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5 Steps to Double the Success Rate of Your Quote

5 Steps to Double the Success Rate of Your Quote

 

Quote Tip #1: Who is your Target Market?

It’s important to know who your target market is because once you’ve identified this you’ll be able to better research your ideal customers. Focus on the fears, frustrations, wants, and needs of your customers because this is one of the key factors in influencing your sales quote to getting approved. Customers base their decision on whether they should buy from you or not mainly on how much you relate to them i.e.: understanding their reasons for wanting this project done, their concerns, and whether or not you speak their language.

 

Quote Tip #2: Are you Making Money?

Always ensure that the quote price is sufficient to getting the job done and that you’ll be making a profit. In order to work out if your price is profitable, work out your “job costing”. In addition, get to know your margins! You need to know the net profit you make from each client who buys your products and services. If you understand how much you actually make from each sale, you’ll be able to work out what is required to cover your costs and make a profit.

 

Quote Tip #3: Understand your Capacity.

Before you quote on a job, always ask yourself, “can I provide the products or services in the quantities and timeframe requested?” Make sure you don’t quote beyond your means to deliver either in cost and/or time. Be confident in your ability to complete the tasks required. Research and review the proposal and consider your quote carefully before you commit to it. Never quote unless you’re certain you can deliver to their satisfaction.

 

Quote Tip #4: Do you have a Sales Process?

Develop a sales process so that you can systemize your quoting efforts and win more jobs. When you take a strategic approach with your quoting, you’re less likely to lose out on jobs. Take the time to create templates for quotes so that your presentations always look professional and consistent. Have a script prepared for each phase starting from the first moment of engagement. Present testimonials of your past work, as this will display your reputation and promise to deliver. Always deliver a quote in person.

 

Quote Tip #5: Be Proactive and Follow-Up.

Too many times contractors will spend time assessing the work, providing advice and preparing the quote but shortly after the delivery they disappear just waiting for the customer to call back. Be assertive, it is your right to ask for feedback. Feedback can mean winning a job, getting a referral or just you expanding your database for future opportunities. Treat quoting like an investment, where you deserve to know what your return is on it.

 

What is the Next Step for ME in order to Quote Profitably?

It is important that you track all your jobs so that you’re always making a profit and being competitive in your quotes at the same time. To help you get started, we’re giving away our Progress to Profit Dashboard™ tool. Get all your jobs on track to profit! You can grab your copy by clicking here.

Technology-Worker-Tablet

Technology-based Systems— a new road to profitability

Technology has come a long way over the decades. It provides many options to allow contractors to better master their business. Almost every aspect of a contracting company can be systemized using technology of some sort.

Back in the day, there were far fewer tools to help you do daily work tasks. It was a lot more grit, brain power, and hands-on work to get the job done. It required working long days including evenings and weekends, immense stress due to keeping it all in your own head, and a tired body from always being on the go.

It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Let’s compare:

THEN: picture the contractor who used a dull pencil and wrinkled papers crammed into an overstuffed folder to organize their day, keep their team accountable, hire new employees, and track their profits. Chaotic, right?

VS.

NOW: picture the contractor who uses a smartphone and tablet to systemize many aspects of their business; no mess, just a piece of technology tucked into their work pants, ready to tackle the day at the click of a button. Easy, right?

While there’s nothing wrong with using ‘old school’ methods to run and systemize a contracting business, it can create a bit of chaos if not done properly. Let’s face it, working solely on paper and in your own head can be tough— and lead to missed opportunities, and chaos in the office and job site.

Instead of sorting through dozens of papers scattered all throughout the company van, why not use a digital app to keep you organized and the company systemized?

 

“Almost every aspect of a contracting company can be systemized using technology of some sort.”

 

There are many examples of what technology can do for us:

Organizing our time: now we have Google Calendar, Self Control – one example of a free apps that can block distracting websites from you during the workday, and the ability to set reminders on our phone. After all, why keep all your daily tasks in your own head when you can see them in front of so that you never miss a beat?

