Monthly Archives

May 2019

Choosing Your Materials: Using The Contractor’s Expertise

By Contractors No Comments

Homeowners can be picky, and that is probably understating it. Whether they are making changes because they want to or because their home was damaged in a storm, they know what the like, what they don’t, and what they want for their property. But just because they know what they want, doesn’t mean they know what they are choosing. Many homeowners don’t know the ins-and-outs of products like their contractors do, but many contractors have trouble getting that point across. Thankfully, there are a few easy tactics that you can use to help customers get the products they want, but also the ones that need.

Certifications

Many contractors in specialty areas, like roofing, can get certifications from manufacturers. These certifications range from installation certifications to preferred or recommended contractors for the manufacturer. If you don’t have any already, see what certifications from manufacturers that your company uses a lot are available. If you do have these in place already, use them to your advantage; let homeowners know that you have done the training, the research, the amount of time, whatever it is with X manufacturer so you know about their products and what will be best for their home. It may not always work, but some homeowners will be swayed once they see that you have put in the work to understand the materials.

Experience and Expertise

Most homeowners make big changes to their property a handful of times, but no where near enough to know what products are going to best. You on the other hand, deal with homes and the products every single day, so use that! Have before and after photos readily accessible to show, give first-hand accounts of times you have seen something work (or not work), let them know that you have dealt with this before. The more experience you can point to, and expertise you can show can help sway homeowners off their rock of ideas and into what is truly best for their home.

Recommendations

Always give your recommendation. Even if the homeowner is dead set on something, let them know what you would do. A lot of times, if you’ve also displayed your expertise, homeowners will listen to your recommendation and use the products you think are right. Sometimes it at least plants a seed of doubt in their plan that gives you the opportunity to display your experience and expertise and show them why they need to choose a different product. Again, use photos of previous products so that they can see the finished product, and take the opportunity to point out similarities, opportunities, and curb appeal that their house can use/gain by using your recommended product.

Supporting Each Other: Developing Relationships With Your Sub-Contractors

By Contractors No Comments

Most contractors have partners from all different sorts of businesses. From realtors to mortgage agents to distributors to insurance agents, they help you and you help them whether it is referring business back and forth, working together to solve mutual problems, or putting them in contact with other people in the field. You value that relationship, even if it only helps you out a little. But, of all the other businesses that your company works and partners with, your subcontractors are among the most valuable, and not just because they make it possible to get your projects done. Despite being so valuable, subcontractors tend to be overlooked as partners, which is a big missed opportunity for both of you.

Why are subcontractors overlooked so frequently? Because they are familiar. They are in the industry, know the ins-and-outs, and sometimes can feel a little more like competition than a partnership, even when you do work together. So how do you overcome that? You build the relationship!

We know what you’re thinking, more work? With people we already work with? But that is the key, it won’t be as much work as you think because you already work with them! Think about it: when you meet a realtor or insurance agent at a networking event you have to put in the time to get to know the person and their business, and then you get to work out how you can help each other. With your subcontractors, you already know their business pretty well, and you may even know the person a little (or a lot, who knows!), which means you’ve already done the hardest part of developing a relationship without even realizing it. Use that relationship to find ways that you can help each other beyond just subcontracting; they are in the industry too, so they might have tips and tricks you hadn’t found yet. Plus, chances are, if you already do work on the same projects there is some overlap in your client base that can be an excellent referral network for you both.

The point is, the subcontractors you work with know you and your business, and you know them and their business, and there is no point in the relationship staying just as a transactional work for work one. Get to know them, use them, and see how you can work together to bring in more business for both of you!

Getting The Most Out Of Scoperite

By Tech No Comments

Despite common misconceptions, adding a claims management system does not help your business grow and improve simply because you have it, you have to do a little work to make it work for you. Scoperite is no exception to this. In order to get the most out of Scoperite there are steps you need to take.

Have Everyone Use It

This might sound really obvious, but, if only half your company is using Scoperite, you aren’t using its full potential. Scoperite is designed to streamline claims operations from start to finish, so your salesmen entering claims is only going to be effective if your estimator sees the photos and notes and your trades manager schedules through the system. Moral of the story, Scoperite goes beyond sales and leads; it is for everyone so get everyone using it, even if it means pulling teeth in the beginning.

Most Valuable Features

We get that not every company needs every feature Scoperite offers, but there are a few features that you really do need to use to get the full benefits Scoperite can give you. The first of these is the mobile app. Even if you have a pen and paper inspection routine that you have been perfecting for years, the Scoperite mobile app will revolutionize your inspection procedure and cut down mistakes and misses by a lot! The app lets you create prospects, take photos, upload information, and send a report to the homeowner on your first site visit. Not only does this make inspections easier, it makes organizing the documents easier (no more searching to see which photos belong to which project) and helps you sell yourself to homeowners. Plus, the app can accessed anywhere, anytime; so there are no more “I’ll check when I get to the office this afternoon” scenarios when you can pull up any document for any claim whenever you need it. The app is part of what saves you time when you use Scoperite, so use it, use it, use it!

