29 Reasons to Join the Service Roundtable on February 29.

  1. Consumer Newsletters – Some contractors pay thousands to get consumer newsletters created. Service Roundtable members get consumer newsletters included in their membership each quarter, in multiple formats.
  1. Recruiting Content – Do you have trouble putting butts in trucks? Service Roundtable members take advantage of a variety of recruiting brochures, job applications, job descriptions, and more. It’s all included in their membership.
  1. Direct Marketing Material – Service Roundtable members have access to every kind of direct marketing material imaginable, including letters, postcards, door hangers, and more. It’s all included in their membership.
  1. Pricing Calculators – Do you know what to charge to hit your target net profit based on your overhead and your pay rates? Service Roundtable members have calculators to set the optimal service rate, material mark up, service agreement pricing, and more. It’s all included.
  1. Truck Wrap Tips – Your trucks are your greatest advertising vehicle (pun intended). Are yours white, like every other contractor? Get tips for creating truck wraps that jump as part of your membership.
  2. .Social Media Content – Do you have trouble with social media?  Service Roundtable members access content ready for posting, guides on how to get better results with social media, and much more.  It’s all included with their membership.
  1. Motivational Posters – You can buy motivational posters or print them yourself. Service Roundtable members print their own as part of their membership.
  1. Industry Clip Art – It’s always a chore to find industry clip art you can use without violating copyrights. Service Roundtable members get custom-designed industry clip art as part of their membership.
  1. Marketing Wizard – Do you have a marketing calendar? Do you know how to put one together? Service Roundtable members use the Marketing Wizard to create and populate their marketing calendars.  Of course, it’s part of the membership.
  1. Service Agreements – Does your service agreement look like every other contractor’s? Is it based on an old design from the 1980s? Service Roundtable members get new agreement templates as part of their membership.
  1. Affinity Marketing – Affinity marketing is a way to get others to market for you, like homeowners associations, parent-teacher associations, and other groups. Service Roundtable members get a guide and supporting collateral to approach these organizations and to create an affinity marketing program.
  1. Comanche Marketing – One of the oldest and best ezines is Comanche Marketing. Service Roundtable members receive it free.
  1. Service Roundtable Profit Report – Members also receive the Service Roundtable Profit Report, a quarterly magazine filled with business tips and inside information you cannot get anywhere else.
  1. GroupBuys – Do you like the special deals you can get from email group buying offers? Service Roundtable members take advantage of GroupBuys specifically for the service trades.
  1. Money Mail – While it cost an extra $50 a month, Service Roundtable members can utilize Money Mail, an exclusive monthly turnkey email marketing service.
  1. Training Classes – Service Roundtable members can also access and receive discounts on a variety of training programs at the company’s state-of-the-art training center near DFW Airport.
  1. Where New Trends Originate – The Service Roundtable is the place where contractors learn about the newest trends in marketing, products, and services. Members get a jumpstart on their competition.
  1. Service World Expo – Members receive the lowest pricing on the Service World Expo, the largest conference and seminar dedicated to residential service contracting. The next Service World Expo is in Tampa in September.
  1. Spring International Roundtable – Members can attend the exclusive Spring International Roundtable, coming up in two weeks in San Diego.
  1. Roundtable Idea Exchanges – The Roundtable Idea Exchange forums are where members can ask a question and get answers from contractors across North America. Learn from leading contractors and industry consultants. It’s included in the membership.
  1. Hundreds of Thousands of Searchable Posts – The online, fully searchable archives contain hundreds of thousands of posts about contracting dating back to 2003. It is the industry’s largest knowledge base archive.
  1. Cash Rebates – Service Roundtable members get cashback on equipment, parts, material, and more from over 120 different strategic partners in the Roundtable Rewards buying group. It’s contracting’s largest buying group and included with membership. Most members get more money back from Roundtable Rewards than they pay to be Service Roundtable members, making the Service Roundtable a profit center.  If you are not using Roundtable Rewards, you are paying too much.
  1. Associate With Great Contractors – If you truly want to improve as a contractor, associate with the best contractors in the business. They are found in the Service Roundtable.
  1. Be Part of the Largest Contracting Group – With more than 4,500 member companies, the Service Roundtable is larger than any other contractor group or association. It’s the largest because it offers the best value and greatest support for contractors.
  1. Nearly 50 State & Local Affiliates – More state and local contractor associations have affiliated with the Service Roundtable than any other group because the Service Roundtable supports best practices in association management and contracting.

