Category Archives: Service Proz News

The Cloud of Confusion?

The cloud has been around for years now but it seems people are still a little confused. A recent report from, a technology trade publication, really caught my attention. The report detailed a study on what Americans thought “the cloud” actually was and surprisingly, not many people knew what cloud computing is or its benefits for small business to large corporations.

Some people in the study even said they’ve never used “the cloud” but unknowingly used it every day.

For those that are a little confused, cloud computing is used for online shopping, banking, social networking and file sharing, among many other applications.
The study, commissioned by Citrix, said that 97 percent (of 1,000 asked) of Americans actually use the cloud but 54 percent claim they have never used it. Most people said that the term “the cloud” relates to the weather, pillow, drugs or toilet paper.

The cloud is the key to the home service business management system from Service Proz, which enables customer tracking, workforce management, scheduling, dispatch, inventory, billing, mobility and more.

The report also detailed the benefits of “the cloud” for small business and called the technology a catalyst for growth, lowering business costs and boosting customer engagement.

Service Proz software handles all these issues for your business for a low monthly fee to enable your business to be more efficient, organized and, most importantly, more profitable.

This month, Service Proz will be launching a new campaign promoting our cloud based services. Check out our Facebook, Twitter  and LinkedIn pages this month for more information about the exciting promotions during September at Service Proz.

Automatic Billing: The Headache Saver

As a small business, one of the most important things you can do to stay ahead is to keep your finances organized.  Streamline your billing and payment processes with the right software to save you time, make your job easier, and ensure that calculations are accurate and invoices are being delivered on time.  A service management software that provides your company with automatic billing and integrates with QuickBooks is an easy, assured way to keep your finances in order, all while taking the headache out of tracking your finances.  What can automatic billing do for your company?  Here are three things that automatic billing can do to help your business, and save you the headache:

  1.  Finish your job with the press of a button.  Automatic billing gives your technicians the freedom and convenience of billing your customers directly on site, with the press of a button, from a mobile device.  The technician just has to enter the job details, and an invoice can be generated, and emailed to the client right on the spot.  No need to wait until you are back at the office; saving you time, and ensuring you will get paid more quickly.
  2. Custom Invoices.  An automatic billing application that comes as part of a service management solution like Service Proz allows you to create and send custom invoices containing the information you want your customer to see.  It can also include your jargon, your logo, and your business details.  The invoices can then be printed on site, emailed, or sent in the mail, whatever way you choose to invoice your customers.
  3. Integration with QuickBooks.  Your invoices and payments will be sent directly to QuickBooks, so that you can balance your books and all your billing information will be stored in one place.  It eliminates extra steps you might take in tracking your billing information, helping with your accounting, filing taxes, and more.

Automatic billing simplifies your job, saving you time, human errors and other complications that come with keeping track of business finances.  It can cut down the time that it takes customers to pay you.  Once you make the commitment to add automatic billing to your business processes, you will wonder what you ever did without it.

Visit Service Proz’s YouTube channel HERE to see how their billing applications work.

Friday Fun Facts for Cleaning Companies

You are looking to start a cleaning company, or you are an established cleaning company looking for more business.  Curious as to what the odds are of getting residential cleaning jobs in the U.S?  The following facts are courtesy of


Research shows that the majority of residential cleaning service customers make more than $75,000 annually.

These households are all potential or current customers of a residential cleaning service business.  Are you targeting the right demographics?  

Some people in the cleaning service business worry that there is too much competition to get enough clients.

That means…

There are PLENTY of potential residential cleaning customers to go around! 

With the right combination of high quality, attentive staff, good marketing, an engaging website, and a commitment to customer service, your cleaning company can be generating substantial revenues!  Keep this in mind as you start or grow your cleaning company.  You have lots of potential

Have a happy Friday, from Service Proz!

Bring In More Customers With Videos on Your Site

You’ve GOT to be different!

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again.  The home service business industry is competitive.  As a customer, sometimes it’s hard to differentiate.   A few years ago, you might have been able to differentiate yourself by just having a website.  Today, it’s not that easy.  Now, websites all start to look the same.  Competitors feed off each other, so colors, design, and messaging tend to be similar.  But you have worked hard for your business.  You want a consumer to be wowed by your business before you even provide them with a service.  You want them to pick up the phone and choose to call your business for service.

