How accurate is your (lawn care) estimating process?

Video transcription:

Mike Callahan back again just about to hop into the hotel for the second day of a deep dive going over some estimating setting up a complete turnkey production rate based estimating system. So the question today is- how accurate is your lawn care estimating process? There’s a couple things we probably need to look at before we have an extremely accurate estimating process it can be delegated or used by the business manager or owner with streamlined success extremely quickly. The first thing we want to look at is organizing your service offerings, does it have a standardized offering… so what’s included, what’s not included in your estimate description and in the job note so we want to standardize that service offerings, it’s predictable and it’s a systematic way that can be done. After we standardize this product offering in your lawn care company we want to go out and track certain variables such as turf square footage, linear length of bed, number of small, medium and large shrubs whatever the particular thing you’re working on you want to track that job variable we call that a custom field and what we’re gonna do is either put that in a Google sheet or hopefully into a CRM something like Service Autopilot like that we use. Now if all the information is in your head still that’s okay we can create a standardized way of going in and creating something that we use as a form and what we do is that on that on-site estimate form before we get the production out of your head, so whether you’ve got 24 or 25 years of lawn care experience in my head now if I haven’t standardized this yet I’m gonna go and use that on-site form in a mobile phone or tablet and I’m just gonna walk around the property and enter in variables such as the turf square footage, landscape, bed square footage all the things that I’m estimating and then alongside that I’m gonna have an additional entry point where I’m taking the 24 to 25 years of knowledge out of my head and plugging it into that formand I’m gonna say I think it takes two and a half hours for one person to trim all the shrubs to prune them clean them up and then I’m gonna put an approximate drive time and that’s a key point takeaway that we find with a lot of businesses that we’re working with and especially in my business when I first started out I wasn’t differentiating the actual on-site time to do the job the billable time and then the non billable time the mobilization associated with that job so we need to track those separately. Reason being is once we have these data points of the number of units linear length or square footage in the system were able to run reports three to six months later and get an average production rate with your equipment your crews and how long it actually takes them so now we have a non-emotional benchmark how to estimate each and every one of our jobs with I’m gonna call it a fudge factor or the unexpected factor in there because it’s not if it’s gonna happen, it’s when it’s gonna happen . We do have some issues there and we want to count for them in our estimating system so that can be delegated we can take what’s in our hand that knowledge silo and disseminate it across the organization so more people would do estimates without you or unlike a virtual assistant where they can go in and grab these variables and create predictable accurate estimates without you the business owner manager ever having to be involved this is what we did at Callahan’s lawn care gentleman that did all my estimating for me when I became an absentee owner basically was a fertilized technician he had never pruned he had never moved he had never done any of this but his estimates were accurate there within a few dollars of mine dead nuts on several thousand dollar jobs so the challenge today is we want to define your estimates and create a predictable service offering hopefully some gateway services that can be sold over the phone based on things you can measure on the satellite and if we don’t have the number as far as how many square feet of turf we can fertilize or mow when you’re out on site in these properties we want to go in and track the variables that we would be basing it on so we have accurate times and then we’re just gonna go in into a non-emotional form plug in the hours that we think it’s gonna take and then when you pull up your estimate it will multiply those hours times your hourly rate so if it’s 60 bucks an hour and you said it would take an hour it would be $60 and we’d also want to track what your cost is to get it done so your break even so if you have that number you also want to multiply your budgeted times times your cost before profit and that’s going to reinsure that you’ve done the math right and you’ve got the right profit margin so if you’re shooting for $32 per hour 30% profit margin and you were charging 100 bucks and breaking even at $70 an hour so 70-100 be 30 so be 30%obviously it’s just a really roughnumber fictitious but we’d want to make sure that you’re hitting your margins some things I want to take aways create a standardized service offering that includes what it shows what it includes what it doesn’t include we want to track the variables such as square footage number of linear length of bed or number of shrubs and then run some reports about six months later and we do that by subtracting or start and stop times in our drive times separately and if we don’t have those production rates we want to go and create some kind of non-emotional form for your phone so you’re walking around the property you’re plugging in the data and when you pull up the estimate template it’s multiplying the projected hours times your hourly rate and giving you a price budgeted time and cost and then we’re gonna add the drive time and anyother variables such as disposal fee all the things that should be charging for but a lot of times as contractors we don’t charge for so we want to make sure we take those unexpected things thatwe usually just take for granted such as disposal or drive time and include those in the equation so hopefully that makes sense but I want to make a video about it because this comes up on a daily basis when we’re talking to other contractors a simple growth and I want to just kind of lay out the foundationso if you can take a few hours today over the weekend go out standardize your service offerings and explain what’s included and what’s not included your satisfaction guarantee track the job variable such as square footage linear length or number of units and if you don’t have the production numbers yet create a form or you can plug in the hours you think it’s going to take and have that multiply out times your hourly rate and your budgeted costs when you open up your estimate template and a product like service autopilot you have a price a budgeted time and cost before profit and that once that job is dispatched or done and we’re tracking the drive time separately we’re tracking any disposal or any other variables separately and then the on-site time for that production rate we want to track that and once we get three to six months worth of data now we’ve got non-emotional data point to go out and create a production rate based estimating system on your equipment your crews and now that can be delegated with certainty that you’re gonna make profit long as they stick to that standardized estimating system so this is my tip today how to take your life back from your business create a predictable profitable estimating system in your business so comments questions drop below I want to say what’s up to Robert and Chad I know Chad’s definitely hung out with us in seeing some of the stuff in action so it’s someone just don’t preach about it’s something we actually do and it’s something that we’re more than happy to just give you some some content here free of charge how to do it because this was the pivotal point of my business financially as well as a freedom points to be able to walk away from the business for a few days or a month at a time so hope all’s well and drop any questions and comments below and about to hop back into the hotel here for a second day of a deep dive with a simple growth team building out just what we’re talking about here so I’ll talk to you later.

