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Callahan’s Corner: Forms and ninja level implementation.

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Callahan’s Corner: Good Data and making BIG profits through accountability.

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Welcome back to la Callahan’s corner here where you ask the questions I answer live on Facebook. What we’re gonna do in here is diving into some questions that were just asked about data: how do we track it and how do we actually go out and raise our prices to our new clients each and every year. One of the biggest mistakes that I feel is happening in the service industry, whether it’s lawn care, home cleaning or pest control is we’ve all got in the bad habit (myself included back in the day) where we would literally go out and say at the end of the year we’re going to raise our prices by three percent or we’re gonna change it by five dollars a mowing whatever that is but it’s a fixed amount that you would spread as an increase across all your clients where this is really really dangerous is you are potentially jeopardizing your most profitable clients and getting them to shop your services. Over the next eight to ten minute I’m gonna answer your questions; how database hygiene good data in your system in tracking things on a daily basis can drive good envy your results with a non-emotional price increase. Comments and questions drop them live here, if you’re watching live and if you can hear me just to check the audio, give me a thumbs up theat the audio is good here. As we’re diving into the first thing we want to look out here is on my screen I’m gonna dial it down but basically we’ve got some fictitious accounts here and normally there is the client’s name here in the column but I’ve shrunk this down just you can see everything on the same screen but all these different stops here are in this example lawn mowing fertilizing. The idea is I just want to give you an idea of what the data looks like and what we’re looking for so no matter your CRM ( I want to say what’s up- Matthew brother watch out this weekend we got some snow coming for you here so looks like a doozy) so anyways we’ve got everything here in Service Autopilot but no matter your CRM your customer relationship management software even if you’re using pen and paper or Excel this is what we did and you’ve built into Service Autopilot. The ideais we’ve got the guys and girls out in the field and they’re gonna be clocking in and out so team clocked in between 8:07 to 8:26 this one here with 7:44 to 8:06 but the idea is this is called your close-out-day-screen, so before you dispatch your jobs at a bare minimum you want to price and a budgeted time for accountability for your team members with the quality and strength, now once you have that now they’re in the field plugging this in so if you’re using the mobiles and Service Autopilot the start and stop time to automatically show up times vary here when I click into it is actually going to show you the multiple team members here as well and if the time various if somebody clocked in earlier or later than the other ones it would be shown here but that’s okay we want to just click in there and make sure those start and stop times make sense. The ideology is it’s a sanity check the start and stop time makes sense they’re not in like a minute so the is the biggest problem we see when most companies use Mobile’s no matter the CRM the team will get to the job they’ll do the job look it done like oh we forgot to clock in so the clock in and clock out immediately and that gives you bad data it looks like you made $1,000 an hour.So the first workflow training that we recommend that we use with Callahan’s someone in the office at the end of the day or the beginning of the next day before the crews get in need to go in it just a quick visual representation start and stop times make sense there is infact a start and stop time we have budgeted hours for each job and the number of men or ladies on the crew now in Service Autopilot if you go into columns and you go into variants and total or actual hours I’m sorry it’s gonna add some additional columns so now we can go in and see ok the variance if it’s a negative is under budget and if it’s a positive or over budget and if it’s two people it multiplies the actual total time spent on property so these are the main things you need to be looking at in my opinion on there and the reason why it’s important to do at the end of the day or right at the beginning day is if something was screwed up we can go to the crew and adjust it while it’s still fresh in the memory and dialback to GPS while it’s fresh in the system. Start and end times it makes sense budgeted time a price and we want to pull out the actual and variance column you would not believe in this test account here we’ve got one that’s at zero dollars an hour for zero price so that obviously is concerning and if you’re using a installment billing in Service Autopilot or any other CRM under the usually you can tie that service underneath the contract and if the system is set up right it will not double billed but if you don’t have a budget at time it cost that particular service that falls underneath say $8,000 