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April 9, 2020 quick update
is reporting 1,582,904 cases worldwide and 94,807 deaths as of 2:47pm PST on April 9.
Here in the US they are reporting 454,304 US cases and 16,267 deaths and 24,962 recovered.
cases in New York has reached 151,598, outpacing any country except the United States as a whole. And more than 7,000 people have died in New York state so far.
The U.S. is indeed enduring what Dr. Anthony Fauci called a "very bad week". But he also said that social distancing and shelter in place orders are working. In fact, they are reducing earlier projections of the death toll from the respiratory virus.
Notably, Fauci commented that the final toll currently "
" that U.S. officials previously estimated. Certainly still an alarming number.
Finally, the downstream effects of social distancing continue to have substantial effects on the economy. In the United States, projections of the decline in the US gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 range from drops of
Notably, the US GDP did not decrease by more than 8% in any quarter during the 2008 Great Recession. Additionally, unemployment is
to be 12-13% with more than 17 million jobless claims filed in just the last three weeks.
that they are laying off or furloughing over a third of their employees.
The impact we’ve seen on consumer behavior is staggering: interest in restaurants, our most popular category, has dropped 64% since March 10, and the nightlife category is down 81%. Gyms and similar businesses are down 73%, and salons and other beauty businesses are down 83%. All told, the millions of local businesses hit hardest by the effects of COVID-19 face the prospect of closing and laying off their employees, without knowing when, or if, they’ll be able to reopen.”
April 9 Topic: Downsizing costs, upsizing customer engagement, and preparing for the unknown with OG Plumb God
John is an influencer, licensed plumber, entrepreneur and co-founder of Thompson Family Plumbing and Plumbgod Media alongside his wife Devynn Thompson. He currently has over 23,000 followers on his @ogplumbgod account and 2400 on their business account.
- Give us a quick introduction to who you are and your business/brand
I've been plumbing for 14 years now and I started my business Thompson Family Plumbing almost seven year ago. We had 21 employees and we have two different locations. One in Hesperia, California and one in Lake Havasu, Arizona. My wife runs our Hesperia shop now, which is the heart and the core of our business. I'm actually in Arizona and just lost my employee today. He asked to be let go because all of this stuff is happening and I, I totally understand it and I'm totally okay with it. So I'm OG Plumb God on Instagram. Been doing, influencing for seven or eight years. I love doing Instagram stuff and have fun and teach guys what it's about and what it takes to actually be a plumber and to be a business owner at the same time.
- How has the Coronavirus affected your business?
California was 3 weeks ahead of Arizona in going into lockdown, In California it moved really fast and so we had to think very as a business on what are we going to do to prepare ourselves for the future and, and protect our employees at the same time. We worked so hard to get all these employees that love being at our shop and like, how are we going to tell them that we have to let them go right now for their own good, you know? So right from the start, we thought about laying them off so that we know that they are going to get some kind of paycheck coming to their house.
We talked with each employee about our downsizing plan and they were supportive and knew that as soon as we could be full capacity again they will come back.
The first set of phone calls we laid off 11 people so then we were at 10 people total typically we have 25-35 calls a day but we wew seeing 2 phone calls in 2 days.
- Service agreements, this will keep you alive
Maintenance contracts, drain maintenance contracts, those are the things that are going to keep our businesses alive. And if you had been doing a good job on it, then you're going to still continue to have those calls and those customers that are gonna be calling you
- What strategies and processes have you implemented so far to cut costs in your business?
We launched virtual walkthroughs and estimates about 6 months ago through zoom. It saves them time and saves us time too. We actually do charge a fee to do these walkthroughs with customers and walk them through how they can do things without us going on site.
This is where services are going to be going and change the way we communicate with our customers forever. And we have to really be integrative and we have to be focused on the change. And willing to change with the times because it's not going to revert back to what it was.
We don’t normally charge a service fee to go out to a customer’s house but now we are.
I am going to be changing our service plans to include a lifetime plan for a one time upfront fee and you know what, most people don't live at their homes for 20, 30, 40 years, you know, every seven years they'll, they'll swap homes.
We have a PRS, this is keeping my guys working on big projects.
- You have a crazy high amount of followers on Instagram (23,000 and 2,400)and have been really successful building both your OG Plumb God Brand and your Thompson Family Plumbing brand. What are some tips here that you'd share for all these pros right now that might have a little extra time on their hands that maybe haven't even set up Instagram before or set up a Facebook page? Like what, what would you say are just the basics that you have to do and some, some quick tips for them?
If you're trying to expand your page what you really need to do is link everything together. All your Google stuff, all your Facebook stuff, all your Instagram stuff, everything needs to be to where you launch it at one time.
Hashtags do help a lot. I'm in Hesperia, California so I hashtag Hesperia plumbing services. You need to brand these cities and that will actually help you gain ranking and all these places that you don't even know about yet online. And it will help you when people say, drains near me or whatever, then those cities you hashtagged, you're going to pop up in those areas.
Positive and passionate energy because you need to show people that you are excited about your trade, and have a high amount of craftsmanship and care. You need to be excited and make people smile.THis goes for customers as well as potential employees. Social media can be a great recruiting tool.
Now is a great time to refresh or redesign your website, make it fresh and tighten up your messaging around engaging your customer and make sure that online booking is right on the first page of your site. Make sure you have a chat on your website too. Some people don’t want to waste their time with a phone call, they want to chat.
- In orange County, there are a lot of cities smashed together. So which one do I hashtag? It looks weird if I listed 10 or 20 city hashtags?
Don’t do more than 17 hashtags
The more words in your post that are descriptive the better and put your hashtags down at the bottom of the post that way as someone is scrolling they don’t see a clump of hashtags
Use Facebook boost
Blast a fun and engaging commercial on YouTube
- What are things to think about when going live or making videos on social media?
Going live is least attractive thing to do because engagement is really low typically.
Focus on a product you want to push and have a fun, uplifting demo or explanation of why they want it and zero in on a specific topic
Boost on Facebook or Instagram by targeting a specific type of customer
Once a week a hardcore post and a couple story feeds on a service call you just ran are great way to engage with customers
Time lapses can be a great way to record as you do a repair and people love watching these
- Use your inventory now
If you have an inventory system, use it now
Don’t reorder stuff you don’t need and be very smart on your truck replenishment.
Utilize the parts you have already purchased
I use One Key by Milwaukee
- How do you get more reviews?
I use Broadly, which integrates with Housecall Pro too.
- One lasting piece of advice or information?
I'm going to stress this, if you feel like you need the loan, it's because you haven't structured your business correctly to begin with. And I don't want to sound like an asshole for saying that because I feel like it's kind of an asshole thing to say, but I'm just trying to be a realistic, if this is something that you need to serve your business to survive on, then you really gotta think about how you're doing things for your future. And because we're here to create stability for ourselves and that's the reason why we're doing it. So if you have to have borrow money to stay alive, you haven't done that so far. So start game planning strategies in order for you to succeed in the future.
Everyone should start thinking about how do you save up three to six months worth of OPEX
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Housecall Pro is offering the Coronavirus Evening Update for Home Service Businesses for informational purposes only and to foster thoughtful communication and discussion regarding the COVID-19 pandemic; Housecall Pro is not offering advisory services or otherwise advising or representing any members of the group invited to participate. Housecall Pro is not offering legal, medical or other professional advice in the Coronavirus Evening Update and makes no representations or warranties regarding the content of the Coronavirus Evening Update. Participants should obtain independent advice relating to their businesses and their particular circumstances.