Keeping our team accountable: now we have digital checklists connected to mobile apps for employees to use such as the free online tool Trello. We also have software that can track your teams’ work hours such as ExakTime. Why just assume your team is working efficiently without you being there— know for sure so that you’re paying your crew for the time and effort they truly put in.

Hiring new employees: now we have the Internet and plenty of sites to help us find the perfect candidates for a job opening. Kijiji, Craigslist, Indeed, Monster, and Workopolis to name a few. Why just post the print ad on your office window and hope people will drop by— post it everywhere so you get more opportunities to work with only the best.

Tracking profits: Now we can hire employees to use QuickBooks or put together easy-to-read spreadsheets in order to stay on top of our financials. Why just hope for profits when we can plan for them?

 

At Profit For Contractors, we understand the struggle of keeping it all in your own head and not having the time to look for technological tools to help you better organize and systemize your business. It’s why we’d like to help you.

On our upcoming FREE webinar: “Systems & Procedures to Help you get CONTROL of your Business” we’re discussing the top systems contractors are using to maximize profits, get control of their teams, and get time back. It’s happening Tuesday, April 25th, 11:00am EST. Save your spot today by clicking here.

 

If you have any questions contact us at support@profitforcontractors.com or give us a call at 1-613-604-4531.

Why Your Bad Clients Don’t Deserve You and How to Kick Them Out the Door

Think back (maybe way, way back for some of you) to when you were in school. Remember report card day? Did you mostly get A’s and B’s, or did you get a mix of A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s? What was your parents’ reaction? Most likely your parents would give you a high-five for the good grades, and have a serious discussion about the bad grades and how to help you improve them.

Back in school we would have our parents and teachers create a plan that would help increase our grades. Let’s drop the classes we aren’t doing so well in and join some we know we can excel in. I propose we apply the same plan to your electrical business and drop the grade C and D clients to make room more for A’s and B’s. It’s time to better our grades— our business!

Would you hold up your list of current clients and be proud to show a list of A’s and B’s or would you find a large number of C and D clients? Now that Spring is here, and things are about to get very busy for us, it’s time to put this plan in action.

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“Kick your Grade D clients to the curb because they don’t deserve you.”  Tweet This

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Here are the different grades of clients:

A (Awesome) grade clients pay their bills on time, are pleasant to deal with, are happy to pay you what you quoted and sometimes more, are repeat clients, provide amazing referrals, and are great communicators; giving you all the details to do your job right the first time.

B (Basic) grade clients pay their bills eventually but sometimes need to be chased, they are sensitive to your pricing and are only somewhat loyal; long-term relationships are not at the top of their priority list, but at least doing jobs for them tend to run pretty smoothly.

C (Can’t deal with) grade clients tend to have an undiagnosed case of schizophrenia as they’re constantly changing their minds and not expecting to have to pay for it. Even if you sold the job below your cost and they knew it, they’d still want a better price! They generally don’t pay on time and when they do it’s less than what you invoiced them for.

D (Dead) grade clients are like leeches; draining the blood out of our business right in front of you and your team. They treat your crew like dirt, which sometimes results in top employees quitting. They are never satisfied and you’re lucky if you ever get paid because they see you as a bank, not an Electrical Contractor.

Don’t feel discouraged if you were reading through these descriptions and actual clients were popping into your head. It’s a good sign that you’re ready to start saying goodbye to your grade D clients.

I’ve created a really effective tool that can accelerate grading your clients.

Grading your clients will make you realize how much time you’ve been wasting on C’s and D’s. Some clients that you thought were A’s and B’s are actually C’s and D’s typically because of a lack of profit and poor timing when it comes to paying bills. Once you kick the grade C’s and D’s to the curb, you’ll allow your company more opportunity for higher profits and cash flow, save hundreds of hours from dealing with unhappy clients that can never be pleased, and promote a better company atmosphere because employees will be a lot more proud of their ‘grades.’ Utilizing this tool will get you really clear on what types of clients you need to start marketing to.

