Get your mittens out because it's time to start thinking about winter. Lucky for you, snowstorms mean more business for your snow removal business. As you are already aware, snow removal involves a lot of additional work besides getting your snow boots wet. You also have to stay on top of your paperwork. That is where many small businesses get stressed out. Here are the 5 most common mistakes that snow removal businesses make:
1. Performing services without a contract
Before you do any work for your client, there has to be a contract. This keeps both parties liable for their own side of the bargain: you for providing the service and them for paying up on time. A contract will ensure that both you and your client are aware of all of the commitments being made. There should be no miscommunications and no excuse for someone changing their mind. Several important things to include on the contract would be:
- Specifically what you are being hired to do
- What your expected deadline is
- What is your procedure if things do not go as planned
- Price and expected date of payment
- Additional prices for additional services if they should be used
2. Neglecting to maintain a work log
A work log contains very useful information for your small business. It can help you determine your efficiency and help you identify the areas in which you need to devote more time or labor. It can also keep track of what jobs you have completed and what jobs you are in the process of. Neglecting to maintain a work log can also lead to losing slip/fall lawsuits.
With the help of snow removal software, you can keep a work log with very little effort. It is easy to use and saves you time and energy, which could easily be put to better use. You simply time in when you get a property, time out when you're done, and then log the work performed electronically. No more trying to deciper illegible writing or trying to find that three-year-old log. It's all electronically stored in a central database.
3. Not billing in a timely manner
If you don't ask for money, nobody is going to pay you. If nobody pays you, you don't have money to pay your employees (yikes!).
Billing in a timely manner is crucial to your snow removal business. When your client pays you, it signals a job well done and another happy customer. Yet, many snow removal businesses struggle to bill in a timely manner. Why? Because they don't have an electronic log of their work. They have to wait until the end of the storm and then manually enter all of their paperwork into their billing system before they can send invoices.
But if they used snow removal software with electronic records, they can bill within hours of the snow event ending. Not only can you save time, but you can also improve your cash flow.
4. Poor customer communication
This is such an easy trap to fall into. Every industry is guilty of it. You spend all day doing similar kinds of jobs, so after a while, you start to make assumptions about what your clients need. This works out great for a while because you are a professional, and you know what you are talking about. But, you will inevitably run into someone who wants something out of the ordinary and maybe tried to tell you or just expected you to read their mind. If you do not communicate with each client about their expectations, you could run into big problems that could lose you time, clients, and money.
So consider using service business marketing software, like our add-on HindSite Connect, to communicate transactional information to your customers. For example, after a snow event, send them an email telling them when you were there and what you did.
5. Neglecting to keep documentationany small business owners neglect proper documentation because it is the least immediate of all of their many duties. Again, snow removal software eliminates all the headaches, time, and effort. You don't have to go it alone without software to keep your information straight. In other words, don't be a hero. Take advantage of the resources available to you.