
Watts has announced new leaders for several key business units as it continues to strengthen its commitment to customers. Jim Koepsell has been appointed the General Manager of Watts’ Drains and Industrial businesses. Previously, Koepsell led Watts’ Commercial Operations organization. He is responsible for Watts’ cast iron, BLÜCHER stainless steel, and Orion chemical waste drainage Read more
Watts has announced new leaders for several key business units as it continues to strengthen its commitment to customers.
Jim Koepsell has been appointed the General Manager of Watts’ Drains and Industrial businesses. Previously, Koepsell led Watts’ Commercial Operations organization. He is responsible for Watts’ cast iron, BLÜCHER stainless steel, and Orion chemical waste drainage solutions, along with Watts’ Mueller Steam industrial strainer, check valve, and butterfly valve solutions.
Atul Sharma has been appointed the Director of Watts’ Commercial Operations and General Manager for Watts’ Syncta business. Previously, Sharma led multiple strategic projects for Watts and served on the Corporate Strategy & Business Development team.
Carlos Haddad has been appointed General Manager for Watts’ Dormont Gas Business Unit in addition to his existing role as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development (Americas and Europe). He is responsible for Watts’ Gas connector and Gas safety systems for residential, commercial, and food service applications.
“In appointing these leaders, we are positioned to provide the highest level of support to our customers,” according to Andrew Windsor, Watts Senior Vice President, Sales. “As always, our top objective is to deliver the products and solutions that will help our customers succeed.”
For more info, watts.com.