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HPM February 2014

Plumbers are potentially losing in the region of £500 worth of business every week due to missed phone calls, according to research conducted on behalf of everreach. More than 250 small business owners and senior employees across various trades took part in the Running Your Small Business Better survey. It looked at issues such as what missed calls cost in terms of lost revenue, as well as more personal elements, such as to what extent out of hours work calls might impact on time with the family. More often than not, tradesmen don’t have a dedicated business landline number, as the workforce is out rather than office bound. The survey results showed 87% of respondents use a mobile as their main business number and over half also said they bring their own phones to work rather than being supplied with a company handset. Over a quarter of all calls to these phones are new business related, with figures showing plumbers receive the highest number of calls for new work at around 38%. The survey revealed that plumbers charge on average nearly £1,000 per job. This figure, combined with the rate at which they miss new business calls, means they are potentially losing in the region of £500 worth of business every week due to missed phone calls. That’s £26,000 a year in lost revenue. The vast majority of respondents worry about missing calls and losing business as a result, and nearly half of plumbers said having a way to ensure calls are answered would improve their business. The results also highlighted the risks tradesmen take when taking incoming business calls. Crucially, four out of five tradesmen surveyed would be tempted to answer the phone while in an unsafe situation at work. In addition to the commercial implications for small businesses, the research also looked into the work/life balance impact of not having full control of the way they manage their business calls. Over a quarter of tradesmen surveyed said they can't switch off at home as they have to take work calls; 60% said either their partner or kids have accidentally answered their work calls in the past; and 21% admitted to accidentally deleting a voicemail before listening to it or taking the number down. “Missed calls mean missed revenue opportunities,” said Nick Mullen, everreach chief executive officer. “The figures equate to hundreds of thousands of pounds in potentially lost revenue just in relation to the plumbers covered by our survey. The results illustrate the hidden communication challenges faced by small businesses, but also show that addressing them can be financially rewarding.” FROM THE EDITOR Two surveys featured on the news pages of HPM this month offer some useful help and advice to plumbers, installers and heating engineers. According to everreach, a new UK online phone service to help busy small business owners take control of their incoming calls, plumbers are potentially losing £500 worth of business due to missed phone calls. The company combined the amount plumbers charged on average for job, with the rate at which they miss new business calls, to conclude that they could be losing as much £26,000 a year. If ever there was a figure to encourage you to sort out what is a relatively straightforward issue, then that is surely it. As well as highlighting the problem, everreach has also offered a solution by providing a service that gives small business owners the continued flexibility they need to run their business using a mobile phone. Its call management feature ensures no important calls are missed, adding a layer of professionalism with regards to how they answer calls and ultimately helping them be more successful in the long term. Whatever it costs, it would soon be paying for itself. It’s not only being more phone savvy that can boost business, using social media channels can put more money in your pocket too. A survey by Plumbfix reveals that 48% of respondents had won new work through sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It revealed that members of the public were also more likely to go online to find and research tradesmen in their area. With competition among tradesmen for work still cut throat because of the downturn in the economy, anything that attracts the consumer to your site should be looked into. Plumbfix has even gone so far as to predict that “social revolution” could break out as more and more tradesmen recognise the benefits of using social media. Can any of you not afford to be a part of it? Tim Wood, Editor HPM twood@unity-media.com Missed calls costing plumbers hundreds NEWSDESK Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com “competition among tradesmen is still cut throat” WWW.HPMMAG.COM Follow us on: @HPMMag Domestic heating renewables to grow under RHI HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY FEBRUARY 2014 5 Follow us on Twitter: @HPMMag Domestic heating renewables will provide real growth opportunities for the HVAC industry in 2014, according to Daikin UK, the manufacturer of renewable energy heat pumps, ventilation and air conditioning systems Peter Verkempynck, managing director, said: “Assuming the Renewable Heat Incentive launches in the spring as planned, it is expected to provide a serious boost for market conditions, delivering double digit market growth by stimulating demand from homeowners and social housing providers. “For installers who have invested in the skills and Microgeneration Certification Scheme accreditation to fulfil domestic heating projects, the renewables market provides a major opportunity to increase turnover. But this opportunity will come with much greater and substantially different expectations for after-servicing, for which installers should be fully prepared. “To take advantage of the major market opportunities for 2014, contractors and installers should study in detail the government legislation on carbon reduction and energy efficiency in buildings – and consider how intelligent HVAC solutions can satisfy customers’ need to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions,” he said. Peter added: “Low capital expenditure is no longer the best solution. Customers will benefit from investing in a better system, because they will enjoy improved cash flow by making substantial savings on their energy bills. And satisfied customers are more likely to be retained, thus generating better margins for the industry.”


HPM February 2014
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