man doing a home repair service by measuring the floor

Your Guide to Pricing Home Repair Services

No one knows the ins and outs of your small business better than you do, and when it comes to pricing home repair services, you rely on that knowledge to calculate pricing that will best help you grow your business. You may find that hourly rates work best for smaller jobs, but when facing water damage remediation or septic issues, things can get a little more complicated. Although it might be tempting to use competitors’ pricing to create your estimates, finalizing a job quote is a bit more complicated than you may have thought.  What to Factor Into Your Quote Putting together your pricing for a home repair service is like perfecting a family recipe. There are multiple ingredients and steps to remember, they won’t always be used equally, it takes practice to perfect, and you will continually improve based on past mistakes. After discussing the details of the job with your client, you’ll want to start with two basics -- working out the cost for labor and materials.  To work out the cost of labor you should:  Estimate the total number of hours needed to complete the jobEstimate the total number of employees it will take to complete the job To estimate the cost for materials you should: Write out the costs for everythingTake shipping and delivery into considerationTake custom-made prices into consideration Now that you have a base number for your project-specific costs, you’ll want to factor in your overhead costs. When doing home repairs you’ll want to include: Expenses from vehicle mileageMaintenance to living expensesInsurance and licensing expensesAdvertising expenses Most importantly, don’t forget to also determine a percentage in upcharges for your profit margin! Leave Room for Unexpected or Extra Expenses As a small home repair business taking on a variety of services, you likely already know those surprise problems can pop up on any job. Be transparent with your customers about the potential for unexpected, additional expenses should an issue arise while the repair job is in progress.  Before you begin the job, communicate why there could be a final price increase if more labor is required or additional materials are needed. This wiggle room within your estimate can be a huge safety net to maintain your profit margin while maintaining customer satisfaction (no one likes hidden or surprise charges).  Use Past Data and Other Resources Your past estimates and invoices are your friends when starting a new quote. Use reports from similar jobs that were of comparable size as a guide. Learn from your job history and make changes over time as you become even more of an expert on pricing.  You can also utilize resources to help you write estimates, like a mobile invoicing app and accounting software. With this tool at your fingertips, you’d be able to look up past estimates, write new detailed quotes, and quickly convert them into client invoices after you’ve completed the job.  Always think “work smarter, not harder” when growing your business, and a mobile invoice app can be a valuable tool to help you develop personalized pricing that best works for your business. Start taking advantage of InvoiceASAP’s easy-to-use invoicing tools and auto-generated reports to help you price your home repair services by signing up for a FREE account today.
repair man fulfilling a maintenance contract

How to Retain Customers and Boost Revenue with Maintenance Contracts

You’ve already put in the work to attract customers, develop a relationship with your new clients, and complete maintenance jobs. So, what’s the best way to sustain your revenue and strengthen your business?  Encourage your current customers to keep coming back to you for additional needs and services.  Retaining clients is incredibly cost-efficient because you’ll spend less money on marketing efforts and instead focus on building long-standing relationships. According to the Harvard Business Review, finding new customers can be up to 25% more expensive for your small business than working with existing clients on new jobs. What’s more, similar research shows that increasing your retention rate by just 5% can improve your overall profits anywhere from 25% to 95%.  Think it’s too good to be true? Here’s why your existing clients can be the best move to boost revenue. What is a Maintenance Contract? We’re sure you have at least a cursory understanding, but in the interest of crystal clarity: a maintenance contract is an automatically recurring agreement between your small business and a customer who pays a regular pre-set rate, tied to a schedule (usually monthly or quarterly) for a defined set of services. Often, these contracts include preventative care and routine checks a few times a year. After you work with a new client -- maybe you’re installing a new unit or completing an emergency repair -- consider pitching the idea of an ongoing contract. Set up precisely what the agreement will offer, how many times a year you’ll provide maintenance as part of the pre-set fee, and reassure your client they’ll be prioritized should more work need to be done that falls outside of the standard maintenance service.  With established maintenance contracts, you can build these client relationships by offering discounted services on additional future maintenance, repairs, or new parts. Maintenance Contracts Boost Consistent Revenue As a small business owner, you have overhead costs, whether or not you get new client jobs. It can be daunting to know bills are due before you’ve secured new work. In the best case scenario, you will have steady customers that rely on you for repeat service. In this scenario, you’re securing regular income for your small business that provides stability in the off-season. Meanwhile, your customers feel secure in knowing you’re helping prevent a future headache by looking out for their well-being year-round and saving them money.  That feeling of security you can provide to your customers helps make your business more “sticky” resulting in an ideal win-win situation that can guarantee future income. This is the key to establishing financial security for your small business.  A Mobile Invoicing App Automates Recurring Billing for Maintenance Contracts Having maintenance contracts with multiple clients means keeping up with those quarterly or bi-annual inspections and regular invoicing. The key to managing these contracts, and getting paid quickly, is to stay organized and on schedule.  So, how do you manage all that client information and routine service detail?  A mobile invoicing app, like InvoiceASAP, can help you keep track of all the details, jobs, and locations, while automating billing and QuickBooks or Xero accounting syncs. Utilizing maintenance contracts, and managing them with InvoiceASAP, will help you secure stable revenue year-round, grow your personalized customer relationships, and increase your profits to improve your company long term. Start managing your maintenance contracts today by signing up for a FREE account with InvoiceASAP–Running your business has never been so easy! 
plumber is losing housewife as a customer

