It’s summer, 95 degrees outside, all your technicians have been booked with back-to-back jobs for three weeks straight, they’re booked out for the next two weeks already.
What do you do when another call comes in?
Be Prepared. Make sure your scheduling, pricing strategy, and compensation strategy are set in place for overtime and after hour work.
Have your ABCs in order to make your on-call and after hour techs work at peak efficiency for your company.
- Availability - It’s important to know when your techs can work, this includes during work hours, and after hours. If a call comes in and your “on-call” technician(s) are already dispatched, you’ll know which technician might be able to pick up another job. Use your calendar software to schedule recurring events like “Mike has bowling every Thursday” so you never interrupt him, or waste time on the phone.
- Back Ups - Of course, you will always have your primary on-call technician who gets the calls that come during their shift. However, sometimes there might be two calls that come in, or there might be a traffic event that would make his commute to the job practically impossible. That’s when the back-up comes in. Having a primary “on-call” technician and at least TWO other techs who are expecting calls will make your after-hour calls much simpler. You want to have 3 technicians on call, because you don’t want to miss any of those opportunities that come in after hours. You don’t want to miss out on the premium rates, after hour dispatch rate, & outstanding customer service.
- Company Van - When a technician is on call for the night, have them bring home a company truck. The tech will save time when they don’t have to drive to the office before heading to the job, and you never want your techs arriving in unmarked vehicles.
It costs more for you to stay operating after hours, so you will have to charge more to your customers to make this business decision sustainable. Knowing how you’ll price consistently can be decided before the busy season even begins.
- After Hour Dispatch Fee - This should be a flat rate that is applied to any job that happens outside of your regular hours. (Using a flat rate here helps with any flat-fee commission you offer, but we’ll get into that later.)
- After Hour Premium Rate - The premium rate you charge should be determined using basic supply/demand principles. If it is the middle of summer and you get a call for an A/C repair, you will charge more than if that call came at the end of fall. The urgency involved with the call should dictate the increased rate.
- Pricing Wiggle Room - Each employee who might end up working on these jobs need to know if the prices given are flexible. Maybe you will allow the Dispatch fee to be $100 instead of $150 if it will help the job get booked. This helps close more deals, and gives good-faith relationships (especially with returning customers).
Everyone who helped make a job happen deserves to be rewarded for their hard work. You can have these benefits to help excite and motivate your team when they are working extra hours.
- Technicians - We know you’re already paying these technicians an overtime rate, and their regular commission rate, but with these after-hour jobs, an extra $50 goes a long way. Make sure to always show appreciation to the technician, we need them! Even if the job was a “no-show” or canceled after they were dispatched, we believe they should still get their compensation because they showed the dedication and initiative.
- Dispatchers - Whomever took the call should also get a kick-back! Without the dispatcher, the jobs couldn’t get completed. We recommend a $20 bonus for every completed job is a great way to say “thank you”. Now in this situation, if the job isn’t completed (canceled, or no show) the dispatcher wouldn’t get the bonus.
- ASAP - Instant Gratification. Getting cash into the hand of your tech and dispatcher the next day makes the pride and excitement so much more real! So give it out ASAP.
- If You Want the Work, Answer the Phone - This might be a no-brainer, but if you don’t pick up that customer will have called 6 other places before you call them back in an hour.
- Experience Matters, Customers Notice - It might be nice to let your veteran technicians never pick up the late shifts, but you need jobs completed well and quickly when they are after hours. If you have to send a second technician on a different day, you’ve lost the revenue.