How to Show Your Employees Some Appreciation During the Holidays

Your employees work hard during the year, so why not show them some love during the holidays? This season can be a stressful, exciting, and busy time all at once, and as a business owner, it becomes your job to make sure to treat your employees well. Keeping the morale high is beneficial to every aspect of your business, from how your employees interact with customers to how well they perform their duties!

Telling your employees how much you appreciate them is a great first step, but how about SHOWING them that appreciation? Here are a few tips we’ve put together for business owners who want to show their employees some appreciation during the holidays!

  1. Time Off: Giving your employees some paid time off is always a great idea. Most of you, if not all, give your employees Christmas day off. This year Christmas Eve is on a Monday so giving them that day off too, or letting them off early to spend time with family, could be a welcome surprise.
  2. Cash Bonuses: We’ve heard from countless business owners that one of their favorite things to do for their employees during the holidays is to give them a bonus. It could be small, something in the $50-$200 range, or it could be up in the thousands. Obviously, the size of the bonus is very dependent on the size of your business, so we don’t recommend overdoing it! However much it is, remember that the holidays can be a very expensive time so any extra money will be much appreciated by your employees.
  3. Provide Dinner/Lunch: Many business owners will buy lunch or dinner for their employees, or even their employees AND their families, during the holidays. Again, this all depends on the size of your operation, but getting everyone together for a meal will help strengthen that family side to your business. Remember, you all work together towards one common goal: providing the best service possible to your customers!
  4. Gifts: Some employers give their employees a special gift during the holidays. Some examples we’ve seen are tickets to a sporting event, gift cards to favorite restaurants, or a personalized item of personal significance to each employee. The options are pretty much limitless here, but the key is to get to know your employees during the year. The gift could be smaller, such as a new hunting knife or fishing reel, or could be bigger like tickets to an NFL game or a paid trip somewhere for the weekend.
  5. An Employee Appreciation Day: This one can take some more intense planning and money. However, organizing a day for all of your employees to get together and do something fun can be a welcome break from the daily grind. Again, some employers include families in these types of events. Whatever you do, from taking your employees paintballing, to spending an evening out on the town, your employees will appreciate it. This is also a good option for 

These are just five ideas that we recommend, but there are countless more. Get creative. Ask other business owners what they do. Talk to your employees and get to know them better so you can find out what they like. We promise it’s worth it. Investing in your employee’s happiness and well-being during the holidays is another way of investing in the future of your business.

Your employees work hard during the year, so why not show them some love during the holidays? This season can be a stressful, exciting, and busy time all at once, and as a business owner, it becomes your job to make sure to treat your employees well. Keeping the morale high is beneficial to every aspect […]

Tips N Chat Throwback # 17: Your Service Is Worth the Price

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post is from one of Ed York’s Pied Piper columns published in the Third Quarter 1977 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post!

June was a month of mixed emotions… A mailing to the south to 5,000 firms listed in last year’s yellow pages brought back over 1,200 marked “Moved, Address Unknown”. It is indeed a sad time when you think of so many dreams that probably became nightmares. These, for the most part, were good people; they did something wrong.

The SCT convention was exceptional and everyone attending had an excellent time, and reportedly gained much in knowledge and a better understanding of the business. This naturally was a good feeling. But, unfortunately, my mind was on good friends who couldn’t make the trip because they couldn’t get away from their business that long.

Some days were exceptional when we visited with those whose business was climbing every day. One bright experience was talking to a former furniture store owner, who several years ago, attended my 4/M class and was hot on price merchandising. Following the class and a year of SCT membership, he changed his operation to one of PRESTIGE. His shop was a testimonial to a good book operation. His office walls were decorated proudly with association material. He says he has doubled his prices and then some. He also says he is now booked a week ahead and has gained a reputation that unless you have a recommendation, his firm won’t even accept you for a client. His wife told Wanda that they had made more PROFIT the last year than the previous three put together. All they did was to seek direction and follow the advice of winners. Formerly he said, “maybe in your area it will work, but not in MINE”. Something caused him to change and say, “I’m just as good as the next man, and if he can do it, so can I”. He tried it. Not just once, but again and again, until it was his way. Carpet Cleaners have a hard time seeing it in their own profession, so let me tell you a story that happened here in Fresno to folks that I know.

