Author Archives: Jaclyn Crawford
“Autograph your work with excellence,” is a lesson we can all learn from Regina Scronce, team coordinator at Ace Handyman Services – Lake Norman. In everything this team does, they strive for excellence; within their business, for their customers, and their employees. That is why we’re proud to feature Ace Handyman Services – Lake Norman as a featured CraftJack contractor.s
Scronce shared with us a bit about her business and how CraftJack is helping them on the journey to success. See what advice they have to share.
If you’re still working from home, now nearly 18 months into the pandemic, you’ve got no excuse—at this point, you should have put together a proper workspace or home office (or found a professional contractor who can help).
Certainly, many people have limitations in terms of space, but much can be done with little, and you don’t necessarily need to break the bank to look professional in the Zoom Age. By now, at bare minimum, remote workers should have a dedicated, functional space that supports their bodies, appropriate accessories to look and sound professional on video calls, and something other than a blank wall in their background.
For the most part, people are getting their act together, pulling their cats off their laptops, rejecting the kitchen counter as a “desk,” and learning the essentials of lighting. But many more are still several home improvement projects away from being in a place of comfort, productivity and professionalism.
We recently surveyed 1,520 Americans who have been working remotely during the pandemic to understand their experiences in improvised workspaces, their attitudes towards presentation on video calls, and the consequences of their bad habits.
Investing In Your Home Office
We began by asking about time and money invested in home workspaces. Great news: 91 percent of people have done something to improve their workspace over the past year, and 90 percent have spent money as part of that process.
More than half of those we surveyed have invested in a new chair, and one in four have gotten a webcam. Also of note, 58 percent of respondents said their employer has chipped in either with money or supplies to support the development of their home workspace.
Where Remote Workers Work
Next, we asked where people are actually sitting and working. Not everyone has the luxury of a dedicated home office, and even when they do, it often needs to be shared with partners and children. Seventy-one percent of the people we surveyed said they are “improvising” with respect to their workspace. One in three (32 percent) said they work from a proper office, but nearly as many (31 percent) say their bedroom is their office. Yikes!
It doesn’t stop there. Two out of three remote workers (65 percent) have worked from their beds during the pandemic and one in three (35 percent) have worked from a closet. Some have made a habit of using these unorthodox spots: 45 percent work from a couch regularly; 38 percent work from a bed regularly; 20 percent work outdoors regularly; and 19 percent work from a closet regularly.
Without question, this is a world that would be unrecognizable to most professionals even a decade ago.
The Painful Truth About Working From Home
What price have we paid for all the improvised working in odd places and positions? A whole lot of physical pain. Seventy-four percent of people we surveyed said they’ve experienced pain and discomfort while working from home, 81 percent experience it at least weekly and 51 percent experience it most days or every day. Most pain is felt in the back (56 percent), neck (54 percent), and shoulders (43 percent), but nearly one in three people (31 percent) experience hand and wrist pain as well.
Two out of three workers we surveyed (64 percent) say their body is less supported at home than it was at their office before the pandemic, 78 percent say they would use a more supportive chair if their employer paid for it, and 50 percent of remote workers say the physical pain of working at home is enough to make them long for a return to the office.
Zoom Zoom Zoom
With so much of remote work centering around video calls, we asked several questions about this very modern phenomenon, the accessories it requires, the wide-ranging quality of backgrounds most of us see, and of course, infamous uninvited guests like pets and children.
Sixty-four percent of those we surveyed have made an effort to curate their background in some way, most commonly by people working in HR, recruiting, and accounting. Those working remotely in legal, insurance, nonprofits, and social services made the least effort in this area.
Sixty-three percent of people have spent money to improve how they look on calls, on average spending $195. This can include everything from a nicer webcam to a ring light to houseplants or wall art to spruce up what’s seen in the frame. In addition to spending money, 47 percent take advantage of the free option to “touch-up” their appearance on Zoom and other leading video conferencing platforms.
Not surprisingly—based on what we know from earlier in the survey—the bedroom is the number one place for people to take video calls (29 percent), followed closely by the home office (28 percent), and family or living room (27 percent). Sixty-eight percent of people said the appearance of their background is very important to them. Unfortunately, what’s being displayed in the frame doesn’t back that up: one in three sit in front of a blank wall, the second most common video call background reported.
When people make an effort to curate backgrounds, 41 percent display art, pictures, or decor, 29 percent display books, and 27 percent display plants. On the opposite end of the spectrum are people who use virtual backgrounds (11 percent). Of these people, 25 percent admit they’re too lazy to make their workspace look nicer, and 25 percent say they use virtual backgrounds out of concern for privacy.
