If you work in the chimney sweep business, you’ve likely experienced the annual “fall rush,” that time of year right around the latter half of August and early September when everyone is getting ready to light up the fireplace for the first time in months. You can try as best you can to suggest your customers get their maintenance done in the slower summer months, but inevitably the orders pile up year after year right at the last minute. It’s not hard to see why; chimney cleaning is not a task that is at the forefront of people’s minds. But the result always manifests in a massive waiting list, one that can last for weeks! With constant appointment cancellations and rescheduling, getting through this busy season can create a huge headache.
Almost always, issues arise from inadequate communication between you and your employees out in the field taking appointments. Things like double bookings, long gaps on schedules between work orders, and poorly planned job routes can cause logistics nightmares that can frustrate clients and needlessly waste time.
The good news is that these problems are solvable. If your business uses paper work orders, or an outdated piece of software to handle your scheduling and job management, then chances are you are missing out on opportunities to streamline the efficiency of your day to day operations. Here are some tips to help you get through this year’s rush season.
Up Your Marketing Game
It is always disheartening to hear feedback from a frustrated customer who had a bad experience due to an accidental double booking or some other minor mistake made during the Fall rush. If half of your clients simply had the foresight to schedule their appointment one month prior during the slow summer season, a significant portion of your troubles would instantly disappear. Why not remind them in late July that your services are available by sending out a well-designed mailer, paying for some ad space in a regional advertisement, or emailing your previous customers and the people on your mailing list? There are also powerful marketing tools in popular social media platforms such as Facebook that could allow you to reach your target audience with ads.
Send Out a Holiday Card On The Fourth of July
Mailing your former customers a card wishing them a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday can be a great way to build a relationship between your customers and your brand. It doesn’t hurt that the holiday happens to fall just before the chimney sweep business’ busiest time of the year. With just a subtle suggestion, customers may consider getting their annual chimney cleaning done early. Even if they don’t, putting yourself in your customers' recent memory when it comes time for them to seek your services works as a great way to get a small boost over the competition.
Streamline Your Work Order Process
If your business uses paper work orders or an outdated piece of software to handle your scheduling and job management, then chances are you are missing out on opportunities to streamline the efficiency of your day to day operations. This can hinder you greatly come busy season. Consider investing in a chimney sweep software that can improve your efficiency and cut out wasted time and effort spent on inefficient work order processes. If you already use QuickBooks, your existing customer information will be imported into the app, allowing you to begin scheduling, dispatching, routing, invoicing, and much more with efficiency and ease. In this industry, it is far too common for paper work orders to get lost or turn into illegible chicken scratch, leading to confusion that needlessly wastes time. Smart Service offers a complete service scheduling solution, giving you the ability to schedule jobs in a clean and easy to understand interface.