While the 21st century didn’t usher in an age of hover cars or automatic kitchens, it has certainly brought us mobility. Mobility based on technology. Sure there are the old holdouts that never owned a pager (beeper) and that still don’t have an email account, but they are slowly dwindling because they are either getting outpaced by technology, or they are giving up and walking away from it all.
I have a secret to tell the guys over at the Yellow Pages. I don’t even look at the phone book anymore. It goes directly from my front porch to the recycle bin. If you are one of those that still insist on getting a newspaper, you may be reading my phone book right now.
What Would a Contractor Need a CRM For?
The age of technology is now. The cost to build and host a website has gone from tens of thousands of dollars to as low as a few hundred for a basic website. You can do even better if your neighbor kid knows how to build them. As an early adopter of cell phones, I was paying $.50 a minute. Now I have carry over minutes that I can’t possibly hope to use for a pittance of what it used to cost me to make a few calls. Now my phone doesn’t just make calls, it lives its own life, tweeting and googling to its heart’s content.
What’s the point of all this? Well, you know that job board up on the wall? The file folders and index cards? It is time to give them the old heave-ho.
All they really did was help you to get a week (somewhat) scheduled and invoices paid. It is time to move on and run your company the right way. Not just because it’s the way all the cool guys are doing it, but because, in order to compete in today’s market and stay ahead of the game, you have to work smarter and harder, especially in this economy.
Contractors must embrace future technology today
Technology is here to help you keep track of your customers and your jobs. There have been some intermediate steps, but if you are using a program based on your personal computer or network, it is likely putting you in the same situation as the old job board: it is exclusive to where it is housed. What you need is on-the-fly access. You need to be able to have your information safe and secure on the cloud. You need to be able to use that fancy new phone to see everything you would be able to see if you were sitting in front of your computer at the office.
The old excuse of, “I’ve done it this way for years, and it works fine for me!” doesn’t work anymore. Unless, that is, you are completely happy with your results. If you want to grow in a tough economy, you have to get smart and be versatile. The key to effective manageable growth is to create a process that is repeatable, and that you are able to monitor and measure. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program will organize your customers, jobs, and schedule in a way that you can’t imagine.
If you are used to taking that phone call on the road and then having to call back to the office and hope you get someone that can get you an answer, or if you are constantly telling a customer you will have to get back with them once you get back to the office because you need to check the schedule there, you are doing it all wrong!
How exactly can a contractor CRM help?
Wondering exactly how a contractor CRM can help you? Well, let’s take a quick look and see.
- Do you have one-time customers? If you answered yes, you totally blew it. If you clean carpets, you shouldn’t wait until that customer calls you back to clean them again. Call them 6 months to a year later for a “special deal.” If you don’t, someone else will. Did you do some painting? Check in with your customer a while after to see if they have any other painting projects for you. Maybe suggest some cleaning tips on how to get marker off the wall if they have kids. Roofing Contractors, go back for gutter cleaning and pressure washing, maybe schedule a yearly inspection. In this economy, you have to work to maintain customers, do that through service, because they are getting mailboxes and emails full of fantastic deals. Lock them in because you are the go-to person.
- That call you got because there was some sort of emergency? That is the one that you need to get to next, or have one of your crews get over to work on it. Can you squeeze it into your schedule? Wouldn’t it be nice to know your schedule quickly so that the next call they make isn’t one to a competitor?
- You have a job that isn’t just an in-and-out proposition; maybe you need to sub-contract a few things out. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to get that scheduled all from one place? I mean send an email reminder, and make sure that there are no, “Oh, I thought that was next week” responses. If you have a task you need someone else to do, it would be great to document it so that a passing, “Oh yeah, I will get to that” never happens.
- File folders of job documents are so 1999. How many receipts, quotes, bids, contracts, change orders, and other documents get lost over time? A CRM helps you organize all of your documents. It keeps everything with the job. That is crucial!
- Every house starts with a foundation. Well, not exactly; it starts with permitting, maybe some septic design, temp utilities, excavation, and then the foundation. Keeping that on schedule, and on track is essential because every day is money. The tighter the reigns, the more money you will save or make. If you are ever stuck telling a customer that you aren’t sure of something in the schedule, you aren’t using a CRM the right way.
- A penny saved is a penny earned, or so Ben Franklin would like us to believe. But a job not billed out and collected on could completely crush your company. It is possible to have millions in outstanding invoices, and not a penny in the bank for payroll. Efficient processing of your payments will help your business immensely.
What used to be a board on the wall moved to the computer and what was once on the computer is now on the “cloud”. That means using a CRM for contractors makes you a lean, mean, growing machine. Logging your jobs on a CRM the same way every time, means you can get reliable results. If everyone does it the same way, there should be a scalable, repeatable process all throughout your company. It means better equipment tracking, job tracking, customer follow up, and ultimately more productivity which means more profitability. That’s rightâ€¦ more money.
Where can I get a contractor CRM like that?
The greatest part is that JobNimbus is there to fill that need. It is free to start, simple to use, and full of great features. Sign up for your free JobNimbus account by visiting www.jobnimbus.com or call us to schedule a free demo of the software at 855-9-NIMBUS (855-964-6287).