We are all guilty of wasting time, procrastinating, and turning work in late. However, when it comes to your plumbing business, the last thing you want to do is create a culture of inefficient time management. As the owner or manager of your plumbing business, it’s essential that you set the example for the company and your employees of how to manage time. To do that, we’ve come up with 5 effective ways to improve your plumbing business’s time management and increase employee productivity.
Get in the habit of making lists.
In a society that demands productivity, multitasking can cause you to become hyper-productive, always checking emails, running errands, and flipping back and forth between jobs. Jumping from task to task can make it harder to complete projects. Multitasking sometimes represents a more time consuming approach, one that brings your time management to a screeching halt.
To counteract this, create to-do lists each day consisting of the tasks that you need to finish. To-do lists will help reduce the urge to multitask and encourage you to focus on one project at a time. It's also very satisfying to cross items off your list each day.
Integrate scheduling and management software.
Two of the biggest time sinks for a plumbing business are scheduling customer appointments and keeping track of plumbing technicians. If you don't have a management system that keeps track of appointment times and customer information, you could be spending triple the amount of time managing these things by hand (not to mention all the time wasted deciphering poor employee handwriting and reconciling billing inaccuracies).
Plumbing software that integrates with Quickbooks marks one of the easiest ways to organize files, track time, and give your plumbers an effective way to plot their service calls each day via GPS. A plumbing management system does all of the legwork for you, saving you and your company precious time and increasing productivity.
Avoid and eliminate time wasters.
Do you and your employees like to surf the net during work hours? Social media and online window shopping can waste an enormous amount of time each day. Set the expectation for your employees that social media and online shopping should be reserved for lunch and breaks. Remove bookmarks and quick links to your Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon accounts. If they're not in front of you, you may be less likely to visit them. This could save you a good chunk of unproductive time.
Create buffer time between projects.
Stop jamming 20 projects into a single day. To maximize productivity, you need to give yourself some lead time in between tasks and projects every day. An extra 5-10 minutes between tasks will allow for distractions, phone calls, and urgent emails that require an immediate response.
The same goes for your plumbing technicians. Don't overbook their schedules with customer service calls. It could backfire and create a poor customer service experience if there is no buffer time for jobs that might take longer than expected. Allow your technicians an extra 30 minutes in between jobs for customer questions, traffic, and other unforeseen problems.
Set time limits on tasks.
Just like your plumbing technicians have a timeframe for service calls, you should set restrictions on your tasks. Strategize every day and set aside blocks of time to complete tasks. Here is a sample of a possible work day schedule:
8:30 AM - 9:00 AM - Respond to emails.
9:15 AM - 12:00 PM - Order supplies.
12:15 PM - 1:00 PM - Lunch.
1:15 PM - 3:00 PM - Follow up customers about their recent service calls.
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM - Look over invoice report from previous week.
Blocking out your time for specific tasks helps reduce the chances that a single task will drag on and on.
It's important to note that as the owner, you'll want to schedule out additional buffer time during each task for any day-to-day issues that may arise. So, if you schedule two hours for invoices, tack on an additional 15-30 minutes for fires that need put out, on top of the 10 minute buffer time between projects.
Implementing some of these effective time management tips can improve your company’s productivity and help improve your work environment. For help with integrating plumbing business management software, contact Smart Service for a free demo and see how you can improve your time management.