From the desk of Joe Kowalski:
I type this from the makeshift office I have set up in my home. Washington State issued a stay-at-home order last week. ServiceMonster is currently completely virtual. All of our employees are working from their homes. Fortunately, for both you and us, we have that luxury. Service providers such as yourself, however, don’t have that kind of flexibility. I’m sure everyone who is under a stay-at-home order is struggling to find the balance. Is your work considered essential? I can’t answer that for you. I don’t put food on your table. I don’t live in your community. What I can do is offer some guidance to those who have decided to (or been forced to) stay at home.
You’re an entrepreneur. This is not a vacation. If you need some time to get your head right after making some very hard decisions over the last few weeks, do that. Then get back to work.
If you’re able to keep your business after a few months in lock-down, then take this time to do all the things you “never had time to do" before. Get your books in order. Take that accounting class. Read. Study. Read some more. Master your CRM. Find out what a CRM is. Start getting to know your most important vendors. Get your business systems in place. Build a few spreadsheets. Create a few dashboards. The list is endless on how you can use this time to work #OnYourBusiness.
If you’re thinking of shutting down, lick your wounds and get back to work. Most entrepreneurs fail four times before they get it right. Not all of those failures are due to global pandemics though. I get it, but my point is that you have a clean slate. You can take everything you have learned, every experience you’ve had, and use that to create something new. A new idea. A new purpose.
Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. Just know that your lack of understanding is simply a measure of how much you need to learn. Embrace the change and build a stronger version of yourself AND your business.
I hear comments like “I can’t learn that” and “that’s too complicated for me” from other business owners all the time. And they’re wrong. Self-limiting attitudes are a mind killer. The truth is, people who have that mentality are simply saying, “I don’t want to”. Fine. That’s a much different position. Either you’re managing your time and resources wisely, or you're lazy. Maybe even a little bit of both. Don’t claim that you "can’t." If you find it hard to make the transition, simply add “yet” to the end of your self-defeating mantra. “I can’t do that" becomes “I can’t do that, yet”. After a while, it changes the game.
The value your service provides is probably worth more than you’re charging. Try not to exchange hours for dollars. You and your business are worth more than that. This idea isn’t new and you’ll find plenty of references to this concept as you read and study.
Now, it’s likely that you’re thinking something like: “But I can’t raise my prices! How am I supposed to sell ‘value’? I don’t know how to do that!”
Then I will remind you: “You don’t know how to do that, YET.” You must build/re-build your business to be stronger. Self-reflection and study is number one. Proper revenue balance is number two.
You can’t sell value if there is no value to be sold. If you’re providing a community service, just like everyone else, you’ll never stand out as exceptional. Don’t be basic. MAKE yourself exceptional. Add something to your business, create new marketing or messaging ideas, or offer specialty services. Find a way to bring more value to your clients in the most creative ways you can think of. How can you help them, with what would work best FOR THEM? Take this time in the office to explore your creativity. You can be as crazy as you like on the white board. Push yourself and your ideas to a new point of view. You can always make them “less crazy” in the real world.
When is the last time you questioned a belief which helped determine your behavior? How do you protect yourself from you own bias? Business owners often fall into an insidious trap: We believe our actions have brought us the success we enjoy. That’s only a half-truth. The reality is, some of the positions and beliefs we have about our success will actually be the very beliefs which limit our growth. How can you tell the difference if your experience tells you the wrong story?
One such tool is the formal logic principle as defined by Aristotle and his band of merry men. There is lots of information available on logical fallacies, constructing proper syllogisms, and building the tools needed to recognize when you are irrational. Not irrational like, you cray cray. The proper definition of irrational.
Irrationality is cognition, thinking, talking, or acting without inclusion of rationality. It is more specifically described as an action or opinion given through inadequate use of reason, or through emotional distress or cognitive deficiency.
Find remote tools for your business that can help you communicate, create, plan, and execute. ServiceMonster has made many changes in our own office and here are some helpful tools we found when working from home:
Facebook Workplace – We have used Slack and Mattermost. Both are chat platforms. Neither of them gave us the communication options that Workplace has. Its familiar interface and wide range of options makes it perfect for chat, calls, video calls, and group posts.
Ring Central – A business phone system with virtual options, voice trees, multiple phone lines, and side loads on your phone via an app. This means that you can separate your personal and business lines on your smart phone.
Trello – Task management in a simple to use interface.
Basecamp – Project management in a simple to use interface
ServiceMonster – Take control of your schedule, keep your eye on important key performance indicators (KPI's), and stay in touch with your clients via automated marketing tools.
We must adapt if we are to survive. Take this time to reflect on your success and failures. Take what you need, ditch the rest, then get back to work #OnYourBusiness.
The cleaning industry - residential and commercial - has boomed in the last few years. Job growth is expected to increase 6% in 2020 from 2014 levels, and revenues will likely reach nearly $50 billion this year.
But with great opportunity comes great risk.
The average cleaning company loses 55% of their customers due to poor service. Competition is fiercer than ever, and it doesn’t take much for a cleaning business to get up and running. All it takes is one bad job for your customer to take their money elsewhere.
So how do you stand apart from the competition? How can you get more jobs and more repeat customers?
Hatch and ServiceMonster analyzed what works - and doesn’t - across their cleaning customer base to give you the Top 4 Cleaning Industry Tips to Get More Jobs and Repeat Customers. Put these tips to work and you’ll get results...fast.
When you’re first working with a customer, put information in your CRM that can add that personal touch later on, like:
The good news is CRMs like ServiceMonster make it easy for you to create these custom fields. Now you can develop deeper relationships with your customers over text, email, and phone as well as on-the-job, resulting in more repeat customers.
Emailing and calling worked well 10 years ago, but today your customers are less likely to pick up their phone (thanks, robocallers) or sift through their spam-filled inbox. You have to incorporate texting, too.
Hatch has found that cleaning companies see a 64% average response rate over text. Compare that to 4.5% over email and you see why layering in texting is helping reps crush their close rates.
Here’s a great example of how texting, emailing, and calling can work well together.
Notice how I:
This one’s a no-brainer. Who doesn’t want a clean house before the family comes into town?
Consider running a special to your existing customers just before the holidays. Below is an effective text and email campaign that encourages a 1-to-1 conversation. Feel free to use it for yourself!
Hi [First Name]! [Rep First Name] from [Cleaning Company] here. With the holidays approaching, we have a few specials on [Service Last Purchased] and I thought of you. Have a minute to chat?
...if no response
Subject Line: Specials on [Service Last Purchased]
Hi [First Name],
Sent you a text yesterday about some holiday specials we are running on [Service Last Purchased] but I didn’t hear back from you. Is your number still [Phone Number]? Give me a call or text me at [Rep Phone Number]. Would love to walk you through the specials.
[Rep First Name] from [Cleaning Company]
...if no response
[Cleaning Company] is running a 30% off special on [Service Last Purchased]. Would you like to schedule it now?
Email (response to Day 2 email)
Hi [First Name],
Thank you for purchasing [Service Last Purchased] on [Date of Last Service]. With the holidays approaching, we are running a 30% off special on [Service Last Purchased]. Book it now.
[Rep First Name] from [Cleaning Company]
Here’s what that campaign looks like in Hatch:
According to Brightlocal, positive reviews influence 68% of consumers to use a local business. But nearly every local business is asking for reviews the wrong way.
Do not ask for a customer review right after you complete a job.
Instead, wait a couple days for the customer to appreciate the work you did. Then ask them if they are happy.
If the customer is happy, request that they write an online review for you.
If they’re unhappy, make it right.
Follow these tips when you ask for a customer review:
Use details like pet names, allergies, and number of rooms to give your customers a personal touch over text, email, and phone, as well as on-the-job. Use custom fields in your CRM to log this information.
Cleaning companies see a 64% average response rate over text. Compare that to 4.5% over email and you see why layering in texting is helping reps crush their close rates.
Consider running a special to your existing customers just before the holidays. Scroll up to see an effective text and email sequence that encourages a 1-to-1 conversation.
A couple days after the job is completed, ask your customer if they are happy. If they are, request that they write an online review for you. If they aren’t, make it right. That’ll increase your 5-star reviews.
Did you know that it costs on average over 5 times more to attract new customers than it does to keep your current ones? How about the fact that selling to existing customers is drastically more successful than selling to new customers (60-70% success rate for existing customers vs. 5-20% success rate for new customers)?
Successful businesses understand that their most profitable customers are their current client base. Your business has already spent good money to convince your customers to use your cleaning services. If you’re not taking full advantage of the hard work you have done by selling and servicing your clients, then you’re missing out on some very real profits. Research shows that by increasing your client retention (the number of customers that use your services again) by 5%, you can increase your profits by 25% to 95%.
Again... this is crucial for the long-term success of your business. To illustrate this point, a carpet cleaning company conducted a survey at a home trade show and asked home owners to recall the name of the last carpet cleaning company they used. Less than 1% of those who stated they were satisfied with their cleaning could recall the company name. If your customers can’t remember your name, how are they going to get ahold of you when they need additional cleaning? There are many ways you can help to ensure that your customers will call you again next time, instead of calling your competition.