Another feature that needs to be utilized is the discussion board. We know you have email and text and messenger and whatever else, but you need to be using this. Messages are connected to email so you get an email when a message has been posted and you are never out of the loop. The discussion board is unique to each claim, eliminating the need to double check who or what project the message is about, and preventing miscommunication on claims. Plus, it adds another level of documentation in case you need it; when everything is written and saved on one page, it can answer a lot of questions and prevent problems from getting bigger. Scoperite aims to make your job easier, the discussion board is an essential tool to that by eliminating confusion and making mistakes and miscommunication significantly less frequent.

The feature that makes a big difference is the production tab. This tab shows all the work that has been scheduled and is waiting to be scheduled for every single claim; it also has the production calendar for a holistic look at all work scheduled out for each month. The production tab lets everyone know what is scheduled when, eliminating the arguments over who needs what done first and why they should get it; if it’s already scheduled, they know they are out of luck. It also helps eliminate scheduling conflicts and miscommunications as well. Putting it down in the system means it shows up in the production tab, the production calendar, and the individual claims, making it almost impossible to double schedule or make a mistake. The production capabilities let you streamline your production and building scheduling, which can save a ton of time compared to other, less organized ways of scheduling.

4 Tips To Help You Get Ready For Storm Season

By Contractors No Comments

Do you hear that, rumbling in the distance? It’s storm season and it is almost here! In most places the weather has started warming up, snow has turned to rain, and thunderstorms have started rolling through some afternoons, which means that you are about to get BUSY. Are you and your team ready for storm season or are you still working your way out of the winter haze? Today we want to help you out of that haze and give you our top 4 tips to be ready for storm season!

1. Get Everyone Together

When was the last time you had an all-company meeting? November? December? You have all been doing the winter work calling insurance companies, getting claims ready to move forward come spring, and wrapping up paperwork for claims that you completed in the fall, and none of that takes a lot of coordination. So call a meeting and get everyone in the same room to get ready to move into over-drive before a storm actually hits.

2. Have A Plan

Use the meeting mentioned above to come up with a plan of action for when the storm inevitably hits. Does everyone have the access to the storm maps? Who will make the call to head into the area? Give a general idea of who will need to go where, and what they need to do. Use the time before the storm hits to game plan what will happen when it does; this lets you be more prepared to jump on work as soon as it happens, rather than scramble to get out there in the days and weeks following a storm.

3. Have Marketing Items Ready To Go

Even if you plan on being on the ground in the storm area, that can be a big area. Come up with a marketing plan of attack as well. Will you email blast previous customers in the affected area? Send a general postcard to all homes that got hit with your info? Does everyone have enough business cards ready? Whatever your marketing scheme is have it ready beforehand. Make sure that materials are printed and ready to go in the office. Have your marketing manager prepared to blast emails, run to the post-office, or find events in the area that you can present at. Don’t wait until you know what the storm is and where it is; use your knowledge and expertise of storm situations to have all of the marketing materials ready to go in advance.

4. Have Stress Relief Ready

Storm season gets stressful fast, so have everyone identify ways that they can relieve stress. Whether it is going over a few breathing exercises, making sure to carve out time to workout or go for a walk, or even just taking an actual lunch break, make sure everyone is aware of ways to deal with stress. Having these tools available before things get stressful gives a sense of being more prepared and allows everyone to find what works for them before it gets too crazy.

Sales Tips: How To Deal With Who

By Contractors No Comments

Construction sales get tricky, much trickier than sales in many other industries, and it isn’t because construction itself is more complicated than other industries. Most industries have a fairly specific target market, specified by age, income, location, or interests, the market can be narrowed and the sales people trained to deal with people specifically in that market. Construction on the other hand, is a lot broader. While there are some traits you can use to try and target specifically, like income, it really comes down to who gets hit with damage and needs your help. So how do you sell to all sorts of different people? You train of course! It might take a little more work to do, but it really just comes to learning how to deal with who.

So what exactly does that mean? It means knowing tactics for how to sell to older versus younger homeowners, how to handle a gated neighborhood versus a more normal one, and being prepared for all different types of attitudes that you can be received with, to name a few of the biggest problem areas to address. These are the most common disparities that can make sales hard because you have to be able to recognize and alter your tactics to be most effective for each group of people.

Young vs. Old Homeowners

This is one of the hardest gaps to figure out for many salesmen because younger versus older homeowners have very different mindsets and expectations. Younger homeowners are likely less familiar with the storm restoration process as this may be first time their home has been damaged by hail or wind, so they may need a little more “hand-holding” so to speak, and this is when your expertise can make a big difference. They will want to understand what is happening and why, so explain to them what your company does, how you can help them, and how the process will likely go step-by-step in detail. Younger homeowners are also going to be more receptive to the technology that is used in construction sales. They will have no objection to e-signing the contract, communicating mostly by email, and (if you use a Scoperite!) being able to get the scope report and pictures sent to them immediately. This makes your job easier as it will require less trips to the property itself, and more efficient communication.

