Callahan’s Corner: Routing Crews for Route Density

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Welcome back to Callahan’s Corner where you ask the questions we answer them live here on Facebook. Had a question submitted in the Service Autopilot Facebook users group… how to go out and create route density? This gentleman owns a lawn care company, but this will be applicable for pretty much any service business that does routing he is midseason and he’s adding a secondary mowing crew and he wants to know how can he go out and not injure or effect the route density on the first crew but allow both crews to have route densities. I’m gonna answer that question and as you’re looking at this, this will actually apply to the beginning of the season. This is something that most of our businesses we work with in the south and southwest don’t deal with a lot because traditionally they run 12 months a year and so if you have a major spike of sales in the spring this is applicable for that south or southwest market but then in addition if you’re in the northern market where I’m at upstate New York we traditionally go dormant for three to four months in the winter we don’t actually go out and service those come those businesses or residential homes so that has forced us to create a process to go out and create route density when we go out and route. I’m gonna show you some best practices in one of our test accounts here and give you an idea of how we tackled it in my business. What I’m gonna do is as usual drop the screen here and lower this out but if you have any comments or questions drop them below here in the live or recorded version I’m happy to answer them. The idea here is were in Service Autopilot so the first thing I want to look at is if you already have the existing routes or you’re going new into the season as you probably want to take so we’ve got 163 jobs in this test account here and what I would do is probably go into the grouping selection and take all of those jobs that you’re looking at and then once you click and we’ve got them I would go in and assign it to a needs to be scheduled account here. What we’re going to do is check it to mowing scheduled to be scheduled and hit update and this would be permanent in this test account I don’t want to screw the data up too much as I’m manipulating it here this may take a few minutes just because there is a lot of data points here but what that is going to do is take all of those jobs and then send them to that one 2020 lawn-mowing needs to be routed you can kind of see as the screens updating here the blues are all turning to yellow so it’s gonna be all on one main and crew. What we’re gonna do is take all of our accounts and bucket them together on one screen and then what I would recommend is going in and routing those two routes so Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday possibly Friday if you are going five days a week. What you’d want to do in my opinion is route truck 1 and truck 2 here so they start from the farthest part apart and they go together. Traditionally Callahan’s this is what we did because if we were all the way out on the east side of town and our shop was on the westside of town we wanted them to be able to help each other if there was a breakdown and it was an issue and then in addition to that once I clear this out so let’s go into this area right here and fictitiously let’s just say we’re gonna be out in this area of town today or actually let’s go over here we’ve got more pins that kind of break this down but we’re gonna split this area up in half so maybe truck number one is going to grab this area here and when you click that in you double click it’s going to close that gap and what it does is it actually updates in the upper left-hand corner here that we had budgeted hours of 18 hours 27 jobs in gross revenue of $900 so if I go into marker display and I break this down to show all markers it will have all the markers so maybe my goal is to have a 20-hour day so let’s grab a couple more here so now we’re up to budgeted hours of 28 with a two-man crew that’s probably going to be too much so it’s going to give us the ability to kind of play the game here to get that so let’s just say this was 20 and we had about a thousand dollars worth of revenue that was our goal for that revenue so total man hours and revenue goal we would go in and then assign it to well go in and say this is gonna be lawn mowing crew number six and we would make it permanent and you want to make sure that we’ve unchecked all and we’re just assigning it to the mowing crew say number six and then we hit update so now we have that route dedicated to the first crew and then the other crew we could go in and do the same process here. When you have those two chunks now you’d want to go in and optimize to start from the outside and go in now there’s two reasons like Isaid if we have a breakdown it’s great they can help each other out if one’s running behind the other main thing is if you have rain delay and maybe your shop isn’t over here where ours was but it’s it’s all the way over here we wouldn’t want to drive all the way back to this area so we could take what’s left of two routes if we got rained out midday and have one crew as the crews are working in work that one consolidated area right here so we’re minimizing the drive type so two crews don’t have to have all the extra nine available drive time one crew can go out and handle that area and then minimize the drive time and the other crew can stay close to the shop. Traditionally Callahan’s what we did is we took the farthest away areas from the shop and worked our way back to the shop all the way through Thursday we went from Monday to Thursday four 10s and then Friday and Saturday were rain delays if we needed them but that allowed us to really optimize and catch up for any rain delays or holidays and we went in. First idea is you want to go in chunk all the areas out and use the group selection for budgeted hours and total revenue and then once you have them each day for two crews together you want to route them so they run into each other so if there’s issues that can help each other and if there’s a rain delay that both crews don’t have to drive all the way to the other side of the town or city if that’s the issue going on. The next step as you’re doing this here you want to pay attention to how many budgeted hours and total revenue foreach crew it makes your your scheduling appropriately because if you set a budget to a certain amount of dollars or man-hours per crew and you’re not paying attention that can erode your bottom-line profits immediately and in addition so like let’s just say our fertilization and weed control crew with Callahan’s was between about twelve to thirteen hundred dollars a day for a one-man technician and that was our revenue