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INDUSTRY: Small business

Housecall Pro announces February 2019 Superpros

March 8, 2019 • SAN DIEGO, March 8, 2019 - Housecall Pro, the #1 rated app for home service companies, has announced the February cohort of Superpros.  This program is dedicated to defining excellence and identifying the highest quality local home service companies. The Superpro community includes the best Pros in each industry across the country, allowing for a unique opportunity to connect with equal caliber service professionals. Every month, we award this status to Housecall Pros dedicated to providing their customers with a transparent, modern, and online experience from day one, establishing a strong relationship for years to come. At this time, only 5% of Housecall Pro users are awarded with Superpro status. The Superpro Program was relaunched in the beginning of this year with a new application and stricter eligibility requirements. These requirements include offering a seamless online booking experience for customers on both website and Facebook pages, detailed and personable pictures and descriptions for all services to further facilitate an easy and customer-friendly booking experience, an average of 4.5 star reviews across all platforms, and high-account usage. We do a detailed audit of the Pro’s account to ensure they have met all requirements. Once they have been approved for Superpro status, we require the Pro to sign the Superpro Code of Ethics. This Superpro Codes of Ethics is signed by the company promising elite professionalism, quick response times to both customers and other Pros, and overall responsibilities as a Superpro in the home service community. Together, Superpros are dedicated to bringing trust and value back into the trades. Service professionals who have earned this award will have unique badges displayed on their websites and company profiles to distinguish them as 2019 Superpros. This award is earned every year and the status is valid for a year after acceptance. At that time, the Superpro will be reevaluated to ensure that they still meet all of the eligibility requirements. To apply to be a 2019 Superpro click here. Our February Superpros: Kings of Steam Prime Electric 1st Choice Phlebotomy Service Curb Appeal Solutions LLC AirPro Carolina, LLC Dirty2Dreamy Detail Services Antioch Heating & Cooling Best Impressions Mobile Detail Clean Air Columbia McCall Enterprises, Inc. Bee-Kleen Professional Carpet Cleaning & More AZ’s Best Pipe Doctor Plumbing, LLC Certified Restoration Quality Heating & Cooling MasterPro Service Inc Spotless Tile & Grout LLC ROX Heating & Air M&M Services Noble Carpet Cleaners Electrician On Call Titus Electrical Services Clark's Heating and Air Rug'it Cleaning Unstoppable Home Services E.W. Tompkins Plumbing Heating Cooling Doc's of Denver Eco Heating and Cooling, LLC Dr The Signal, LLC The Heat and Air Guy Go Squeaky Clean Fuse HVAC & Appliance Repair Diamondback Mechanical Group Revolution Air Browns Heating and Air Crew Home Services Five Star Service Company DRI Ready, LLC. Hardwood Your Home HYPER Purity Cleaning Systems Majestic Painting