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November, 2018 - Smart Service

What Google Guarantee Means for Your Field Service Business — copy

On November 7th, 2018 by

In the past couple decades, field service businesses have had to adjust to some changes. With the dawn of the internet and the inevitable end of yellow pages, the industry has had to either adapt or get left behind. These shifts are not over yet. Google just released a new vetting system for home service businesses called the Google Guaranteed Program. Right now the program is still in beta, but it looks like something that may become crucial for field service businesses in the future. So, let’s talk about it!

What is Google Guarantee?

The Google Guarantee comes in the form of a simple verified green check mark that presents itself alongside your business name in Google search results. Essentially, the check mark indicates that Google is vouching for your business to consumers, complete with a $2,000 refund paid by Google if customers are not happy with your service.

To earn Google’s backing, your business has to go through an extensive background check, provide license and insurance, and maintain a high customer review rating. Jump through all those hoops and Google rewards you with a solid green pat on the back, distinguishing your business from the competition in those all-important Google search results. When potential customers call your business through the Google ad, Google takes note and charges your business $10-$30 for the lead.

Who will be affected by Google Guarantee?

phone google guarantee

In the past few years, Google Guarantee has spread across the United States. The program began in California as a response to scam artists creating fake businesses through Google Ads. Currently, Google Guarantee is available in 15 states for home service businesses. We’ve compiled a list below to make it easy to find out if the program has reached your city yet. Keep in mind, however, that the list is always expanding. If you’re not sure if it has hit your city yet do a Google search, typing “[Your Industry] in [Your City]”. If verified results show up (complete with those coveted green checkmarks), you’ll know.

Google Verified Google Guaranteed Map Google Guarantee

As of April 25, 2018

With the service now rolling out at a much higher speed, it doesn’t seem like Google will be stopping it any time soon. Eventually, it seems that everybody across the United States (and perhaps further) will be using Google Guarantee. Because the program has been built with consumers in mind (helping them avoid scams and other dangerous situations), your customers’ service-shopping habits will surely be affected.

 

Arizona

Phoenix, AZ

California

Los Angeles, CA

Riverside/San Bernardino, CA

Sacramento, CA

San Diego, CA

San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Stockton, CA

Colorado

Denver, CO

Florida

Miami, FL

Orlando, FL

Tampa, FL

Georgia

Atlanta, GA

 

Illinois

Chicago, IL

Maryland

Baltimore, MD

Massachusetts

Boston, MA

Michigan

Detroit, MI

Minnesota

Minneapolis St. Paul, MN

Montana

St. Louis, MO

Nevada

Las Vegas, NV

New York

New York, NY

 

North Carolina

Charlotte, NC

Ohio

Cincinnati, OH

Oregon

Portland, OR

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Pittsburgh, PA

Texas

Dallas, TX

Houston, TX

San Antonio, TX

Washington

Seattle, WA

Washington, D.C.

How will Google Guarantee change things for your field service business?

You are not likely to see many changes at first as the Google Guaranteed Program starts to roll out across the United States. Right now the majority of your customers are probably returning clients. Only a portion of your new leads come from Google if your marketing efforts are as broad as they should be.

When the program does come round to your city, you may have to shift your marketing budget to include the PPC fees associated with Google Guarantee. Leads from the service can cost around $10-$30,so make sure to adjust your budget if you need to.

You will also have to take greater care concerning customer reviews. While you should already care about your business’ star ratings, now you have even more reason to do so. The Google Guarantee symbol is only given to businesses with high enough ratings to make Google’s $2,000 promise worth it. They’re not going to promise excellent service to customers if you’ve had a long record of 2 star ratings. Start asking customers for reviews in your follow-up email after a job if you need more quality scores, and make sure you continue to provide the high quality service that inspires excellent reviews.

If you are a one man operation and have been using your home address as your business address, you may feel the hit harder than others. It could be worth looking for a storefront as Google will only grant the Google Guarantee to businesses that have one. Google wants to prevent scammers from taking advantage of Google Ads, but this unfortunate side effect can negatively impact your business if you don’t prepare accordingly.

