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Disrupt your local market with a new approach to sales

Video Transcription:

Mike Callahan here, wanna make a quick video. Hanging out in Philadelphia getting ready for the ASEA Snow basically educational event with Snow Magazine tomorrow up in the hotel room here I’ve got the TV monitor behind me just going over my slide deck making sure I’m ready to provide 45 to 50 minutes of content before we do the live panel. My question, it just kind of popped in my head as I’m getting ready for this talk in Philadelphia tomorrow is: How are you going to be the industry disrupter in your market? So without giving away the majority of my talk I want to take an example of what we did in our snow removal company as well as a lawn care company but we addressed the good, the bad and the ugly and the questions that our competitors just did not want to address and by doing so in answering them transparently and honest and upfront we gained our potential new consumer’s trust before we ever knew who they were. One of the examples we did this was is, some background in upstate New York and Rochester snow plow contractors have a black eye especially in the residential market and what happened every year it still happens to this year I’m sure it’ll be on the news in a few months, contractors are con artists they come in and take consumers cash money and they skip town, so the ability or the desire to talk about price and contracts and payments in my local market even to this day is something that the local competitors do not want to address and by all means I didn’t want to dress it myself but when we acted and thought a little bit differently and we address this upfront on our website and especially in social media we showed them what was included in the service what wasn’t included and one of the things in our residential contracts that wasn’t included was snow that didn’t fall from the sky so drifts or snow pushed at the end of driveways or snow pushed in the driveway from the sidewalk plow that was not included and our general contract price there was a minimum of 25 dollars to do the work and then if we didn’t have any crews on the road or in that area it was and additional $65 to mobilize that crew and piece of equipment. By addressing the elephant in the room and owning it we became a very transparent company and trustworthy. What I’m gonna suggest is figure out what the perceptions of your industry, whether its lawn care snow plowing home cleaning is and address the negative conceptions and through transparency and honesty and social media and your website and potentially YouTube and LinkedIn, LinkedIn is a great place for commercial property managers and buying people to make buying decisions is let’s address those up front let’s attack the ugly of our industry be upfront and honest and put it in writing in an video and address him just like we did how we said that snow removal for the end of the driveway the sidewalk plow was not included after we’ve already been there it was an additional $25 minimal charge plus an additional $65 mobilization fee and we addressed it upfront unlike our competitors. We also took it to the next level we addressed the con artists in the market taking people’s money and skipping town so to overcome that we were very very upfront and honest how we priced snow removal in what payment methods were accepted so to be like everyone else on the actual local news that was getting arrested and taking people’s money in the residential snow removal we required a signed contract and either a check or credit card so we had record of payment if we didn’t have the combination of both if you paid us we didn’t have a signed contract or you’d a signed contract and you didn’t pay us by November 1st we would literally return your money or the contract and you were not a client. By addressing it up front owning the elephants in the room we were different, we were able to charge a higher price and consumers were okay with us charging for the extra services that most service providers quote unquote said they included but they didn’t and they waited to the consumer was literally stranded in their driveway or parking lot and not so their consumers couldn’t get it out of the parking lots that were plugged up from the snow and then charged them but buying being upfront and honest and owning those concerns of the general market and the con artists that were taking people’s money we gained the trust of our potential consumers before we ever knew who were they were. To be a disruptor like the car maxes and the other players such as Amazon we need to think differently we want to disrupt so the first step is to address the questions and concerns in your market own them document them on your website social media and other social media platforms and I’ll continue to build some more content around that. My challenge to you today is be the Carmack’s of your industry look the way and understand the way consumers are buying and how their habits have changed and they’re looking and becoming educated and they want the risks taken out of the buying equation and if we can do that through changing the way we provide our services and the way we’d go for them even if it’s more than our competitors we will disrupt our local market and have a competitive advantage. Comments with questions drop and blow, I want to say what’s up to Matthew, Luke, Chad and Brad. Getting ready so if you are in the Philly area tomorrow I believe there’s a few seats left for the ASEA snow educational event now I’m gonna be in Chicago next week for Snow Magazine in ASEA again and then the following week at GIE so I know Krista and the team will be down to GA we were gonna be hanging out at the Service Autopilot booth as well there and then about a week and a half after that SA6 we’ve got a free event before SA6 that the Simple Growth team is hosting most the Simple Growth team is flying down to SA6 in Plano Texas this year so it’s a free event we’re gonna show you how to set up SA one day free implementer event and then the following day Chris Volpe and I take the stage at SA6 and it’s gonna be one of the one talks you don’t want a miss, because Chris and I are gonna break down what a fully setup SA instance looks like and then the rest of the conference is breakout workshops so you will have a road map to what conference workshops you want to attend based on Chris and I’s talk when we explore and really lift the hood of what a fully setup SA system looks like and some of the things will probably surprise you what you thought you should have had in certain line items as far as numbers are probably just the opposite. Definitely looking forward to seeing everybody at Philly tomorrow Chicago next week GIE the following week and about a week and a half after that Plano, Texas SA6 and in February gonna be at Lawn and Landscape Magazine’s tech event in Orlando, Florida taking a red-eye right after that and we’ll be in Savannah, Georgia at the QDS (Quality Driven Software) Martha Woodward’s event as well as a one-day full event the day after Martha’s event in Savannah but a little late getting the signup form on there but hopefully I’ll have some time here while I’m on the road to get that up and get some information for Savannah Georgia in February right after the Lawn and Landscape Magazine tech conference coming up in February. Philly tomorrow, Chicago next week right after that following week GIE weekend half later we’re gonna be in Plano and then February Orlando and Savannah, Georgia comments questions drop blow and hope you see you at one of the live events Mike Callahan and the Simple Growth team.

