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Housecall Pro blog

Everything you need to succeed as a Home Services company in a digital world.


Custom Dashboard Reports

June 19, 2016 • Run reports to dive deeper into your business' numbers. Understand how your company is performing at all times, based on the statistics that matter to you. If you are currently on the 'Manage' plan with HouseCall Pro, you will be able to create custom dashboard reports. To create a report, click on the  '+add your own' box on the main dashboard. You will then be directed to your full reports page where you can start customizing your own: 1. Select the table columns that you would like to see on the report screen by clicking on the 'Table columns' tab. You can select as many or as few items from the drop-down menu as you like.    2. Select a column that you wish to sort your data on. By clicking on a first row column title, you will see a red arrow appear, which will sort that column in ascending or descending order. A third click will turn off the sort function for that column.    3. Select your filters by clicking on the 'funnel' icon next to the column title (a red funnel icon indicates that the filter for that column is on). Depending on the column you chose, a small window will appear allowing you to refine ranges and values that you would like to see. You can filter on multiple columns for the same report.    4. Once you have sorted and filtered your information the way you like, name your report in the top-left entry bar and then click the green 'Save' button on the top-right of the report screen. You will now be able to access the report on your main dashboard. You can create, edit, and update any report on the dashboard. For your convenience, all of your named reports will appear as tabs across the top ribbon of the reports page. The custom dashboard reports feature is only available to customers subscribed to the 'Manage' plan. Questions about New Features or Need Help? Chat with the Customer Success team in your web portal (through the blue bubble on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen), or email pro@tryhousecall.com.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Custom dashboard reports

Schedule & Price List Updates

June 12, 2016 • Drag & Drop Unscheduled Events into your Calendar Customer needs to reschedule but doesn't have a set date or time yet? We've got you covered. Now you can drag your unscheduled jobs to save them for a later date. Price List Customization You don't have to be in front of a computer to edit your price list anymore. Do it all right from the palm of your hand. All unscheduled job or estimate events can now be dragged and dropped into a time slot on your schedule. You can access your unscheduled events on the job calendar by clicking on the 'Unscheduled' tab on the top navigation bar. Next to the 'Unscheduled' tab you will see a red number indicating how many unscheduled events are available for drag & drop. A drop-down section will appear showing all of these unscheduled events. Simply drag and drop any of these event blocks directly into the schedule and you are ready to go. Price List Customization You can now customize your permanent price list from your iPhone. The 'Price List' section can be found in the 'More' icon at the bottom right hand corner of the app. When you select the tab, you will be taken to a list of your current active industries. From there, you can click into the appropriate industry and create new services or update existing ones (as shown above). Your new services will show up across all devices and on the web portal. Questions about New Features or Need Help? Chat with the Customer Success team in your web portal (through the blue bubble on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen), or email pro@tryhousecall.com.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Schedule and price list updates

