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For field and home service companies: your 10-point plan for a great start to 2024

After a rough year for the field and home service industry, the start of 2024 presents an opportunity for reflection, to take stock and set up for a profitable year of business.

It’s resolutions time! Take up yoga or the Mediterranean diet if you think it’ll change your life. We won’t presume to tell you about self-improvement, but we do know how to flip those practices that wasted so much of your time and money in 2023, and help you do more business with less in 2024. Think of this as Wink’s answer to the 90/10 rule, or is it the 90/90/1 rule? Here’s to adapting, persevering and coming out stronger - and the ten-point plan to kick it all off.

1. Know what your staff did last year

Start by digging into your 2023 job activity data. Evaluate staff performance, filtering by date ranges that cover specific seasons, campaigns and projects, focusing on individual techs and project managers, business units or the entire company. You can get a pretty detailed view of jobs that recorded low performance and which indicated high productivity levels. The numbers will indicate what constitutes achievable targets for the new year.

Identify your best performers - tap their skills to benefit the rest of the team. The software tools you use to manage your HVAC, plumbing, electrical or other home service business are jam-packed with telltale data. Connect those data sources to Wink and track anything from tech revenue to job completion. You’ll quickly uncover the areas that need attention. If you use ServiceTitan, for example, we've got a Timesheets list you can use to monitor tech productivity to help you decide where to make adjustments to optimize performance going forward.

2. Identify tasks that razed resources

You know those pesky tasks that cost more time and manpower than you can afford? That’s just not sustainable, especially if you want to scale your business. Job scheduling, inventory and asset management, route planning and reporting are the usual suspects. Like all that time spent manually exporting data to Excel, then reimporting it. Or like poor Johnny whose entire job became doing QA quotes. Did you pay expensive data scientists to manage your analytics last year, or drive yourself crazy fiddling with reports that came up short? Please, make that last year’s problem. Automate those repetitive tasks to free your staff for higher value functions.

Everything you thought you needed Excel, Google Sheets or Zapier for are easier to do, much faster and at scale, with automated, cloud-based reporting software that integrates with your existing business tools. Like with the range of ready-made report templates available on our ServiceTitan Essentials Dashboard (ask us about it!) - not only can it cope with all the data you throw at it, it also simplifies forecasting, tracking patterns in revenue, expense and inventory movement, and making projections for seasonal demand.

3. Assess your operational efficiency in 2023

Identify last year’s bottlenecks, so you can eliminate their risk of recurrence. Dig into powerful reports that can track your metrics around staff-to-job allocation and timely order fulfillment. Like this report based on simPRO’s job targets data source (if that’s the tool you use) that assesses scheduled work activity against your sales pipeline. It’ll show you the winning formula for streamlined processes in 2023, so you can replicate it in 2024 and quit doing what doesn’t work.

Poor communication will present its nasty numbers wherever techs promised customers stock that was actually sold out or where job closure rates didn’t track with scheduled jobs. Track the time lag between jobs completed and payments collected, or sales performance against monthly target amounts, and easily diagnose problem areas. Like the Aged Receivables gauge on our ServiceTitan dashboard that visualizes invoice totals versus the balances due - focus on any date range and share those insights with business managers or sales teams. If it was Johnny’s job to send out tech notifications, what happened when he got so busy, he forgot a few? That’s far from efficient. Automating those tech notifications for 2024 will give your techs and Johnny a welcome break.

4. Study customer reviews and staff feedback

Scour those reviews and conduct feedback surveys with both customers and staff. Technicians know their customers’ preferences and maintenance needs best, which presents juicy upselling prospects. Also tracking top contributing customers will highlight which markets to target in 2024, like with this Top Clients by Revenue report for ServiceM8 users. Or if you use simPRO, learn about your customers’ actual value in 2023 (and potential) from this report.

There’s loads of value here: address negative service issues raised to prevent future risk; continue good service delivery practices that your customers appreciated last year; know which numbers to keep an eye on to track your progress or regress - it will deliver clues on how to motivate your staff, and their training requirements. Publish good customer reviews as case studies on your company blog or post them as meaty quotes on your social media platforms - they’re (free) marketing gold!

5. Review your pricing strategy

Part of assessing your pricing strategy for competitiveness is knowing what your competitors are offering, cross-referencing that with what you hope to achieve. This is also a good time to review customer loyalty programs: track past performance and trends in order placement and payment collection before deciding how to manage customer discounts. What were your top performing products/services for 2023? Make sure your techs are trained to upsell to customers they have good relationships with - this Total Sales Performance by Product report does the trick for Cin7 users. It’ll help to know in advance what quantities to stock up on.

It’s a vital cog in your profitability machine but is your pricebook rigged for efficiency? If you use ServiceTitan, you might remember discrepancies in your Pricebook tripping you up last year. Connect with Wink’s automated, real-time Pricebook updates to give your staff accurate pricing they can trust (without your lifting another finger).

6. Get business intelligent

What you don’t know can jeopardize your goals and hurt your business. Don’t wait for things to happen before seeking remedy. Proaction beats reaction any day of the week! Business intelligence (BI) is the ultimate guide to getting ahead of risk and opportunity. It’s built on the vast data your business and software tools generate. Making sense of all that can be scary - how about resolving to simplify things?

BI neatly combines historical and real-time data, and visualizes summaries of your analytics in a user-friendly dashboard. Set it up now to have an always-ready, updated resource that provides full visibility of your business at any time.

7. Set SMART goals from a position of strength

BI at your fingertips puts you in a strong position to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based goals. Follow-through is equally important to keep you on track to achieve those goals. With over 25 software integrations under our belt, Wink makes sure you leave no data behind. We can help you identify the most viable focus for your marketing resources, as well as track your 2024 KPIs and the returns on investments you make now.

8. Plan your budgets for 2024

Your review of the past year done, you can then proceed to the task of forecasting and setting targets for the coming year. We’ve got a Track Sales Performance report for our Unleashed users to set benchmarks for future sales. Team selection for future jobs goes hand-in-hand with setting achievable targets - it helps to evaluate your work ratios, like in this Technician Jobs Completed report for ServiceM8 users.

Take your pick from a number of ready-made reports that will take the bore out of your budgeting chore, like this tool. Alternatively, let your imagination go to town with customized dashboards and reports that better match your unique business needs.

9. Organize around common goals

Incentives and rewards are great motivational tools, and so is a bit of healthy internal competition. One way of bringing your teams into lockstep is to let them see for themselves how they’re faring against other teams and how well the company’s performing. It organizes them around your common business goals and makes everyone responsible for achieving them.

From the folks in-office to the inventory guys to the techs out on calls, having the latest numbers available in real time empowers them to make informed decisions consistent with your objectives. Ensure you’ve got shareable dashboards and reports set up for mobile access (via URL), especially if your operations cover a large geographical area.

10. Get the help you need

The way you plan, track, report, and share where your business is at can be so much simpler. If you’ve checked your way down this action plan and found it just a tad overwhelming, get a little help from a friend ;) Reach out and try 👉 Wink Reports.

2024, we've got your number...

Failing to plan is planning to fail - Ben Franklin said so. If you don’t rely on your business data, planning for productivity, profitability, and efficiency becomes a juggling act with one hand tied. By thoroughly reviewing what’s gone before, you’ll understand how much work to take on, how that will impact your profit margins, and what plans to put into place.

In short, time you became a know-it-all! Invest in a BI-driven strategy today. As your humble reporting gurus, we’ll do all the data crunches for you to help get your business in great shape for the new year ;)

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