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Estimates for the cleaning industry.

How detailed should a business be when creating services in their CRM.

How detailed should a business be when creating services in their CRM.

Hey Mike Callahan here, had a quick question submitted: when creating an estimate particularly in their CRM which was Service Autopilot should they be setting up multiple services such as weekly or bi-weekly services in different one time services separately? The answer is absolutely yes, so when most people come to our 2-day deep dive where we sit knee-to-knee and build out Service Autopilot custom for people. Most people come in with 12 or maybe 13 services they think by the time we’re done we come out with about 130 to 140. Now some of these will be child services that the consumer does not see but that’s your glorified estimating checklist, so we’re gonna create budgeted time cost and profitability for each step of the estimate and the major benefit is, once we finish these jobs we can run job cost reports weekly vs bi-weekly vs one time and see your true profitability and every job you do and the frequency. It’s gonna give you clarity in your business what’s profitable and what’s not profitable and what you need to be charging to make sure you’re making bottom-line profit. Hopefully this helps and we’ll have a longer video coming in tomorrow

Will new equipment purchases replace hard to find employees?

Will new equipment purchases replace hard to find employees?

Hey Mike Callahan here, just got back home from the ACSA Snow Show sponsored by ASCA and Snow Magazine. One of the hottest topics over the last two days at that conference (with the top 100 snow removal companies in the whole entire country US and Canada) was replacing employees with high production equipment. So my question to you today is… are we following suit with some of the leaders in the snow removal industry as well as lawn care industry in investing in equipment that is higher production maybe a higher ticket price but allow us to reduce our labor force and have more productive more predictable outcomes on the work we perform. One of the biggest trends right now that we saw at the ASEA Snow Show, that I spoke at and did a panel discussion with the top 100 companies in the whole entire country in Canada so pretty much across all of North America, the hottest trend right now- giving the labor crisis that we are involved in no matter the service industry whether it’s lawn care, snow removal, home cleaning, pest control we’re all dealing with the same labor problems and one of the biggest shifts right now is the investment in technology in AI (artificial intelligence) to basically alleviate some of the manual labor that we need some of the pieces of equipment that were at the snow show, very similar equipment that’s coming out lawn care as well not exactly positive and home cleaning yet but I can definitely tell you that in snow removal they have completely automated sidewalk removal equipment now just like the automated lawn mowers we have in the lawn care industry as well as higher production based equipment like Ventrac, Western had a snow basically plowing slash brush that looks phenomenal among other things. Question to you drop your comments below I’m curious going into the second half of this year, whether it’s your lawn care, home cleaning or snow removal company are you going out and investing money in higher production equipment to replace your field labor to have more productive all outcomes? I Want to say what’s up to David Keith, Stephanie and Thomas as well. So more of a question going out because it seems to be the shift after we just got back from the ASEA snow removal conference that most companies are going out and buying higher ticket price items to replace their labor and have better production and better predictability. This is something we always did a Callahan’s Lawn Care invested in the latest and greatest equipment and technology to create predictable results with less labor in higher margins, so drop your comments below if this is in your game plan. Also a huge announcement it is official, I’ll be dropping some links… Lawn and Landscape Magazine is gonna have their technology conference, first annual Orlando Florida in the middle of February I’m gonna be doing at least an hour talk on and actually Im on the advisory board and Service Autopilot SA6 gonna be doing a live talk with Scott I’m sorry [Laughter] Chris Volpe nothing wrong with live video here… but Chris Volpe and I at SA6 will be going live to show you what a fully built out SA instance looks like so make sure you catch the free show that we’re doing there’s a few spots left the day before SA6 and then Chris Volpe and I are gonna take the main stage at SA6 showing you what a fully set up and trained Service Autopilot account looks at for lawn care, snow removal and yes home cleaning. We’re gonna break it down across three industries to show you how to do the actual production rate based estimating on each industry and we’ve had some massive breakthroughs if you’re in the home cleaning industry how to actually set this up an SA we’re able to base it on square footage a range of square footage with small, medium and large bathrooms, bedrooms or we can actually base it on square footage with a high and low range before your deep clean, top-to-bottom, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly move-in and move-out and we can’t forget after construction as well. Looking forward to seeing it before SA6 at SA6 and the Lawn and Landscape Magazine’s first annual tech conference in the middle of February, where I’ll be on stage just dropping some knowledge about the newest and greatest technology and how to implement them in your service business. Drop comments below are you investing a technology to repay some of your field labor for better production and more standard labor force?