How to kick them to the curb: 

  1. Pick the top few D’s and send them a letter informing them that you’re no longer going to be working with them. Phone them to make sure they received it.
  2. Let the team know who’s been informed and tell them the new rules of the game (putting the list of clients up on a white board will help everyone know who not to deal with any longer.)
  3. Create a script so admin and anyone answering the phones know how to keep the door shut on them.
  4. Let the team know whom the A’s and B’s are and how they need to be treated differently.
  5. Create a marketing plan as if you were going fishing; to determine where the A’s are, create the right lures with strategies on how to get more of them.
  6. Create strategies to improve the B’s to A’s.

Getting rid of the C’s and D’s will allow you to give so much more attention to the grade A’s. It allows you to actually work less for more profits. Treat your grade A’s like gold, and they’ll give you repeated business time and time again— soon you won’t ever have to deal with another grade D client again, simply because you won’t have to!

If you have any questions concerning this topic, feel free to contact Profit for Contractors at 613-604-4531 or support@profitforcontractors.com

Why Defining a Workplace Culture is so Important

“Why should I have written rules and practices in my business? Shouldn’t every employee know not to smoke on the job site, be 5 minutes early to every shift, and know not to wear stained jeans and a ripped t-shirt when meeting with a customer?”

Sadly, no, that’s not always the case. Especially in the trades industry— let’s be real here.

Written rules and unspoken practices must be set in place within your business. You need to set order and structure within your walls so that every team member is on the same page and working well with one another.

As business owner, you have to determine the ‘personality’ of your business. Establish the values, beliefs, and habits you want your team to follow and be on board with. Every business owner will have a slightly different work culture— formed from their own interests, experience on the tools, and things they find important.

The two main reasons you want an established work culture are:

  1. Because everything you and your team does determines how you come across to customers!
  2. Because when everyone is following the same rules and practices, people work better together!

From day one, each new employee needs to be shown the work culture and told how things are run, so that everyone is operating on the same level. It’s important that you hire people that’ll be a good cultural fit with your company.

It’s a lot harder to start changing and implementing work culture 20 years in, but it can be done. Unfortunately some team members just might not make the cut— it’s a sacrifice you may have to make in order to maintain a strong team and professional image.

Some common examples of work culture rules could include:

  • Shaking hands when greeting people, and not interrupting others when they’re speaking
  • Being professional on all communication fronts: in-person, in emails, in written letters, etc.
  • Being punctual, dependable, and respectful
  • Being well-groomed and following the dress code
  • Not swearing or smoking on job sites
  • Following company procedures

One thing to keep in mind is that a positive work culture will always give the best results. As business owner, you too have to follow these rules and treat everyone with respect and realize that everyone is important to your business and has the potential to grow.

A work culture won’t be maintained if it’s unrealistic and you don’t follow the practices yourself, because team members will pick up on that quickly and soon go about their day in their own way—causing chaos, a lack of structure, and an unprofessional image.

If you need help defining your work culture, or have questions based on this subject, don’t hesitate to book in a quick chat with us by clicking here.

1st Live Workshop of the Year a Success!

Over 40 contractors and their team members from around Ontario and Quebec stepped away from their job sites, projects, and offices yesterday, Tuesday, March 22nd, to take part in our Marketing & Sales Live Workshop. After 2 months of planning and preparing for the event, I taught the crowd how to better their contracting business through proven strategies, tools, and templates.

My brother, Robert Houston of Rep Tradie, was our guest speaker, and explained to everyone the importance of reputation marketing, the rise in technology and its power, and the effect it could have on your contracting business— both good and bad, and how to deal with it and use it to your advantage.