Now, older homeowners on the other hand, are a completely different ballgame. It is more likely that they have been through a storm before so they know the drill, or at least they think they do. What that means for sales is that you do a lot less hand-holding than you would with younger homeowners; you will still tell them what your company does, what you will do, and how it will help, but they likely won’t want or need as many of the intricate details; it will be more effective here to differentiate yourself from the competition with your expertise, rather than rely solely on it to sway them. Older homeowners are a little different in terms of technology as well; many will still be fine with e-signing and emails, but some may be less comfortable with it, which means that you will need to do a little extra work and do everything on paper. While that isn’t a huge deal, being able to pick-up on that and do it right from the start will make them more pleasant for you to work with. The moral of the story is take note of the age of the homeowners you are trying to sell to, and keep in mind the differences from the start. Doing so will make it easier for you to close sales, but also to make the process go as smoothly as possible for both the homeowner and yourself.

Neighborhood Type

Different types of neighborhoods can require different selling techniques as well. For very high-end gated neighborhoods, you are usually there because someone called you to come in (seeing as it is hard to get into those neighborhoods otherwise). This means that they are looking for an expert, who will get the job done efficiently, effectively, and leaving the home looking as it was before. This also means that it may not be the best neighborhood to try knocking on the neighbors doors to see if they need work as well. Gated neighborhoods are typically very anti-soliciting which means door knocking will make the neighbors and the client who called you unhappy. Instead stick a sign in the yard (if they sign with you) and give them some extra cards in case any of their neighbors ask who is doing the work on their house. If neighbors are out and about, say hi and be polite, mention you are doing work for your client, but don’t be pushy about trying to sell to them as well; they will more likely call you when they see what a good, professional job you do.

For regular neighborhoods, things are a little simpler. Obviously, you still want to be as professional and efficient as possible, but there is less possibility of losing business by going around to the neighbors. In these neighborhoods, doing some knocking at houses around your client can often lead to more jobs as they will recognize you, your truck, and see the good work that you have been doing for their neighbors. It is also typical that you are in these neighborhoods more because it easier to come and do your job when you don’t have to worry about getting in the gate. This means that people will get used to seeing you around, and will be more approachable if you try to sell to them as well.

Attitudes

When you are selling you are going to meet people with all kinds of different attitudes towards you and your business. Some will be nice, some will be nice but standoffish, some will be disgruntled, and some will be downright mean, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. To prepare your salesmen to deal with all the different types of attitudes out there, make a list of the most common attitudes you encounter and practice the best ways to deal with customers for each one. Being aware of the customers attitude and knowing how to deal with it will make your salesmen more effective, and more confident as they bring in business.

As a whole, successful construction sales comes down to being aware of who you are dealing with, and having the right tools in your belt to sell to all of them in the most effective way.

Nurturing Customer Relationships

By Contractors No Comments

Construction, especially storm restoration, can feel like a one and done kind of transaction. You help home and property owners repair their property after it has been damaged by wind, hail, rain, or a combination of all three, but then you ask for a review and part ways. It can be easy to assume that that is end of that particular customer transaction, but why should it be?

Storms might not hit the same place every year, but they will hit the same area again at some point. So why not keep in touch with your customers, so that when they get hit again, the first thing they do is call you. It might sound tedious, like you’re adding to your already full plate, but it doesn’t have to be and it can pay off big time in the long run.

Nurturing these relationships can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it; it can range from an occasional post-card to a yearly phone call, whatever you want to do. Below we list a few of our favorite ideas for nurturing you customer relationships:

Send a post-card: Get a bunch printed and mail them out once or twice year. This keeps your name and logo in front of previous customers so they won’t forget who helped them out last time.

Create an email blast: Send out monthly, quarterly, or yearly emails to previous customers. Remind them of your services, let them know if you are rolling new ones out, or give them tips on how to handle X, Y, or Z problem. Similarly to the post-cards, this keeps you top of mind, and let’s them know all the ways you can help them.

Give them a call or swing by: If you have the time and really want to keep previous customers happy, give them a call once or twice a year to make sure everything is still in working order or to let them know of new products and services you have added since they worked with you. In most cases, the people will be flattered that you actually remember them and will be pleased to hear from you! The same can be said for stopping by; if you are doing work in their area again, knock on the door, say hello, and see if everything is still in working order. Customers will feel valued that you were willing to take the time to check-up on what you did for them.

Doing any of these things (or anything you think of yourself!) will continue to keep you in the customer’s frame of reference, and make them feel highly valued by your company, both of which will encourage repeat business at the very least. Likely, when a storm does hit their area again, they will call you, but they will let friends and neighbors know about your company as well. Nurturing the relationships obviously doesn’t mean that everyone will call you again, but if you can get some of them that do and get a jump start right after a storm, doesn’t that make the extra effort worth it?