Would you outsource your phone calls?


#1

I know for me answering the phone during my workday slows me down a ton, especially when I am busy. I tend for focus on callback and emails in the evening to speed me up and keep me doing the things that make me money during the day.

The last few years I have hired someone full time to take care of phones for me but it costs big money to have a full time person doing this ($2000+/month here).

I have been looking at setting up a service that could take care of anyone’s phone calls, we could do over the phone quotes based on your rates and book appointments into a calendar like google calandar. We could use your own rate card to quote jobs and send any jobs that aren’t covered in a standard quote to your phone/e-mail/text so that you can take care of the larger jobs that need to be seen.

We would setup the service so that it is based on how you charge (By the pane, window, or sqft etc.,.)

So my question to you is, if you are full time and busy, what would you pay to have the phone removed from your ear so that you can focus on work?

Would you pay a % of each job booked?
Would you pay a flat monthly rate?
How about a combination of the 2?

Is this something you would even consider?


#2

I have voicemail, and can call them back when I am not in the middle of working, I am not planning on giving phone quotes. I cannot see them as being accurate, and I don’t need Google maps to give a ball park estimate, just the homeowners info. I want to see the amount of work first hand, and then give a fixed price for the job, or prices if there are options on the amount of work to be performed.

I am not saying that the Google maps is a bad idea, because if it works for some people, then that is great. It is just not the way that I want to do it. I don’t want a stranger at some service giving ball park estimates for my jobs either. I would have a concern about all of the leads making their way to me, because there may be human error at some point at the service when handling my calls along with dozens of other companies.

In short, I would not pay anyone anything to get the phone out of my ear to focus on work. I would just leave it in my pocket until the job that I am working on is done.


#3

OK Bob I appreciate the input-

Sounds like you probably aren’t busy enough to see the value in having 24hr phone service and the ability to book work on the first call saving you the hassle of callback & wasted time during your work day. In my experience we loose business if we aren’t the first to pick up and quote the customer. They will call someone until they get a hold of a live body on the other end.

I would love to hear from people that have hired someone to handle this for them in the past and understand the cost/benefit of having someone answer your phones.


#4

Hi, I am only my second month in, into my business so I don’t have that problem :slight_smile:️.

But I read in the window cleaning blueprint that yes indeed - if you don’t pick up the phone then the customer will most likely call someone else who does.

The game is always pick up the phone. If you are a legitimate business then the business must pickup the phone when the customer calls. 24 hours is a bit too much for window cleaning but just a general day to day operation is ideal.

If I was in your situation I would definitely invest in a service that takes the customers calls. I would pay top dollar for such a service as long as you make profit in the business. If you’ll be at a loss then I wouldn’t get it just yet.

You have to have a growth mentality, improving / innovating your business. Consider these things. Cheers.


#5

Dive for the phone… every time it rings


#6

i answered a call the other night wandering who would be calling at 10:30pm lady was suprised as she was only expecting too leave a message. booked the job and we’re both happy.

i’ve personally never liked phone answering services. in my 9yrs of self employment ive always handled it. i use a headset and am usually alone. most times if a customer is present they tell me pls answer your cell i know that call means money for you.

lately ive been thinking how nice it would be too have someone else handling my calls. so now im on the fence


#7

I could just imagine you doing this Chris… :joy:


#8

You are right, I am not busy enough cleaning windows at the moment. Not questioning your experience, but I would have to question the loss of work for not picking up the call. Most people wanting the quotes are going to get other quotes anyway, so I don’t believe a delayed response would be a deal breaker, but I could see how no response at all would be. Just because they call until the get a live person, doesn’t mean that they are going to say yes to the first quote they get. Some maybe, but I would imagine that would be a very very small percentage, If they were that gullible and in a hurry to spend the money then they wouldn’t need a quote, they would just want to schedule it, Again, very very small number of people in that category. Only speculation on the loss of work, because there is no way to know for sure unless a follow up with them confirmed it, and those follow ups would be too time consuming if you are that busy, and definitely a waste of time if they went with someone else anyway, I don’t see the need for a 24 hour phone service anyway. If they are local and in the same time zone, then am I taking a 2:30 am call seriously, or is it a drunk getting out of the bar and bored for a laugh? The voice mail is 24 hour service and I can weed out the fake leads better than a service charging me per lead including the fake ones.

She was expecting the voice mail, so you wouldn’t have lost her. I think most people nowadays realize that leaving a message is part of the game, especially for busy services. I understand that some people may have an urgency for a planned event, but will the notice really be that short that they cant wait for a call back?

Best thing to do if you are concerned about losing work for not answering. Taking time out for the call might be a pain in the middle of something, but you don’t have to worry about the what ifs, or relying on someone else to do it.

Me too!


