Now That You’re Making More, What Do You Do With The Extra Money?
Get to the Point
- Invest in Assets - This is a common way to have your company reinvest in itself. Buying new tools, supplies, trucks, subscriptions, or other “stuff” can be an easy tax write-off and a great way to plan ahead.
- Invest in Growth - Growing the different services you offer would take training or hiring new workers (or both!). If your surplus budget could support a new hire, and new business opportunities, you might want to expand.
- Invest in Efficiency - Buying service software for your team, or investing in a call-center for off hour calls can make calls easier to track and schedule.
The end of the year is coming; as your budgets are being assessed, you might have found some extra money left over! Now, there are some pretty standard ways to use the money like paying down loans, replacing old equipment, buying supplies for next year, or giving out bonuses. In addition to these "housekeeping" efforts, here are some different ideas on how you can use those funds to improve your business.
The next portion of this blog will be set into the goals you have for your company growth. Jump to the section that interests you most: Investing in Assets (And Lowering Your Taxes), Investing in Growth (Increasing New Staff or Services), or Investing in Efficiency (Streamlining to Save Time).
INVESTING IN ASSETS
After talking with your accountant, you no doubt see the tax benefits in buying assets for your company. Make sure you have proper documentation so you can write these business expenses off. You may wonder, "If I have already upgraded as needed, what additional assets do I need?" We have four suggestions for places you can invest.
1. New Truck or New Tools
When you have extra money, you can splurge a little on something that never seemed possible before. You might want to get a truck with added security, or custom retro-fitted for your company's specific needs. You might even consider getting a hybrid truck for your fleet! It sounds crazy, but the savings on gasoline, and the social impact of "going green" could be a great investment for your company.
There are always new innovations in tools or other on-site resources you may want to try out. If you have a surplus, it's a great time to take some risks on new inventions that could help your company.
2. Prepare for Seasonal Workers
In addition to trying out new types of trucks or tools, you could consider having an entire truck ready to go for your company. Have you thought when the busy season comes it would be really nice to have ONE more truck to accommodate your seasonal workers? Have you ever worried that if one of your trucks is in the shop for a few days you'll lose revenue? Having a fully-equipped truck might be a helpful investment. For the rest of the year, you can use this truck as your form of transportation... You're a driving advertisement!
3. Marketing / Branding
You might not see marketing as an asset, but brand identity takes persistence! Hiring an agency for the year, or producing promotional materials are tangible investments to improve your company.
Good marketing should bring in NEW customers as well as make your qualified leads easier to close. It will also keep your business in top of mind.
A high-quality video can raise credibility for your brand, or monthly newsletters can keep your customers engaged. There are so many opportunities in marketing beyond just ordering some more pens with your logo on them.
Speaking of logos... a company rebrand might be in order. These can get very expensive, but making your company more relevant in the current field will give you an edge up on competitors. You can hire an agency to take care of everything from your logo, to letterhead, to website.
4. Pay A Year Out In Subscriptions
Paying up front for any magazine subscriptions, software subscriptions, association memberships, or other monthly fees can actually be cheaper than paying the month-to-month fee. If you don't invest in any literature/magazines you might want to consider subscribing to some publications that are relevant to you and your team!
INVESTING IN GROWTH
This title is a little misleading, you're investing in growth in any way that you decide to pour money back into your company. These suggestions are more about expanding the resources you already have, including your technicians.
1. Conventions & Training
Every year there are conferences and trade shows where experts in your field will speak, and you can collaborate and brainstorm with peers in your field. These events don't only give tactical knowledge to your team, but it also shows you are investing in them, and therefore strengthening their commitment to your company. We attend several shows every year, and highly recommend them. Here are a few we attended, and some we are planning to go to.
If the traveling and taking a few days off from work seems daunting, you can always hire professionals to come in and offer in-house trainings. You can have experts come in and coach your sales techs on different techniques and help sharpen their selling skills. You could also get an expert tradesman from another area to come and give a technical training for on-sight improvement and professionalism. Also, ask your distributor about applying your co-op dollars toward the training.
If your company has been in high demand and ending in the green, it might be time to hire a new person. With another technician, you could be able to add emergency hours, or stay open longer. Getting dedicated skilled technicians, or a full-time marketing person could help your business grow even more in the coming years.
