Six things that changed my business in 2008

You know I really have been selfish over the years. (2 1/2 to be exact) I read so many posts from other window cleaners on different sites and I haven’t really helped other people out the way I have been helped. With that being said here is my top 6 for 2008: (I hope this helps.)

#1. I got the new tmobile G-1 Phone. (My first really good phone) It has internet access so I am able to take phone calls while I am away from my office and at a jobsite and schedule them. (Becuase I use the customer factor and can access my schedule from my phone.)

#2. I record a message every single day on my voice mail and say the date and let people know when I will be returning my calls for the day. The messages left have jumped to almost 100%. (That’s of course when I can’t answer the phone.)

#3. I was introduced to sendoutcards by David Frey. I bought his e-book online and I think it’s called “The small business marketing Bible.” or something close to that. He explained the power of referrals and how to get them. Once I got my education up I really appreciated sendoutcards so I signed up to use it. It has literally doubled my residential window cleaning business. I only do residential. I only have one commercial and that is by choice. I’m not very good juggling both commercial and residential. Please look at www.sendoutcards.com/deland and let me know what you think. I am willing to answer any questions.

#4. The customer Factor. I signed up with it when I first started, thankfully, and have really grown to appreciate it. Steve has helped me personally. www.thecustomerfactor.com

#5. On my website, which is horrible I warn you, has one good thing on there. That is the schedule form. It has started to make me a lot of money. It is very easy for past customers to schedule now. I will be making my website more user friendly and not so “Template” looking. I am currently working on a very comphrehensive estimate page. Coming soon…
www.clearviewwindowwashingservice.com

#6. Estimates over the phone. I’ll never go back to on-site again!

There are a couple more things obviously, I guess I could talk about my waterfed pole and how that helps too.

What’s your 6? or 1? or 2? or 10?

Thanks,

Deland

Looks like an “infomercial” to me, but don’t get me wrong… is good to share good things and even better to give back. Good 2009

Yeah i was afraid of that. Oh well. My intention was to start a thread with some meat on it. There is one more thing that has really helped me is www.rudder.com. it is a financial site.

Deland

Awesome topic. I appreciate your sharing.

I will look into that book today.

[B]The tip about changing the date is golden![/B]

I am guilty of hijacking threads for sake of humor. This thread will not be one.

I am new to 3G phones and have the Black jack. Can you share more about how your phone has helped?

I found a link some may see interest in:
http://www.klausdahl.com/David-Frey-Small-Business-Marketing-Bible-review.htm

It is rare I post 3 times in a row. Deland has exposed here an awesome direction.

I have spent some time at the website listed above and found it to be a god mine.

TY D for this thread.

In the past the only option for me to schedule somebody, which was my main concern also how to put their info in before it got lost, was to tell them I would call them back later in the day when i was at my computer or be at my computer when they called so I could finish the “process” of either giving them an estimate or looking up their past information and telling them what their price was, if they were a past customer.
I noticed I closed a lot more when I am able to answer the phone immeadiately while working. People make a better decision when they are doing what they want to do when they want to do it. If they talk to somebody on the phone and not get a voice mail. The person on the other end is nice and seems like he knows what they are talking about. And do you want to know what my close is after I give them my price? My exacts words are: “would you like me to look at my schedule?”
Now what I am able to do is give them an estimate on the spot. And if they want to schedule just pull up my calendar and see my availability. Or if they are past customers just pull of their “history.” I can do this because the customer factor is internet based. I don’t have to do one of those “go to my pc” things. Not saying there is anything wrong with that. One day I would really like to get one of those computer stands the cops have in their cars for their laptops.
But for now I basically have a mini computer that fits in my pocket.
For example, traditionally, this time of year is very slow in Florida. Right after Christmas up to the last part in January. Yesterday, I was able to schedule a customer for $400 while I was washing windows at another house. It took a total of, realisticly, 7-10 minutes from the time of the phone call, estimate and schedule in my phone. And if my 3g isn’t working properly I just write down the date and time for their appointment and put it in at the end of the day.

Oh, nice link for David’s book. I know him personally. We talk every once in a while because of Sendoutcards.

Thanks,

Deland

I need to study my phone more. :slight_smile:

Then, I will need smaller fingers and bionic eyes.

(The screen and key board are tiny)

Thanks again D

Deland, why do you like Davids’ book?

Someone told me, I think David actually, that if there was one thing somebody can do to better themselves his answer would be to “get educated.” That doesn’t necessarily mean go to college. That means learn from people who have been there. Tony Robinson said something like “success leaves a trail.” Do what other successful people do. Why not! Too many of us try to re-creat the wheel so many times.
I don’t know how many times somebody told me some good advice and because it didn’t apply to my “current” situation I thought they were, quite frankly, stupid and they didn’t know what they were talking about. Then I find myself later saying how smart they were.
David is somebody who has been in the trenches. He owns and operates a website called: www.marketingbestpractices.com. It is FULL of FREE stuff. There are principles in marketing that apply to all businesses. He lays them out for you very simply in his book.
I printed out his e-book and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that all of the chapters are from him writting to some audience about a certain principle or topic. He just compiled the book together.
Why do I like the book? Because it opened me up to the, in my opinion, the marketing world. And let me know what laws there are that govern that realm.
(oh man I’m getting kind of poetic here. I thought “realm” was a good word)

I hope that makes sense.