Our former answering service had become lax. They used to give service, but they changed this to excuses. Our people investigated the others. One was high on three different reports. An interview with the owners was most pleasant. They were excited and determined to give the best service. I agreed to switch to their firm. I had expected to pay $35 to $45 per month. I was surprised to find that they only charged $22 per month. I figured it was a mistake, but the six months that followed proved the figure was correct. Our calls were never handled any better. They cared, they gave service, they were the best. Last month our phones were silent after-hours. The phone company had shut off our answering service’s equipment for lack of payment. The young couple had gone BROKE. I was stunned and called some of the other subscribers. They all agreed this firm was the best and also stated they would have been tickled to pay 50% more each month, rather than 50% less because of the great service they received. Pathetically, they were never given the opportunity. They naturally only paid what was asked.

~ Ed York (1977)

Below is the original article. 

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post is from one of Ed York’s Pied Piper columns published in the Third Quarter 1977 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post! June was a month of mixed emotions… A mailing to the south to 5,000 firms listed in […]

The Top 5 Scary Reasons You’re Not Using ServiceMonster

Having served the industry for over 15 years now, we’ve talked with a lot of carpet cleaners, window cleaners, pressure/power washers, and many other business owners along the way. Many decide to use ServiceMonster, but some do not. We have found that the vast majority of people who decide not to use ServiceMonster give us one of five common answers. Don’t get spooked by one of those answers!

We think that none of these reasons are actually obstacles, as we have designed ServiceMonster to help service businesses grow and become more efficient, no matter what “stage” they are in. Here are the top 5 answers we hear from the “No’s” and the “Not-Right-Now’s,” along with our response to each. 

1) “It’s too expensive.”

Is growing your business worth less than $80 per month? How about all of the time you’ll save by integrating your scheduling, billing, invoicing, and marketing? Even if $80 a month would put a strain on your budget, you can get ServiceMonster for FREE simply by referring one friend each month (credit will be given after friend has been with us for 45 days).

2) “We’re a small company and we don’t need help keeping organized.”

One question: how much of your time and attention does your current system require? With ServiceMonster, you can save a ton of time by automating all of your processes that would normally require paperwork. This makes tax season less stressful and frees up your after-hours life so you can focus on family, friends, and much-needed R&R. We also have a ton of owner/operator clients who swear by our FillMySchedule direct mail marketing service that sends out thank you and reminder cards to keep your clients coming back.

3) “I already use free programs (Google Calendar, etc.) that basically do the same thing.”

Does Google Calendar tell you what type of jobs earn you the most money, or what day of the week you are most likely to sell protectant? Does it give you the power to send out thank you cards at the click of a button? Yes, there are free programs that can help you handle the basics of running a business. The difference is that ServiceMonster empowers you to grow your business.

4) “Why pay a subscription for a software program? Shouldn’t I just have to pay for it once?”

Because our software is cloud-hosted with a secure server that automatically protects and backs up your data, we need to charge our subscribers monthly. We are also constantly working to improve our platform to help our clients grow. When we develop an upgrade to our system, it goes out to all of our subscribers at no additional cost. Plus, you get unlimited training and support from our dedicated staff who know the software and are always here to help! Also, we do not lock our clients into any kind of contract, so if you are ever unsatisfied or need to cut costs, you can turn your subscription off without any complications.

5) “We’ve heard great things about ServiceMonster. We’re just too busy right now to worry about learning a new program.”

We built ServiceMonster so it could be learned quickly by people who are not computer experts. The vast majority of our clients are comfortable using our platform after only two one-hour training sessions. For people who require a little more assistance when it comes to new software, our support staff is more than happy to help. Don’t let a busy schedule prevent you from making the decisions that will help you grow your business!

So, let’s recap:

Unlimited free support. Unlimited free training. Free lifetime upgrades. No annual contracts. Powerful tools to help you grow your business. Nothing scary!

What are you waiting for? Give us a call today at 888-901-3300 or click here to request a free demo!

Having served the industry for over 15 years now, we’ve talked with a lot of carpet cleaners, window cleaners, pressure/power washers, and many other business owners along the way. Many decide to use ServiceMonster, but some do not. We have found that the vast majority of people who decide not to use ServiceMonster give us […]

The ServiceMonster Show (October 12th, 2018): Townsquared, New FMS Cards Soon, and Mobile Pro Is Close!

THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA

THIS WEEK IN SERVICEMONSTER

  • We’re working on even more seasonal FMS cards!
  • Come see us at the UAMCC event in Houston!

SERVICEMONSTER PRODUCT UPDATES

  • 6.3.0 is here, with more features!
  • ServiceMonster Mobile Pro is now in closed internal beta!

THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA Looking for ways to stay in touch with your local community? Check this out: https://townsquared.com/ THIS WEEK IN SERVICEMONSTER We’re working on even more seasonal FMS cards! Come see us at the UAMCC event in Houston! SERVICEMONSTER PRODUCT UPDATES 6.3.0 is here, with more features! ServiceMonster Mobile Pro is now in closed […]

Tough Stuff: Planning for the Future of Your Business

We’ve talked about those first steps to getting off the truck, and we’ve talked about “Hell’s Valley” (that time when you have just a few employees). But what about when you’re past those points and actually have grown a large, successful business? What does the future hold? Have you thought about retirement? Do you have a plan for the future of your business?

We haven’t covered this much, mostly because many of you haven’t reached that one-to-two million dollar mark yet (keyword, YET!). That’s the size of business that we’re really talking about here, but this situation can apply to any size service business. With that in mind, have you looked at succession? Or selling? Or part-time retirement? Really what it comes down to is, have you focused on building a sustainable business that can ultimately function the same without you?

Charles Schwab and Steve Jobs are great examples of this. Here are two guys who built massive companies, but when they left things began to fall apart. They both had to come back to their businesses because they didn’t “install” within the company the core culture of their leadership. Yeah, they were great leaders (in their own ways), but they had to be physically there for things to stay on track. They didn’t realize that they had essentially failed to pass along their leadership skills and expectations to the people taking over.

For you, the service professional who has built a profitable business with 20 or so employees, you’re likely already in a managerial position or even onto the entrepreneurial visionary position. You’re no longer a technician (unless there’s a rare occasion where you want to be). At this point, you’re focused on figuring out the future of the business that you love. Hopefully, your employees are doing things the way you want them to be done, with only minor corrections here and there.

What so many business owners don’t realize at this point, is that their leadership is still just as important as ever, even if they aren’t directly managing all of the employees or even the day-to-day operations anymore. The business can’t function if it’s “headless”, so you must make sure that the business will not be headless when you leave.

You can leave and put someone else in charge of the operations, while you still collect dividends, or you can retire part-time and show up occasionally to help with the guidance of the business. For those less interested in staying involved in some way, you can set the business up to be sold. So, how do you approach these situations?

Read the books “Good to Great” and “Built to Last” by Jim Collins. These books will give you the proper mindset for the next steps. One of the key points that Collins brings up is the concept of “level 5 leadership”.

What does that mean? Well, Collins starts out with level one leadership, which is your typical example-based leadership style. This person does the same work as the people under them. It’s easy to get stuck at this level, and many business owners actually enjoy doing those basic tasks. You can’t grow a successful business at this level of leadership though. Do the CEO’s of Google and Microsoft go around doing rudimentary tasks? No, they don’t. The business as a whole relies on them to do things far beyond that.

We’ll skip ahead to level 5, but to learn more about levels 2, 3 and 4, either read the book or check out the video at the bottom of this post. A level 5 leader is someone who has an immeasurable amount of humility and steadfast resolve. They’re able to get stuff done not just because people love them or want to follow them, but because they don’t accept anything else. They make sure to hire the right people for the right jobs. Yeah, this is a lot harder than it sounds!

What all of this really comes down to is… it’s all about YOU, the business owner. Can you self-reflect? Can you take criticism? Can you look for mentors or coaches who will look you in the face and tell you the hard truth? Ultimately, can you set aside your ego? Maybe you aren’t the person who can single-handedly take your business to where you want to go.

So, who can you trust in your business without question? If the answer is nobody, then you need to start looking for people that you can put around yourself to help build you up. It’s not easy and it takes time, especially to build that trust, but it’s a journey that you have to get started on as soon as possible if you want to get where you’re going and you know that you can’t do it alone.