How accurate is your cleaning estimate process?

Video transcription:

Just about to walk into the hotel for the second day of a cleaning deep dive: question is how accurate is your estimating process in your cleaning business? One of the things that we find when we look at a cleaning business when we want to set it up for success from day one is we want to have a standard offering of services so we’re gonna be looking at our deep clean or a top-to-bottom clean whatever you’re calling it. We’re gonna do our weekly, our bi-weekly, monthly and potentially a post construction or a move in or move out which are obviously significantly different services. As we basically create a standardized offering of services we want to clearly define what’s included and what’s not included in those services and then document them in our CRM or a Customer Relationship Management software, the software that we use predominantly is Service Autopilot and when we do that we’re gonna go in and set up these standardized services with an estimate description, what’s including the service what’s not included in the service now there’s several ways of tackling this and we’re gonna probably base this or you would base this on your business and how you actually want to create a standardized estimating system in your cleaning business. The three or four main ways that we find for success in a cleaning business to set this up is basing the service on a standard square foot range so a cleaner can clean say on a weekly or bi-weekly clean from 1 square foot up to maybe 1200 square feet and then each increment they’re after is a certain amount of time now this can include everything that’s included in the weekly clean or we can add some additional variables such as maybe going out and doing the fridge or the stove or different things that this client may add on such as linens. We can add in other variables too that are in the home such as the amount of living areas the amount of people that live in the home or the number of pets. Traditionally what we recommend is creating a standardized pricing metric on a production rate such as square footage and then we add additional variables on top of that and what that’s gonna do is give us a bottom line price for the actual cleaning based on that specific home or building so a price, a budget time and cost before profit and then this is gonna translate into basically a work order or a job that can be set up on a weekly, bi-weekly, tri weekly, every month whatever that looks like but once that’s set up now we’re gonna be tracking the start and stop times of those jobs and separately mobilization or drive time and why we’re gonna break the two up is specifically we can run reports now after we have several months of data to check your assumptions on your production rates for your cleaning teams and when we run those reports will have non-emotional data how many square feet that your team can clean. Now once we get into have a little bit more of an advanced situation we can have some qualifying questions so maybe it’s an initial deep clean or top-to-bottom clean depending what you call it in your business but we could have a fill factor and some additional variables such as in the number of bathrooms and that can basically be tracked in the CRM such as Service Autopilot and create a standardized estimating system based on the actual jobs that you’re outside of the drive time but we want to track that drive time mobilization because that’s an un-billable expense that needs to be accounted for in your pricing model and overhead recovery. The first thing we’re looking at is a square foot range with potentially some variables they’re gonna add on some metrics on that the next thing is gonna be a pricing matrix based on the size of room so your small medium and large rooms such as master baths regular baths all the different types of rooms and in addition that we can add those variables and again for linen changes number of pets number of people living in the room are we including a basement or not including the basement to clean these are things that we need to look at and dissect in a standardized process can be delegated to an office staff or even maybe a virtual assistant like Pink Callers so we’re looking at square foot range with some variables we’re looking at the size of room with some variables and then the next one we really dive into is a combination of the tool motion we’ve got square-foot ranges say one to a thousand square feet or maybe one to twelve hundred square feet with each size of room and then we would jump up to say 1,500 one square feet to say 2,200 square feet we’d have our small medium and large types rooms as well we can add variables on top of that for linens, pets, number of people in the house and different variables and add that up as well. Then the final type of pricing that we usually find predominantly in the cleaning industry well it’s residential cleaning or commercial is we’re gonna take a look at it and say maybe for our initial deep clean our initial top to bottom that initial clean that we’re not really positive if we’re estimating over the phone the exact price on and that’s not something we’re comfortable doing so we can do is create a price range a high and low price range based on the square footage of the house and some additional variables such as pets and people and living areas. So those are the main four or five ways that we find cleaning industry professionals having success with a standardized estimating system. If you’re interested in how we do this you can check out a lot of the videos out on the Facebook page we here have it simple growth but about to walk into another 2-day deep dive with another cleaning company this week finish up number day two walking into another on next week where we literally sit knee to knee with cleaning industry professionals they’re absolutely successful breaking that million mark and beyond and they’re just standardizing and refining their estimating system with some of these processes I’m talking about. If you’re looking to do it yourself this is the way that we find for success to create a predictable system it can be delegated and then go in and get some data five to six months later and confirm your assumptions on your production rates and it’s giving an accountability with your cleaning teams it’s gonna have your budgeted maid hours or man-hours I’m gonna steal that quote from the awesome team we have up here working with us today I love that term maid hours which is just awesome so it’s something we’re gonna borrow with their permission but any questions comes how to create a standardized pricing system for your cleaning company inside a CRM please drop your questions live right now or on the recorded version I’ll take a look at it. I’m about to hop back in the hotel here from day number two and it’s just been pretty amazing that we could take a business like the one we’re working with today and within two days they have a brand new Service Autopilot instance have never used Service Autopilot before and by the time they walk out of here 16 hours later our team has been able to set up the whole entire Service Autopilot, estimate descriptions, the whole entire estimate workflow production, rate based estimating we we worked through all the pricing with him made sure it was set up properly in the system, all their lead source tracking website estimate request we learned how to handle loss estimates won estimates how to schedule all the main types of estimates so a one-time recurring waiting list and then we went into routing scheduling and invoicing and then how to set up monthly installments or contracts if it was applicable so if this is something you’re just drop me a line but basically I want to make a video just highlighting the importance of taking a day or two away from your business especially in your cleaning business and just really refining those numbers defining your service offerings in making a concrete predictable offering that can be delegated. Comments or questions drop them below I’m gonna hop back in and get back into it for another 8 hours of finalizing- just a really standardized cleaning scenario for that for this business that I can’t wait to see at the end of 8 hours what it looks like but it’s right now 8 hours and it looks pretty awesome. We’ll see you later on Facebook and check us out at SA weekly talk show going to be coming up again next week on the service autopilot Facebook page.