Reminders serve two very important purposes. First, they let the customer know that you are a professional, detailed-oriented company. Second, it reminds them that they need to be serviced again (by YOU). You can send reminder postcards, letters, emails or whatever else you want, but always try to add that personal touch by customizing it (use their name, last service date, pet's name, etc.).
2. Additional Service Marketing
If you offer more than one type of service, it’s a great idea to market to customers who have already used one of your other offerings. For instance, if a customer has you clean their carpets, send them some sort of marketing communication (letter, card, email, etc.) offering your tile and grout services 2 or 3 months after the job. This serves a dual purpose: It will help keep your name in front of them, and it also keeps them from going to another company simply because they were unaware of your tile cleaning service.
Send newsletters quarterly, or even monthly. This will keep your name and phone number in front of them all year. Be sure to add some sort of content that offers them something of interest. Make them want to read it, or at the very least just notice it. Newsletters also serve as a great way to connect with your local community.
Calendars, magnets, pens and emergency contact lists are great trinkets you can leave behind to help them remember you and keep your phone number easy to find.
5. Social Media Engagement
This is a huge one in the digital age: Encourage your customers to interact with you on social media. Now, the vast majority of adults use social media on a daily basis (check out some statistics here). As a business owner who is active on social media, this is an incredible opportunity for you to stay engaged with those past customers. Even just posting regularly will ensure that they see your name and your content on a far more regular basis than ever before.
None of these marketing strategies are secrets. In fact, you’ve probably identified the ones you promised yourself to do and have not completed. The education of WHAT to do is only half of the battle. You actually have to DO IT for it to be effective. Very few of us wants to come home after a hard day of work and sift through last year's invoices, compile a list of clients to market to, and create customized letters, post cards, or emails for each one of them.
The good news is that you don’t have to.
One of ServiceMonster's greatest strengths, our automated marketing features, gives you the ability to perform most of these tasks effortlessly. By creating marketing campaigns with ServiceMonster, you can generate letters, labels, calls, and emails which are targeted and customized. With a few clicks, you're off and running, your marketing is done, and you can spend more time with your newly found profits (and of course, your family).
If you haven't tried ServiceMonster, you can get started with a free 14-day trial here.
The Correct Calculation
A fair number of our clients calculate their repeat rate incorrectly. Part of our training process includes an in-depth look at your marketing efforts. One of the items we focus in is your repeat rate. Here is how ServiceMonster does it: Take the number of customers you have serviced in the last two years (C), then find how many of them used you more than once (R).
(R/C) x 100 = Repeat Rate %
The Incorrect Calculation
Most of our clients will calculate their repeat rate like this: Take the number of customers you serviced this month (c). Then find how many of them used you more than once (r).
(r/c) x 100 = repeat rate %
The main problem here is the length of time sampled. The rate can vary widely depending on how successful or unsuccessful your prospecting efforts are. Additionally, the two year timeline represents your true number of active clients. ServiceMonster research shows that getting a client to return after 2 years (specifically when they used carpet cleaning services) is more expensive than obtaining a new client.
Why you care
There are only 3 ways to increase your revenue:
1. Increase your prices
2. Offer more products and services
3. Service more customers
For most companies, servicing more customers is the quickest and least risky way to increase your revenue. The most successful cleaners have several things in common. In terms of financial stability, ServiceMonster shows us customer retention is the most important aspect of your business. If your repeat rate is under 50%, you are losing more customers than you are keeping and need to make up the loss through additional new sales.
Take this example: Let’s say both Company A and Company B start a cleaning company. They both pull in 20 new customers a month and have an average invoice of $250.00. Company A has a repeat rate of 25% and company B has a repeat rate of 60%.
In addition to the increase in base revenue, you will also reduce your expenses. Keeping your name in front of your client is far less expensive than trying to get a new customer. Not to mention that your cross sale potential increases radically if your current clients are aware of ALL the products and services you offer.
How to increase your repeat business
First, it’s time for a change. Rest assured, you will produce the same results if you make the same mistakes. There are many ways to do a better job of staying in front of your customers. Here are the common numbers we see everyday.
Repeat Rate Based on Direct Mail
If you fall into the first two ranges above, you seriously need to reevaluate what you doing for your current clients. If you are in the 30% - 50% range, doing just a little better will have significant results. Sending targeted direct mail pieces on an ongoing basis will improve your repeat rate rapidly. A simple card stating “Dear [First Name], it’s been 9 months since your last cleaning” is all it takes.
The hard part is actually doing it. Gathering the list of clients you serviced between 9 and 10 months ago, performing a mail merge to personalize the messages, and printing on the media are just a few of the problems you need to overcome. Then there’s the stuffing, sealing, stamping, and delivery to the post office.
ServiceMonster can help you with this in two ways. The marketing engine will make list gathering and mail merge simple. Then you can print and mail your reminders with a few clicks. Most of our clients use FillMySchedule and completely automate the process. We can gather the list, print, stuff, stamp, seal, and deliver your cards directly to the post office. Your thank you cards and reminder cards will never be late again. Consistent campaigns for consistent results. Our customers are averaging an 8 to 1 return with the campaigns we automate for them.
One simple way ServiceMonster can increase your repeat rate with just a few clicks.
For years, keeping track of leads has been a mostly, or completely, manual process. Writing down someone's information in your notebook. Typing it into your phone or computer. Gathering leads from a social media site or other source and writing them down. All of these methods take time out of your day and can be quite inconvenient when you're on a job. Not to mention, it's much more likely for leads to be lost or misplaced.
How can this lead capture process be simplified?
It's simple, actually. AUTOMATION.
The first step to automating lead capture is to have an easy way for prospective customers to fill out their information and have it sent directly to you. This can be done in many ways, but we will primarily focus on two methods. First up are webforms, which are forms embedded on your website that people can fill out and have their info sent to you. Second, we'll discuss how Zapier can help automate your entire lead capture process from pretty much ANY source.
But then what? Where does that data go?
It should go to a CRM. If you aren't already using a CRM software (Customer Relationship Management), you're missing out big time. Using a solid CRM to manage your customers, among many other tasks, is crucial for any size business. If you're a large, multi-truck operation, you need a CRM for your office staff so they can handle the hundreds of requests and jobs per day. If it's just you on the truck out by yourself, then you need a quick, easy, and reliable system to keep track of your customers, schedule jobs, and get paid in the field. You can't afford to be wasting time manually entering information when it could be handled all automatically.
Now, back to the automation piece! When your lead capturing is automated, that webform will automatically dump the customer/job information into your CRM. Your CRM then will process the lead and you will get some sort of notification or email about it (if you want). Then, your CRM will store the information to be used later on for retargeting, marketing, and even automated follow-up (depending on which CRM you use). Everything is done behind-the-scenes with no involvement from you. How cool is that?!
The key to all of this is using the right CRM with the right functionality. This is where ServiceMonster comes into the picture.
ServiceMonster now has the most complete automated lead capturing system possible. As a user, you have multiple options. The first and most direct option is to use ServiceMonster webforms, which are pre-built, automatically-generated forms for each and every unique ServiceMonster account. All you have to do is paste some code into your website and you're good to go! When a customer on your website fills out the form, all of the info will instantly be transferred into ServiceMonster. If they scheduled a job, it'll show up on your schedule. If they just want more information or want a quote, it'll show up as a lead. All of this is happening while you're out working, with no involvement from you.
The second option is very similar. As a ServiceMonster user, you can also paste the code for a "book now" button on your website. This button has the same functionality as the previously mentioned webform, except when a customer clicks on the button they are taken to a separate page with that same form. Again, all of this is going on behind-the-scenes and takes very minimal set-up on your part.
The first two options are by far the easiest and most reliable options to use since they are ServiceMonster-specific. However, we now have full integration with an awesome service called Zapier. With ServiceMonster/Zapier integration, you can now use ANY webform technology (as long as it can connect to Zapier, which most do), and have that info sent right to ServiceMonster. Zapier also is used by a lot of service companies to capture Facebook leads and leads from any other non-website source. With Zapier, the options for lead capture are pretty much endless, and now with direct ServiceMonster integration, you can fully automate your lead capture from any source. Now THAT'S cool!
So, what does all of this mean for you, the hard-working service business owner?
It means that your leads will be handled faster. Less of them will fall through the cracks. You'll have more time to focus on actual business work, while your lead capturing is always running in the background. Overall, the likelihood of a lead being converted into a job will increase, which means you'll get paid more and your business will grow.
There's also one other reason why automating your lead capture is so crucial: The all-important email list. As you gather leads, you're gathering people's information. For marketing purposes, this is AWESOME! You can now add email addresses to your marketing drip campaigns (another super helpful feature in ServiceMonster), and even add the customer information into Facebook for targeted advertising. Just because someone doesn't use your services right away, doesn't mean that lead is dead. Far from it, actually. The more people contact you and fill out a webform, the more people you can specifically market your services to. And THAT is worth it all right there!
So if you aren't using a CRM, you should be. And if you aren't automating your lead capture, then start automating it! ServiceMonster can do all of this for you, and so much more.
To set up Zapier for use with your ServiceMonster account, click here.
Regardless of how long you've been in business, you've had to make your fair share of big decisions. Some probably resulted in huge successes, and others may have set you back quite a bit. Earlier this week, ServiceMonster CEO Joe Kowalski took to Facebook seeking answers to two questions: "What's the BEST business decision you have ever made?" and "What's the WORST business decision you have ever made?". After sorting through all of the nearly 200 comments between the two posts, we present to you a summary of the BEST and WORST business decisions made by service business owners.
"What's the BEST business decision you have ever made?"
"Working with a business coach and changing my attitude. It was in 2009 in the recession. I fed into the 'economy sucks' mentality. My business coach showed me places I could go in business that I never saw. Equipped with this new knowledge my energy changed and I became positive and excited about business. I was the problem! A business will never reach its full potential unless you are positive. Potential clients notice your energy. I know because I have been on both sides." - Matt P.
"This is going to sound weird, but the best decision I've made thus far is to ignore my preconceived notions of what my work is worth. What I mean is, I nearly went out of business in the winter. Not because there wasn't any work, but because the limited work available was at a rate below what I felt was worth my time. The result was no work at all while I waited for good paying jobs that came few/far between. It wasn't until I got desperate and decided to do the low paying jobs that I realized I could make it work, especially as it forced me to innovate to become more efficient. Of course, low paying work isn't ideal, but I went from accruing massive debt trying to stay afloat to actually pulling profit while still in the slow season. Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and get to work. If you face a problem, solve it. I couldn't make the work pay more but I could figure out how to get more of the work done in the same amount of time so that my daily average is still sustainable. Big lesson learned for sure." - Steven M.
"Making sure the phone is always answered. I was going to hire an answering service when I asked my wife if she would like to be involved in the business, starting with this. Best decision I ever made." - John T.
"Not offering as many services I once did. I'm sure this answer will change as I grow." - Dennis R.
"Integration of a good CRM software. A good example is ServiceMonster :) - Shawn C.
"What's the WORST business decision you have ever made?"
"Hiring friends and relatives!" - Ron M.
"Starting as bait and switch." - Kerry H.
"Just going to work and not knowing my numbers." - Brian J.
"Ugh! I have to pick just one... I would say on the bad advice of our accountant we tied personal and business money together. It is still hard to break from to this day. The fact of the matter was if we just paid ourselves first we wouldn't have needed to do that." - Robin D.
"Not firing bad employees fast enough!" - Bill O.
This information helps. For most of these comments, there were several other comments saying essentially the same things. That means these decisions, both good and bad, are commonly made among service business owners. By sharing these experiences, you can help each other avoid future mistakes and choose the right path when a big decision has to be made. In an effort to provide as much value as possible, we will be releasing more blog posts over the next few weeks that will deep dive into many of these situations. Rather than just state what the "best" or "worst" decision was (like in this post), we'll go further and explore how these situations happened, why that specific decision was made, and give specific tips to aid in making the best decision in similar situations.
In closing, thank you to each and every individual who commented on the original Facebook posts. Your willingness to share both positive and negative experiences is much appreciated by all of us at ServiceMonster and also by your fellow business owners. Check back soon for the next post!
We’ve all experienced it. Either on the customer side or the business owner side, at some point, there’s going to be an issue regarding pricing. Maybe it even happens frequently for you. There isn’t one “right” way to deal with this sort of situation. However, sharing each other's experiences can at least give us all some guidance on how best to handle a pricing objection from a customer. Thank you to Russell, a pressure washing business owner from Tennessee, who has graciously let us use his story for this post.
What follows is a slightly edited version of Russell’s original Facebook post:
“Below is an email exchange I had yesterday with a client. We cleaned his neighbor's roof, he hired us, and then this happened:
Customer: "Russell, thank you for taking the time to explain the details of the cleaning process. Is there a particular reason the cost is so high? Based on some online research it seems the cost should be around $500 to get the roof done. Thanks again for your prompt response and understanding."
I understand the desire to save money on work around your home.
While I can't speak to pricing charged by other companies, I will attempt to explain our pricing to you.
Roof cleaning is dangerous work. Any time we get on a ladder we risk injury and even death. Additionally, it takes great expertise to ensure that the cleaning chemicals are mixed and applied properly. Improper mixture and/or application can be dangerous and potentially damaging. We have been through extensive training and also have almost 10 years of cleaning experience.
Another consideration is your roof. If you owned a single story, 1000 square foot home, with a basic roof and a mild pitch, your suggested price of $500 might be more reasonable. Although I can say that, personally, we have never cleaned a roof of any size for that price.
There is a saying, 'cheap labor isn't skilled and skilled labor isn't cheap.' I realize that our price isn't 'cheap', but it is fair. More often than not, the cheapest price will end up costing you the most in the long run. This is a situation where you have to consider cost VERSUS price. Your home is most likely your most valuable investment. I can assure you that we will apply our years of knowledge and experience to take the best possible care of your investment. Check out our reviews. We have never received less than 5 stars.
One last thing to consider... Because you agreed to a roof cleaning, my brother knocked $100 off of your gutter/soffit cleaning.
I hope this adequately answers your question. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you.”
Customer: "Russell, I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. Well written response. What date are you guys scheduled to be here?"
Look at that response from the customer! Russell responded in a professional and informative manner and was able to completely satisfy his customer's objections. There's not much else that can be said about this. If you're in a situation with a difficult customer who does not like your pricing, consider saying something along the lines of what Russell said.
Have a unique customer experience that you would like to share with us? Send an email with your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The internet is full of amazing pressure washing videos and photos. It's also full of some pretty bad ones. Now, ServiceMonster is getting in on the fun with a new series of posts highlighting the best (and the worst) cleaning posts we can find! While the main focus will be pressure washing, we also will include some window cleaning and carpet cleaning posts. Without further ado, we present to you this week's collection of posts:
#1: Pressure Washing Magic
View this post on Instagram
Happy Friday! We’re LOVING this awesome pressure washing video today. So satisfying! #repost @foamhomeco ・・・ Another Happy Patio!! #CleaningCharlotte #CLT
A post shared by ServiceMonster (@servicemonster_) on Apr 12, 2019 at 8:47am PDT
#2: The Window Cleaning Wizard
View this post on Instagram
Some serious window cleaning action right here! So fun to watch. To all you window cleaners, what’s your squeegee of choice? Let us know in the comments! #repost @jackson.pass.3367 ・・・
A post shared by ServiceMonster (@servicemonster_) on Apr 22, 2019 at 8:36am PDT
#3: Now THIS is art!
[X-post /r/powerwashingporn] Power washing mural before/after. 56m x 6m canvas 40-50 years in the making... Can't wait to complete it. Artists in Argentina wanting to participate, and/or ideas are welcome from r/powerwashingart
#4: ... Just why?!?
#5: "Cars in the way? Not my problem!"
That's it for this week! If you find any good cleaning videos, send them our way and we will feature the best (or worst) ones.
Alright. We know you've heard it before, but door hangers do actually work. In a world of digital communication and social media marketing, sometimes taking a more "old school" approach can prove very effective. We're not saying you should stop your digital marketing by any means. Keep that going strong! However, supplementing the digital with some "analog" is a great way to increase the effectiveness of your marketing.
(Just in case you aren't sure what we mean by a "door hanger", we're talking about those little rectangular fliers with a circular cut-out on the top that are hung on doorknobs and handles. See the photo mockup in this post.)
Recently, we heard from a pressure washer who commented on one of our Instagram #ServiceMonsterTips videos (check us out on Instagram if you haven't already!). He said that his strategy with door hangers is to methodically distribute them to houses that are dirty and could clearly use a cleaning. In the past two months, he estimates that he has distributed about 500 door hangers, spending only a couple hundred dollars total on all of them. So far, he has booked around $12,000 worth of work.
Yep, he spent a couple hundred dollars on some door hangers, distributed them to dirty houses, and as a result has booked jobs totaling $12k. Now that's what we call a return on investment! In his words, "they work exceptionally well". He even said that two months later, he's still getting calls from people who held onto the door hanger all this time. Impressive!
This is just one story from the many service professionals who have found success using door hangers. Again, these are a great tool to supplement your digital marketing, not necessarily replace it. So next time you're in a neighborhood on a job, we encourage you to place some door hangers on the houses around the one you're cleaning. That's the very least you can do. If you have more time, why not go block-by-block through a larger section of the neighborhood? You may be surprised at how well it works.
The situation: You have some extra cash saved up to do some new marketing for your business. It's not a lot, but you want to use it in the most effective way possible to get new clients.
The solution: Well, there's not just one solution to this situation. There are several options to explore.