How to overcome the IOS13 update that will send most of your calls to leads and clients directly to voicemail

Video Transcription:

Mike Callahan here, want to make a quick video… a lot of people have been asking about the new iOS 13 updates, basically what it does is it sends marketers and small business owners going to reach out to leads and clients directly to voicemail. I’m gonna change the screen appear so you can actually see what I’m talking about but basically the new setting is they can silence all unknown callers and this is the setting right out of the iOS 13 update. The way to overcome this right now is how to get your leads and clients phone to ring when following up and using Simple Growth automations and Service Autopilot this is possible. Step number 1 is to associate your name with a number using series so most people would assume that you can do this through email but that’s taking into the assumption that people are using the iOS email function in their iPhone so we really don’t want to leave it up to chance, we want to be able to use text messaging so Siri recognizes the name and the phone number you’re calling from and texting from. Step number 2 is we have to have the prospect engage via text and they need a response so it’s a two-step process to get this to happen. As far as notes, texts will work best email us depend on the iOS email app that utilizes AI or artificial intelligence to create the association. The details, you must have your name in the text message so I’ve got a couple examples here of what will work and what will not work not correct grammar here hello comma this is: Mike by the way, it is not going to work and the other one is hey this is: Mike by the way from Simple Growth, the correct way of doing this to get Siri to attach the name is: I just wanted to follow up with the estimate we dropped off period – Mike, this will work on the back end after some testing ask an open-ended question: hey this is Mike comma or period I am with Simple Growth we were planning and servicing your property today period are you still okay with the services on the property today, so we use proper grammar to get the name in there and we’ve opened an open-ended question soliciting them a response once you have both of those we have the name and the information and you can see here Siri found new contact info. Once you have that you know that it works so if you’re testing this out on your own phone this will pop up with all these messages that are deleted out of there, it’s a fresh contact. They must respond and basically what this is gonna do is Apple is forcing you to up your game far as your content mark no longer can we just spam people and have basically non thought out text message we really need to have engaging content that is grammatically correct that will get your name in Siri as well as getting the consumer to respond and you must engage in to a live texting so if you’re using a product like Service Autopilot we are gonna want to use the two-way texting feature under marketing CRM functions positive notice this is going to force you to increase your engagement in go out and have meaningful conversations with your prospects, I believe. One of the things we recommend in 20 days to close is a lot of our clients will send out a day 0 text message and this is basically an hour or so after the estimate is sent literally explaining hey this is Mike from Simple Growth just checking in to see if you received our estimate. So we’ve done proper grammar association and an open-ended question to get them to respond that they’ve received the estimate this to tron approach will allow you then potentially at day one to follow up with a physical phone call from your office or VA like Pink Callers. Comments a questions drop below. I know this is a big big issue right now in a lot of the service businesses so two-part engagement just as far as a quick review is associate your name with the the number you’re using for Siri and have the prospect to engage in the tax we need an open-ended question they respond to main thing is here we need correct grammar so basically it’s either got to be period – your name or a period after your name with an open-ended question those are the two best ways to get min to have Syria recognize the name the phone number and get you into the Siri found new contact information so any comments or questions drop below I know it’s early. Hanging out at the airport here taking off to Philly to give a talk for the ASC a snow show and then gonna be in Chicago next week and then the following week at gie and Louisville Kentucky and about a week and a half after that in Plano Texas for SA6 doing a talk on what a fully set up Service Autopilot looks like so comments or questions drop them below hopefully this is helpful how to tackle the iOS 13 update

