Service businesses, especially in this economy, are a great way to get started. The entry barriers are low, and you can keep the expenses down with no heavy machinery, inventory, or big staff required.
However, in addition to understanding the basics of marketing and management in a service business, there is a whole other set of issues that needs to be addressed. There are many issues that service businesses overlook that make their operations relatively inefficient, including:
Failing to Assign “Standard Operating Procedures” (SOPs)
Failing to assign SOPs is one of the most common issues service businesses overlook. SOPs can be used as job aids and save employees from remembering how to do their jobs. They also make it easier for new employees, or those doing temporary work, to come up to speed. SOPs are especially important for remote businesses.
Procedures for everything from how long an estimate should take to who sends invoices are rarely established. Sometimes it is because the owner or manager doesn’t realize these need to be documented.
Other times it’s because they haven’t taken the time. Either way, without procedures, your business runs inefficiently and can even run off track, but procedures make your business efficient and your service outstanding.
Writing Strong Proposals
To receive work from a client, you need to put together a proposal that will win them over. Often these proposals are poorly written and make a business look unprofessional. The proposal makes it easy for people with no experience in writing or selling services to forget essential details such as costs, fees, and timelines.
Sometimes the layout of a proposal can also look unprofessional. If your business fails to write effective proposals, you will lose out on work at some point. For HVAC proposals, using a template is highly beneficial.
There are many things to include in an HVAC proposal, including: before/after temperatures, a list of required equipment, costs, and payment terms.
Hiring Inexperienced Employees
In the beginning, hiring the best employees you can afford makes sense. However, as your business grows, you may not have the time to train inexperienced employees and they can be a liability to your company unless you have an effective mentoring scheme in place.
For an HVAC company to run smoothly, employees need to have the proper training. An excellent way to ensure you are getting what you pay for is by looking at certifications through trade associations like NATE. Hiring someone with appropriate accreditation will save you time and money in the long run.
No Customer Tracking System in Place
Customer service is paramount to the success of any service business. If your employees don’t know what they are doing or spend too much money on advertising, it could be because you do not have a customer tracking system. There are many CRM options out there that can help with this problem. One of the most vital parts of a customer tracking system is follow-up. If you are not following up with customers, it makes it hard for them to do business with you again in the future.
No Quality Check System in Place
Quality control or assurance is essential when running any service business. It keeps you in good standing with your customers, keeps you from losing money on mistakes and faulty equipment, and prevents dissatisfied customers who will tell everyone they know.
The building blocks of any quality control system are quality standards. These set out what is expected when providing a service, how it should be delivered and maintained, resource requirements for the job, etc.
Every business can benefit from these tips and more, so make sure to not only hire the most experienced employees you can afford but invest in a customer tracking system and write strong proposals that win over customers. Doing all of these things will change your service business for the better and set your HVAC company up for success and long-run profitability.