In the first article in this series, we looked briefly at why a disorganised office can create a whole host of problems for an electrical, plumbing, gas or heating service company.
How to save money in my plumbing company?
Ironically, it is often the successful companies that suffer most from poor admin – but as is often the case, eventually, their success will become unsustainable.
However, when we talk to customers, what they generally see is not the root cause of their problems but some really painful symptoms. So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how you can make your small business more profitable, starting with how to deal with one of the most painful symptom of all:
These are the revenue opportunities that successful companies miss, day in and day out.
You are probably familiar with the situation: you look back on what’s been a really busy month (or year) and you’re wondering, why am I not rich (or at least more comfortably off)? The answer is likely to be, at least in part, not what you invoiced but what you didn’t invoice - the money you have left on the table.
Basically you are giving “free gifts” to your customers. Of course, the customers themselves won’t appreciate them as such – on the contrary they will be unimpressed by your inefficiency. But most importantly these freebies leave you out of pocket. Here are some of the reasons why you might be “robbing yourself”:
Six signs my plumbing company is flushing money down the drain:
- (Worst of all) poor job tracking may mean you completely forget to invoice the customers. If you’re lucky, the customers themselves will point this out, but some will happily accept the freebie and keep quiet
- An invoice is raised before all of the paperwork has been received (engineers are often focused on the next job so they hand in paperwork late, or not at all). This means, for example, that follow-up work is not accounted for or parts are not added to the bill
- Engineers simply forget to report which parts have been used – another free gift
- Paperwork gets lost so an invoice is not raised or you have to “guess” what to charge - and in all likelihood you will undercharge to avoid annoying the customer
- The engineer loses track of the time he actually spent on the job
- You are managing jobs poorly and can’t track the status of current jobs – so you let down customers by under-performing, late delivery or missed appointments. The customers complain so you are compelled to offer some monetary compensation
Remember that there are plenty of sources of information for customers (e.g. on the internet) which means they will usually be quick to point out any potential overcharge. But even honest customers don’t go looking for advice on how to ensure that they have not been undercharged!
Whereas manual job tracking systems and simple technology solutions (such as a spreadsheet or an electronic calendar) might keep you on top of the last of the problems listed above, there are still plenty of other ways in which you can leave money on the table.
To avoid this, what you need is a powerful way to track engineers’ time, manage paperwork and control your inbound and outbound supply of parts.
Click down to see a list of the best tools you should be using if you're running a plumbing business. Feel like we missed out on your favourite tool? Don't hesitate to share or comment on Twitter and Facebook if you'd like to add anything to our list.
Not exactly a plumbing company? You can have a look at these useful guides on how to go paperless when you're running any field service business: