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How a Bootstrapped Seasonal Gig Generated a Thriving Values-Led Business: Pete Happy of ProShine Pt. 2

In part 1 of Pete Happy’s story, we introduced to you how ProShine had its humble beginnings to grow into a thriving company. Pete talked in our interview about the reasons why he needed ServiceMonster to come in and help his company’s operations. There were so many elements that led to his company success that we wanted to continue it with this next series.

We’ll talk more about how ProShine worked through its growing pains and put tools to the task to make their business more efficient, and about how they ultimately were able to leverage their findings from a SWOT analysis to grow despite the challenging times.

QuickBooks as a CRM? Eventually you’re going to need the real thing.

QuickBooks obviously isn’t a CRM, but it’s not uncommon for small businesses to use it as their first CRM. Pete was no different. QuickBooks was his main tool for managing customer relationships from very early on because of its capacity to let him easily write estimates, convert those invoices and get payments. It worked great for a time but as the company grew, Pete recognized very quickly that things might start falling apart if he didn’t make some changes. Couple that with the fact that Pete was moving off the trucks and into sales - he wasn’t too keen on the idea of employees having unfettered access to his sensitive accounting data either.

Pete needed a buffer between his employees and the business accounting, and introducing ServiceMonster helped establish that. Now he was able to give his team the tools they needed to be able to go do their job, but not put them in a place where there was the possibility of accidentally altering any crucial accounting statements. 

Everything Under One Umbrella

When it came down to making the move, ServiceMonster’s QuickBooks integration made the switch simple and easy! All it took was an invoice history import and everything was there at Pete’s fingertips. Now, he could get the support he needed for multiple worksites, and get a robust snapshot of each customer's history with a newsfeed while being able to process payments online all under one umbrella. 

And QuickBooks wasn’t the only application that he added to the mix. A few of the applications Pete already had a number in place were:

  • ResponsiBid - to streamline the sales process. It provides instant quotes online and in the field and follows up with leads to help them though the process.
  • The Seal - to find trustworthy employees and contractors with certified background checks. The Seal provides high-quality identification badges for employees to wear, along with sending an email to the client to  let them know the employee entering their home has been checked and is trustworthy.

These are a few that ProShine had in place for their business, but ServiceMonster has many other integrations to help boost your company’s performance, too. To learn more about them and to find out if we have an integration for any of your existing business applications, visit our MarketPlace.

Make Life Easier for your Employees

When Pete was getting off the truck and adding more employees to expand his business, he needed to make sure his dispatchers and techs also had a seamless experience with the new software. Luckily, ServiceMonster was very user-friendly and one of the easiest things for his employees to learn when it came to training. Here are a few things  techs have to make life easier:

  • Get text reminders before the job along with Google Maps navigation
  • Attach photos to a work order and see any work done before even going off to the job site
  • Get a newsfeed of work and communication history
  • Be able to review scope of work with the homeowner
  • See every task that needs to be completed with an end of job checklist 

Having ServiceMonster as a software keeps ProShine employees from waiting on answers and lets them better focus on their jobs. It 's a great tool to help set them up for success from day one.

How ProShine went from surviving to thriving during covid

Ultimately, I don’t really believe we sell window washing.  I don’t really believe that we sell pressure washing. We sell an experience.

Covid changed the trajectory of many service businesses. One of Pete’s biggest struggles during that time was with staffing. With new work-from-home measures, ProShine saw a high increase in requests for their services to accommodate more outdoor activities. The flip side to the rise in business, however, was that there were not enough employees to get the work done. How did ProShine combat this? They raised prices to try to lower the amount of people that would be accepting their bids and to cover additional expenses. 

Though necessary, raising prices can be a daunting task for small businesses because it might mean a decrease in sales. But in Pete’s case, the loss in sales turned out to work in his favor. It reduced the demand during the pandemic to a level his workforce could now accommodate. 

But there was another missing piece to this equation. Pete knew that potential clients could easily hire any other provider to get the same job done for less money. So what made his clients choose to pay a bit more for his services?

Pete and his leadership team had done a SWOT analysis and found that hiring was one of their weaknesses. They were struggling internally and during covid, especially, there were literally zero job applicants. So they made a push to attract and hire top talent, and it ended up paying off in spades. Clients love his team, and because of that they return again and again. Pete understood that hiring a good team would be better for the bottom line, and what came from it was an impressive 74% residential repeat rate. Client retention and repeat business played a large part in the overall growth of his business.  

A Responsive Support Team

ServiceMonster is #1 reason why we can fulfill that value of being responsive

Alongside other key factors such as making company-wide changes to benefits and to attract top talent, ProShine devised an acronym that better reflected their mission and values: ROOTS. 