#9

he asked real world answers not theory

you can and will lose jobs for not answering your phone. it’s happened too me regardless if they left a voicemail. ive called them back and here them say oh its okay we found somebody already


#10

Actually his questions began with “what would you” and “would you”, not “what do you” and “do you”,
So, I disagree with you in that regard, because it is obvious that the questions were hypothetically based and call for speculation.

That is the one I was responding to. Apologies for not quoting it,


#11

90% of people are not calling around to get multiple quote, rather they are calling to get a price and if the price sounds reasonable they will book right then. i have had it happen multiple times that i miss a call and call them back litterally 5 minutes later and they say “sorry i just got someone else”

a good percent of time if you answer the phone, the job is yours.


#12

Thanks for the info,
I will take the time to answer my calls then, even thought they will probably not want to wait for me to schedule a proper quote. Never knew that there was such an urgency to have windows cleaned. Still not comfortable with bidding jobs blind though, or having a service bid them blind either. So. I will probably lose out anyway looking at it that way, but at least they won’t get an unwanted surprise changing the bid after seeing it.


#13

Once you are busy enough you will realize driving around to do quotes is a waste of money. The few dollars you may underbid a job is made up ten fold by the quantity of jobs you can book by quoting over the phone.

Don’t be a perfectionist if you are seeking real progress.


#14

we do 75% of our estimates over the phone but if the house is over about 2800 sq ft i tell them we like to come take a look in person, most people are fine with that and are willing to wait.

to expand my earlier point, though you may not book the job on the phone right away if you have to schedule an in person estimate most people will go with the first person they talk too.

i.e. if they had a 1500 sq ft house and i give them a price over the phone, if the price seems reasonable they won’t call anyone else and will book right then with me. if they tell me the house is 4000 sq ft and i schedule an estimate for as soon as possible (usually just before or just after the nearest work day) they will wait for my estimate and if it seems reasonable they won’t call anyone else and will book right then with me.

there is a certain type of person who will get three estimates no matter what and you just go through the motions. most people however have a general idea of what it will cost and if you’re close they will book right then and if you’re double, rather than saying “i’m going to get a few estimates and let you know” they will just say “that’s too much, thank you for your time” and that’s it.


#15

It is not (usually) so much that there is an urgency to have their windows cleaned as it is that they want to have the task of getting the window cleaning scheduled done with minimal effort. You answer the call, get them a ballpark figure and onto the schedule they will be happy to have that done. A small difference in price is worth it to them to have less hassle.


#16

My effort to not underbid is an attempt to avoid the calls for quotes from referrals of under priced jobs. Not trying to get the word out that I am super cheap and have dozens of calls to answer just to hear a no when they don’t get the super low price they expected. Less quality calls is what I am after, not the phone ringing off the hook with cheap skates on the other end expecting me to work for free just because I made that mistake on their neighbors call.

I am not saying that you guys are wrong for giving estimates over a phone without seeing the work.
It is just something that I have never done, so I am very uncomfortable with the idea of doing it.

Excellent point


#17

FYI we don’t give exact quotes over the phone, i ask three questions

how many square feet is the house

is it 1 or 2 stories

how many windows do you think you have

if they say

2000 sq ft
1 story
13 windows

i assume based on the square footage that they probably have 15 or so windows and forgot a bathroom or garage window so i would bid it at $130-180

if it turns out they have 13 windows and don’t want their screens washed it will be $130 if they have 15 windows and DO want their screens washed it would be 180, if i get there and they have 21 windows i will tell them “you said on the phone that you have 13 windows, we counted 21, did you have any windows you wanted us to skip”? that way they understand that if they say “no i must have missed some just do them all” it’s understandable going to be more. they may also say "yeah skip the garage and bathroom windows and the back guest room, no one ever goes in there and then you’re down to about 15 again and stll within your estimate. besides, most people understand that it’s an over the phone estimate and that it might fall a bit outside that range.

the point is many people have no idea how much window cleaning will cost. will it be $50 or $500. they may be wiling to pay up to $200 but when you tell them “i estimate it will be between $175-225” they think "well that’s close, let’s do it. if you say $500 and they were thinking $200 they’ll say “no thanks”


#18

i do this with our other services and it saved a lot of time. plus you learn the neighborhoods and you get an idea of the home sizes for those areas. for windows we’re 99% commercial currently so those are onsite quotes but in also dealing with different levels of management and appts are necessary


#19

Yeah I was referring to residential only. I took the advice of many 2 years ago and stopped doing residential estimates in person. Obviously if it’s a 10,000 sq ft home then we do it in person but average homes up to 4,000 sq ft are over the phone. You’ll make up any dollars lost by the saving in time, fuel, and being able to schedule 2, 3, 4 homes in the same area with minimal drive time between.

Not sure how all of this plays out for a solo-operator. But we have several crews to keep busy. Losing any jobs by letting them go to voicemail or not answering… is NOT an option.


#20

absolutely

i knew you were talking residentials. makes much more sense ive done it with some of our other services but we do give only a ballpark