Members of Boone Plumbing and Heating Inc. were in attendance and had a major role in promoting the Live Workshop. Jiffy Print and Photo provided all Sales Kit examples that included door hangers, lawn signs, posters, and postcard examples that were used during our presentation. A huge thank you goes out to these two amazing companies!

With a room full of different tradespeople, the day was full of networking, learning how to improve a business, and laughs— it was certainly a memorable day for me, and we can’t wait to provide you more great strategies and lessons in our next event, the ‘Chaos to Control’ online workshop happening April 19th 9-10:30am.

The Boone Academy

The Boone Academy

We are pleased to announce a new line of training available to our clients this year. We have paired up with local company Boone Plumbing and Heating Ltd. to provide you in-depth training on how to enhance your contracting company.

Together, we have one goal: to help as many tradesmen better their business as possible. To help them earn more time back for their families, to make more money, and to make it easier for them to run their business versus it running them.

Starting January 2016, each quarter, for two consecutive months there will be one online workshop a month, and the third month will be a live workshop held at the Nepean Sportsplex. This process repeats each quarter.

Topics will be specific to our 3 core pillars— applicable to any contracting business: Time and Team, Profit and Cashflow, and Sales and Marketing. You’ll notice these topics will be in sync with our seasons and the reason behind teaching topics at specific times of year is so that they can be as beneficial to you as possible— something you can take and apply to your business right away.

Look out for our invites either online or in-store through the Boone Academy.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Otherwise, look out for upcoming events on our Home Page.

Why Marketing?

“Why Marketing?”

If you’re currently in a slow slump; not getting enough leads resulting in no new customers, then listen up.

Small business owners, particularly contractors like yourself, wear many hats— working multiple positions and running many tasks simultaneously, which can be the main reason as to why you don’t have a marketing plan carved out already.

Many of you have put in the time, energy, and money into marketing but saw no difference in cash flow.

Small business owners state the following as their biggest hurdle for getting results from their marketing efforts:

  • The economy is slow
  • Lack a marketing budget
  • Lack knowledge of marketing
  • Don’t have the time
  • Are confused by the (sometimes) conflicting information out there

These are valid reasons as to why you don’t have a great marketing plan, but it doesn’t mean that’s the end all be all. It doesn’t have to be hard. You can create a marketing plan that attracts clients even in the toughest of times.

The secret to making marketing easy is to:

  • Immerse yourself in your customers world— try to put yourself in their shoes so you get the message across most effectively.
  • Uncover your customers pains, struggles, worries and concerns to leverage your unique ways to assisting these people.
  • Find out where your potential customers hang out (on and offline) so that you can find the right channels to get your message across. (Grocery store bulletins, Sports centre entrance ways, on Facebook, on Linked In, at home looking at flyers and newspapers, etc.)
  • Learn to test and measure so that you know where to apply your marketing budget. (Everything is trial and error at first, and that’s okay!)

Take the time to discover your ideal market— learn the systems and methods that will get you more clients, higher profits, and time for life outside your business. Knowing your marketing problems and seeking out solutions is the first step to achieving success!

If you need help with your marketing and getting more leads, then click here have a chat with us.

Top 5 Areas to Master as the Business Leader

Join Profit For Contractors June 27, 2017, at 11:00am EST for a FREE Leadership & Communication Webinar! Click HERE to register.

In order to master your business, you need to master a few things as leader and business owner. Keep in mind, being adaptable and open to change is key for any business owner in order to see positive change and growth.

Here are the 5 areas to focus on in order to better yourself and your business this year:

1. Master your Teams 

A happy team is a productive team. Ensure everyone understands the common goal of your business. Tell them the values you hold, and the environment you wish everyone to work in. Ensure there’s open communication and that you take the time to reward your employees for their great work.

2. Master your Money 

The strategies you have in dealing with money will either make or break profitability, thus affecting how long you will be in business. Have plans for budgets and auditing account receivables so that you can avoid any problems with your cash flow. You should constantly be adapting to pricing increase.  

