Monthly Archives

July 2018

Four Good Partners For Every Contractor To Have

By Contractors No Comments

Construction is not a one man show by any means. It takes a lot of people to build, repair, and restore houses and other properties. Each project typically involves multiple people from within your company, but couldn’t be completed without the help of people outside your company as well; these partners may include subcontractors, insurance adjusters, homeowners, lawyers, and many more who help get every job done.

Picking who your company partners with can be complicated, and sometimes involves a lot of trial and error, but once you find the right partners it can do wonders for the success of your business. While every company and contractor are different, there are a few specific partnerships that every contractor should have to make your business the best it can be.

1) Good Subcontractors

Having good subcontractors is essential to ensuring that clients have positive associations with your brand; you and your team can be awesome, but if you send bad subcontractors to a job, that is what the client will remember.

When picking who you work with, take the time to see how they run their business, how they deal with other contractors, and how they deal with clients. You want to pick subcontractors whose businesses have similar goals and values to yours, for example if customer service is something your company prides itself on, you want to find subcontractors who also pride themselves on having excellent customer service.

Finding subcontractors who do business like you do will make the building or repair process more seamless for clients, and easier for you. The customers will experience the same level of service that your company provides no matter who is working, and you won’t have to worry because you know that your subcontractors are reliable and effective.

2) Manufacturer and Supplier Reps

While they can sometimes be a little more sales-oriented than is ideal, manufacturer and supplier representatives are great partners to have.

Manufacturer reps can keep you up-to-date on their newest products, help you enroll in preferred contractor and rewards programs, and be a great resource if you ever have questions or problems about their products. Many manufacture reps take the time to present products to you and your employees; this includes new products, installation techniques, and details on warranties. All the resources they provide allow you to offer your customers the best products, warranties, and peace of mind for their project.

Supplier reps can help keep your projects flowing smoothly and keep your costs low. Having good relationships with supplier reps means that you can get your orders processed or changed without a lot of hassle, get notified when hard to find products come in, and ensure that your supplies will be there for every job. All this enables you to keep projects flowing without issue and be able to plan well ahead for special order or delayed items.

3) Inspectors

While you can’t necessarily “partner” with the inspectors, having an amicable working relationship with them can make your life a lot easier. If you do a lot of similar projects, you will most likely see the same inspectors a few times, so knowing their process, how they work, and what they need from you can make inspections a breeze.

Once you have had the same inspector a time or two, and you know each other to an extent, it is easier to communicate with them; if you’re late or the ladder broke or whatever else you can coordinate with them to see if things can be shifted rather than just having to completely reschedule right-away.

4) Realtors, Property Managers, Insurance Brokers/Agents, etc.

Creating partnerships with realtors, property managers, insurance agents and brokers, and any other people who deal with homeowners or building owners can help your business grow exponentially. These types of partners can help you grow via referrals from their customers, connections to other potential partners (other contractors, other realtors, etc.), and even doing work for that person or their firm.

These types of partnerships can also lead to the opportunity to attend leads groups and networking events that allows you to branch out further, and find other good partners that you can work with. The more people you can meet and explain your business to, the more likely someone is going to remember and refer you which can make a huge difference in how your company gets business and how much business it is doing.

How Using A CRM Can Make You Stand Out In Your Industry

By Contractors, Public Adjusters No Comments

In many industries, most of the businesses are the same more or less; they offer similar products or services, try and build the same aspects of their respective brands, and target the same groups of people. All of these similarities can make it hard to differentiate your business, and encourage customers to pick you.

Despite all the similarities, businesses do still find ways to differentiate themselves in how they market their products, how they treat their customers, who they hire, etc. Oftentimes, though, businesses overlook internal changes that can help differentiate themselves. One such way is by using a CRM; while using a CRM doesn’t make you stand out in a flashy, fun for everyone to see way, it can make you stand out in more subtle, and more useful, ways.

Using A CRM Makes You More Organized and Efficient

Most CRM systems allow users to scan and file paperwork, organize customer information, organize project information, schedule projects, and be able to see what is happening with all customers and projects quickly and easily. When all information is easily accessible and readily available, it allows you to be more organized, knowing where documents are, what deadlines are when, and which customers need more guidance. Being more organized makes you more efficient in all aspects of your business from communicating with customers to getting projects completed, which makes you stand out over other companies who may take longer or be difficult to get information from.

Using A CRM Allows You To Improve Customer Service

Customer service is an essential part of any industry; people want to be heard and feel taken care of when they do business with you. Using a CRM makes managing your customers, and their concerns, a much simpler process. Due to the fact that most CRMs allow you to store and organize customer information in easy to locate files within the system, helping customers solve problems and work through your sales pipeline is simple. If a customer calls with a problem, you can help them immediately without having to search for their information and take additional time to track down others who have worked with them. The system can also be helpful in managing customer relations after the customers have finished their business with you; when all the information is right in front of you, it is easy to remember to pick up the phone and see how they like they’re new product or if there are any problems with the repairs you made. Customers will remember that you took the time to follow-up, and will be more likely to return to you in the future and refer people to your business.

