Service Industry Mobile Tech Unplugged

Snow Plow News reviews mobile technology for the service industry and what is best when it comes to providers trying to manage and build their business.

September 7, 2021 |

The home service industry has been saturated with many technology choices and options, so what is real deal when it comes to choosing the best option for as a service provider trying to manage and build their business?  

The first thing to consider is how do you run and market your business? Most people do not have the time and interest handing the administration and marketing part of the business. Hence, mobility is key, because you are always on the go, running from job to job, customer to customer, so a mobile application to help run your business is important, and the second and equally important aspect is the finding and picking up new customers. 

What about a website?

A website is important to establish legitimacy and to build your brand.  A simple site will do for most but be sure the platform can grow as your business grows.  WordPress sites are a solid choice as many plug-in apps are available to add strength to your site as you grow.  You can tap the folks at Smart Interactive Media (www.getsim.com) as they have built for many in the industry.

Mobile Apps…

Building your brand through mobile app is smart way to stay in front of your customers and potential opportunities, these aspects are essential to building a successful business. First, we will take a closer look at a few technology platforms currently in the market.

Social Media for Brand Building

Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, TicToc, Oh My!  All of these platforms have their place in the market but none will work if you post once each month.  Each platform needs to be fed on a regular basis with content that is relative to the intended audience.  Pick a platform that resonates with your target market and provide interesting content such as tough projects, work you are proud of and, yes, some of your epic fails.  Humor does work so play with it and, remember, stay away from being overly negative at all costs.  Social Media should be thought of as a decent way to potentially grow your Word-of-Mouth opportunities.

Advertising on Social Media

Using social media as an advertising tool is a good, low-cost option as long as you plan to consistently run ads toward well-curated audiences.  Pros and Cons – Facebook and Next-Door platforms are the biggest and most dominate ad platforms in the market place so you can reach out to a large number of people. You will be paying for exposure to a number of people in a certain zip code or market segment but keep in mind awareness does not translate into a job, it’s just an advertisement.  The cost of these ads can run from $85 a month to over $850 a month depending on the frequency. The limitation to their effectiveness stems from personal recommendations and opinions often buried within a social media feed. So hoping that someone who had a good experience is going to mention a service providers name in a group is really no way to build a brand.

Lead Generation Companies – Any Gotchas?

The big companies in this space are Home Advisor / Angies List and they do spend the money to get noticed. As service providers use these platforms they need to be aware of what they are agreeing to.  A service provider must subordinate their brand to Home Advisor,  HA’s terms of service stipulate that HA can use information and profile to direct links to their site. This essentially allows Home Advisor to use a service providers’ name to promote their business, and charge people for it. Moreover, this extends to their identity or brand (pictures and logo). Home Advisor also gets irrevocable access to use intellectual property. Paying for leads certainly chews into margins as lead fees aren’t the only fees. A service provider can also pay $300 for a subscription to simply have their business listed with the direct phone number instead of HA’s. These business practices can turn into thousands of dollars a year if you’re not mindful, and cut deep into your bottom line. Like Home Advisor, Thumbtack charges contractors fees for each lead using a lead credit system.  If lead credits don’t convert, those credits are gone forever, and will require the service provider to purchase another bundle of credits. The truth about lead development companies is that a service provider must pay for the lead, even if the target does not hire you. As in all business, some people are just kicking the tires, so you may pay for leads that aren’t willing to spend money and commit to the job.

Market Play Applications – Commission Based

The other option service provides can use are market play applications. Companies such as  SnoHub, Quickplow, Mowz and Plowz which take a commission from every job the service provider sees see in the app and acts upon. Commission ranges vary but can be as high as 30%.  However, the customers the service provider picks up are not the service providers’ customers. The end user signs up through the apps and the service provider must use the app to pick up new jobs and adhere to a no circumvent policy. These apps set the price, control the relationship with the customer, collect payment, and manage customer service.

Anything New & Better Out There?

There is a new mobile application that is different than all of these models, by combining a business management tool, lead capture, end user communications and job verification. The management tool includes functionality such as: scheduling, routing, communications, photo verification for jobs, and flexible payment options for your customers. On top of that there is a feature called “JobSnap” which allows the service provider to see jobs, pick up jobs, communicate directly with the customer and negotiate the best price. The mobile app provides utility with marketing functionality to drive your business on your own terms. The Redleaf mobile app does not charge for advertising, lead fees, or take any commission. The app charges a simple flat monthly fee for its service, which is $29.99 per month.  Click here to learn more! 

 

So, you have many choices and options at your disposal, but ultimately, your success will come down to you, the quality of your work, and how your interact with customers. Managing and marketing your business with the right technology that fits your business model will help you be the best at what you do no matter what it is!

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