First of all, as a service business, you have to get the mindset right. Before you do anything else, make sure that your company mindset includes marketing as a primary function. The work that you physically do in your business (i.e. carpet cleaning, pressure washing, etc.), must be tied to the mindset that you are also a brand-building company. Some say running marketing campaigns here and there will work just fine, but that is actually the least effective approach you can take. Consistency and dedication are key.
Something to remember: When you're not servicing clients, you should be servicing your business. This means that any extra money and extra time you have should be poured back into marketing efforts to get new clients.
Cost-effective methods for getting new clients:
Most effective (albeit, not the cheapest) methods:
Every door direct mail (EDDM): Be careful not to carpet bomb the largest client base that you can. You want to focus on smaller segments of your area, such as specific neighborhoods where you haven't done much business in, or a more affluent area where you know you can upsell more effectively. The goal with EDDM is to send a mail advertisement of some sort to the people in your target market 3 to 4 times in a 3 month period. This can be supplemented by cold calling and emailing (if you're able to get people's phone numbers and email addresses in a legitimate way). The more ways you can get your company name in front of them, the more likely they are to call you when they need a service that you offer.
Five-arounds: This is a classic method and is quite simple and easy to do. Write down the addresses of the two houses next to the one you cleaned, and the three houses across the street. Then, you can market to these specific people with messaging talking about how you did work for their neighbor. This method allows you to build a solid prospect list, but does take more time and may not have the highest response rate (for ServiceMonster users, SendJim integration is a great way to quickly get this done).
The big suggestion: Facebook ads. Our strategy here is a 4-step plan that is simple to follow, and easy to learn.
Facebook marketing takes time to get right but is an incredibly cost-effective method with potentially huge results. Interested in learning more about how to maximize your ROI through Facebook? Check out our free guide here!
Now, where to start? Taking control of your brand's marketing is not always easy. It's totally normal to feel slightly overwhelmed with all of the possibilities, so below we have listed the three main takeaways from this post. If you can focus on these three things, you'll be just fine:
1 - Get your mindset right. You're building a brand. You can't just get some cash, throw it at some random marketing campaign, and grow a thriving business. Be intentional and be consistent with your marketing strategy.
2 - Pay attention to the small ways you can turn your free time into leads. Don't be lazy. You're running a business.
3 - Facebook. This will give you the best ROI. Other options, such as EDDM, fliers, mailers, cold calls, and seasonal opportunities such as sponsoring a little league team, all serve as great supplementary methods to your Facebook advertising.
Instagram: Beautiful nature photos, your friend's dog, and... oh wait, what's that? A super clean before-and-after picture of a freshly cleaned carpet? Or how about that super satisfying pressure washing video showing a sidewalk being cleaned? Your service business, whether it fits into either of those two industries or not, is a potential goldmine of quick content. If you have a smartphone, in just a few seconds you can record a quick video of your work-in-progress job and post it directly to your Instagram Story (more on this later). What about when you finish a job? If you have a customer who is willing, record a quick testimonial with your phone and post it with a quote. The possibilities are wide open for a service business, but the key is to create content that is engaging.
First things first: Make sure your company's Instagram page is a business page. Do this by going into your settings on the Instagram app, then selecting "Switch to Business Profile". Boom! There you go. This will allow you to categorize your business, include your contact info and website, and run promotions.
Using Instagram's "Story" Feature
Instagram Stories have become the go-to documentation method for its users. When this feature was first introduced, it seemed to be just a rip-off of SnapChat's Story feature. However, very quickly users realized that now they were able to quickly communicate something to their followers on Instagram, essentially giving them dual functionality within the app. Now, Stories are a huge part of how businesses, celebrities, and the everyday person quickly connect with their followers.
For a service business, it's a little more complicated since in most cases you probably don't already have a large following (or any, if you're new to Instagram). As was already mentioned, the key really is to create content that is engaging. This means that it's either visually appealing, relevant to your followers, shares an experience, or any combination of these. With specific regard to Stories, try to create content that is immediately engaging to the viewer, and keep it short. For example, a quick photo or video explaining a promotion you're running, or a one or two sentence customer testimonial, could work very well on your Story. Anything that's "interesting" looking is worth posting. Anything that is funny or comedic in any way is worth posting. Regularly posting on your story and keeping your followers engaged is the first step, and with repetition comes better content.
One fun thing to mess around with is the camera settings on your phone. You can do slow-mo, time lapse, panorama, and on some phones even take professional-looking portraits with a depth effect. USE THESE. A before-and-after photo of a job on your Instagram Story is fine, but what about a time-lapse showing (for example) the carpet in one room being cleaned from start to finish? That kind of content is more visually appealing and makes great content for your Story. Set your phone on a shelf or a chair, press record on the time lapse, and once you're done with the job you have a cool video that can even be used for a lot more than just an Instagram Story.
One last thing about Stories to keep in mind: They only last for 24 hours, unless you add them to a highlight folder. Stories are perfect for time-sensitive announcements and things that aren't really important in the long run, but for more serious posts that you want to be seen by more people, consider using a regular post.
Regular Posting on Instagram
Now for your regular page posts, this is where the content needs to be more thought out. You can use the same type of content as on your story, but the format is different and these posts tend to be seen and interacted with way more. Also, the video length can be up to 60 seconds for a regular post, which allows you to post longer clips. For starting out, we recommend a few different types of posts: Before and after photos and videos, "meet the team" style posts featuring your employees (and yourself, of course!), and testimonial photos or videos. Depending on the type of service business you have, local-oriented posts can also be utilized to show your connection to the community. This would include, for example, any youth sports teams you sponsor, volunteer work that you or your crew does, and participation in any sort of local charitable events.
The overall goal with your Instagram posts is to document what your business does and who you are as a company. If someone scrolls through your posts and just sees photo after photo of cleaned carpets, they won't be engaged and won't care as much. But if they see those cleaned carpets, along with short introduction posts about each of your technicians, photos of your crew participating in a local event together, and occasional testimonials from others in your community, suddenly they'll be a lot more engaged and be able to make a fair judgment about who you are as a business. This will increase the likelihood that they will want you to do a job for them, and gives you the ability to stay connected with past customers! One way to think of Instagram is as a sales tool that combines new leads and repeat customers. You're going to be reaching both types of people, so make sure your content actually appeals to both!
Advertising on Instagram
Instagram advertising is generally done through Facebook, which is by far the best approach. Linking your Facebook and Instagram accounts allows you to run ads on both platforms very easily, or choose different versions of ads for each platform. However, if you want to run ads just through Instagram, that can also be done through the app itself. When you select any of your posts, beneath the picture or video you will see a bar that says "View Insights" on the left, and then a button that says "Promote" on the right. Clicking that "Promote" button will start the process of boosting your post.
First, you want to select where to send people. Generally, this would be your website or a page where they can learn more about your services and easily contact you. Next, you select your target audience, which can be either an automatically-generated list from Instagram, or you can select specific people and locations to target. This is very useful if you want to run a certain promotion in a specific area or want to gather leads by targeting new individuals. The last step is to set your budget and duration of the campaign. Our suggestion is to start small (around $5 per day) and see what kind of results you get. That's it! Instagram makes it very quick and easy to advertise on their platform, so don't hesitate to use it to grow your business.
That's it for today! We hope this overview of how to use Instagram for your service business has been helpful and informative. If you have any specific questions about how to use Instagram, or needs tips/advice, feel free to email email@example.com and we will get back to you. Like always, we're more than happy to help with whatever you need!
Until next time!
Chances are, you've heard or seen us talking about how important a professional website is to your service business. Again, we can't stress that enough. A quality website serves as an online brochure for your business, allowing prospective customers to find you and learn about your service without even having to contact you. Fortunately, building a great website is easier than ever and is increasingly more affordable. Even if you already have a website, it may be time for an update. Let's go through a few different website builder options, so you can see what's out there and decide which is best for you.
First, you'll need to pick the hosting platform. Wordpress, Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly are all great options, but each has its own limitations. In an effort to keep things simple, we'll focus on Wordpress and Wix, since these two can handle anything you will need for your service business (and they don't require any coding experience!).
Wix is fantastic. It has never been easier to create a stunning, highly-functional website than it is with Wix. With their drag-and-drop page builder, great preset themes, and in-depth customization options, you really can't go wrong with Wix. If you don't have the time or the patience to craft your own website, their themes are a great way to go too. With a theme, you can just plug in your information and photos and have a quality website in no time. If you want to change a few things on a theme, that's easy too. And, if you want to start from scratch, go right ahead. Wix has you covered.
Wordpress is a totally different beast. They do not have the great drag-and-drop page builder that Wix has. However, with Wordpress, your customization is nearly limitless, with the ability to install third-party plugins for your website creation. These plugins are essentially just little mini tools that can function to help you build certain parts of your site, provide security functionality, and do tons of other complicated things that most of us don't even need to worry about. Wordpress also has many popular page builder plugins that function similarly to Wix's built-in tools, which is why Wordpress is able to compete with Wix.