Company Inc. Clemenets Electric Action Steam Cleaning Reliable Pool Enclosures & Screens Glaze Heating & Air, LLC Resendez Bros. Carpet & Tile Cleaning Chapin Piano Service 1st Response Pest Control Green USA Cleaning LLC Tidewater Pro Air Hunter Electrical Service Precision Mold Testing Great American Cleaning Services Hawkeye Carpet Care Cajun Overhead Door & Repair Service Inc. Kern Floor Care Mr. Maid Enviro Plumbing Inc. Organize It SWFL OxyPro Cleaners, Inc. The Village Chimney Sweep Inc. Making Air Right 5 DIAMOND Manax Plumbing Bigger Better Movers Black Mountain Plumbing Inc. ELECTRIC CITY Tailored Mechanical LLC Rio Rancho Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning LLC Hickory Heating and Cooling LLC T.G. Electrical Services Integrity Home Comfort Solutions, LLC Integrity cleaning Honey Bee Plumbing Pristine Tile & Carpet Cleaning Superior Plumbing and Drains Evolution Deep Clean Good Guy Plumbing Provost Electric, LLC Colorado Virginia Company Big Air Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Safari Plumbing Arise Plumbing Service LLC On the spot carpet cleaning Anthony James Air Conditioning & Heating LLC 101 Lint Buasters Carpet Care Cleaning & Restortion JunkMD+ Citrus Fresh Carpet Cleaning AltaVista Services Home Advantage Plumbing Services, LLC Steel City Appliance Service Detectives Team Carpet and Flooring Advanced Wildlife Removal May's Heating and Air Conditioning LLC Clean Air Columbia Absolute Best Appliance Shamrock Overhead Door, Inc. Freedom Green Clean Landmark Electric Inc. Stemar Restoration AirCo - Heating and Air Conditioning Services, LLC Best Plumbing Inc. EZ PLUMBING Awnings And More Inc. Rem Carpet And Tile Cleaning Services AIR MED HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING, INC. The Shine Brite Company Facino Heating And Air Dry-N-Clean Carpet Cleaning Mold Bros 518 Floor Care 561 Carpet and Tile C&S Cleaning Services,LLC The Paint Doctor Grateful Plumber Premier Mechanical Avant-Garde LLC AC Man Heating and Air Rardon Home Performance, LLC Kamstra Piano Tuning, LLC Absolute Duct and Chimney Cleaning, Inc. Quikdry Carpet and Tile Cleaning John's Carpet And Upholstery Care Good Guys Heating and Air Conditioning D's Auto Spa And Mobile Detailing The Steam Police, LLC Electric Medics Mega Dry Carpet Cleaning All About Temperature Nick McElroy Electrician Gordon's Appliance Service Air Now Heating & Air Conditioning LLC Mr. Steamers, LLC. Propertifix LLC Verikill Pest Control, Inc. Pioneer Professional Carpet Care Dave Hartzells Heat & Air Vanguard Plumbing & Drains, Inc. Dust Busters of Lake County Severyn Cool Services Airtegrity Comfort Solutions The HVAC Guys South Shore Heating, Air Conditioning and Hydronic Inc. Senergy Plumbing heating & Air Top Notch Appliance Repair & Service, LLC Flow Pro Plumbing A-1 Cleaning Service, LLC Direct AC Aido Climate Solutions Inc. Home Design and Repair Preferred Air Ronnie Jones AC & Heating Safe and Sound Integrations Helpful Badger JennyClean Smart Green Clean Warsh My Windows 24 Hour Air Conditioning & Heating Clean and Green Solutions RepairButlers Core Plumbing Allegence Heating and Air Daniella's Cleaning, LLC