point with budgeted hours and we had tied to it for routing as we pulled them off the waiting list. The next thing you want to do is make sure your teams are set up so like we said we’ve got the 2020 Mow Scheduled list so this is if this gentleman’s watching this video I would take all of your lawn mowing accounts and put them all and group them in there with no emotion and then chuck them out geographically so they run into each other and on those crews we want to go down so if we went in to say mow crew number six we are gonna go in and make sure ,I’m just gonna hit some of the highspots that you want to do so you want obviously the description, the team code, the map color icon, the starting address that’s important because when you go to use the route optimization if there isn’t the starting address to that truck it’s not going to be able to fully optimize it so that’s why it’s very important to have that in there and then team assignments we’d go in and add our two resources our two employees and the days of the week they can work so if they couldn’t work on a Sunday we wouldn’t put Sunday on there but otherwise we leave it open all seven days selected because they would then be available to be routed on those jobs so those are the foundational parts of that in addition you want to have your employees set up with payroll and job costing tab taken care of. Now next thing is if we go in and now we’ve seen some kind of gaps in inefficiency as far as density we want to go in and go into the CRM client screen and what’s going to this test account I’ve got all of the clients in here and these are all the pins that we were servicing so what I would do is zoom in and let’s just say we’ve got a gap here and it’s not as dense in this area so I want to build some route density in this residential neighborhood because we’re pretty dense in here right here it looks like we could probably use some help so we’re going to dial into that this area here and I’m going to go to satellite and once you go in there and now you can really see okay yeah we’re pretty dense over here but we need some density over here that’s gonna affect us or maybe we’ve got some stuff all around this area but we don’t have anything in this block here. What you could do is go into the sparsely populated neighborhoods and just continue to dial in and this is actually probably a good example here so we’ve got one home over here but nothing else in this whole area so what I’m going to do is go in and right-click on the houses in this neighborhood so we’ve got one in there but we don’t have that many so as we click those pins down on the left here it’s building a marketing list so I recommend is your admin if they’re slow they can do this if not we used to hire college kids to come in part-time during break and we would take this list and build out custom field so we’d go in and measure the turf square footage of these properties and then through some automations and some processes we used inside the business we could send out automated pricing for these properties with property specific pricing with upsell opportunities. The idea is when you dial in now you’re creating a marketing list so now I’ve got ten homes around the one that I’ve already got and we’re just going to keep selecting and this is how we had upwards of 10,000 homes in our database to continue to do this you just go in and keep dropping those pins. Jonathan Pototschnik of the Lawn Care Millionaire always talks about nine around so we’ve every time we got a new account before we used a product like Send Jim we’ve manually go in and create nine or twelve arounds basicallyof all the properties around it to build density or in this example if we only had one home in the neighborhood that blue pin we’d go in and tag all fifty or sixty of these homes and start sending property specific mailings. In addition depending what part of the country are based on the question that you submitted how do I build more route density or not effect the dents they’re having thatmain crew is what we did is and it probably didn’t make our competition a happy but we would actually go in and drive around all the neighborhood’s we were in or the neighborhoods that we were around here in what we would do is literally drive down the street as we drove down the street we could tell based on the striping in the grass here of the lawn we were cutting because I knew that’s commuter so it looks like there’s another one over here we would write down all the service addresses in a notebook and then once again in the winter season we would go in and create qualified database and physically mailout hard copy contracts or proposals to all the people and on the envelope it would say lawn mowing customer. Two different ways of tackling it I recommend both but the idea here is at first you want to go to your dispatch board and select put all your mowing accounts on one account or one map break them up and then assign days to the route them together for overlap for breakdowns and weather delays to minimize non-billable drive time when you do that you want to set up a a team for let’s say 2020 mow schedule list so that’s the mowing that needs to be scheduled and we take that large bucket and pull it off assign it and optimize and save it to recur weekly or bi-weekly and then our main mowing teams we want to make sure we have a starting addressin team assignments and the final thing is we go into CRM clients and we grab all of our clients there and we go in and actually create a property specific lead list so we have one client we’re gonna grab all the other homes we’re gonna measure them and through some automations and other processes we’ll lsend property specific pricing to all the other homes in this specific neighborhood and as we dial back out it’s really easy to see where are we really dense and where are we needing to add some density in between routes so that’s how I would tackle it hopefully that makes sense. First thing is to take all your accounts put them on one basically bucket account and then we want to go in and chunk them out route them together set up your teams with assignments and starting points then we go into our CRM client list just like we are here we go in and drop the pins where we need to build density we do property specific pricing based on the leadless that we are creating, those are the secrets that we had success in Callahan’s Lawn Care as well as going in and using a product called Send Jim to do those automated nine arounds to build and do this automatically so every time a new client popped in it would grab the nine surrounding homes and automatically fire off a series of postcards to build that route density. Comments or questions drop them now in the recorded or live version. Callahan’s Corner you ask the questions we answer in live right here on Facebook