Is your business on cruise control this fall? why it will cost you bottom line profits

Client acquisition, marketing for growth, and recurring revenue

Are the hidden ( not accounted for expenses destroying your profits)

Do your employees need structure?

Video transcription:

Hey Mike Callahan, wanted to make a quick video. I just got back yesterday actually from the kids soccer practice and it got me thinking, do our employees need structure similar to the kids in a sporting group? I’m gonna tell you absolutely 110% yes so the example that really made me start to think about how we run our service businesses was actually the kids soccer practice. Kids are young four and five years old and two weeks ago we had a couple of rookie coaches, high school college kids who probably never coach and never actually been in a leadership role no knock on them they didn’t know any better but it was interesting it took out of a group of 12 or maybe 15 kids only one or two kids that literally just didn’t have the attention span in development yet that they needed so it wasn’t really the kids fault but where I’m going with this is the rookie coach didn’t know how to set the guidelines and show what was acceptable and wasn’t acceptable and as the practice progressed things literally went downhill in a fireball there were kids running everywhere no structure no accountability no order. What it got me thinking is in our service businesses if we don’t set the expectations up front and hold people accountable for showing up every day on time calling when they’re not coming in and giving some heads up and giving us a week or two weeks notice before they take off for like basically a paid timeoff or unpaid time off we’re making the same rookie mistakes is that coach. Fast forward to this week a veteran coach came in these young kids were just filling in so not their fault but it was interesting the veteran coach came in and set the expectations up front what was acceptable what wasn’t acceptable and there was still one kid that was still running around a little crazy but he dialed the kid in took a little extra time and coached and mentored him until he understood what was acceptable and chaos disappeared in an order and predictability happened. So the same things happen in our business and I’m not on a pedestal here preaching trust me I’ve been on both sides of this spectrum but the times that I didn’t set the expectations and hold people accountable is when the business and our team of 20 to 30 people at certain points plus we’re just crazy. If you’ve got a team I don’t care if it’s 1 or 30 plus we need to set expectations and we need to follow through so if they’re late the requesting time often it’s not in the allotted time we need to cute consistency and I don’t care if it’s your best player on your team and your service business you need to hold to the rules. A quick example is we we basically obviously most businesses do not reward theft but we had a gentleman who was trying to fuel up his own vehicle at the gas station literally a quarter mile from our shop and he went in and actually put it on the company accountant it was at four maybe five dollars in gas but it didn’t matter the standard was set that theft is not acceptable and if you are stealing from the company you will be pursued in the court of law. So I went down to the police station filed the appropriate paperwork and called in a little favor with the police officers and lo and behold the next day at 7:00 a.m. I had three or four police cruisers show up at the shop in front of my team meeting at 7:05 in the morning called the gentlemen out in front of everybody and said let’s just call it Dave because that’s definitely out his name but we’ll keep keep it anonymous said Dave these gentlemen here and the police cruisers would like to talk to you we’ve got you on tape and here’s a picture of you stealing at the gas station on our company account and these gentlemen are gonna have you take a ride, he was one of our better employees to be honest with you but it had to be done because everybody else in the company or portion of them knew what happened and we needed to make an example and set the standards and expectations and no one was above the law, especially the law in this matter. What I’m going for is after we had a team meeting we talked about are we crystal clear where my expectations are on theft and honesty and how we act as a team and I will tell you it was crystal clear after that it was a story that literally to this day is basically passed around and it’s been embellished a lot but everybody who is working there or had been working there or worked there in the future would know how Mike and the company stands on theft and there was a clear expectation if it wasn’t followed that some strict things to be taken even if it was two to three dollars in gas. My advice to you is don’t make the mistake the rookie coaches and the soccer team don’t make the mistakes that I made the early years of business create expectations follow through on it no matter who it is whether it’s being on time time off requests or in this instance an example he gave us theft and it was three maybe four bucks where the gas gentleman was arrested in front of the whole entire team and the expectation was followed through and people knew the severity of not meeting those expectations. Comments or questions dropped below but I think our employees the most part crave standard and predictability they like that structure whether they tell you or not as soon as they lose that structure that’s when you can lose control of your business and productivity and profitability so stick your guns set expectations and no matter who it is if it’s the best player or the worst player on the team follow through consistently and when appropriate make it public knowledge and have a communication of the team why you did what you did and when you did it and obviously I didn’t to have somebody arrested over four bucks but maybe to be done and that has been a story that lives forever and it’s better and better every year so I love hearing the latest version of the story. Comments or  questions dropping below are you creating structure like the kids soccer class it with the rookie teacher or this week with the veteran teacher who said it expectations followed through and when the one kid kind of ran off and created his own rules we drew them back and got him on team to buy-in so comments questions right below hopefully was helpful.

