Compare these two home service professionals…
One home services “professional” showed up to the appointment at a customer’s house. He parked his slightly dirty, unmarked truck. He wore jeans, a rumpled coat, and a John Deere hat. When the homeowner opened the door, they weren’t even sure if he was the plumber or not until the plumber said, “Do you have a problem with your pipes?” When he was done his work, he asked to borrow the vacuum so he could clean up.
Another home services expert showed up to an appointment. He parked his clean van with a sign on the side. He wore a uniform, a hat with his company’s name on it, and a name tag. He greeted the customer by name, consulted his clipboard (which also had the company logo on it) and said, “I understand you called about a plugged drain. Which drain is causing the problem?” When he was done his work, he brought in a small vacuum from his truck to clean up.
Both home service professionals did the same job. But which one do you think was more likely to get paid more, called back when the customer needed more service, and referred to the customer’s friends and family?
I hear from home service professionals that their business would be different “if only” – if only they had the financial backing of a large company that would allow them to run their business differently. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a large company to appear like one… and get paid like one. Here are a few practical suggestions:
- Keep your vehicle clean. A one dollar investment every day at the car wash can help your business appear more professional and can lead to much higher invoice charges.
- Put a sign on your vehicle. Even if you’re a small company just starting out, and you’re driving your personal vehicle for work, a small magnetic sign that you remove at the end of the day (although why would you if it advertised your business all the time?!?) makes your vehicle seem like part of a fleet.
- Wear a uniform. Yes, even if you’re just one person. Well-kept black work boots, dark pants, and a nice, ironed button-up shirt without any logos is simple and affordable. Add a name tag and a hat with your company logo on it (which costs only a few dollars) and you instantly have a great-looking uniform, which looks like you’re backed by a large company but doesn’t cost that much.
- Refer to your office and your staff. Even if you’re the only service expert and your wife is the one answering the phone and keeping the books, and even if your office is your dining room table, the customer doesn’t need to know that. When talking about the customer’s call or their invoice, refer to “your office” and “your staff.” Of course you shouldn’t lie but the mindset shift will be as valuable for you as it will be for your customer
- Have all your own equipment. I used the vacuum earlier as an example but the same truth extends to any other equipment as well: Make sure you bring everything you need. Don’t borrow the customer’s equipment (even towels or rags should be your own).
This is just the start. From the name of your business to your website to how your phone is answered to what your invoices look like – there are many ways that you can make your small business look like a large business.