When choosing a virtual background, one in four go with a custom image, while Zoom’s templated options dominate in popularity after that. People like the “Grass” background best, followed by “Earth” and the “Golden Gate Bridge.”
When Worlds Collide
Remote workers, isolated as they may be, are generally not going it alone. Many of the people we surveyed live with another person who also works remotely, and one in three of those people (37 percent) work in the same room as the other person. Unsurprisingly, 69 percent say they are regularly disrupted by the other person’s noise, and of those who work remotely with a partner or spouse, 58 percent say the experience has at some point strained their relationship.
We also asked about uninvited guests interrupting video calls. Two in three people (69 percent) have had either a partner, child, or pet unexpectedly show up on-screen during a video call, with pets being the most common culprits (43 percent), followed by children (37 percent) and partners (34 percent).
A Whole New Workplace
While many formerly office-bound workers will indeed return to offices, many more will remain either fully or partially remote. Trends suggest a hybrid approach will become the new normal, with workers spending some time in the office but more at home than was typical before the pandemic. As a result, home offices will only get more seriously equipped.
Between June 16 – 25, 2021, we surveyed 1,520 Americans who work entirely or primarily from home, in remote positions. Our respondents were 48 percent female and 52 percent male, with an age range of 18 – 68 and an average age of 37 years old.
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Customers are key to business success. No one understands this better than CraftJack Pro Jason Peck, owner of Around The House – NWA.
Coming from a background in software development and corporate business, he pays keen attention to detail when it comes to his customers, making sure they know that when he’s around, they’ll receive exceptional customer service. Jason uses CraftJack to help him find more customers in his area and help them get the job done. See what he has to say about his experience.
Looking for more leads in your area? Sign up with CraftJack today.
Here at CraftJack, we want to see our pros succeed. We believe that there are limitless possibilities to reach your business goals. So when we hear of one of our members really going the distance with their business, we have to share.
Seal Pro Painting is a business that has really put no limits to its success. They have a unique focus on customer service and employee appreciation that really sets them apart. We chatted with Branden Sewell, owner of Seal Pro Painting, to hear more about their business. Read about how they’ve partnered with CraftJack on their journey to success.
Join our network of talented pros. Sign up with CraftJack today and grow your business.
Quality matters. No company understands that better than 360° Painting Vancouver, wherein the rainy pacific northwest, they are meeting the needs of their customers with an innovative take on the industry with a specific focus on paint quality. It’s this attention to detail that has turned one lead into many.
We recently spoke with Angela Malone, president of 360° Painting Vancouver, and Collins Bradford, executive vice president about the success they’ve seen with their new company and what their goals are for the future. CraftJack is proud to feature them in our Contractor Spotlight!
As a lead generation company, CraftJack is not only here to help you connect with homeowners in your area, but also here to help your business thrive. Our staff gets excited when we hear about your success stories, and even more so when we get to share them.
Today, CraftJack is featuring Benshine’s Junk Removal. They’ve been a CraftJack pro since February 2019 and have some tips for success to share with you today.
Have you ever wanted to get inside the mind of your customer? Now’s your chance!
Over the last year, we periodically surveyed homeowners from across the country about what’s important to them when it comes to hiring a contractor to see how their habits changed throughout the pandemic. Read on for an exclusive look into our findings and how you can use them to grow your own business.
Go the distance with your business. Sign up for CraftJack and start receiving leads from homeowners in your area.
What Matters Most To Homeowners
When you get to know your customers, you can provide them with a better experience. Using the survey data we provide in this article, you can try new sales tactics and customer service approaches to drive new and repeat business. We’ve provided a few ideas to help you get started.
1.Homeowners Refer Contractors They Like
While you may not be surprised that homeowners refer contractors they like, you might be surprised at how many do so. According to a survey of our network of homeowners, 91% refer a contractor they like to family or friends. Wow!
Digital communication has made it easier than ever to share referrals. There are social media sites like NextDoor, as well as Facebook groups, that make it easy for homeowners to ask for referrals from people in their community.
What You Can Do
It’s more important than ever to make sure you’re going the extra mile for your customers. Find ways to stand out from your competitors and ensure that your customers refer you to their family, friends, and neighbors. Here are a few tips:
- Offer referral incentives. Many contractors will opt to give a homeowner a specific discount if they refer your business to a new client.