Snow Removal Estimate Set Up

Snow removal estimates for profits and predictability, today FB live 3pm est

Video transcription:

Hey Mike Callahan back again. Been busy this week so I haven’t posted as much as usual but a lot of questions about snow removal, it’s getting to around that time of year again – beginning of September. If you haven’t done it yet, definitely the time to standardize and get your snow plowing bids and ice removal bids out asap. A lot of questions around how to standardize it, how to create predictable profits, several different models as well so I’m going to be going live on facebook at 3pm eastern today to break down the different ways  we can go and create production based estimating for snow and ice removal that can be delegated. So the first one we are going to dive into is a per push contract with no limit on the amount of snow, a per trip contact, a retainer with overage and then an unlimited contract so these are not per inch contracts but theses are going to be per push, retainer with overage and unlimited and we’re going to show you how to grab that average to make sure you are covering the average snowfall in your industry. After 24, 25 years in upstate NY (the 3rd largest snowfall market in the whole United States) we’ve worked those trenches a few times just to put it lightly. I’m going to share my stories from the trenches and how we tackled this in my business and in addition we are also going to show you outside of doing your per push, unlimited and retainers how to actually go in and do a per inch contract based on 0-2, 2-4, 4-6, and everything in between. We’re going to be breaking out separate production rates for each piece of equipment so a plow with a straight blade, a plow with a v-plow, a truck with a wideout, a skid steer with a box plow, a backhoe with a box plow, a loader…each type of equipment and production rates. We are going to get into sidewalk and ice melt , removal for your sidewalk team. Going to show you how to production rate based estimating system to clear the sidewalks with a shovel, a snow blower, and in addition how to handle the ice melt application- so whether its a push spreader or an ATV with a spreader on the back of it and will get into bulk salt distribution on parking lots as well. 3pm eastern/ 2pm central – Mike Callahan going to dive into everything snow today, how to set it up how to create predictable systems, how to delegate it and yes how to get the information in there so if you don’t have production rates that you are comfortable with down the line at the end of this winter you will have a non-emotional benchmark to be to quote based on square footage next season. We will see you there 3pm est / 2pm central – Mike Callahan facebook live we are breaking out snow and ice estimating and production rate estimating as well. Unfortunately the four letter word is coming – the white gold- SNOW. We’ll see you there a little bit later today. Comments or questions you want answered live drop them on this video so we can get ahead of the game and answer those questions for ya.

Permanently closed due to staff shortage [is your business at risk?]