Using A CRM Gives You More Time To Do Your Job

Do you ever feel like you are so wrapped up in the menial, administrative side of your job that you don’t get to the big part, the part that you like? It could be selling, building, creating, fixing, reassuring, whatever part of your job that is your job, the reason you are where you are. Using a CRM makes it easier to handle the administrative parts of any job; be it organizing files, searching through customer information, or creating documents using a CRM can make all of that feel like the fraction of your job that it is supposed. And turning that fraction back down into a fraction, lets you do the part of your job that you like, that you are good at, that will make you stand out because you are happy while you do it. Your competitors may still be bogged down in small tasks, that make them busy and grumpy, but you, with your CRM, have the little stuff taken care of, and get to build your business with a smile on your face.

Five Ways To Deal With Difficult Homeowners

By Contractors, Public Adjusters No Comments

Even though homeowners are the main source of business for many contractors, they can be difficult to deal with sometimes. It is almost never intentional either, people just care about their houses and want to see them in the best shape possible, but that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with.

There are a few different kinds of difficult homeowners: the arrogant ones, who think they can do your job better than you (disclaimer, they can’t), the clueless ones who don’t know anything about insurance claims or repairs, and question every move you make, and the ones who would prefer to just take the insurance money and not do any repairs at all to name a few. Regardless of which type of homeowner you are dealing with, it’s easy to get frustrated and want to just let the claim go, which is why we compiled a list of our top five ways to deal with difficult homeowners so that you don’t have to lose business over them.

1) Make The Homeowner Feel Heard

Whether it is because they think they know better, or they don’t know anything at all, homeowners will voice their opinions, thoughts, and questions to you. And while it can be easy to mindlessly listen and dismiss them because you know what is best for their property, it can make your life a lot easier to actively listen and respond to them.

People like to feel heard, even when they are trying to tell you how to do your job, and it will be easier for you in the long run to listen carefully to their suggestions and be able to counter them with what you know needs to be done. The same goes for homeowners who don’t know anything about the repairs that need to be done; answering each and every question they have with careful consideration will make them feel more at ease and make them less likely to continue to question decisions and delay the projects progress.

2) Try Not To Let Your Frustration Show

In times of high business when you spend your days running from house to house, going to the house with the difficult homeowners can be downright unpleasant for you. You know that they are prepared with a battery of information that you don’t need, that is going to delay you with while you try and do your other work. It can be really easy to get frustrated with these homeowners, and want to cut them off, tell them that you have it under control, and go about your business, but that is just going to make them more difficult to deal with.

Even if you want to scream, pack it in, and listen, respond, and keep a nice face and tone of voice. Letting them see how frustrated you are, will just make them even more difficult, and more likely to leave you a poor review or spread bad word-of-mouth about you and your company. If you know a homeowner that is going to want to talk and talk to you, when you arrive at the house, say you are going to do whatever it is you need to do first, and then talk to them after. Dealing with your inspection, measurements, or whatever else gives you a minute to breathe and prepare yourself to contain any frustration that may be present when you do go and talk to the homeowner.

3) Put Everything In Writing

Whether it is the way too involved homeowner, or the I just want the insurance money homeowner, they are going to find ways to try and rework things. They might try and change document wording, project scope, colors, timelines, the list can go on and on, and if you aren’t careful, it may never stop.

One easy way to combat these types of homeowners, is to put everything in writing, and we mean EVERYTHING. Obviously certain documents like contracts and estimates are no brainers, but don’t forget about paint colors, shingle types, window treatments, etc. If you are writing that down as those conversations are happening, it is a lot harder for the customer to dispute something they said down the road when they change their mind. Having everything in writing is also helpful in the highly unfortunate circumstance that a difficult homeowner turns into a claim that involves lawyers; if you have everything written down and dated, it will make it harder for the homeowner to make you the problem.

4) Communicate More Than Seems Necessary

Often times, difficult homeowners just want reassurance that you are giving your full attention to their project. They tend to undervalue the fact that you are running a business that has more than one client at a time, and expect you to be fully immersed in their project all the time.

One easy way to combat this is to over-communicate with them. Let them know when materials have been ordered, or when estimates are taking extra time, call and let them know that the window guy is coming even though the window guy called already. Taking the extra few minutes to call and communicate small updates with them, will placate them and leave them feeling like you are focused solely on their project, and will give them less inclination to call you every day and make your life harder.

5) Switch The Project Manager On The Claim

Sometimes certain people just don’t mesh. It doesn’t say anything bad about either of them but they just do not get along, and working together is frustrating for both parties. While it should be a last resort option, switching the project manager on a claim might be the best solution. If the homeowner is mad, and the project manager is frustrated and all other options have been tried, it might be time to just make the switch; let someone knew come in, address the homeowners’ concerns and try and get the project off to a new, better start.

