Fine Tune Your Engine – A Contractor’s Guide To Business Roles

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:

  • Accountant
  • Customer Service Representative
  • HR Manager
  • Marketing Guru
  • Head Of Operations

Some contractors may be more comfortable in these roles than others, and that is okay! But, a working knowledge of each skill set is crucial for success because each function will help your business grow. Below are our favorite tips and tricks to fine-tune your business’s engine and help it run smoothly.

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Your Role As: An Accountant

Finances may not be everyone’s specialty, but a basic understanding of accounting is essential. Making sure you keep track of all the dollars flowing in and out of your business can prevent an audit from the IRS or missed revenue. This is a big reason why many choose to outsource this aspect of their business. However, if you like to be more hands-on with your business’s accounting, it can be very helpful to invest in software, such as QuickBooks or Xero.

Here are a few quick steps you can take to tune up your accounting process.

  • Organize Your Records: This might seem like a tedious task, but ensuring all your business expenses are up to date can be helpful if things have gotten a little messy. Take a day or two to get your papers organized, like business expenses, revenue streams, and miscellaneous items.
  • Determine A Process To Track ALL Expenses & Revenue: Set yourself up for success now by determining how you will track your expenses. For paper receipts and documents, try to decide on a filing system should you need the original document. However, also create a digital file of it by scanning or taking a photo with your phone.
    Make your digital folders easily searchable by using a standard naming convention including month & year so you can quickly locate what you’re looking for, should you need to reference it.
  • Create A Savings Plan: Big expenses will come up, be prepared by having a small savings account for your business. Create a plan to save where you can, and if a piece of equipment breaks or your truck needs a repair, the expense won’t set you back!

PRO CHALLENGE: Take one hour this week to organize your records.

Your Role As: A Customer Service Representative

You likely deal with customers daily. Even when you don’t see them face to face, you’re emailing or chatting with them over the phone. Customer service is an important part of a contractor’s job because it relates directly to the reviews you will receive and the referrals you may get. According to our data from a 2020 CraftJack survey, Homeowners are less likely to hire contractors with a three-star rating or less.

As you can see, customer service is essential on the road to success. Here are two tips you can try today:

  1. Respond To All Reviews: Did you know that responding to a negative review, in order to make the situation right, can help boost your chances of getting hired in the future? According to a CraftJack homeowner survey, 68% indicated that they are likely to be influenced by a contractor’s public responses to negative reviews. So, what are you waiting for? Spend some time responding to reviews today. 
  2. Utilize CraftJack’s Reputation Manager: We understand the importance of your reputation. That’s why we offer Reputation Manager to all pros. Here you can see and respond to all your online reviews in one place, delete a duplicate listing, and more! The best part? You can start your 30-day free trial today.

PRO CHALLENGE: Try to respond to at least two reviews this week, either positive or negative.

Your Role As: An HR Manager

HR management for a contractor can look different depending on the size of your business. If you don’t have any employees, you may not have to worry about being an HR manager, but it’s good to be aware of as your business grows. If you have a few employees that help you on the job site, you’ll want to be up to date on your Workers Compensation insurance, OSHA requirements, and staying on top of payroll. If you’re looking to offer any benefits, you’ll want to outsource this job to an HR consulting firm that can help.

Regardless of where you’re at in your business, here are some HR tips you can use:

  • Worksite Safety: Having a safe work environment is essential, even if you don’t have others with you on the job site. Assess your safety protocols. Check your first aid kit to see if anything is expired or needs to be added and make sure all workers are wearing the proper safety equipment at all times. Review this week and plan to do so on a regular basis.
  •  Talk To Employees: Are your employees happy? Are there improvements they think you can make to become more efficient? Do they feel comfortable on the job site? Simply talking with your employees can help you not only increase their happiness, which leads to better productivity, but it can also lead you to new discoveries you can use to make your business better. 

PRO CHALLENGE:  Ask an employee for feedback about your company.

Your Role As: A Marketing Guru

How have you been marketing your business? Do you know if it is working? Marketing is an exceptionally large umbrella for so many different tasks. From SEO to creating the perfect business card, marketing can help you promote your business. Digital marketing is front and center in the industry today, with more and more people going online to research who they want to hire for projects around their home. If you haven’t already, here are two simple ideas you can try to make marketing tasks easier.

  1. Schedule Your Social Media In Advance: Save time during the week by scheduling your social media posts in advance, using a tool like Facebook Business Manager or Hootsuite. Think about what posts get the most attention from your audience, maybe photos or website links. 
  2.  Automate Your Emails: Email automation can help you by taking care of the sending when it is important. Many email services, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, offer a feature that allows you to send a premade email at a certain cadence, say after someone signs up for your email list or on their birthday, maybe offering a special discount. Taking care of this will ensure an easier time with your email marketing.

PRO CHALLENGE:  Write out a few posts and schedule them throughout the week.

Your Role As: Head Of Operations

An operations manager or head of operations makes sure that the business is able to run smoothly. Who is doing this for your small contractor business? If it’s you, it might be time to do an operations check on your current processes. For contractors, this might look like making sure estimates are sent out on time or materials are getting ordered in the right quantities. Operations are the core of how your business functions!

Could your operations procedures use a tune-up? Check out these ideas:

  •  Following Up With A Lead: What is your process like for calling a homeowner? When you receive a new lead, make it a priority to get them on the phone within 30 minutes whenever possible. Our research shows that this is key to winning the job. Create a process that can help you do just that. However, if you can’t reach them the first time, don’t stress. Leave a voicemail and plan to call the next day again. CraftJack contractors can even schedule a follow-up call in Lead Manager, so they never forget!

PRO CHALLENGE: This week, call all leads within 30 minutes or less.

  • Evaluate Your Goals: We talk a lot about goal setting here at CraftJack. When was the last time you looked at them? Even if you have long-term goals, set a few short-term goals, so you know you’re on the right track.  See our last video, “What’s On Your Map,” to learn more about goal setting and how you can plan out your route to success

PRO CHALLENGE: Make one short-term goal this week that you can measure and achieve in just a few months. Then celebrate your success!

It’s tempting to look at this list and get overwhelmed. However, not all these tasks have to be done at once. Maybe pick one a week to focus on, or set a cadence that works for you, and you will have your business’ engine running smoothly in no time. Think long-term about your success and you’ll see how easy it is to get there once you’re organized and moving!

CraftJack is always here to help you reach your business goals. Sign up today to get access to homeowner leads, a dedicated account manager, and more!