How can you become Google Guaranteed?

Getting that green checkmark by your business name isn’t difficult. Google provides an easy application form and makes the steps clear. The procedure involves signing up for ads on Google Local Services (formerly Google Home Services) if you haven’t already, undergoing a free background check, and verifying your operating licenses and insurance.

Should you be worried about Google Guarantee?

It depends.

How are your reviews? Do you have a storefront? If you answered no to either of these questions you may want to reevaluate your business operations to prepare for Google Guarantee. Changes may need to be made to ride the Google wave. Surf’s up!

Conclusion

When Google makes a change, businesses don’t have much choice but to comply with that change by adjusting their marketing efforts. Take advantage of Google Guarantee by signing up as soon as you are able to. If you do not have a storefront, it may be worth evaluating your assets and determining whether it would be a good investment to acquire an operational address separate from your home address.

Stay on the lookout for Google Guarantee and be prepared for it, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Google can be fickle, so it would not be wise to make it your only marketing focus. Google could scrap the program overnight, so you want to make sure you have new business coming in from a variety of other sources.

Ultimately, when Google makes a change it’s us who have to accomodate it if we want to keep our business growing. However, if taken advantage of, Google Guarantee can mean more business than you’ve ever been used to and maximum profits for your field service business.


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On November 7th, 2018 by

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On November 7th, 2018 by

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4 Ways Chimney Sweep Software Can Boost Offseason Sales — copy

On November 7th, 2018 by

While springtime can offer a relaxing break from the fall and winter chimney sweeping madness, it can be difficult to adjust to the slower business associated with this time of year. Your customers won’t likely use their fireplace again until late fall, so to them, chimney work can be out of sight and out of mind. Without the pressure of looming cold months, your customers will probably focus on spring cleaning instead. Fortunately, chimney sweep software offers a solution that can help you gain visibility during the warmer months, maximize your profits, and generate leads to give your winter sales a run for their money.

1. Scheduling Chimney Sweep Jobs More Efficiently

Spreading out jobs on your schedule is a good way to ensure regular cash flow rather than small bursts of it. Irregular business during the warmer months can be tough for your wallet. It can be difficult to pay your employees and yourself when your business only has moments of spectacular highs and desolate lows.

Scheduling software like Smart Service allows you to look at your schedule as a whole, giving you a chance to better space out your jobs. You can even schedule similar jobs or jobs in close physical proximity to each other on the same day to maximize your efficiency.

2. Email Marketing for Chimney Sweeps

When reaching out to customers and leads, it can be tough to reach the groups you want to target all at once. Putting together an email list by hand is difficult and painstaking. With new clients signing up and lists changing every day, it’s no wonder email marketing efforts for your chimney sweep business always get pushed to the backburner!

The marketing features in Smart Service use your QuickBooks customer information to isolate emails by job type or other user-defined fields. That way you can target specific groups in springtime email campaigns!

Reach out to customers that need repairs. The winter weather probably made it difficult to schedule a few specific repair jobs, but now spring is here! This is the perfect time (with ample sunshine and warmth) to get masonry jobs done.

Springtime discounts can help boost sales in your offseason, but only if your customers know about them! People don’t like to get work done unless they absolutely have to get it done. This is why they typically do it right before the holidays, right when it gets cold. Discounts with a specific deadline provide an incentive to order chimney services earlier, giving customers the same sense of urgency that inspires sales when winter approaches. Letting your customers know about sales through email marketing is an easy and effective way to get the word out. Title the email with something fun like “Chim Chim Chu-hurry! This springtime special on chimney sweeping won’t last long!”

DID YOU KNOW?

You can create user-defined fields through Smart Service. Tags like “considering scheduled maintenance” or “considering masonry work” can help isolate groups of customers or leads for future targeted email marketing campaigns!