Automation Tagging Systems

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Hey Mike Callahan here, had a question submitted around creating automations in your service business, whether it’s lawn care or home cleaning pest control doesn’t matter, the question was around how do we go out and create tags and what is the best practice to actually go out and create tags to create an automated system and there’s a two-part approach that really needs to be taken in my opinion. After working with probably four or five hundred different businesses as well as my business that we automated completely there definitely is a best practice and a wrong practice of tags. I’m gonna pull out the screen here and actually break it down for you but it’s pretty interesting that a lot of times when people get into automations that they don’t understand the naming convention and the methodology for creating tags in a successful fully automated service business. I’m gonna take the screen here and pop this up and show you what i’m talking about here. The first thing is automation tagging system so Simple Growth uses a naming convention here and the first thing we’re gonna look at is a category so that’s on the top of the screen here we’re looking at five different categories so their status, history, profile, to do or to do’s, and system tags. A status tag for easy sorting and searching in the system so they are all grouped together so all our statuses are 01.Status, history is 02.History, profile is .03, to do .04 and systems are 05. so that’s where they’re going to group together and sort nicely for you in the list of tags that you have. A status is where somebody is at in your actual campaigns, i’m going to break down some examples of this but this could be a new lead needs an estimate that could be their status. History is just going to basically be where they’ve been in the automation, so we’re just going to continually add those history tags that’s going to be our audit trail where they’ve been where a status tag we are going to go in and either take them on and take them off as they go so status could be a new lead needs an estimate and then once they get an estimate new lead has an estimate that needs to be closed. The status continually updates so we subtract and add statuses as we move through the campaign, history gives us an audit trail we don’t remove those we just continue to add those on, profile is going to keep track of the data not stored in a custom field so if you have custom fields in a process or platform like Service Autopilot your profile tags probably are going to be not really prevalent but if it’s something you’re not storing in a custom field the profile is going to tell you something about the profile of the customer. The fourth one is the to-do so these all the things that a person in your office would have to do or a field manager so we’re going to track the different todo’s and sort them down with an 04 to do tag. Now the 05 system basically tells your automation what to do or Service Autopilot if you’re using it. Easy analogy for this is the system tags will basically tell the automations when to start and stop and actually do something so these are the categories and then i’m gonna suggest breaking out five different types of campaigns that you’re building so they are going to be 10.Marketing, 20.Sales, 30.Fulfillment, 40.Finance and 50.Internal i like to say slash HR. Some examples is that our marketing campaign could be 10.Marketing upsell aeration overseed or 10.Marketing deep clean up sell for a cleaning industry. 20.Sales is an actual sales process so that would be like our 20 days to close. Fulfillment if something has actually been sold. 30.Fulfillment a certain job needs to be done, 40.Finance would be something around overdue invoices or some financial transactions so a lot of our overdue invoices have the naming convention that start with 40.Overdue invoices. Then the last one is 50.Internal/HR so when you go into start automating your employees we would use the 50.Internal campaign name so what what happens now is you’ve got all your campaigns and all your marketing campaigns now are grouped together because they’re 10, all the sales are 20, 30 are fulfillment, 40 are finance and 50 are internal hr. This is going to give you the ability to easily search and filter through each campaign name and then a category of where they’re at the automated. These are the basics that we’ve learned in my business in the last eight or nine years and like i said automating well over 300 companies now in lawn care and home cleaning and pest control. An example if you want to go out and build your own automations is how would you actually use the naming convention and put this into best practice so i’m going to see if i can bump the screen out here but what we’re doing is we’re taking our status so that is going to be where someone is at in your campaigns 01 status and this is where we’re going to start with that and so that’s the category. Then space hyphen space or space dash space 20. so it’s a sales campaign sales estimate to close so we need to close that sales estimate we’re following up on it and 01 is going to be the status now of where the person is that leader client new prospect needs first follow-up phone call. Now we can go in and filter down to the status, the campaign whether it’s marketing, sales, fulfillment, finance or internal and then we can see where the person is actually at in the campaign itself so this is really important in my opinion to really dial this in because it gives you the control to go in and check your automations if certain people are in certain areas of your automation and you want to add or subtract something into it or if there’s ever an update on your automation platform where you need to pull people out insert them back into an area this will allow you that granularity to see exactly the category the campaign name and then the tag detail of where they’re at the actual automation itself. This is a methodology that we use Simple Growth here so we want to break down our categories feel free to borrow these categories are going to be broken into five naming conventions for 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 that’s important for sorting and then our campaigns naming conventions be 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 any more than these five categories and five campaign naming conventions will get really will get really wonky quick so i recommend no more than five categories and five campaign types and everything we’ve seen in the last eight or nine years falls really nicely within these so investing well over 150 000 in figuring out how to do this and make it successful we wanted to lift the hood up a little bit and share this with you for a road map to category and campaign naming success in your tagging system in whatever you’re using automate your business. Comments or questions drop them below here but i thought it was important to answer the question that was submitted regarding automations and tagging and what was the purpose and how would you tackle it. Callahan’s Corner, you ask the questions we answer them live right here on Facebook.

Callahan’s Corner: Firing Bad Customers

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Mike Callahan here with Callahan’s Corner, where you ask the questions we answer live here on Facebook. Questions submitted last week was how to actually go out and fire a bad client so welcome back to Callahan’s Corner had a question submitted last week how to go out and fire a bad customer. Callahan’s Corner where you ask the questions we answer them live here on Facebook so if you have any questions feel free to set them in on the live or recorded version and I’m happy to answer your questions. The questions submitted really was how to go out and fire a bad client so in order to fire a bad client in my opinion what we did in my business that Callahan’s Lawn Care was in our actual lawn care I want to say contractor agreement in the actual estimate document we went out and built a area air of Terms of Service and this Terms Of Service was built for the consumer and the business and what it did is it spelled out a cancellation period. So the cancellation period spelled out it was a two week written notice by either parties the company or the customer to cancel and obviously if the customer called and wanted to cancel for legitimate reason we would let them out immediately but the idea is that we made it a two-way agreement we took the risk out of it for the consumer but it also gave us an out and the out that it gave us if we eventually worked with a client that was a bad fit we had the ability to politely let them go and not injure the relationship as far as getting destroyed on social media or review. There really is two reasons why we did this so the first reason is the obvious of the question being asked if they’re not a good fit and they’re just they’re crazy which some clients are how do we get rid of them so we built it into the contract agreement two week written notice and we can let them go so traditionally we do is we would give them a written notice and then give them a call and within and let them know he unfortunately you know we need to part ways and we were pretty honest about it but you know obviously politically correct but we would also give them a reference of several other contractors that we would recommend inservice area so we didn’t just cancel them and leave them high and dry. The second part of this where I think is a little bit interesting as well is that when we would set that up in the lawn care estimate or contract that it was a two-week written notice for either party to cancel the agreement this allowed us to go out just right pretty much after this video here on the next few weeks we traditionally did the week of July 4th that following week we ran a job costing report and that job costing report would allow us to go in there not emotionally and actually list all several hundred lawn mowing customers and say on average if our goal is fifty five dollars per man-hour are we hitting that goal and if we weren’t hitting that goal the report that we used would actually kick out property specific pricing so if your goal is fifty five bucks an hour you need to raise the price per cut say two dollars and seven cents whatever it was but it was to the penny and it was based on us using our mobiles in the field clocking in and clocking out of the job so based on the historical data on that yard it would tell us what we needed to charge so what we would do is send a written agreement not a cancellation agreement but written contractual agreement that we needed to raise our price X amount of dollars per cut and this is the reason being because we’ve been tracking the time and we’re not hitting our goals and the property is under price but that gave us an out to raise the price and still would fit within the confines of that contract so it wasn’t exactly asked at the Callahan’s Corner question of how do you get rid of a bad customer I recommend putting that in your estimate and contract agreement sending it in writing and then give them a call and give them some different contractors they can contact so that’s if you’re firing them but in addition to that you also want to have some verbiage in there to cover you so you can raise your prices midseason when all the other contractors are too busy to return phone calls and do estimates so if you did underpriced a job or maybe they added fifteen trees in the front yard and your crew didn’t tell you about it and obviously the job was priced for no trees so you’ve doubled or tripled the amount of weed-whacking engine blowing we can account for that so these are the things that I would recommend that we did on our business throughout the years to learn from things we weren’t lucky enough to get right. In your estimate and your contract if you have one contracts are hit and miss there are some pros and cons if you can get away with it in your market I like agreement there is non contractual that runs 12 months a year that auto renews but in the estimate document and agreement you want that clearly spelled out it’s a two-way cancellation with a two-week notice is what we found is the the appropriate time to make that work and that allows you to raise your price mid season or mid rolling contract as well. Comments questions drop them below but that’s how we tackled getting rid of bad customers we literally just had the verbiage in our estimate or contract and mailed that out soon the two-week notice with competitors that we would suggest that they shop to and unfortunately just wasn’t a good fit and we couldn’t meet their needs and if we couldn’t meet exceed their service needs we wanted to basically help them out and provide them with contractors that hopefully could we were able to do that legally through the actual contract agreement that we put together in our estimate and when we wanted to raise our prices we had that ability as well so comments questions drop them below Callahan’s Corner- you ask the questions we answer them live right here on Facebook