So What?

A great differentiator that you can use to set your website, AND your company apart from the crowd is using videos.  Showing an example of what your business can do establishes trust in a consumer’s mind.  It is a more concrete and imaginative way to demonstrate your capabilities and differentiation than words.  This is the perfect opportunity to give your customers, or potential customers, a taste of how your business works, and why they should choose you.

What To Show and Where?

There are three different videos that would be beneficial to host on your site, and on your YouTube channel.

1.  An “About Our Business” video, or short commercial looks great on the home page of your website.  It makes your website personal, it gives your customers a great understanding of what your business can do, and demonstrates that you truly care about your business.

2.   A “How Our Business Works” video can work very well on your Services pages.  It can also function as a great way to capture website visitors’ information.  Have them fill out a contact form in exchange for viewing the video.

3.  A “Testimonial” video goes well on your home page or on your testimonials page.  This is another great way to establish brand trust with your potential customers.  Hearing praises about your business from an actual person is a strong reassurance to your potential customer that they are picking the right business for their needs.

Now What?

Wondering where to start with adding videos to your website to help differentiate your business from the rest?  Here are a few steps you can take to create and post videos to generate a bigger interest in your business and give you a great competitive edge.

1.  Decide what types of videos you would like to create and promote on your website or YouTube channel, or both!

2.  Contact a media company like Twisted Media to see what sort of videos you can create with the budget that you have.

3.  Create your videos!

4.  Post your videos in the appropriate areas – don’t forget to start a YouTube channel if you don’t have one.

5.  Use social media to promote your new videos.

Looking for an Example?

Chicago based carpet cleaning company Unique Upholstery, Carpet and Rug Cleaning Inc. does a great job utilizing videos to promote their services.  Check out their website here for some examples.

Do you use videos to promote your home service business?

Love Your Business this Valentine’s Day

Service Proz is offering 50% off a year’s subscription to their all-in-one service management solution.  Are you tired of scheduling your employees by hand,  using Excel to keep track of your inventory, and using paper systems to keep track of your customers and billing?  Transform your business this Valentine’s day with Service Proz’s complete service management solution, including drag and drop scheduling, routing, automatic billing with QuickBooks integration, inventory management, a CRM, and more!  But hurry, this offer ends February 14th at 5:00 P.M. PST.  Call (877) 880-8979 today or email to sign up and transform your business!

Sign Right Here… It’s That Easy

Sometimes, the hardest thing to capture from a customer is their signature.  It may sound silly, but while a signature is an important part of your business transactions, it is often hard to chase down.  I sent a client a business contract the other day via email and asked him to return it signed.  He called me and asked me how he was supposed to do that; was he supposed to snail mail it to me?  I kindly suggested that he sign the document and take a picture of it on his iPhone and email the picture to me.  Needless to say, the concept of actually capturing a signature can be a difficult one, particularly if someone lacks a scanner, a fax, or even a pen.

In comes service management software in the cloud, dressed in Superman outfit, cape and all.  Its 2012 after all!  Technology is all about making life easier.  Well how about making your business process easier, and making your techs’ lives easier too with a signature capture application, available whenever, wherever on any mobile device.

Imagine this.  Your plumbing tech has just finished fixing Mrs. Jones’ very leaky sink.  After putting his tools away he takes out his tablet, or smart phone, and connects to Service Proz’s service management solution to access the CRM.  He fills in the details of the job and pulls up an invoice.  He asks Mrs. Jones to use her finger to sign it and asks what email address she would like it emailed to.  He records the email address in the CRM, emails the invoice, wishes her a good day, and gives her his best smile.  He gets in his truck, leaving Mrs. Jones awestruck at the easy, quick, and impressive customer service she just received.  Not only have you provided Mrs. Jones with excellent customer service, but you just captured her satisfaction with a job well done in the form of a signature.

It is that easy!  Never get stuck again tracking down a signature.  Don’t wait your time or your customers’ time.  Demonstrate that your business is on the ball all the time.  A service management solution doesn’t just help you run your business more smoothly; it helps you provide tip top customer service as well.  Next time you are waiting for a signature, think about what you could be doing instead if you had Service Proz!