The acronym stands for:

Responsive

Optimistic

Ownership

Teamwork

Service

And Pete attributes  one of those key values - responsiveness - to the support he gets from the ServiceMonster team. He or any one of his techs and call on the phone and talk to someone from the team every time. They can give immediate answers or if not be relentless in figuring it out. Pete knows that, as the owner, if his dispatcher has an issue they can pick up the phone or shoot an email and there will always be a friendly, knowledgeable person on the other side ready to help. 

Thanks so much for the kind words, Pete. We appreciate you too!

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Cleaner Q & A: The Keys to Success

Success means something different to each individual, and most everyone goes about trying to achieve it in a different way. You could be the best carpet cleaner in the world, but is skill the only thing that equates to success? Not necessarily. Since every cleaner runs their company a little differently, we thought it would be interesting to get some different opinions on the topic of success and what it is that helps cleaners ‘win’ every day.

So, we asked the question: “What one thing is crucial to your success on a daily basis?"

Here’s how some of your fellow cleaners responded.

1) Having fun with your customers.

Brad Mastrangelo, Mastrangelo's Carpet Cleaning

“Making your customers smile and laugh. I have been in this business for 25 years. I have also been a professional stand-up comedian for 23 years. Many of my customers know this and many find out when I leave. I believe that we all have access to the same equipment, chemicals, and training. I feel strongly that if you make a customer feel comfortable with you the person, you will have a customer for life.”

2) Taking notes.

Jeremy Higley, Ultimate Carpet Cleaning

“Absolutely it has to be time management. Google Keep keeps me on track with goals, to-do's, etc.”

3) Family support.

Tom King, Rug Gallery Flooring

“My wife's hard work and great people skills.”

4) Conversations with customers and staff.

Shen Schulz, Environmental Carpet and Air Care

“Communication! It is the foundational basis for everything going right in our business. We could not stay as organized with our schedule and demand without communication. We could not have strong marketing and online presence without communication. Our customers experience good customer service and understand everything they need to know regarding their job, because we proactively communicate with them all details. Our different departments work together seamlessly (senior leadership, accounting, customer service, cleaning techs, web marketing) because we instill the importance of communication in our culture.”

5) Sincerity.

Pavlin Zarkov, Master’s Touch

“Be honest, win customers’ trust and turn them into a cheerleaders for your business.”

6) Always being open to learning.

Joseph Rodgers, Quest Floor Care

“Taking the time to learn new things and integrate them into the business when helpful. The key is actually taking the time to learn and understand the new thing, whether it's a process, a piece of equipment or a form of technology (like another form of social media).”

7) Going above and beyond.

Jessica Zuniga, Zorro Carpet Cleaning

“Getting to know our customer’s needs and exceeding expectation.”

8) Always giving it your all.

John Stewart, Healthy Choice Carpet Cleaners

“I got rid of my ego -- stopped making excuses. I became determined that only the best will do -- even if I lost money on some jobs. While running my business with these guidelines I managed to serve some people who became cheerleaders for my business and helped it grow. And I was a decade ahead of the ‘green, eco-friendly’ thing."

9) A solid foundation.

Russ Terhaar, The Clean Machine

“Integrity, hard work, and faith. Not sure what order to put those in because they all work together for me. Take one out and I'm dead in the water...”

10) Acting like a cleaner that YOU would want to hire!

Ron Beatty, Ron Beatty Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning

“Consistency, reliability, humility, and a lot of hard work.”

This throwback ServiceMonster Blog post was originally posted in July of 2015.

Interviews
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Spotlight: First-Ever Viral Cleaning Industry Video

What is the perfect recipe for making a video go viral?

It has to be easily accessible (embedded into a Facebook post, ideally), and it has to be worthwhile to share (the reasoning behind which varies widely). It definitely has to be eye-catching and enjoyable for people to watch. It also needs to be short -- people have brief attention spans these days, and they won't stick around for a drawn-out video. High quality images and audio make your video easier to watch. It also couldn't hurt to draft up a marketing plan to go along with your video to encourage its virality.

...However, none of these things are a guarantee. You could follow the guidelines to a T and still not see your video gain much traction. Such is life on the fickle internet.

But, sometimes... like in the case of The Dirt Army Carpet & Tile Cleaning Services, you post a video with very humble (if any!) goals, and watch in disbelief as the views and shares soar.

We recently had the opportunity to interview ServiceMonster customer Gary Hite with The Dirt Army, who is currently experiencing this phenomena.

Chances are you've seen their latest video.