Scale Up Your Service Business

June 10, 2016 • Should you stay or should you grow? Every owner/operator will reach a point when they must decide whether to stay a solo act or scale up the business. What will you choose? Get some advice from a pro who decided to grow! When Kevin Cole started his business 3 years ago, he was a sole proprietor providing carpet cleaning services. Today, his operation has grown exponentially. By offering additional services and hiring employees, he has doubled his average sales tickets and more than doubled the size of his business. Does the inevitable headache of managing a team hold you back from expanding your business? As you probably already know, hiring employees is key to growth. What is Kevin’s advice for managing a team and broadening your offerings? Take the time to train new hires Establish an onboarding process to give new employees the education they need to succeed. Relinquishing control to new hires can be scary, but with the proper training, they’ll be ready for the responsibility. Kevin emphasizes the importance of teaching his employees all the features and uses of the app he uses to run his service business. He is grateful that the app allows him to “spend a lot less time managing and directing” because it provides his staff with their schedules, information about customers and jobs, and price lists, making up-selling and cross-selling a breeze. Let digital tools work for you! Using technology to run your business allows you to save time by increasing your efficiency. Kevin appreciates that the mobile software he uses also saves him money, as he doesn’t have to pay additional office staff to handle things like scheduling and communicating with customers. For Kevin, the technology not only streamlines his communication with customers, but also employees, keeping everyone in the loop automatically. Through the automated reminder texts and emails built in to his system, Kevin says he is able to establish a sense of professionalism with customers before he even walks in the door. Kevin credits these notifications with giving him extra authority that allows customers to gain trust in his knowledge and experience, they are extremely receptive when he suggests adding additional services. Diversify your services  While he was still an owner/operator, Kevin noticed that as he was cleaning carpets, oftentimes his customers would also hire house cleaning services. He discovered the need for a company that provided both services at once, so he capitalized on it. Since then, he has expanded his business to become a full-service firm, offering carpet cleaning, commercial and residential house cleaning, and tile and grout cleaning. Cole’s Cleaning Care sales have gone through the roof! Kevin found success through by seizing new opportunities and being versatile. By adapting to the needs of his clientele, Kevin effectively scaled up his business in a short amount of time. Leading an organization may not always be smooth sailing, but being flexible makes all the difference. Adjust your sails with the wind and keep Kevin’s advice in mind!

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Scale Up Service Business

Web Portal Design Updates

May 15, 2016 • Web Portal Design The navigation bar is moving from the left to the top.  Reporting Run all the stats you need to keep track of business, right in your dashboard. Bigger calendar, Roomier job details page, Whiz-bang reporting We will soon be releasing our brand new web portal look and feel! The first thing you'll notice is that we have moved the left side navigation items to the top. This move frees up valuable screen real estate for better feature visibility. The image above gives a sneak peak of what the new portal will look like: 1. + add new  Create new jobs, estimates, events, and add customers.   2. Dashboard Generate custom reports by filtering your job data.   3. Calendar Access your full calendar.   4. Customers Access your customer database.   5. Map View all of your customers on a map.   6. Postcards Create, edit, and launch custom postcard campaigns.    7. Email Compose and initiate rule-based email campaigns.   8. Customer App Control your customer app settings.   9. QuickBooks Online  Connect with Quickbooks Online with one click. Import job history, customers, and price lists.   10. Settings / Help Access knowledge base and tutorial videos. Edit your company settings.  We have made these changes to help streamline your experience with HouseCall Pro and are planning to release the new look and feel mid next week.  Questions about New Features or Need Help? Chat with the Customer Success team in your web portal (through the blue bubble on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen), or email pro@tryhousecall.com.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