Alexa Greenberg

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Calculating Your Break Even Point In 4 Easy Steps

March 2, 2019 • Starting a new business isn’t for the faint of heart… or for the impatient. In fact, most new businesses aren’t profitable for about three years. But just because you’re not raking in piles of cash doesn’t mean you have to be bleeding it. The first goal toward turning a profit is breaking even. It may not sound as exciting as a free trip to Hawaii, but the moment you break even is actually a big milestone for your business. What is a break even point? Put plainly, your breaking even point (BEP) is when your sales are exactly covering your expenses. But calculating the BEP isn’t as simple as it sounds. You must take into account all of your expenditures, both fixed and variable, and do some calculations about profit per unit. Here is a 4-step plan for how to calculate the break even point for your business. Add Up Fixed Costs Track the Price of Your Services and Products Identify Variable Costs Run The Formula For Your Break Even Point Step 1: Add Up Fixed Costs The fixed costs are the easiest part of your break even point calculation. These are the expenses that remain predictable each month/period. That being said, it’s easy to leave something out of your calculations if you’re not careful. Here is a list of common expenses that will comprise your fixed costs: Rent. The costs associated with leasing your office, warehouse, and/or retail spaces makes up a huge percentage of your fixed costs. Salaries. Executive salaries are likely to remain fixed for the first few years of operation. Property taxes. If you own any property associated with your business, don’t forget to factor in these annual taxes. Depreciation of assets. The depreciation of an asset, from a vehicle to a building, is also considered a fixed cost. Insurance. Regular insurance payments are unlikely to fluctuate significantly from month to month, so put them in the fixed cost category. Step 2: Track the Price of Your Services and Products The next step is to itemize the retail price of each product or service your business offers. This may change as you determine your target profit formula, but you need to get a baseline. For instance, maybe you run a business selling sunglasses and hats. The current sales price of a pair of sunglasses is $5 and the price of a hat is $10. This information is crucial to calculating your break even point. Step 3: Identify Variable Costs On to the variable costs. These are the costs associated with actually producing your sunglasses and hats. Variable costs change in proportion to your production volume. If you produce fewer sunglasses this month than last, your variable costs will also decrease. Variable costs are typically calculated on a per unit basis. Some examples of variable costs include: Labor costs. As you produce more sunglasses and hats, your factory labor costs will increase. If you have a retail location, you may also need more employees to handle the increased sales. Raw materials. Let’s say your sunglasses are made of plastic and metal. As you produce more sunglasses, you’ll need to buy plastic and metal in larger quantities. Sales commissions. If you have employees on a commission schedule for selling your sunglasses and hats, you must also consider the average commission per unit. Packaging. Just as your raw material costs fluctuate depending on production needs, your packaging costs will also go up and down based on the number of units you sell. Step 4: Run the Formula for Your Break Even Point Now you have all of the necessary elements on hand to calculate a break even point. The basic formula is: Fixed Costs / (Price - Variable Costs). The second part of the equation is also called the contribution margin because it represents the dollar amount each unit contributes toward fixed costs. When you’re considering multiple products in your evaluation, you’ll also want to weight the selling price and variable costs accordingly. For instance, maybe your annual sales break down to 40% sunglasses and 60% hats. Let’s use these numbers in a break even point example to show you how this formula is done. Say your fixed costs (rent, salaries, insurance, etc.) are $100,000 per year. The price of your units, as we referenced earlier, is $5 for sunglasses and $10 for hats. Now let’s say your variable costs (materials, factory labor, etc.) break down to $2/unit for sunglasses and $4/unit for hats. Remember we’re assuming your sales are 40% sunglasses and 60% hats. To figure out the weighted selling price, you will multiple the sales price of each product with its contribution to overall sales: = ($5 x 40%) + ($10 x 60%) = ($2) + ($6) = $8 Now let’s calculate the variable costs using a similar weighted formula: = ($2 x 40%) + ($4 x 60%) = ($0.8) + ($2.4) = $3.20 Now you’re ready to run your break even point calculations Fixed Costs / (Weighted Price - Weighted Variable Costs). $100,000 / ($8 - $3.20) = 20,833 units Your company needs to sell 20,833 units per year to break even, but let’s see how that breaks down among different types of product given that you sell more hats than sunglasses. 20,833 x 40% = 8,333 sunglasses sold 20,833 x 60% = 12,500 hats sold You need to sell 8,333 sunglasses and 12,500 hats this year to break even. Or, if you’re offering services, you need to book 8,333 sunglasses jobs this year and 12,500 hats services. Once you have a break even point based on sales, you can start to outline how long it may take you to actually reach that goal. For instance, if you know it will take 18 months to sell that many sunglasses and hats, you can make the BEP a second year goal. In Conclusion Figuring out the break even point for your business is a crucial step toward profitability. It’s near impossible to meet financial goals without detailed accounting practices, as any new business owner will soon discover. To that end, your business should be taking advantage of Housecall Pro’s QuickBooks integration and invoicing software whenever possible. Are you ready to take control of your business finances and break even? Contact Housecall Pro to learn more about streamlined scheduling and payments for your home services.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Calculator and paper calculating a break even point

