Here Comes Summer—and Your New Customers

It’s officially summer! (Okay, technically, officially 10 days until summer, but who’s counting?) For some, that means kicking back, going on vacation, and enjoying long, sunny days full of recreational activities and time with family and friends—sweet, sweet rest and relaxation.

For others, however, summer means major business. We’re talking construction projects, real estate sales, landscaping jobs, home repairs, local and long-distance moves, and so on. And right now, countless seasonal and season-driven companies are preparing for their busiest times of the year.

If you operate a company that thrives during the sunshine months, you’ve no doubt been spending significant time and resources on ramping up business for summer. Maybe you’ve invested in marketing and sales campaigns, improved your online presence, hired new team members, purchased new equipment, or all of the above.

But are you ready to handle a wave of new customers? Getting people through your literal or figurative door is only half the battle. Customers expect your full attention. Will you be able to give them the experiences they deserve while juggling the demands of a bustling business? 

Optimize Customer Experiences (and Your Own) with Virtual Receptionists and Live Chat

You don’t need to work long hours, double your staff, or turn away prospects to ensure an exceptional customer or client experience. With the right team of virtual receptionists on your side, you can be confident that:

  1. Every call gets answered in a friendly and professional manner that reflects your company’s values and voice
  2. All necessary information about the caller gets captured completely and accurately
  3. Receptionists keep you updated with real-time notifications, empowering you with the ability to plan and prioritize tasks

Consider the labor that goes into attracting and serving a customer or client. A real estate agent, for example, can expect to spend a dozen hours working face-to-face with a homeowner—on top of 35 to 100-plus hours behind the scenes selling the client’s property. Much of that time is spent establishing trust. A single negative interaction, via phone or otherwise, threatens to undo all that hard work.

Even worse? Missed opportunities. An overwhelmed or unavailable business not only squanders customer acquisition investment, but effectively works against its own interests. Between 72% and 80% of would-be customers will hang up without leaving a voicemail if their call isn’t answered. 44% of those callers will immediately dial a competitor. Yikes.

At Ruby, our legendary receptionists enable your business to give every contact complete, personalized attention, on your terms. We respect the hustle and the personality every business owner brings to their company. But, thanks to our own small business roots, we understand that no one can be everywhere at once. (Even if you really want to be!)

Our solution is not about replacing you or your reception staff, but empowering the people and systems you already have in place. During the busiest of days, or days when you choose to step away and into summer, Ruby gives you flexibility. Take the calls you want and rest assured knowing that those you can’t take are being handled by live professionals. Have busy days and not-so-busy days without sacrificing quality and consistency.

Ruby IS NOT…

  • a traditional answering service—we do not read the same scripts to every caller, and aim to answer 98% of our calls by the fourth ring. 
  • a loose network of remote agents—all of our receptionists work out of our offices in Portland, Oregon.
  • an automated bot service—we’re very much human around here!

Ruby IS…

If summer is bringing new business your way, call the Ruby team! We’re here to give you the support you need to provide every one of your customers or clients with an exceptional, seamless experience. You’ll gain more time to do what you do best, connect when you want to connect, and—hey, why not?—enjoy all the season has to offer.  

Want to learn more about virtual receptionists? Download our ebook to get the full scoop!

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How to Reduce Sales Friction

In theory, sales should be easy. A customer wants something, your business has that something, and so you sell it to them. Rinse and repeat.

In reality, of course, selling is almost never that easy—especially for a small business. You have to generate leads, qualify those leads to determine if they’re real prospects, carefully approach your prospects, pitch your product or service in a compelling way, overcome any objections, and close the deal. It can be a long, demanding journey littered with potential obstacles and pitfalls.

While many businesses dedicate significant time and resources toward optimizing the sales process, they frequently—and inadvertently—make things even harder for themselves. How? By increasing sales friction.

What Is Sales Friction?

Sales friction is anything that gets in the way of a customer saying “yes.” It can happen at virtually any point in the sales process. A slow or unresponsive website causes friction for someone researching your company. An untrained salesperson causes friction by not being able to answer a prospect’s questions. A point-of-sale system that won’t accept a customer’s credit card causes friction in what should be the painless final stage of a transaction.

Consider some other common sources of sales friction—how many of the following might apply to your business?