hero for new dashboard

How Stories Make You Money

May 10, 2016 • Are you taking advantage of email marketing? If you you need ideas to get started or to up your current campaigns, this is for you! The secret is telling a compelling story... Email is the most effective marketing tool you have in your arsenal. It reaches the largest audience, leads to more purchases than any other marketing method, and is the medium through which most customers would prefer to receive promotional content. However, if you don’t give your email campaigns enough attention, you may not get the best response from customers! So, how can you make your emails stand out? Let’s think about it from the customer’s point of view. You probably receive emails all... the... $%^&... time! You probably take a quick glance at the subject line, sender, and the first few sentences before deciding whether or not it’s even worth your time to read. More than half of readers spend less than 2 seconds looking at an email. Two seconds?! That’s all the time an email recipient is going to give you to get your message across, so what do you do? How do you grab their attention and make them want to read more? The answer is simple: tell a good story. Storytelling is the basic foundation of communication and the backbone of word-of-mouth marketing. For your service business, that story can extend far beyond a personal tale. You can craft a narrative around how you care for your customer’s homes, through holidays, seasons, or even generations. You can share a unique experience shared with a customer. You can gather testimonials from happy customers and spread the word about the value of your services. No matter where you start, you can use stories demonstrate how your work solves problems and lives up to (and hopefully exceeds) expectations. How to Get Started When you’re coming up with the story to tell your customers, you should ask yourself three questions: Who is the target audience – are you reaching out to all of your customers, or are you only reaching out to some, like new customers, or families? How do they like to communicate? What sort of tone should you be using? (ie. professional, humorous, etc.) What promotional offers will benefit them the most? Once you’ve narrowed that down, you can select the type of story you want to tell! A good marketing email will do three things: Entertain, Educate, and Earn. Entertain your readers with a story or metaphor. Provide some type of content or education connected to the story. Finally, use your story to earn the trust and loyalty of your customers. Timing is Everything You could have the most interesting message in the world, but if your customers don’t open your emails, it won’t make a difference. The pattern that you send your emails in (such as how many, how far apart, etc.) can have a huge impact on how well your message is received. Send too many emails, and you risk annoying your customers. Send too few, and your message can slip through the cracks. This pattern depends on the type of email campaign you want to run. Here are some guidelines: Repeat business:  If you are trying to remind your customers about your company's services in time for them to book you again, the spacing between your emails depends on your industry. For example, carpet cleaning might be every three months, whereas maid services might be every other week. You just want to be sure to catch your customers early, before they might start searching for a service on their own! Branding:  If you just want to stay top of mind, try sending out a biweekly or monthlynewsletter, with updates about your company, community news, new hires, or other fun facts! Reviews and Referrals:  Campaigns based on your company's performance should be tied to jobs themselves. For example, you could send out one email the day after service is completed, asking for feedback on your customer's experience, one email three days after that with links to review sites if they were satisfied, and one email the following week offering a discount for referrals. The time of day you send your emails is important too. Most messages land in inboxes in the morning, so those sent in the afternoon have a higher chance of being noticed, opened, and clicked. Additionally, emails relating to homes and finances are most likely to be opened between 3-5 pm, when your customers are starting to lose focus at work, and are thinking about their personal lives, so take advantage of that window! Other Tips: ✔ Use attention-grabbing subject lines! For some tips on subject lines, check out this post. ✔ Set the stage. The first two sentences of an email are the most important, so you want to make sure your email is captivating write off the bat! ✔ Less is more. Keep your message clear and concise, and stick to ONE call-to-action per email. If you are the customer, do you really want to read through long paragraphs in order to get to the point? Keep it simple and short! ✔ Make it emotional. The key to positive attention via email is enticing content. Make your story is one that excites, empowers, or tugs on your customer’s heartstrings, and it’s sure to be unforgettable! We know this is a lot of emails to keep track of,  which is why we're here to help! HouseCall Pro can help you automate your email campaigns to help you stay organized without sacrificing your free time. We can’t wait to hear what stories you have to tell!

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

HouseCallPro Storytelling

Step Up Your Email Subject Lines!