The best of these page builder tools for Wordpress is called Elementor. With the free version, you can create and customize any webpage that you would need, in an easy to learn and reliable format. The Pro version offers a ton more functionality and gives you the ability to create every aspect of your website from scratch, not just individual pages. Elementor truly is a great product, and partnered with the near-limitless possibilities of Wordpress, is a worthy competitor to Wix.
Essentially, Wordpress and Wix do the same thing and one isn't necessarily better than the other. However, in the context of a service professional needing a good reliable website, the simplest option may be the best. Wix is definitely the simplest option and will give you everything that you need for your business. If you want to get really deep into your website design though, Wordpress is worth looking into, especially if you plan on using your website for more than just a simple brochure highlighting your services, reviews, prices, and contact info. If you do want to keep it that simple though, give Wix a try. Each platform is affordable for hosting your own site, and each one is very reputable, so you won't have to worry about security and stability.
We could keep going, since there are so many other options out there, and so much more to explain about Wordpress and Wix. For the time being, we'll stop here and give you a chance to explore these two great options on your own. If you want to learn about other services, check out this article from PC Mag.
Until next time!
YouTube has become an absolutely essential resource for many people, service providers included. Don't quite know how to fix something on your truck? There's probably a YouTube video showing you how to do it. Want to rewatch a great play from yesterday's football game? YouTube has you covered. In this increasingly digital age, a website originally used for entertainment purposes has now become a vast resource of knowledge and can be an incredibly helpful asset to your business.
In this post, we're going to explore the top 8 YouTube channels that service providers should be following. Not all of them are related specifically to the service industry, but they all will provide you with massive value
Of course, you should be following us on YouTube! We release content regularly that can help you get the most out of your ServiceMonster subscription, as well as provide insight into current industry trends. One of our two regular content offerings is The ServiceMonster Show, a weekly news show highlighting social media trends, ServiceMonster news and updates, and anything else going on. The other regular video show you will see is #AskServiceMonster. This show features our CEO, Joe, answering questions submitted by users, explaining business concepts, and interviewing relevant people within the industry. You can check out our channel here!
#2: Keith Kalfas
Keith's YouTube channel is primarily centered around landscaping, but many of the subjects he covers can apply to any service industry. As a service professional himself, Keith has a unique perspective as a content creator and brings a ton of value in his videos for any business owner. Keith also talks with other business owners and service professionals to get their insight on successfully growing a service business. Check out his channel here.
#3: Service Industry Coach
Matthew Smith, otherwise known as Service Industry Coach on YouTube, has been making videos offering business advice for a couple of years now. He owns a cleaning company and a painting company, so his service experience is varied enough to provide quality advice. Some of his videos are job-specific and show tips and tricks for different cleaning methods. Other videos focus more on the owner/entrepreneur side of things, where he gives advice and shares his perspective on money management, investing, and marketing. His channel can be found here.
#4: Gary Vee
Gary Vaynerchuk (known as Gary Vee) is an entrepreneur who has gained a massive worldwide following on social media. His YouTube videos cover many different topics, but much of his advice regarding social media, marketing, and content creation can be applied to any business. None of his videos relate specifically to service providers, however, the value is still there. Gary Vee doesn't beat around the bush. He tells it like it is. Check out his channel here!
#5: Luke the Window Cleaner
This YouTube channel is specifically for window cleaners (what a surprise!), so if you aren't a window cleaner, you may not find a ton of value here. If you ARE a window cleaner though, this channel has tons of value for you. Luke does product reviews, offers technique and business advice, and focuses on content for people newer to the industry. You can view his channel here.
#6: Behind the Brand
Again, a YouTube channel that's more general in nature, but still has quite a bit of useful advice for the service providers among us. Behind the Brand goes deep into the stories and the people behind successful brands. A big part of your success as a service provider is building a strong and reputable brand. Many of these videos address strategies and tactics to achieve a brand that stands out from the competition. This channel uploads a ton of content too! You can check out the channel here.
#7: The Dave Ramsey Show
Many of you may already know who Dave Ramsey is, but his YouTube channel for The Dave Ramsey Show has daily new uploads of clips from the best moments of the show. His wise financial advice can benefit not only your business but also your personal life. Being financially secure is a huge key to running a successful business and being able to achieve growth. Check out Dave's channel here.
#8: Sunny Lenarduzzi
Sunny Lenarduzzi is basically a master of digital content creation. While she doesn't have much to do with service providers, Sunny's strategies and approaches to creating digital content most definitely apply to any service provider. So many things are digital these days, and how you are branded online is critical to continued success. Sunny's tips on making videos, being comfortable in front of the camera, social media marketing, and numerous other topics could prove invaluable for your business. Check her out here.
Thanks for reading! As always, contact us if you have any questions, or would like to see how we can help you grow your service business. Until next time!
As you've heard us say many times before, social media is your best friend when it comes to marketing your service business. Facebook gives you affordable and highly effective advertising options, with Instagram advertising included automatically. The goal of this kind of social media advertising is to show potential customers your business/product in a space where they have the ability to take further action (called a call-to-action), such as click a link or watch a video. All of this we have covered extensively before, most notably in our Social Media Mastery guide. Check that out if you haven't already, it's an amazing collection of content all for free!
The next piece for growing the social media presence of your business is ENGAGEMENT. Engagement simply means being active on your accounts, aware of what's going on with your followers, and committed to customer service. The key here is to respond to questions quickly and professionally, as well as monitor any concerns that are raised by followers on either your posts or page itself. Depending on the size of your business, and how popular your social media accounts are, this can be a daunting task. However, it is an essential tool for getting leads and keeping current customers happy.
Let's run through a few example scenarios of what social media engagement can look like for a service business:
Ex. 1: A past customer comments on your most recent post asking what your availability is to come clean their carpets (or whatever it is you do). The post they commented on is unrelated, such as a post welcoming a new technician to your company. In this instance, it may be pretty easy to miss their comment, as it didn't come in the form of a direct message. Since this situation would most likely result in a job, making sure to monitor comments and responding when appropriate/needed is crucial. Treating all comments as direct personal messages, most being worthy of some type of response, is a good mindset to have when approaching your social media engagement.
Ex. 2: A new potential customer finds your page on Facebook and reads your reviews. They see that you have mostly positive reviews (read more about the importance of positive reviews here), and send you a direct message on Facebook inquiring about your services. If you don't have notifications on, you may not see the message right away, but it is important to be checking your notifications frequently so you can respond in a timely manner. Here at ServiceMonster, we have found that Facebook is a great tool for getting leads!
Ex. 3: A current customer comments on your post that shows a before-and-after image of their carpet that you just cleaned, thanking you for doing a great job. This type of comment doesn't need a big response usually. Something along the lines of "You're very welcome, we look forward to working with you again!" is all that is necessary. This is a very quick and simple example of engagement that not only makes you look good to anyone who sees it, but also helps increase the likelihood that that customer will call you the next time they need something.
Remember, how you engage with customers on social media is how people will see your company. Strong, timely, and positive engagement shows that you are a professional and can be trusted to do a great job. If your business's online persona is that solid, you won't have any trouble staying busy and growing your business!
Here at ServiceMonster, our passion is enabling you to grow your service business. We hope you take the next step with your social media engagement and see positive results. Let us know if we can help you with anything! We're only a phone call or email away.
Until next time!
Getting reviews is a non-negotiable must-have when you’re a small business: They can make an enormous impact on the success (or failure) of your operation. Nine times out of 10 (if not 10 times out of 10!), people search online for reviews. Whether it’s purchasing some new headphones on Amazon, or searching on Google for the best local carpet cleaner, reviews play a crucial role in determining whether a product or service is worth investing in. That’s really what it comes down to: Everyday people investing their hard-earned dollars in YOU, in exchange for you providing them with the best service possible.
Reviews can be found on several different sites, but the most popular/common review sites are Facebook, Google, and Yelp. More specific to service professionals are sites such as Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor. Having a collection of great reviews on any one (or preferably, all!) of these sites is of utmost importance to your future success. However, between wearing the many different hats of a small business owner, you may feel that worrying about getting reviews is not worth your time. This may be especially true if you have a solid base of repeat customers and rely mostly on word-of-mouth advertising.
While good word-of-mouth advertising is fantastic to have, if you really want to grow you’re going to need to start converting that word-of-mouth into tangible online reviews. Positive reviews equal more revenue.
So, how do you get good reviews?There are several ways, but the easiest and least time-consuming way to get reviews is to simply ASK. When you’re done with a job, just ask your customer to leave a review. This could either be left open to them to decide which site to leave a review on, or, for example, you could ask specifically for a review on Facebook. A huge part of this process is being personable with your customers.
Taking the “ask” approach a step further, you can guide customers to giving you a review, either through your website or an email. One approach is to put a “Review us here!” link on your website, making sure that it is prominently displayed. This is simple to do and is a great tool for directing customers to the review site of your choice.
However, an even more effective method is to send out follow-up emails with the option for a customer to review you within the email. The general idea of this method is that within your email, you have a link to your preferred review site, but also an option for customers to leave you any feedback in case they had a less-than-ideal experience. Negative reviews need to be taken seriously, and giving customers the opportunity to communicate their frustrations is essential to learning and growing as a company.