  • missing or hard-to-find business contact information
  • unnecessary or redundant customer relationship management (CRM) systems and steps
  • CRM systems that contain unclear or incorrect information
  • sales and marketing messages that are irrelevant or flood prospects’ and customers’ phones and email inboxes
  • outbound calls that disrupt the lives of prospects and customers
  • communication problems between sales and customer service staff
  • sales and support unavailability
  • delays in following up with prospects and customers
  • missed deadlines and unfulfilled promises
  • complicated payment processes

The list goes on. Indeed, virtually every decision your company makes can either facilitate or impede sales growth. And while eliminating sales friction entirely may take a thorough audit of your organization, there’s at least one major source of friction you can fix today: the lack of a live chat window on your website.

How Does Live Chat Reduce Sales Friction?

Live chat is a valuable and highly underrated sales and customer service tool. It’s easy and cost-effective to implement, a majority of consumers like it, and relatively few companies use it.

On top of that, it can address multiple sources of sales friction, including the limitations of business hours, inefficient lead generation, customer objections, poor customer data collection, and more.

Get 5 Reasons to add live chat to your website!

Here are just a few ways how:

Generate More Leads

Live chat specialists can be trained by experts in your company’s field, making them capable of handling the types of qualifying questions necessary to generate real leads. Chat specialists are proven to generate more leads than other sales tools and strategies. In many cases, these leads would not have otherwise been created.

Overcome Objections in Real Time

As business-to-consumer communication has shifted away from face-to-face interactions and into the digital world, companies have lost the ability to overcome objections as they arise. More than a third (35%) of salespeople say overcoming price objections is one of the biggest challenges to any customer relationship. Live chat gives you the chance to address customers’ specific concerns in real time. With trained chat specialists available around the clock, there’s no need for protracted, back-and-forth messages and phone calls.

Gather Better Data About Your Customers and Prospects

Get ready to say goodbye to those old-fashioned website forms that only convert a small fraction of your website visitors. Live chat specialists are able to build relationships with customers from the moment a chat begins—before your company even needs to request information. Agents can be trained to gather specific data, answer questions throughout the process, and clarify any misunderstandings that may occur as they occur.

Always Be Closing

With live chat, customers don’t have to commit to an appointment before interacting with your company. They can chat in to ask a simple question, at any time that’s convenient for them, even when a phone call would be awkward or inconvenient—e.g. while sitting in a conference for work, waiting at the DMV, watching the kids at soccer practice, and so on. Chat agents are live on your website while your office is closed, so you’ll never lose out on a lead or sale regardless of when opportunity comes. Sunday at 7pm? No problem for a live chat agent.

After implementing live chat on your company’s website, you can expect a higher conversion of web visitors into new customers. In our experience, after handling thousands of chats, our average company client sees a 40% increase in sales inquiries.


See how live chat can turn your business website into a lead generation and sales machine.


Download our free Ultimate Guide to Chat

Live Chat: A Valuable Tool for Customer Acquisition

Right now, at this second, dozens of people want to get in touch with your business. Fortunately, you don’t need to do much to connect with them. If you have an online presence, such as a website or Facebook page, you’re probably halfway there.

But you already knew that. If your organization is like most, you’re already focused on digital marketing and website development. Perhaps you’ve invested in search engine optimization, content, advertising, or any number of the myriad strategies businesses use to stand out online.

So why aren’t you connecting with as many customers as you could be? Two words:

Live chat.

What Is Live Chat?

Live chat is a form of online communication in which people send messages to each other in real time. Think of it like texting, but over an internet connection rather than a telephone network.

You’re probably familiar with live chat, even if you don’t know it. If you’ve ever typed a word into Slack, WhatsApp, Apple Messages, Facebook Messenger, Google Talk, AOL Instant Messenger, or Skype, you’ve engaged in live chat. And if you’ve ever visited a website and were greeted by a pop-up box encouraging you to “chat now” with a support agent, you’ve seen a company’s live chat tool in action.

These tools aren’t merely for show—they can transform a business’s customer acquisition numbers practically overnight.

Why Does Live Chat Matter?

Consider the following:

  • 42% of all customers prefer chat over other communication channels, such as email (23%) and social media outreach (6%). [source]
  • 73% of consumers are satisfied with their experiences on live chat—that’s the highest level of all customer service channels. [source]
  • Compared to other prospects, live chat prospects are 4.6 times more likely to convert into customers. [source]

Given these kinds of statistics, you’d think service-oriented businesses would be zeroed in on live chat. And yet, approximately only 14% of companies use it. That means 86% of businesses—likely including your competitors—either undervalue chat or don’t know about it at all.