How much preparation and refining is needed to scale a business to 1 million in annual sales and beyond.

How much preparation and refining is needed to scale a business to 1 million in annual sales and beyond.

Hey Mike Callahan with a quick question that was submitted; how much preparation is needed to scale a business to 1 million and well beyond? Got me thinking here, I’m actually in downtown Pittsburgh for the ASCA Snow Show along with Snow Magazine and I’ve been in my hotel room here for the last four in a half to five hours literally with a clicker running around with a TV screen behind me getting ready for the talk and this is a 45-minute talk I’m also gonna be doing a panel discussion. I spent four and a half to five hours today just getting ready for one talk that’s 45 minutes so the question is how much time is needed to get in preparations needed the scale of business to a million and beyond? Well it’s a lot of time and the first thing that I would look at is going in and checking out and making sure your business model, your strategy and systems & processes are in check. So we want to start with your business model, we want to start with your business strategy and then the systems & processes. I’m gonna be talking a lot about this at the snow show tomorrow but when you see a business it’s a success overnight down the street you don’t see the 10 or 15 years and maybe 5 to 10 years depending on the business (sometimes longer sometimes shorter) that are behind the scenes. What I’m suggesting is the preparation to scale to a million to be on it whatever your goal is really needs to dial in right now at a business model and what is your model is it residential only? Is it commercial only? Is it residential and commercial? What’s the model? Clearly define it and take a look down the line not only now but what that is gonna look like in the future… is it including automation robotic mowers? Different robotics snow removal equipment that’s coming out? Those are the things we want to take a look at, is that model gonna be effective now and where the consumer is going to be? Just like Wayne Gretzky said he’s going to where the puck is going, make sure that your business model is scalable in the next 10 to 15 years where the market is going. Next thing is strategy, how do we break that down into yearly goals, quarterly and then weekly. Just like this talk I blocked off two quarters of my day here with travel and I blocked out four to five hours to make sure I could execute and bring excellent value in knowledgeable content for the attendees of the snow show here tomorrow in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and that is just for 45 minutes. So are you taking the time and blocking it out, with no distractions to make sure your model and your strategy and then that drives in the systems and processes for success. My guess is, if you are anything like me when I first started out and I started to try to scale the business, you’re not spending enough time. We need to get out of the business, as Michael Gerber says work on it and not in it. Just like I’m blocking off four to five hours from my talk for tomorrow, just like I block off four to five hours for our August event and in Rochester New York as well as our talk at Service Autopilot SA6. I’m gonna be coming up with Chris Volpe announcement coming out soon so that that’s gonna be huge. My correlation here is… are you blocking the time out undistracted away from your business to create a model of strategy and process and systems to hit that million mark or whatever your goals are well beyond that? My guess is if you were like me or not, so my talk of the day would be is what are you doing to block out that time to make sure you’re putting the time in to build out the model the strategy process and systems and then hopefully automate those processing systems and have some accountability for the strategy and implementation of that, that it does not revolve around you as the business owner day in and day out. So not an answer but more of a thought-provoking video today is if four to five hours is going into a 45 minute talk. How many hours in weeks of work in time needs to be dedicated to back out that five to ten year plan that you have based on your business strategy and model and processing systems. So my challenge for you is comment down below let me know how you’re blocking out that time, how much time are you spending on it on a quarterly or weekly basis to hit those goals and is there accountability piece? Just a Simple Growth in our company here that we have, basically daily or weekly accountability so I meet with the office for an hour on Mondays as far as billables, receivables, sales, any cancellations, new clients, anything that’s coming in the pipeline so we have a real clear description of what’s going on in and out of the business. On Tuesdays I meet with our development and support team to see what’s being developed what are what we’re trying to build out each quarter of the business and if we’re on track. Then every Monday, Wednesday and Friday the whole team meets via screen share or in the office depending on where we’re at in the country, and we also have a key stakeholders meeting for anywhere in fifteen to twenty minutes every morning at 8 a.m. so we’re constantly holding each other accountable, there’s a constant flow of communication and we’ve blocked out that time to make sure our model, our strategy and systems & processes are all lining up. If you don’t block it out and you don’t guard your calendar it will never happen so I’m definitely not on a pedestal preaching on this one because time management is still not my strongest suit, but I will tell you when we went out of the business and that allowed us to grow in scale that business rapidly. So drop your comments and questions below; How are you blocking out your time and are you creating a model strategy systems processes all line up with group accountability, communication with your team and if I’m blocking out four to five hours here for a 45-minute talk put that in perspective of the time we really need to block out on a calendar to grow and scale a business to a million beyond.

