To the Point: The Year-End Push and Cybersecurity Are October’s Hot Topics


The Pointman Team
October 31, 2019
minutes to read

This month, the skilled trade labor shortage caught the attention of Entrepreneur magazine, which explored how societal perceptions of the trades have changed over the years, along with what some home services franchises are doing to turn that perception around.

Amen to that. This is an effort plumbing, HVAC and electrical businesses of any size need to help address collectively, in order to boost our workforce and get the people we need to grow and prosper. 

But several other topics were on the minds of industry writers this month. Cybersecurity Awareness Month highlights the need to vet the vendors we work with, the “convenience factor” makes its way into home services as a competitive differentiator, and online reputation continues to be a concern for all in our industry.

Here’s a sampling of content our team found particularly impactful this month.

Business Strategy

“Finish Your Year Stronger Than You Started” (ACCA Now)
Learn how you can use the final months of the year to increase customer loyalty, repurchases and referrals.

“So You Wanna Start a Business, Eh?” (HVAC School Podcast)
In this podcast “for techs, by techs,” hear some valuable business-launching tips from one who’s walked that road.

Customer Service

“Angry, Irrational, and Empowered: Navigating Customer Service in the Internet Age” (Pumper)
Explore a hard-learned lesson on how the impression your business makes in passing becomes part of your brand story.

“You’ll Lose Customers. It Hurts. But Don’t Let Them Become Angry Ex-Customers” (SaaS Brief)
Reality check: You can’t fight the inevitable, but if you’re not careful, a few angry customers can become an avalanche.

Extra Points

“HVACR Industry Competitors Unite” (LinkedIn)
Learn how nearly 100 companies will gather in March to improve education for the HVACR techs of the future.

“2019 National Apprentice Contest Winners Announced” (PHCC)
Plumbing and HVAC apprentices from across the country got a chance to shine on the national stage in this PHCC competition.

“Rooftop Manufacturers Are Ready for 2023 Efficiency Standards” (The ACHR NEWS)
New designs for commercial heating and cooling rooftop units (RTUs) meet the Department of Energy’s efficiency mandate.

Human Resources

“7 Steps to Increase Productivity” (Contractor)
From team management to choosing the right supervisors, here you’ll find tips to help your small or medium-sized business be more efficient with limited resources.

“The Power of Influence in the Workplace: 4 Key Takeaways From the WHVACR Conference” (Pointman)
Anyone can help drive better design, culture, leadership and customer interaction at their company. Here’s how.

Sales and Marketing

“Convenience Will Deliver Sales and Loyalty” (Electrical Trends)
What can you learn from the convenience revolution in the consumer market? Quite a bit — and it could help you gain an edge over your competitors.

“HVAC Contractors Remove Pricing from the Sales Equation” (The ACHR NEWS)
Explore four innovative concepts to create a notably different customer experience — and increase ticket sales and customer loyalty.

Software Matters

“Visibility, Tracking, Control and Efficiency: This Is Pointman 9.7” (Pointman)
Learn how our latest release significantly expands contractors’ capabilities to manage, track and report on employee work time.

“Don’t Let Your Supply Chain Undermine Your Security” (Security Boulevard)
Think you’re not in danger? Think again. As Cybersecurity Awareness Month draws to a close, learn best practices to vet the security of any software your company uses. 

Curious about how this industry news will impact your business? Our Success Coaches can help.

Meet Pointman’s Success Coaches

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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