How to Minimize Operations Delays in a Home Services Franchise

This article about day-to-operations for individual owners of home services franchises was written by Baltimore-based consultant Joe Peters.

Delays are a nuisance for your home services franchise, as they disrupt your business processes and can adversely affect your profitability. 

It’s crucial to get the job done on time, as agreed with your customers. If you fail at that, you risk losing clients and earning a bad reputation, which can negatively affect your entire business in the long run.

We bring you five easy-to-follow tips that will help you work on reducing delays and optimizing your business.

Make the Work Schedule Accessible 

Avoid miscommunication and delays by making the overall work schedule available to your entire team. Your team can keep their weekly workload in mind as they plan their assignments

If you have a franchise management software tool that anyone on the team can simply log into, you’re allowing them to get a complete overview of what’s ahead of them. 

They can check in daily to see what they need to do that day and make sure they’re on the right track. This type of system practically eliminates reschedulingIf a crew cannot keep an appointment, they will be more likely to notice it on time when they have a clear picture of their weekly or monthly tasks.

As a result, you will hear about it sooner. Therefore, you’ll be able to plan and find a replacement without losing business or rescheduling. This option not only fosters responsibility as each employee is in charge of managing their time and commitments, but it also leads to satisfied employees—an incredible 75% of employees are happier when they feel some ownership in creating their own schedule.

Invest in a cloud-based scheduling system if you want to have accessible software that’s easy to use and brings you all the benefits mentioned above. Your team members will simply have to log in to have access to their schedules, which will make them feel more connected and on top of their jobs.

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Know Your Boundaries 

Being aware of what you can realistically accomplish will help you accept jobs that you can complete on schedule. Taking on jobs that you do not have the people or skills for will cause delays. Businesses often overextend themselves because they don’t want to turn a customer down. 

While this attitude is understandable, it can lead to more problems than just lost revenue. When making a deal, you offer the customer certain conditions which you promise to fulfill. However, if you do not have enough people, knowledge, or experience to finish the job, you will suffer setbacks and finish late. As a result, your bad reviews might cost you potential customers.

Keep in mind that knowing your boundaries leads to better customer satisfactionWhen you are aware of your abilities as well as your limitations, you will only take on jobs that you are sure your team can do promptly and correctly. Otherwise, you will let your customers down by failing to live up to the standard—and earn bad reviews on account of poor performance. Get familiar with your team’s strengths and weaknesses and their schedule, which will help you understand how much work they can get done in a day or week. Understanding your team’s capacities can help you decide which jobs to take and turn down, thus preventing delays and improving your overall workflow.

Improve Communication

Good communication not only with the team but with the customer helps put a stop to delays. 

Staying in touch with your team boosts their productivity and helps get the job done, benefitting both the business and the customer. 

Your team members work in the field and have first-hand experience with the task and any problems that may arise. Ask for their feedback to understand how you can help them, whether in the form of training, additional support, ensuring more time for specific tasks, or hiring more people. 

They will also be able to notify you if they are expecting a delay. Understanding your customer’s needs and conditions allows you to avoid wasting time on inconsequential aspects of the task, thus speeding up the process. When you know what the customer wants, you can deliver it. 

Sometimes, customers are not happy with a particular aspect of the job and want you to re-do a couple of things or start over. To ensure that you are on the same page, stay in touch with the customer throughout the process and ask for their feedback often. When your team informs you of a problem or a delay, inform the customer to keep them in the loop.

To improve communication, have check-ins with your team, especially after completed jobs, to get their thoughts on the whole process. 

Stay in touch with your clients over email and social media, where you can get your point across and receive feedback on your work. Promoting communication and feedback can help you spot and solve problems in the workplace and keep everyone informed.

Train Your Employees 

Quality training equips your team with the skills and knowledge necessary to keep up with deadlines. When a team gets adequate training, they can organize better because they understand how long it will take to finish the job. This knowledge will allow them to start each task exactly when they’re supposed to and leave enough room for possible errors or setbacks, thus eliminating actual delays. Moreover, a team that is confident in their knowledge of their job is also better at it

When you take the time to train employees and explain each aspect of the job in detail, they are more likely to be good at it, which boosts productivityTraining may take some time, but it will pay off. The workers will be confident and autonomous when tackling their tasks, which leads to better performance

  • Get your employees the chance to have hands-on experience during training as this will allow them to retain information better
  • You can pair up new hires with seasoned employees so they have a chance to learn from the best.
  • Ensure that your team has access to training materials, presentations, and instructions to help them on the spot

Employees can waste inordinate amounts of time retrieving such data, which is why you should find a way to ensure they have all the information readily available within a unified knowledge base. 

Invest time and energy into training as qualified employees decrease the risk of delays and errors.

Make Sure Your Teams Have the Right Inventory

Knowing which equipment you have, and where it is, ensures that you get the job done on time. Having the right equipment is vital for keeping up with the deadlinesChances are that there are certain tools or equipment that your team finds indispensable in the field. In fact, you’ve trained them to use these tools in their daily operations. 

When a tool is misplaced, the employee needs to stop working and find it before they can continue, which results in delays. You should provide the correct tools to your team so that they can finish their job. If everyone on the team has all the necessary tools to perform their duties, they should keep them organized and in a safe place. 

When work is organized effectively, employees will be able to notice when something goes missing or gets damaged, which means they can inform you promptly and ask for a replacement. 

Unfortunately, 43% of small businesses don’t track their inventory properly, or they use inefficient methods. Don’t become a part of that statistic. When your business grows, and you start having too many tools to count, let alone track effectively, consider using tracking systems that enable you to tag each piece of equipment and track it using GPS. 

Keep track of your equipment to ensure that your employees have everything they need to perform as expected.

Takeaways for Owners of a Home Services Franchise

As has been noted, delays can cost you revenue and customers, so it’s crucial to eliminate them whenever possible. Start doing that by sharing the work schedule with all employees, allowing them to stay on track with their duties. Likewise, work on recognizing when to turn an offer down, especially when you are not 100% qualified to do the job or are understaffed. 

If you train your employees well and let them give you their feedback, it will help you improve and deal with errors effectively. On top of all that, make sure that your team has all the equipment necessary to do their job. 

When you take all these steps, you will experience little to no delays—resulting in happy customers and employees alike.

Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer, marketing consultant and ultimate techie. Follow him on @bmorepeters.

Want to learn more about how franchise management software can helo you gain operation efficiencies? Book a free, private demo of Vonigo