4 Tips For Automating Your Business

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Mike Callahan here, back again with Callahan’s Corner had a question submitted this week and gentlemen wanted to know in his service business when is it a good time to automate his business and do I have any tips or tricks to actually go out and automate your service business? So little background on myself I want to automated my service business almost probably eight or nine years ago and I’m gonna share some of the tips and tricks that we learned along the way of actually knowing when it’s ready to actually automate your business how to go in and track the different procedures to make sure it’s good ROI (return on investment) and how to get your team to actually buy into automation since the biggest push back or knee-jerk reaction we find with team members or business owners is that when we go to automate a business we people think we’re replacing them with a piece of software and that’s definitely not what we’re doing. If you have any comments or questions on the live or recorded version here feel free to ask. As we go here on the step number one is to basically embrace technology what is it the right time to automate and if you’re looking at your service business you want to know is it the right time to automate my service business the first thing I say is most service businesses wait entirely too long to adapt new technology. If your business is feeling the weight of daily tasks slowing you down it’s time to automate invest some money in a software that will help you automate these tasks and buy back time and money in the long run by automating all those tasks. Step number two is is it the right time to automate far is your business tip number two is going to be to track the time so use time tracking on all your daily routines. I would suggest going in and go in and have your team use like a Google sheet and track the time you’re spending on tasks that could be automated and once you go in and go from top to bottom what are the the major time things that are sucking timeout so is it accounts overdue is that getting invoice is out is it upselling is it quality control is it communicating when your team’s are gonna be at a property or they’ve left or property all these things can be automated and reduce the human input to get the people on your team to do higher level ROI things. So tip number two is track the time and see what tasks you perform regularly and where you can go in and do that and productivity or how will improve your service business so take a look at after you’ve tracked the time how will that increase productivity or save time and these two steps are gonna help you create a clearer non-emotional priority list of what things to automate first if you choose to automate. Step number three is going in and reducing the number of processes or procedures in your service business. The first thing we want to look at is can we reduce the number of marketing procedures, logistics, sales and customer service process so those four were the big ones marketing, logistics, sales, and customer serviceI would probably actually add a fifth here as I’m thinking about it accounts receivable but those may be customer service processes as well. Use a limited time frame but  maybe a month two weeks to a month to review all the processing systems in your business and work from the top down for the most important processes to the least important and this process is gonna help you go in and hopefully eliminate some of the processes that aren’t actually needed in your business there’s repetition or maybe they’ve been in place since day one and you haven’t actually looked at them and then the ones that are still left we’re going to optimize the process of procedure to create bottom-line results and start to buy that time back. The fourth and final step of automating your business is include your team so most businesses will go off-site or the business owner will kind of come off the grid and literally go in after everything is built and go into their team and say hey this is a new automation and this is what we’re doing you need to start doing it tomorrow. I your team is not bought in from the start in my opinion your new automations are basically doomed from the start so you want to show your team how these actions will work and how they’ll improve everyone’s life and performance at work and then explain how basically we’re not going out to replace the people but we’re actually putting the people in your organization on higher level functions so they can have a higher level return on investment and hopefully maybe expand their scope of work and potentially their pay so the idea is not to replace people it’s to empower people and avoid having do the tedious and monotonous tasks. One study we did with some Facebook estimator bots that we’re doing that with the Facebook automated AI (artificial intelligence) and the sink into a CRM such a Service Autopilot we were able to basically get back close to 18 weeks of time and when that was basically is these sales people doing all the double-entry and working the system now the automation qualified and primed the lead and put the most important leads in front of them in a systematic way and buying time back. I don’t know about you but if I could get an extra 18 to 20 weeks of production out of my sales team that’s a big bottom-line improvement and now your sales team isn’t bogged down in the minutia in the monotonous task but they’re just doing the high level value so if they’re on commission that’s something you want to communicate with them that this is going to make you more successful put more money in your pocket and bring your team on and the automation in place implementation step by step so like I said literally from day one as soon as possible involve your key team in the step by step implementation in automation decisions that you’re building in your business. Those are the four steps that I would recommend when automating a business embrace the technology, make sure the time’s right to automate. Next thing is if it is the right time track the time in each area of the business that you do routinely and go in and see where the biggest return on investment happened from top to bottom . We want to reduce the number of processes and then streamline the remaining ones. Then the fourth one is include your team get buy-in from day one and those are the four main key points to automating a service business with success from day one. Comments or questions drop them below, Callahans’s Corner-  you asked the questions we answer live right here on Facebook

