Business Basics: Business Operations 101
There are a lot of things to consider in terms of your operations before you invest in marketing to make sure that when your marketing campaigns are successful, you can execute on the jobs coming in and that you won’t be in a constant state of needing to turn your marketing on/off or risking your reputation by trying to execute on more work than you can actually take on. Things to consider include your location/facility, equipment, and maintenance, your employees and recruiting strategy, your legal documents, insurance, and defining roles and responsibilities.
Location & Facility
When you’re first starting out, you may not be able to justify a physical location or facility. However, at a minimum, you will want a professional mailing address that you can use on your marketing materials, website, etc. so that you have somewhere other than your home address to point everything to. This is especially important for local directory listings and Google Maps so that you aren’t accidentally driving customers to your home address but can still take advantage of local marketing programs.
Once you are in the process of selecting a physical location, you’ll want to consider the areas you currently service and the areas you want to service in the future. Local proximity to customers is becoming a much larger emphasis for a lot of marketing search results, etc. so the closer in proximity you are to the areas you service, the easier it will be for you to show up and be present in those areas. If you want to have community advertising be a part of your marketing strategy, you’ll also want to choose a location that matches the communities you want to be in front of.
Equipment & Maintenance
When launching new marketing programs, you can usually select which types of jobs you want to promote and market. For example – with Google Adwords, you can only buy keywords for certain types of jobs – having more control over the kinds of customers and what they are looking to buy – that you’ll show up for. You’ll want to take an inventory of the equipment you have, the cost of buying/renting the equipment you’d need to fulfill future jobs and your ability to execute on different types of jobs before you begin marketing. Whether it’s having enough trucks or having the right type of equipment to execute on the types of jobs you’re spending your marketing money on bidding, you want to make sure that before you invest in marketing you know what the true cost of the job will be.
As important as equipment is in home services, equally or more important, is having the people to do the work. As your business grows, you won’t be able to handle all of the different roles and responsibilities you are taking on and you’ll need to hire new people to take on different tasks within your home services business. You may be really strong at sales and find other people to handle job execution, or vice versa.
Before bringing on any new employees, you’ll want to make sure you have a few things in place – a payroll system, a standard offer letter, a recruiting process, an employee handbook, onboarding plan, and any employee benefits figured out. There are small business companies that can take these items off of your plate and make sure that you are compliant with state and federal employment requirements. Having all of this figured out before you make your first hire will save you time, money and potential headaches down the road.
Legal Documents and Insurance
There are legal documents for employment, but more so there are legal documents you need to have in place to operate a home services business. Work within your state and federal guidelines to make sure you are properly set-up and have the right coverage and insurance before launching marketing to acquire new customers.
Defining Roles and Responsibilities
As you begin to hire new people, you may find that you hire some full-time or part-time employees and that you subcontract out other pieces of the business. Whatever works best for your cash flow and operations is fine, but regardless of your structure, you need to set-up defined roles and responsibilities that make it easy for everyone to know who is responsible for doing what. This ensures that you have a system in place to hold your employees accountable and people will be more fulfilled knowing exactly what they are supposed to do.