Should you allow employees to take home company vehicles? (a safe alternative)

Should you allow employees to take home company vehicles? (a safe alternative)

About to go back into the boardroom for another two day deep dive but had a question submitted should employees be able to take home work vehicles to and from work and my answer is absolutely not! After 25 years in the service industry, we have let certain employees take that home with varied success but pretty much 99.9 percent of the time it has absolutely ended in near disaster or disaster, so if you’re considering letting some of your key employees take that vehicle home whether it’s lawn care home cleaning or any other service based industry I would highly highly recommend against it. If you do decide you’re going to do that consult a lawyer and have them write up some kind of agreement that is for work only and they have basically stolen your vehicle if it is not from going from work to back. One of my buddies had someone take their work vehicle by mistake they were so intoxicated that they didn’t realize it was actually a work vehicle and went out and without getting in the story, cause some interesting harm and liability so basically beware do not let your employees take those vehicles home on a regular basis, if you need to do that, contact a lawyer. My opinion something that we tackled after learning the hard way at Callahan’s Lawn Care was we actually invested in Uber for business and this is something that we tested with our snow plow operators they had driver’s license really good guys and girls but they just didn’t have a way to get to work so for a very cheap price a few dollars a day depending on their location we basically used it as a benefit to basically get them Uber ride to and from work on a regular basis that we were able to schedule through the app. Now we haven’t done it this year but as of last year we were able to basically schedule pickup times and drop-off times through Uber particularly in the morning just to make sure they’re at work in time. What I would recommend is absolutely by all means if you can stay away from allowing your employees to take your work vehicles home. Believe it or not I came to make this stuff up I was driving home from the deep dive yesterday stopped and got a bottle of wine and there was a lawn care company local competitor in the area in a letter truck the gentleman was not the owner the company because I know who actually the owner is and what they look like but one of his employees at about 8:30 almost 9 o’clock at night was walking out of the liquor store with a bottle of booze. Heaven forbid that guy has a few drinks in that work truck and goes out and kills somebody they would be putting that gentleman’s business at risk and not alone just the business but all the employees and their families and their livelihood. So is it worth having one employee have a ride to and from work in risk your entire business and the livelihood of the remaining employees that you have, my opinion absolutely not so check with your state laws and your lawyer if you’re going to do this get something in writing protect yourself and basically have a hold harmless clause whereas they’re accepting responsibilities if they stole the vehicle if they are doing it outside of the driving to and from work in some states that may protect you by no means am I a legal expert but I know in some areas I’ve seen that actually hold up in law and that’s something pretty similar to what we did in our business at Callahan’s. I will tell you nine times out of ten whenever we let a manager or employee borrow truck to and from work when they’re having a hard time it never end well you’re better off lining up a ride with a a company employee or spend a few bucks and line up in Uber or Lyft and make that an additional benefit to get them to and from work and you can usually set appointments in the morning so they’re there on time but shorter answers that just don’t do it it’s not worth it. If you can’t find an employee that can get their own transportation or it’s a great employee they’ve had for a long time and it’s a short-term situation cough up a couple bucks it’s gonna be a hell of a lot cheaper to get them a Ride-share than it is to run the risk of them going out and killing somebody and you losing your entire business and all your employees lose their livelihood so just my thoughts and opinions on it the Uber Lyft ride share thing worked really awesome for a couple operators in snow removal which is in the worst of the worst conditions as far as getting an Uber or Lyft and we were able to do that on the fly. I want to say what’s up to Todd, he’s actually in my market and that’s something we did we Uber and Lyfted snow plow operators that were in machines so can be done in any industry love to hear your comments or questions we could something legally in writing if you’re going to do it all but I recommend not doing it. I’d rather lose a good employee and keep the foundational part of my business intact without that liability so hope all is well everybody else. if you are in the upstate New York area or you’re looking to travel to upstate New York area I’m gonna have a two day Service Autopilot implementer event out in Rochester New York here coming up in August gonna be releasing the dates on that. We’ve got a free one day