3. Optimized Routing Between Chimney Sweep Jobs

A large part of your chimney sweep business expenses go towards gas and mileage to get your team to and from jobs. This cost is inevitable when you run a field service business. However, optimizing your service routes allows your team to save time, preventing you from zigzagging all across town.

Whether it’s cold or warm outside, you should let your schedule work for you. Since cutting down on costs is especially important during the slower months, saving time and money should be prioritized during the offseason.

With Smart Service chimney sweep software, you can make your job routes more efficient in two ways. Use the color-coded schedule to to assign jobs in the same area to a particular day and chimney sweep. Then, take this one step further by creating an optimized driving route through Smart Routes, reducing drive time!

4. Generate Easy Chimney Sweeping Quotes

Offering free quotes is a good way to attract leads and seal deals during the chimney sweep offseason. You might normally charge for estimates when chimney services are in high demand, but foregoing this fee in the offseason can encourage new business on an otherwise slow stretch of schedule. Creating quotes in the office or on the job is easier than ever with Smart Service software for chimney sweeping. The softwareIt even incorporates the tax so that there’s no confusion when the bill comes.

Smart Service integration with QuickBooks also allows for other nifty pricing options. Springtime discounts can easily be incorporated into quotes and invoices without anyone having to individually reprice every single item. Discounts can be messy and cumbersome, but with software you can easily incorporate them in your workflow to give spring the “spring” it needs.

Conclusion

While the chimney sweeping offseason can be difficult for even the most successful of businesses, Smart Service chimney sweeping software offers solutions to help combat the driest of seasons. This software solution can generate leads, maintain a steady flow of business, and save you money, keeping even your offseason going strong.


The Benefits of Using HVAC Software for Inventory Management — copy

On November 7th, 2018 by

When you run an HVAC business, inventory represents an area of everyday concern. In fact, your success can come down to how you manage your inventory and how you utilize the information your inventory management system provides. While you can keep detailed records by hand, using HVAC software for inventory management can increase efficiency, eliminate mistakes, and even provide new marketing opportunities.

Create More Thorough Work Orders

A detailed work order can save you time and money by preparing your technicians for what to anticipate on an upcoming service call. Ordinarily, a dispatcher will create a work order heedless of your company’s actual inventory situation, simply because they don’t have the relevant information handy. With HVAC software like Smart Service, users can see the inventory on hand, as well as the inventory in each service vehicle:

Inventory Screen

HVAC software makes it easy to assign inventory to a job. Smart Service goes a step further, preventing users from assigning a product to a job if you don’t have that product in stock. This lets you rest assured that you go into each job prepared and ready to work. (Remember those back and forth trips you used to make because you forgot a necessary piece of equipment? Yeah, with inventory management software, that’s a thing of the past.) You can even easily adjust pricing so that equipment prices are uniform and billing is completed correctly!

Know What to Order More Of

When supplies of a certain piece of equipment run low, you can receive alerts to remind you to order more of that item. Set individually specified thresholds on your HVAC software so you are never left short-stocked. Smart Service allows you to set restock points for each item in your inventory:

updates smart service

There’s nothing worse than realizing you’re missing just one piece and realizing it’ll take at least a few weeks to get a replacement shipped out to you. Don’t lose customers to scenarios you can avoid!

Don’t Lose Money

When you run a business, you can lose potential profits in a stunning variety of ways. Pricing your HVAC services well is one of the most basic ways you can make sure you’re not missing out on possible cash. If you are priced too low, you could be going all Robin Hood on yourself. So, listen up! Managing inventory through HVAC software allows you to see what you paid for a part in relation to what you charge for it. Each invoice should reflect positive cash flow for your HVAC business.

Because Smart Service gives you a snapshot of where your inventory is stored, you can also avoid making bad purchasing decisions. You might think you’re out of 9V batteries, but an untapped stockpile may just be sitting in a technician’s truck. Your inventory is taxed, and the last thing you want to do is pay more in taxes than you have to due to stagnant inventory. (Sorry, Uncle Sam.) Start cleaning out those old stockpiles!