3 Essential Reasons for an Online Business Management Solution

Why Scheduling with a Whiteboard Can be Detrimental to your Home Service Business

With the economy still suffering and customers becoming increasingly demanding and choosy when picking a service, home service businesses must be at the top of their game in order to remain successful and profitable.  One of the best ways to stay ahead of your competition, provide superior customer service, and save time and money is to streamline your business processes.  In this day and age, a business simply cannot survive in the longer term without investing in the technological advances that are now available.  Things like a well-designed website, smart phones, and a comprehensive accounting system are essential to the longevity of any home service business.  But the most important technological investment a company can make is an end-to-end business management solution.

Why?  Here are 3 reasons this is a must for the survival of your home service business:

1.  Saves Time and Money

With features like drag-and-drop scheduling, route optimization, recurring billing and mobile access, an end-to-end business Biddingmanagement solution hugely impacts efficiency and resources.  Employees spend less time on paperwork, in all aspects of the business from scheduling to accounting, and anyone in business can tell you that “time is money”.

2.  Increases Customer Satisfaction

Promise and deliver the best customer service to your current and potential customers with features like a customer portal, contact management, and technician access to important information through their mobile devices.  By having customer preferences at your fingertips and simplifying your customers’ lives with signature capture and the ability to pay their bills online helps you exceed their expectations.

3.  Reduces Human Error

From scheduling, to accounting, to navigating to a customer’s house, there are many things that can go wrong.  A business management solution helps reduce these errors by consistently performing calculations for you; giving you complete access to all your information whenever and wherever it is needed; and even providing accurate directions and routes to customers’ locations.  These all ensure that you are creating a professional and trustworthy business.

A complete business management solution, like Service Proz, WILL streamline your business processes.  Not only does it keep all your business information and interactions safely in one place (online) which makes your business easier to track at every step of the way, but it also gives you immediate access to the resources you need, such as reports, contracts, proposals, and invoices.  It takes the guesswork out of running your business and the interface is so easy to use that anyone who uses Facebook can navigate it easily.

With all these benefits and more, and at a low monthly cost, the question becomes, why wouldn’t you make the investment for your business?  What are you waiting for?

3 New Year Resolutions for Home Service Businesses

As the year draws to a close, it’s natural to take a moment to reflect on the past twelve months; the good things; the bad things; successes; proud moments; and the things that we’d rather not mention!

But while reflection serves a useful purpose in helping to learn from past experiences, most of the energy and thought that goes into running a successful home service business is best invested in the future; the plans, goals, strategy, and objectives for the coming year.

With the start of 2012 imminent, here are three New Year Resolutions that home service businesses should consider implementing to increase efficiency and productivity, for a head start in the new year.

 1.     Review your website content

It may seem obvious but the content on your website is what draws attention to your products and services; it generates demand and interest.  But what is less obvious is that your performance in Internet search (i.e., how far up the list you appear in Google when someone searches for information that is connected with your business) is not just based on the quality of the content, but also on how recent this is: how often you refresh and update your website.  Search engines like new information; it makes you appear fresh and new.  Your first resolution for 2012 is: Refresh the content on your website (even just a little).

 2.     Promote your services

Start the year with a drive to increase demand for your products and services.  But here is a problem: many customers will have little spare cash available after the Christmas season so what can you do?  Consider offering special January offers to tempt them to part with their cash or partner with a daily deals website such as Groupon.  Your second resolution for 2012 is: Tempt customers by offering them something irresistible (in limited quantities, of course!)

3.     Change the way you work

Many home service businesses have operated in the same way for years, and for one simple reason: it works.  But that doesn’t mean in today’s more competitive market that this is the best way of working.  Challenge yourself; question the way you work; see if your working methods can be improved; invest in a comprehensive service management solution.  Your third resolution for 2012 is: Change the way you work.  If you see perfection, then look again…

As the year starts, plan ahead for a successful and profitable year.  What other resolutions will your home service business be following in 2012?