Clover vs. Square - Choosing The Best Payment Platform

February 28, 2019 • Working in the field service industry used to present payment issues. Since most home service providers don’t carry a full cash register in their truck (and by that we mean no one does), cash or check used to be the only options. While you might welcome cash, keeping a stash of bills in your truck isn’t the most secure way to run your business. Luckily we’re now in the age of payment processing software . Benefits of a mobile payment platform Thanks to mobile card readers and point of sale (POS) processors that fit in your pocket, you can collect all manner of payments in the field. Whether you work in plumbing, electrical, carpet cleaning, pest control, or another service industry - mobile payment apps are a lifesaver. Some of the most popular features of mobile payment platforms include: Accepting payments on the spot from anywhere, even if you’re offline. Receiving money in your bank account right away with instant transfer. Setting up automatic billing to streamline your cash flow. Putting an end to checking the mailbox for payments. Two of the most used payment platforms are Square and Clover. Which is better for you? Let’s take a look. Payment Platforms 101 First things first: there are some features that most payment platforms consider essential. Before you ask yourself “Is Square better than Clover?”, ask yourself what you need from a POS system. Here are some of the general features of any payment processing software, including Square and Clover. Mobile Readers: Card readers let you swipe client credit cards in the field using an attachment on your iPhone or a mobile terminal. Perhaps the most essential part of a payment platform, the mobile reader securely processes the payment and sends your customer a receipt. Add-On Services: You can customize your POS service by adding on additional services. Square allows you to add on things like appointment booking, payroll, and instant deposit. Clover has features including time clock and tip pooling. Easy-to-Use Hardware: In addition to the efficiency and accuracy of your software, your system should have user-friendly hardware. This includes handheld terminals and phone attachments. Comparing Fees Between Square and Clover Fees are important, there’s no way around it. Lower transaction costs keep your overhead within budget. Square and Clover arrange their fee structure somewhat differently. Here is an overview of what fees look like with each service: Square: Square processing fees include a 2.75% rate for for swiped, tapped, or dipped card payments on a reader or stand. For cards tapped, dipped, or swiped on a Square Terminal, the fees are just 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction. From a Square register, the fee is 2.5% plus 10 cents per transaction. There is no monthly fee to use terminals or registers. Clover: Clover processing fees include a flat fee and per transaction fees. Your rate will depend on the plan you use, and they may also vary if you use a processor other than Clover. If you get your services from Clover, the fees are as low as 2.3% plus 10 cents per transaction (with a $29/month fee) for a “Register” plan. This is recommended for businesses that do more than $50,000/year of transaction. The “Register Lite” plan costs $14/month plus 2.7% and 10 cents per transaction. An Overview Of Square Square has seven different payment terminal types, and you can use as many or as few of them as you need. Use the Square register inside your office and take the Square terminal (handheld) and Square reader for magstripe with you on the road. Square tracks all customer transactions, and you can sign in from any device to see your dashboard. It’s pretty convenient. Square offers a real-time sales report, which allows you to filter by item or tender type. This makes finding out how many of your jobs are paid for in cash is easy. Square customer service is a bit non-traditional. They don’t offer a public customer service number; once you sign up for their service, you can use your dashboard to receive a customer code that enables you to reach a representative. They also have chat support via the web. What is the Clover Experience? Clover’s pricing plans are somewhat inconsistent due to multiple processors involved with Clover payments. In other words, you may not be dealing with Clover directly. While this gives you some freedom of choice for fees and other features, it could also mean your customer service experience will vary between processing providers. If you want to choose Clover, you likely have some extra research on your hands. Clover has six hardware systems, which allows for a lot of flexibility. This includes their popular Flex handheld terminal and Clover Go for smartphone payment processing. The customer Mini is great for in-store payments. Clover also syncs with hundreds of apps, so you can really customize your POS station.   Choosing a Payment Platform Asking yourself “Should I use Clover or Square?” is a loaded question. If you want easy access to customer service, Clover may be the answer. If you care more about dealing directly with the creator of your hardware and software, Square could meet your needs. Square has more mobile phone POS hardware, which draws in users who want to turn their smartphone into a payment station, while Clover boasts the ability to set up a loyalty program so you can grow your leads. Pros & Cons Of Using Square: Summed up, here are our Pros & Cons of using Square as your payment platform for your small business: .tg {border-collapse:collapse;border-spacing:0;}.tg td{font-family:Open Sans;font-size:14px;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;border-color:black;}.tg th{font-family:Open Sans;font-size:14px;font-weight:normal;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;border-color:black;}.tg .tg-oe15{background-color:#ffffff;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:left;vertical-align:top}.tg .tg-4eds{font-size:24px;background-color:#ffffff;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:center;vertical-align:top}.tg .tg-5crt{font-size:28px;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:center;vertical-align:top} Pros And Cons Of Using Square Pros Cons - Several different payment terminal types - Real-time sales reports - 2.75% transaction rate - Non-traditional support - must receive a customer code before getting in contact        Check out Housecall Pro vs. Square Pros & Cons Of Using Clover: Here is one last look at the benefits and setbacks of using Clover as your processing software: .tg {border-collapse:collapse;border-spacing:0;}.tg td{font-family:Open Sans;font-size:14px;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;border-color:black;}.tg th{font-family:Open Sans;font-size:14px;font-weight:normal;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;border-color:black;}.tg .tg-oe15{background-color:#ffffff;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:left;vertical-align:top}.tg .tg-4eds{font-size:24px;background-color:#ffffff;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:center;vertical-align:top}.tg .tg-5crt{font-size:28px;border-color:#ffffff;text-align:center;vertical-align:top} Pros And Cons Of Using Clover Pros Cons - Freedom of choice with fees and features - Very customizable - Fees as low as 2.3% per-transaction plus .10 - Multiple processors means you might not be dealing with Clover directly Consider Housecall Pro as your payment solution You can also look outside these popular options to other payment platforms. Companies like Housecall Pro are developing payment processing systems designed just for home services businesses. Our features allow you to get paid in minutes with Instapay, keep customer cards on file, and process payments via card reader, built in processor, or ACH. All with some of the lowest fees possible. Bottom line: If you haven’t entered the 21st century with your accounts receivable, it’s about time, and you have lots of options.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Clover vs. Square logos

Battling Unpaid Invoices - 7 Ways To Get Paid Fast!