Video transcription:

Mike Callahan here, wanted to make a quick video. I was

just downtown I get my haircut this morning and saw this sign on the outside of this building and it says permanently closed due to staffing shortage and you can see it here, I’m gonna zoom in it just so you can kind of see. Obviously this is a big fear in every small business right now especially in the service industry. A couple years ago, actually probably eight to ten years ago in my lawn care company Callahan’s Lawn Care we almost had the same scenario. This is why I’m such a big preacher of building that virtual bench, so what happened in our company is we were probably somewhere between 20 to 25 employees eight to ten years ago full-time and about half to three-quarters of our staff decided to go out and actually start their own lawn care company. So lo and behold I came in Monday morning to open the shop as normal we were getting the equipment ready and it’s 7:00 a.m. when we were supposed to start, only eight of approximately twenty to twenty five employees were there. Come to find out a few hours later they actually had started their own company and started to steal our business from our existing client base that was one of the ugliest points in my business in the last 25 years when our staff literally created a mutiny and started their own business and started taking our employees obviously long story short we got through it. When I saw this sign behind me that this business has gone out of business permanently in most of these videos here and pretty much all of them I’m not on a pedestal preaching I’m talking about the things that we’ve been lucky enough to get right and some of the things we obviously did not get right and we had to figure out how to overcome them. So the video today is don’t fall victim to your labor force or potential labor force go out and build your virtual bench and how this can be accomplished at least the way we tackled it is we went out and recruited every single week every Monday and Wednesday for every position in the company including my own to build a virtual bench. We ended up ranking these applicants in an a B and C fashion with interviewers comment in our CRM the software we use we created a searchable view based on A, B and C rankings and whenever we needed to employ or we need to define something we could go into the software and say I need all my A employees in the last 15 to 20 days. This gave us a virtual bench it gave us the ability to have the power back in the business owners in control and now that when we hit those major growth spurts when we needed several people we would go back and actually search that database again so now we are in control as a business owner so when we grow the business and we need more people we have a qualified labor pool and then in addition when somebody no calls and no shows or you have a two-person crew and that one person ends up working by themselves because somebody no called no show you that’s when usually get blackmailed for that raise so sometimes we would give them that raise they’d get to the end of the week on Friday but at the end of the week we were working that database in hiring the replacement. This is the process we’ve built to stop hiring the first person through the door with a pulse or maybe half a pulse because we needed bodies because we’re growing so quickly or we are having major labor issues. So the video today is warning you I feel bad for this business it looks like they’ve gone out of business based on this sign here and basically it says due to staff shortage they are permanently going out of business go check their on location so word to the wise today don’t fall victim to what I did and thinking your team is going to be there forever go out and constantly recruit and get that virtual bench and rank them in some kind of fashion so you know who they are and remind your team that you’re constantly interviewing and building the team so we’ve always mentioned the shop once or twice a month for sure saying hey I’ve got a half a day or a full day of interviews today and the team would start to look around and say wait a minute we’re at full staff why is this guy interviewing well we didn’t want to scare them but we also wanted to keep them in check that let them know that every position in the business was replaceable they weren’t doing their job they weren’t showing up on time and doing what they should have been doing as a team player so video today is go out start creating that virtual bench interviewing several times a week and if you are in the lawn care industry or even the home cleaning in striated there is similar timing in there but in our business what we found is there was a within a two-week range either way I can go back historic lasts 7 to 10 years we would either have to fire someone or someone would quit and it would be Memorial Day July 4th the week of August 18th in the last week of October for the summer season but we knew historically we would be losing somebody or letting someone go on average in those areas so we constantly picked off our recruiting from Monday Wednesday to Monday Wednesday Friday and that actually allowed us to create that virtual bench and overcome our labor pool issues and crazy as it sounds actually a couple folks just walked up behind me to actually walk in to this restaurant and it was another potential customer they could have had here but unfortunately with the sign on the door here they’ve closed because they were not going out proactively building that virtual bench and when you’re building that virtual bench I’d suggest actually going out and recruiting for your own position because this is how I found my replacement in Callahan’s and we found him about a year and a half to two years earlier than we actually needed him but when you’re going out and finding the positions that you need when you need them it’s too late so I would recommend going out proactively and start searching for those positions that you need in the future and building out an organizational chart from the top down and don’t put names on it put the positions the responsibilities and the skillset that you’re looking for in that skill set in the position you’re looking for hopefully will be on your doorstep before you absolutely need them so you know once again this business obviously I feel bad form we’ve all been in this scenario of close to it we’re staffing his is jeopardized the the profitability or even the livelihood and the pulse of the keeping the business in business so don’t make the mistake here that possibly happen don’t make the mistake that I did my business go out and recruit at least once or twice a week potentially three times a week before you need those positions build an organizational chart I suggest sticky notes put it on the wall in on top of the big big sticky note and that’s what we can roll up or keep on the wall but as those positions change or as the business grows we can pull those little sticky notes off and reorganize them don’t people put people’s names on them put the position and the responsibilities and to keep them this skill set so we’re building the business and the scalability around positions and skill set not around in individuals whose strengths and weaknesses so if we’re gonna lift it lift the hood a little bit and exposed weaknesses internally up that’s one thing in the early days at Callahan’s  we did we’d build positions around an existing employees skill set which was a massive massive mistake but once we started defining the role in the skill set and hired for the skill set in position that’s when success because we could standardize it trained to it and replace it a hell of a lot easier. Comments or questions drop them below but obviously not great news here for this business but I wanted to spread the word that hey, you know we almost got in the scenario obviously we fought back replace those employees in got our customer base under control before they took it from us. Another good takeaway is getting non solicit it’s not a non-compete nowadays it’s a non solicit and that non solicit is enforceable in court and it’s a non solicit for your current customer base so comes questions drop blow hope everyone’s having a great week and we’ll talk to you later this week.