It contains fairly straight-forward subject matter: grout cleaning. However, they've seemed to hit a niche just right. There are a ridiculous number of 'satisfaction'/'perfection' videos on YouTube, many that include cleaning, organization, and an assortment of 'gross' topics like ear wax removal and pimple popping. There is even a subreddit titled Oddly Satisfying (The Dirt Army's video was reposted there, of course.). Many people find these videos gratifying to watch, in an 'OCD' kind of way.

Currently sitting at roughly 5,900,000 views and 70,000 shares, The Dirt Army's video landed on the first page of Reddit and completely blew Gary's initial expectations out of the water.

Check out the interview with Gary below to learn about his thought process behind the video, how it's affected his business, and more!

The Interview:

First of all, how long have you been in business, and what area do you serve?

We have been in business since 2008. I did it part time for two years, then took one year off. In 2011 I started cleaning full time. We service the Temecula Valley area in Southern California.

How did you get the idea for this video, and what was your goal with it at the beginning?

I've been making cleaning videos for five years. It seems like each time they get a little bit better. My goal was to sell more tile jobs in Temecula and the surrounding cities. Now, people from all over the world want me to clean their tile! We average 170 calls, 200 direct messages, and 75 emails a day asking us if we have a franchise in their city, or if we can recommend a local cleaner with similar equipment.

What cleaning equipment did you use in the video?

I cleaned this tile using my brand new Prochem Everest HP with e-idel. The tile cleaning tool is the Turbo Hybrid Grout Cleaning Tool 12" from Cobb Supply (they are the only supply store that can get this tool in green! It typically comes in blue, but Dirt Army green is the best.). The cleaning product is called Grout War from Army Chemical.

What camera equipment did you use to film the video?

I used a GoPro.

What editing software did you use?

I used Windows Movie Maker. It's the easiest software to use.

When did you post the video?

I published the video at 8:00 pm Pacific on July 26th.

Where did you post the video?

I uploaded the video to YouTube and Facebook.

Did you boost the post on Facebook?

Yes. I boosted the post to people who like The Dirt Army Facebook Page, and their friends. I targeted locations in and around our local Southern California area, including Canyon Lake, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula, Wildomar, and Winchester. I selected ages 32-65+.

How soon after posting the video did you think, "this could go viral!"?

I hired a woman to answer phones the night before this video was published. The next day, she mentioned that I got "the strangest phone calls." Later when talking to her, she said that most of the calls came in from Florida. That afternoon, when looking at the 60,000 view count, I said to myself, "this is going to be viral."

How do you plan to monetize this? How has the video affected your business so far? Have you gotten a surge in local business?

My website visits are up 3,600%! Our Facebook Page has gotten 42,000 new likes in seven days, which is an increase of 39,803%. I just bought the domain dirtarmyleads.com, and we will have a full staff selling leads that come in to cleaners around the nation. Army Chemical is a product line that I started three months ago, and we now sell Grout War, Odor War, and Stain War. I know 100% that millions of dollars will be made from this 1:30 minute cleaning video. My life will never be the same. I'm excited and scared at the same time.

Is there anything you would have done differently with this video?

I would have included my Grout War tile cleaner in this video (pouring the product into our pump-up sprayer).

Are you planning on submitting the video to your local news station?

On Tuesday, we submitted the video to CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX.

Once the hype around the video dies down a bit, do you have a plan for how to ride the wave of attention it's brought your company?

Hype die down? NEVER! I will be making new videos each week that will include our products. For a fee, I will select cleaning tools from our industry.

We noticed that you suggested that other companies within the industry comment on the video to advertise their local services, since people from all over the United States are commenting interested in your service. Do you see this as an opportunity to help benefit the industry as a whole?

Definitely. Other cleaners are sharing this video to their company pages, stating that they can achieve similar results.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Ryan Kettering with Prolific Prints saved us! He shut down their entire printing and graphics art shop so they could work on building me three websites in six hours. The team also designed three labels for my chemical line, Army Chemical, that same day. It only took them six hours to complete my order. Who knew you could rent out an entire graphics studio?

We are currently looking for serious investors, because a Dirt Army franchise is coming soon. I'm hiring a professional that has franchised other businesses to completely take care of this for me. I feel like I am the busiest person in the world right now. The power of social media is insane! And this is just the beginning.

Thank you for taking time out of your chaotic day to answer our questions, Gary!

Gary spoke with ServiceMonster CEO, Joe, on the phone a few days after the video went live. After discussing all the new business the video has brought in, Gary admitted one regret: "I wish I had started using ServiceMonster sooner!" (No worries, Gary. We'll get you up to speed in no time!)

Check out The Dirt Army's website for more information about the company. You can also find them on Facebook.

Interviews
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