Understand Customer Behavior for HVAC Sales and Marketing

When managing your HVAC inventory, you can attain good insight into your customers’ behavior. This helps you develop more strategic marketing and sales efforts. When it comes to selling HVAC equipment, your inventory activity can tell you which items and services to sell more of. This helps you decide to push low-selling items or items that have gotten a good response from your customers. You can also use previous purchases to predict future ones and anticipate upcoming trends. You thought ripped jeans were trendy? Ha! Try air filters—now those are cool right now.

You know what else is cool? You can apply inventory management data from Smart Service to various marketing platforms. For example, you can run a report in Smart Service that isolates customers who purchased a particular HVAC unit:

parts hvac smart service

filters marketing hvac smart service

Once you have this list, you can target an email marketing campaign to these customers, asking them to start a maintenance package for their new investment. Targeting campaigns makes them more personal, thereby yielding better results. You can even use trends in inventory supply to create coupons for items in demand.

Keep Track of Your HVAC Equipment

HVAC software with GPS capabilities allows you to manage your inventory even when it’s not at home base. With HVAC businesses, inventory is rarely stored in a warehouse; each truck in your fleet contains a portion of what you have in stock. Even though your inventory is on-the-move, you should still be aware of its whereabouts, along with the whereabouts of your other assets: your techs. If they’re taking one too many breaks on the company dime, HVAC software with GPS functionality can let you know. (Or it could just be that Bob, your lead tech, has a bladder infection and can’t stop taking bathroom breaks. Get it together, Bob. Be better about drinking water.) This Smart Service screen shows the whereabouts of a company’s technicians:

dispatch map smart service

Thanks to the mobile component of the Smart Service HVAC software system, office users know the whereabouts of company assets at all times. This allows for the easy location of misplaced items and an assurance that nothing goes missing right under your nose. While you should trust the work that your technicians do, sometimes even our best workers make mistakes. With Smart Service, you don’t have to worry about that. You can easily see who ordered what product to correct any issues with your inventory.

Conclusion

When running a successful HVAC business, it can be easy to lose track of all your moving parts (literally). HVAC software like Smart Service makes things easier for you by allowing you to manage your inventory digitally. A central hub for inventory and other administrative tasks gives you an easy way to keep your business in a constant state of growth.

If you would like to learn more about managing inventory with HVAC software, call us at 888-518-0818 or schedule a demo today!


Why Brad Manter Uses Smart Service — copy

On November 7th, 2018 by

Ever thought about implementing a field service management software system for your business? When making such a critical decision, it helps to learn from other business owners who have experience doing exactly that. We recently met Smart Service customer Brad Manter at the recent NAID Expo and listened as he recounted some details of his own software experience.

Brad Manter owns Without A Trace Mobile Shredding out of Portland, Maine. Without A Trace runs three shredding trucks, boasts a staff of six people, and has been in business for close to 15 years. For ten of those years, they’ve used Smart Service.

“The thing that really attracted me was the integration with QuickBooks,” Brad recalls. He remembers getting the software going after only a couple of days. “You can get up and running as you go. So, today you put in today’s work, tomorrow you put in tomorrow’s work and it doesn’t take long to get the whole schedule in there.”

Smart Service helped Brad easily digitize his current route-based scheduling practices, but it also helped transform his sales process. “What I’ve learned in this business is that he who goes to see the job first gets the job,” Brad recounts. “If I can convince the customer to let me come out and look at the job… if I can get out there with my iPad and give them a quote right there, I typically will get the job. At least three quarters of the time I do that, we get the job.”

“Because I can give them a quote right there on the spot, they’re kind of done,” Brad continues. “They’re going to move onto the other 18 problems they have on their desk because shredding’s just been taken care of. So it kind of shuts off the shopping piece of it. That’s a big deal.”

Brad isn’t the only business owner to solve a document destruction software search with Smart Service. Check out the success story behind Ryan Heezen’s A to Z Shredding in South Dakota. Or, request a free, personalized demo of Smart Service today.



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