Communicating with your customers post-job is a surefire way to increase your repeat rate. Even with negative reviews, you are given the opportunity to continue a dialogue and figure out what exactly needs to be done to ensure that whatever caused this bad experience will never happen again. This level of personal communication can turn a 1-star review into a 4 or 5-star review. Just remember, make sure that the review process is as simple as possible for the customer.
Here at ServiceMonster, our passion is enabling you to grow your service business. We hope you try out a few of these methods and find success with them.
Until next time!
Picture this, if you will: It’s Friday. You’ve had a long week, and you’re craving a good steak. You do a quick search online of best places for steak in your area, and come up with two options:
Restaurant 1’s website claims that their steak is the tastiest around (according to content written by the restaurant itself).
Restaurant 2 is purported to have the best steak in the area, as well. However, the difference is that you learn this via reviews of the restaurant on Facebook, written by customers who have dined there over the last few months.
Which candidate is going to win your dinner business?
You realize that any restaurant could claim to be the best at a certain dish or cuisine, but when a positive assessment comes from someone who has no ‘steak’ (see what we did there?) in the business, it carries a lot more weight. An unbiased opinion is always more persuasive.
Restaurant 2 it is!
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We have no doubt that your company does stellar work and that your customers are in great hands with you. But, regardless of how well you sell your services, you still can’t change the source: you.
Testimonials’ strength lies in the fact that they come from a source outside your business, who has seen proof of your work and was happy with the outcome. This impartial opinion fosters positivity and confidence in your prospects.
What is a testimonial video?
Before we get any deeper, let’s go over what a testimonial video is. A video testimonial is simply an on-camera endorsement of your services from a customer. The best ones are straight-forward, short, and upbeat. Though videos require more work than simply pasting a quote or two on to your website, they provide an organic way for prospects to learn about how great you are, straight from the horses (er… your customer’s) mouth.
Are videos more persuasive than text?
Without a doubt, yes. Because viewers can see your testimonial-offering customer in the video, there is an automatic feeling of authenticity from the beginning that’s inherently lacking when it comes to text testimonials.
Seeing a homeowner or business owner talk about how satisfied they are with your services can be a key factor in your home-owning and business-owning prospects (who personally identify with the customers in the video) choosing to use your company.
What do I need to consider before I make a testimonial video?
Even though videos do naturally come across as more authentic than text testimonials, that doesn’t give you free reign to hand your customer a script and tell them to read it to the camera. We recommend brainstorming a short list of questions before filming, and passing them along to your interviewee a day before filming. This will give them time to review the questions and consider how they’d like to answer them, so they won’t be blindsided when the camera is rolling.
Some questions to consider asking:
What do I need to think about during filming?
Don’t get hung up on purchasing an expensive camera, especially if you’re just starting out with video testimonials. You can even use your phone! Just be sure to shoot it using widescreen (turn the phone horizontally), and steady it against something.
Be mindful, too, of the location you choose to film – it can make a difference in how watchable the video is. Try filming in front of or inside of the customer’s home or business.
Another important consideration is audio quality. You’ll want to avoid locations that produce an echo, and busy places with lots of people talking or traffic noise. While you certainly can edit the audio post-production (after you’ve filmed), ideally you wouldn’t have to do too much to it. We recommend considering a wireless lavalier that you can run into your camera.
Also, make sure there’s enough room on your recording device for the whole interview (plus some extra in case the discussion runs longer than anticipated).
What do I need to do after filming?
After you’ve thanked your customer for their time and thoughts, it’s time to start editing. This can be as long or as short of a process as you’d like, depending on how filming went and what you’d like your finished product to look like.
Try to edit the content down to focus on the most glowing praise, and keep it short – we recommend no more than a couple minutes. Remember, people tend to have very short attention spans!
Once I have a finished video… what do I do with it?
First, send it to the featured customer and get their approval. Then… share it!
Create an email drip campaign in ServiceMonster 6 for people you haven’t serviced in a while, and include the video to convey the voice of your customers.
Create a ‘case study’ section on your website and include the video.
Share on your social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter, and create a ‘testimonials’ playlist on YouTube and place the video in there.
Also, if you have a salesman, be sure to share the video with them. They can use it as a tool when chatting with new prospects.
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Customer testimonial videos are unique because they’re persuasive and very effectively able to establish credibility for your company. Though they can be a bit labor intensive, we strongly believe that they’re worth doing because of the tremendous boost they can offer your business. Give them a try… and let us know how it goes!
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are numbers you can use to make smarter business decisions. With KPIs, you can flag areas of growth potential, fix issues before they become problems, and generally gain a greater level of insight into your business.
KPIs are important with or without ServiceMonster. While the ServiceMonster dashboards give you instant, real-time results, complete all of your calculations and comparisons for you, and offer an elegant carousel view, you don’t need ServiceMonster to measure and understand your KPIs. You can get these numbers from a stack of invoices, a calculator, and a few days to kill. But make no mistake, they are that important.
Let’s break down each of the nine KPIs we have identified as the most critical to any service company. Although ServiceMonster gives you much more data than what we’ll explain here, these KPIs should be numbers you know off the top of your head. These nine are the most important.
Most of these figures are focused on residential floor cleaning and related services, with some commercial data thrown in. Many of these figures are simply universal truths. The target rates are the results of 15 years of data analysis within our industry. In 2015, ServiceMonster processed over $345,000,000 in cleaning and restoration invoices in the United States alone. That gives us the largest analytical data engine in the industry. By a lot.
Numbers and Comparisons
Understanding and monitoring a KPI is the first step towards real change. Simply watching a KPI will improve it! Being able to understand the differences in the last 30 days, the last month, the last quarter, and the last years’ worth of data for a given KPI can uncover trends that you never knew were there.
In addition to the KPI itself, you can also look at changes to your KPI over time. Comparing last month with the same month last year can show you if you’re up or down, and by what percentage. We say that business moves fast, and while that’s certainly true, it’s not real-time. It can take 18 months to see the cause and effect from changes you’ve made to your business. Running comparative KPIs can give you true clarity on the direct effect of everything you do!
1) Repeat Rate
What is repeat rate?
Your repeat rate is the percent of clients who have used your services more than once in a given period. Repeat rate is the most important KPI you have, and it will take a few other KPIs to calculate it correctly. Believe it or not, a fair number of service businesses calculate their repeat rate incorrectly. With this in mind, part of our training process includes an in-depth look at your marketing efforts, and one of the items we focus on is repeat rate.
The incorrect calculation
Most of our clients will calculate their repeat rate like this: Take the number of customers you serviced this month (c). Then find how many of them used you more than once (r).
(r/c) x 100 = repeat rate %
The correct calculation
Take the number of residential clients you have serviced in the last two years (C), then find how many of them used you more than once (R).
(R/C) x 100 = Repeat Rate %
The main problem with the incorrect calculation is the length of time sampled. The rate can vary widely depending on how successful or unsuccessful your prospecting efforts are. The two-year timeline in the formula represents your true number of active clients. ServiceMonster research shows that getting a client to return after two years has roughly the same cost as obtaining a new client.
Why should you track repeat rate?
Your repeat rate is often an indication of the experience you give your client, combined with your proficiency at maintaining a consistent client retention program. Your repeat rate is the most important KPI you have. If you track nothing else, track your repeat rate. You work hard to attract new business! In fact, our data shows that it costs around $82 per prospect to get in their home. Compare that to an average of $15 per client, and you can see – the difference is all profit. Your margins on repeat business are much higher.
In addition, your total marketable base will grow much faster with a compounding client base. Take this example: Company A and Company B are cleaning companies. They both pull in 20 new customers a month and have an average invoice of $250. Company A has a repeat rate of 25% and Company B has a repeat rate of 60%. The only difference is that Company B has a strong client retention program. In just three years, Company A has a customer base of 640 clients, earning a total of $80,000 per year in revenue. Company B, however, (the one you want to be), has accumulated 1,200 clients, and brings in $150,000 per year.
In addition to the increase in base revenue, you will also reduce your expenses. Keeping your name in front of your existing client is far less expensive than trying to get a new customer. Not to mention, your cross-sale potential radically increases if your current clients are aware of ALL the products and services you offer.
Repeat rate targets
Your repeat rate should be above 50%, otherwise attrition will limit both your business growth and the horsepower you need to build your empire.
Improving repeat rate
Working to improve your repeat rate should be your number one goal at all times. What good is driving new business if you’re losing them on the backside? Focusing on the lower margin sale is a good way to grind your exciting business into just another job. There are many ways to help ensure you have a good chance at new work from an old client: Show up on time. Be well groomed. Be professional. Listen to your client. Set proper expectations. Work hard. Do a good job. Give the client an unforgettable experience. You might be surprised at how much room for improvement there is in these areas! Fix those first.