Sounds like a major opportunity for you to differentiate.

But that’s only one of the many benefits live chat can offer. With a simple, unobtrusive chat window, your site can…

  • meet customer demand 24/7,
  • take sales and support pressure off of your team,
  • generate new leads for your business,
  • help you overcome common customer objections as they arise,
  • answer visitors’ frequently asked questions,
  • gather a broader and more accurate set of customer data,
  • and much more.

That said, effective chat is about more than installing a widget on your website. To see real results, you need to do things right. Bots, forms, and outsourcing simply don’t work. In fact, shortcuts can actually turn would-be customers away.

Discover the ROI of live chat with our live chat calculator

Live Chat Insights and Best Practices

So, how do you do chat the right way? Download our new ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Chat, to find out!

Inside this free resource, you’ll find detailed, data-backed insights, with chapters covering…

  • The expectations of the digital customer
  • The difference between an AI and live chat experience
  • How live chat can boost your bottom line
  • What to consider when choosing the best live chat solution for your business

Discover how you can use chat to transform your business and start generating leads from your website daily.


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4 Outbound Rules You Need to Start Breaking

Some rules are like un-forked fried chicken:

In Gainesville, Georgia, it’s illegal to eat fried chicken…

…with a fork. A confused tourist got arrested for that in 2009.

Here’s the point.

Some rules are made to be broken, or at least ignored.

Today we’ll focus on the unwritten rules that’ll slowly crush your profits unless you break them first.

This is how to bring your outbound system to the next level, by breaking foolish rules.

Rule-to-Break #1: “It’s Okay to Have a Slow Season.”

The most deadly company-killer is a poorly managed slow-season.

All but the best of your competitors have bored individuals filling in their time with brainless busy-work just to look productive during the slow season.

That’s a valuable opportunity for you, for obvious reasons.

Who wrote the unwritten rule that certain months should be a slow time for your company?

It’s a rule that needs be broken.

The slow season should be your fast season.

When the demand starts to fade, turn up your marketing, full force. Things should actually get faster.

Because this is the time to gain on your stronger competitors and overtake the weaker ones.

You need to drum up the demand that forces you to hire more techs, plumbers, and/or electricians.

That’s how you grow.

And what’s the best way to do that?

Transform your “slow season” mentality into a “fast season” mentality.

Now, here’s how to build more business even when you’re slow.

Rule-to-Break #2: “We Hire Normal CSRs Like Everybody.”

We’ve all heard about the legend of Achilles. He was an extraordinary hero; skilled, powerful, just about invincible.

That’s what we’re looking for.

But instead of fighting skill, we’re looking for modern day sales prowess. Heroic work ethic. Top of the line customer service, discipline, and communication.

Ultimately, a new breed.

I’ve never hired a customer service rep to answer the phone.

Instead, I hired outbound people.

Great outbound people are rare. They’re CSR workhorses who can hit the phones non-stop and sell like a machine.

Not many people can pound out 100+ calls a day while answering the phone just as good as anybody.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s very difficult to find people with that kind of personality and skill. But it pays off.

Because they’re the ones who’ll transform your slow season into a fast one.

Here’s another rule to break.

Rule-to-Break #3: “We Only Pursue Recruiting When We Really Need to.”

Push yourself, the owner – whoever recruits – push them to recruit harder.

Make your hiring process more efficient, and a much higher priority.

Here’s something to think about.

I’d definitely try this if I started over again – I’d acquire lead lists. Not for sales. For recruiting. I’d get lists of techs and have my team call them, non-stop. That could create a bottomless recruiting pool of talent.

Keeping your pipeline full is far from easy. For most people, it’s far from fun. But people are the lifeblood of your company.

If you’ve hired a strong team, you’re halfway there. Now you need to lead them.

Rule-to-Break #4: “My Team’s So Good, They Don’t Need Coaching.”

Outbound calling yields regular house visits. That’s good. But are they calling correctly? Are they pushing themselves?

What’s inspected is respected. Set your expectations and hold your people accountable to hitting their KPI’s.


