A How-To Guide for Home Services Franchise Owners (Part 2)
- September 18, 2023
- By: Vonigo
This post is the second in a two-part series about growing your home services franchise business using customized franchise management software. Click here to read part one.
Online Booking is Here to Stay
These days, customers have come to expect the ability to schedule home services appointments online. Simply put, unless you offer a convenient booking option, you’ll lose the business.
With real-time online scheduling, you and your team can focus more energy on serving customers. Avoid playing telephone tag, and capture a rapidly growing demographic of customers who would never consider calling or emailing.
Real-Time Booking: Customers Prefer It
For service franchises, unbooked appointments are a perishable inventory that cannot be resold. Real-time online booking allows you to efficiently manage this inventory by enabling customers to quickly see when your crews are available.
They can book appointments online without ever having to place a call. And once an appointment is booked, a team member can still follow up with the customer to get more job details or special instructions.
In some industries, the customer interaction starts with booking an on-site estimate rather than booking a service directly. With the right online booking tool, the needs of your industry can be met, and the quoting process can be streamlined considerably.
A well-integrated scheduling system has additional benefits for your franchise. It can give you the ability to manage route planning for appointments, as well as crew scheduling based on the workload.
How to Increase Business Efficiency with Online Payment Tools
Accepting payments online is a fast, easy and secure way to increase the efficiency of your business. It’s never been simpler to integrate online payments into your billing process, and payment vendors like our partner, EVO Payments, offer preferred credit card processing rates.
Take advantage of the shift towards ecommerce and online payments. It’s a trend too powerful for your business to ignore.
Here are three ways online payment tools can increase the efficiency of your services business.
Manage Cash Flow with Immediate Payments
Online payments are immediate, and free you from reliance on snail mail or collecting on-site. In addition to increasing the speed of payment, online payments are secure and trackable, which guarantees you will never lose a customer’s check in the mail. Faster payment turnaround helps you put your money to work, paying staff salaries, buying equipment or saving for a rainy day.
You can quickly increase the volume of online payments by offering customers a discount on their bills for paying online, or another incentive. While there is some monetary cost involved, the efficiencies created when your customers become comfortable paying you online will pay for themselves quickly.
Eliminate Paper-Based Processes
Online payments cut down on the hidden costs of paper, which is often the cause of costly bottlenecks. Online payments free your employees from the need to manually enter payment data to generate financial reports. A robust online payment system will automatically generate customer receipts, invoices and update your accounting software without the need for paper.
Increase Customer Interaction and Boost Lifetime Value
Online payments enable you to start an ongoing conversation with your customers. Use the payment submission process to alert your customers and clients to upcoming promotions and benefits, such as the launch of new service lines, promotional discounts, or new customer referral bonuses.
You can also use the online payment process to remind customers to schedule their next appointment online. Increasing the lifetime value of existing customers is a much more cost-effective way to grow business profitability than acquiring new customers.
Online payments can be a game-changer for your company’s cash flow.
Using GPS to Improve Fuel Efficiency
GPS technology is a powerful ally for franchisees who want to reduce their fuel costs. Vehicle fuel is the lifeblood of any services business, and without your fleet, there is no way to service to your customers.
GPS can help you fight the rising cost of fuel by helping you more efficiently manage your fleet vehicles, while still delivering the same quality of excellent service to your customers.
Here are five ways you can use GPS fleet monitoring to save money on fuel.
1. Minimize Engine Idling
Engine idling is part of the natural life of a vehicle. Running the engine at red lights, stop signs and other pauses in traffic is unavoidable. However, there are several fuel-wasting behaviors GPS can help you eliminate: engine idling while parked, burning gas just to keep the vehicle’s cabin warm, or to power the air conditioner.
GPS technology can help you monitor your driver’s behavior by collecting data about the operation of your fleet. Long periods of engine activity without motion are recorded and can be eliminated with the help of the GPS data log.
Use a GPS system to ensure that fuel is used for delivering service to customers, and other profit-generating activities only.
2. Monitor Driver Speeds
Driving the right speed for the road has many benefits, including fuel savings. Many cities synch their traffic signals to ensure that vehicles traveling a consistent speed will hit all green lights along a single street. GPS can tell you when your vehicles are being driven at the correct speeds for the roads along their routes.
Not only does driver speed monitoring make travel times faster, your engines will also perform more efficiently when drivers are not idling at red lights, or throttling the accelerator and stopping suddenly.
3. Optimize Routing
Did you know that eliminating left-hand turns from your routes is an effective way to increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and reduce travel times? It’s true. Left turns at stop lights and busy intersections are frequently delayed by oncoming traffic, unlike right-hand turns that can be made safely at almost any time, including at times when the light is red (in most cities).
GPS technology allows you to optimize vehicle routes to reduce or eliminate left-hand turns. The same routing functionality allows your drivers to anticipate and avoid road construction and spot oncoming traffic jams.
4. Manage Vehicle Records
Maintaining vehicle records allows you to prevent fuel theft and ensure that company gas cards are being used for fleet purposes only. GPS technology can help you monitor fleet mileage versus fuel purchases. A GPS system can also help you maximize fuel purchases by alerting your drivers to preferred fill-up stations that offer competitive fleet pricing, or other benefits for business owners.
An additional benefit of GPS vehicle records management is to ensure that company vehicles are used only on company time, and no after hours driving occurs.
5. Proactive Vehicle Maintenance
Keeping track of your vehicle miles is a complex, time consuming task, especially when you maintain a large fleet. A poorly-performing engine can silently siphon off hundreds or thousands of dollars in fuel.
Deploying a GPS system for your vehicles is a fast and efficient way to collect and monitor data automatically. A GPS system can collect and analyze reams of data about your fleet, including the number of miles traveled for each vehicle, with the ability to alert you when it’s time for one of your vehicles to get a tune up.
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