You May Lose Customers If You Do Any Of These 6 Things

Managing a successful small business means the effort to gain new customers never stops. However, once you’ve earned the attention of potential clients, what should you avoid doing to ensure that they continue to come back to your business for future services?  Here are six things you shouldn’t do if you want to keep a valuable client.  Overprice Your Services When it comes to pricing your work, you want to stay in that sweet spot where your charges are profitable but still competitive. Understanding the minimum, you could charge while still turning a profit is just as important as knowing the maximum amount people will pay for your service.  In other words, how high will be considered too high? If your customers feel they got ripped off compared to pricing at similar businesses in your area, you will likely lose any future business with that client. Arrive Too Late or Too Early Best practices for customer retention should always include double-checking the date and time of your scheduled services with your customers. Showing up on time and setting a clear window for how long you’ll be at a client’s home or business will help you gain trust.  Sometimes life happens – morning jobs get complicated, or traffic is unpredictable, and techs in the field could be running late. You should have an open line of communication with your customers and the techs in case any scenario should cause you to be late. Showing up to a job too early can be a problem, as your client will be preparing for a tech to arrive at a specific time. If you arrive too early, the client may be caught unprepared or not even at the job site.   Leave Out Details When Communicating Whether in person, over the phone, or through email, you never want to leave details concerning the job. Being vague or leaving out specific issues can give the client the impression that you don’t have an attention to detail or that you can’t be trusted.  To build trust with your client, be sure to include them in your plans and leave no guesswork, providing detailed information. Forgetting to Be Specific With Your Estimates and Invoices Attention to detail should also be carried over when you’re writing up estimates and invoices. Itemizing and allocating costs for separate categories or specific needs will help the client better understand your reasoning for the total charge. The transparency you create by doing this is invaluable for customer satisfaction and retention. Have a Complicated or Limited Payment System With contactless and digital payments becoming more popular, customers want to have options when paying their invoices. Thanks to online payment portals, portable card scanners, mobile payment technology, and mobile invoice app software, setting up a variety of payment options has never been easier.  Some customers feel more secure knowing that a credit card policy protects them, and others will want to use whichever payment method they think is the most hassle-free. Regardless, giving your client payment choices will improve their overall satisfaction and ultimately help get that money in your pocket faster.   Fail to Communicate Regularly Communication, again? Yes! It is that important!  If you are sensing an overall theme here, it’s because communication is such an essential part of every step when working with a client. It must be a massive part of your customer retention plan after a job has ended.  You’ve likely collected email addresses and phone numbers from past clients and anyone who’s reached out about potential work. Keep this information organized and regularly follow-up with customers about future needs.  You also want to be sure that your contact information is readily available. Organized information makes it easy for clients to reach out to you about work inquiries, strengthens your brand’s reputation, and helps foster a relationship with your local community. When you sign up for a FREE InvoiceASAP account, you can avoid many of these major small business mistakes. Our invoicing and accounting platform allows you to create professional invoices, keep detailed records and notes of every client while helping you manage jobs, locations, and team members working in the field. 
business owner negotiating with woman to make a deal