- Keep in touch with old clients. The work on a house is never truly over, so don’t let your clients forget about you. If they forget about you, they can’t refer you! Send holiday cards to give a personal touch in the winter season or send a thank you card a few months after service to tell them you appreciate their business. It’s a cost-effective way to really make yourself memorable.
Pro Challenge: Come up with a referral incentive you can share with customers.
2. Contractor Reliability & Licensing Matters
Project cost is an important factor when it comes to making a hiring decision. However, our survey has shown that homeowners also see reliability & proof of licensing among the top factors when hiring a contractor. Other very important factors include, background checked and providing a free estimate.
What You Can Do
With these factors in mind, what have you been communicating to customers? Have you been showing that you are a reliable contractor? Do you display your license and insurance information? Be sure to display your license and insurance information in your portfolio, on your website, and anywhere a homeowner might see it.
Wondering how you can show reliability? Here are a few tips:
- Always show up on time.
- Prepare a detailed contract.
- Be transparent with the homeowner if issues arise.
- Know if your area requires permits for the work you do.
- Promptly answer any questions a homeowner might have.
Pro Challenge: Respond to all homeowner inquiries in 12 hours or less.
3. Homeowners Get Three Estimates Before Hiring
A common question we get from our contractors is “why does CraftJack connect homeowners with more than one business for their project?” This is because we know about half of our homeowners prefer to receive three quotes before hiring a contractor for the job. The general advice given is that homeowners should receive more than one quote to compare prices, customer service ability, and to see who is the best fit for their particular project.
What You Can Do
Going forward, don’t be surprised if a homeowner says they are getting multiple quotes. Instead, prepare yourself for this with these tips:
- Provide free estimates. Offering a free estimate to homeowners is no longer just a courtesy but an expectation. To improve your chances of winning the job, be sure to let your potential customers know that the estimate is free. Estimates are not only the key to winning business, but they also act as an outline to the final contract and add clarity for both you and the customer. As we mentioned earlier in this article, 53% of people find a free estimate to be a significant factor when making a hiring decision. Check out our Do’s and Don’ts article for our best tips on providing estimates that win jobs.
- Read DIY and home-related blogs. There are thousands of articles homeowners read every day, with tips on what to consider when hiring a contractor. By reading homeowner blogs, you can get an idea of what a customer may expect when comparing contractor estimates. Knowing what a homeowner’s concerns are when getting quotes will help you address any fears or misconceptions early on in the process. Renovate America has an excellent overview of guiding homeowners through the process.
- Work on your elevator pitch. If you were in an elevator and overheard someone discussing a need for your services, how would you pitch them in 30 seconds or less? An elevator pitch can help give you an edge over the competition and win the job.
Pro Challenge: Watch this video and craft a new elevator pitch this week.
4. In DIY – Experience Matters
With resources like Youtube tutorial videos and How-To articles available for almost any project under the sun floating around Pinterest, many homeowners have begun to feel more comfortable tackling DIY home improvement projects.
Our research shows over half of homeowners 54% – consider their own personal experience level to be most important when considering if they should DIY or leave it to a pro. While some homeowners are pretty handy with a Skilsaw, others don’t know the difference between a Phillips-head screwdriver and an Allen wrench! Other factors included project cost (48%) and whether or not special equipment purchases or rentals are needed (44%).
The COVID-19 pandemic led to many homeowners putting off home projects that they would have otherwise hired a contractor to complete. As a result, there was an upward trend in DIY projects during the year. According to the Joint Center of Housing Studies, about 80% of homeowners reported that they started DIY projects or home repair in the last year. The good news for pros is that DIY projects are steadily declining back to pre-pandemic activity and many of those projects that were started with excitement were never completed.
What You Can Do
The Joint Center predicts a decline in DIY projects in the coming years. With this knowledge, you can:
- Show off your experience to prospective clients. Are you a veteran contractor, or have you taken classes for a particular skill? Share photos or stories from your latest projects on your social media channels. Or mention specific certifications or awards you have earned during calls with your customers or in your leave-behind materials.
- Update your profile. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure there is photo proof of your experience on your website and your portfolio. Additionally, add any evidence of your experience such as certificates.
Pro Challenge: Spend an hour this week updating your profile with new photos and any new certifications or licensing.
5. Over Half Of Homeowners Rehire The Same Contractor
Think the job is done when the project is finished? Think again. A great contractor can be hired multiple times by the same homeowner if they’ve done a great job. In fact, 66% of our network of homeowners said that they had rehired the same contractor again for another home project. “The job they completed for me spoke volumes of their skills. [I] knew [they were] reliable,” said one homeowner.