May 3, 2016 • “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This old saying warns against assuming the value of something based on its exterior alone. While this phrase may be helpful in some cases, just know that it absolutely does NOT apply to email subject lines! Everyone judges an email by its subject. If someone fails to see value in your email’s subject line, they will not open your email at all. Pay extra attention to your subject lines to ensure the success of your email campaigns! So, what can you do to make your emails enticing enough to open? First, we will take a look at what NOT to do. After we learn how to avoid subject line pitfalls, we will then cover what you can do to make your email marketing initiatives thrive! Subject Line DON'Ts: 1. DON’T make it too long! Example: Thank you so much for your business! It was such a pleasure to serve your needs.  Keep subject lines under 50 characters! This is the commonly accepted rule for email marketing best practices. To test your subject lines, highlight the text and do a word count. The example above came out as 80 characters, which is 30 too many. Long subject lines will lose your recipients’ attention! The shorter, the better, as long as you are still conveying your message.  2. DON’T make false promises. Example: FREE Carpet Cleaning Only make this the subject of your email if you are truly going to deliver on this promise. Your customers will definitely be annoyed if they open this email and you were actually just offering one free room. False promises might get your recipients to open the email, but they likely won’t be happy to find out they’ve been duped. If you’re misleading, it can definitely do more harm than good. 3. DON’T go crazy with CAPS LOCK! Example: SPECIAL DEAL ON PRESSURE WASHING! While this subject may be attention-grabbing, it comes off as spammy. Getting too cozy with the caps lock button may prompt your customers to mark your messages as spam, decreasing your delivery rate and preventing them from receiving further messages from you. As a rule of thumb, if you want to make your subject line stand out, make 1 word maximum in all caps. If your entire subject line is capitalized, not only will it look spammy, but your customers will also feel like you’re YELLING AT THEM! See? Nobody wants that. 4. DON’T keep repeating the same subject line. Example: Mike’s Cleaning Service If you use the same subject line for all of your email messages, such as the name of your business, it might get opened the first time. After receiving many messages with the same subject, your customers will begin to ignore them or even send them to the trash bin. Give your recipients an idea of what the messages’ contents will hold with your subject line. Using the same subject line over and over will not accomplish this goal. Subject Line DO'S: 1. DO let your recipients know how they will benefit. Example: Tips to Lower Your Electricity Bill Offer your recipients value in a clear and concise way. In the example, an electrician could send energy efficiency advice to his customers, who will be happy to hear about how they can save money on their monthly bills. Before writing your subject, imagine you are on the receiving end of your email. Ask yourself “how does this benefit me?” Think about why they should open the email, and then clearly state that reason in the subject. 2. DO create a sense of urgency! Example: 15% Off Upholstery Cleaning - Offer Expires Today! Provide a deadline in your subject line to get an immediate spike in business. That way, your recipients will see that they need to act immediately or else forego the deal, according to Hubspot. Include some of these keywords in your email to establish urgency: Book today Today only Special offer Act now Limited-time deal 3. DO ask questions to spark interest. Example: What Makes Green Cleaning Different? Adding a question mark inspires your readers’ curiosity. Pose a question so that their curiosity will get the best of them, and they will be very inclined to learn more. This example would work well for a green cleaner to explain what differentiates their services, which will then serve as a reminder for customers to book appointments. No matter what industry you are in, gain the interest of your audience by asking questions in your email subject lines and offering helpful explanations in the body, or else linking to a blog on your website with this content. 4. DO personalize it! Example: Melanie, We Miss You! Include as much personalization as possible in your email subject lines. If including the recipient’s name is not an option through your service, personalize the email based on location, such as the name of your city, or time, such as the last time you did business with a customer. Personalizing email subject lines makes the recipient feel as though the email is just for them, even though the message may be automated. Subject lines that are personalized make for more successful email marketing campaigns, reports Hubspot. If you haven’t already started using email marketing to increase your repeat business and customer loyalty, now is the time to start. You’re already well-versed on what to avoid in your subject lines so that your emails don’t go ignored, as well as what the best methods are to spike interest in your emails. Enticing subjects are essential to hitting a home run with your email initiatives. Stay tuned for future blog posts with plenty more email marketing ideas and strategies!

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator


What’s the #1 Field Service Tool?

April 29, 2016 • Running a field service business is easier when you can do it from the palm of your hand. That’s where field service management apps come into play! A team of researchers at GetApp ranked all of the FSM (field service management) apps available and the results are in... Housecall Pro leads the charge as the #1 field service management app. GetApp has awarded Housecall Pro with this honor for the 2nd quarter in a row. Housecall Pro is excited to earn the top rank once again! To calculate each app’s score, GetApp evaluates and scores them in 5 different categories: reviews, integrations, mobile, media, and security. Housecall Pro’s high scores in each category led it to surpass all of its competitors in the overall ranking. GetApp field service researcher, Suzie Blaszkiewicz, said “Having a functional and intuitive mobile application is especially important when it comes to FSM in order to be able to connect the field workers with the back office in real-time, and Housecall Pro delivers a mobile application that's garnered positive reviews from users.”  So, a superior mobile experience and plenty of glowing reviews helped boost Housecall Pro to its leading position. “Additionally, having a solution that integrates with other applications is especially important in order to be able to streamline processes and improve workflow, a factor that's also contributed to its top spot in the ranking,” Suzie elaborated. The app’s integrations with Quickbooks accounting software, Google Maps, and Google Calendar also played a role in raising its score. While these additional integrations come with premium membership, Housecall Pro also offers a free version with many of its core features. Try it out in the App Store or Google Play store today! While Housecall Pro is thrilled to maintain its top spot, the team behind the award-winning mobile software is committed to continually improving the system based on feedback from customers.