Home cleaning estimates in Service Autopilot and work orders.

Video transcription:

Hey Mike Callahan here, I’m walking into day one of two days for a Simple Growth deep dive not only for the lawn care industry but the home cleaning industry as well. I’m gonna be diving in with a pretty substantial size a home cleaning company today down in Rochester NY for two day deep dive we’re gonna actually go out and build out all their systems and processes so going to be filling in some updates as we get in here and how to break up estimates and workflow.

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Automated video training for Service Autopilot, details here:…/

Video transcription:

Mike Callahan here. I want to make a quick live video just absolutely excited, about to announce the release of our fully automated video training series for Service Autopilot. We’ve been using several companies around the United States bringing in fresh office personnel that have never even heard of Service Autopilot and within three to five days we had them up and trained a hundred percent ready to go, this is just absolutely revolutionary in my opinion. So if you already are a Service Autopilot member you can go to the marketplace icon up on the top there, give our office a call or click the link below for more information on what’s included. You’re gonna hear a lot about this but one of the biggest stumbling parts of Service Autopilot that we hear from a lot of users is learning the system is very very tough so what we’ve done is broken it down into six easy digestible modules complete with testing. The way we tackle this though is the videos don’t bounce around they sequentially go from lead acquisition off the website or when the client calls we teach you how to get them in the Service Autopilot what needs to be taken care of and each tab of the add the lead screen we go in and show you how to break down the sale source, so how they heard about you we’re setting the foundations for the system and the tracking of lead conversion into clients and the cost for acquired client per lead source. In addition we go in and show you how to break down custom fields or job variables so whether its turf square footage in lawn care, home square footage in home cleaning we go in and break down the process to how to do this in an easy digestible way so even if the admin is not building the stuff out they had a foundational understanding of what’s going on on top of this. In addition, if you’re the business owner manager and you want to have a better understanding we break this down in very slow simple videos that are two to three minutes each and they’re very digestible at the end of each module we have testing you have to pass that module at a hundred percent to go to the next one and we have an automated process that teaches you on the questions you got wrong. As we go in we got lead acquisition we enter them in the SA we create an estimate we go in to estimate templates pricing grids the estimate email the estimate acceptance email all this is at really easy digestible step-by-step directions then we go into how to email out the estimate itself preview it and tweak it on the fly, so we’ve got a template email that loads in now when we lose the estimate we go through the process of closing at least lists that lead out for list hygiene then we drive around eighty-one estimate process you can notice this is all sequential we’re not bouncing around this makes sense as a process in the office we go in and show you how to convert the lead into a client off the estimate if the client calls and says hey I want to sign up we show you how to mark that as won. Then in addition we show you how to schedule off the estimate this is a key thing we’re eliminating training extra screens and steps and creating a process and workflow that is systematized by doing such the price the budgeted time and cost or any materials are automatically transferred over the schedule. Next we’re gonna go in is talk about scheduling work we’re gonna go over the main types of scheduling and Service Autopilot for the lawn care industry and the home cleaning industry we’re gonna go over one time job so that’s a job we know the specific date we go over recurring jobs your weekly or bi-weekly or custom schedules we’re gonna go over your waiting list maybe it has to be done this week but not today sometime between Monday and Friday. We go into package jobs, particularly this is around fertilizing or maintenance packages so we go in very similar waiting lists but show you how to set that up and schedule that. Then we go into routing and all the different types  of routing you can do in service autopilot so we’ve got our optimized free through Google we got