February 20, 2019 • It’s an unfortunate truth that nearly all businesses will, at one point or another, find themselves confronting a customer with an unpaid invoice. Businesses in home-service industries know this all too well. Unfortunately, It’s not the least bit uncommon for the occasional customer to let an invoice slip their mind or get lost in the shuffle. Often in these cases, it’s easy to collect payment in a timely manner. However, there are other stubborn customers — both individuals and businesses — that willfully ignore overdue invoices for whatever reason and refuse payment. For home-service professionals, dealing with customers like this can be the worst part of the job. Chasing down unpaid invoices is never fun, and it can pose a challenge if your business is still in its early stages. To help you collect what you’re owed — and to increase the likelihood your customers will pay quickly — here’s our guide to dealing with unpaid invoices. Our 7 Steps to Dealing With Unpaid Invoices Pave the way for on-time payments Touch base once time is up Appeal to your customer’s human nature Agree to settle for less Prepare to play hardball Involve a collection agency Take legal action Step 1: Pave the Way for On-time Payments The best way to deal with unpaid invoices is to avoid them entirely. Make it easy for your customers to pay right away, regardless of where they happen to be when they receive your bill. Utilize payment processing software Send electronic invoices powered by payment processing software that makes it painless for a customer to get their account in good standing with a few clicks of a mouse or taps on a touchscreen. Include a clear due date on all invoices and specify exactly what will happen if payment is not received on time. Also consider offering an incentive to your customers when they pay early by offering a discount for fast payments — 5% or so should do the trick here. Step 2: Touch Base Once Time Is Up Once the due date on invoice has passed, don’t waste any time connecting with the customer to request the status of their payment. A phone call or face-to-face meeting is more likely to result in speedy payment, but, if worded properly, emails can light a fire under your customers as well. Keep your messages brief and professional, and politely request an update regarding the invoice in question. In many cases, customers have an excusable reason for not yet settling up, and the reminder you’ve given them is the only push they need to submit a payment. Here’s a quick example: Hi [name], I hope you’re having a great week. I’m contacting you because we have not yet received payment for our invoice #____ for $___. We sent the invoice to you __ days ago, and payment was due yesterday. Please send the payment immediately, or reach out to me right away if there are any issues. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Talk to you soon. Kind regards, Your loyal service provider .myButton { -moz-box-shadow: 0px 0px 10px 1px #2195f3; -webkit-box-shadow: 0px 0px 10px 1px #2195f3; box-shadow: 0px 0px 10px 1px #2195f3; background-color:#2195f3; -moz-border-radius:28px; -webkit-border-radius:28px; border-radius:28px; border:1px solid #ffffff; display:inline-block; cursor:pointer; color:#ffffff; font-family:Open Sans; font-size:17px; font-weight:bold; padding:18px 20px; text-decoration:none; text-shadow:0px 1px 0px #2f6627;}.myButton:hover { background-color:#1975d2;}.myButton:active { position:relative; top:1px;} Send A Free Collection Letter Step 3: Appeal to Your Customer’s Human Nature If your initial investigation into the status of an overdue invoice fails to produce a response, try following up with a more personal approach. Work to understand their issue Rather than adopting a cold, detached attitude and demanding immediate payment, express to your client that you understand how finances have a tendency to fluctuate unexpectedly but emphasize the fact that the overdue invoice must still be paid. Let the customer know you’re willing to extend the due date if times are tight and encourage them to contact you immediately to resolve this issue. Step 4: Agree to Settle for Less Should your more personal approach fail to convince your delinquent customer to contact you, it’s time to come to terms with the fact that this overdue invoice is likely more than an