Owned and Operated #58- Powering Growth in Home Services and Leveraging the Call Center

Memberships and PPC.
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In this episode of "Owned and Operated," John and Jack explore key strategies to drive growth in the home service industry while also looking at home services marketing strategies. They discuss the immense potential of utilizing a call center and establishing an inside sales team, highlighting the success of membership sales and a range of marketing avenues beyond pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Episode Hosts: 🎤
John Wilson: @WilsonCompanies on Twitter
Jack Carr: @TheHVACJack on Twitter

Looking to scale your home service business? Service Scalers is a digital marketing agency that drives success in PPC and LSA.
Discover more growth strategies by visiting Service Scalers: https://www.servicescalers.com

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Jack Carr, CEO of Rapid HVAC

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Episode #58 Transcript

John: Welcome back. This is the second in a two part series. So Jack decided he wanted to launch a plumbing division in his HVAC company. So the first one, we talked about hiring the right people. We talked about tools. We talked about the type of work he's going to take on in his brand new plumbing department.

John: Today, we talk about how he's going to fill the schedule. So this is probably the most important part. Hey, you can go hire somebody. You can go buy some tools. How are you going to get them work in something that you're just breaking into? Give it a listen. We deep dive into demand generation in this episode.

John: Hey, today's episode is brought by Service Scalers. So Service Scalers is a home service marketing agency. And what they do is they help home service companies like me, like you, like Jack, drive leads in an affordable rate and at scale. So they've run two of our brands for a little bit over a year now, and they're doing an awesome job.

John: So we're really excited to partner with them because we know that we've been really happy with what they've done for us. Welcome back to own and operate him. Yeah. All right. So this is part two. Last episode we were talking about how Jack just launched a plumbing division, which we're super excited about.

John: So we dove into pricing a little bit. We dove into staffing and now we're going to talk about how he's going to get, how he's going to get that bag, get those plates.

Jack: That demand is going to be, like you said, the key to everything. It's, it's the key to all businesses, right? Yeah.

John: We first have to start off with you said, I put ads on Tik TOK and I got a tankless from it.

John: So that's where we're going to start.

Jack: So we'll start Like I said, if for those just tuning in we started on Monday and by Tuesday, October 1st, basically October 1st. Yeah, we started our plumbing division by October 2nd. Our week was booked. Our week was booked. And to my knowledge and John, let me know this really nicely.

Jack: With things that I shouldn't be booking. Yes. Either way it's booked up though. We started off with an email marketing campaign, right? So if you have a customer base right off the bat, that's who you're going to. First, we let them all know, Hey, rapid response, heating and cooling is now doing rapid response, plumbing, great little, it, it brings true to brand, it looks good, we didn't spend very much money cause we already had From a marketing perspective, really close to done.

Jack: How many emails do you have? I think we

John: sent out 1, 700. Can you like screen share your service Titan? I want to see the email.

Jack: It's not their service time mail chimp.

John: Oh, sure. Okay. I guess why not through service Titan?

Jack: I don't know. Okay. I'm new to service Titan. I don't know. I, we haven't done much through service Titan marketing.

Jack: I don't even know if that's, if I have to buy that, I think potentially.

John: Yeah, I think it's, yeah, we

Jack: didn't do any add ons to Service Titan, it's just so expensive for such a small company right out the gate that we didn't do anything like Pricebook Pro, we didn't do anything like marketing side, I get a free month of MailChimp, so why not?

Jack: Yeah,

John: that's cool.

Jack: Yeah, we, I think we, we got through it, I can show those ads at some point, but we got through and actually got, I want to say it was about a 50 percent open rate. Which is nice. Really nice. Yeah, that's good. Got a bunch of emails saying, Hey, we're interested. We work a lot with some kind of groups of people who they own 2, 3, 7, 10, 12 homes.

Jack: And so we, we have a really nice niche there and those guys loved it. They're saying, Hey, now I have one vendor for both of these things. They're, they love our service on the HVAC side. So now they're really pumped. So that was the first thing we got a few jobs through there. And then the second thing was on that Monday, we launched on TikTok and Facebook.

Jack: Really simple ads.

John: Show us the ads.

Jack: Okay, let's see.

John: Dude, is it the same ad?

Jack: It isn't. The TikTok ad is different. I won't be able to find the TikTok ad, but I'll bring up the Facebook ad real quick.

John: How different is it?