► Their conversion rate on inbound; how many they made, how many they booked.
► How many emails they sent out.
► Total calls booked.

Focus on getting each individual to beat your company average instead of goals.

Always, always focus on your people. Steer them away from the “us vs the company” sort of mindset. That’s toxic. Treat them good and they’ll treat you good – if you’ve hired good.

And balance that with quality accountability, because even the best have low-performance stretches that you can coach them out of.

Here’s yet another rule to break.

We don’t do many service checks in the off season.

That’s lame in the sense that it literally cripples your company.

Let’s flip that around to create the #1 rule to keep.

#1 Rule-to-Keep: Hit Your Marketing Hard in the Off-Season.

Your techs don’t like it because they’ve adjusted to a poorly constructed system.

It’s up to you to lead them out of that system.

You should hit it hard during the “slow” season with both your outbound people and your techs, plumbers, and/or electricians.

Which brings us to system checks: Do your system checks in the slow season.*

Because you want to be fresh on your target market’s minds when things start picking up.

If you’re hitting the phones hard and making house visits in, say, March and April (the end of our off-season here in Kansas City), guess what?

When May and June roll around, and people start needing your services, who do you think they’re going to call? Yep. You, because your company has been freshly planted in their heads.

Throughout the year, keep your eye on plumbing and electrical system checks. As you grow, you’re going to have slow days. That’s just how it is. But you need to have them go out consistently so you can keep growing, and have less of those days.

QuickTip: February is a difficult month because you can’t check the freon. Just don’t check the freon on 5 years or younger. Give it the stamp of approval. Move on. Keep those system checks rolling. It’s also a good way to have new techs practice and learn through experience.

The same goes for the plumbing side of things, but you’re doing system checks in June and July, or whatever your slow season is.



*Always call it that. If you call AC checks, well, AC checks, in the cold season, people are going to think “why do I need to check the AC, it’s not even warm,” and they won’t do it. Instead, check everything at once and call it a system check.

10 Critical Phone Tips for Construction Professionals

Between email, social media, and chat services, there are plenty of ways for your clients to reach your construction business. But it may come as a surprise that 48% of new clients prefer a phone call as the first point of contact for a local business. Though many of us may shy away from phone calls in favor of text messages in our personal lives, professional telephone etiquette remains a critical skill for all businesses.

In a recent survey, only 21% of clients reported being satisfied by phone interactions with construction professionals, making construction the sector of the survey with the most room for improvement.

It’s important to stay on top of new client relationships as well as existing projects with friendly and approachable phone etiquette. Whether you have a dedicated receptionist or answering your business phone is a shared responsibility, every time your phone rings you have an opportunity to impress (and win jobs).

From the moment a potential client decides to call your business to your parting goodbyes, there are a few simple phone tips that your construction business can make every phone call count.

Be Accessible

Rule number one to growing your business: give clients ample opportunity to connect. When someone realizes they have a problem that you can solve, picking up the phone and dialing in should be as easy as 1,2,3:

  1. Make your phone number easy to find.

    Don’t play hide-and-seek with potential clients—your phone number should be visible on every page of your website and empowered with click-to-call. In fact, wherever your business name appears (Google, Yelp, etc.) make sure your phone number is present and up-to-date!

  2. Make it memorable.

    In a time where cell phones dominate how we connect with one another, the odds of clients (potential or current) memorizing your business number are slim. Stay top of mind by creating something catchy. Think jingles and soundbites that speak to your expertise, something like 1-800-ROOFERS.

  3. Make it a point to pick up.

    What’s the point of driving traffic to your business phone if you’re just going to lose callers to an automated phone system or deflating voicemail? Missing calls is a great way to send business straight into the arms of your competitor.

Discover the ROI of a live virtual receptionist service

Be Impressive

Remember that daunting stat we gave you at the beginning of this blog post? While a 79% dissatisfaction rate is pretty alarming, the good news is: you’re doing more than most contractors can by simply picking up the receiver. While this is a great first step, failing to impress while actually speaking with a client can be just as harmful as an impersonal phone tree. Woo your callers into clients with these little bits of Ruby magic:

1. Create a great greeting.

We’ve written a handy how-to for great greetings here, but in summary, your business’s standard telephone greeting should sound something like this:

“Good afternoon! ABC Construction. How may I help you today?” or “Thank you for calling ABC Construction. How may I assist you?”