and monthly installment program you don’t have any good data or really have no data at all going in to be taken care of so what we recommend is in this process now that we have the closeout day screen here in good shape we’ve got good data what we’re doing is we’re going down and taking the budgeted hours of five point nine six hours and this fictitious add up would be there I’m gonna take that number and drive that into this sheet that we call our daily KPI plus accountability and then we have job costing. I’m going to show you how you handle this on a daily weekly basis then I’m gonna hop open the next tab show you how you actually raise your prices with no motion to the penny. Fictitiously if this number down here total budget hours in the normal day instead of five point nine six was actually twenty hours we plug the twenty hours in here and what happens here we go in and scroll across and we put the start and stop time and include the total hours the launch and the crew members names and the number of people what the sheep does is it grabs the total gross hour subtracts your lunch and gives you the total work hours for payroll hours and then it says okay we work 19 hours of payroll and we gave them 20 we’re one hour under budget now that gives you complete transparency and accountability to what’s going on as you scroll to the right each one of our crews are in here so the idea is it’s forcing some in the office to manually check this four to three minutes a day per crew this can be automated but when it’s automated we forget about it and obviously if you’ve ever watched them atvideos I’m a big performative automations this is one process I do notrecommend automating this is very important because what’s gonna happen is that closeout day screen here in service autopilot is a lie point that someone can physically touch it even you touch it in your system because when we hit midnight at 12:01 whether you bill daily weekly or monthly this information automatically creates your invoices and it goes into your report center for payroll production rates and job costing which you would raise your prices are low your crisis on so this is important extremely important good data in good get out spend two or three minutes of crew per day and I’m going to show you how you can create count ability in your business really quick with this to drive big big bottom drive line profits. As you can see this 105 here is you can see my cursor is if we are under budget the number is higher than a hundred percentnot that our field staff is stupid atleast my team was extremely intelligentbut a lot of times it was hard for themto conceptualize the actual vs budget so what we did is we built the formulas if it was higher than hundred percent and we could use the analogy of if you gave a hundred and five percent you kicked button did more than you had toyou’re an hour on your budget if I Manipulated the budget in time to 19hours and it took them 19 hours to do it this percent of budget now when it updates the sheet is gonna be at a hundred percent so if you do your job and you give on percent you hit your budget in line with equality constraint perfect you did a hundred percent if I gave you 18 hours and it took the 19 hours to do it your one hour over budget it 94 percent so I can easily have a conversation you only gave 94% today you didn’t give 100% you needed to do your job with the quality that straight behind it, What we do is take this percentage hopefully hundred percent higher and put it as public accountability on the dry erase board the chalkboard or the TV and the shop and we have public accountability foreach crew as a percentage of budget so whether a budgeted five hours a week or 100 hours a week it’s an apples to apples comparison. Now where we’ve made the mistake is we went out and did not have a quality constraint the beginning so we additionally went out and had our one of our managers go up and do an internal audit of several of the lawns or properties for QC with a plus or minus that would be put behind us and we would have the customer feedback plus or minus so we had production rates that were tied for public accountability with equality constraints this was big and eventually as you scroll to the right you have multiple crews that she adds up the overall budget vs actual for all your crew so you can see I’m a high level if you were budgeted above or below for your work for the week in it’s going to fourth person doing this to feel the pain of the one or two crews that are bleeding you dry and trust me in my experience you’ll have a the majority or team and crews are making you money and doing what they should do but one or two crews are gonna literally just bleed you dry and suck your bottom-line profits the thought that this is not automated it’s gonna force you to feel that pain and have somebody get on the truck to fix the issue so that is the methodology here why we want to make a manual process so we’ve got each crew broken out with a percentage of public accountability the shop quality constraints. To answer the final part of the question is how much do you raise your prices this year or next year across the board the answer is you don’t what you do if you take a job cost and report that