Jack: So the TikTok ad is really, it's taking some how do you say, it's like stock image or stock video of some tech, Unbranded tech working on a water heater.

Jack: And then there's a voiceover that just says, Hey Nashville, this is rapid response heating and cooling. We are offering plumbing and everyone gets a great discount right now. We're offering it for 49 99 a month for 36 months or whatever it is and 0 percent interest. And so that's our ass. And then there's another one that is the same thing.

Jack: Someone working on a tank list and it says, Hey Nashville, we're offering 250 off for this month only on tankless water heaters. Give us a call today. And then what ends up happening is they click on the ad, it gives them a form, right? They fill out the form, it ships it over to a Zapier and then it populates to us that way.

Jack: So we can then write them and do all that kind of stuff, APIs in. But let me see if I can find an actual ad. It's a good one. I'm so

John: here for this.

Jack: It's essentially a, oh God, I have to cut this because I'm going to have to sign in.

John: Love them. Okay. So you launched Tik TOK. You launched on Meta and you did an email campaign.

Jack: Yep.

John: Were those most of the things?

Jack: And then we did a small post on Nextdoor. And then a post on a Facebook new homeowners page, which has about 15, 000 or so people on it on the Facebook page.

John: Yeah. So how are you thinking about that was the launch. How are you thinking about November 1st?

Jack: So we were really pushing to try and get the LSA ads up here and make sure the screen, so everyone could see my ad and absolutely rip it apart, please.

Jack: If you this is third screen share. I

John: mean, if it works, I don't know.

John: Yeah, it looks great.

Jack: So that, that's it. It's pretty simple. We are at, I think it's something like 20 a click. Or like a call. Not a click. Actually like a lead. 20 a lead. It's ridiculous compared to HVAC. So we're really excited on that. There's another one on it's the exact same for tanked water heaters.

Jack: But we got some from that and then some of those kind of auxiliary items were driving through those other versions the next door posts and then the Facebook group, Nashville group posts, so those ones got it. Got some traffic too, which was really nice. So

John: how are you thinking about, so LSAs, what else are you thinking about?

John: Like all of this stuff, unless you have a team around it, which I don't think you do is like one time pushes. So how do you make these one time pushes into a regular thing?

Jack: So we will start PPC on this as well. We need to on Google. It's just, that's going to be part of it. And my hope is that it doesn't track the same, like I was telling you in the other episode.

Jack: We don't actually do PPC on our HVAC company because it just doesn't make sense. It's we did it once and we've done it again with a different company. And then I tried doing it again myself and it just never pans out. It ends up being something crazy like. 1, 000 a call. So there's definitely some best practices that we're missing in that alone.

Jack: However, that being said I think that we'll do a little better in plumbing on that. That's one, one factor. I don't think that the TikTok and Facebook ads either are a singular event. Those generally do pretty good, at least on the HVAC side of getting about two to three calls a day, or at least, excuse me, two to three incoming leads a day.

Jack: And then that transfers into about maybe we get about two thirds of those actually get a salesperson out there. Yeah.

John: Yeah. Yeah. PPC is an animal. So I've been working with, so we just let go of Scorpion and we were transitioning. For a while, so we started working with a company, I'm this is a harmless plug, all right, so don't read too far into it, but I started working with the company like a year ago and then I ended up partnering with them in the last couple months because they did such a good job, but it's service scalers, and yeah, the whole thing is home service PPC.

John: But we had the same experience where like our cost per call was insane. And now we're driving we're, it's doing a lot better. But the, yeah, I don't know. You should probably look into service type marketing too, because you can, I'll show you ours. So you can do a lot, but one of the more valuable things is if you have a little bit more control over your PPC, you can you can actually hook it up here and you can get performance.

John: So I

Jack: mean, we get performance, just it's not through.

John: Yeah. So this connects,

Jack: yeah, it does an API

John: to service Titan. So we know exactly what's going on. We're working on this section down here, the ad performance and ads per lead. Cause we just linked this up like maybe two weeks ago. But we're driving PPC through our remediation business.

John: Which has ended up being wildly successful. All right. So I'm going to go back like slightly. Yeah. I think that's important. Cause I don't want you to write off PPC like that. That's the thing.

Jack: I'm not the big part for me on PPC is just getting the, once again it's one of those things where you get burned so many times and we don't have the ad spend to get burned over and over again, so we have to get burned, wait six months and then get burned again in six months.