2. Use hold wisely.

The location of the hold button is one of the first things you learn on your business’s phone system. But how do you communicate your rationale for putting a customer on hold? When it comes to putting a customer on hold, it’s better to ask than tell. Ask your customer’s permission to press the hold button with a simple “May I put you on hold?” Of course, your caller may prefer to stay on the line. If that’s the case, stay on the phone and communicate how it is you’re addressing their question or ask how their day is. A hold button is a valuable tool for your business, but wield it’s power wisely.

3. Be polite.

Incorporate politeness into your client service strategy with a few key phrases. While there’s no shortcut for great phone etiquette, saying “please” and “you’re welcome” will go a long way. Phrases like “my pleasure,” “may I,” and “I’d be happy to…” make a conversation feel balanced, pleasant, and natural—especially when it’s your client’s first point of contact with your business.

4. Smile!

Be sure to smile. You may have heard this piece of advice before, but did you know that you can hear a smile over the phone? Callers will be able to hear the warmth in your voice, and you may find yourself feeling more positive. No one can truly anticipate all of a client’s unique needs, but a smile is an important first step to keeping the conversation upbeat.

5. End the call in style.

When the conversation is winding down, reverse our three-stage greeting for a professional sign off. Be sure that you’ve addressed your customer’s reason for calling by asking if there’s anything else they may need help with. Once the conversation is at a close, thank your caller for reaching out! They’re expressing an interest in your business, so regardless of how the call ends, be sure to thank them for their time. Your final exchange for every call will sound something like:

Is there anything else I can help you with today? Thank you for calling ABC Construction. Have a great day!


Free ebook: Grow Your Business With Ruby

Exceeding Customer Expectations in the Digital Age

Guest Post by FieldPulse CEO and Founder, Gabriel Pinchev

Building your contracting business takes a tremendous amount of effort. It requires three things: finding and selling to new customers, delivering great service, and managing everything behind the scenes. For each area, focusing on the customer experience throughout their lifecycle (or customer journey) can bring significant returns.

The customer lifecycle is the journey a customer goes through in deciding to buy a product or service. For example, if Sally needs her home painted, she starts with an idea of what she wants. She’ll spend some time on the internet researching then talk with friends. She finds Professional Painting Co. and contacts them for a quote, either on the phone or a contact form on the company’s website. Sally accepts the quote and the service is rendered. Afterward, she has an opinion on the service and shares her perspective with a friend and posts an online review. All of this is the customer lifecycle.

In a Forbes article on revisiting the customer journey, the author points out that there are many points where the company has little control. Instead, the company’s job is to satisfy the customer to the point that they become an advocate. In a world of social media, having digital advocates help spread the word about your company is priceless.

The key to growing a business in the digital age is exceeding customer expectations.

But what are those expectations, and how can you use technology to achieve this?

First Contact

Before your future customer even reaches out, they’ve spent time learning about you. Today, that usually means an online search or asking friends and social media groups for a recommendation. Because of this, you want customers that are not only happy with you, but that are willing to promote you. All of this starts at the first point of contact.

When a prospective customer reaches out to you, they’ve already made up their mind that you’re worth spending time talking to. They’ve done their research. So now it’s important to give them the exact experience they’re seeking.

Whether your first point of contact is from your website “Contact Us” form or a phone call, this is your chance to make the right first impression. According to Consumer Reports, 72% of callers who reach an automated answer will hang up without leaving a message – and potentially call a competitor. If you don’t respond quickly, you lose the opportunity. Today, people are looking for instant gratification. Answering the call or responding to the email right away is the first step.

Build Rapport from the Start

Throughout the sales process, it’s important to build a real relationship with your customer. Remember the Golden Rule – treating customers like you would want to be treated goes a long way.

Even when you find ways to specialize your business and stand out from the crowd, your customer will almost always have another option. Keeping updated information about your customer in CRM (customer relationship management) software is a good place to start. FieldPulse is a CRM solution built specifically for contractors. With CRM software you can keep contact information together with appointments, past work records, photos/documents, and more.

By keeping track of your customer, and having quick access to all of their details, you’ll be able to provide better service. Having a team that’s connected to that information at all times will take you even further. The level of service you can provide will set you apart and help you win more business.