How to Hire
Hiring can be a doozy... We know. There are some techniques to get new techs you might want to consider.
I. Keep Hiring - Firstly, hiring should be continuous. Never stop interviewing. That way, you already have a go-to list when a spot opens or you want to keep upgrading your team.
II. Employ an Agency or Firm to Find you Qualified Candidates - Using an outside group can be the easiest way to find a new employee. It isn't always cheap though, and ultimately, you'll get whomever they find.
III. Offer Incentives For Recommendations - We believe good workers know other good workers. Whether your current techs have friends who trained at the same time as they did, or just know other people in the field, you could offer your current team bonuses or incentives for each qualified candidate they have apply.
IV. Run a Marketing Campaign - Remember those videos and marketing companies we mentioned before? You could ask a marketing company to bring in applicants. You would make sure to put ads in local newspapers and on recruiting websites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Monster, or even Craigslist.
V. Train Them Yourself - This is probably the most labor intensive option. If you hire somebody who isn't qualified as a technician, but put them through an apprenticeship program of some type would get you a qualified worker eventually. This is the biggest risk, but you can hire people as a second set of hands on sites. Then, give them more responsibilities as their time with the company extends.
Another way to expand is to offer a new service. If you were to expand your HVAC company to include refrigeration as a primary sales objective, you would need additional training, but it could make your total job tickets increase, and therefore raising revenue without increasing the number of calls your techs need to go on.
Another way to increase services is to offer Good/Better/Best options for each service you already offer. This sales technique can be reflected in your proposals, and gives the power of decision to the customer. You might ask how you could invest your surplus money into this option, since they are services you know how to do already. Well, firstly you might want to buy a proposal software that would let you easily put these together (We do offer this service in our app, Acquire). Another piece of the puzzle is TIME, you could ask your team to clock some overtime hours to put together cohesive options and proposals. The Good/Better/Best selling technique does help increase sales on the job, to learn more about the selling technique you can check out our blog, [INFOGRAPHIC] WHAT IS GOOD, BETTER, BEST MARKETING AND HOW WILL IT HELP YOUR BUSINESS?
You might also want to employ groups like The New Flat Rate to compose your own standardized pricebook. This can help your company scale, and gives you more consistency in different jobs.
This might seem like in interesting thing to build, but joining professional groups, and aligning with partners can help you succeed. We recommend you check out our Partner Page to see if any of the contractor groups seem like a good fit for your company.
INVESTING IN EFFICIENCY
1. Invest in New Software
The number of different software solutions to help your business can be overwhelming. From accounting, to proposals, to customer management, to dispatching you can basically get an app for any pain point in your business. The first step is to identify a bottleneck in efficiency in your company, or some pain point that makes your business more difficult. Once this problem is identified, if you don't know where to start looking for specific apps, request more information and hear about what we have to offer. Another choice is to explore capterra.com or getapp.com. These free websites can help you compare different software solutions for any need you have.
2. Call Center / Phone Systems
Offering 24/7 support can be a game-changer for your customers. Even if your techs are not on call at all times, having a real person answer the phone can give your customers a sense of confidence in your service. If a call center is the next step for your, team up with contractors from outside your service area. That way you can share scripts and the customer's address drives who gets what (simple!) With a partnership like this you can split the cost of the call-center and have the customer service to rival your competitors.
You can offer scheduling only after a certain time of day to avoid having on-call technicians, then eventually you can hope to have technicians available 24/7.
Another way to upgrade your phone systems would be to download phone tracking technology. This can be integrated into your customer management software. Whomever is answering your phone would be able to identify who is calling and their past history with your company. If this is a new customer, they may have a different approach than if it is somebody who calls every month with another repair.
3. GPS Tracking Software
This might feel a little "big brother"-ey, but it can help make your dispatch much more efficient. If you know where your techs are at all times, you can re-route in the most logical and cost-effective way when there is a cancellation or emergency service requested. These can be installed in your trucks, or in the phones/tablets that your techs are using on-site.
If you are interested in learning more about our different software services, please feel free to call us at 1-800-299-2079, or email firstname.lastname@example.org!