After you’re sure you have the basics covered, create a client retention program. You can use the do-it-yourself marketing features in ServiceMonster to create direct mail, call, and email campaigns. Build a few years’ worth of content at once, then build a drip campaign which will generate your materials and lists, or send the emails at timed intervals. Optionally, you could also use our FillMySchedule (FMS) system, where we do high-quality direct mail for you, automatically (content and all!). FMS is a proven tool with a national average of 800% return on investment (ROI), and is a great way to get your client retention program up and running quickly.
2) Total Market Potential
What is total market potential?
Your total market potential is not strictly a KPI, but it’s a number you should know and understand. It represents the total number of potential clients in your area (but it’s not population). It’s also called your core demographic. If you’re focused on the value client in California, for example, you would target 25- to 55-year-old home-owning females with kids and/or pets, with home values above $350,000. You can use the free tools from InfoUSA to target your area and service distance. That will give you a nice target number. Tattoo that number to your forehead: the maximum size of your business depends on it.
3) Total Marketable Base
What is total marketable base?
Your total marketable base is the number of active clients in your database that have used your services in the last two years. You can increase that to four years if your services are strictly maintenance-based, like tile cleaning or air duct cleaning. A company that deals solely with restoration has no “marketable base,” because you can’t convince people to have another flood just so you can come clean it up for them. You will use your total marketable base when calculating your repeat rate.
Why should you track total marketable base?
Assuming that you know your total market potential, understanding how much of that market is yours gives you incredible insight. What’s your potential market share? What’s your maximum earning potential? How will you scale? You also need to track marketable base because you won’t know your repeat rate without it.
Marketable base targets
We have seen some interesting trends with marketable base and residential clients. Let’s assume your market potential is around 100,000 people. When your total marketable base hits 1% (1,000 clients), your referral rates start to climb… especially if you’re asking for them. When you hit 10% (10,000 clients), your referrals are so strong that you may forgo prospecting altogether. Not that we’re advising that.
Improving your total marketable base
To improve your total marketable base, you will need to implement strategies for improving both your repeat rate and your sales pipeline.
4) Average Invoice
What is average invoice?
Your average invoice is a calculation of the sum invoice subtotals over a period of time. You want to break it up by order type (carpet cleaning vs. restoration work), but other than that, it’s pretty straight-forward.
Why should you track average invoice?
There are two important reasons to track average invoice. The first has to do with your repeat rate. Understanding your average invoice gives you the power to influence it over time. See if you can change the numbers by targeting higher-end clients, or by adding new products or services. Raising prices will quickly increase your average, but will that affect your total marketable base? Will your new leads slow down? Knowing these comparisons in real-time gives you the ability to make quick course corrections and stay ahead of trouble.
The second reason to track your average invoice is because it can greatly affect your repeat rate.
Average invoice targets
Residential carpet cleaning invoice averages are around $245 nationwide. That also happens to be the sweet spot for getting a great repeat rate. Invoice averages under $200 typically attract price shoppers who have little loyalty when it comes to service providers. Invoice averages of over $350 are in real danger of creating sticker shock, drastically reducing your repeat potential. Managing expectations is tough for even the best cleaners.
Improving your average invoice
Improve your average invoice by focusing on incremental price increases, offering additional products and services, and working to boost your upsell numbers. Use ServiceMonster service items to increase the likelihood of an upsell to an existing client by over 30%! Use the income by service report to find out which of your services are selling, which ones need more attention in your marketing message, and what new services are working in your area. Track your upsells with the order upsell and commission features.
5) Income by Service
What is income by service?
This KPI is a very common accounting report. It breaks down your income by the services you provide, and it’s hard to put together without accounts receivable features like ServiceMonster’s invoices, line items, and service list.
Why should you track income by service?
Knowing what your clients are buying, and when, can be very insightful when trying to offer additional products and services. We once had a client who was, shall we say, “manly.” In our first conversation, he mentioned that he wouldn’t clean upholstery. When asked why, he said, “Oh I sell it. But that’s women’s work, so my wife does it.” Months later, we noticed that upholstery services represented over 25% of his income. We told him that his wife needed a big raise! His reply, “After I found out how much upholstery work there is, I’ve been doing upholstery too.” His market was perfect for upholstery cleaning, but he never realized it until he saw the KPI.
Income by service targets
Target making the largest slice of the chart under 50%. Stable companies usually have three or four main services, and a small market in additional work. Ideally, you would have three services at 30%, and the remaining 10% in “other” services.
Improving your income by service
Adding additional services is as easy as visiting your local distributor and shelling out some cash, but deciding what new services to offer varies based on your area. Getting that tile and grout wand won’t do much good in a community with little tile. Listen to your clients! What services are they asking you for? Let your market help you decided what to add.
Secondly, sell them! Service providers are inherently bad at two things. (1) Maintaining a consistent client retention strategy, and (2) Letting clients know about ALL of the products and services they offer. Customers can’t buy it if they aren’t aware of it! Update your marketing materials, your website, and your business cards. Before each job, talk with the client about what you have to offer. Part of the reason you want to expand into other services is to keep your client, YOUR client. There are other service providers out there that Mrs. Jones can use to get ALL of her cleaning done, but we don’t want her to use other service providers. We want her to stick with you!
6) Clients by Lead Source
What is clients by lead source?
Clients by lead source helps you to identify which of your marketing campaigns are winning you business. ServiceMonster allows you to identify, using lead sources, which specific marketing campaign or client (referral) brought he new account to your company. We track lead sources for both the account and the order. This is a very important difference, because it identifies two important data points: (1) Which campaigns are working to gain you new clients, and (2) Which campaigns are working to bring existing clients back to you. We see too many data imports where the current account lead source is set to “Repeat.” Not only does that hide the actual result of what brought them back, but it REMOVES THE ORIGINAL lead source value, destroying your ability to see which campaigns are working over time!
Why should you track clients by lead source?
Knowing your response rates, close rates, and ROI for a given campaign will help to maximize your marketing dollar. Ideally, 30% of your gross income should be going back into marketing (we’re not there yet either). Imagine if you were averaging 400%+ ROI on your campaigns over a 90-day period. You would essentially turn your company into a cash machine, only reaching a peak due to your total market potential. That’s a very compelling reason to track your lead sources.
Clients by lead source targets
By breaking up your campaigns into prospecting and client retention, you’re able to set your targets with more accuracy. As a rule, your client retention responses and ROI will be much higher than general prospecting campaigns. If your client retention is very strong and your repeat rate is well above 50%, your prospecting ROI could even be negative and your business would still grow. Ideally, your total average prospecting ROI will be above 100%, and your total average client retention ROI will be above 400%.
How to improve your clients by lead source
Every guru has a magic pill. A silver bullet. But in reality, there is no such thing. Positive prospect marketing ROI comes from hard work, trial and error, and understanding your core demographics.
You can improve your results by running A/B campaigns. Break your list into two equal, but random, parts. Use a separate message and imagery on each one. Track the one that has the best responses, and use that as the A campaign next time. Then create a new B to battle against. By using an A/B campaign, you will slowly increase your response rate by leveraging content and language that speaks to your clients.
Try not to limit your prospecting to one single campaign. Sure, it may have the best “numbers,” but a single source will only produce a high volume of leads for a short time. Diversify. Keep marketing on several channels at once: direct mail, email, Facebook… you get the idea.
For client retention programs, you can influence your response rates by a few percentage points, but the biggest way to improve these numbers is by simply running consistent campaigns.
7) Average Job Time by Order Group
What is average job time by order group?
The average job time by order group takes the total man-hours for each job, for each type of work you do (cleaning, restoration, etc.) and averages the total for the time period. It can be broken down by employees as well, so you can compare each employee to the company average. We only focus on the job type, work (not estimates), drop-offs, pick-ups, or reworks.
Why should you track average job time by order group?
Tracking your job times can help identify your margins. We’ve had clients that feel they are profitable, but the data tells them another story. Understanding your average job time can also help you plan your workload better.
Average job time by order group targets
Looking at employee job averages can give you insight as to which of your employees are excelling and which ones are a drain on the company (and you!). Longer job times aren’t necessarily a bad thing if the employee is upselling well. Taking order totals into account will give you an average revenue for each employee.
Average job time by order group targets
Use ServiceMonster Mobile for automated employee check-in and check-out. One way to get more out of each employee is to limit their downtime. Wait list, job work logs, and commissions can all be used to effectively establish company policies. Create a commission program where your techs get more for upsells. Educate them on giving value to the client as opposed to taking a sales approach.
Get the employees involved. ServiceMonster leader boards can be a powerful tool you can use to offer rewards to high earners. Quick and efficient employees, with low rework scores, will have good averages even if they aren’t upselling. More deliberate techs with better people skills can push good numbers by offering all of your services, and landing add-ons. Techs with poor performance can be retrained, repurposed, or replaced before they poison the well.
8) Sales Pipeline
What is sales pipeline?
Your sales pipeline shows you how many new leads, opportunities, and invoices you have received and converted in a given period. If you work sales opportunities over multiple touches and through different stages, then your sales pipeline will show you what percentage of leads convert to opportunities and how many of those opportunities convert into sales.
