Create More Valuable Club Memberships


Deb Spearing
VP of Human Resources
April 14, 2018
minutes to read

Get to the Point

  1. Re-define The Memberships - Sometimes it’s too hard for your customers to engage with your memberships because they’re too confusing, or there are too many options. Giving your options a thorough review and revision session can help make your memberships better for your customer.
  2. Simplify Payments - This is to make it easier for you… Only offer one payment system. You’ll keep better notes, and there will be less confusion with the customer and office staff.
  3. Clarify Service - Let them know what they get with their membership, or with each tier of their membership.

A couple of weeks back I talked about how to properly charge for a service fee. This week I want to use a lot of the same principles but this time talk about the ever-important maintenance club memberships most contractors offer.

When I discuss pricing with customers we eventually touch on their maintenance agreement memberships, or club memberships for short. Typically I work with customers to ensure their templates and pricing are correct in their back office system so that technicians can sell them properly out in the field. When doing so, I usually take a look at the different types of memberships they have and run down a handful of questions with them to make sure they are getting the best value, without over-complicating a good thing.

1. How Many Different Memberships Do You Offer?

First off, How many different memberships do you offer? This one can sometimes open a can of worms. For example, if your different club membership offerings start to look like an Olympic podium, than you may consider pairing it down a bit. “We have a gold, a silver, a bronze, a platinum,  a diamond,  a ruby, etc, etc…” Basically, if it takes you a good 5 minutes to explain to me the different offerings, How long is it taking your team to explain to the customer?  Is the message of customized service coming across? Or just confusion?

Consider taking these and making a basic and a premier plan. This way you can market to the value seeking customer as well as the one that wants the high-end service, without muddying the waters in between.  You get the valuable annual visit(s) and the customer gets their piece of mind.

2. How Do You Bill Customers For These Memberships?

Secondly, How do you bill customers for these memberships?  Monthly? Prepaid? Quarterly? You would be surprised by the answers I sometimes get.  For your team’s sanity, consider one price. Then use that price as the prepaid number, and divide by 12 if you want to offer a monthly rate.   Also, if you plan to offer a multiyear rate, just multiply the prepaid number by the number of years. Doing both of these will allow you to use the same agreement template or plan and set the dates and not have to manage a separate one for each. One systematic billing - Trust me, your office staff will thank you.

3. What Kind Of Service Do You Offer Your Club Members?

Thirdly, What kind of service do you offer your club members? Meaning, do you have separate plans for HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical?  Similar to the different levels of service, too many different service coverage options could be confusing, especially if you start including add-ons, like humidifiers and IAQ options.

I always say to keep them as separate plans, one for HVAC, one for plumbing, one for electrical, and so on. This way when you sell them you can add that plan to the customer and keep the one billing setup and manage just those plan types.

If you offer a HVAC plan, a HVAC and plumbing plan, a HVAC, plumbing and electrical plan, and a plumbing and electrical plan, and so on, it gets to become way too much to manage, especially if you have add-ons and extras.

4.  What Do These Plans Cover?

The last question I always ask, What do these plans cover? Maintenance only or do you give a discount on service? If you’re not discounting service at all you may want to run some numbers and consider it.  Now I am not telling you to give the farm away but a 10% or 15% discount can go along way to get more customers to sign up for the plan, and thus, more maintenance visits to perform during the slower shoulder season.

In conclusion, when setting up your maintenance membership plans there are a few things you’ll want to consider to make them the most effective. Make sure you have a couple of offerings to fit the needs of each customer, but not too many as to not confuse the homeowner or your team. Also, Set up individual templates for different sides of your business, this way managing them in the office becomes a lot easier.  

Look at Pricing

The start of the year is a great time to look at pricing. Usually, you have an idea of how your company fared the year prior, and you want to ensure you will continue to grow in the months to come. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with respect to spending or saving in our personal lives, and it’s no different for business owners. Making sure your pricing is in line with where it should be is one of the strongest ways to start the year the right way.

Part of looking at your price book is finding where the issues are, and that can take time. An HVAC company in January is going to be very busy, so it’s a difficult time for a close look. However, a plumbing company might not be as busy. Whenever you tackle this job, your best bet is to look at what your labor rates are. Start there, and let it trickle down across the board. Ask yourself, “Are my labor rates helping my business stay profitable?”

Remember, there are many different services out there and many different groups or communities that you can engage. Never hesitate to say, “Hey, I’m a business owner in Florida. What should my labor rates be?” You can build your price from there. There are also some great billable hour calculators available.

Set Goals

There is no better time of year for looking inward than January. Set your personal goals and company goals for the following 12 months. If you can break those down into departmental goals, even better! Perhaps that means a CSR booking closing rates a little better, or a truck doing 250,000 a year rather than 200,000.

Many companies have found that using an Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) goal-setting system pays off. Looking for a guidebook when it comes to OKRs? Check out Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr. 

One key question is the best way to handle setting goals: Is it smarter for business owners to handle this solo, together with staff, or to delegate completely? 

The best approach is to set goals at the department level. As an owner, you need to take the time to understand what the goals are in each department, and make sure they are in line with your goals for the company. No one likes to set unattainable goals for themselves, so make sure you push your departments to set goals that are lofty, rather than simple ones to feel good about hitting. Entrust your staff to aim higher, and watch how they respond.

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