essay implementer event for Service Autopilot in Dallas Texas the day before Service Autopilot’s SA6 so that’s a free event for one day and then we’ve got another event on the opposite end of Martha’s Woodward’s quality driven software in February the day after that event. In addition several speaking gigs if you’re around the United States then I will be on stage next week August or actually next Tuesday I will be at the snow magazine ACSA snow top 100 conference in Pittsburgh doing a one-hour talk on next level sales as well as a 50 minute panel discussion on emergency major snow mobilization in addition snow magazine and ACSA is going to be sponsoring three talks that Im going to be doing an hour to an hour and a half talks along with the other top industry consultant in the service industry in snow removal industry they are gonna be in Buffalo New York, Pittsburgh New York and Philly and those are gonna be the end of September, October. If you’re around the country you want to catch me live talking about next level sales automations on how to create a fully automated service business those are gonna be great spots to check it out live as well as we’ve got the event before Service Autopilot tentatively going to be speaking at SA6 Service Autopilot’s convention details to come on that as well as after Martha Woodridge QDS in San Diego in February and in February just released Lawn and Landscape magazine is doing a service industry technology conference where I’m going in and talking about how to automate your business and take your life back from your business. I’m gonna step out step by step we took a business where I was the single point of failure working 100 hours a week down to one to three hours a week to an absentee owner be able to leave that business for 30 days at a pop and some other things we’re gonna be announcing later in that development as well so I’d love to see you live if not hopefully we can maybe join one of our events remotely throughout the United States in the next five to six months so look for a seat any of you guys and girls live so Pittsburgh next week snow magazine ACSA s big 100 snow talk in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania gonna be doing a talk in a panel discussion we’ve got a live event that’s going to be announced in Rochester New York two days we’ve got three events for the snow magazine ACSA going around in Buffalo New York, Pittsburgh and Philly then we’re gonna be it GIE which is in Kentucky for two or three days with Service Autopilot then we’re gonna be at the day before Service Autopilot in Dallas Texas actually Plano for a day for a full event and going to be speaking at Service Autopilot we’re gonna speaking at the lawn and landscape technology conference in Orlando beginning of February and then following literally a red-eye after the lawn and landscape technology conference right to quality driven software’s conference to catch the last day and a half and then the day afterwards we’re gonna be doing a live Service Autopilot implementer event for the home cleaning industry it will be applicable to all industry but specifically there’s gonna be some massive takeaways for the home cleaning industry. Gonna have a special guest heavy hitter in the home cleaning industry joining me most likely QDS in February. We’ve got some big big things coming up that are just gonna rock your world if you’re in the home cleaning industry we’ve got basically a turnkey solution for every way you could estimate in-home cleaning as well as a fully set up Service Autopilot with done for you marketing content in automations and pricing with production rates for the home cleaning industry something that’s never been done in a service industry platform and we’re gonna launch it live in Service Autopilot coming up soon so we’re in beta right now and just excited for all the folks at home cleaning how you’re gonna be able to take Service Autopilot within probably seven to ten days be up and fully trained ,be able to utilize it without ever having to invent the wheel. We’ve got one of the top industry consultants in the cleaning industry working along with us to make sure this is dead nuts accurate and appropriate to your top-to-bottom deep cleans weekly bi-weekly monthly and move and move out cleans all pre-built marketing content and estimate production rates built in the system for you. Any comments or questions based on should you let your employees take the vehicles home absolutely not have them sign something written up by a lawyer if you must do it my opinion is go out and get them rideshare to and from work and you can set an appointment in the morning so they’re not late to work and if it’s a big deal breaker and that doesn’t work out I would let them go or lay them off in between it’s not worth risking your business and all your team members livelihood around that and we’ve we’ve done it with success in the middle of winter in the worst of the worst storms so if we can do it in the winter we can definitely do it in the cleaning industry or the lawn care industry or any other service industry during good weather in my opinion and it’s pennies on the dollar off that peace of mind. Hope you enjoyed the answer and we’ll be seen again alive so feel free to drop any other questions that you have we’re gonna be answering these daily so we’ll talk to you soon.