John: I think, and I think you can launch conservatively with whoever is. But like when we LSAs is a really hard, so this was one of our learnings with electrical was LSAs is one of our really is really hard to launch a new service with, because you don't have the weight behind it. You don't have the reviews, you don't have the weight.

John: So like PPC is the fastest way. And that was like one of my big learnings. I had two big learnings. generation for a new service. So one PPC is the easiest way to start and then just drive reviews as fast as you can until you have a hundred reviews. It's always going to be tough. And then I think you can just use the review stuff like through service Titan.

John: Do you have the marketing button at all?

Jack: We do have the marketing button. It doesn't have anything on it, so we have to we third party in podium.

John: So we drive, I think we're driving like, we're driving like 30 a week right now. So actually we're yeah, 17 this week so far, which is sweet. We made some changes, but we're now aiming for a hundred a week.

John: So that's like the big goal. So we're falling short of our goal across

Jack: all

John: channels.

Jack: Oh, that's awesome.

John: We're, you can see our chart, like we're not at a hundred. So we have a long way to go to get there. But we're going to, it's what Wednesday. And we're almost to last week's numbers. So we made a bunch of really big changes at the end of last week that sort of spiked it.

John: So we think we're going to really carry that forward. Okay. All that to say. LSA happens a lot easier at a hundred reviews specifically in that service type, because Google will rate plumbing differently than HVAC, depending on what your customers using LSA had a good experience with.

Jack: Yeah, exactly. It's a building block game, right? You just have to get those in prior. So we'll probably start a PPC. We're still driving those same type of jobs via Facebook, and so until that does, we'll probably add on. Once we can handle the capacity, maybe in a week or two weeks, if we don't keep, having two or three calls in a day on, on those tank lists.

Jack: So let's keep the thing that

John: Is it takes 90 days for Google to like you. So you want to start, even if it's 500 bucks, I cause it really yeah. Cause you have to get X amount of conversions. I don't remember what the number is, but you have to get X amount of conversions in order for your ads to be optimized through Google.

John: So like you can't talk about a

Jack: nice business model. You actually have to, you have to be with us for the same 1, 500 first. Yeah, it's, it is nice for you.

John: It is bullshit. But like Pete. LSAs you can turn off and on a switch, right? But you obviously can't do the same. But, so that was one of my two big learnings.

John: Was PPC matters a lot. So PPC we got to our first couple of guys. And then we slowed down a lot. And I forgot, like I was trying to run it through LSA. I was trying like all these different things. And we didn't get anywhere. We finally added PPC and it's like, it blew the fuck up because we had a six grand a month to it.

John: Which was great. And we did well with it.

Jack: When you get PPC, do you do a specific landing page to do you create a whole new link? So that's where I think we're missing out on our cost per lead versus cost per click is we were just driving straight to the main website when we really needed to do a landing page.

John: You got to do a lander. You got, that's how you convert people. It was like, Hey, you're here for this specific thing. Here's why you should use us for that specific thing. So PPC helps a lot, and then you can turn it off once you get to LSAs, like once you become LSA able, basically. And I was really afraid to launch, frankly, I just forgot, because in the past we turned off our PPC.

John: So PPC used to be like a 40, 000 a month budget item for us. And it went down to two last year because LSAs were so successful and so cheap. Cause yeah, we were getting leads at 11 to 20 bucks a lead. Now there's 60 to 80. So now anything looks better than LSA.

Jack: LSA leads popped up to 60 to 80 per lead.

Jack: Is that what you're saying?

John: Yeah. Yeah. My PPC leads are like 30 bucks. So like PPC is back in the game. Like it was fun. It it like got good again. And they're like actionable leads. So we so this is like a, this is a totally different story. Um, with our water remediation business, so like lead generation, there's been like a bear for freaking years.

John: And I finally talked to my friend, Justin, who owns, this is one of his companies and it's out in Washington. I'm like, dude, what are you doing? Cause you guys are doing 12 million a year and you doubled from last year. So two, we just do PPC and LSA. And I'm like, Oh my fuck. It's I know this game.

John: Like, why did I never, cause like in legacy water remediation, the game is you go hand to hand, like you meet plumbers and they give you. So we didn't even think to do digital. We didn't even think about it. And so we launched PPC. Most of my argument here is like PPC is back, but like we launched PPC in there like a month ago, maybe a little bit less and like 30 percent more sales.

John: And granted, it's a very small company. So 30 percent more sales is not hard at a hundred grand a month, but like still, that was amazing.