SimpleGrowth’s Video

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Hey Mike Callahan here I want to make a quick video today about building accountability and reporting in your service business. As we’re growing and scaling our second seven-figure business here i’m starting to think about some of the things we’re putting into place this week and dialing in in my business and I started to looking at accountability and reporting and where i’m going with this is yes a lot of the processes are automated but they still require a human touch and reporting. So if the automation does everything which it normally does people tend to forget to do that follow-up and follow up if something isn’t happening that the automation may have not been able to follow through on. A couple examples of how this would playout I recommend creating a ownership of one person umor each person in the team managing three or four of these responsibilities so probably three’s the magic number but an example is that we are looking at getting a credit card on file a lot of service businesses require a credit card on file to have the service done so in order to get the service done you need to have a credit card on file so now the automation automatically goes out each and every time that we sign up a new person to get that credit card on file. Once that credit card is on file the continued process of scheduling and maybe in design build going out and ordering materials. What i’m recommending is someone in your business either the owner or manager is going to be responsible for two to three people to basically daily report into them so what that person may do is if i am in the office is i’m gonna be looking at credit card received every time we have a new client the schedule was then booked with the credit card on file and if there’s any materials that need to be ordered that’s taken care of so those would be my big three that i would report out to on a daily basis. Dillan on our team is managing an onboarding process of automations that we’re refining in . A lot of the stuff is completely automated but in order to make sure things don’t slip through the cracks Christine and Kevin on the Simple Growth team now are going through and sweeping through a project management board that we have a lot of it’s automated but we still want a physical person to double check and if it doesn’t happen the automated alerts that person that didn’t happen and now we’re holding a physical person accountable to make sure those things happen. The things you may want to look at for accounting reporting is a daily meeting cadence and look at the things that are the biggest pain points that you need so automated process to get a credit card on file someone dials in to make sure that happens once the credit card on file a automation or to-do basically a task in your CRM should tell somebody to schedule that job and then we may have a deadline if that each job needs to be on the schedule or waiting list within 24 hours if that doesn’t happen it physically pulls a person in and that person’s reporting out to their manager that it has happened so we’ve got a checks and balances with the automation. Then the third one may be maybe going out and ordering materials for like a design build job or another while i’m sitting here just thinking about it would be an accounts receivable process so maybe you have an automation like we’ve built in Simple Growth where it goes out and does several warnings and then finally pauses of the service is that physical act of pausing the service happening someone should be reporting on that daily and then when account becomes in good standing again we reschedule that job is there an additional fee for getting the property back into place if a certain time has elapsed? Then the final thing is worst case scenario if they go past a certain point the automation is actually going to trigger a process and system to send the people out to collections so that would be a daily reporting out is there anybody we had to send to collections and was that process take care of? Automations are great but i highly recommend building a weekly cadence or daily cadence meeting where your people on your team that are responsible for certain things to happen report to a manager or owner on a daily basis to make sure what should happen always happen without the business owner having to go in and micromanage it and then that manager if you have someone between you and the ownership group is running those meetings then that’s maybe a once a week meeting to see where we’re at on those key KPI those key performance indicators that the team is going out and doing that. I want to say a big shout out what’s up to Keith, Dillan on the Simple Growth team, Shane , Jim Morrison, Tim – Jim and Tim, boys i’m coming out to your cities respectively sooner or later I think we both need to catch up for a few drinks i haven’t seen you guys in awhile so hopefully all is well. I’m looking at accounting and reporting, assign three things to each team member and have them report out to a manager owner daily so they have ownership. One of the things i learned at Callahan’s is when i kind of took ownership of the reporting and when we got to those daily meetings and weekly meetings some of the team members weren’t exactly prepared the way they should be by forcing them to actually present the numbers to you in a quick five to ten minute meeting whether it’s in person or virtual we call it a virtual 10-minute standing meeting they are going to have ownership and they know when they come to that meeting they’re going to be on the hook to actually report that out. I want to say what’s up to Mike Robinson too long time no see brother hope all is well. So once again Callahan’s Corner – you ask the questions we answer them here live on Facebook. See you again tomorrow with different practices and tips to run your service business and go out and dominate your competition

Mikes Broadcast

Callahan’s Corner: communicating when your team will be at a job and have completed the job.