Overcoming customer fears and industry perception (value based selling vs price)

Overcoming customer fears and industry perception (value based selling vs price)

Hey Mike Callahan here, going into the hotel boardroom again for another two-day deep dive with simple growth. Had a question submitted earlier this week about value-based education versus selling out a price so it got me thinking about some of the things we do in our business it’s applicable to lawn care, home cleaning or any other service industry. Basically one of the things we did is we we avoided or actually didn’t avoid but we actually addressed any industry conceptions about snow removal in this example and what we looked at is basically the things that were negatives in residential snow plowing and what the biggest couple things were is how do you handle when the town plow absolutely buries a driveway after you’ve already been there and basically the jobs been done the satisfaction in an instance or something out of your control happens such as the town plow burying the driveway from the sidewalk or the town plow. So we addressed that upfront on our website actually gave live prices of what we charged it wasn’t an exact price but it was a range. That is one of the biggest consumer fears is when you hire a professional first service if something happens what is the charge? how much how much is it gonna cost? and how is it handled? So we were completely honest with the people upfront before the conversation even happened and it allowed us to overcome any of the sales or price objections before it happened. Another big big instance there is we addressed our satisfaction guarantee, so if you are not a hundred percent satisfied we’d come back with no questions asked to fix it free of charge and basically if you were not happy after that point we wouldn’t charge you at some points we would actually even pay a competitor of the consumers choice to go out and fix the problem if they were not happy with our final solution. The video today is really just talking about what are the good, the bad and ugly things associated with your industry whether it’s home cleaning, lawn care, snow removal and are you going to address them up front one thing we really recommend is address the elephant in the room because they’re there but if you go out and own the elephants that potentially are associated with your industry your gonna have the advantage over your competition. Address the things in your business that are stereotypical as far as not returning phone calls, not being reliable, not having insurance or in this example with the snow removal -how do we handle the things that not if they’re gonna happen but when they’re going to happen is there an additional charge… how’s it gonna be handled… and how do we handle that to make a great customer experience… Another example with snow removal is we made a lot of content in social media videos of when things happen if a truck went down and it’s not uncommon in snow removal industry that you are gonna have catastrophic breakdowns whether it’s a day or a day old truck or a 10 year old truck transmissions and things break but by addressing those up front to the consumer and let him know we are networked with a series of subcontractors and additional backup trucks internally that takes that fear-based objection out of the sales process and allows you to close the sale on the value that bring and the communication. We’ve also shown them different examples throughout the years of when these things do happen social media videos that we posted on our Facebook page and YouTube to alert people to let them know what’s going on how it’s going to affect them and how we’ve built in protection to give them the best possible service so any comments or questions drop below my challenge today is how are you going to address the industry perceptions the good, the bad and the ugly and I recommend putting them on your social media your website and if there’s any additional costs associated with some of these bad perceptions address them upfront so by the time you get to them with your quote they know exactly what’s gonna be included not included and if there’s any additional charges we’ve addressed that and overcome those sales and price objections to basically shorten that sale cycle and create higher perceived value that’s not necessary based on the bid or the quote that you’re giving them but on the value that you’re giving them a piece of mind and they’re not scared to buy that product from you because you are different than everyone else in your market because you’re willing to talk about it educate them and tell them how it’s going to be. So if your competitors are not willing to address these good, bad and ugly questions about your industry be the first to market do it in social media put it on your website and create a value based decision than your competitors going out and just selling on price price does not become the conversation when you go out and educate and you overcome these sales and price objections through education so we’re able to sell at a higher price and hopefully get better service. Any comments questions dropping below I’m about to be diving into this 2-day deep dive live in New York again second one in two weeks just a great time helping other small business owners get a handle on their workflow estimating procedures and other things like this far as marketing a social media content so we’ll see you again tomorrow in our next video.

Considering a two day deep dive to reinvent the way your company estimates and operates? This is what Joel has to say about last weeks two days with SimpleGrowth.

Considering a two day deep dive to reinvent the way your company estimates and operates? This is what Joel has to say about last weeks two days with SimpleGrowth.