How to track man hours when crew size changes.

Video transcription:

Hey Mike Callahan here, had a question submitted on the SA page- gentleman said sometimes he has a 2 or 3 person crew , dispatches work and then on the dispatch screen the assigns team members to each crew, will SAP automatically figure the actual time correctly? A one hour job with 3 people shows 3 hours.  I’m not sure if this answers it exactly but I think this definitely will cover it. So the first thing you want to do is go in and set up the job here by hitting add a job I got one in here, I’ve set this up for 150 dollars and 3 budgeted hours. You always want to remember when you set up a job in Service Autopilot its based on 1 persons total time and then it will actually do the math for you based on how many people are on that crew on that particular day, so that’s going to address part of the first question. So at 50 bucks an hour, 3 times 50 is 150 bucks, I’m assigning it to a crew and I’m putting the start date and hitting save. Under Teams I want to go in and create the team, so I created a 3 person team in the example; myself, Chad and Christine and we’re working 7 days a week so by default that is a 3 person crew. On the Dispatch Board after I go in and click this here and go to dispatch that gets this phone icon.  You will notice there is no start and stop time because we are on the Dispatch Board not the Close Out Day screen I’ve got 3 budget hours and 150 dollars. Now this is live and ready to be printed or the mobiles. When I go down to the more tab and assign teams this would aromatically of been on here, I actually played with this earlier before the video, It would load in automatically with the default settings for all 3 people. If I wasn’t working on the crew that day we would drag this over and just put this over here. Now its going to update the end times based on budgeted hours and assignment, so that answers the other part of the question. Once you X-out of that it updates it here its 3 hours for 150 bucks. On the Close Out Day screen after the work has been done, so if their in their mobile and they plug in 8 am to 9:30 am its going to give us certain things here – so its going to give us the hours and the total men, the thing that you are missing here by default is we really need to go in and check Total Actual Man Hours and the Actual Time Variance.  What that is going to give us is the variance here so they did it in 3 hours and they were budgeted for 3 hours – there were two people for an hour and a half and the total man hours equals 3. If we go in here and  update this, instead of 9:30 we put 9 am that will change the math , and we scroll over and hit save. Now our variance is 1 hour under budget , 1 hour worked – but the total man hours is the 1 hour times 2 people so 2 hours for the 150. So it will automatically update, we need to remember in the morning when these crews update to go into the More tab – assign teams and drag and drop the assignments for that day only these will load in the default settings, so that’s how we tackle that time variance and the extra time there. In the home cleaning industry a lot of people are using the dispatch calendar we would go in and hit add, add a recurring job or actually lets do a one time job, and we can go in add our bi-weekly clean I’m going to leave it defaulted to that cleaning crew ( or that mow crew just for times sake). We can put it in for 150, so lets say that’s a bi-weekly clean for 150 dollars and 3 maid hours, hit save (forgot to select a customer). So same example instead of the mowing its grabbed those 3 budgeted hours in the actual allotment here and we have those 3 budgeted maid hours here. You can also go in now and scroll up and under the More tab we can do the same exact thing – Assign Teams and drag and drop those resources from that team or crew. As you can see as I added that extra individual in it updated the time slots as well, so that’s how we can handle it for the cleaning industry or the lawn care industry. Any comments or questions drop them below, hopefully this helped.