3 Reasons Gift Certificates are Great for Home Service Businesses

With the holiday season already upon us, trading for some home service businesses may suffer and slow down.  Whether business is booming or not, offering gift certificates to current and potential customers during the holiday season is a great revenue generator.  It is also a free and easy way to promote your business but it’s surprising how many businesses do not consider adopting this so here are three reasons why your company should consider providing gift certificates this holiday season and how you can implement a gift certificate program.

Why Gift Certificates?

1.       It’s  a Great Gift

Knowing what to buy for a loved one is a chronic issue that many people suffer from at this time of year.  A gift certificate for house cleaning, lawn care, a repair service, or even a plumbing service is both thoughtful and helpful.  Whether your loved ones have a leaky tap, a filthy house, or they are enduring a case of mice, providing them with the chance to better their home (something they probably won’t spend their own money on) is creative and easy.

2.       Promotion

Making gift certificates available gets your name out there.  It promotes brand awareness because you are increasing the number of people that will hear about your business and then utilize your services.  Purchases of the gift certificates to give to their friends or family (who may then tell others), creates discussion and interest in YOUR company.

3.       Generate New Business

One of the best things that gift certificates can do is generate new clientele, and more business during the slower periods of the year.  Slower periods are mostly a seasonal issue faced by home service businesses but by providing gift certificates you gain control and add new businesses and revenues while your competitors continue to suffer.

How to Implement Gift Certificates at Your Company

  • Plan what types of gift certificates you are going to sell, and set affordable prices.  Are you going to sell an entire service, (i.e. one full house cleaning), or are you going to provide a monetary value that can be used to pay for services of the customer’s choice?
  • Make sure that you are tracking the gift certificates you sell.  Ensure that you have captured the email address and phone number of the purchaser, and record the gift certificate number and amount in your CRM database, or an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Have a graphic designer or print company such as Vistaprint create a gift certificate for you that you can have printed.  It is best to get them professionally printed to promote a strong image.  If you want to make it even easier for customers, you can offer e-coupons, gift certificates that you email to the recipient.  Make sure you include your company’s name, contact number, website, and address.
  • Promote the fact that you offer gift certificates.  Include some blurb on the bottom of your customers’ invoices stating that you have gift certificates available.  Include a note in your company holiday card.  Post signs at your office, and advertize in local newspapers.

As a home service business, have you ever offered gift certificates before?  Was this a successful initiative?  Post a comment and tell us more!

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

One of the greatest challenges that any small home service business faces is survival.  Maybe this is a constant, day-to-day worry or just an occasional concern about where the next order for your services is going to come from, but the risk is still there.  In a typical small business, cash may be tight, operating budgets and investment opportunities limited, orders may be hard to find, and suppliers can be demanding payment. If things aren’t going to plan then the business’s survival, and your own livelihood are both threatened.

Regardless of whether it is a constant or occasional stress, the fear and risk of failure never completely leave us.  So what is the answer? Build a bigger business perhaps? There is no doubt that a competently run “big” business solves many of these challenges by giving access to more funds; more power; greater personal wealth; and increased leverage over suppliers and the market. A position of power is desirable but long-term survival is still not guaranteed.

With size, come bigger challenges and more pressure to succeed. But success is not granted forever. Take Microsoft as an example of a “BIG” company who once dominated the software market, leading the way with their Windows operating systems and Office packages, the Microsoft technology stack, and a wealth of other innovative software solutions. Microsoft brought personal computing to the masses both at home and at work. In recent times however Microsoft has been under multiple attacks from the likes of Apple, RIM, Google, general anti- Microsoft sentiment, and the law courts.

Today, despite their size and past successes, Microsoft faces the very same challenge that many small home service businesses face; survival.

There is an increasing sentiment and expectation that Microsoft will collapse.  Maybe not imminently but the warning signs are present. This subject was covered just this week by Business Insider and while their accompanying vision of the future may be somewhat entertaining and implausible, it paints a picture that bigger is not necessarily better.

There’s something unique and beautiful about being a small business; you have the flexibility to make decisions that are in your best interests; you are more agile and can respond quickly to changes and customer needs; there is no constant scrutiny from the media and the wider public. And, when the working day is done, your business is just that: it is yours!

As a small home service business, what are your thoughts?