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Why Awareness is Essential to Home Service Businesses

What is Brand Awareness?

What do you think of when you hear Johnson & Johnson?  Most likely it’s an image of a happy baby, maybe splashing around in a tub.  If someone were to mention McDonald’s, it’s also very likely that the golden arches will come to mind, and your mouth will start to water.  This is brand awareness at its finest, when an everyday consumer can instantly identify your company, and what it provides from an image, a logo, a slogan, or just by name.

Why Should You Care?

Brand awareness is important whatever industry you are in, but it is particularly important for home service businesses.  Why?  There are many home service businesses out there, and it is hard for a consumer to differentiate.  It is important then to seize the opportunities you have to capture a potential customer’s attention.  People often put off work on their home or business until it is staring them in the face.  You want to ensure when they DO need a service, your company is the first they call.  For instance, if a consumer is driving down the highway and they see an eye popping, but nicely decaled van advertising home cleaning services, with contact information clearly displayed, that image will most likely stick in their head and you could receive their call.

How to Implement Brand Awareness:

Brand awareness is like taking a megaphone and announcing from the rooftops; “we are a great HVAC service company located right in the center of town, check us out!”  Here are some steps to take at your home service business to ensure that you have properly branded your company, and are sharing it with the world.

  1.  Hire a graphic designer to create a logo for you.  There are many freelance graphic designers out there that will happily create a logo for you at a relatively low cost.  Be picky and specific.  Describe your business and what you would like to portray and work with the designer to come up with an image that suits your company and is a good fit.  Make sure you include your logo on your service vehicles, your business cards, bills, estimates and the sign on your office.
  2. Come up with a slogan.  You are looking for something catchy and memorable that also helps identify what service your business provides.  Take lawncare company B&G Turf Farm of Helendale, California for example.  Their slogan is: “We’re easy to get a lawn with.”
  3. Use the social media world.  Broadcast your company’s existence by creating a company Facebook page and Twitter account.  Make sure to use your company logo and slogan in both profiles so that it is easily identifiable.  Make sure to post company updates and industry news.
  4. Update the new-aged Yellow Pages.  Visit Yelp, CitySearch, Angies List, and other local search and review websites and update or enter your business information.  Make sure to include your website, business phone number(s), logo, and address.
  5. Get Noticed

The image that you present to the world is the image that consumers will remember.  Make sure that you are presenting your business as a professional, clean cut, responsible and knowledgeable company.  Demonstrate expertise in your field.  By exposing the world (even if it’s just within your community) to your home service company, you increase your potential customer base.  Next time a frustrated home or business owner needs a service; your company will come to mind.

3 Basic Business Mistakes to Avoid

All businesses face pressures and the risk of closing their doors if things don’t work out.  As a small home service business, you’re probably feeling some pressure to ensure that your business survives and you’re sometimes under some stress, whether it’s noticeable to you or not. While there is no recipe for guaranteed success, here are three basic mistakes you can avoid to increase your chances for long-term success.

1. Targeting Everyone

If you’re Apple or Walmart, then you can probably get away with trying to target the mass population to buy your products because breadth often comes with being a big company. But as a small business you need to be more careful and focused about where you exert your efforts. This is called market segmentation and creating a target market. Here you need to understand what’s driving your customer; their needs and reasons for buying. If you target too broad a market then you may quickly find yourself overstretched with insufficient resources to cope.

2. Not Sticking With Your Brand

It takes time, but customers recognize your brand – the logo, color, message, words.  Everything.  Changing this often and with no structure confuses your target market meaning that they will not identify you and then forget you. Pick a brand. Pick an identity and stick with it.  It is also worth it to spend a little money on developing your brand identity.  In the graphic design world you need to spend more to get better quality.  Doing this initially will save you money in the future.

3. Ineffective Pricing

This may seem obvious as your pricing strategy drives sales of your products and services. Set this too high and customers may switch to a cheaper competitor. But setting too low can have disastrous consequences because you may not cover your costs and raising the price afterwards doesn’t mean more revenues for you; increased price deters demand and will cause you to lose customers. The price therefore needs to find the balance between revenues, costs, and demand. Setting the price low doesn’t necessarily mean you’re undercutting the competition; you may actually be driving yourself out of business.

Evaluate your business.  Are you using these three tips to ensure that your business is on the path to success?  If not, trying focusing on these as they are a good place to start.  It may save you in the future.  Best of luck!

The Importance of Professionalism: In Every Aspect of your Business

I recently had my carpets cleaned by a great company, Shannon Carpet Cleaning, as part of my end of tenancy agreement.  By the time Mr. Shannon had finished cleaning the full apartment (even the bathroom is carpeted, yuck, I know, but let’s not go there!), only an hour had passed and the carpets looked spotless and smelled amazing.  When it was time to pay, he handed me a hand written receipt and a printed postcard with the company’s information on it: an approach that left me bewildered.  Let me explain why.

After paying, we launched into a ten minute discussion about SEO (search engine optimization) spurred by his asking where I had found his company.  I had simply “Googled” carpet cleaning in my area, and Shannon Carpet Cleaning popped up as the first option that wasn’t a paid for advertisement (this is called ‘organic search’).  As I regaled my tales of difficulties that home service businesses run into in establishing their presence online, Mr. Shannon seemed surprised.  He explained this by commenting that while SEO might sound complex and forbearing, once you understand the concept it is easy for even a small business owner to implement.  In fact, he added, it is a huge mistake not to.  I agreed, knowing far too well the importance these days of search engine optimization, particularly for the competitive home service business market.

This conversation left me puzzled for the rest of the day.  How could a perfect businessman, who does great work, provides good customer service, and understands the value of a strong online presence, miss such an important part of the business transaction: professionalism through-and-through.  To the customer, having your home serviced is just as much about the overall experience as the end result.  A lady with leaky pipes wants a clean, trustworthy plumber that doesn’t track muddy water through her house, and has a guarantee at the end that the pipe is well fixed.  A corporate business who needs their windows cleaned wants a professional who comes during a quiet time of day, and dresses in an identifiable uniform to match expectations within their building.

I was looking for a seamless end to my home service experience with a printed invoice and consequential receipt, perhaps with a coupon for services next time.  It is important for home service businesses to realize that impressions are important.  Running your business in a professional and memorable manner helps you to keep customers and attract new ones.  This is hard to do if you are using a planner to manually schedule appointments, and a receipt pad to track payments.  Research a workforce management solution that is right for your business.  The extra cost will be easily met by the added customers you will gain from streamlining your business.  Letting a workforce management system work for you will transform your business into one that appears to be a successful thriving business with many employees.  So let the software do the work for you and leave your customers with a smile on their face, by giving them a great end-to-end home service experience.   First impressions surely count,  and so does the complete experience.

Welcome to Service Proz’s New Blog

Welcome to Service Proz’s new blog, “Building A Better Business.”  This blog gives home service businesses advice on how to start and run their companies as well as to keep you up to date on the latest business news, tips, and tools of the trade.  Many small businesses do not have the time, people, or expertise to continually improve their business so Service Proz is here to help you to build a better business.

As the leading provider of an easy to use, well tuned, and well developed workforce management solution for small service businesses, Service Proz understands what it takes to run your business smoothly and efficiently.

So sit back, relax, and let us help you transform your service business into a better and booming business.