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residential service
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I can't handle the call volume. But I am not ready to add a truck. What does a company do when it already has too much work and the calls keep pouring in daily? Just turn people away? Higher diagnostic fee to weed out the tirekickers? Curious.
Right or wrong this is what I do. I have a former employer who is also a small company. I will pass the calls off to him. My thinking is this, we are more or less on the same page as to what a top service company should look like. I'd rather he take the call than just turn them away because I believe they will get excellent service done at the right price. If I just turn them away then who knows what hack they might end up with. Plus if we get the call originally we get all their info and may still have an opportunity to market to them in the future. It's not perfect but it's the best thing we have figured out so far. Last year we gave away a total of 66 calls and I hated it everytime we did it. If anybody has a better idea, I'm all ears.
 

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Not sure if this is a better idea, but it works!

1. Take care of existing customers first.
2. Don't waste time on tire kickers, not even for a trip charge. Explain that you are very busy and that you prefer to look at a job prior to giving price; however, due to your backlog you are willing to make an exception and give a range over the phone. If they are fine with this range, schedule and do the job making the profit you deserve.
3. Efficiency is paramount - schedule jobs by location and severity.
4. Offer discount to customer if they are willing to wait a few days.
5. Find an extra pair of hands for anything that can be delegated (paperwork, telephone calls, picking up materials etc.)
6. MOST IMPORTANT - If they absolutely cannot wait and there is no way you can get to them - refer them to another reputable co. like Smells suggests. Before referring, get their tel. # and address. When you get a chance, send a letter explaining all customers are important and that you were very disappointed that you could not get to them. Ask them to consider you the next time a plumbing need arises and offer them a coupon to do so. We have turned down a total of four jobs in four years due to being too busy. Three out of the four customers came back to us. These are customers we had never worked for, but all stated they were impressed we went the extra mile to hook them up with an excellent plumber. The plumber we refer them to is excellent, but by himself. He refers a lot more to us than vice versa.

Hope this helps a little!

BTW - We are slammed now too and understaffed!
 

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As a one man shop you can only do so much. You have to decide if now is a good time for you to take it to the next level. Remember fear is your friend................this tape will self destruct in 20 seconds.:blink:
 

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i have been to the next level and it was not for me at the time. the next time will be better... better planned, better organized, better outcome
 

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i have been to the next level and it was not for me at the time. the next time will be better... better planned, better organized, better outcome
Super Plumber says more here than you may actually read into it. Any weaknesses you have now will only be magnified with two trucks on the road. A multi-truck company can not be run like a one man shop and be successful. Not all entrepreneurs have the ability to step back, delegate, and learn new skills.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I am learning to delegate without hiring anybody yet.

Hired an accountant a few months back who does my bookeeping/taxes. Saves me tons of time and only for a reasonable monthly fee.

Found a local temporary labor service. They send me laborers with their own transportation and their own workman's comp for only $12.50/hour as long as I give a day's notice. And they are english-speaking americans! So I have a helper or two or more, whenever I need it.:thumbup:

Next, I am thinking to hire a phone answering service.

All of this will allow me to stay a one-man shop for now, yet I will have the support of a bookeeper, receptionist and helper! Yet no employees.:thumbsup:
 

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You seem to have a well thought out plan. Good for you. It's 9:00 a.m. already - get to work and bring home the bacon for Lorelei.
 

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Water Whisperer
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3,627 Posts
I am learning to delegate without hiring anybody yet.

Hired an accountant a few months back who does my bookeeping/taxes. Saves me tons of time and only for a reasonable monthly fee.

Found a local temporary labor service. They send me laborers with their own transportation and their own workman's comp for only $12.50/hour as long as I give a day's notice. And they are english-speaking americans! So I have a helper or two or more, whenever I need it.:thumbup:

Next, I am thinking to hire a phone answering service.

All of this will allow me to stay a one-man shop for now, yet I will have the support of a bookeeper, receptionist and helper! Yet no employees.:thumbsup:
You're on the right track by building the infrastructure first, then hiring a journeyman. Not many plumbers are patient with a half formed company.
 
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