Who’s In Charge? – Passing the Money Passes the Responsibility

Years ago, when my sweet husband and I were first married, our first home was a charming little bungalow tucked into the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on the north side of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Over time, my commute to The New Flat Rate down in Dalton, Georgia became too strenuous, and we uprooted to move. 

We kept the bungalow and turned it into a southern charm, luxury Airbnb vacation rental. 

Fast forward a few years to last month. Our renters began complaining about the broken fireplace. 

My husband started calling contractors and quickly realized the winter demand for fireplaces was a real issue as we were placed on a two-week waitlist (by the sixth company we had tried to schedule with).

Last Friday, our day had arrived. The glory day where my husband left early to commute north and meet the technician between 8 am-12 pm. And it was in this time block that the company made a courtesy call that went like this: “Hello, Mr. Putnam. I just wanted to let you know we have you scheduled and your technician, Dave, will be out there today. Dave is an older gentleman, and he will call you before he comes, but if you don’t answer, he will not leave a message and you will lose your spot. He will move on to the next call.” “WHAT?” “Well, we started letting the customers know that Dave does this because we were receiving a lot of complaints from customers when they missed their scheduled slot. So now we simply let the customer know what to expect from Dave.”

Who’s in charge?

Isn’t it easy to point fingers and cast a judgment? What kind of a company would allow a technician to treat customers like that? Why would the company not expect the technician to learn technology and follow a new protocol? But in hindsight, how many of us manage our teams with a blind spot, allowing a few players to be the Dennis Rodman of the team, getting away with things because “oh, that’s just Dave.” Who’s in charge? Dave…or you? 

As service providers, our natural tendency is to fix things because we are good at it, and we are programmed to anticipate the oxytocin. That’s the feel-good chemical that rushes through our veins when we fix something and help a person at the same time. Wow, sigh of relief, isn’t that why we do what we do? We like to help people!

But in our helping, are we focusing on our desire for more oxytocin, or are we focusing on our customers? 

Three misses, too often forgotten in service:

  1. INCONVENIENCE 
  2. RESPONSIBILITY 
  3. SOLVING THE PAIN 

Are you solving the problem or treating the symptoms?

At $1,200, our original ceramic logs were middle of the road – nice, but not over the top. Technician Dave offered to replace them for $400. Josh, my husband, calls me for my opinion…and I was all too eager to share it: “Uhm no, we’re not going to swap out our $1,200 logs for $400 logs! What other solutions does he have to fix the problem?”

A few options were discussed, and then Dave packed up his gear and said, “Well, I’m not going to charge anything for today. I’ll just mark it as an estimate.”

We expected to pay for a service charge. Not only that, we WANTED and would have BEGGED for someone to take our money! WHY?

This is the golden ticket…this is the question we must understand.

The minute the money passes hands is the minute the buck is passed. My problem, which I am grossly inconvenienced about, now becomes your problem once the money has been passed. 

So, when your technicians leave a job, don’t charge/collect the diagnosis, don’t present suitable repair options, and don’t provide an opportunity for payment, the problem remains the customer’s problem and NOW the inconvenience level has not decreased; it has increased. That is why the likelihood of a callback is rare. That is why our closing rates are not where they should be. And that is why we are too often living in feast or famine. We feel like we’re helping people by not charging what we are worth when in reality, we’re making the problem worse for ourselves…and our customers.  

But wait…they may not even be your customer anymore.

