Many leads and phone calls come in on a regular basis, and the demand peaks during the busier times of the year. Being lesser staffed with the overhead this year, we were forced to make processes more efficient and focus on priorities. As they say, necessity is the other of creation!
We get leads from all over the place location wise, and in the past I used to tell people we didn’t work in that area. Not very smart! I didn’t want to expend the resources sending an estimator driving across the state when we could get work locally. But I especially didn’t want to send them a 45 minute drive away just to maybe book a job but most likely, just waste time and resources. So what did I do? I tried two different approaches:
- I told the potential clients that we required a $50 deposit that would go towards the cost of the job for an estimate. And
- I quoted them hourly.
Both approaches successfully turned off customers that were price shopping or not serious about the work. But I did notice more resistance from the deposit method- people said things like well how do I know you’re not going to send me a very high quote and then just keep my deposit? I felt that we got less of these jobs than when I told people hourly.
Overall the hourly approach worked better. What I ended up doing was trying to book the customer on a small hourly job for a small portion of the work- say 2 guys 2 hours clearing out some beds. If they agreed to that, well, we made some money and didn’t even have to send an estimator up there. If they wanted more work done after, well, sure, they are now an existing client and we provide free quotes for existing clients as we already have a relationship and recognize there is a high chance of them booking a job. Even if they don’t, at least they are not just money out of our pocket since we already are making money with them.
Better yet, we have the crew that arrives take photos on their hourly visit. This saves us a trip for the drive.
Overall I am very happy with this experiment, and it has enabled us to capture revenue from every potential lead, as well as expand our work area. As soon as we picked up a handful of clients in one area, it then subsidized the drive for all the clients in between!