Calls come into your shop every day and they can range from basic “my toilet is plugged” calls right up to apocalyptic sounding calls like “there’s a big pool of water at the base of my furnace – help!” If your company is like most plumbing & heating or electrical companies, you have a schedule and you just try to fill as many spots as possible without thinking about which technician might be best for a particular kind of call.
Most contracting companies dispatch in one of two ways:
a) Whoever is available soonest, or;
b) Whoever is closest to the next call.
This certainly helps get technicians to calls, but you are likely leaving money on the table. Why? Because when you aren’t dispatching with a mind to having the best technicians with the highest invoices going to your most profitable calls, you could be sending someone less experienced who takes longer to diagnose and fix the problem or someone who just wants to turn a wrench and has no interest whatsoever in getting customers involved with replacement opportunities.
Dispatching for dollars can correct that. It requires a sound understanding of who your most profitable technicians are (and these are typically your best communicators) and your ability to TRACK all of your technician’s service invoices. Think about it for a moment: if you have a technician who is really great at selling new air conditioning units, why would you send that technician to conduct tune-ups on equipment that is less than five years old? There’s no replacement opportunity there at all. Getting the right technician to the right job also requires that your call centre book the calls correctly by identifying the AGE OF THE EQUIPMENT every single time a call comes in. There is no money in this business for you to service 2-year-old water heaters or furnaces or air conditioners that were installed by another company. Yes, book those calls but send the least profitable technicians to manage those ones. Very simply, whoever is doing your dispatching must live in the scheduler and must know what is profitable and what is not and who to send. Period.
You need to develop a dispatch priority list based on the age of equipment. Here’s an example:
Priority 1 (Today service)
Water Heaters over 10 years of age
AC over 10 years of age
Furnace over 15 years of age or older
Existing clients and service plan members – any problem
Priority 2 (Today or next available appointment)
Water Heaters 8 -10 years of age
AC 8-10 years of age
Furnaces 10-15 years of age
Priority 3 (Tomorrow or two days from now)
Water heaters 5 – 8 years of age
AC – 5- 8 years of age
Furnaces 5- 10 years of ave
Priority 4 (Three days from now or longer)
Water heaters under 5 years of age
AC under 5 years of age
Furnaces under 5 years of age
Priority 5 (If you’re desperate for work)
Any equipment that is under 2 years of age and that was not installed by your company.
Print off this list and try it out. You’ll find very quickly that you will see an increase in replacement opportunities. You will find that you are sending the right technicians to the right jobs and your bottom line won’t look so terrifying. So let me ask you something. If dispatching for dollars allowed your company to gain two or three new furnace, AC or water heater installs a week, would it be worth pursuing? I think you know the answer to that one.
Give it a try. And don’t forget to reward your technicians who set leads and sell new equipment with a commission structure of about 5% on the sale of new equipment and $50/lead.
Now, go make it a profitable Thursday! Want to learn more? Email us for a free consultation!