3. Master your Marketing 

In order to offer value beyond just price, you should be focusing on the customer themselves. Know their values and trigger points— what’s truly important to them and why. Master how to increase conversion rate, the number of transactions and the margins of each sale so that you can maximize profits. Never forget up-selling and cross-selling.

4. Master Technology

Technology doesn’t have to be complicated— embrace it as it’s the way of the future. When used correctly, it can help you stay organized and better on top of tasks as well as make them easier. Find tools that have a positive affect on your profits such as tools to systemize account receivables.

5. Master Self-Growth

As a business owner, you want to invest in learning so that you can stop constantly making the same mistakes. You don’t necessarily have to seek formal education, but you should want to seek answers to your biggest business problems.

Passion alone will not lead to profits, but knowledge will get you to a path of better understanding your business because you’ll be focusing on the important questions and tasks, resulting in better decisions and actions. When you are a business owner, think like a leader, not as an employee.

Change won’t happen overnight— it’s going to take some planning, searching, teaching, and learning. But nothing will change for the better if you never start.

Join Profit For Contractors June 27, 2017, at 11:00am EST for a FREE Leadership & Communication Webinar! Click HERE to register.

5 Apps to Maintain Control and Save you Time

It’s the day and age of technology, so why not use it to your advantage? Sure, learning how to use a new app or computer program may sound daunting, but it’s very much worth the efforts. The reason these apps were created for your industry is to SAVE you TIME, and to help you MAINTAIN CONTROL.

Here’s 5 amazing apps currently on the market that can truly change the way you run your business:

1) Jobber App

You’re already busy enough with managing your projects and team. When you add administrative work to the mix, you’re working overtime, correct? Save time in your day with Jobber. https://getjobber.com/industries/general-contracting/

  • Batch Invoicing
  • QuickBooks or Xero Syncing
  • Scheduling
  • Route Optimization
  • Drag-and-Drop Calendar
  • Financial Reporting
  • Invoice Templates
  • Expense/Payment Tracking

2) ExakTime App

Does your service crew get to the office to fill out their paperwork after 6-8 hours running calls? Are their often mistakes and unhappy customers because they make mistakes on monitoring their time? Not any more with ExakTime. http://www.exaktime.com/solutions/time-clocks/exaktime-mobile/

  • Crew & Cost Code Tracking
  • Field Notes
  • GPS
  • ID Confirmation of crew members
  • Team View Map

3) JoistApp App

Constantly working over time in order to get paperwork done? With Joist, you can tackle everything from the job site or in the truck in order to get it done right away. This allows for less mistakes and things to be forgotten. https://www.joistapp.com/

  • Estimates
  • Invoices
  • Management

4) FieldLens App

Do you struggle to communicate with your team while they’re out on job sites? FieldLens App allows you to control your team and projects from a distance— so that you can focus on your own important tasks. http://fieldlens.com/

  • Reporting
  • QA/QC
  • Punch List
  • Safety
  • Manpower
  • Realtime Project Communication
  • Audit Trail
  • Progress Photos and Videos
  • Integrations

5) Tradies App

Are you struggling with creating your own forms, templates, and paperwork? Fear no more. Tradies is a mobile tool that provides you with quick solutions to all the paperwork forms you may need in your day. They also provide tons of support through how-to videos on their website. http://www.contractorsapps.com/our-apps/tradies

  • Site Diary
  • Change Orders/Variations
  • Quotes
  • Invoicing
  • Toolbox Talk
  • Meeting Minutes
  • Request for Information
  • Sub-Contractor Agreements
  • Tender Request
  • Estimate
  • Backcharge Notive
  • Purchase Order
  • Site Instructions
  • Extension of Time.

Stop drowning yourself in paperwork, and start saving time by investing into an app built for your industry! These apps provide automation in your business operations that will help you to systemize and get back control. Find an app that suits you and your business best so that you can start getting time back to spend with your family and work on bettering your business.