takes the data from your dispatch board and if it’s good clean data you export it into an excel sheet or Google sheet like we’ve made and in this example we only have two but you would have all thirty or forty cuts in there you know I recommend doing this job cost report in July and then November we’ve got a good statistical need and in July people aren’t shopping lawn care company so if you end up having to raise their prices most lawn care companies aren’t returning calls and then November December we tackle before renewing for the season but the idea is we’ve got a mowing here for fifty four bucks a cut and we made fifty four dollars and twenty eight cents here per man-hour and sixty dollars and thirty one cents per man-hour on average we made fifty seven dollars and thirty cents per man-hour that number came directly off the data from this screen start and stop times that’s where it’s really important to have this good statistical data coming out and now once we’ve done this here if we tracked our start and stop times with the mobile we have a drive time cost effect from non billable time so we’re tracking that as well and the idea is if our goal is sixty dollars per man-hour and were averaging 57 we are about three dollars or two dollars and 70 cents lower than our actual revenue go so we’re not hitting your goal so if this sheet does without any emotion says you need to raise the price right here two dollars and 56 cents a cut on average to hit your hourly goal of 60 but conversely let’s say our goal for this upcoming season is 55 bucks and we’re already generating 57.30 the sheet says you don’t need to raise your price so very similar to JackWelch and GE we’re only raising say the bottom 10% and actually in this instance we’re only raising the losers that aren’t hitting our financial thresholds we aren’t jeopardizing a mass exodus of your of our client based shopping us we are simply raising the prices to the ones that aren’t hitting the financial threshold or the hour the goal we needin raising them up and if we lose them we can replace them so this is a nonemotional way to raise the prices and only the specific counts that you need to lose raise and it’s a very good wayin my opinion to go in and continue to have profitable accounts because in my opinion that I’ve seen at least in my company I’ve got accounts I’m making 80,90 even $100 an hour if my goal is 50 there’s no reason to ever change that price unless I need to get $100 an hour so I’m double the profit goal there leave them alone only raise the prices on the ones that aren’t hitting your threshold and then the final part here before I finish up here ants any live questions is the lot size so if you’re using something like Service Autopilot or even an excel sheet we should be tracking thelat size the turf square footage or the gross square footage and now we’re gonna have times to mow blow and add your stick edge depending on your part in the country of how long it takes your guys and girls with your equipment and your production to go in and manage a property of 5,000 10,000 whatever that is we have now enough data to average out and figure out what it takes you to produce lawn mowing at those different increments of size with your team and your crew so no longer you have to go on Facebook or read a magazine and see where the industry averages or ask somebody that probably hasn’t no clue how long that should take or what you should turn because every market is different every piece of equipment is going to be different depending on the market and everybody’s overhead is different so I recommend don’t get sucked into the temptation of billing on Facebook and asking what you should charge or how much you should raise your prices do the homework set a foundation and create daily accountability through something like your closeout day screen once you have it drop it into a daily KPI and accountability sheet like this here take the percentage of a hundred explain your team with the hundred means you hit your goal above 100 you beat it and below 100 you give a hundred percent so you didn’t eat your budget goal you’re over it with a with a quality constraint and twice a year you take that data export it out you put your our legal and with no motion you know what you need to raise the price one of the tips that Idid at callaghan’s was I would take this here where the name was and actually black it out so I couldn’t see it and I would just make sure the math and the data was good and I fire that over to Christine or Tammy and not emotionally they’ve raised the prices they had to so if I had only be Mrs Smith that I’m in cotton since high school and she had 20 trees in her back hair that took twice as long we all know watching this videoI probably wouldn’t raise the price if I knew it was old lady Mrs. Smith I’ve taken the I’m taking the emotion out of it and created a standardized business for predictable property their profits with transparency with daily accountability for the crews with quality standard. Comments or Questions drop them below hopefully this was helpful and it answered the questions. Once again Callahan’s corner and coming at you daily you ask questions myself and the Simple Growth team answer them live on Facebook live

