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Why Offer a Free Measure and Quote?

Why Offer a Free Measure and Quote?

How to win business on the spot!

why offer a free measure and quote tradesperson how to quote online xero course

THERE ARE REWARDS AS WELL AS RISKS to providing people with a quote for work, but one of the bigger risks is offering a free measure and quote, only to have the quote knocked back in favour of a competitor’s cheaper one.

This said, despite the risks attached to offering to come out for free and quote a job, it’s still a good way to operate your business.

Why a free measure and quote is good

There are a lot of benefits to visiting a client to provide a free measure and quote, even if you run the risk of wasting your time and money should the quote not be accepted. We take a look at some of these:

You’ll better understand the client and scope of works

Quoting for a job will help you to understand the client and the scope of the project at the same time. People are put more at ease when they know they’re not obligated to pay you just to come out and prepare a quote, so you’ll have better luck getting prospects. You’ll also be able to discern the kind of client the prospect is likely to be, so you can weigh up how to proceed.

Helps you evaluate potential risks

Remember risks can involve both the physical risk of injury but also other more nebulous risks, like a client who doesn’t pay on time or is unrealistic about timeframes, costs or the types of materials required. With experience, you’ll become better at seeing the warning signs early on, but if you’re new to being self-employed, these are things you should pay particular attention to.

How to make a sale there and then

As we said in our previous post about the risks and rewards of quoting, if you make it easy for people to do business with you, you’re more likely to get quick or even immediate acceptance of your quotes. This is really important as a business, because it keeps in a steady stream of work, which is good for your cash flow, and ultimately, costs you less money — because you’re not following up on unaccepted quotes — in the long run.

Show you’re reliable and keen

In many of our blogs we’ve strongly suggested that using a cloud-based accounting application like Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks makes it really easy for prospects to accept estimates and to pay you. Better still if you can produce estimates for prospects while you’re still at their home or business. This shows you’re reliable, well organised and keen.

Demonstrating efficiency, organisation and enthusiasm are clearly attractive qualities in any builder, tradesperson or other small business person who provides on-site quotes (they’re attractive qualities in anybody!) because it shows that you care about the work you do and that you’ll do it in a timely manner.


learn myob xero excel quickbooks online training course videosFor help creating sales and marketing messages that will deliver more leads to your business or determining the right places to advertise your business online, contact the team at Virion for more information about our content marketing services.


 

The Pros and Cons of Charging a Day Rate

The Pros and Cons of Charging a Day Rate

When charging a daily rate pays

tradesmen carpenter painter plumber electrician charge day rate or hourly rateCHARGING A DAY RATE FOR YOUR WORK, instead of an hourly rate, can be a good way of making sure you get paid a certain amount for each job. This can help you set a budget and ensure you’re bringing in a certain amount of money each week. It also gives your clients some peace of mind, because they will know how much to set aside to pay you.

Charging a day rate can help you set a budget and ensure you’re bringing in a certain amount of money each week.

But just as there are advantages to charging a day rate, there are some disadvantages too.

Pros of day rates

  • You’re getting a flat fee, so if the job doesn’t take as long as you anticipated, you’re still getting paid the same amount to complete it.
  • It’s easier to get clients, because they’ll feel more secure knowing from the outset how much the job will cost.
  • It gives structure to your finances, which is important when you’re first starting out.

Cons of day rates

  • It ties you down to one job. Sometimes you can earn more money by doing a number of smaller jobs in one day, rather than just one job.
  • It gives you less flexibility to leave the job site, say, to quote on other work, or if any other circumstances arise that mean you have to leave the job periodically. It might not be convenient for you or others to make up extra hours at another time or extend your day.
  • If a job runs longer than anticipated, or is more specialised than anticipated, you could find yourself out-of-pocket or not getting paid as much as you could.
  • If you run into a previously unforeseen problem or specialised area, it can be difficult to get the client to pay more than what you originally agreed on.
  • You must quote thoroughly for the job beforehand, so you need to be experienced to ensure you’re quotes aren’t too low.

Not all projects are well-suited to charging a day rate, particularly if they’re complex and have the potential to be time-consuming.

Jobs that are straightforward or where most of your day will be spent doing labour work are better suited to day rates, leaving the longer, more intricate work that has the potential to take a long time to an hourly rate.

If you want to work out how to set budgets and what kind of rates you should be charging to cover all your on-the-job expenses, get yourself trained up in one of our online cloud accounting courses in MYOB or Xero.


on the job quoting quotes tradespeopleWant help creating sales and marketing messages that will deliver more leads to your business? Contact the team at Virion for more information about our content marketing services.


 

Your Marketing Strategy in Xero

Your Marketing Strategy in Xero

How you know what’s working and what’s not

using xero roi tradesperson company business


MARKETING AND ACCOUNTING ARE CLOSELY linked if you look at accounting as dealing with the money that’s going in and out of your business, usually as a consequence of your marketing activities.

Recording your marketing activities

In our new online training course, Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI for Xero, you’ll learn how to enter all of your business’s expenses, including the money you spend on marketing. Anything to do with making your business “discoverable” by a potential customer is considered a marketing activity.

Anything to do with making your business “discoverable” by a potential customer is considered a marketing activity.

That includes business cards, website costs, domain names, Google AdWords, etc, and should be recorded in Xero as a marketing expense.

Determine marketing ROI

To determine your Return on Investment (ROI), you should use Excel or a marketing platform like Hubspot to record where your business comes from so you can assign each activity an income stream.

It’s important to monitor how your marketing spend is performing for your business. Otherwise how will you know what’s working and what’s not?

In our Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI course for Xero, you’ll go through the steps required to determine the ROI for certain areas of a business. If you refer to the Excel spreadsheet showing the income generated by particular marketing activities — print ads, hipages subscriptions, Google AdWords, etc, you’ll be able to work out the ROI.

Monitoring how your marketing spend performs for your business is incredibly important. It’ll help you to see what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to be changed to make it perform better.


tradesperson business company xero online training course videosLearn how to determine the ROI of many of your business’s activities in our Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI course for Xero. To learn more about, or enrol in, our new Cash Flow Reporting, Budgets and ROI course for Xero, visit our website.


 

How Bunnings Could Help You Get More Work

How Bunnings Could Help You Get More Work

Ways to get regular installation work

tradesmen tradie tradesperson carpenter painter plumber electrician partner with bunnings


BUNNINGS HAS, FOR A LOT OF HOMEOWNERS, become the default place to get their home renovated — and not just the DIY renovators, either. Bunnings, very wisely, realised that a lot of the people who came to look at their kitchens and bathrooms were going to have a tradesperson install them.

Bunnings made the smart move of partnering with local tradies — cabinet makers, builders, plumbers, and so on — to also offer an installation service, like other kitchen and bathroom companies.

Partner with big business

Just as every good tradesman or tradeswoman will partner with other local tradespeople so they can refer business to each other, it’s wise to partner with bigger business — like Bunnings or Mitre 10, and so forth — which can refer work to you when they have customers in need of your services.

Every good tradesman or tradeswoman will partner with other local tradespeople so they can refer business to each other.

Use online marketplaces

Lots of online marketplaces like Airtasker and Hipages partner with retailers to offer installation services to their customers. Airtasker, for example, partnered with the Good Guys, so customers could find someone to install their new TV or Bose system.

Likewise, Hipages partnered with IKEA, Ray White and the Housing Industry Association (HIA) to provide them with top quality tradespeople who can provide installation and other types of work.

Big business provides security

Working with a business like the Good Guys, IKEA or Bunnings provides better payment security for your business. In the case of Bunnings, they will typically measure and quote for a job at a set price. This just leaves it up to you to complete the job, and then get paid.

You’re not only reducing the amount of time you spend measuring and quoting for jobs, you also cut out all the follow-up you need to do to get your quotes accepted.

You’ll want to keep up your online marketing and advertising, so you’re getting your own jobs, with the potential to earn more money. The jobs you get through Bunnings or the Good Guys just help to keep the home-fires burning when you’re waiting for your other jobs to get approved.


online digital marketing for tradespeople tradesperson tradesman tradeswoman tradiesFor help creating sales and marketing messages that will deliver more leads to your business or determining the right places to advertise your business online, contact the team at Virion for more information about our content marketing services.


 

Five Ways to Select a Trustworthy Real Estate Agent

Five Ways to Select a Trustworthy Real Estate Agent

Is your preferred agent who they say they are?

If you’ve been following this blog of late (if you haven’t, then you can subscribe here), then you may recall that in a couple of our recent posts we talked about the different tools that are available online to help homeowners find a reputable and trustworthy real estate agent. In one post we talked about the darling of lead generators and comparison websites, OpenAgent; in another, we talked about rating sites like RateMyAgent; and we’ve also discussed looking up an agent’s license using licensing databases in your state or territory.

However, we realise that, if you’ve never sold property before or it’s been a long time since you’ve had to go through the process of finding a real estate agent to sell your home, the process can be a little daunting. So we put together this roundup of the five steps you should take to ensure that you’re selecting the most reputable and trustworthy real estate agent to represent you.

