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Tired of paperwork?
You have dreamt of starting your own business in the construction, landscaping, or other field service industry. You have gotten over the intimidation of the idea of running a business—or maybe you are still halfway through experiencing it—and are now interested in knowing what all the requirements are to get you seriously started.
Besides deciding on a name for your company and registering the new business officially, there is an important checklist that you must complete for all the necessary affairs of your field service business to fully be in place. From pinning down efficient processes to finding the right people—and then every step in between—it takes building a solid foundation to own a successful field service business.
The 5 Steps to Starting a Field Service Business
Create A Business Plan
This is a very important aspect of starting any kind of business. The major elements of a business plan include—but are not exclusive to:
- Your company description: This consists of a high-level outline of the various elements of your field service business. For example, if you are starting up a plumbing business, your business description will include your business goals, the marketplace you are looking to serve, how your service will meet their needs if you will be running a B2C (business to customer) or B2B (business to business) enterprise, and then anything else that will make your business stand out from the rest (competitive advantage).
So your company description—in brief—may include your business being a plumbing installation, repair, and maintenance service for offices with the competitive advantage of having experts that can noiselessly fix any office plumbing issues for your clients. This is so that such repairs or maintenance won’t disrupt the normal course of work in your clients’ offices in any way. You may also have a list of special plumbing tech—which you could have designed yourself—to back your pitch up.
- Market analysis: This includes in-depth information about your target market as well as the regulatory restrictions set out in your chosen field service industry.
-Organizational structure: This is a detailed diagram of responsibilities in your business and who will be responsible for what function or role (job descriptions).
- Ownership information: This is where you determine the type of legal structure your business will have.
- Marketing strategy: This includes your strategies for market penetration, growth, and effective communication.
- Sales strategy: This is also under marketing but creates a specific plan for sales - especially if you will be having a sales team.
- Financial projections: These projections provide forecasts of possible revenue generation and insights needed to allocate resources efficiently. This is imperative to lay down especially if you are looking to find investors for your business. Investors will use this information to see what your company expects to do in the next five years or so.
Again, creating a business plan is an exceedingly vital step because it sets the major groundwork for your business to begin building up from. Remember to conduct ample research in this step.
Set Down Processes
Processes are what set apart startups that last beyond their first two years and others that don’t. They are the moving parts of your business and must be managed effectively for the business to move up rather than sink.
For a field service business, processes must include operational components such as scheduling, routing, billing, managing the field team, and more. These components must have standardized processes that align with one another to guarantee the smooth and effective flow of business operations.
The easiest way—and by easiest we also mean the most stress-free way—to pin down processes is implementing a good time and GPS tracking software into your business. This kind of technology will provide you with simplifying features for project management, scheduling, routing appointments, time tracking, field operator location tracking, invoicing, and payroll.
For instance, in terms of employee management, time and GPS tracking software will enable managers to know which workers are available to dispatch because you can check in real-time where workers are and what tasks they may be working on. Similarly, an effective time and GPS tracking solution give you the capacity to standardize almost every process in your business. Sounds interesting? Give Atto a try and find out for yourself.
What you will be looking for here are qualified and reliable employees that fit well into your business image and company culture. You will have to implement various checks and verification processes to confirm the suitability of the various candidates that you come across.
You may not always be able to find a 100% fit, but there is also the option of training candidates to become the perfect staff for the job. Training is just as important as hiring because it gets your employees familiar with your operational processes and code of conduct.
Do not forget that after you have found the right workers, you also have a responsibility not to lose those workers. Hence, you must also implement strategies for employee satisfaction. For example, when you instate a time tracking software to standardize your business processes, you will be able to accurately track and record the work hours of your employees and avoid the risk of losing any of their working hours, overtime, due vacations, and the like.
Build a customer base
Building a customer base takes almost as much effort as starting your business. In the field service industry, marketing is majorly driven by referrals, so a new company may not always find it easy. This means that you need to actively tap into your community network, establish a strong digital presence, and be aggressive (but not too much) about finding ways to close your very first sales.
Do not forget that when you do close those first sales, achieving top-notch customer satisfaction is what will get your sales soaring from then on.
Analyze and adjust
With your field service business now set on the first gear, it will be time to begin looking into enhancing the business and its operations. Look into any processes or plans that are not performing as effectively as the initial forecast and then make any necessary adjustments.
Finally, remember that as a small business that is just starting up, you should never compare yourself to other businesses larger and older around you. The time to worry about the competition is not now. Rather, focus on your business’ growth and take it to the next level.