our paid optimizing we have our manual and grouped optimize and we give it a good bad and ugly on all of them and how we recommend systematizing this for your Business. Then we go down and show you how to double check the route order and check the visual clues on the little flags. Next thing we do is roll into the dispatch board, the dispatch board gonna show you how to adjust the crews on the flies if you no call no show this is going to give you the foundational information for your job costing and payroll, then we’re gonna select the jobs and dispatch them in a print them or get them live out of the mobiles. Next thing is we’re going out field to get the work done when the work is done we’re gonna close the screen out with the closeout day screen so we’re gonna go and give you a sanity check to make sure we have a price budget at time and good start and stop times because that bad data in is gonna be a bad data out for your reporting for job costing and raising your prices and production rate so we’re gonna make sure we have foundational understanding then we’re gonna make sure everything’s complete and then whether we build daily weekly monthly or a custom data month this system is now going to automatically create those invoices and then once the invoices are done we’re going to take you through the invoicing collection process and show you how to charge charge cards how to printing those invoices how to email those invoices all at a click of three buttons a systematized way to get that done that’s predictable day in and day out. Then the last thing is we’re going to show you how to enter contracts and prepayments and the biggest misconceptions of entering services that are under contract most people are not putting a price or budgeted time when it’s connected to the contract it will not double bill this I insure but by doing so and getting a price and budget of time and cost in there this will in fact give you a great data in great data out for job costing and production rate based estimating. So if any of this sounds of interest, click the link below to get some more details if you are our employee level 3 and there’s quite a few people out there very shortly within the next week or two we will be inserting in building this automation out and getting you access to it at no extra cost so if you are on our employee systems automations employee level 3 that includes video training this whole new process of automating your video training for your office staff will be included no extra cost. If your employee level 1 or level 2 and you want to jump up also click that link below and as a link to my online calendar so we can talk and see if it’s a good fit for you. If you’re not ready to dive into our employee automations and you want to just have the automated onboarding training system for the office this is a new product offered by Simple Growth. We’re continuing to push the envelope to make simple install and training of Service Autopilot for everyone in every industry that we work with whether it’s lawn care home cleaning or pest control or some of the other service industries like pond maintenance our waterless pine features as well so check it out click the link below or in this post.Really excited our employee level 3automations are going to be getting access to this very shortly and if this is something you want as just a standalone automation it’s going to be a game-changer so whether you are the business owner want some clarification or you want to be able to hand this off automated to train your new office staff with predictable results day in and day out this is what allowed me to basically scale an absentee owner business and if I didn’t want to be there for 30 days or if I felt sick and couldn’t run it or you want to go out and sell your business they have a turnkey solution that doesn’t revolve around the owner there’s a true value in here to automate your workflow and training for your office staff. Any questions comments drop below click the link to check out the details, look forward to seeing you on either the live or yesterday’s replay of the webinar on the link below that goes into the exact details of what I’m talking about with a visual representation and we go over all the pricing so looking forward to talking to some people live or on yesterday’s replay of the automation here and if you’re on Service Autopilot you want more information, go up to the upper right hand corner under the little icon of the silhouette of the person marketplace it is probably one of the first or two listings Simple Growth’s automated video training for Service Autopilot. Look forward to seeing you on that webinar or on yesterday’s replay on the marketplace or on the link I just put in below