How to Be a Powerful Negotiator as a Small Business Owner

The best way to grow your business is to secure more jobs, but there’s a huge element to success beyond the actual labor itself. Your research, communication, and negotiation skills are crucial for your small business to thrive in a competitive market.  Here are some top steps you can take to become a more powerful negotiator to secure more money for your work. Research Your Local Competition The first step to becoming a better negotiator happens before the negotiation begins, and it’s all about being an expert on the local competition. When a potential customer reaches out to you, you’re probably not the only person they’re contacting. Chances are they’re talking to other similar businesses in the area to determine the work they can get for the right price.  With search engines and business websites at your fingertips, you’ll want to regularly check to make sure your pricing and packaging is attractive. When you’ve got this knowledge at your disposal, you’re able to present yourself as the best possible choice while negotiating and give your client confidence that they are making the right choice. Be More Than Just Your Services When you’re prepping for a job interview, you’re told to make a great first impression. The same is true when you’re talking about a future job with a client.  So what are the best ways to make a strong first impression?  Be personable. When you take the time to learn who the customer is, what their needs are, and create a genuine connection, your relationship-building efforts will give the client a very positive image of you and your business. Focus on Creating Win-Win Situations The ultimate goal of negotiating as a small business is to create a win-win situation, but don’t forget about yourself in that equation. You always want to create positive outcomes for your customers, but not at the expense of your work and profits.  Never undervalue yourself. Know when it’s okay to walk away from a job. Some projects won’t be a good fit, and part of being an expert negotiator is knowing when to say no to a job that’s not worth your time and labor. Negotiate Services Rather Than Cost One steadfast rule for being a more powerful negotiator is always emphasizing the services you’re providing over the cost. Know what your floor price / minimum profit margin can be, and don’t break that number. Instead, negotiate how you might adjust your services and materials to bring down costs for a client without sacrificing your earnings.  It’s imperative to listen to the needs of your clients. What are the client’s expectations while the job is in progress, and what will the finished product be? If they aren’t sure themselves, you can highlight your expertise by asking lots of questions to get the details you need.  Document Your Negotiation With an Estimate or Invoice Once you’ve asked all the questions you have, sorted out expectations and details for the project, and made that personable connection with your potential clients, the absolute best thing to do is to drive that momentum forward by immediately sending a detailed digital invoice. You can use InvoiceASAP’s invoicing app and accounting software to document notes about the job and quickly send all of the details through email or text. It will help the customer see your professionalism and your precise plan of action, but it also acts as a receipt of your conversation to help you land the job and secure the best profit possible. Sign up for a FREE InvoiceASAP account today to get started!
man accepting a remote payment for an invoice

Top 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Accept Remote Payments

As more communities begin phased reopening, small businesses and customers are getting into the groove of the “new normal.” Social distancing, touchless interactions, and remote activities are prevalent themes among new safety precautions to prevent transmission of COVID-19.  When it comes to issuing and receiving payments, small businesses are beginning to provide safer payment options for their customers. Here are the top three options for remote payments that create win-win situations for you and your business: the safety of your employees and clients and improved transaction speeds! Make Use of Popular Contactless Transactions Thanks to the need for increased security measures combined with mobile convenience, contactless payments like ApplePay and GooglePay have become more popular over the past several years. Since the beginning of the pandemic, small businesses have seen a 27% increase in the use of contactless payments. This payment method is providing a safer way for consumers to pay and is quickly becoming a preferred payment method for small transactions as consumers seek to reduce touchpoints.  With contactless payments, you can even eliminate touchpoints. Consider disabling the signature screen and emailing digital receipts to client email addresses already on file. There’s no touching a shared keypad, no holding a shared pen, and no cleaning needed after each transaction.  Although every customer may not have the ability to pay from their mobile device, many small businesses are finding that it’s just one of the many ways to promote safety. Utilize a Virtual Terminal When you hear “virtual terminal,” you might imagine a portal out of a sci-fi movie, but virtual terminals are actually software applications that allow for remote payment processing. Essentially, your computer is able to process transactions from credit cards without physically needing to exchange the card between customers and employees.  A virtual terminal is hosted online and allows you to enter and process credit cards through your browser manually. Customers who shop online are already familiar with virtual terminal technology and find it convenient to pay for goods and services.  Even if you don’t have an online store, you should consider including a virtual terminal on your company’s website or social media page to increase sales and collect remote payments securely. This option provides multiple solutions for payment without face-to-face contact. Take Advantage of Digital Invoicing with InvoiceASAP Don’t count yourself out when it comes to digital invoicing. Even if your company doesn’t offer home or contracting services, invoices can be used to collect payment for a wide variety of small businesses, whether you are selling goods or services.  Customized invoices created on a computer or mobile device are a great way to give your customers a quick and easy way to pay digitally.  Consider sending branded invoices designed to be paid by credit card or ACH so you don’t have to deal with collecting specific information. It’s convenient for your customers and gets you paid quickly. With payment management tools provided by InvoiceASAP, small business owners are turning to digital invoicing that allows them to bill and receive payments, organize invoices and customer information, and also analyzing sales and data.  InvoiceASAP is a remote payment option that is fully customizable for your small business needs, and should definitely be considered as a remote payment option. As small businesses adjust to creating a safer environment during the current global pandemic, InvoiceASAP is here to help you make accepting payments easier, faster and safer. Sign up today to create a free InvoiceASAP account and discover how we can help you accept remote payments.
man turning a free estimate into a paid invoice