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator

Housecall pro Winner

3 Tips to Make the Most of Tech

April 21, 2016 • In the HVAC industry, this female trio is making their mark by running a thriving business. How did this dynamic trio contribute to the company’s growth? Michele, Jeanne, and Kelsey of Scotty’s Heating & Air Conditioningunderstand that technology is their friend, not foe. Other service businesses seeking success can learn from this advice: 1. Organization can be your new best friend.   Scotty’s Heating & Air Conditioning has grown significantly since opening for business in 2012. Like all new businesses, they started with the simple pen and paper technique. As business started booming, Michele realized that handwritten invoices were not going to cut it and began searching for a platform that would grow with them, as well as save them time, money, and even space in the long run. For the Scotty’s team, they wanted a solution that would help them “consolidate [everything], be more efficient and appear more professional.” The obvious solution was to go paperless.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the average office uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year, which can really add up over the years and overcrowd the office space. Rather than keeping confidential files in the office, storing documents digitally takes no physical space and protects your files with layers upon layers of digital security. For businesses like Scotty’s, this eliminates the risk of misplacing important customer files and only gives certain individuals permission to access these documents. When it comes down to the numbers, going digital means the office can annually save $80 per employee. 2. Communication is key.  As they say, “time is money” and increasing efficiency is one of the best ways to save time. Take it from the leaders at Scotty’s, efficiency is very important in running a business with no hiccups. All three women work in different offices across San Diego. As Kelsey explains, “One of us can input something and then a minute later, I can see exactly what happened and it just makes things so easy for us!” The collaboration that real-time connectivity provides for your team safeguards against miscommunications and improves the overall efficiency and profitability of your business. This allows business owners to see exactly where their technicians are on a live map, as well as which job the technician is working on. Staying connected with real-time updates can not only make a world of a difference, but also help your relationships with customers. People enjoy the feeling of getting special treatment, so the more synced up you are with your employees, the easier it is to stay actively engaged with customers. 3. Customer experience can skyrocket through technology.  In the field service industry, it’s crucial to focus on customers, since service professionals deal with customers face-to-face on a daily basis. For the trio at Scotty’s, they believe it is important to genuinely care about customers, because they are the most important aspect of the business. In fact, the team’s main objective is to make sure they really get to know their customers and what their customers’ needs are. As you could imagine, knowing the needs of countless customers can become an insurmountable task, so Michele, Jeanne, and Kelsey made finding technology to help them a top priority.  In this digital age, customers expect the highest quality of service possible with the digital standard that they are accustomed to in their everyday lives. The businesses that make use of technology to help streamline the process for their customers are most likely to deliver this technology-driven customer experience. Scotty’s alerts their customers with notifications when their technicians are on the way to jobs, along with photos of who will be performing the service. After the service call is complete, Scotty's sends additional messaging to their customers informing them of the job completion. Customers are delighted to be kept well informed through the job process and are more likely to book Scotty's services in the future. Some time after the job is completed, Scotty’s also sends automated thank you emails to their valued customers in order to bring the experience full-circle. Even though all of these customer touch-points are automated, Kelsey ensures that they add a personal touch. Just knowing that customers are always given up-to-date information at the push of a button helps the Scotty’s team feel prideful of the quality of customer care they provide. Do you want to deliver exceptional customer experiences through technology? There are lots of tools out there to help with ensuring that you provide the best service possible. The key to truly understand is that technology can be a great tool to enhance all customer-facing processes. Refining the customer experience is also an endless journey, as businesses can always find new ways to make it just a little bit better. 

