How a Humble Window-Washing Gig Grew into a Successful Multi-Service Exterior Cleaning Business
Back in 2013, and with only $180 worth of hand tools, Pete Happy decided one day that he would create his destiny - even better, to be his own boss. His seasonal gigs at Mt. Hood ski resort meant that he'd need to figure out quickly what to do with his summers, so with big ambition and some ingenuity, his window-washing business, ProShine, was born.
Nearly five years into bootstrapping the Pacific Northwest-based cleaning business with hard-earned cash, Pete was able to add an additional service vehicle and expand his services menu from purely windows to everything related to exterior cleaning - from roof cleaning, gutters, and solar panels to decks, driveways, and patios.
The growth was exciting, and shifting into becoming a more grown-up business was more than a welcome event. Yet it started to become clear that the expansion would add some complexities to operations that couldn't be handled with the few existing tools they currently had.
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With Growth Comes the Growing Pains
Until 2017-2018, it was one truck with Pete doing everything. He was using Google calendar to schedule things, and QuickBooks was his only software to manage estimates, invoicing, and payments.
Using the Google calendar for scheduling jobs worked fine when it was only him. However, as Pete started adding more vehicles and services, things quickly fell into disorder and disarray, with random notes piling up everywhere and a calendar that couldn't handle multiple jobs and sites. He knew he needed some type of extra support for handling that, or else things would quickly go downhill. That's when ProShine made the switch to ServiceMonster.
"Notes were all over the place, you're using Google calendar for scheduling things…it was really just kind of a mess. It worked ok for just 1 truck but when we started adding additional vehicles it was going to fall apart."
ServiceMonster handled the more complex scheduling requirements that ProShine needed for its multiple worksites. In fact, ServiceMonster is a scheduling platform first! But beyond just scheduling, there were many other things that ServiceMonster helped with while Pete was navigating through his business expansion.
All your customers' info at a glance
"Being able to attach photos and review that history was another key piece…"
Pete was excited to be able to communicate info easily with his techs and have them see all their customers' info at a glance. They were no longer scrambling around and trying to make sense of random notes! They could also easily pull up info on their mobile devices.
While inside customers' accounts, ServiceMonster's newsfeed gives them a full view of everything that's happened between you and the customer - including all communication history and work done. Employees could attach photos to the work order, review the scope of work with the homeowner, and see all of ProShine's previous jobs - all from out in the field and under one umbrella.
Marketing Made Easy
"No one answers the phone. It's the least effective way of getting anything on the schedule."
Before ServiceMonster, Pete's marketing system involved:
- Importing his invoices to a spreadsheet.
- Going through each invoice line by line.
- Physically picking up the phone to make calls.
The phone calls were a personal way to reconnect, but he found it to be the least effective way of getting anything on the schedule. No one ever picked up the phone! In Pete's words, it was 'extremely labor intensive and really depressing.'
ServiceMonster helped automate ProShine's marketing with straightforward drip campaigns that follow up with customers every time after the work is done - all done at a combination of different touchpoints and channels.
Pete was looking for a more efficient way to market to his existing clients, and he understood that when he ran an email marketing campaign, only about half of the recipients opened their emails. Enter FillMySchedule (also known as FMS). With FillMySchedule, ServiceMonster's in-house automated direct mail marketing service, ProShine could automatically send out cards so those not checking their emails would get something in the mail.
And because it's automated, it's easy and consistent. And we all know that consistency is king when it comes to marketing!
Know your reports. Know your business
"If there's one thing you can't screw up, it's someone's pay."
Pete's life got easier once ServiceMonster could help with providing automated marketing campaigns and support for his operations, all under one umbrella. But in addition to cutting down on time spent on tasks, ServiceMonster software provided another valuable and critical source for his business: Reports.
Before using ServiceMonster, Pete had no idea what his residential or commercial repeat rates were. Today, Pete can happily say what his repeat rates are (72% and 77%, respectively)! Repeat rate was a metric they didn't even know about until ServiceMonster entered the picture. If you know where your business stands, you know where you need to make adjustments.
Another ServiceMonster reporting game-changer for ProShine was being able to track employee performance pay. When it's time to run ProShine's payroll, Pete can easily pull a report to see how much each technician receives for their production bonus based on their production rate. It's an effortless way to track employee commissions while keeping things accurate. And if there's one thing you want to be accurate, it's someone's pay!
You've just read the first part of the story of ProShine's journey to becoming a growth hero. There's still a lot more to share! In next week's post, we'll talk more about how ProShine made a values-led decision to focus more on employees during covid, and how, while many service businesses struggled, they were able to work through the challenges and end up thriving.