Choosing The Right CRM For Your Business

By Tech No Comments

Adding a CRM system to your business is an investment in more ways than one. There is the financial investment, obviously, that comes with adding new technology to your workplace. There is also an investment of your time, and taking it away from certain projects and tasks to learn how to use your new system. And finally, you invest yourself in this new system; putting your businesses goals and your livelihood on the line so to speak.

So how do you make sure you are investing in the right CRM? There are hundreds of them out there, and they all have different features, different operating systems, different reports, different everything more or less, and you want to make sure you choose the one that is going to be the most effective for your business.

To pick the right one, you need to invest a little more time and energy to find out what your business needs, do your research, and experiment a little.

1) Look Closely At What Your Business Needs

Every business operates differently and has different needs based on what they do, whatever CRM you decide to use should address the needs your business has. The first step to picking the right CRM is to look, closely, at what your business needs out of the system.

Do you need lead management? Production or scheduling capabilities? Unique document creation? Full-sales pipeline? Knowing exactly the kind of features you need your CRM to have will help you narrow down the options, and ensure that you get a CRM that fits to your needs, instead of having to fit your business to the CRM.

2) Do Your Research

Once you have narrowed down the features and functions that you need your CRM to have, take the time and do some research! See if there are CRMs that are specific to your industry, like Scoperite and Claim Wizard are for construction, or SalesForce is for high-volume sales industries; industry specific CRMs are more likely to have more of the features you are looking for, and be easier to adapt into your business.

A good place to start researching is to look at industry blogs and Facebook pages, see if other people are talking about useful systems. If you can find contact information, it couldn’t hurt to even reach out to people who have left reviews or comments about certain CRMs so you can pick their brain.  It’s also a great idea to look to your peers, even if they are technically your competition; ask them if they have a system they like, or if they have tried one of your potential options. People like to talk about things that went poorly, so if one of the CRMs you are considering is a bad choice, your peers will definitely let you know.

3) Experiment

Once you find a few CRMs you think might be right for you, experiment with them! A lot of CRM companies offer a demo of some sort for their systems, do them. The demos may range from a screen share showing you how the system works, to a full two weeks that you can use the system in your company to see if it is a fit.

The demos give you the opportunity to ask questions, see features in action, and get a good feel about the CRM. Employees of the CRM companies are typically very helpful as well, because they want you to buy their product, so don’t be afraid to inundate them questions, see if you can a free or discounted trial run, and really work to learn the system before committing to purchasing it. Testing out the CRMs, however you can, before you buy it can help ensure you get the absolute right system for your company, and save you the headache of getting the wrong one.

3 Ways Scoperite Makes It Easy To Manage Contractor Information

By Contractors No Comments

When it comes to building, altering, and repairing homes and other buildings, there are a lot of moving parts, and therefore a lot of moving people. While there are some contractors who can actually do it all, that isn’t the case for most; most contractors specialize in one area of the building, but that doesn’t mean that is where their business ends.

For many contractors, they themselves specialize in electric, or roofs, or paint, you get the picture, but their business can do more like electric and plumbing, roof and siding, paint and windows. For those additional services offered, most contractors partner up with or subcontract work to other contractors whose specialty they need, which allows for greater business for both parties, and a wider list of services businesses can offer.

With that greater business and wider lists of services, however, comes the need for more management, more paperwork, and more people to keep track of, which can get time consuming and complicated if you don’t have a solid organization system.

This is where Scoperite can help.

Within the settings of the software, there is a section labeled “Manage Contractors” which allows users to organize and store information on all the other contractors that they work with, making life easier on you in a few distinct ways.

1) Easy Access To All Contractor Information

The “Manage Contractors” section allows users to store all contact information within the contractor’s page; this includes names and phone numbers, but also addresses, emails, and fax numbers as well. Having all the information easily accessible on both desktop and mobile devices allows contractors to be able to find contact information needed to share invoices and estimates, call offices, and coordinate with the other contractor without having to spend time searching for the necessary contact information.

The page also contains a section for notes, allowing contractors to add additional names and numbers of specific contact people, notes about how they receive payment, or any additional relevant information. These notes are visible to everyone with access to the “Manage Contractors” page, allowing everyone to stay up-to-date with the right contacts and information for other contractors.

2) Document Storage

Each contractor page also has space for document storage. This allows contractors to keep copies of contracts, agreements, insurance paperwork, and whatever else your company requires in an easy-to-find, easy-to-download place. The documents can be saved to the page for future reference, created into a PDF, or dropped into a link if they need to be sent out. Having all the documentation for each partner or subcontractor in one place means less time digging for information and requesting paperwork, and more time keeping the partnership strong and doing the work you actually enjoy.

3) Important Date Notices

Each contractor page also allows users to input expiration dates of important documents, such as general liability and workman’s compensation insurance. These dates show up on the page, as well as in the display table of all contractors; making it simple to see whose insurance documents are up-to-date and who you need to reach out to, to get updated ones. This small feature can save contractors time and headaches, but alerting them to expiring documents before it may become a problem.