What You Can Do
This data is another reason to ensure you are doing your best work on any given job. If a homeowner calls you for a small job, treat it as if it were the biggest job you’ve ever had. Because in the future, it can turn into one or more big jobs, which means more money for your business!
If you use a lead generation service, consider the ROI one lead can bring you. One job sent to you from CraftJack can turn in to two or more, just by making sure you do your best work and communicating with the customer after the job has been completed.
Here are a few ways you can get rehired in the future:
- Build loyalty with past customers. When it comes to marketing your business, customers aren’t just looking to hire a company but also a person. Relationship building is a key aspect of modern-day marketing. Build loyalty by talking with your customers and getting to know them and their needs.
- Leave the job site better than you found it. Homeowners don’t want to be left with a mess after the job is completed. This is more work for them. When the day is done, and when the job is complete, ensure the area is cleaned to perfection. Making sure you leave the job site looking great will speak volumes and likely get you rehired in the future!
- Communicate your availability. In addition to keeping in touch with past customers, communicate your availability regularly. Let them know if you have time available to come out and look at their next project or maintenance service you can help with that week.
Pro Challenge: Set up an email to past customers and share your monthly availability for a service you offer.
6. 83% Of Homeowners Use Online Reviews To Make Hiring Decisions
Think reviews are overrated? Think again. Our data shows that 83% of homeowners use online reviews to make hiring decisions at least half of the time or more. It’s likely that many homeowners you’ve contacted this week are looking at your company’s online reviews. Do you know what they say?
What You Can Do
If you haven’t looked your business up on Google recently, that is a great place to start to see what your customers are saying about you online. It is good to know where your star rating is on various platforms like Google Business, Facebook, and Yelp. A low rating will not work in your favor, and at the same time, having no reviews online can also keep homeowners from hiring you. Here are a few tips to improve your online reputation.
- Take inventory of your reputation online. Know what people are saying and where they are saying it. You may want to create a document with all the information about your online presence, from star rating to where your reviews are located.
- Ask for reviews. We advise all our contractors to directly ask happy customers for reviews at the end of a job. It might feel uncomfortable, but they are more likely to leave one when directly asked and when the project is fresh in their mind!
Pro Challenge: Contact five customers and ask them for a review this week. According to ReviewTrackers, the best time to ask for reviews is between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m or between 6 p.m and 7 p.m. Set up an alert on your phone, so you don’t forget!
7. A Review Response Can Change A Homeowner’s Opinion
Your online reputation doesn’t stop with what customers say about you, but how you respond to their feedback as well. The data shows that 82% of homeowners will not hire a contractor if they have 1-star reviews. However, if you have reviews you’re not proud of, it might not be the end of the road. Homeowners are 68% more likely to change their opinion of a business based on the response to a negative review. If you have reviews you’re not proud of, now is a great time to get into action!
What You Can Do
You do have the power to change your online reputation. Here are a few tips.
- Respond to ALL reviews. You may feel inclined to only respond to the negative reviews. However, responding to positive reviews can also show your attentiveness and gratitude to those who have taken the time to review your service.
- Seek solutions for negative reviews. It’s easy to react emotionally when it comes to negative reviews. However, take a step back and remember that your business’ reputation is more important than being right. Try to find a way to resolve the negative feedback. This shows understanding and a willingness to make it right, which will show potential customers that you’re here for them.
- Respond to reviews promptly. Don’t wait until there are more reviews than you can handle. Try to respond to new reviews within three days or less.
Pro Challenge: If there is a negative review that has been hurting your business, resolve it this week. Do your best to reach out to the customer and find a resolution.
Customer insights are an essential part of business growth. After all, your business exists to help make their home improvement projects a little easier. This data is just a sample from our homeowner network, but we hope that seeing through their eyes helps you understand what your prospective customers are thinking and what you can do to maximize your chance of winning them over.
Because homeowner habits are constantly changing, we recommend digging in and doing your research.
Connect with more homeowners near you. Sign up with CraftJack an start getting leads today.
Each contractor has a unique set of skills – from remodeling kitchens to rewiring homes or fixing plumbing issues, big and small. However, to run a successful business, you must tackle other important roles in your business such as: CONTINUE READING
How do you face your business challenges? We believe that nothing should hold you back from success. From slower seasons to not winning a job you were hoping to land, we’re here to help you navigate and get back on track.
When was the last time you thought about your business goals? A successful pro has always them in mind. From completing follow-up calls to getting 5-star reviews, having your goals top of mind will make sure you’re taking the steps to achieve them. CONTINUE READING