Jack: It's huge. And so plumbing versus HVAC, are you guys seeing a difference, differences in each industry, or is it all across the board? 30, 30, 40, 30. Or is there any that are really stand out like 10, 60, 20?

John: I'll look. So I actually saw one the other day where that was like 84 and I'm pretty sure that was HVAC,

Jack: I think that's what HVC is killing me. So that's why I've been so turned off from all the PPC stuff. Here's the

John: second thing. So I went into the first, which like, consider PPC. And then until you get LSA able.

John: And then LSA is usually a lot easier. Because LSA is instant. Like you can go ahead and, I could, I can adjust the budget and I'll get more. So it's like relatively easy to figure out. Whereas PPC takes some real work. So that's where I was

Jack: going to ask is how are you generating keywords? And are you just sending it to the agency and the agency is really good in their handling?

John: Yeah. So they've done a really good job. Like they've really done a good job. We ended up partnering with them. Just cause I've been super happy with them for the last year. So it's dang, we should try to, do something a little bit more together. But they just did a good job. I don't know.

John: There's not much more to do than that. We had written off PPC until we started working with them as an agency. But they did a great job. And yes, that's service killers. But the second thing. Is like, how do you reduce, and this is the thing I'm currently focused on with a fanatical.

John: It's my eyes are going to get crazy. I'm going to be like the guy that's like aliens.

Jack: I know what you're going to say.

John: How do you reduce your reliance on search? That is the literal only problem that I'm thinking about 24, seven a day, hours a day right now, like 24 seven, that's all I'm thinking on, that's all I'm focusing on.

John: Yeah. He's like, how do we like one, how do we dominate search? So when search does happen, we're going to win, I'm going to be top on LSAs. I'm going to be top on MatPack. I'm going to be top on SEO. And we are currently top on all that stuff because we figured it out. But when there is no demand or if leads are too expensive, how do I farm my own shit?

John: The way we did it when launching a new service, which this is so stupid, it's always like the dumbest thing. Oh my God, why didn't we just think of that? Is we literally just told every customer that called in, Hey, we launched electrical. Do you want 25 bucks off to try it? And that is how we went from three technicians to eight in a month.

Jack: I was just going to say, so that's another thing that we're doing is we changed script on our HVAC lead. So we're going into a heating season. So on every single heating call, we have our techs asking. Hey, we're doing water heaters. How's your water heater? Do you want us to give you a free inspection and really, there's not really much on inspection of a water heater but you're not

John: doing it through call center.

Jack: No, not yet, but that's a great idea. We might need to do it through call center as well. Just that's how

John: you control it.

Jack: Yeah. Complete update. And so we,

John: we call it weaponizing our call center. So basically the idea is our call center, they like, they sell our memberships. And they sell promos and the promos are exactly this Hey, here's something that we need to drive more consistently.

John: And if you make it a part of your call center script, you can hold them accountable. You can make sure it happens. It can be coachable. You cannot do the same for your techs. You hope they do it, but they're very likely not.

Jack: Our tech team's a lot smaller, so it's much managed easily, more easily manageable.

Jack: But I can, it's not scalable, right? So when you have three, four texts, yeah, you can make sure that all of them are asking, cause if they're not getting leads and they're not asking, but as you go to, your size, 10, 20, 50 texts. There's no way to manage that call center. At least you record everything.

Jack: So is that how you, I

John: feel like you should just be building for what it's going to be in a couple of years.

Jack: That's what I was going to say is I think that's a great idea is moving it to the call center and focusing it that way versus actually having the tech. Yeah. I have to remember one more script.

Jack: Cause you, like we said, we want to be less a generalist and more of a, killer on HVAC.

John: Yeah. I think call center in general is like a hugely. And we're not there. I'm not saying this from like my soapbox. This is a big project of ours right now. Like we're going from eight people to 30 in our call center right now.

John: And we're figuring it the hell out.

Jack: Yeah. I listened to you guys when you're talking about moving membership sales to the call center. Yeah. We've seen a huge membership in spite.

John: Absolutely ridiculous. We

Jack: have the three of a single or the, or call centers is one lady. And while she's doing that, she's started selling 10 memberships a day.

Jack: I'm going to go, I'm just like, we've never had 10 memberships a day and she's selling 10 memberships. I know. I know. If you extrapolate out, you know, it's ridiculous the amount that she's closing. Oh yeah. Her close rate is like 80%, 90 percent of memberships. That's

John: incredible. Like that's incredible.