Im Joel with Kouski Landscape Company this is Matt he is our Operations Manager. We flew out here to New York on a limb, didn’t really know what to expect, just literally destroyed the service autopilot and dude I think you probably agree with me, after eight years of trying to run a business and not having a clear vision of what we’re doing – Mike 100% extracted everything out of us, got it all put into a system that he created and like after 48 hours we’re gonna take this back to the company with more clarity than we’ve had…ever. Stuff that we have been working on for a year or two years trying to get done, we got done in two days. Trying to figure out the workflows right and just like hammering it out like were smart people, we know what needs to be done, but this dude made sense of all this stuff right, so the fact that he exists is very unique across any industry but the fact that he’s here with us in the landscape / lawn care industry we’re very blessed. If anybody’s asking my opinion, I’m gonna tell you to drop the cash. Go there and do it like he’s not asking us to say this I’m just legit telling you- the value that you’re gonna get out of this will be returned for a long time I mean that for sure so Mike thank you very much.

Hiring criteria for the service industry [how picky can you/should you be]

Hiring criteria for the service industry [how picky can you/should you be]

Have you finished your quarterly panning for Q3?

Have you finished your quarterly panning for Q3?

Hey Mike Callahan here wanted to make a quick video, we just finished up here at the Simple Growth team- our quarterly planning for Q3, obviously a little bit late but better late than never in my opinion. We got the team in, flew them in to upstate New York and sat around a boardroom today off-site and basically went over our quarterly and objectives for Q3. So there’s some takeaways for no matter the business especially your service business that we did in the lawn care business at Callahan’s as well to continue to do this so we’ve got quarterly planning but weather its a service business, software, consulting we highly recommend the quarterly planning process. What we do is we break these down in the tops and these tops are three to five traditionally probably three to four tops and these tops are the top things we need to achieve during the quarter and they’re owned by an executive in the business so one of the key decision-makers. Our quarterly planning- we’re to start with our tops they’re owned by an executive now these tops are going to be broken down into smart objectives and smart objectives if you’ve never heard of what they are- are specific, they’re measurable, they’re obtainable, they’re relevant and they’re time-based- so if you have say three to five tops -things that you need to get done in q3 we’re gonna break each one of those three to five tops down into smart goals so they’re specific, they’re measurable, they’re obtainable, they’re relevant and they’re time based. Then inside that smart goal we are gonna create a description so let’s just say we’re starting out in the beginning a year we are creating a mosquito division or if we are creating maybe a commercial cleaning after construction division that would be our description. The deliverable would leash we’re trying to deliver fifty thousand dollars in revenue from the new mosquito division or in-home cleaning it could be the after construction division so we’re gonna create a tops three to five of these things that need to be done in this quarter they’re owned by an executive or create smart goals around them which are specific measurable attainable relevant and time-based and within that we’re gonna have a description of we are creating say a mosquito division that’s the description, the deliverable is we are going to generate 50k in revenue and we’re going to assign an owner in a due date for accountability so the owner would be say Mike Callahan is responsible for that overall to delegate make sure that’s done and it needs to be done by 4/1/19. So what we’re gonna do is create our tops for the quarter they are going be three to five – I suggest three to four, five is really pushing it and it’s going to be owned by an executive such as a business owner or business manager, we’re gonna break each top, each individual one in two smart goals they are gonna be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Within those confines that smart goal we’re gonna break down a description of exactly what it is a deliverable the goal say fifty thousand dollars in new revenue from that division in an owner and a due date by doing such we are able to go in and systematically track where we’re going in the future and follow it on a daily basis and then every week we’re gonna have a Monday huddle where the owner is going to be accountable each week to where we are in progression to hit that top goal at the end of the quarter in that description the deliverable that’s happening in the owner due date is key. Quick review before we end it up to the weekend here, each quarterly meeting you’re having- we want to create tops those are the things we’re going to accomplish for the quarter we’re gonna have three to four, five at most each one of those tops is going to have SMART goals so they’re specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based and within those SMART goals you’re going to create a description of exactly what it is what the deliverable is in an owner and due date for accountability. So if you’re looking to grow and scale your business we suggest having these quarterly meetings off-site for a day or two dial in and the other thing we did was a a SWOT analysis for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats so your strengths and weaknesses are your internal your opportunities and threats are external and that’s how we dive in and we have an analysis for the competition and after we have that SWOT analysis we have a huge mind dump everybody has equal input we create all the things that we may want to accomplish and then we narrow them down to say three or four maybe five we’re driving those into smart goals and then within that smart goal we’re creating a description a delivery and a due date and owner so if you’re wondering how we go out in scale a business and continue growth at 400 plus percent quarter after quarter that’s how you do it.  You go out and create these quarterly goals and those quarterly goals are gonna break into your the goals and those are gonna back into your BHAG that five to ten year goal that big hairy audacious goal so if you’re looking to scale that business from five to ten million dollars that is the exact process that service businesses and other industries outside of the service industry are doing it just no one’s taught us in the service industry how to do it after breaking down some more details if we continue to basically go in and create a leadership team and strategically scale my second business Simple Growth and show you how we did it and do it in a lawn care company as well as the software and consulting business but the same process unfortunately nobody’s out here showing us how to do in the service industry. As we continue to do they are quarterly rhythms and our weekly rhythms and strategic planning off-site for the leadership team I’m going to break down and have some videos how to simply execute this. Great book to look at if you’re looking at it which a good spin on what I’m talking about is Traction by Gino Whitman once again the book is Traction by Gino Whitman, great book to look at for going out and creating that BHAG- that big hairy audacious goal backing it into yearly goals quarterly goals where we’re gonna create our tops are three to five things we’re going to do we break them into SMART goals and we create a description deliverable.