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Hey Mike Callahan here at Callahan’s Corner-  where you ask the questions we answer him here live on Facebook. One of the questions submitted earlier this week was how to communicate the time that your crews are going to be showing up at a property so this is appropriate for lawn care, home cleaning or any service business and in that matter. The question kind of spawned off of how to actually charge people when you’re going to skip the job and the question was basically what happens if my crews are delayed for weather delay or maybe a no call no show employee and obviously we’ve all had that happen. The idea of the question is how do we go out and seamlessly communicate with our clients to give them accurate information about what’s going on without bogging down our office and having them make fifteen, twenty, thirty phone calls per crew. What I’m recommending doing if you’re using a platform like Service Autopilot or another automation platform that ties into automations is creating a process that we call here be there been there it’s a tongue-twister be there been there and what it does is the automation creates an automatic trigger so when those jobs are dispatched or despatched back with delay they will update and send a text message or email to your crews. The idea is with the click of two or three buttons in the office we can live update our customers that our crews are going to be there before hand and then if you’re using a mobile device in a product such as Service Autopilot we can automatically trigger an email or text that the crews are leaving the home. Pretty interesting I’ve actually been able to see this as a consumer so the home cleaning company that we hired to use and clean our home uses our automations on Service Autopilot and it’s very interesting I get a text when Margaret is coming to the house to clean so I know that she’s on her way that day so it’s a reminder traditionally the day before to leave the key there or any information we need to leave for her and when she’s done after she clocks out of the mobile device I actually get a text message let me know that the cleaning company has actually left the house and locked the door so really interesting to see it on the consumers end and I will tell you as consumer I really love the feature because that reminds me that they’re coming so you got to do a little pre cleaning up at the house where the actual cleaner comes and then after they leave you know that they’ve actually left the premises. The idea is how do we communicate scheduling to the consumer very quickly and update them for things like rain delay or maybe a no call no show employee. Well I recommend going out and getting the free be there been there automation from Simple Growth on the marketplace if you are an existing Simple Growth client so if you’re an existing Simple Growth client we’ve got this automation that we give you for free and it alerts your clients before and after the service just like I’m talking about just like my home cleaning company does for me so be there been there that’s gonna be the optionI would recommend and if you’re building your own automations just make sure you build some logic into that automation to get and handle all the things that may and will probably happen along the way but the idea is we want to send a text or email up before the crews are out there and afterwards once they clock out of the job and the mobile device it fires off that automated text or email. To answer the question is how do we go out and notify our clients if when we’re coming out when the job’s done or inclement delays with weather employees I recommend making an automation just like be there been there and if your Simple Growth client just drop us a message and we’ll get that installed in your setup free of charge for you quick as possible thanks a lot Callahan’s Corner where you ask questions we answer live here in facebook

Skipped services by your client and how to handle it.

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Hey Mike Callahan here, I want to make a quick video, had a question submitted about something we always deal with in the summer season as we ramp up in the heat just like today definitely rays, how to handle skip services so it’s particularly in a lawn care question but definitely think this would warrant discussion around home cleaning as well. The question was how to handle skip services so predominantly you’ve got a 28 or 30 week contract and the contract is to guarantee your spot on the schedule for weekly lawn mowing, it’s gonna include your weed whacking, your mowing, edging and blowing off of the surfaces. What I would recommend doing is writing in a contract even if it’s not a contract per se signed, it’s an agreement it’s a term of service and what we did at Callahan’s Lawn Care is we clearly define the obligation of us not over booking our schedule providing quality service. It was what was in it for the consumer and then after that we actually went in and talked about a 50% charge for skipping a scheduled service throughout the contract or seasonal term of lawn mowing so what we did is the client had to give us at least a minimum of 24 hour advance notice and if we didn’t show up we would charge 50% of the visit. What this did is it allowed us to cover our fixed costs and some of our variable cost and the way we tackled this for the consumers it was upfront any estimate so there was no shock factor this was in there plain as day in bold letter that there is a skip charge of 50% and if it’s less than 24 hours it’s the full charge. What we did is we left the decision in consumers hands because a lot of times the consumer would assume that we would skip the lawn and originally in the early days in the lawn care company we did but sometimes we made the wrong choice skipping it because maybe they were having a graduation party or birthday party we had no idea that they didn’t want it skipped and they would call back aggravated if we skipped it so kind of damned if you do damned if you don’t . So what we did is we gave the skipping ability to the consumer we outlined it in the contract and they had to call 24 hours in advance to skip the service and if they did would be a 50% charge in the what was init for the consumer and this was the important part as we twisted that is that it reserved a spot on the schedule and we didn’t over booked our schedules. By charging 50 percent for skipped service it reserved their spot and allowed us not to overbook our schedules because it covered our fixed costs such as insurance and office and overhead and it also allowed it enough time every time whether it was in spring summer or fall to do a quality job. You can’t go out there in my opinion and just say we’re gonna charge you fifty percent for no reason just because you skip but if you flip the switch a little bit in talk to the consumer why it’s important that you don’t over book your schedule and how you’re giving them a slot that’s served at that point that 50% charge is going to actually benefit the consumer so up to 24 hours 50% charge less than 24 hours full charge and highly recommend spelling this out clears day in your estimate to be upfront and honest about it and when you do that you have the ability to cover some of those fixed cost., just like the 90-plus degree day here up in upstate New York a lot of the lawn care companies are starting to get skipped mowings. What I recommend is if you haven’t do it institute a skip policy 50% charge at least for any skip mowings up to 24 hours if it’s less than 24 hours it’s a full skip and the benefits the consumer is it you continue to provide a quality product that’s not rushed and you don’t overbook your schedules and if you didn’t provide the 50% charge you would have to overbook your schedules by probably 10 to 15% to cover the skipped lawn mowing that could potentially happen. Comments or questions drop below but that’s traditionally how we handled it in my business. I want to say what’s up to Chase Coats, Tim, Colleen, BJ and I can’t see the rest of the people on here live right now with the sun rippin right now. Conversations around skip services and charging for him 50% with 24 advance notice and 100% less than 24 hours and the benefits of the consumer that you’re charging them that is it saves their spot in schedule we’re not gonna rush through the work and we don’t over booked our scheduling. Probably gonna be a lot more around this in the upcoming weeks here with the heat that we’re seeing at least in the Northeast and some of the southern states but don’t be afraid to do it that’s a benefit to the consumer because mostly your fly-by-night competitors do not charge that we were the first person in your city to actually institute that rule and I would tell you within about 12 to 24 months 99% of our competitors that were running legitimate businesses adopted the practice so it was not just us but it was everybody in the community that started doing it as well. Comments or questions drop them below hopefully that was helpful. Callahan’s Corner – you ask the questions we answer them here live on Facebook.