Wow Them While Delivering the Work

Your reputation is built on the quality of your work. Beyond the quality of the work, your customer has high expectations around communication. Keeping customers in the loop during every step is important. This means sending confirmations when booking, a reminder before the appointment, day of notifications, and follow up after the job is done.


Customer Communication


Being consistent is key. You’ll want to make sure you have a system in place to manage communications. That system can be contractor software (and that’s definitely recommended), but a standardized process that everyone on the team follows is a great place to start. Make sure that you’re staying in touch with your customers at every step.

Build an Ongoing Relationship

Once the work is complete, it’s time to build onto the relationship you’ve started. This part is so important because it’s what takes a happy customer and turns them into a promoter for your business.

Word of mouth, social media mentions, and reviews will bring you more business. Unfortunately, a happy customer doesn’t always volunteer to spread the word. Instead, you’ll want to follow up with them. Keep them on an email list. Call them two weeks later and ask them about the work that was done.

Tell your customers that you appreciate referrals and online reviews. They need to know how they can help you. When they do, you’d be amazed at how many more reviews and referrals you’ll get.

Parting Thoughts

Everyone has service expectations, and your customers are no different. By using the right kinds of technology and services to support how you do business, you’ll be able to exceed those expectations. Having someone answer the phone every time and having the tools to track and communicate with your customers (and your team!) are two great ways to exceed customer expectations.


About Gabriel Pinchev:

Gabriel is the founder and CEO of FieldPulse, a field service software that lets you run your entire contracting business from a single app. FieldPulse helps contractors go digital with tools to handle everything from customer management (CRM) and estimates/invoices, to scheduling and dispatching, team timesheets (and GPS location), and much more – available in the office or on-the-go.

The Single Biggest Problem With Most Contractors’ Websites

Every day when I sit down at my desk to start the day I ask the same question:

What is the single biggest problem plaguing most contractors’ websites and how can I best solve that problem today?

The reality is that the list of problems for most websites is fairly lengthy.

For example:

  • Website is not optimized for mobile
  • Website does not feature an easily accessible phone number
  • Website has poor SEO
  • Website lacks a constantly updated blog with unique content
  • Website displays generic, boring, feature-heavy content
  • And on…
  • And on…

However, every morning I go back to one problem that stands above all others.

…and that problem is:

The website is not focused on producing a desired action from the visitor.

Stay with me here.

Most of our websites allow more than 95% of visitors to leave without “converting” or producing a desired action. Desired actions include a phone call to the office or the visitor clicking the “Schedule an Appointment” button.

Of course, this is a tremendous inefficiency in our businesses and represents a significant opportunity for growth. Imagine if we could lower the 95% to 93%…

That’s 40% more website visitors taking action!   When more people take action on your site, you have more revenue opportunities and sales increase!

So, now that we know the problem, what is the solution?

***Engage your visitors to live, in real time with online chat!

When you provide an option for your visitors to chat with your business, you are decreasing the barriers for that visitor to start a relationship with your company. In turn, your company will interact with more visitors, have more sales conversations, and create more opportunities for new customers.

I Need Technicians! — Recruit Techs (Plumbers, Electricians, HVAC & Other Home Service Techs) Much Faster

Recruiting technical roles is one of the largest pain-points in managing a residential service business. It actually makes me sad when I listen to the news and they say it’s hard to find a job.  I’m thinking – “Go be a plumber or an HVAC tech!” Just about any tech in the home service industry!

After having great success with hiring for these technical roles over the last several years, I thought it would be helpful to share my methodology. I have used Linkedin, Craigslist, BirddogHR, Facebook, gone to supply houses, offered recruiting bonuses, and even hired a designated recruiter. After using each avenue to recruit, I have learned there is no “magic bullet.”  No one method is superior to another, just different. Please allow me to share my method of success for recruitment and its corresponding pros and cons.

Note: These methods work wonders in HVAC, plumbing, electric, and many if not all other home service industries.

Linkedin- Linkedin is great for salespeople and more advanced roles inside your office like HR or Marketing. I have hired all three of these positions using the Linkedin Job Postings.

Pro: This is designed for genre recruiting because it delivers your posting as a recommendation for people that fit that genre. If you are looking for a marketing person, then you’ll be able to attract a chunk of marketing people because that genre fits into the framework.