John: Like company wide, we sell like 20 to 22. So 10 incredible. Yeah, she's been doing great. Yeah, you should be pumped up about that. But yeah, like in my mind, whatever you can put through your call center, you should put through your call center. And it's going to increase average call time by quite a bit.

John: Maybe average call time goes from 3 to 6 minutes. With what ours did. It's 5 ish. But But you can monitor it, you can work, you can listen to it, you can make sure it's happening, you can be there in the room to coach on it, and you can just, it is a much more scalable way to introduce it, and you know you hit every single customer, like every single person heard about your new plumbing division and in that moment, In a very easy conversation, they're already talking to the person booking their HVAC appointment.

John: So it's let's just book a second one.

Jack: Yeah, and say, do you also want somebody to come out and take a look at your water heater? We're offering a discount on that for free or whatever it is.

John: And then change your memberships, like add plumbing.

Jack: Yeah, that's what we did. We added plumbing to the membership and we've already had 30 people sign up for it.

Jack: So that's been a big one this week.

John: And what's your total membership size?

Jack: We're at 500 and something, 550, but we're changing the way we do it. So we used to do, they buy a year, the old owner of Rapid would sell three years and four year memberships. I bet.

John: Yeah.

Jack: So we've changed. We've changed it all around since then, and now we're moving month to month and adding that plumbing is an extra 4.

Jack: So it's at that point you're like four bucks a month, I'm in, it's not bad at all.

John: Memberships ended up being a huge thing for our electric division. Because they came in with 1, 500 active customers that we could just go visit. So like we are still using that to fill in demand. Like every day, maybe one fifth of the board is workers.

John: What

Jack: is, so there's a company here that, an electrical company here that does the electrical maintenances. What is that? The walk through? Yeah, what do they do? They check outlets?

John: What do they do? So the electrical walkthrough is actually interesting. From

Jack: From what? Is it a thermal camera?

Jack: Do they thermal camera the panels and everything?

John: No, that would be interesting though. But Like it's basically a safety check. So they walk and they test every single outlet in the home. Like one of the most dangerous things in your electrical system is a non functioning outlet, right? So they check every outlet.

John: They're popping open covers. They're making sure that everything like works the way it should. They're checking your carbon monoxide detectors. You're changing out batteries in the fire detectors. So there's a lot, honestly, the electrical inspections, I did not go into this knowing this. Our average HVAC inspection, 45 minutes.

John: Average plumbing inspection, 45 minutes. Average electrical inspection, 2 hours.

Jack: Yeah, like we're checking every outlet. Holy cow. They

John: literally check, that is a safety inspection. They check every outlet in the home. They check every switch to make sure it's working. They're looking at junction boxes.

John: They're looking at everything in the house to make sure that house is safe.

Jack: You should look into that thermal camera. Thermal imaging cameras of the main Breaker panel. So we used to do it all the time when we would do, when I was working at facilities maintenance. So when you have, big MCCs or large high voltage equipment, what they would do is they'd come through and they'd take actually thermal image of the box, right?

Jack: And when you have a loose wire or something in there, that's rattling and burning stuff up, it'll get really hot. And so you can actually see where your loose connections are inside a breaker panel without actually having to open it up. That is interesting. And so I could see that driving the next step, which would be, uncertain older units and older houses with bad wiring.

Jack: That's a replacement opportunity.

John: Yeah, this is interesting.

Jack: I don't know. I'm not electric guy.

John: Yeah. Yeah. Electric ended up being interesting because the inspections are, I'm like slacking this to my team right now. So the The inspections ended up being, like, so long, but to me, genuinely, it is a, it's a value builder it is good.

John: In a house that has knob and tube still, so I'm genuinely concerned about my electrical system. It's a hundred year old house. Yeah, for sure, crack every box open. I want to know. Whereas like plumbing Hey, if there's water somewhere, it shouldn't be like, you'll I'll call you, right?

John: You'll see it like, I don't know what's going on with my electric. You don't know until there's a fire. It, it ended up being interesting. Now you do end up with, I think it has a higher conversion rate, but it's because you're like, Hey, this outlet doesn't work, like we should do something about it.

John: So you do end up with a higher conversion rate into work. So it's a value builder for the company. It's a value builder for the customer.

Jack: Yeah, like I said, I've always been curious at what they actually do in those inspections. It's really interesting.