Callahan’s Corner: When to invoice, credit card on file, and workflow.

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Welcome back to Callahan’s corner here where we take your submitted question and answer them live on facebook. So questions submitted today, or actually last week, was how to handle your billing going into the next season, how do you recommend doing this for best practice and when you do this as best practice what kind of payment methodology should be in there? So couple things were going to be going over today right off the bat is what I recommend is best practice for setting up your billing for the upcoming season as far as timing and if a credit card on file should be required and if it is how you handle that in addition Im going to hop into Service Autopilot and show you how this all kind of comes down with some quick best practice for workflow and how to run several thousand credit cards if you like to do it or one credit card using the click of three buttons how to email and how to print in  literally minutes. This is a streamline workflow that we use in my business as well as there’s probably thousands of businesses using it as well. First question that most people want to know is when should I bill my customers so I need to give credit where credit is due 100% this is something I did not come up with far as the timing this is something that I learned specifically from Jonathan Pototschnik of the Lawn Care Millionaire co-owner Service Autopilot I was blessed enough to hang out with him in a round-table probably eight or nine years ago and this was an instrumental shift in the way I looked at receivables and billing in my company and I will tell you right off the bat once I get into the methodologies that we use that Jonathan recommended and we’ve tweaked a little bit for our market that when you do you need to commit to it I’ll give you the details of that. Comments or questions drop below in the live version here. Basically what we’re going to do is require a credit card on file now we may grandfather people in that have already been there without a credit card that’s what we did at Callahan’s I will tell you it was more of an issue because we had two different types of billing at that point and once we hit a certain point everybody had to be credit cards a grandfathering your existing client in is a bit of a risk but right now with everybody buying on Amazon and online I really just don’t see it as that big of an issue and I recommend jumping in headfirst with it there’s really not a lot of risk that being said if you’re not going to do that I would make somebody prepay the year in advance with no discount and credit card only that would be the easiest transition in but having people paying by check people like credit card Tammy my office got buried with different workflows and it was cumbersome. The idea is if you follow this methodology which we ended up doing we require everybody to be a customer to have a credit card on file. As far is the billing frequency this is probably the most important part so even if you’re not doing credit card on file this I highly recommend adopting from day one going into the new season and what the methodology would be is everything that we serviced last week in our services business which was a lawn care business was done so everything from last week’s build out that following Tuesday now there’s definitely some reason to this madness so everything it was done last week even if we were done with some rain delays and we had to cut Saturday or Sunday it gave the consumer enough time to communicate with us if there was an issue with the service it allowed us to address and fix it and  if for some reason we weren’t going to charge them full price it gave us enough buffer before we hit their credit card the following Tuesday so that was the the methodology that Jonathan taught us and we adopted and it works so take it for what it is trust me this was revolutionary in our business so A it creative predictable systems when things were built out and B it created a predictable cash flow system and if we were out any money whose only one service it wasn’t a whole month’s worth of service so by billing that Tuesday most credit card processors within two to three business days you’ll have cash in the bank so by the time your payroll process on Friday If that’s the day you did it which we did the money was earning the bank from the previous week’s work that you’re paying the payroll on so you had cash in advance in the bank for the payroll so you were basically collecting the money before you absorb the actual labor expense that labor expense you know can be upwards of 60% of your overall expenses that’s a big nut to crack and finance that so plumbers electricians everybody else in service industry outside of lawn care requires payment time of service or right thereafter we are no different anybody in the cleaning industry that’s watching this 99% of them are going to bill that day after the service or the day of the service lady that cleans my house same exact thing my credit card gets run the following day as she runs it through Service Autopilotso there is a lot a lot of value to this. Quick recap if you’re just joining us is we’re looking at requiring the credit card on file everything we did the previous week we’re billing out the following Tuesday so we can address any service concerns or backup with weather delays and