innocent oversight. By now, your customer is surely aware that their payment is overdue, and it’s possible they have no plans on ever paying off their balance. In these situations, it often makes sense to settle for a reduced payment rather than receiving no payment at all. If possible, reach out to your customer once again, letting them know you’re willing to accept a reduced amount — the discount you offer is entirely up to you and what makes most financial sense. Step 5: Prepare to Play Hardball Once it becomes clear that a customer has no intention of paying their outstanding debt, let them know you’re committed to collecting payment no matter what it takes. Be firm, yet professional in your communication and keep your company’s reputation in mind at all times. Never cross the line by name-calling or do anything threatening. However, if the customer is a business, mention that you will report them to the Better Business Bureau if payment is not received right away. Here’s an brief example of an email you could send: Hi [name], Unfortunately, we have still not received your payment for invoice #____ in the amount of $___. We have attempted to contact you several times to resolve this issue, but we have not made any progress. Our company is committed to collecting payment for this project, and unless we hear from you today, our next steps will be to involve a collection agency or a legal firm. To be clear, we would rather resolve this billing issue without taking further action, but, without your cooperation, our options are limited. Please contact us immediately to make payment arrangements and to avoid dealing with debt collectors and lawyers. We hope to hear from you soon. Thank you. Sincerely, Your service provider .myButton { -moz-box-shadow: 0px 0px 10px 1px #2195f3; -webkit-box-shadow: 0px 0px 10px 1px #2195f3; box-shadow: 0px 0px 10px 1px #2195f3; background-color:#2195f3; -moz-border-radius:28px; -webkit-border-radius:28px; border-radius:28px; border:1px solid #ffffff; display:inline-block; cursor:pointer; color:#ffffff; font-family:Open Sans; font-size:17px; font-weight:bold; padding:18px 20px; text-decoration:none; text-shadow:0px 1px 0px #2f6627;}.myButton:hover { background-color:#1975d2;}.myButton:active { position:relative; top:1px;} Send A Free Collection Letter Step 6: Involve a Collection Agency Still no word from your customer? A collection agency might have better luck. These services specialize in helping businesses recoup costs lost to delinquent customers — in exchange for keeping a cut of the funds they recover. Involving a collection agency means you’re giving up a portion of what’s owed to you, but receiving partial payment is still preferable to receiving none of it at all. Start by researching collection agencies that work with small businesses in your area, and eliminate any options that aren’t bonded, licensed, and insured. Additionally, make sure any company you’re considering abides by the terms of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and narrow down the field further by limiting your choices to agencies that use skip tracing to track customers who may have left town. Step 7: Take Legal Action When all else fails, legal recourse might be the only option you have left if your former customer flat out refuses to pay an overdue invoice. Depending on your industry and the scope of the work you performed, you could take your customer to small claims court or recruit dedicated representation. In most states, if the amount the customer owes is between $2,500 and $15,000, you can take them to small claims court and represent yourself. You won’t need to pay for a lawyer in this scenario, but you should be prepared for court costs. If your customer owes you more than $15,000, you’ll have to fight for your money in civil court, which can quickly get expensive. Using Housecall Pro To Avoid Unpaid Invoices To reduce instances of overdue invoices in your business’s future, sign up for Housecall Pro today. Our collection letter generator reminds past due customers to pay by mailing them a printed letter specific to your situation. You can even choose if you’d like your message conveyed with a firm, assertive, or aggressive tone. If you want to eliminate overdue invoices and get paid faster than ever before, sign up now for a free demo of Housecall Pro!