Why should you track your sales pipeline?
Getting the information sooner rather than later that your leads are depressed gives you time to adjust. Knowing that your conversion rates are high might tell you that new message and language you’re using is working. Tracking your sales pipeline can provide clarity on how you and your staff are dealing with the influx from the marketing you’ve been doing. If your leads are up and your conversions are down, perhaps you’re targeting the wrong base, or your message is establishing improper expectations. Either way, data gives you the power to make changes and see how those changes affect your bottom line.
Sales pipeline targets
10%+ of your leads will be spam from bots and price shoppers who provide junk data. From your qualified leads, you should be closing well over 50%, no matter what services you provide. As a service provider, just answering the phone and showing up will land you more jobs and earn great clients! Most of your competitors have a hard time with those two simple things. Past that, your challenge is to beat your own numbers.
How to improve your sales pipeline
Implement some sales commissions. Train and retrain. Then monitor sales activities (especially your own!). Record phone conversations here and there, and listen to them. Talk about the recorded conversations. Then train again.
Do what you say you’re going to do. If you say you’re going to send an email or call a client back, don’t drop the ball. Track sales efforts and tasks with opportunities and activities. Create drip campaigns to automate basic communications and offers. Send potentially large clients a thank you card. Above all, set yourself up to stay on top of your leads and reach out to them as soon as possible.
What is churn?
Churn is not typically found as a KPI in service companies, but we think that all businesses in this industry should at least understand it. ServiceMonster is a SaaS (Software as a Service) company. Repeat business is a critical part of our business model. You pay monthly to use ServiceMonster, but you can cancel at any time. The clients that we lose from cancellations, or simply because they couldn’t pay, go into a calculation called churn. It measures the percent of clients lost over time.
Why should you track churn?
There are two client programs that make churn relevant in a service business: (1) Recurring commercial work, and (2) A SaaS-style residential program, like ServiceMonster account subscriptions, where you charge the client monthly for regular automated services. Tracking churn against these cohorts makes a lot of sense. As you onboard new clients, you will notice a shift in your receivables (if you can pull it off). Your income will stabilize throughout the year, and your repeat rates will climb. Churn is almost the opposite of repeat rate: a SaaS-style approach assumes that you will keep the client, while the standard service approach is trying desperately to bring them back.
As this represents a very small (but growing) income for the industry, we don’t have good a churn rate to give you. As a SaaS company, we try to stay below 12% annually. That means our repeat rate, month after month, is 99%. Chew on that for a minute.
How to improve churnWe know how we improve churn at ServiceMonster. We use education and contact strategies for customers’ first 90 days. In your business, let’s just get a SaaS-style service to market, shall we?
ServiceMonster is full of KPIs. The ones mentioned above are the heavy hitters, but there are still many more that serve to enlighten your business decisions and help keep you on track. Keep your finger on the pulse of your business 24/7, with the help of ServiceMonster!
Prospects turn into leads and leads turn into sales, which means that without prospects, it’s hard for your business to grow. For prospecting to be effective, it should be done on a regular basis (ideally daily!), and it can require a bit of research. Equally as important as prospecting every day is making sure that you’re targeting people who are already likely to use your services. This way you’ll be getting the most bang for your buck, so to speak, and maximizing your time.
However, how do you build a list with those constraints? You not only have to prospect all the time, but you also have to vet people, too?
It can seem overwhelming at first. With this in mind, we’ve brainstormed nine ways you can get started finding prospects that will be the most likely to buy.
Encouraging referrals is a good way to elicit customers that meet your standards, because clients that are referred from existing customers tend to be good overall fits for your business. When you receive a referral, be sure to thank your referral source and follow up with the referral as soon as you can.
1. After completing a job, send the customer a thank you card to let them know that you appreciate their business. To add referral potential, include a refer-a-friend deal. Something along the lines of, “If you loved the cleaning we provided you, share it! If you and a friend schedule a service within the next three months, both of you will receive 20% off our regular prices.”
2. If you use the FillMySchedule program, ask about Bottomless Business Cards. We’ll print up to three business-card-size inserts (per card) for you, for only $.28 per FMS card. Include your refer-a-friend deal on each insert, so your customers can hand out your information (and a great discount!) to three of their friends or neighbors.
3. If you get leads from a service like HomeAdvisor or Angie’s List, take the email addresses you receive (as long as they are genuine), along with names, and create a new account in ServiceMonster for each lead, marking their account type as prospect. In the future you can use the DIY Marketing tools in ServiceMonster to pull the list of all your prospects and market to them specifically.
4. Team up with a local real estate agent, contractor, or another individual or company in your town that sells something that would complement your services. If you partner with a high-volume realtor, for example, they could potentially send you a large number of their own clients who recently bought or sold homes that need cleaning.
Neighbors pay attention when the house down the street has some work done, so use this to your advantage!
5. Target the neighbors around a job you recently completed by mailing out a postcard to those households. On the postcard, include something like, “We just did work at your neighbor’s house,” include your customers’ address or their last name for reference, and encourage the recipient to ask their neighbor how you did.
6. Be sure to always carry your business cards on you. After completing a job, leave your cards on the doorstep of the surrounding houses.
Name recognition is an essential part of marketing your business – people have to hear about you before they can consider hiring you!
7. Get involved in your local community by sponsoring events, participating in local groups and activities, posting your business card on local bulletin boards, and doing anything else you can think of that gets your business in front of people in a positive way.
8. Stay active on social media. Building momentum on social media can be a slow process, but if you post relevant content regularly, you can expect your follower count to grow. Social media provides the perfect platform for interacting and developing rapport between you and potential prospects, and it’s another way for them to contact you for more information or to schedule a cleaning! Be careful not to spread yourself too thin, though – especially if you’re just starting out on social media. Choose one or two platforms where your customers seem to hang out the most (Facebook and Twitter, for instance), and post on a consistent basis. Offer sales and/or contests occasionally to give people more of an incentive to schedule a cleaning.
It’s much cheaper to retain current customers than to go out and find new ones.
9. Focus on keeping the ones you’ve got! ServiceMonster’s FillMySchedule program helps you do just that, by encouraging repeat business through the use of high-quality direct mail cards. The program starts off with a thank you card, mailed to the customer after you finish a job for them. Then, every three months after that, FillMySchedule follows up with a specially-crafted message to remind them how long it’s been since their last cleaning, that you’re available to help, and that you offer other services that might interest them.
If you’re interested in growing your business, it’s important to get in the routine of prospecting on a regular basis. Try one, two, or a combination of these suggestions, and be sure to mix it up every now and then to ensure you’re covering all your bases. The more active you are at prospecting, the more memorable your business will be for a greater number of people, and the higher-quality the leads you bring in will be. Now get out there and start building your prospect list!
Carpet can be beautiful. It has the potential to add warmth to a space to make it feel more inviting, and it can enhance a room or act as a focal point in a building.
Other times, however, carpet can be downright ugly. Be it due to poor taste or more diabolical purposes, ugly carpet is everywhere. We decided to gather together some of the very worst that we’ve come across online. We don’t blame you if you avert your eyes… but if you’re brave enough, let’s gets started! In no particular order…
1. Singapore Changi Airport (Singapore)
Carpet designer 1: “Should we make this one brown, or yellow? Should we include circles or lines or rectangles?” + Carpet designer 2: “ALL OF THE ABOVE!”
2. Portland International Airport
This carpet has grown a cult following (it has its own Facebook Page… and Twitter account), but we don’t really understand the appeal, to be quite honest.
3. Bellagio (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Have you ever looked at a stereogram before? They’re images that look like patterns at first glance, but hide 3D images when stared at for a period of time. I think there’s a 3D image in this carpet.
4. Phoenix, Arizona home
This could have just been hideous, plain turquoise carpet. But no. They had to go and spill their coffee all over it…
5. Harrah’s (Las Vegas, Nevada)
They might be trying to channel the sky portion of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings with this carpet. Except very poorly and in shades of red instead of blue.
Photographer: Chris Maluszynski
6. Phoenix, Arizona home
This pattern might not be too painful as a rug. A small rug.
7. Seattle, Washington movie theater
I wonder what color this carpet REALLY is – under all the layers of spilled soda, popcorn butter, and dirt…
Source: Rebecca Partington
8. Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center (Nashville, Tennessee)
The good news: If you spill the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup you’re eating, no problem – it will blend right in! The bad news: No one will ever want to visit your convention center (let alone eat in it), due to the carpet choice.
9. Sun City West, Arizona home
If you’re in the mood for a picnic, we know a great spot! Right on the grass in this livin—wait a second. Grass doesn’t grow in living rooms…
Last but not least, our personal favorite…
10. Peppermill Fireside Lounge (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Having planets in the sky just doesn’t cut it these days. We need them on the floor, too. And throw in some rainbows and comets while you’re at it!
So, I think we’ve learned a valuable lesson here, folks: Never trust the interior decorating opinions of people who pick out the carpets for airports, casinos, movie theaters, and convention centers!