Written by Danielle Putnam, President of The New Flat Rate and Immediate Past President of Women in HVACR

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

The Transformational Leader

Transformational leadership has the potential to vaporize our industry’s labor shortage.

John C. Maxwell is the quintessential leader. Whether through experience, teaching, and or coaching, Maxwell has over 50 years of quality time invested in leadership. In 2003, Maxwell, along with his brother Larry and their nonprofit organization EQUIP, came up with the idea to train one million leaders in countries around the world. 

EQUIP hit that goal in 2008 and kept steaming along. Although the number of trained leaders climbed to five million in 2013, there was a problem. Educated leaders were not making an impact. Maxwell’s leadership team asked, “What did we miss?” 

After much discussion and debate, they arrived at this conclusion: The training they had done was educational but not transformational. By just giving leaders training, they do not automatically make an impact and do not automatically become transformational in the lives of others.

Perhaps you’ve seen this in your company. In the early Spring, you spend time and money educating your managers. Rubbing your hands together and with great anticipation, you envision the fruit of their labor (and your money): engaged coworkers this summer cranking out profitable work. 

Those 90 degree days pummel and beat the stuffing out of your dedicated staff. After six weeks, nerves fray, morale tanks, and profitability is a fading dream. A dark cloud sets in and shrouds even the hope of joy. And then the second most dreaded question known to contractor-kind burrows itself into the depths of your psyche: “How do I motivate my coworkers?”

While your managers might have been educated, clearly they weren’t transformed. 

Let’s step back, take a minute, and think about you and your educational journey. Did a parent, teacher, coach, or manager ever make a difference in your life? Perhaps it was the sheet metal guy in the shop. Was it his ability to teach you how to make a transition that spiked your lifelong love of metal? Or was it his passionate love of the craft? The passion that conveyed the importance of his work. The passion that fueled his stories of experience. A passion that hooked you and opened your eyes to the dignity and art of sheet metal. 

Out of these possibilities, you and I both know it wasn’t the ability to build a transition that filled your soul with love for the craft. The same holds for other influential people in your past. They could inspire and make a positive difference in your life!

 

Are you a transformational leader?

John Maxwell says, “If your actions inspire people to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are a transformational leader. You influence people to think, speak and act in ways that make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others.”

The majority of contractors in America are not transformational leaders. Put aside your association with high-end contractor support groups like the Service Nation Alliance for a minute and think. Do most skilled trade business owners that you are aware of inspire their coworkers? Do their actions reveal signs of making a positive difference in their lives? 

Or are they well-intentioned bosses who provide steady work along with decent pay and benefits?

The lot of well-intentioned bosses is exactly what Maxwell encountered when he discovered the leaders of his organization were training but not making an impact. 

 

What Labor Shortage?

Forget the national industry labor shortage and think about your community. If an owner exhibits the characteristics of a transformational leader and has even a modicum of business sense (that includes coworker training from the ground floor up), it’s highly unlikely they’ll struggle much to fill their work roster. An inspired coworker cannot help but tell their friends and acquaintances about their company! 

 

It becomes known within the community, this company is:
  • A beacon of light
  • Has a vision, mission, and culture that people buy into
  • Committed to making a positive difference in their coworker and customer’s lives
  • Lives these beliefs every day
  • Cares about its people and their families
  • Cares about coworker growth and development
  • Fosters the ability for coworkers to find meaning in their work
  • Takes massive action catering to coworker growth and development
  • Inspires coworkers to perpetuate what they’re learning and engage with others to make a positive difference in their lives
  • Continually reinvests in its process

If you are fortunate enough to experience the environment that a transformational leader nurtures and grows, you’ll catch the fever of hope and possibility. 

We can transform our industries! One educated leader at a time with intention and resolve strives to inspire and make a positive difference in the lives of others! Next, it’s up to those who recognize the stimulating results transformational leaders are producing. Study these leaders and emulate their practice. Take massive action and be the change you so passionately wish to see!

It’s Go Time!

Written by Dave Rothacker

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!