Before we dive right in, we should point out that this list assumes that you’ve already done some rudimentary market research of your local area, and you have a couple of agents names in mind already:

1. Check the licensing register in your State

This is an important first step. Although it’s unlikely you’ll turn up anything untoward, on the off chance that you do, this will help you to discount that agent right away. This is especially important for people who are selling holiday homes or investment properties in areas they’re not very familiar with. You might even like to search for that agent in other states and territories apart from your own, just to make sure they didn’t get into any strife elsewhere before setting up shop in another state. The registers for each state are listed below:

Service NSW

Consumer Affairs Victoria

Regulated Industries, Licensing and Legislation Register Queensland

Department of Commerce WA

Agents Licensing Board NT

Consumer and Business Services SA

Property Agents Board Tasmania

Business and Industry Licensing Public Register ACT

2. Visit the agents’ websites

Do a search of each agent and see if they have their own website that’s separate from their agency’s corporate website. Have a look at the kind of information they provide on their website. Do they publish regular market updates? Do they provide any information about how they work? Have they answered a question or provided information about the sales process or current trends in the market that you found useful?

Give priority to the agents who see the value in providing buyers and sellers with helpful information based on their experience in the industry over the agents only interested in self promotion.

3. Check the agents’ social media accounts

Most agents have some social media presence, so don’t forget to check what they’re doing on Facebook and Twitter and so on, before appointing them as your agent. Look at their feeds to see how they’re interacting with other users online — are they responding to the inquires and comments that have been left for them there? What kinds of comments have people been leaving on their Facebook pages and tweeting to them?

Social media is usually the first port of call for people who are either really satisfied with the experience they’ve had with a business, or really dissatisfied. How an agent deals with both forms of feedback reveals a lot about their character and how they conduct themselves.

4. Read the reviews left on ratings websites

You’d check out the reviews left for a restaurant or hotel on Yelp or TripAdvisor, wouldn’t you? So why wouldn’t you visit a real estate ratings site, like RateMyAgent or RealSatisfied, to see what kinds of reviews have been left for agents there? Keep in mind that for both RateMyAgent and RealSatisfied, agents can pay the platform a monthly fee to manage their profile and the reviews left for them there. What control that gives agents over how they deal with negative reviews is unclear. You might also like to check TrustPilot, which is another ratings websites, though one that doesn’t specifically cater to the real estate industry.

5. Interview the agent in person

Once you’ve done all the online checks you can, it’s time to line up a meeting with your preferred agent (or agents), to see if they’re as impressive IRL (that’s in real life, for those of you playing along at home) as they are online. Don’t be afraid to tell the agent you’re still considering other agents — how they handle this comment will tell you a lot about the sort of person he or she is.

Quiz each agent about recent changes to legislation or real estate practices that might affect the sale of your home. The way they answer these questions should reveal to you how closely they monitor changes in their industry, and, in turn, how committed they are to CPD. This is the final step in deciding which agent is best suited to sell your property. You should also spend some time discussing commission, marketing options, sales methods, and other areas that will affect the sale of your home.

By the time you’ve worked your way through this checklist, you should be ready to appoint a real estate agent to sell your home — congratulations!

If you would still like to learn more about the real estate sales process, including how to manage inspections, offers and following up with buyers, you can download our free educational guide. Alternatively, for more real estate news, insights and analysis, subscribe to our blog.

How Do RateMyAgent and RealSatisfied Compare to LinkedIn?

How Do RateMyAgent and RealSatisfied Compare to LinkedIn?

The truth about testimonials

In nearly every guide to selecting a real estate agent, homeowners are instructed to look at, not just an agent’s sales history, but also how satisfied the buyers and sellers who dealt with that agent in the past were. Most agents will include a few testimonials on their websites and in the shop windows of their offices, but those are mostly subjective, because they’ve been cherry picked from a stack of other similarly glowing reviews. People are more aware of this now, so they’re more sceptical about relying on testimonials supplied to them from the agent.

Enter two real estate agent ranking and review sites: RateMyAgent and RealSatisfied. Both services provide a platform for buyers and sellers to leave honest reviews, so that future vendors can use this feedback to make their decision about appointing an agent to represent them in the sale of their home. They also provide detailed statistics about each region throughout Australia, including the top agencies by market share, the number of recent sales in the region, and the number of active agents and agencies operating in the area.

Ratings sites offer tools for agents, too

For agents, a platform like RateMyAgent, which was developed in Australia, and is now in beta mode in the United States, where it plans to launch a US version of it’s service in September, provides a range of tools, such as the ability to broadcast reviews on the RateMyAgent website to your social media accounts, create listing reports that contain detailed statistics about recent sales history for prospective vendors and clients, connect RateMyAgent to your website and include a live feed of client reviews, and more.

Of course, there’s also LinkedIn, which allows agents to include much of the same information in their profile, and also has the capacity to handle recommendations from people they’ve worked with in the past. But LinkedIn is a tool that’s mostly used by recruiters to find staff, and is likewise used by individuals who are looking for work. While there’s certainly no harm in an agent creating their own LinkedIn profile and using it to connect with other professionals, it’s unlikely to help them generate new leads and get more listings.

