Building a successful mobile service business isn’t only about mobility and growth – it’s about scaling your organization. The difference between growth and scale is this: scaling a business means adding revenue quickly while adding resources incrementally. Growth is adding both revenue and resources at an equal rate.
To scale your service business successfully, the objective would be to add customers quickly without the need for more resources. As a result, you increase your margin.
In addition, when you operate your service-based business at scale, you optimize your resources to achieve the greatest volume and outcome over all your market segments. However, some critics say service businesses are difficult, if not impossible, to scale. The truth is that it can be done, but it does require a little creative finesse.
Determine Why You Want to Scale
If you want to reach a goal, you must understand why you want to reach that goal – and remind yourself of that motivation repeatedly. As a service-based business, saying you want to scale simply because you’ve been told it’s the right thing to do isn’t good enough. Perhaps you want to do it for the money – it’s a common motivator for pursuing growth.
Still, if you aren’t going to enjoy it, all the money in the world won’t be enough motivation. Instead, think of why you got into your business in the first place. What is it that you love most about your career? What makes it important to you? According to Ian Altman and Gallup Research, productivity increases by 21 percent when you’re doing something you love.
Now, think of scaling that service exponentially and whether you want that. Scale will only work if you are interested in scaling every single day, because you can’t quit.
Align Your Strategy with Your Vision
Before you decide on a scaling strategy, you want to ensure it meets your vision for your company as a whole. You’ll have to consider ignoring quick wins and short-term gains for the bigger picture – one that puts your company as a market leader in your field. And, you won’t be motivated to do what it takes if you feel like you’re sacrificing your vision in the process.
The Challenges of Scaling
If your service business is based on selling your time, then you know all too well that there are only so many hours in a day. The challenge is that it’s hard for a business to scale if you just don’t have enough time. Even if you hire help, you’re still selling time – just other people’s time.
So, yes, it is challenging to sell time in a service-based business. This is where you might consider “productizing” a service. Instead of offering a customized service, you present your service as a product. This requires thinking of your business in an entirely different way and adopting a new business model.
An entrepreneur who sells individualized social media training sessions, for instance, is exchanging time for dollars. These sessions take time, and there are only so many hours in the day. Productizing those services, however, such as packaging knowledge into self-led courses or leading workshops to transfer knowledge to many customers or clients at one time, is one way such a business might scale.
Create Automated Processes for Repetitive Tasks
Since you have been selling time, then naturally, you need to figure out how to save time. There are many repetitive process that all service businesses must complete, such as promoting your company, emailing customers, putting out fires, and more.
This is where you need to think about the efficiency of your current systems and processes. Your service business is only as scalable as your processes are. So, think about all your current processes. How can you speed things up and make them more efficient? What can you automate? Leveraging tools such as IFTTT and Zapier can help you automate repetitive tasks that otherwise take up a substantial amount of your time. There are plenty of software tools and solutions that can make quick work of tedious, manual processes.
Manage Your Mobile Fleet
If your service-based business is a mobile one, meaning you rely on a fleet of vehicles to deliver goods or transport service reps to customers’ locations, scaling your business requires an effective fleet management process. Adding more vehicles to your fleet without first establishing a solid fleet management system will result in substantial pain points later on, so if you have growth in mind, developing those systems now while your fleet is small is something you’ll be glad you did down the line.
To scale, you must first cut costs and improve your current operating efficiencies. Scaling your business is about optimizing your resources. It’s critical to respond to service calls quickly, but you also need the visibility to track and manage your fleet easily to make that happen. Investing in fleet tracking software makes these goals easier to achieve, and investing in software that can scale along with your company means it’s a decision you need to make only once.
Create a Published Price List
There is a reason why many service businesses don’t publish prices. Every job can be different, and they might have been taken advantage of by previous clients. Plus, services are more likely to be customized towards the specific needs of each client compared to product-based businesses.
So, when you think of productizing your services, create a price list for those items. These aren’t going to be custom quotes. Besides, custom quotes take time, and that time can be spent scaling and making more money. This is especially important if you’re planning to automate the sales process. No one’s going to click the buy button if they don’t know how much of their hard-earned cash they’re signing away.
Drop the Hourly Rate
Many service businesses offer hourly rates as a means of publishing a price. But, an hourly rate is the biggest obstacle to scaling your business. Clients want to hire someone who can complete their requested services as quickly as possible.
So, like the published price list suggestion, it is easier to scale when you start charging by contract or a configured set of fees. You can even use a monthly subscription model. But, the hourly rate is nebulous and inefficient, so it’s time to reconsider your pricing strategy when you’re prepping to scale your company.
There are many ways to scale a service business, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s up to you to implement the strategies that enable you to scale your company without sacrificing your vision or risking pain points that you’d rather not encounter.