The voice of experience is always better than anything else to teach everything from simple concepts to complex and difficult. So in addition to my own experiences as well as conversations with other small business owners I compiled a few things that have contributed to successes as well as failures.
Always seek continuing education. The field services industry may not be the most glamorous or complex, but new and established business owners say there’s always something new to learn. Equipment and technology are every changing. Chemicals and safety issues need to be constantly reviewed. Within your operations, organizational and management issues can always be improved and enhanced. Staying up to date with industry publications, trade meetings, as well as making sure your suppliers keep you up to date on new advances. There are endless ways to keep in the forefront and always keep learning.
Use all of your available resources. There are associations and communities scattered all over the country that have a wide range of resources for each and every division of field services. The groups can vary from marketing, operations, and management support. Being involved in these communities will foster relationships with a wide variety of people, with varying experience levels. In addition, there are a myriad of state and government agencies that support and provide information for small businesses.
Develop methods. Creating methods and systems provide a structure to run your business. Your method is not only a differentiator within the market that can help you to stand out from the crowd, but also helps you to run your businesses in an efficient as well as consistent fashion. Your methods should be followed by every “department” whether it be customer service, accounting or your services in the field.
Take caution. Although time is likely your most valuable commodity be sure not to get careless, and rush through a job. Your clients will generally be understanding when accidents happen, but we all know that we are better off when accidents don’t happen in the first place.
Don’t undervalue yourself. When you are first starting out it can be tempting to hand out deals left and right, or give your clients an estimate that is well below your competitors. Doing this leads to a vicious cycle, and makes it nearly impossible to turn a profit.
Treat your employees well. The quality of your employees work is the key to your customer satisfaction. Provide your employees with top-notch training. Reward them with incentives, and provide them with opportunities for bonuses. Do your best to match their skills with the correct jobs in order to ensure their success as well your.
Find your market niche. Don’t overextend yourself or your employees by trying to be everything to everyone. Choose the niche that you can best serve, and be the best at it that you can possibly be.
Treat every home as if it were your own. In other words treat every home with the respect and care that you would take in your own home. All of your field techs should be sensitive to the fact that they are entering a person’s residence, or perhaps their business in the case of commercial accounts.
Keep up with current technologies. Technology isn’t just about computers and mobile devices, but also your equipment. While the field services is not thought of as a very techie company we all know that emerging technologies can aid in the operations of your business. More and more frequently we are moving away from manual record keeping, thus making the daily operations more efficient and organized.
Not every job is worth it. If you feel like you are underbidding a job, and thus not making a profit you are probably right. If you can’t make a profit or the job is undesirable do not accept the work. Focus your time and energy on jobs that are profitable.