How Streamlining Your Processes Impacts Your Bottomline
If you’re operating a business, you know how critical developing standard operating procedures and processes is to keeping things running smoothly. The devil really is in the details, and keeping track of those details when processes aren’t clearly deﬁned and followed by all your techs can create one monster of a headache – for you and for your customers.
But how do you create processes that work for every kind of job, and most importantly, that techs actually want to follow?
One easy way is to get everyone using the same tools, which is what Chad did when he implemented CompanyCam at his duct cleaning businesses.
Relying on a thorough photo and video documentation process makes it easy for techs, back oﬃce folks, head honchos, and the homeowner to know exactly what is happening on the job and fully understand the scope of work required to remedy the issue.
Ever run into an issue with a homeowner claiming you damaged something in their home or overcharged them for services? When you’re documenting what you come across on every job, you have photo evidence cataloged and organized to back your techs up and save you from taking on unnecessary blame or not getting full payment on a job.
We talked with Chad, a CompanyCam user for the past two years, about how implementing a standard documentation process has completely changed the way he does business.
This interview originally appeared on companycam.com.
CompanyCam: What are some of the problems you see in the air duct cleaning industry in regards to photo reporting and documentation, or lack thereof?
Chad: Yeah, most of it is a lack thereof. There are unscrupulous companies out there taking advantage of customers and that’s why we went with CompanyCam. We try to be upfront and honest with our customers. If at all possible, we like to take the customer to the furnace and show them the vacuum sucking dirt up and things. I’ve had customers hold the ﬂashlight just so I can have both hands free, but they also get to see what’s getting pulled out of their system. It’s usually the wife who hires us and the husband who says, “These guys are scam artists,” so getting the husband to hold the ﬂashlight, he then sees all this stuﬀ getting sucked out of the return duct and realizes, “This is beneﬁcial, not just a scam.”
We try to take as many before and after pictures as we can—usually three to ﬁve per vent at a time. If they have 25 vents, then we are taking a hundred photos, this way everything is documented. If we nick a wall or don’t nick a wall, and our guys take a picture of it, then when the customer calls back saying, “Your guy nicked a hole in the wall,” we’ve got a picture of it before you guys did the walkthrough. CompanyCam saves us a lot of money from going back and forth with the customer, driving to a call 45 minutes away, and then ﬁnding out we’ve got to do this and that.
So as the techs are taking pictures out in the ﬁeld, our oﬃce can see it right away. And then if there’s an issue, they can jump right on it and get it corrected immediately, instead of playing phone tag, running around, and trying to ﬁnd the right people. CompanyCam has saved us money and headaches. The customers like seeing before and after pictures, and now that you guys have added video, that’s helped on a couple of issues as well. I’ve gone out and done some drive-ins recently, and their dryer squealed and rattled. They called me afterward saying, “The dryer never sounded like this before.” I said, “Well, we’ve got this video.” They said, “Oh, should we call it dryer tech, then?” I said, “Yeah.” And then we’re done with them.
CC: So then, what initially brought you to CompanyCam, and what intrigued you to download the free trial?
Chad: My cousin and boss, Clay, found it online. Clay thought my team should try it out ﬁrst since we are the guinea pig for the heating and cooling company. We started using CompanyCam and then Clay realized that the heating and cooling side of the company could be taking pictures out in the ﬁeld too and using it to address issues. We’ve always been taking photos. My grandpa started with a Polaroid camera. Then we went to digital cameras so we’d have to bring the SD card back to the oﬃce, download all the pictures, and then try to ﬁgure out which pictures went to what place. So CompanyCam has made it a whole lot easier for us to ﬁle pictures and get them out to customers quicker.
CC: Wow, a Polaroid? That’s wild. Times have really changed. So tell me about an “aha” moment you had when you realized CompanyCam was going to be a game-changer?
Chad: Well, it all goes back to having that proof. For example, showing proof that we cleaned for a customer or that the carpet was already ruined before we even got there. Sometimes they try to blame us—they try to get us to pay for a new carpet in their home, but we’ve got pictures.
Sometimes at the end of the day, they’ll say, “Hey, we waited around all day long, and nobody ever showed up.” But, we’ve got pictures of our tech out in front of their house at that time.
So CompanyCam has just saved us so much money over time that it’s a no brainer. From going from the Polaroid to digital cameras to now CompanyCam it’s so much easier for us. It was just kind of a no brainer. And taking before and after pictures proves to our customers that what we’re doing is legit.
CC: Do you know how much money or time CompanyCam has saved you?
Chad: I would say it probably saves us at least a thousand dollars a month. Every time a truck leaves our parking lot, we need to make at least $150 to pay for that tech, the fuel, the insurance, and all that stuﬀ on the truck. So because we’ve already got everything documented on the CompanyCam app, it saves us a 40-45 minute trip to look at damaged drywall or something similar. CompanyCam allows for unlimited storage so we take as many pictures and videos as we can out in the ﬁeld. It’s saving us at least a thousand dollars per tech and per truck out there.
CC: Thanks for spreading the word, Chad! What’s your favorite feature on CompanyCam?
Chad: I like being able to draw on the pictures, taking notes, and adding tags. As a ﬁeld manager, I can’t remember everything from every project. If I can tag the photos with our company, techs, people, training, then I can look back months later to prepare for a meeting. I don’t have to remember all that stuﬀ anymore. Now, I can just type in “training” and all those pictures pop up. When my guys are out on a job, I look at their live pictures and give feedback on what needs to get done. That saves us money and time right there. I can go through a procedure, do a job, and then a month later, all my notes and photos are available when we have a meeting.
CC: What would you say to companies that are on the fence about using CompanyCam?
Chad: During the ﬁrst year, it can be hard to get anybody to do things diﬀerently. So I encourage them to just try it, and if they don’t like it, then they don’t have to use it anymore. But, they might try it and realize it beneﬁts your company. Then they’ll say, “Well, I should have been using this sooner,” or “everybody in my company needs to be using this!” It’s easy for me to tell somebody about CompanyCam because I believe in it. I tell other contractors about it all the time because it saves us money, time, energy, and headaches. CompanyCam is one of those things you just have to try.
CC: Finish the sentence, “CompanyCam is [blank].”
Chad: Honestly, CompanyCam is just awesome. Like I’ve said—it saves us time, money, energy, and headaches. It goes hand-in-hand with our industry. We get into attics and crawl spaces a lot. A lot of homeowners can’t or won’t get into those spaces. If you take pictures for them, you can show them when you get out. You can then better inform your customer and recommend whether a plumber’s or electrician’s assistance would be best.
For some of the new builds we go into, we tell them to have CompanyCam on their roster to save money. That way the foreman doesn’t have to come out and then the builders later. Now, it’s already there. Just share it with the next guy, so when he comes out, all the notes are there. I don’t miss the paperwork. CompanyCam is a game-changer for us.
- How Streamlining Your Processes Impacts Your Bottomline - August 27, 2021
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