Deland

yep!

You failed to mention that Send Out Cards is a multi level marketing deal.

Are you under the impression that you can only use sendoutcards if you become a distributer like me?

You can just use it as a product. You do not have to offer the product to anybody else. I became a distributer because I LOVE the product. I knew I would use the product no matter what. I also knew that I would tell people about it to. So I might as well be compensated for it, right?

Don’t over look the company because of their compensation plan or marketing strategy. The product can not be beat and I dare anybody to come up with a better solution.

Sendoutcards has doubled my business and has made me a better person. I would be OUT of business without it just like a lot of other window washers and service providers here in Orlando. You know, Florida has been one of the hardest hit with the housing crisis going on.

Deland

Who cares?

I read your comments and thought, nicely put with some backup, details as well as some other sites to look at as resources.

If you think it is an infomercial, well so what, I once bought a dehydrator from an infomercial, loved it, and made money from it too LOL

Will take a look at this again tomorrow, and see the phone info, I do need booking and scheduling assistance as well.

Hey I love your tools here, thanks.

How as the rudder financial site helped you? it looks interesting.

Aaron

rudder is okay. I have 5 business accounts. They are:

  1. General (I make my deposits into this and transfer money out of this into other accounts.)
  2. Marketing
  3. Taxes
  4. Gas & Maintenance
  5. Employee
    Rudder is nice because it will log into my accounts and give me a view of all my recent activities. I told it all of my bills that are due each month and it keeps track of those as well.

It has an automatic reconciling feature that I’m not sure I like. It tries to guess if a transaction belongs to a bill and marks it as “Paid.” So if you have a $40.00 gas budget a week and you buy something for $38 or $40 then it will assume it is for that bill. Even if it isn’t.

Something interesting happened to me the other day that I guess I’ll share. I hope someone can benefit from it. One of my clients is a very successful business man. He has 2,000 employees. He manages multiple restaurants, hotels and vacation spots. I was talking to him about my business and I told him I have a huge gaping hole in my business. It was my financial “stuff.” He then started to tell me all of the things he does on a daily basis that makes him successful in running all of the companies he manages. (I asked him after our conversation I said “Is it fair to say you are a millionaire?” He replied with a simple word that caught my attention, he simply responded with “Multi.”) Some of the things he does:

  1. He gets a full report every day fromt the restaurants, How much they spent on food, how much labor, etc. He gets a fax everyday with that info on it. He told me that he saw one restaurant this month that they were way over budget on labor. But he caught it on the 4th day. So he told the manager to cut his labor down. Now the restaurant is fully on target to make a profit this month.
  2. He said in one of his hotels he actually took the time to scoop out the ice cream from those big pails and counted how many he could get with the particular scoop so they knew how much it costs them PER scoop so they can mark their price and make a profit.
  3. One other thing he knows, he told me a lot so I won’t go into big detail, he said he knows exactly how much it costs him per load of laundry in his hotels. It costs him .22 cents a load. He knows how much one spoon costs.
    It just taught me a huge lesson and I count that conversation as one of the best advice I’ve been given in business. Even though I’ve heard it all before it just “clicked” this time.

I really need to use a program like quick books. I have never used that before. And if I plan on being successful (he is a multi millionaire but he works for a billionaire.) like he or his boss I have to know the numbers. Not only do I have to know them I have to understand them inside and out. I have to price for PROFIT and not by the HOUR! HOW MUCH DOES IT REALLY COST TO RUN MY BUSINESS? He asked me that question and I didn’t know. I just told him I make more than I spend.

I don’t know. I hope this helps. If we know the #'s then we can manage everything else. I think I am beginning to think that it is from the financial side that a business should be run because the financials will tell you and dictate where the money and time should be invested in. I used to think marketing was the angle to run the business from. But the financial side will tell you if you are on target and if your marketing is even working, right?

I’m still learning and I love it.

In the trenches,

Deland

Deland,

Not sure how you utilize sendoutcards to get such a substantial increase in business. How do you utilize it for referals ? I already send out a Thank You Card which includes request for suggestions on how we can continue to improve on our services. There are two ways for the customer to resond; by phone or by email. We also send out service reminder postcards in the spring and fall. They have a discount if scheduled before a certain date.
We mail about 600 ( residential ) cards each season.

We are Light Commercial, Route, And Residential Runing two trucks

Jeff
Chillicothe, Ohio

Deland,

1st, your site is clean, clear and easy to read. Don’t knock it. You did a great job.
2nd, how are you accurately giving estimates over the phone and not underbidding jobs? Yes, driving to a house for an estimate can be a hassle, but so often it’s that interaction with you - the owner - that closes the deal for a homeowner. Please explain…

Mark Matson

I second that question