How to Convert Free Estimates Into Paid Revenue

No matter what type of small business you operate, securing and retaining customers is the primary goal. But how do you get there?  First impressions are crucial and can turn a potential buyer into a lifelong customer. For many small businesses, this starts with providing potential customers with a free estimate.  Potential clients will want to know how long the work will take, what they can expect, and what the final costs will be. Although some projects are straightforward, others can get complicated – especially when multiple factors must be taken into account. Here's how to create the perfect estimate, so you can be competitive while remaining profitable, and increasing the chances you convert your estimate into a paying job.  Establish a Realistic Timeline and Create Milestones If you don't know the specific details for a given project, you will never be able to provide a proper estimate. When a bad estimate is given, you may get the sale, but you will lose future business from the client and people they know.  Bad estimates are bad for business.  Take a step back and examine the full scope of the project. Outline the steps you will need to take to complete the service and be realistic when mapping out the phases.  Once you have a broad understanding of what will need to accomplish, write down a timeline for milestones you'll hit along the way, based on the agreed upon scope of work. Keep in mind the importance of defining how out-of-scope efforts or changes will be handled and priced. Consider the Materials Needed and Labor Costs Outlining the tools and materials you need will be a significant factor in creating your estimate. You may already have many of the items you will need to complete the job, but in some cases, you may need to order additional materials. This will affect your estimate, so be sure to weigh shipping costs and delivery times (be sure to give yourself a bit of wiggle room!).  You’ll also want to predict how many hours of labor the job will take and how many workers will be needed. Depending on the services you offer, you may need to factor in an independent contractor. Add these components to your estimated timeline and cost. Take Advantage of InvoiceASAP’s Invoicing Platform Now that you have drawn out an approximate schedule with service milestones, outlined material and labor sourcing, how do you present this information to your client in a way that turns them into a customer? Many small business owners find the best strategy is to provide a professional, detailed, and easy-to-read estimate to the potential client rather than simply quoting a final cost number over the phone.  With InvoiceASAP, you can breakdown all of the components that go into the final estimated cost so your prospective customer is more comfortable with your quote. You can also include images, detailed notes, and auto-generated reports to create an accurate estimate. When the client can see what they’ll be paying for and how the services will be completed, they’ll trust you to complete the project. Sign up today for a free InvoiceASAP account and start turning potential customers into sales.
Person Working at desk with Mac Computer