Con: It doesn’t work for a lot of management roles. I tried to hire a HVAC Service Manager from this and that’s not really a genre that Linkedin catches (it was a total waste of money) – And it costs upwards of $400+ to post a job on Linkedin.

Craigslist- In many ways, this is my secret weapon of choice, but I’ll spill the beans here. Posting is fine and it’ll bring you candidates, however, calling people that are offering plumbing, hvac or electrical service is where you’ll really excel. I cold-called all of them weekly. I told them, “I just want to tell you what our company is all about”– more on this in a bit. These people aren’t job hunting, but they do feel alone. They don’t have a network of people that can empathize with their situation. Many of them would actually sit down with me because I was in the industry.

Pro: I hired many people from my cold calling efforts. Not all of them worked out, sometimes they had a hard time wrapping their mind around the price or the pay structure, but the quantity made it work. I had one major success, he was a million dollar service plumber and best in the company at sales, work ethic, and attitude. Additionally, I had many other wins including earn-outs situations for their usually small customer lists and phone numbers. Additionally, posting for Entry Level Plumber (Electrician or HVAC Technician) was a fantastic way to find drain technicians or apprentices. It’s free to call “competitors” and only $25 for a Craigslist job posting- just make sure you are posting weekly because your listing gets buried fast.

Con: You have to kiss a few toads here. This is a quantity play, not always quality. Posting here is a good way to fill the pipeline and keep your Technicians Sales Engine going.

BirddogHR: This is not a magic bullet either. This is mostly a CRM/pipeline in my mind. It’s a great tool for posting, too. More importantly, it is a great place to track and house all the applicants in your company. The MOST important part of recruiting and using this tool – or Zip Recruiter (same thing)-  is making sure you are following up with every single lead. (more later)

Pro: This is such an easy way to post for jobs. It hits Indeed and a few dozen other random sites. You can refresh job postings every 30 days with zero effort and refreshing them is important. You will see huge influxes at the beginning of these refreshes because it pops to the top of all the boards. It is a great way to house all your applicants, easy to search them, and organize what you’ve done with each one.

Con: Maybe it works too well as an always running piece of recruiting because I’ve noticed that it almost becomes white noise if you don’t make it a priority. Be deliberate about checking this all the time so you don’t leave any applicant wondering. They almost tote this product as a one stop shop (I would argue that it might be this way for many businesses), but it’s not for our industry. To hire plumbers, HVAC techs, electricians and other home service techs, you have to do all things.

Facebook: Social media is great because you can hit a lot of people quickly. However, it’s very difficult to target a specific kind of person with the technical experience you want. Facebook ads are great for attracting green technicians –that person working in the stockroom at Michael’s, wondering what they’re going to do with their life. Target your post knowing this: If you ask for a guy/girl with a lot of experience you probably won’t find him/her.

Pro: Pretty cheap for the amount of impressions you get. You are exposing someone to your ad when their defenses are down (you are more likely to have someone digest it that way). People can share what you post if it’s compelling enough and then you’ll get real traction.

Con: Probably not going to get you someone that can just start in a truck right away. Use some level of creativity if you want the viral effect.

Supply Houses: This is super old school. It’s more of a time suck than anything else if your plan is to hang out and build up your network. The technicians coming and going from the supply house already have a job to go to that day and are making money. What does work with Supply Houses is posting a flier with your recruitment bonus on it, I even put the little cut pieces of paper at the bottom of the flier for easy tear-and-call functionality.

Pro: If you have a contact at a supply house and all the technicians know them, they can be super beneficial to feed you leads. There is always a cork board next to the front door you can post information on (make sure to replenish it because it will be torn down, often.)

Con: Good and loyal technicians do not want to be seen talking to their competitors, management, or ownership. If someone does come up, it might not be the attitude of the person you want on your team.

Recruiting Bonus: Most of us have built pay-for-performance environments in the residential service industry. It’s natural then that giving them an incentive to recruit goes a long way. I like to also encourage retention on this. The referring plumber or tech can get $2500 after 90 days and then $1000 for each year their referred plumber or tech stays. I only use this incentive for technical roles.

Pro: People tend to hangout with the people that look and act like them. If you have a performer, then you would do well to hire their friends. Your employees want to work with good people. Very few employees will choose an incentive over poor work relations as a long-term strategy. They are more likely to bring in quality candidates.

