Sales Check-Up

Am I estimating as many jobs this year as last year? Am I closing as many jobs as last year? Am I bidding more expensive jobs this year than last? What kind of jobs should I be bidding? As a business owner, you should be asking yourself these questions; the answers will give you a snapshot of your sales status.  Without statistics, you would have to guess at the answers to these questions.  But with PEP Cloud, you don’t need to guess. The Dashboard is part of your PEP Cloud home page.  It shows you statistical information about your sales.  Today we’re going to focus on the benefits of looking at Year-To-Date stats.  What am I looking at here? Since January 1, 2015, this business owner has made 79 estimates; the average estimate is about $8050.  Of those 79 estimates, 69 of them were turned into proposals for customers; the proposal average is about $8700.  Of the 69 proposals, 39 of them were accepted – that’s a closing rate of 57%.  The average accepted job value is $5600.  Actual revenue collected to date is in the green box. What’s the pie chart? The pie chart is a visual representation of the numbers above.  Ideally, you want to make a proposal for every estimate you create, and you want every proposal to be accepted.  If that were the case, each wedge would be the same size. Got it.  Now what? To the right of “ Year-to-Date”, click “Other” and select “PYTD” to see statistics for the same time period last year.   From January 1-June 18, 2014, this same business owner made...

Overwhelmed? Part 3

Get a grip on your clients. Keeping up with leads and following up with clients is key to keeping your business operating.  You can organize your clients with a color-coding system.  We’re going to talk about this using PEP Cloud, but you can do the same thing in Zoho and other CRM systems. Start by making some general client categories and assigning each group a color. PURPLE – New lead – requires a phone call! YELLOW – Contacted customer, have not estimated yet ORANGE – Submitted a proposal RED – Client is close to signing the proposal GREEN – Accepted proposal/job in progress BLUE – Job complete You might come up with other categories; the list above is just a suggestion. Using the colors above, here’s how it works: When you get a lead, immediately add that person as a Client in PEP Cloud and make the client PURPLE.  This option is on the client’s information page.  PURPLE means that you need to call the client.   Once you’ve made contact, change the client’s color to YELLOW.  YELLOW means that you’ve talked with the client and you’ve got an appointment scheduled or you’re waiting to hear back from them.  You should get in the habit of making a note when you call a client and whether you speak to them or leave a message (doing that in PEP Cloud is quick and easy).  When you submit a proposal to a client, change their color to ORANGE. If you think that proposal is close to being closed on, change change it again to RED.  If the client accepts the proposal, change...

Overwhelmed? Part 2

Manage your time, manage your business. During the busy season (i.e. NOW), you’ve got to use your time wisely.  But time-management is not an easy skill to master.  Here are some guidelines. PRIORITIZE BASED ON DIFFICULTY At the beginning of each day, make a list of 3 important tasks that need to be done.  Do the hardest task first (you know you’ll put it off because it is the hardest), then the next hardest. Example of a prioritized To Do List: Process payroll (most difficult because it is time consuming at tedious) Read through job applications (2nd in difficulty because again, tedious) Contact client Mr. Smith about upcoming job details (must be done, but easiest) PRIORITIZE BASED ON URGENCY When you’re running a business, everything needs to be done.  You have to have a way of prioritizing the tasks so you don’t get stuck.  Divide your tasks into URGENT and REQUIRED.  Urgent tasks need to be done first.  These are things that will keep your company operating like collecting money, processing payroll, and interviewing new hires.  If your crew needs it in order to work today, it’s urgent.  Required tasks also need to be done, but they can wait an hour or two.  Things like paying bills, contacting a client to discuss details of a job, and ordering supplies for next week are required. Example of an Urgency To Do List: Process payroll (you can’t operate if your employees don’t get paid) Read through job applications (a new hire will keep your company moving) Contact Mr. Smith (you need to know what colors to order, but this can wait...

Overwhelmed?

When you have an abundance of work – more than you can really handle – you can expand your business, raise your prices, or turn down jobs.  If that last option doesn’t sound appealing, never fear.  We’re going to explore some ways to manage the situation. Too much work sounds like a good problem to have, but it’s a sign that your supply-demand ratio is out of balance.  Customers can become dissatisfied with long wait-times.  The quality of the workmanship can drop because your employees are exhausted.  You might be too busy to bid future jobs, which means you’re missing out on opportunities. INCREASE PRICES There is a saying in the industry that if you get every job you bid, you aren’t charging enough.  The law of supply and demand says that when demand for your service is high, you can charge higher prices.  You need a reliable way to figure out how much to charge your clients, especially if you have to pay your crew overtime or hire additional hands to get the work done.  An estimating tool like PEP Cloud is your best friend in this situation.  The worst thing (and we’ve seen this) is to work really hard only to discover that you didn’t make any profit because your estimate was off or you didn’t factor in overtime. EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS The timing may not be ideal because you’re so busy, but consider hiring more employees to help with the work-load.  While there is a cost involved, an additional crew member could take away the need for overtime.  (Can you afford it?  If you’ve taken time...

Optimized Products

Extend Your Season with Optimized Products It’s so nice to work outside:  breathe fresh air, feel the sun, and hear Mother Nature in the background (especially if you work in the country like I do).  But not all days are sunny, with the perfect temperature for paint to dry, and not every side of the house is in the shade.  It’s important to select the right products for the environment in which you are working (think about temperature and moisture level).  Fortunately, paint technology has improved.  There are now many different products on the market to address the variety of conditions out there.  I have found that in my region, Sherwin-Williams’ Duration and Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint work well.                        Both of these products offer excellent moisture control and can be applied at 40 degrees – this is a big deal in New England. Do your research.  Find products optimized for your needs.  Your local paint rep is a great resource.  Gone are the days of postponing work because of morning dew or a cold night.  Technological advances make it possible to extend the exterior painting season through the humid summer months and longer into the cold...