4 Important Questions to Answer Before Purchasing Accounting Software

When you add up all the time you spend sorting through paperwork, compiling data into spreadsheets, and importing inventory receipts, the idea of bringing on additional tools may seem overwhelming. Fortunately, the right accounting software will save you time, money and resources while better enabling you to grow your business.  But how do you choose among the many accounting platforms available and determine which is right for you? Read on to learn how to decide what type of accounting and invoicing software is the most compatible with your business.  Doing Your Research As you research accounting software options, you’ll want to look at a few big-picture functions before diving into the smaller details and features. Your primary goal should be to see if the software supports your type and size of business, the number of employees you have, and the size of your client-base and/or inventory.  After your initial evaluation, here’s what else you should consider: How Do I Balance Functionality vs. Cost? First, you should consider whether you’d be paying for more software features and elements than you’ll actually use. If a program designed for a larger business has lots of detailed features you don’t need, move on to a more streamlined program that meets your needs without going over budget. Next, you’ll want to look at the specific features and tools offered. If your invoicing and financial software needs are more complex, pay attention to how the program will be able to organize your books, payments and contract data.  Be sure to take advantage of any free trials or limited feature options so you can evaluate a solution by actually using it. Once you’ve tested out a certain platform and see how it works, you can choose whether you’d like to add on additional features or upgrade to a plan within your budget’s price point.  If you have an established business and understand your accounting needs, there’s no reason to pay for features you will simply never need. Is It Compatible With Your Existing Software? Another deciding factor is the ability to sync to existing resources or databases. Many businesses and accountants rely on QuickBooks and don’t necessarily want to start from scratch with a whole new platform. InvoiceASAP’s accounting software syncs directly with QuickBooks, to reinforce and streamline what’s already working for your business. Another consideration is mobile payment apps. For instance, if you’re offering remote payments from the Clover app, you might want compatible accounting software that keeps track of all those transactions in one place.  Does It Offer Enough Flexibility? There is a wide range of features and tools at your disposal when using accounting software, and you’ll want to evaluate the type of reports, analysis, and data management system you need. While a small plumbing or landscaping business that works directly with homeowners may focus more on invoicing software and customer management reports, a large beer and wine company focused on selling products may be more interested in software that can create inventory reports and smart budgeting guides.  Overall, you’ll want to choose a program with the ability to meet the specific needs of your business today while giving you some flexibility to adapt to meaningful future changes. If you’re not completely sure which types of accounting software features would be best, don’t hesitate to reach out to a company’s customer service team or sign-up for a free trial. Can You Use It On-the-Go? Given the ubiquity of mobile apps and wireless internet, you’ll want to choose accounting software that travels with you in the field. This can be especially useful if you have multiple techs or other professionals updating invoices and payments offsite. You’ll want a program that can collect this information remotely and automatically update the information across your entire system. Having immediate digital invoicing when working with a client will also help you get paid faster and can offer a wider selection of payment options for your customers. When your software is able to track this information, you easily get an overall look at your contracts, invoices and payments in real-time. Powerful Accounting and Invoicing Software from InvoiceASAP The amount of money you’re looking to spend on accounting software is obviously a very important factor when making your decision. You shouldn’t commit to an additional monthly-cost without first considering your budget.  InvoiceASAP offers a FREE basic account to help you see if this platform works for your business. And, when you agree to accept electronic payments, you get automatically upgraded to a Premium account for free, Overall, we also offer some of the lowest monthly rates compared to our competitors. Learn more about InvoiceASAP today
money saving habits for small business