Con: You have to make it rewarding to bring people in, meaning: Techs need not worry about having less work by recruiting for you. If they work less as a result, the incentive failed. And make your company an environment they will want to refer into! If everyone is worried about being fired or the next change, they won’t bring their friends into that environment.

Designated Recruiter: For many of you, I know that hiring a person to only recruit is difficult because of your company size . I would argue, however, that if you have good management, then you can hire someone for around $13.00/hr. Also, you can look to fill the position on a par-time basis. Maybe someone in school would be a good fit? It’s a hard position to find, but once you find someone that “gets it”, they will pay off in a big way.

Pro: This person can grind for you! Cold calling is not for everyone. If you can find someone that can deliver on par or better than you, then it’s a perfect situation. Managing all the channels above isn’t easy while trying to run a business. A dedicated recruiter will, at the very least, relieve some of the hiring pressure for you. They can handle the grunt work, leaving you to be the face that meets with prospective people (if that is your desire).

Con: It’s hard to find this person. It’s someone that has the ability to make something from nothing. I have found that people who are good with phone sales have this something-from-nothing ability. The cost is a not beneficial if it’s not done right. Like many things in our businesses, it becomes an overhead headache. A super dynamic person or a pretty good person, coupled with super strong leadership, is the key to success here!

The Pipeline

I thought of my recruiting efforts as just another sales department in the company. I built up a pipeline of leads and I chased them until I lost them or won an employee. A with all sales departments, you need to constantly be feeding the machine with leads. You need to aggressively do all the things above on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

I had a revelation one day last year. I heard about a fantastic HVAC salesman from another company and I was told I should go after him. I worked hard and finally got to sit down with him. We talked about the typical sales vetting things and then he dropped a bomb. He disclosed that he already applied for my company 2 months prior. He said he would think about my offer, but he eventually said, “No.”. He had already did given us a chance, but we “wouldn’t interview” him. Lesson: Never stop reviewing your applicant pool. It’s your pipeline! If you stop talking reviewing your applicants, this could result in some major misses. From that point forward, I reached out to every single applicant that applied for technical or specialty role in our company. If you are swamped and have “no time” or you are in a seasonal lull and “don’t really need anyone”, you still need to talk to your applicants. Often, you get the best candidates applying in your seasonal lulls because their current company can’t provide them with enough calls.

To recap, your recruitment should be thought of as another sales channel in your growing business. Don’t take your foot off the gas. –ever.If you stopped taking calls into your company for one day, what would be the impact to your sales? It’s no different for recruiting.

“I just want to tell you what our company is all about”

This is more or less the phrasing I used when asking prospects out to coffee or lunch. I never used the word interview. What comes to mind when people hear the word ‘interview’ is typically an objection, at least in most gainfully employed people’s minds. But having a conversation over a cup of coffee is no big deal. Get the prospect off-site, comfortable, and make it casual. The off-site is another key. The best guys are typically already employed and they don’t want to have their work truck or van seen in their competitor’s parking lot. Having their truck at Panera is not big deal.

My goal with recruitment was to build as much of the pipeline as I could into relationships. I would always gauge the interest of the prospective employee. I would either offer them a job on the spot or often times just leave it at, “Let’s do this again!”, or, “If you ever need anything give me a call.”. Throughout our meeting, I would ask them about themselves, tell them about the company, and then share personal things about myself. I focused on building the relationship so that the chance of them wanting to meet with me again was greater. Ultimately, my goal was to be the person they called on the worst day at their current employer, asking if I was still hiring (it happened more often than you think).

Last Piece

This is my shameless plug: make it as easy for applicants to connect with you online. I have found that an putting a chat service on your website can benefit your company in a number of ways. A online chat service can…

  1. Deliver you additional leads from engaging new customers while they are on your website.
  2. Provide a fantastic customer experience for repeat customers while they are on your website.
  3. Interact with possible applicants that come to your website to check-out your company.

There’s a ton of value-building aspects with an online chat service. I have looked at a few myself and I would definitely rate HomeServiceChats as one of the very few (if any) chat companies that offer unique service to our industry. Installing chat software on your site is like having a potential applicant walk into your office and the receptionist says, “You are going to love working here! This is the best job I’ve ever had and they treat us so well!” –it just makes sense! If you have any questions on the above material, don’t hesitate to reach out 401-992-4287.

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