Consider your online presence carefully

The internet is practically teeming with social media platforms and other tools to help businesses develop their online presence, but just because there’s a platform, like LinkedIn or Pinterest or RateMyAgent or something similar out there, it doesn’t mean you have to be using it to have success online. Remember that the more social media accounts and other platforms you’re active on, the more time you will need to spend keeping them up-to-date, even if many of them fail to deliver any new leads.

With this in mind, develop your online presence strategically by selecting the platforms and channels that are most relevant to you, your business or industry, and your clients, and only creating a profile on the ones that will help you to achieve your goals. Before investing time in a particular platform, look at its performance metrics and consider whether they’re aligned with your own business goals. If they’re not, then there may be other options that are more worthy of your time.

If you’re looking to kick start your online presence, using social media or a platform such as RateMyAgent, contact our team to discuss which options are best suited to you and your business goals. Alternatively, to learn more about digital technologies that help real estate agents build an online presence, subscribe to our blog.

Content Marketing Differs from SEO

Content Marketing Differs from SEO

Content and Search Engineering!

It’s important to understand that knowing about online content marketing is vastly different to possessing a knowledge of SEO (or search engine optimisation) and we say this because many people seem to think these two skills sets are one and the same.

Your Content Marketing Strategies Count!

Online advertising may be more accessible than traditional advertising, especially for small businesses, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your online marketing strategies to just anyone.

Your business’ online marketing strategies should be approached in the same manner as you would any other marketing strategy — or, in fact, any other business strategy. For this reason, a business would employ someone who specialises in online marketing.

Online Marketing is NOT the Same as SEO

But too often, business owners mistake the need for an online marketing assistant with SEO experts when really SEO is just one part of your overall online marketing strategy (just like social media). The skills sets are also very different. SEO experts are highly skilled in the technical aspects relating to SEO, but usually do not possess any marketing knowledge; knowledge, which is quantifiably different from SEO.

In marketing, you get to understand demographics and how to reach them effectively through different marketing strategies. For instance, it’s widely believed that younger generations are the more active online than the baby boomer generation, but that’s actually not the case.

The baby boomer generation was really the fad generation — they embraced with great zeal, anything that came along, and they were also far more progressive than the generations before them. If you think about much of the social, political, economic and cultural change that has taken place in the last 50 or 60 years, it was the baby boomers who embraced it.

A marketing expert would know this, but would a technology expert? This is why online marketing assistants need to have skills that go beyond the technical know-how, to skills you find in most traditional marketing professionals.

We’ve helped Derek Farmer Use All

We’ve helped Derek Farmer get to page 1 in Google search by utilising all the skills of our team members:

  • Working with internal and external partners to achieve successful execution of your content marketing strategy
  • Social networks – distributing and tribe building
  • Web analytics monitoring and reporting against key metrics
  • Search engine optimization tasks – improving page content, ensuring site structure is efficient, keyword relevancy, product names and tags etc
  • Email marketing – list maintenance, segmentation, execution, monitoring, reporting.
  • Paid Search – budget control, key word success tracking, ROI reporting
  • Keeping up to date with internet and marketing trends and contribute this knowledge as an integral member of the team

Learn more about Derek Farmer and his online marketing as a residential real estate agent

Specific is terrific for your website and online marketing

Niche Marketers are Rewarded by Google

Many website owners believe that they can create content and plonk it anywhere on their website and they’ll be inundated with emails and calls. They are missing the fundamental fact that people who are browsing the Internet have potentially 10-30 other websites to visit until they find the one that they like the most.

Here’s a couple examples of the goals I have for some of our websites.

  1. Get website visitors off your home page (otherwise they’ll bounce)
  2. Get people to take a short tour of what you can do for them (using images and maybe audio)
  3. Give people a reason to interact with your website (like a free sample or information report)
  4. Know the website goal and how to measure it (eg. the number of people visiting the website compared to the number of people who actually get to your Contact/subscription/ordering page etc).

Some fantastic news for you is that Google has all the tools to help you attract website visitors, funnel them to goal pages and measure your success (then perform some optimisation). Advertising with Google costs you money, but most of the other tools are completely free (like Google website optimiser and analytics). See some of the website analytics statistics available for website owners.

A great feature of Google Adwords is that you can actually target very specific potential customers to your website, customers who have typed in very specific search words and/or phrases. Better still you only pay for actual clicks to your website and not the people who just see your add (unless you get a display ad but more on that another time)

So remember that when you promote yourself online you are looking for people who want something very specific so you need to find them and then funnel them to your own specific goals for them. You’ll still attract a wide range of other prospects but you can create your content and make it sound very personalised for what they are looking for. Your 123ezy brand manager can help you create a content marketing strategy and Google Adwords and optimise your website for important keywords.

This post first appeared at EzyLearn in 2008