Top Money Habits You Need to Adopt for Your Small Business

Your small business is unique, but there are certain money-saving-habits every company should practice to improve finances and cash flow.  We’ve pulled together some of the proven best practices that will set your company up to be more efficient and ensure you are on track to achieve heightened success. Make Reviewing Your Finances a Habit As a small business owner, you have taken on a range of roles and responsibilities that fill your days, weeks and months, but you may be forgetting one crucial step. No matter how confident you are about your business' financial well-being, this is something that needs to be reviewed regularly by adding a detailed financial review to your monthly or weekly schedule.  Based on the time of year, level of demand, and the type of contract services you offer, your flow of income and expenses will likely vary from week to week and month to month. Having a clear understanding of your current, and projected, finances will help you make better decisions concerning your spending and budgeting.  Additionally, this top money habit will help you better understand full-scale operations so you can determine what changes you can implement to inspire growth within your company.   Create (and Follow) an Every-Dollar Budget Knowing the comings and goings of your money dramatically reduces stress and enables you to understand at any given time whether or not you should make a purchase, set aside additional funds to pay down an outstanding expense, or whether you will be able to cash flow your expansion plans. Budgeting seems obvious; however, in common practice, most businesses fail to implement this vital money-saving step. And even those that do often do not track exact spending, choosing to instead to round numbers off. For a successful business, you must create an every-dollar budget and then follow and execute that budget as exactly as you can.  Whether you set up a monthly or quarterly budget, it’s crucial to determine your predicted income and known expenses to generate precise numbers concerning additional spending and savings.  Creating and enforcing an effective budget may take time, but the effort spent is well worth the time. While you may initially think a budget is designed to restrict, it’s actually designed to free.  Reduce Unnecessary Spending by Managing Your Inventory Comparable to a regular review of finances, you should also routinely review and manage your inventory. This is most easily accomplished through auto-generated inventory reports.  By reviewing your inventory, you should compare what’s coming in, to what’s going out, and at what rate so you can identify cost-saving possibilities.  From there, you can determine if there’s an opportunity to source items you need to restock more cost-effectively, along with how to adjust your future orders to meet changing demands. You may also need to re-evaluate and determine which approach to inventory management (LIFO, FIFO, FILO, or LILO) is most beneficial to your business. Plan Ahead for Tax Season By planning ahead, when the time comes to pay taxes, your finances aren’t hit with a huge expense all at once. You can use your taxes from the previous year to predict what you’ll owe the following season and regularly set it aside throughout the year.  One of the best money habits you can put in place for yourself is to prepare for future known expenses, including federal and state taxes. We strongly recommend working with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to ensure you’re avoiding costly mistakes, taking advantage of all tax breaks, and correctly reporting all relevant activity. Take Advantage of Tax Deductions and Benefits  Think of tax breaks as “free money.” As a small business, you have multiple money-saving opportunities when it comes to deductions and write-offs, and a CPA can help you find all of them. Invest the time to educate yourself on the benefits available to your specific company and industry so you can ask the right questions. Don’t hesitate to utilize programs and opportunities to help reduce the final tax amount owed.  Adjust Services and Inventory to Meet Immediate Needs When you learn how to adjust your business to meet and consumer needs, your business will be ready for anything! During COVID-19, many small businesses found they needed to adjust how they offered their services while diversifying what they sold to meet the immediate needs of their clients. Staying flexible with how you offer services and adapting your inventory management practices are strategies that can help you grow your small business even after unexpected disruptions occur.  Identify Unnecessary Debt and Prioritize Reducing It Debt management is a sign of a healthy business and dramatically impacts your ability to leverage debt in the future. Are you prioritizing your business debt? If you're not, you should be! One of your top goals should be to prioritize and reduce debt. Just as you would put money aside for taxes, you should be regularly making payments to work off debts - be sure to include these set payments in your budgeting plan. Pay Out Your Own Salary on a Pre-Set Schedule If, at any point, you plan to consider taking on investors or debt in order to grow your business, you will need to provide flawless financial statements. How you handle business profits and your personal salary are a part of that equation. Paying yourself a set salary is an incredible money-saving habit that only half of small business report doing. Just as you would pay an employee, you should pay yourself a fixed salary on a pre-set schedule. This not only maximizes predictability of your business and personal cash flow, it’s a fundamental practice of any mature company. How this happens can be done in a manner that makes the most sense for you and your small business. The goal is to view your business profit and your own pay as two separate items.  Get Creative With Free Marketing Tools Available The implementation of a successful marketing campaign can boost the success of your business. Whether your small business is doing financially well or has fallen on hard times, marketing should be a priority.  Traditional marketing can be pricey for a small business, and you should be taking advantage of the free marketing tools available to you. Social media platforms are a great way to find and connect with your customers without having to spend money.  Through these platforms, you can create posts that are engaging and informative. You can also use location and audience tools to reach potential customers and clients. The philosophy of working smarter and not harder is the key to create this money-saving habit with your marketing.  Utilize Invoice Technology to Improve Efficiency  Traditional invoicing can get messy, be difficult to keep track of, and has limitations on customer interactions. Not all invoicing is created equal, and using the right invoicing app can help you track customer payment and manage data reports.  Invoicing software, like InvoiceASAP, can improve payment efficiency and customer retainment. Invoicing software enhances business operations, saving you time and money.   Manage Your Small Business with InvoiceASAP The most important thing you can do for your small business is to utilize InvoiceASAP’s affordable accounting and invoicing software, featuring valuable auto-generated reports. These reports will help you master many of the aforementioned top money habits to help you manage your business. Sign up for a FREE account today and discover how the InvoiceASAP platform can help your small business build smart money habits with data-driven insights.