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Two men battling over unpaid invoices

What Is An Automated Billing System?

February 16, 2019 • Tired of invoicing your customers manually? You’re not the only one. There comes a time in every business owner’s journey where tabulating monthly bills simply becomes a time suck. The answer to your problem may be easier than you think! With an automated billing system (ABS), you’ll become more efficient, eliminate billing errors, and have better payment tracking at your disposal. Let’s take a look at what an automated billing system can do for your business. Automated Billing 101 An automated billing system sends out invoices to your clients on a regular interval so you don’t have to manually populate and send them. In other terms, it streamlines your revenue management. Who really needs ABS billing? Most large businesses (think your credit card company or insurance provider) were early adopters of automatic billing. When you have thousands of customers, automated billing slashes your accounts receivable costs. On the contrary, many small businesses believe they can manage manual billing just fine, and an ABS seems unnecessary. However, there is more to the story. Go paperless in your payment process ... more than 56% of Millennials pay their bills online and many prefer automated channels Even a streamlined invoicing process is not as efficient as automated billing. As people switch to digital payments  across the board (the use of paper checks fell 50% between 2000 and 2012) paper bills are becoming a thing of the past. In fact, more than 56% of Millennials pay their bills online and many prefer automated channels. If you can generate a paperless bill, why not automate the process? PRO Tip: Have a customer who is late on payment? Give use the info about the past bill, the level of urgency you wish to convey and we'll send them a letter & track the progress of the dispute...for free. Send a collection letter today. Key Benefits of Using an ABS Automated billing services could be a lifesaving addition to your growing business. Invoicing five or six clients every month is manageable, but at some point billing will likely get away from you. At the very least, you’re probably working late nights at the end of the month when you don’t have to. Here are some of the ways an ABS can keep your accounts receivable process from making you cross-eyed.    More efficient process. An automated process means no more plotting out individual invoices or organizing a client’s monthly charges on the 30th. Tracking your client’s charges online and sending an automated bill saves more hours than you’ll be able to count. Faster payments. When a client receives their invoice like clockwork, payment becomes a habit. When you send an email with a click-to-pay option, you may soon find that you’re spending fewer resources contacting customers to remind them about their invoice. If cash flow is an issue, faster payments could be the solution. Automated follow-up. Many ABS software options also automate invoice follow-up. That means even when a customer does fall behind on payment, they will receive an automatic reminder without so you don’t have to worry. Accurate payment tracking. Which customer accounts are up-to-date? With an ABS you can easily access payment records and see the history of a client’s account. Searching for an invoice in your files or on a computer requires time and effort you could be putting elsewhere. Fewer payment errors. Tracking due invoices automatically and receiving online payments can also reduce errors. You’re only human. You can make an accounting error on a manual invoice that an ABS would have caught and corrected. Is an Automatic Billing Service Right for Your Business? When you start to rethink your accounts receivable, you’ll have some questions. How do I choose an automated billing system? How much money will I really save? To decide if automated billing is really right for your business, consider the following. Calculate the current hours spent on billing. How much time do you and/or your staff currently spend on invoicing? Calculate the salary expenses currently associated with this work at your company. For instance, if your accountant earning $30/hour spends 25 hours monthly on invoicing, your annual cost is $9,000. Consider how many hours you’ll save. Now, let’s look at the bright side. Consider how many hours your accountant can save when she has ABS on her side. Let’s say she cuts her time invoicing down to 10 hours per month. That’s an annual savings of $5,400 in raw figures. Factor in the cost of using an ABS. Of course, your automated billing system will have its own expenses. Some automated billing services start at just $100/month. Let’s say you spend $200/month. With $5,400 in salary savings and $2,400 in ABS costs, you could still save $3,000 per year by switching to automated billing. Think about relocating resources. How will you use the freed-up time? This is how you maximize savings. If your accountant doesn’t make use of her newly available time, you could end up losing money rather than saving it. Find ways for your in-house staff to take over duties you previously outsourced or create ideas for new revenue streams.   Do your research Finding an invoicing system that works for you in half the battle, and making sure you implement it will bring you home. Thanks to the ease of use for most automated billing systems, you can begin to free up time and money almost immediately. Your customers may even thank you. That’s a win-win.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