Call scripts and workflow.

Video Information:

Hey Mike Callahan here, want to make a quick video about creating call scripts and workflow in your office and what we’ve seen a lot of very successful service companies is that the business owner or the management team takes the time to actually create a flowchart with different call scripts to standardize their marketing communication process. A real basic example of this success workflow is creating the ability to see if we have let’s just say someone comes from a facebook messenger bot and as they came in from your facebook messenger bot no matter lawn care or home cleaning pest control whatever the service is there’s certain information that we hopefully have gained on the facebook messenger bot. So we’ve got their name obviously now hopefully we’re gonna get their phone number but depending how far they get into that marketing funnel we may not have a phone number but we’re gonna be looking at it the way we’ve dialed that out is a hot lead with a phone number a hot lead with a phone in an email or a hot lead with just the connection in a product like many chats so we can have a messenger conversation one-on-one not automated but through a workflow and some of it up the first 24 hours can be automated . The idea here is if we have a hot lead coming in with a phone email and obviously messenger those are different conversations so the first thing we would probably suggest is if they came in through Facebook Messenger and we have their phone number somebody’s gonna reach out in the first 24 hours to make a phone call now you’ve kind of got a decision dimond there if they picked up the phone this would happen if they didn’t pick up the phone this would happen so let’s say best-case scenario we’ve got their phone number we make a call they pick up we are trying to book a estimate or a sales call and through that process if we actually do submit an estimate there’s an automated follow-up but what if we get him on the phone and they were just kind of shopping the bot and they aren’t as hot as we thought and maybe they’re not a good fit so we need to have a sequence that goes through they’re not a good fit for maybe a long-term nurture or maybe they’re interested but just not ready to commit and shop you there at that point. You’ve got four or five different things that can happen just off that lead has a phone number now what if we called and left the voicemail so what I’m gonna recommend is another flow below that is an automated email that’s triggered after you leave the voicemail into email subject line is something simple as we just I just left your voicemail with a follow-up saying hey we’d be interested to get you that estimate I left you the voicemail and this is how Ican be contacted and maybe if you’re a service business that provides on-site estimates it’s linked to an on-site or online calendar such as calendarly or appointment core. The idea is we really want to have different scripts because the conversation I’m gonna have a live phone call is gonna be significantly different than the call script that I’m leaving on a voicemail so the the purpose of today’s video is really dial out all the different ways that you could be communicating with a lead and I think that it should be a hot lead warm lead or cold lead so our cold dead is just probably that somebody’s not ready to buy right now maybe it’s not a good fit yet so we’re gonna throw them into a 12-month long-term nurture via email or messenger or whatever communication channel you are Bob and then you’re warm and hot leads those are more qualified leads so obviously if we have a phone number we want to reach out but if we don’t have a phone number we have messenger an email hopefully so we’re gonna have kind of the same decision diamond how do we handle the communication via email how long does it go is it two or three emails over two days each and then if they engage to request an estimate they go to the top option and if they don’t engage we kick them down into that long-term nurture so we educate them and hopefully to reciprocity when they’re ready to buy they reach back out to us. Whole idea is we want to create a workflow out of flowchart something like lucid chart for Google drawing and then after you build that out you build a systematic automated process around that and after you build out each email and call script you write out the call script and standardized and trained to those call scripts so we can standardize that marketing process whether it’s the business owner or someone in the office or someone halfway around the world as a virtual assistant. First thing you want to do though is define whether they’re warm hot or cold and then what contact information do we have so do we have a cell phone do we have an email if we have none of those in the example like Facebook Message do we have a contact on messenger and then think about all the different ways we would communicate that it’s appropriate for that time in the customer lifecycle based on them being pre-qualified hot warm and cold and then dial in the conversation of what if we do have a phone number they don’t answer how do we continue this conversation offline via text or email so hopefully that video is helpful but a lot of people want to know now that I’ve got some folks in Facebook Messenger how do I actually go out and prime the pipeline in that sales funnel for appropriate communication in your service business as well

Mindset for growth in your business.

