From the desk of Toby Clem
I often say I built my local service business on cups of coffee. I get odd looks when I say that.
Here. Let me explain.
If you want to get highly qualified leads for your local service company, you shouldn't rely on lead generation companies or referral partners [plumbers] that cost you a small fortune for each lead if you want to achieve high profits with plenty of sustainable volume.
Lead generation companies diminish your SEO efforts and drive up the value of your PPC. You are fighting a losing battle if you don't hire your own SEO and/or PPC company. More importantly you are missing a tremendous opportunity to get extremely qualified leads for the cost of a cup of coffee or 2. These leads will often be higher paying, and higher profit jobs than opportunities that come from lean generation companies. You will spend hundreds, if not thousands on each lead using those methods. Your profits will always be a challenge, and you will end up spending a lot of...
If you were offered a reset button for your business, would you press it?
We’ve been doing solo podcasts for a while on the Disaster Podcaster. Much easier, far less complex recording process.
As we post-produced it we realized that there were some audio issues. Nothing that most people would pick up on, but significant enough that we felt that they needed to be addressed to get future podcasts to an acceptable standard in our books.
We adjusted knobs. We turned dials. We slid sliders. To no avail.
Then Klark yanked the XLR chord out of channel 4 and plugged it into channel 1. Shazam.
All was well.
The audio was seemingly perfect.
All we needed was to change channels.
We needed to try something new.
The irony of the situation was that the podcast that revealed the issue to...
Let's talk onboarding.
In 2016, I met a guy named Andy McCabe.
He was making videos on LinkedIn. I liked what he was saying but I really was drawn to his desire to stand up and talk about things no one else was, and things that most avoided from fear.
We spoke for a while and developed a MOVEMENT called Restoration 2.0.
A newer version
An exit from the Matrix.
The carriers were getting more brazen and stronger with their tactics outlined in Delay, Deny, Defend.
A profit driven system applied to the claims process.
Carrier relationships that built incredible companies were no longer as strong and many had deteriorated with the expansion of the MRP's and growth of TPA's.
Quality and Customer service had been removed as KPI's and replaced with Claims Ratios, claims shrink and lowering of overhead by limiting site visits ( pushing the documentation onto the contractor).
Frustration was building.
Franchising was exploding (MRP's) and the quality of work in the industry...
So, I wrote this to explain to all my non disaster and restoration industry friends how our business model has been jammed. When I say jammed....I mean a force so large and with endless funds....that small and medium businesses feel powerless.
Feel free to use the "problem" in your marketing, on boarding, or defense.
Please. I implore you. Join in with being part of the solution that I've included in this blog.
A homeowner (or business) has a fire or flood.
They have insurance (and plenty of coverage).
A contractor is contacted to perform emergency services (2 am).
Insured makes a claim with their trusting insurance (premiums paid for 13 years, always on time).
The first thing that happens is they look for evidence to deny the claim. That's effort 1.
Then when it seems to be a covered issue, they have a list of vendors that have agreed to be their preferred. This only means that they have agreed to rates and sometimes omission of charges...
A Tale of Two Contractors
Our experience last summer is a sobering reminder that each small business owner and manager should look down the road and muse, "What will each customer be saying about me when we are finished?"
If you own your own small business, or are thinking of starting one, here's something to remember: There is nothing as damaging as a very disappointed customer.
Take me, for instance. Last summer my wife and I hired a young, inexperienced restoration contractor after a quick google search when we had a pipe burst in our upstairs bathroom over the kitchen. We had just purchased a country house on 60 acres and the young contractor seemed like a nice enough fellow, so I hired him on the spot. Our renovation project was off and running -- or so I thought.
My lack of due diligence instantly qualified me for The Bonehead Decision Hall of Fame. I didn't grasp that this guy had been a great carpet cleaner and had recently gone into business for himself as an unproven...
I don’t expect you to believe everything I say, but you have to know I wouldn’t lie to you.
I have some unique and great experiences.
I have been very fortunate to have some amazing mentors and peers bring me into their universe and grant me the opportunity to see things I may have never otherwise seen.
I have always gone against the grain, like cutting a big juicy Texas brisket.
Do things others have and certainly do things people say can’t be done.
One of those is the current trail I have been on the last few years. I have been on a path to showcase what we (in this restoration/ emergency services industry) have come to accept as truth. And that is that somehow, our process and direction is owned by and steered by insurance carriers.
I am not a fool and recognize how large they (insurance carriers) are and the power they yield…..but being righteous is a super power.
Education and confidence is the...
Everyone is talking about what to do about fuel.
What are you doing in your company to compensate for the added cost?
Costs are up.
Adjusters are still resisting invoices.
So what will you do… what are you doing?
How can you run a profitable business with inflation, and rising fuel prices?
Was 10/10 good enough to cover fuel costs last year? Is it good enough to cover costs now?
“Add a line item for fuel surcharge.”
That's what everyone is saying you should do. Even the mothership of Xactimate (Verisk) has empowered the contractors to bill for increased fuel cost. (Don't take our word for it.)
So Xactimate says its ok to bill... but we are getting feedback that adjusters are stalling. It seems to have caught a lot of adjusters off guard. They don’t have a copy & paste argument for that one… yet.
But they will. They got knocked back on their laurels, but they work for massive...
A bottle of water at Costco is approximately $0.25.
The same bottle in the supermarket is worth about $0.50.
The same bottle in a bar costs $2.
In a good restaurant or hotel, it can be worth up to $3.
At an airport or on the plane, you may be charged $5.
The bottle and the brand is the same, the only thing that changes is the place.
Each place gives a different value to the same product.
When you feel like you are worth nothing and everyone around you belittles you, change places, do not stay there.
Have the courage to change places and go to a place where you are given the value you deserve.
Surround yourself with people who really appreciate your worth.
Don't settle for less.
As my journey progressed, I got busy. My phone was ringing a lot more frequently. The challenge was that I was in the field doing the work. It was easy to keep focused on the job, and not the future. I started living the roller coaster business. Slow week, busy week. Slow week, busy week. You get the picture. I'm sure you've been there on some level.
In the restoration industry, we have to respond in the middle of the night. On a weekend. Hell... many of us have answered calls on important family holidays. The...
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