John: Plumbing should be more than the water heater flush.

John: Like

Jack: plumbing should

John: be a little bit of a, here's how you shut the gas off to your water heater. Here's how you shut the gas off to your house. Here's how you shut the water off. It should be an intro to their home. Are you doing a pressure test for water? Do they have high pressure? Do they have low pressure?

John: What can they do about it? So there should be like, we have a 99 point. Checklists for our plumbing walkthroughs. So it's not like water heater flush is certainly a part of it, there's 98 other things.

Jack: So we have water heater flush so far water quality checks. We bought a bunch of meters for water quality checking.

Jack: Yep. Pressure checking and then leak checking. So essentially the same thing on the, with the plugs are going around every toilet, every sink in the house, making sure that they're not leaking under, over but it'd be interesting to, to break that down into a checklist.

John: Yeah, every part of the house, like what's up with the kitchen?

John: Does the disposer work? Does the dishwasher drain right? How does it, what's the integrity of the line to the fridge? Like you want to know the most common insurance claim on a house? Water lines to fridges.

Jack: Oh yeah, they get brittle and crack real easy.

John: All the time. What's that look like? Is it safe?

John: Is it the stainless steel corded or is it copper that can literally be punctured by you shifting the fridge? Or is it the plastic that's going to get brittle, right? Yep. Yep. Yeah, that's a good way to wipe out a 100, 000 kitchen. It doesn't take much to do a hundred grand in a kitchen anymore, which is crazy.

Jack: But yeah, you just ship them over to your remediation company at that. I

John: mean, we do yeah, like that's why it's there

Jack: 100%. I love that. Speaking of, how to drive traffic and demand. I love that the continuity between the businesses.

John: Yeah, it's good. But like the problem is it's good.

John: Don't get me wrong, it's good. And one, I feel like we genuinely provide a good experience to our customers. Hey, you're probably having a really tough day. You have a foot of water in your basement. We can get it out, and we can clean. That's valuable for that customer to just handle that in one spot.

John: So I feel like we're doing right by our customer. From our perspective, it's paid for by insurance and the average ticket's four grand. So it's a good for our business. So it turns a it's a basically, it turns a low priority, low job ticket. Hey, the likelihood of that job is gonna be like four or five hundred bucks.

John: And turns it into five grand. It's good for the business. But yeah, it's a win. But the downside is, so there's two different ways to launch a new business or a new service. You either launch it off your P& L, which is I have this line item. The best example is this agency. Like I have this line item and I need to turn it into something different.

John: So we're going to do this agency or we're going to outsource our accounting and we're going to let people use our accounting team or, I don't know. Like you take a section of your P& L, you launch a business off, right? The other is we have this thing and we're going to launch off the opportunity. So in this case it was, we have leads, most of the things that we have launched have been based off of leads.

John: Like we have plumbers with water damage, that's leads, that's worth a lot of money and we think that we can launch something off of that. Keep it, keep a team busy from You know, three, four leads a week. So it was good. The problem was it only scales when your core business scales. So it makes it very dependent on your core business.

John: So if the core business is slow, this thing's slow, which sucks. And lead flow outside of that is really tough. We're just cracking the code on that. But it was a hard, it's been a hard business for us all the way up until this year. We finally dialed in lead flow after two and a half years, like sales were like 20 grand a month.

John: Now they're 60 to 80. We dialed in lead flow and we're adding PPC because LSAs, we're just not there yet. We don't have enough reviews to drive LSAs. It's a very project based business. It's a tough business. So nowhere near as many reviews are other businesses. So PPC is becoming the thing where like the average project, if you get it for 5, 000, so you can spend 200 bucks on a lead through pay per click so that's been a big unlock that just came online in the past few weeks.

John: So now we're getting ready for that business to ramp because we finally taken. Lead flow outside of just our own internal lead flow.

Jack: That makes sense. And external lead flow being able to market is a much quicker growth method than internal trying to grow one business to make the other business grow in certain instances.

Jack: Yeah.

John: Now we have them. It's not very complicated. Tick

Jack: tock.

John: Made a huge, yeah. Barely ticked. Yeah. Hey, you got water? Hey, is your house ruined? Give us a call. It is crazy, dude. There's some of the, mold turned out to be a whole thing. I had no idea. I had no idea. We're doing 10, 000 mold jobs every week.

