Reinvent the Wheel?

Most say we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but I disagree.

Are you, as an appliance servicer, making a conscious effort to reinvent your business?  If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.  If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling back.  These are two popular sayings that we hear all the time.  What are you doing to grow your business?

This topic occurred to me a few years back at one of the ASTI conferences.  During the conference I noticed we all have the same problem.  We attempt to grow our business and put more trucks on the road.  We do our best to track our advertising.  We make every attempt to stay current.  Yet year after year our margins are still too low. The consensus seems to be the same.  “It’s what our industry allows”.  Or, “Our industry is different.”  What?  Really?   Our industry blames our industry for not making money?   We blame the manufacturers; we blame the third party warranty companies.  We even blame the guy down the street working out of his garage.  No offense to the guy in the garage.   It might be time to start thinking outside the box to reinvent yourself and your company.

I know it’s tough because it means taking a step back from the daily grind.  It’s tough because you’re so busy putting out the fires you have blinders on to an extent.  This is why you need to be working on your business not in your business.

What’s meant by reinventing your business?  I’m not talking about shutting down your appliance company and opening a steak house; though, they do have better margins.  I’m suggesting you simply add some things to your current menu of services.  You already service customers.

How about dryer vent cleaning?  Most of your current customers have a dryer and a vent.  Without advertising, how many times per day do your technicians tell a customer; “Well, there is nothing wrong with your dryer, it’s your vent.  You need to call someone to clean your vent.”

Who wins here?  You did not provide a service to the customer.  Except to inform the customer they called the wrong company.  The customer has to pay you, again to do nothing for them.

Associates of mine tell me that their average ticket for dryer vent cleaning is twice an appliance repair ticket.  Remember the commercial from the burger chain Wendy’s, “Where’s the beef?”  I’d say there’s some beef in dryer vent cleaning.

What about sales?  I’m not talking about going head-to-head with the big box stores or your local dealer.  Why not give the replacement option on a condemned appliance while you’re in the customer’s home.  Some of your customers don’t have the time or want to shop for a new washer.

If your customer sees your company as a professional service organization, they want your recommendation.  Many of your customers will allow you to sell them a new appliance right there in the house.  You now convert a loss,”trip charge” into a paying customer.  How could this customer not call you back in the future?

There are options for a service only company to purchase appliances and deliver them to your customer’s house.  Prices are reasonable, but remember the customer is paying for a service not a product.  Price is not a big determining factor here.

How about the whole house?  Have you considered the electrical trades, plumbing, or HVAC?  This is a much bigger step for some appliance companies.  Why not think outside the box and consider offering all the services that a customer might need for their house?

The appliance service industry runs more calls per day than most other service trades.  Appliance companies need to in order to survive.  In 2 or 3 years an appliance service company can have as many customers in their database as other trades after 10-15 years.  Think of the advertising impact of this.

Is this too big a jump?  Perhaps just a tweak?  It does not have to be as large as getting into another industry.  It could be as simple as making a bigger push for service agreements.  It might be a dive into the social media world.  It might be time to implement your flat rate price guide you’ve been sitting on for the last year.

Just because you decide to stay with the status quo does not mean your completion will do the same.  A little extra push can go a long way.

Mike LaBeau

SoBellas Home Services

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