The most expensive part of plumbing service is getting the phone to ring and the truck to the job. Once there, every additional dollar past breakeven helps cover the monthly overhead nut. Once this is covered, it falls straight to the bottom line. So, how can you maximize revenue? Here are nine ways to boost your average tickets.
No. 1: Leave paper
Even if your company is striving to go paperless, leave a paper record of your findings and recommendations. This reinforces the value of your work and nags at customers who decline some of the recommendations. On one leggers, the paper record helps fend up an upset spouse who cannot understand the price charged.
No. 2: Follow up
Sounds obvious, right? Follow up on every proposal or recommendation that wasn’t acted upon on the spot. Yet, too many plumbers never follow up. Use a contact management system to remind you to reach out to customers a couple of days later, a week later, a few weeks later and a few months later. Keep following up until the homeowner buys or tells you to go away. According to Marketing Donut, 80% of sales are closed after the fifth follow-up call. Follow up. Close more sales.
No. 3: Dispatch by opportunity
Some plumbing companies dispatch by proximity. Whoever can get to a call the fastest with the fewest miles gets the call. On the surface, this makes sense. Gas is expensive. Windshield time is expensive. Still, it is better to dispatch by matching the plumber to the opportunity. Some plumbers just want to fix stuff. Others excel at sales. Based on what is known about the opportunity dispatch the plumber who is most likely to generate the greatest revenue from the call.
No. 4. List everything you do
Your customers likely do not realize every product and service you offer. Moreover, you probably do not tell them. If not, you are winking in the dark. You know what you are doing. No one else does. For example, most plumbers can run a gas line to a patio grill. Most consumers do not think about asking a plumber to connect a gas line to their grill. But, anyone who has ever run out of propane when guests are over (and that’s everyone) will think it is a good idea.
Create a list of all of your services and all of the products you offer. Dress it up as a company brochure and give it out at the start of every service call. If a customer sees something interesting to her, she will ask about it. Even the world’s greatest mechanic who hates the thought of sales will answer questions if asked. Guess what? Answering questions about your products and services is selling.
Sounds obvious, right? Follow up on every proposal or recommendation that wasn’t acted upon on the spot. Yet, too many plumbers never follow up. Use a contact management system to remind you to reach out to customers a couple of days later, a week later, a few weeks later and a few months later.
No. 5: Inspect the whole house as a complementary service
You are already at the house. Take the time to look over all of the plumbing. Install valve tags and sticker the water heater and disposal. Assign a value to placing the valve tags, then note it as complementary on the invoice. The valve tags have value to homeowners, but their greatest value is keeping your company name, number and website front and center with the homeowner.
No. 6: Use cameras to generate sales
Once you purchase a sewer camera, it becomes a sunk cost. Do not charge customers to use it. It’s a sales tool. Use it to generate additional sales when you clear a sewer line. It allows you to show people the problems so you can fix them.
7. Offer pipe relining
There are some great systems for relining sewer pipes without trenching. They are easier and less dangerous for the plumber, less messy for the homeowner and can save the homeowner money. When plumbers are asked why don’t they offer trenchless pipe relining, they often answer that they just don’t know much about it. OK, learn. Find out more information. Plumbers who offer this service are making bank. Why not you?
8. Give choices
Too many times, plumbers offer a choice of something or nothing. Why not give more choices? Why not approach every repair by offering the customer the option to, say, repair a toilet, replace the toilet or upgrade the toilet? Plumbers are mechanics. You fix stuff. Consumers live in a disposable world where old televisions, phones and appliances are not repaired, they are replaced. Give people a repair, replace or upgrade option and some will choose to replace or upgrade a repairable product just to get something new.
9. Use 'ask about' Stickers
Put stickers on your invoices suggesting consumers ask about a particular product or service. A sticker stating, “Ask about the most common source of home water damage” to promote washing machine hose replacements. Another could state, “Ask about protecting your home with water alarms.”
“Ask About” stickers on an invoice gives customers one final opportunity to make an impulse purchase. These should usually be easy add-on sales items. This is the plumbing version of a rack of goods by the checkout register of a retail store.