The huge volume of home maintenance, repair and improvement jobs over the past year means many tradespeople have never been busier.
When demand for skilled and reputable trade professionals is at an all-time high - it can be hard to keep on top of customer interactions and incoming enquiries.
Along with everyday business, many trade pros are juggling multiple people, jobs, quotes etc. of varying sizes and dealing with new customer inquiries.
You know you can't say ‘yes’ to every job, but you also don’t want to miss out on high-value jobs or your preferred work.
Here we discuss tips for managing a high volume of job inquiries while keeping business rolling.
1. Get a Dedicated ‘New Customer Inquiry’ Phone Line.
A small business trade pro will rely on a single mobile phone number to manage all their business activities from ordering materials to coordinating sub-contractors, right down to business admin tasks like renewing van insurance.
But this becomes a minefield when taking calls from potential new customers, especially while working on the job.
Most tradespeople want to concentrate on the task at hand, so taking a new customer inquiry mid-job will often not get the time or care a new customer deserves.
Plus, when you don't professionally answer customer inquiries, it can lead to lower credibility, inviting potential new customers to decide to call your competition instead.
Investing in a dedicated phone number for new business will allow you to make calls or take calls when you have time to answer like a true professional.
To set up a dedicated ‘new customer’ mobile line, you could purchase a second mobile phone with a dedicated SIM for business promotion purposes only and use the number across social media, your business website and other channels like an Onlinetradesmen profile.
However, most trade professionals will find carrying a separate phone for this purpose inconvenient. A dual SIM smartphone could be the answer -where one SIM is for business marketing purposes and the other SIM is for work and personal contacts.
2. Create a ‘New Business’ Voicemail Message
A voicemail message can help establish a relationship with a new customer without answering the phone or sharing an update in a simple, straightforward way.
You will want to create a clear and concise voicemail greeting. This will increase the chances that a caller will leave a message and also help you better understand the intent of a call.
For example, if you need a telephone number, name, time of call, or any other information, ask for it in your voicemail greeting.
Here is an example to help you get started.
Thank you for calling. You have reached [ Trade Professional Company]. I am either on a job right now or I am away from my phone. If you would like me to quote for [i.e. carpentry work, roof work, building work etc], please leave a detailed message including your phone number after the tone, and I will return your call as soon as possible. Thank you.
Remember to update your voicemail when you are sick or on holiday. Here is a suggested holiday voicemail greeting to get you started.
Hi, you've reached [your name, your company]. I am on holiday until [date]. If you would like me to return your call when I return, please leave your name and phone number and details of your job. Thank you.
With a professional voicemail message, you’ll be able to give the right impression and maybe even move the customer to the next stage of the decision-making process - without even picking up the phone.
3. New Customer Online Job Inquiries
If you have a high volume of new job enquiries for your service, you will want to respond in the most efficient manner possible, giving new customers the attention they desire, while helping you determine if the job is right for you to take on.
One solution for new business enquiries is an online job inquiry form - where you can gather as much information as possible from the prospective customer before a phone call is even required.
Along with all the relevant contact details, an online inquiry form should be part of your website set up and include questions like:
- Description of the job?
- Project start date?
An online inquiry form will help you better qualify incoming inquiries and help you decide the value of a project according to available time and resources.
Once a customer engages with you via an online form, a timely and professional response will lead to a better job conversion rate.
With over €12M+ of local jobs posted per month on the Onlinetradesmen platform, there are plenty of online job inquiries to review and respond, in the locations that best suit, plus there is no need to do any extra advertising or promotion.
TIP: Use your online inquiry form to qualify how the customer would be willing to pay. For each job submitted via the Onlinetradesmen service, we offer homeowners the option to pay members via TradeyPay Escrow. A member can then decide to accept or decline this payment option.
4. Save Time & Reduce Travel with Video Meetings
One of the more time-consuming processes for a trade professional is the site survey process.
For many trade professionals to accurately quote, they need to do a site visit. However, a video meeting is a tool that can save time and travel expenses, especially during initial introductions.
A video meeting can help you decide if the job is the right fit and can also help you decide if you also want to work with the customer.
The Onlinetradesmen platform offers homeowners the choice to opt-in for a video call with their chosen trade pros. Our video service saves both time and the expense of unnecessary site visits for our members - with a call only scheduled when agreed by both parties.
5. How to Say No
The high demand for many trade services, high prices and building materials shortages has forced many trade professionals to say 'no' to new jobs or tell homeowners they cannot fit them in right now.
Due to rising material costs, I recently had a carpenter who wanted to pull out of a job he had already quoted for my kitchen project.
The carpenter was not comfortable with his original price and expected the price quoted didn't correctly reflect the rate that material costs were rising. Understanding his concerns, we agreed not to fix the quote.
Without having the conversation, we would have lost the carpenter we wanted for our project and the carpenter would have lost profitable work.
The moral of the story; honesty is the best policy. Don’t just flat out turn away good work, especially if that work is your dream project.
Tell a homeowner you appreciate the opportunity and then be straightforward about why you cannot take on their project.
Other ways to decline work could include referring them to another credible trade professional or offering an alternative timeline. Maybe now is not the right time – but there is always later!
Just remember - Ignoring requests and ‘ghosting’ potential clients is never the answer when dealing with new job inquiries.
6. Join Onlinetradesmen
With an abundance of homeowners needing the services of electricians, plumbers, roofers, carpenters, builders, plasterers, painters, landscapers and more - gaining clients should feel easier in the current climate.
However, if you don’t have the volume of work you desire, or you would rather pick and choose the jobs you want rather than juggle incoming inquiries – then Onlinetradesmen is just the service you are seeking.
With access to over €20M+ local jobs posted on our service per month, Onlinetradesmen members can quickly fill gaps in their schedule or find larger jobs to boost the pipeline.
What’s more, we make winning work even easier. By providing reputational support and a professional website to showcase your qualifications and promote your business - we help you reach your target market and ideal customer.
If you are a qualified tradesman register for a callback for more information or sign up here.