Hey Mike Callahan here I want to make a quick video talk about mindset of business growth and some of the lessons I’ve learned in building my second seven-figure business and going out to build that second figure business to break a million and beyond. The first go out it was obviously in the lawn care landscape snow removal industry and in that service business started at freshman year in high school worked through college and didn’t really know how to go out and scale a business and basically it was just hard work and determination day in and day out knocking doors grinding and grinding some more to build and scale that business pretty quickly. Then once we figured out that sales machine how to grow the business became a massive second challenge to kind of that glass ceiling of growth and what that glass ceiling of growth really encompassed was the owner’s mindset or the leadership mindset mainly the owner’s mindset being myself and the problem there is I was ready to delegate or at least I thought I was but in order to delegate you really need to emotionally detach yourself from the things you’re doing on a daily basis. The fact that the business owner traditionally thinks that they’re the only one that actually can go out and sell and grow the sales is a crazy idea but honestly is all business owners we think no one can sell better than usand in order to grow and scale the business with our sales machine that the business owner needs to be out there selling. It took several years after college to realize that I was not the best person to sell the lawn care I may have been the figurehead but there was those folks in our organization could sell just as good as me if not better and to put that in perspective so Simple Growth are our business where our mission is really to help entrepreneurs or basically service business owners take their life back from their business that’s kind of been my mission with Simple Growth. Very similar as we scaled Simple Growth that the mindset shifted and I forgot about the conscious decision I made at Callahan’s Lawn Care that I was not the only one that could sell and I wasn’t the probably the best salesperson nor did I have a good return on investment but I knew that at Simple Growth originally that our overhead didn’t really allow for us to have a full-time salesperson outside of myself so many of the folks are probably watching this video live or recorded probably talked to me in the earlier days or even in the last up to last five or six months on the sales calls um and that was pretty predominant. Now Dillan and Kevin on our team have stepped up and I’ve realized that you know Dillan and Kevin are just as qualified if not more qualified to talk the sales process and where Dillan, very similar to myself in Simple Growth, brings expertise is he’s lived the trenches for fifteen to twenty years in the service industry those wounds are still fresh and we can relate to what’s going on and make sure it’s a good fit . It just didn’t have to be me and I had to step back from it and say wait a minute if we’re going to break that seven-figure mark again in a secondary business and continue to grow in scale past seven figures and provide good customer service I’ve needed to step back and allow Dillan to run that sales machine at Simple Growth. That wasn’t enough and that’s where my biggest mistake at Callahan’s Lawn Care happened originally when I went to go delegate it I thought I had put process and systems in place but I really didn’t I walked through it I talked with with the salespeople how to do it but it took several years to figure that out it really didn’t drive home where their sales basically lapped in overshadowed mine which I was good with but the only way that happened was for me to actually create a standardized process of messaging and qualifying and that’s what I think we’ve done this really good in the second seventh figure business that. We’ve built here is that we’ve created a sales process that’s standardized it qualifies to make sure the clients a good fit and if they are a good fit it’s the same exact process day in and day out. Now obviously the salesperson should have put their own spin on it and there’s room for them to make it personal and their own but to the core of it the sales process and really the qualifying process is standardized now this doesn’t matter the service business whether it’s Simple Growth, lawn care, or home cleaning but the first thing that I’ve realized is a I’ve got accept that I am NOT the only person that could sell I’m probably not the best fit to sell I need to create a standardized process that can be trained especially after COVID now we built everything in a online learning hub with videos and testing and for reinforcement of that training. Now that we standardized that process the second biggest mistake I made at Callahan’s Lawn Care was there wasn’t an accountability factor out the gate ora support factor so what we do is very similar to the big three so basically we have three metrics that we track the driver monthly and quarterly goals and driving to our yearly goals but those metrics are tracked daily for accountability and we have a weekly meeting so I meet with my sales team and a few other individuals on Monday but the sales team has an individual call with me it’s a standing virtual 10 to 15-minute call or in person after COVID or before COVID but basically we’ve got those three metrics we talk about how many people have come in the pipeline how many are qualified how many we’ve committed to that are actually potentially become a sale within the next say 30 days or the end of the month and some other factors but we’ve called in the top three there and we don’t only look at it for basically the week were in or the week that had just happened before but we look at it that week the week before that and then three weeks so now we have a historical trend of how many leads are coming in how many leads are turning into prospects they’re qualified and then how many sales are closed and what is that lifetime value so CAC to LTV is cost of acquired customer to lifetime value. These are things we’re tracking metrics to make sure that the sales team knows where they’re at and where they’re going and then management as myself can go in and support them and give them the tools they need. Now in addition to that the salespeople kind of pick in where those leads come into that sales funnel so one of the other meetings I have on Fridays at I believe 2 or 3 p.m. but it’s a recurring meeting and I think actually it’s 2 o’clock every Friday is with my marketing team not necessarily the sales team now they do communicate because that’s important but my marketing team is talking about all the different ways we’re advertising and going out organically and paid across the different social medias such as Facebook advertising. So not only do we have to have those conversations with our sales team but we also have to make sure that funnel is full with qualified contacts for that sales team to do their job. As you grow and scale that business to that seven-figure markand beyond some of the mistakes I made the early years is I didn’t create a process so the business owner after you get to a certain point whether it’s 750 to a million in sales maybe a little before or a little after that but the idea is the CEO the business owner the only way in my opinion that you’re to grow and scale that business is become the visionary the strategic force so you’re setting the vision you’re studying the strategy and you’re setting metrics in place with team buy-in to track those things such as your yearly, quarterly and weekly goals driving into that BHAG that big hairy audacious goal so that’s your 10 to 15 year goal and that is been instrumental in scaling Simple Growth significantly quicker that’s seven-figure mark the Callahan’s Lawn Care which took quite a while on through college and beyond. The idea is that when we have the CEO pulling out of the field and jumping in when needed to support the team we can set the vision we can set this strategy and then have meetings on a recurring weekly basis or daily basis with the key stakeholders to reinforce where we’re going and continue to push relevance. The first thing that this video is about is do you have the mindset to pull yourself out of that and have you built the structure to allow that to happen and not only be built the structure but have any of you set a recurring support mechanism to grow and scale the business of seven figures and beyond and we can dive into more detail in later videos. Those are the things that in my opinion are going to scale the business successfully whether in a million or beyond a million five million those things need to happen and then that five to seven million mark now we’re taking that strategic vision and strategy of the leader as the CEO and we need to distill that through the other managers and leaders and continue to replicate that throughout the larger organization. Main thing in the video today is make sure your mindset is right you are going to be the single point of failure and scaling your business if you think that you have to do all the jobs in the business and you think that you’re going to be the best at them because the truth is and the ugly truth that business owners are gonna have their strengths and weaknesses and traditionally we can find somebody as good if not better than us and then we can bring our real value to scale the business and have a good work-life balance as just a strategic leader and build that vision and strategy and scale the business. Comments or questions drop below I want to say it’s up to Jake and Dustin both crushing it out there in the lawn care world what’s up guys