13. Pay High-school Kids to Wash Vehicles
Who has time to wash their trucks and vans? And do you want to be paying a technician to do that? Find a high schooler to wash your vehicles.
14. Use Virtual Assistant Services
Most small integrators don’t have the revenue to add an administrative assistant to the payroll. There are virtual administrative assistants that can be hired only for the time they spend working for you.
Gwendolyn Hays of Wired Automation in San Antonio not only runs her own company with her husband but she also doubles as a virtual assistant service for others. She says it is like having an additional member of the team. Executive Assistant Help (www.eahelp.com) is one option.
15. Give Free Service Calls in Exchange for Referrals
In a business that thrives on referrals, one good way to assure new prospects is to every once in a while give a client a free service call in exchange for three referrals. If the service call is on Super Bowl Sunday, ask for 10 referrals.
16. Consider Flex Time
Flex time is the most important benefit that employees look for today in an employer. It can be hard for small companies to offer, but it is something to consider.
17. Reward for Online Reviews
In today’s world where online review websites like Yelp hold a lot of cache with customers, Logic Integration gives any employee a $25 gift certificate for getting a positive customer review — either about them or the company in general — posted online from a client.
18. Charge 15% Higher Price for Referred Clients
According to Randy Stearns of D-Tools, if an integrator is referred to a project, he will get that job 80 percent of the time.
“So if you are referred, your price can be 10 percent to 15 percent higher and you will still get the job. For a non-referral, you need to bring everything with you (insurance, client list, etc.) because it’s likely that someone else has been referred to that customer,” so you need to prepared to “wow” them.
19. Encourage Family Environment in Your Company
Not only will this make employees happier, but Hansson recalls how he once got $1 million job because client came to the office, met the team, and saw all the photos of the team having fun.
20. Look at Gross Profit Dollars Per Man, Per Day
There are lots of key metrics to look at when running your company, but Jaques focuses on one: gross profit dollars per man per day.
To achieve the profit percentage he wants, Maverick leads its sales presentation with the profitable product categories first, such a floorstanding speakers. If the company is able to sell a pair of floorstanding speakers with high margin, that frees them up to perhaps offer a product with lower margin on that project.
“I lead with the products that are most profitable for me. I don’t lead with Apple TV. I know where we want to be. It makes it really easy. If your target is $300 GPDs per man day, you can get to that level if the job has floorstanding speakers that are very profitable. Look at what other profitable accessories you can offer to bring up those GPDs,” says Jaques.
He points out that the only reasons an integrator should ever deviate from his profit margin goal on a project is if he is trying to gain the future business of a key partner, such as a builder or architect.
“The number one thing I see on a takeover job is that the previous dealer miscalculated the labor hours,” he adds.
21. Hold a ‘Done Done’ Meeting
At Logic Integration, 45 days after every job is complete, the company holds a post-mortem meeting to review the success or failure of the project.
“We call it a ‘done done’ meeting because post-mortem sounds bad. Lately all our projects have been successes because they have been profitable.”
Among the things to look at avoiding that eat profit away are overnight shipping and delivery costs., etc.
22. Share Only 50% of Project Profit as Bonuses
Performance-based pay is effective to motivate employees, so bonuses are good. But sometimes when dealers finish a super-profitable job, they tend to want to share that entire windfall with their team.
However, when a job finishes under profit, the owner eats it in the wallet all on his or her own. So, Stearns advises technologists to only share 50 percent of the profit from a project with employees.
At Logic Integration, they share a percentage of the company profit at the end of the year. Bonuses are paid based on each employees’ gross pay and years with the company.
“Everything is transparent. Our company performance is on digital screens around the building for everyone to see,” says Hansson.
23. Withhold 25% of Sales Commission Until Job Completion
At Logic Integration, 25 percent of sales commissions is held until the end of the job. A review document from the web rates employees from 1-5 by topic. Logic Integration sends something similar to the employee to see how they rate themselves, then the manager does it.
24. Know Your Labor vs. Equipment Cost
At SoundVision, DiPietro targets a 36.1 percent margin on every job over $5,000. Using that metric, he is able to easily calculate his labor rates for every job. Once he knows what his equipment costs are, he only has to simply layover 36.1 percent of that equipment cost for labor.
25. Use Apps to Have Employees Clock In
Logic Integration uses software called TSheets to track employee time. When an employee logs in, the software grabs that notification and starts tracking it automatically against the labor bucket for that job in QuickBooks.
“If the app is on a company-owned phone, you can force a GPS location log tag to pop up at the moment of clock in to make sure the person is not logging in from the golf course,” says Hansson. Logic Integration requires both its billable and non-billable employees to clock in. Journyx is another similar time-tracking piece of software.
26. Create a Project Closeout Checklist
When a project closes out, there should be a checklist of things to do. At Logic Integration, that list includes a requirement that the project manager or lead technician take photos of the rack and all the access points. Those are included in the leave-behind manuals/documentation.
Other checklist items include contact information so the client knows who to call, getting a client final sign off, and asking the client for a review.
Stearns recommends that the service technicians in your company do a final Quality Control review of projects so that job can be formally turned over from the installation team/project management to the service team.
This article was originally posted on CI sister site, CEPro.com.
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