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator


Customer, Invoicing and Payments Updates

April 17, 2016 • Sub-Customer (Parent and Billable)  Do you do commercial work? Need to bill one contact for service at another address? The new sub-customer feature is for you. Attachments on Invoices Add attachments to your invoices. Send customers everything they need in just one email. Partial Payments on Receipts Do you accept partial payments? Now the system supports that. Sub-Customer (Parent and Billable)  You can now designate different billable customers to jobs. The feature can be accessed from the 'add customer' or 'edit customer' windows on the web portal. The parent customer (billable customer) needs to be an already existing customer in your list. To assign the billable customer, simply begin typing the customer name in the field and select from the drop-down list. On any main job screen, you can locate the billable address under the customer contact information box in the upper-left hand corner. Additionally you will be able to find parent and sub-customer roles on each corresponding customer page. If you would like to remove or replace a billable customer, you can simply click on the 'x' above the customer name and either enter a new billable customer or leave the field blank.  Attachments on Invoices Attachments can now be added to invoices. It is important to note that attachments must first be added to a job in order to include them on the invoice corresponding to that job. Once you have attached your file(s) to your job, click on the invoice button and select the 'Attachment' button on the lower left-hand corner of the window. This will open up a new window allowing you to select which attachment you would like to add to the invoice.  Partial Payments on Receipts Partial payments collected on any job will now show up with their corresponding details on receipts. With this feature, you can keep track of amounts, dates, and times for every partial payment working up to payment completion. After every partial payment is received, the outstanding balance will adjust automatically.

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator

Customer Bills to

Can You 4X Your Business?

April 12, 2016 • Ten years ago, father and son duo, Don and Grant Schoenberger, set out with the mission of running a customer-focused plumbing business. From their own consumer experiences, they felt there was a problem in the service industry, where professionals were more highly trained in boosting sales than skilled in their actual field. They decided to base their business model on one simple principle... “If you treat people well, and are honest with them, and do quality work, then they’ll keep calling, and they’ll tell their friends about you.” Nearly a decade later, they’ve grown Core Plumbing San Diego from a small family business to an eight man operation. It has become one of the most trusted plumbing companies in San Diego County. So, what’s their secret? The two pillars of their successful growth are creating efficient processes, and building strong customer relationships. Let’s take a look at what Grant has to say: Build Strong Connections With Your Customers Grant and his father have worked hard to establish a reputation in the community as a family-run business that provides reliable, high-quality work. Yet, even now, they actively work to connect with customers and develop a sense of trust. After scheduling an appointment, they send a reminder email immediately after the initial phone call, as well as a confirmation the day before their appointment. Next, they notify their customers when a technician is on the way. Grant says, “When we show up to their door, they already know who we are, they’re expecting us, and we’ve totally broken the stereotype of the plumber who doesn’t show up, or will be there tomorrow between 8am and midnight.” These touch points keep the customers feeling in the loop, and keep Core Plumbing on the top of their customers' minds. They also follow up with their customers via emails and postcards, thanking them for their business and checking up on the level of service provided, in order to ensure that customers are satisfied with their experience. By building this level of connection with their customers, Core Plumbing virtually guarantees repeat business, as well as referrals. Grow Efficiently All of that customer communication, while critical, takes a lot of time. How does Grant manage? Automate it! Grant uses automated emails, scheduled to go out before and after jobs, in order to establish points of contact with every customer without being drowned in a schedule of phone calls. He says this is an extremely simple way to make people happy, and feel valued. According to Grant, Core Plumbing has also embraced digitization in other aspects of their business, in order to keep things running smoothly. At first, his time was consumed by scheduling, invoicing, and organizing. “We just had shelves and racks and bins, full of nothing but forms and receipts and invoices.” As they grew, he realized this was not a practical way to continue growing, and in order to make time for marketing efforts and customers, they made the switch to paperless in order to maximize efficiency. By making customer satisfaction their utmost priority, and doing it as efficiently as possible, Core Plumbing has been able to quadruple their business since opening their doors, and establish a phenomenal reputation for themselves.

Matt B., Marketing Coordinator