Gold cash register for automated billing system

How Reviews Help SEO For Your Small Business

February 14, 2019 • As a small business owner, you know as well as anyone that reputation is an invaluable asset to your business. What is said about your brand is important--especially when it comes to what is said on the world wide web. Plain and simple, the internet is the main tool a consumer uses today to help with their purchasing decisions. Research indicates that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 97% of consumers say that reviews influence their buying decision. We know that customers use reviews to influence their purchasing decisions. In order to use that information to your advantage, however, it's important to make sure that those reviews are seen by the customers so once they're ready to purchase. Let's take a look at the various strategies for utilizing your reviews to increase your SEO rankings and thus increase the overall success of your business. How do we know reviews matter? According to MOZ's 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors , "Review Signals" (Review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) ranked as the 3rd most important factor, accounting for 15.44% of how Google ranks a local business in its "Local Pack" search results. This is almost a 7% increase from 2015 when reviews were valued at only 8.4% for ranking a site in Google. What is Google’s local pack? The Local Pack is the box of local search and map results that appear at the top of relevant searches in Google. Needless to say, reviews are a key determinant in making sure your business ranks higher in localized Google search over your competitors. Now that we know reviews matter to SEO rankings. Let's dive into how reviews can help with your rankings and SEO strategy. SEO ranking factors You may be asking yourself at this point, "well I see that reviews are important when it comes to ranking higher with SEO, but why is that? Why is Google putting a considerable amount of emphasis on reviews and my ranking?" Well there are some pretty simple reasons behind why Google uses reviews to help with its rankings. With Google, it's all about "who you know" Well, sort of. When Google first started ranking pages back in the day, it was all about the "credible" links you had associated with your site and page. While this is still true today, there are also other auxiliary factors associated to your site--reviews being one of the main ones. Getting links from other sites is one of Google's ways of understanding how trustworthy your site is. The more links you have from other credible sites, the more Google will reward your site with increased visibility. Furthermore, reviews inform Google that your business really exists and how past customers have felt about their interactions. Google uses content to understand your business Google is the most proficient and powerful scanner in the world. It reads your site and every site on the planet in order to help it make sense of the internet. If it has more content to read about your brand, Google develops a better understanding of your site giving it the ability to determine when and how to rank it. Understanding this gives you a tremendous opportunity. By having more reviews on your business, you are inherently giving Google more content to consume around your business, which helps the search engine better understand your business. When Google understands your business more, it rewards this information with an SEO boost. Unpack a review for a moment. What are the contents of a review? Most likely, the review will talk about the following: How the customer felt during the experience Their interactions with your business The product or service that was purchased The reviewer is writing the review for other potential customers while simultaneously giving Google rich information to help further boost your SEO. Great reviews mean a higher star rating, which mean more clicks And of course more clicks means a better bottom-line for you in the end. Humans have always relied on one another for the growth of our species. This is clearly illustrated with reviews and referrals. Take for instance an individual making a purchasing decision between two electricians: one with a two-star average in reviews and another with a five-star average. The sensible and rational consumer will most likely go with the five-star review average and click-through to their site. It's common knowledge within the digital marketing community that a higher click-through-rates on a site result in an SEO boost. Research shows that if a high percentage of searchers choose your site from the search results, Google correlates higher click through with credibility and will reward your site with better rankings. Reviews, especially positive reviews, play a huge role with click through rates. When you attract more clicks with your positive reviews, you'll see a boost in ranking follow as a result. Crafting a review acquisition strategy Whether you're just starting out and looking to get your first online review for your small business or looking to enhance your overall review acquisition strategy, a lot of what is entailed remains pretty consistent. First and foremost, make sure you're asking your customers for a review. It seems almost too simple to be mentioned here but more often than not, this step is passed over. A customer will have no idea how important a review is to you unless you let them know. Make sure you're asking the right customers in order to get that positive review you deserve. All too often, small businesses send out mass email reminders to past customers prompting them for a review of their experience. If you send a reminder to the wrong customer, you may be presented with a negative review. Reputationbuilder.com suggests a negative experience is 3X more likely to leave a negative review than a positive. You don't want to shoot yourself in the foot here if you don't have to. Work to get reviews on all of the major review sites that help bolster SEO. If you have a review acquisition strategy, make sure you are using the right websites to get the right reviews. Google, Facebook, and Yelp are the top-dogs here. Acquiring Reviews Sound overwhelming? If all of this sounds overwhelming, rest assured it doesn't have to be. Thankfully, with tools like Review Booster from Housecall Pro, all of the work can be done for you. With Review Booster you can ask the right customers for the positive reviews you deserve. You can do all of this with the help of easy to use templates that are sent to your past customers and prompt them with writing reviews on all the top review sites. All in the name of increasing SEO. So take action now and be the first business your future customers see. If not, your competitors will.

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

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Housecall Pro announces January 2019 Superpros

February 6, 2019 • SAN DIEGO, February 6, 2019 - Housecall Pro, the #1 rated app for home service companies, has announced the January cohort of Superpros.  This program is dedicated to defining excellence and identifying the highest quality local home service companies. The Superpro community includes the best Pros in each industry across the country, allowing for a unique opportunity to connect with equal caliber service professionals. Every month, we award this status to Housecall Pros dedicated to providing their customers with a transparent, modern, and online experience from day one, establishing a strong relationship for years to come. At this time, only 5% of Housecall Pro users are awarded with Superpro status. The Superpro Program was relaunched in the beginning of this year with a new application and stricter eligibility requirements. These requirements include offering a seamless online booking experience for customers on both website and Facebook pages, detailed and personable pictures and descriptions for all services to further facilitate an easy and customer-friendly booking experience, an average of 4.5 star reviews across all platforms, and high-account usage. We do a detailed audit of the Pro’s account to ensure they have met all requirements. Once they have been approved for Superpro status, we require the Pro to sign the Superpro Code of Ethics. This Superpro Codes of Ethics is signed by the company promising elite professionalism, quick response times to both customers and other Pros, and overall responsibilities as a Superpro in the home service community. Together, Superpros are dedicated to bringing trust and value back into the trades. Service professionals who have earned this award will have unique badges displayed on their websites and company profiles to distinguish them as 2019 Superpros. This award is earned every year and the status is valid for a year after acceptance. At that time, the Superpro will be reevaluated to ensure that they still meet all of the eligibility requirements.

Alexa Greenberg

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