When we consider how the internet has impacted our lives and businesses, it’s almost certain to be one of the biggest contributors to increased productivity and success.
Many work-related tasks that we do every day, including job hunting, sales prospecting, marketing, and more, can be done online. Not only do we find our jobs online, but we also find people to do the jobs we need done.
Online booking systems, for example, have allowed consumers to easily book dinner reservations, flights, classes, appointments, home services and more online. This feature is not only beneficial to users, but companies can also benefit from growth in bookings at almost no additional cost.
We were interested to see how the field service industry has adopted online bookings and how they benefit financially.
Most field service businesses do not have online booking enabled
It may or may not shock you to learn that an overwhelming majority of field service businesses do not have online booking. In fact, of the more than 5,300 businesses in our analysis, we found that 77% do not have an online booking feature.
There are a number of reasons why field service businesses have been slow to adopt the internet as a form of customer acquisition and service. Many businesses in the industry have a strong word-of-mouth referral strategy for drumming up enough business.
Others rely on tried and true methods of attracting new customers such as local television, radio, and print advertising, viewing the internet as an unnecessary complication.
But when taking a deeper dive into those businesses that do have online booking enabled, we found they outperformed their peers by a substantial margin. Let’s take a look at the industries, company sizes, and others that benefit the most from online booking.
What home service do Americans book online the most?
When looking at the industry as a whole, we wanted to know which service Americans were most interested in booking online. Analyzing proprietary data of more than 5,300 businesses in the field service industry, we discovered interesting trends in the way Americans interact with these businesses online.
For example, the biggest increase in business after enabling online booking features came from the pest control industry, where the owner-operated businesses experienced the biggest boost, an increase in revenues of 120%.
Pest control companies with between two and nine employees saw a 37% increase in business after enabling online booking, and pest control companies with ten or more employees increased revenues by 20%.
This means the average pest control company experienced a 58% increase in revenue after online booking was enabled. Since this rapid expansion of business was the highest of our study, we conclude that Americans are most interested in booking pest control services online.
How company size impacts success with online booking
Although it’s clear online booking is beneficial for businesses of all sizes, smaller businesses seem to benefit the most. Companies with between two and nine employees and those with ten or more saw very similar growth rates on average, with revenue increases of 38% and 37%, respectively.
Compare this to owner-operated businesses that experienced a 44% increase in revenue on average after implementing an online booking feature.
Interestingly, some businesses have inverse relationships when it comes to company size and success with online booking.
Companies with ten or more employees within the HVAC industry, for example, experienced the highest growth rate (48%) after implementing online booking. HVAC companies with between two and nine employees experienced the next highest growth rate, an increase in revenues of 36%. And owner-operated HVAC companies experienced the smallest growth rate (25%) after incorporating an online booking feature.
Compared to pest control, the growth rates for HVAC based on company size are inverted. Taking a look at Electricians, companies with between two and nine employees saw the biggest jump in bookings with a 54% increase in revenue.
How the industry has been impacted by online booking
Although a mere 23% of field service businesses have implemented these features, it’s clear that online booking is beneficial for business.
The field service businesses in our study bring in combined revenues of more than $668,000 per month. We discovered that businesses with online booking enabled recorded an average increase in revenue of 37%.
Tips for online booking
It’s what customers want.
In fact, 35% of customers prefer to schedule appointments after business hours and 50% prefer online scheduling compared to over the phone. If you want to reach more customers and take advantage of online booking features for your business, there are a few ways you can proceed:
Enable online booking in your Yelp for business account.
Use reserve with Google.
Integrate your online booking within social media and your website.
Once online booking is enabled for your business, it’s important to automate email confirmation with customers and employee dispatch to avoid missed appointments.
Utilizing all tools in the toolbox
The contents of our toolboxes will differ depending on the job at hand and each tradesman’s judgment. But if all you have is a hammer, and the whole world looks like nails, you should still consider enabling online booking.
There is no doubt that technology has enabled our toolboxes to become more sophisticated. We must take advantage of all tools that have proven to increase efficiency, productivity, and throughput. In this case, we aren’t talking about the latest and greatest hardware tool, we are referring to the HVAC software tools available to us.
The tools built by Housecall Pro for web and mobile devices help us run our field service businesses more efficiently and profitably. Instead of being bogged down by administrative tedium and repetitive tasks, take advantage of the toolbox Housecall Pro offers—including online booking—to maintain and grow your business.
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