To the Point: Trending Topics, Articles and Updates for Contractors From Around the Web — August 2019


The Pointman Team
August 27, 2019
minutes to read

Whether you are the owner of a residential contracting company, a dispatcher or a technician, you are always looking for ways to grow. This month’s roundup of articles from around the web look at different types of growth — profit, leadership, the industry itself. Reading these tips and tactics can help you find the path to your own growth as an owner or employee.

Here are some recent articles that stood out to our team.

Business Strategy

The Price Is Right … Or Is It? (ACCA Now)
Is your pricing correct? If not, you might not see the profits you need. This article reviews some key areas that are sometimes overlooked.

“Differentiate Your Business By Turning Data Into Dollars” (HVAC Today)
“Data should not be wasted or treated carelessly.” Collecting, storing and protecting data is essential — and can be turned into new dollars. 

Customer Service

“An Improved Sales Pitch Can Also Be a Boon for Customer Service” (Cleaner)
Some companies view sales training in a negative light. However, it’s possible to improve your sales process while still maintaining the authentic relationship you want to have with customers.

“5 Customer Success Tips to Sound Like a Pro on the Phone” (Pointman)
How do you sound on the phone to your customers? These tips will help you sound positive, confident and professional. 

Extra Points

“The Top 5 Highest-Paying States for Electricians: 2018” (EC&M)
New York State takes the top spot in the latest research on average hourly wage and salary rates for electricians — but where did your own state wind up?

“The What and Why of Business Transformation in 2019” (Entrepreneur)
“Business transformation” is a buzzword in business these days. It’s all about changing mindsets and putting people first to affect real change.  

Human Resources

“Women In Field Service: A Female Field Technician's Perspective” (Field Technologies Online)
Field service organizations need to take extra care to think about how to make their company appealing not just for new hires in general but also for women specifically.

“New Advisory Committee to Promote Well-paying Careers in Skilled Trades for Young Canadians” (Prime Minister’s Office)
The prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, recently announced the creation of an advisory committee to promote apprenticeships and skilled trades across Canada.

Sales and Marketing

“Marketing Your Business Today” (Contractor)
The internet and social media has made connecting to your client base easier than ever before. However, it has also never been more dangerous.

“Executive Roundtable: Residential Heating” (HVACR Business)
Top HVACR manufacturing executives share some thoughts on heating season and how contractors can market efficiency solutions to customers. 

Software Matters

“Seven Industry Technologies That Drive HVAC Efficiency” (The NEWS)
From virtual reality to 3D printing, new technologies are breathing new life into the HVAC business.

“Digital Takeover? Nearly Half of Americans Own a Digital Assistant, Survey Finds” (USA Today)
A recent survey found that 48% of respondents in the U.S. owned a digital assistant, and 69% of voice assistant owners used their devices every day.

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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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