How to raise maintenance prices.

How to raise maintenance prices.

Hey Mike Callahan here, with a question submitted last night: how to go about raising mid season maintenance prices for lawn care or any service industry really for that matter. First thing, you want to look at before we go out and raise prices- one of the things we always see on these Facebook groups is when people are asking how they should raise their prices, they’re talking about how they’re actually raising prices. They’re doing it maybe three dollars across the board or five dollars across the board in my opinion that’s probably the craziest thing you could do or a lot of people say they’re raising their prices as a percentage up and beyond (I want to say what’s up to Brian watching) basically as you’re going out to raise your mid-season pricing the first thing to do is lay a foundation. We want to have the start and stop times there every job we’ve done for the whole entire year and hopefully the non-billable drive time associated with it. What we’re gonna do is probably export that or put that into an Excel or Google sheet and let’s just say our desired dollar per man-hour revenue goal is 55 dollars an hour what we’re gonna do is that she is average all the jobs we’ve done for the landscape maintenance package or landscape maintenance job. Anything that is below the threshold of our goal of $50 per hour in this example we are gonna raise it up to hit the threshold of $50 an hour. So we’re not gonna go mid-season to raise our prices across the board, whether it’s an increase of labor or an increase of gas as long as we’re hitting our hourly goal with any of the increased prices that we’ve seen that we didn’t project, we are gonna go in and raise the prices on all the jobs that aren’t hitting the hourly threshold so this is a non-emotional way to do it so if your goal is say $50 an hour and you’re making $100 an hour well we’re not going to touch those jobs obviously because we’re double what we want . So now to answer the question at hand we’ve got the foundational information to make a non-emotional price raise on these jobs- we’re gonna go out and either write an email or a personal letter or if it’s just a few people maybe even a personal phone call.  The consumer is not going to care that your internal prices have raised they’re not gonna care that you miss bid a job and are not making the money that you should be. The key to this at least we found in my lawn care company when we did this mid-season or even a beginning of the year is we focused on what was in it for the potential consumer. So one of the few things that we touched on is we don’t over booked our schedules, we’re focused on quality and we make sure that each customer has and a lot of time for the job to be done in order to hit our goals revenue wise to be able to have the time and justify the time on their property there was some price increase. Now we may mention some ancillary things of fuel or maybe increased labor but at the end of the day we really need to focus on why your business is different and how its providing value to the customer and hopefully overcome any of the price objections or sales objections to that increase. Now this is going to vary in each and every other service that you’re doing but maybe it’s the way you notify people maybe you have a before and after service text notification to alert that when you’re coming and when you’re leaving. So you want to highlight all the things that that extra money is bringing for them in, the value that you bring and differentiate yourself from your competition to avoid them going out to price shop you. Foundationally we really want to go out and get a baseline of what our hourly goal is budget vs actual for an average of all the jobs up to the season, we’re gonna raise the prices on only the jobs that don’t hit our hourly threshold and then when we go out rather email, phone call or text we want to concentrate on the reasons why the consumer is getting a better benefit with your service than the competitors and why that small price increase is bringing them value. They don’t care about the gas prices for you or your labor cost what are they getting in up and above and an extra value and make it about a higher perceived value to overcome them going out and shopping you. Hopefully that is a way of doing it but that’s something we did mid-season around July every year in the company and we also did it at the end of each year before we went out and renewed those contracts. But first make it a non-emotional thing so if Mrs.Smith’s lawn you’ve been cutting since you’re 16 years old she ended up planting 20 trees in the backyard it’s taken twice as long that would be a good reason