You have a few options with succession planning. You can keep on doing the business until you die, and then the business will just implode. Or, you can keep going until you retire and then let the business implode. However, neither of those are doing anybody any favors. Have you thought about finding someone to replace you? Someone who you not only trust but someone who is fully capable of running the business with you not there? Or, setting up your business so that you can sell it to an investor? Most people these days don’t want to buy a business and have to do all of the work still. They’re looking for an investment. They’re looking for a business that has been carefully structured in a way where people are in place to run it, and all that’s needed from the owner is occasional feedback or guidance.

Three things to wrap this up:

  1. Start planning early. Set goals, put things in place, and start really learning how to see those signs that aspects of your business are still too reliant on you individually.
  2. The biggest change you’re going to make during this process is you. Your mindset. Your ambition. Your perspective.
  3. Self-criticism. Are you able to look at yourself in the mirror and see the shortcomings that you have and work on them? Your personal shortcomings shouldn’t be the limiting factor when you’re headed towards your goals. Look for people to supplement your qualities.

For those interested in hearing more, check out this video below.

We’ve talked about those first steps to getting off the truck, and we’ve talked about “Hell’s Valley” (that time when you have just a few employees). But what about when you’re past those points and actually have grown a large, successful business? What does the future hold? Have you thought about retirement? Do you have […]

The ServiceMonster Show (October 5th, 2018): Facebook Job Listings, New Fall FMS Card, and 6.3.0!

THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA

THIS WEEK IN SERVICEMONSTER

  • We have new Fall FMS cards!

SERVICEMONSTER PRODUCT UPDATES

  • 6.3.0 is here!

THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA Here are some cool stats about the cleaning product industries impact on the economy: https://cleanfax.com/news/aci-economi… New features in Facebook’s job listing page could help you find your next great tech! https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news… THIS WEEK IN SERVICEMONSTER We have new Fall FMS cards! SERVICEMONSTER PRODUCT UPDATES 6.3.0 is here!

The ServiceMonster Show (September 28th, 2018): Facebook Chatbots, Hashtag Spam, and New Training Videos!

THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA

THIS WEEK IN SERVICEMONSTER

  • New Training videos!
  • Looking for more amazing support members!

SERVICEMONSTER PRODUCT UPDATES

  • If there are any features you found missing from our last release, find out why they’re coming in the next one!

THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA Should you be using Facebook’s chatbots? https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news… Is this the end of hashtag spam!? https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news… THIS WEEK IN SERVICEMONSTER New Training videos! Looking for more amazing support members! SERVICEMONSTER PRODUCT UPDATES If there are any features you found missing from our last release, find out why they’re coming in the next one!

The Best Way to Get New Clients

The situation: You have some extra cash saved up to do some new marketing for your business. It’s not a lot, but you want to use it in the most effective way possible to get new clients.

The solution: Well, there’s not just one solution to this situation. There are several options to explore.

First of all, as a service business, you have to get the mindset right. Before you do anything else, make sure that your company mindset includes marketing as a primary function.  The work that you physically do in your business (i.e. carpet cleaning, pressure washing, etc.), must be tied to the mindset that you are also a brand-building company. Some say running marketing campaigns here and there will work just fine, but that is actually the least effective approach you can take. Consistency and dedication are key.

Something to remember: When you’re not servicing clients, you should be servicing your business. This means that any extra money and extra time you have should be poured back into marketing efforts to get new clients. 

Cost-effective methods for getting new clients:

  • Cold calling. This may not work well for getting commercial accounts, and for residential prospects, you have to be aware of that pesky “do not call” list. Still, this method is virtually free as long as you have the time.
  • Door-to-door. Knocking on people’s doors can work, but also may annoy some people. Alternatively, leaving flyers or hand-outs is a great way to unintrusively get people’s attention at their home. This method is also effective when you have recently done work in a neighborhood, and you want to use that as an opportunity to let your customers neighbors know who you are.
  • Does your truck/van have lettering on it? Go out for a drive. This is an easy way to increase your brand presence in your area. Something as simple as going to the store can expose your brand image and name to tens, if not hundreds, of potential new customers. The more they see you out and about, the more likely they are to remember you when they need your service. If you don’t have any lettering or logos on your van, then seriously consider getting that done!