we’ve got money in the bank for payroll. On a very high level there’s several different ways to do this the way we tackle that credit card on file if/when a new client comes in is we actually send an automated email out it acclimate them welcomes to what’s expected with the business and in addition it has a PCI compliant credit form attached to it with a client puts their information in and it’s automatically on the client record. As we go into Service Autopilot Im going to blow the screen down here just so you can kind of see what we’re looking at under accounting this is a test account here I’ve got but under invoices once you have this set up I don’t have anything under open invoices or invoices of print or charge email but it’s the same methodology here under these filter results in this test account so as we’re going in weather I’ve got just a few on the screen or several thousand clients that we’re building out we can filter down by payment method status of different other things here but if these were all our credit card only customers I can go in and select them actions charge cards and hit charge cards and obvious I’m not going to hit it because this is a test account but literally soon as I hit this all my credit card processing is done so if you’re using QuickBooks and you’re physically charging each card that’s a massive time sync literally within minutes I can do this and have money in the bank if I bill it Tuesday for Friday’s payroll. Next thing is if we didn’t go strictly to credit card only we can go in and actions in print timesaver it loads all these PDFs in here and we can hit print so we can get out one or several thousand printed emails in minutes obviously you have to stuff the envelopes and then the next thing is if we go in and we want to email these out we can also have two different methodologies here so if people don’t want to give you their credit card on file which is encrypted and tokenized so you never actually see if you see the expiration date and the last four digits the cool thing is here we’ve got a pre-templated email that will merge in their link to your payment portal if you use it and you can first time in there or every time you can use their username and password to show that so they can log in and pay that information right here and pay their account online so you don’t have to have a credit card on file but you can require a credit card payment on a weekly basis or under insert forms we can go in and out update credit card here and this will automatically merge in a box where they can click on the bottom of it you’d obviously put some verbiage in here but they can click on that PCI compliant credit card for me and enter make payments into the eliminate them having to keep the credit card on file I recommend the credit card on file little three clips running them all but if you have somebody that says you knowI don’t want to give you my credit card number you can filter them out and still have them paid by credit card every week in the same exact fashion for cash flows. Comments or questions drop them below if you’re watching live. In addition to that I want to hop in and just show you a couple other things no matter your CRM I recommend that you probably definitely want to have in there so the the biggest question and concern is when we’re going on to add these credit cards is that somebody in your office could have access to them so no card on file here but if we went in a hit add this is where we can go in and see the information that was on file all we see is the last four digits and the expiration and billing information if we were going to collect the credit card over the phone we hit add credit card once again this is a PCI compliant form it never hits the server Service Autopilot or if you’re looking at another software platform to do this in make sure that it is PCI compliant what’s going to happiness they empty the information it’s tokenized so it’s safe and it never hits the server of Service Autopilot or the CRM and it automatically goes that credit card processors such as clearance there and that would be the process that you would want to drive through his best practice in my opinion. Comments and questions drop below. Quick recap I would recommend billing on a weekly basis everything from the previous week is billed out on a credit card only the following Tuesday credit card on file is required if you’re not going to require the credit card on file giving the ability to pay their bill online with a credit card either a PCI compliant form merged in through email or a link to your payment portal and this will streamline it and best practice it can be learned from Callahan’s is do not goof around making grandfathered in  some people can pay by check some people can pay by cash some people can do this and do this and then everybody news credit card only that’s going to create a workflow issue in your office in confusion so we want to standardize it from the beginning and I will tell you at least in my experience and the companies I’ve worked with you’re not going to lose many customers over this if any and the ones if you do lose any are the ones that are paying you on time or not paying it so it will help qualify your customer base and have good cash flow in the bank for when you may need to run yourpayroll so comments questions you’re on below Callahan’s corner you ask the questions we answer live on Facebook Live weekly.