to tell her why the price went up on her specific property but we also want to let her know that the benefit in there for her is we’re gonna take the extra time to weed whack and not scalp the grass around all those new trees and make sure the property looks nice the way it has since you were 16 years old. Hopefully that’s helpful but we want to concentrate on what’s in it for the consumer and basically take that price increase out of the equation. The main thing is we’re not doing a percentage increase across the board or $5 a cut that is the craziest thing that we continue to see in the landscape industry. If you’re my competitor in the local market, I hope you’re doing that because we’re gonna come right behind you and clean up. We want to run those job costing reports so if you’re not tracking your start and stop times whether using a CRM such as Service Autopilot or any other ones out there even if you’re not doing that your pen and paper either pen and paper or even like a Google sheet or excel sheet track your start and stop times for everything you do that’s gonna allow you have a non-emotional benchmark how much money you’re making per hour and if you’re hitting your goals. I also recommend measuring the turf square footage, landscape square footage, linear length of landscape bed  and maybe small, medium and large shrubs while you’re doing that it’s gonna be a double effect for a far as positivity because then you can take that data on an average across the whole entire year and create production rate based estimating so how long does it take your crew to mulch about or how long does it take your crew to mow blow and edge a property with your equipment and your guys so no longer do we have to go out to Facebook or read a book on industry averages we know exactly how long it takes your crew to do the work without any guessing we’re basing our prices on our internal price structure and not the guy or girl down the street or in a magazine or on Facebook so we have clear definitions of what our costs are what our production rates are internally and then an average of what we average per man-hour per guy with drive time per account we can not emotionally raise those prices on those jobs and when we go to raise those prices we’re just raising the ones that don’t hit our financial goal and we are highlighting what for the consumer and basically reaffirming the job inequality and taking price out of the equation and that’s gonna vary on each different property while you’re raising the price but if it’s only a handful and you’re doing your job right that’s how we would tackle it. Any comments questions drop blow want to say what’s up to Rob, Trent, Todd and David as well, hope you guys are doing well just here day number two if the Strath Hotel in the executive boardroom just about to start up with another two-day deep dive here in upstate New York for Simple Growth but keep the questions coming in I’m happy to answer them and hopefully overcome some of the things that we weren’t lucky enough to get right in our business the first time around and some of them well we were lucky enough to get right and happy to share those wins and losses with you. Big news coming up – if you’re still watching we’ve got the 20/20 lawn in landscape magazine technology conference gonna be in Orlando Florida in February this year I’m gonna be doing one of the talks on how to automate your lawn care business and take your life back from your business. I’m gonna be sharing some heartfelt stories of how my business originally took over my life and causes the divorce and how we went through and used technology and leveraged automated systems and processes to grow and scale a pretty successful business and eventually become an absentee owner of not having to be in the business for several weeks or a month at a time so be announcing the dates for that but it’s gonna be a belief February 19th through the 20th and then we’re gonna be in Savannah Georgia or following that at the QDs conference in the full-day event. I’m gonna have an event full two days in Rochester New York upstate as well sometime in August we’re gonna be announcing those dates and then we’ve got dates for snow magazine gonna be doing about an hour and a half to two hour talk in Boston, Philly and Buffalo New York also going over automating your lawn care and snow removal companies specifically obviously for snow magazine we’re going to talk about how we did it in our snow removal company six hundred driveways and about 70 or 80 parking lots of this is what we automated and had going. Hopefully if we don’t see on Facebook we’ll see you live at one of our live events that would be talking at throughout the United States this year.