Most effective (albeit, not the cheapest) methods:

Every door direct mail (EDDM): Be careful not to carpet bomb the largest client base that you can. You want to focus on smaller segments of your area, such as specific neighborhoods where you haven’t done much business in, or a more affluent area where you know you can upsell more effectively. The goal with EDDM is to send a mail advertisement of some sort to the people in your target market 3 to 4 times in a 3 month period. This can be supplemented by cold calling and emailing (if you’re able to get people’s phone numbers and email addresses in a legitimate way). The more ways you can get your company name in front of them, the more likely they are to call you when they need a service that you offer.

Five-arounds: This is a classic method and is quite simple and easy to do. Write down the addresses of the two houses next to the one you cleaned, and the three houses across the street. Then, you can market to these specific people with messaging talking about how you did work for their neighbor. This method allows you to build a solid prospect list, but does take more time and may not have the highest response rate (for ServiceMonster users, SendJim integration is a great way to quickly get this done).

The big suggestion: Facebook ads. Our strategy here is a 4-step plan that is simple to follow, and easy to learn.

  • Step 1: Take your email list of your current clients and upload those to the Facebook Ad Manager. From this, you can create an audience. You can now target those people with specific ad campaigns.
  • Step 2: Starting out, you want to get them to like your page and engage with your content on Facebook. They key here is to stay top-of-mind with your current customers, without annoying or overloading them with ads.
  • Step 3: Target that customer audience with ads encouraging referrals and reminding them of the services you offer. This is a good time to introduce a special offer for repeat customers.
  • Step 4: Build lookalike audiences. Basing new audiences off of your original customer list allows you to target similar people with ads for your business, increasing the number of people who know about your business and what you offer.

Facebook marketing takes time to get right but is an incredibly cost-effective method with potentially huge results. Interested in learning more about how to maximize your ROI through Facebook? Check out our free guide here!

Now, where to start? Taking control of your brand’s marketing is not always easy. It’s totally normal to feel slightly overwhelmed with all of the possibilities, so below we have listed the three main takeaways from this post. If you can focus on these three things, you’ll be just fine:

1 – Get your mindset right. You’re building a brand. You can’t just get some cash, throw it at some random marketing campaign, and grow a thriving business. Be intentional and be consistent with your marketing strategy. 

2 – Pay attention to the small ways you can turn your free time into leads. Don’t be lazy. You’re running a business.

3 – Facebook. This will give you the best ROI. Other options, such as EDDM, fliers, mailers, cold calls, and seasonal opportunities such as sponsoring a little league team, all serve as great supplementary methods to your Facebook advertising. 

Interested in learning more? Check out the video below!

The situation: You have some extra cash saved up to do some new marketing for your business. It’s not a lot, but you want to use it in the most effective way possible to get new clients. The solution: Well, there’s not just one solution to this situation. There are several options to explore. First […]

The ServiceMonster Show (September 21st, 2018): AR for Business, Instagram Stories, and a New Update!

THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA

THIS WEEK IN SERVICEMONSTER

  • Our new phone system from Five9 is in place!
  • We’re looking for a new support agent!
  • And we have new printers in FMS!

SERVICEMONSTER PRODUCT UPDATES

  • 6.2.9.32 is out with a whole lot of features!

THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA Pinterest is opening up API access: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news… Could augmented reality help your customers see how badly they need their carpets cleaned? https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news… It’s time to use Instagram stories for your business! https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news… THIS WEEK IN SERVICEMONSTER Our new phone system from Five9 is in place! We’re looking for a new support agent! And […]

The ServiceMonster Show (September 14th, 2018): Website Leads, Hurricane Florence, and a Big Update Soon!

THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA

THIS WEEK IN SERVICEMONSTER

  • Congrats to Jim for winning a free 6-month subscription!
  • A new update is coming soon!

SERVICEMONSTER PRODUCT UPDATES

  • Nothing new this week!

THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA Getting more genuine leads for your website: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news… We are thinking of all of you affected by Hurricane Florence: https://www.forbes.com/sites/marshall… THIS WEEK IN SERVICEMONSTER Congrats to Jim for winning a free 6-month subscription! A new update is coming soon! SERVICEMONSTER PRODUCT UPDATES Nothing new this week!