Callahan’s Corner: NY State Fertilization Contracts

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Callahan’s Corner: Online & on site measurements for estimate success

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Callahan’s Corner: Using video in your emails and estimate documents. [How To]

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Callahan’s Corner: Installment pricing on estimates in Service Autopilot. [How To]

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Don’t assume your future client or client is an expert.

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Hey Mike Callahan here I want to make a quick video today basically the premise of the video it got me thinking that a lot of times we talk to our prospective consumers thinking that they know about our services or either our existing clients. Where this came about is I had an interesting of communication or transaction with my accountant since I’ve had literally since 96 or 97 so obviously his assistant assumed that I knew the ins and outs of some of different tax advantages and things were doing and not to get into the finer details but I was somewhat familiar but there was some intricacies that that I was completely unaware of based on the structure of a business. Long story short an LLC can actually elect to file taxes as an S-corp in your Medicare and some of the other taxes are not taxable or taxed through a distribution through an S-corp which I was aware of but I didn’t realize in LLC could be an entity and elect to basically pay their taxes through that election of the S-corp so I was aware of the benefits and drawbacks of an LLC versus an S-corp but I didn’t realize you can almost marry the two together. The mistake the accountant really made was that they assumed that I knew that that could be done and the correlation here is in our service business whether it’s lawn care, home cleaning, or pest control a lot of times we we assume that our potential consumer knows the benefits of potentially doing a pre-emergent application from weed control early in the season before those weeds germinate and then what a post-emergent is with basically a selective herbicide or in the cleaning industry the other one that hit me right out the bat a few years ago before I started really working in the cleaning industry was that a top to bottom or a deep-clean is the initial clean to get the house ready for the weekly or bi-weekly or monthly maintenance clean but that’s really a different type of clean where you’re using maybe a microfiber on the shade versus a feather duster for maintenance. The post today is is a little bit different it’s kind of taking a look at what you do as your service, boiling it down to the absolute basics where you as the professional think that it’s absolutely obvious and I’m willing to bet the things that you think that are the most obvious are actually probably the most valuable things for your potential consumer or consumer to reinforce through long term education on a monthly or twice a month basis that’s something we tackle in automations where we go out in educate the consumer what they should be doing in their yard at home the month in advance so as you get into maybe the winter season or the lawn care season we’re talking about the proper pruning and techniques for ornamental pruning or if you’re in the southern markets crepe myrtle pruning and it’s just purely education maybe with a softline one line at the bottom that hey we’re here to help if he needs some help with that service. As we’re diving into the new season here whether it’s lawn care home cleaning I think one of the things that really should be top of frame of mind is how can we boil down our services and educate our potential consumer to create a higher perceived value or re-educate our existing client to reinforce the value of the services that were actually selling and providing. Another idea for the new year here is we’re getting in right after the holiday season maybe a fridge clean out our stove clean up we can talk about the proper process in what actually goes into as a professional cleaning service because it was significantly different than your average homeowner going out to do one of those things. Topic today if you have any comments or questions drop them below, but really just want to talk about not making assumptions of what you think your consumer understands, my accountant fell victim to this a few days ago here as we were moving some things around I was well aware of the differences between an LLC and an s-corp but I didn’t realize you could almost marry those two together for some tax advantages as well so comments or questions drop and below, hope everybody’s doing well have a great New Year’s here coming up be safe but want to make a quick video to outline and outline the benefits of not taking assumptions for your potential consumer client and going through education and educating them. I’ll be transparent I was pretty frustrated with my accountant with this and if he or she had basically gone through and educated around this and not made the assumption that I knew these two things could be married up to each other and not have to go out and do the research myself A- I would have been extremely happy as a customer but B- it would have given me a better knowledge of what I was paying for and the expertise they brought to the table, because they are obviously the expert and this was the right move for me and one of my businesses but without being able to understand the basics of it and then some of the higher level stuff how it all work together I had no idea the value they were bringing to the table on why I was hiring them as an expert instead of going out and doing some of the paperwork in my own office and having my office staff take care of this. Comments questions drop below hope everybody is having a great New Year’s Eve here and we’ll see you in 2020.

CBF Live with Debbie Sardone, will I see you there?

Building Route density and dominating neighborhoods!

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