John: Like, why is there so much mold? What is, what's the deal? What's with all the mold? I have no idea. Like insurance declines it because it's been moldy for too long. So like people are out of pocketing 10 grand. I'm like, that's a heating system.

Jack: That is insane. Yeah. Not to mention though, it's talk about what's your own choice.

Jack: You're going to live in a house full of mold, right?

John: Yeah, it's not great. Then you have to remediate, right? So it doesn't have to grow back. Yeah. It's a really wild business, but yeah, so all that to say, the two things I learned, PPC is not dead, use your call center as a real resource and it's the call center, like PPC is great, but it's the call center that's you get to double dip, right?

John: Hey, LSAs work so great on your HVAC business or whatever advertising funnel is filling your HVAC bucket. Your cost per lead just got cut in half because you're now taking that 50 lead you got from HVAC and you're getting a plumbing lead on top of it. So that's been the big, that's been a huge win for us is the promo through call center.

Jack: That's great advice. Definitely then outbounding. That's definitely

John: are you doing outbounding at all yet?

Jack: No, we don't. We just don't have the call center size to start outbounding. What is your out, it's time, bro. What's your outbounding look like? What's your focus? Where are you going to, can you that secret sauce?

John: No, this one's not even that secret. So like outbound we're building an inside sales team. I almost said inside outside, but inside sales team we just brought our first hire on board. It's the same thing. We're launching a new department. So we really care about who the first hire is.

John: They really have to understand the metrics. She's going to help us drive the bus. She's going to help us figure this out. And she has to be a killer to boot. Cause this has to work and she's going to be the first one. So we care a lot about that first hire. So she just came online and Monday. What list are you outbounding to?

John: We have a hundred thousand people in our service Titan. So

Jack: Okay, so you're not outbounding in the sense of you're not going towards, random companies. You're not calling the phone book. No. You're These are warm leads. Yeah. These people have engaged with us

John: in the past. So what we're doing, I am attempting to kill our reliance on search.

John: I want to because the problem is, and you know this from HVAC, It's Hey, search is really great when there's search, the problem is when you get big and you need a thousand leads a week or whatever the hell we need and there's no search volume. Like one, if there is search, you have to dominate it and you have to be on top.

John: Like you got or as close as you can get. So we dominated all of our current searches. So like we're top three on absolutely everything. But then we also, when there is no search, which for us, like demand in February, March, like no one's looking for us. So we are building out a team and a whole series of processes to make that be okay.

Jack: And I know it's possible. I saw Rich's numbers on his search time across the board. For anyone who can't see us right now Rich Jordan has done an amazing job over there where every single month over month, they looked almost identical. So his June and July numbers were the same as his January, February numbers, which is And in HVAC is absolutely wild.

Jack: It is wild.

John: Yeah. He did that with like very strategic club scheduling, which we're doing now. And he did that with an inside sales team. So he has two people on his inside sales team. We're, we expect to have, I think I said this, I think earlier, but we're expecting to have six to 10.

John: So two different roles, four of them are going to be one role. Two of them are going to be another like basically the four are going to be reactivation. And then the other two are going to be unsold estimates and happy calls. But that is its own like department within our business now. And we're expecting.

John: month in revenue from it.

Jack: Yeah. Those happy calls to our great opportunity to sell some more and, or get people in their memberships that were missed or anything like that. I think it's a great idea. What's your view on branding? For example, Rich Jordan or not rich excuse me, Hawthorne's did the whole post on.

John: Yeah. Why they did the Cardinals.

Jack: Yep.

John: Yep. I've. Chris is obviously smarter and more successful than I am, but like we, we have been roughly saying the same thing since I got on Twitter. So I think that people have an over reliance on search and I've talked to people and they're just like, dude, just put more on Google.

John: And I'm like a hundred percent. That is usually the right answer, but it should never be a hundred percent of Google, like it should never, that should never be a hundred percent of your budget because Like I have a thread from literally 2021 where I say the same thing where it's look, if you are, if a hundred percent of your spend goes towards Google, then you are corn or milk or eggs, your commodity, you're literally anybody else.

John: And the only thing that's a differentiator is your reviews. And that matters. Don't get me wrong. That's a big deal. But it's not the only thing. So what you want is you want people looking for you direct, because what happens is your gross margin goes up because they're less price sensitive customers.

John: They are seeking out you to work with you. So they're not shopping the, or these are like they've, Like choosy buyers that and marketing spend goes way down. Yeah, like everyone says, spend up to 10%. Guess what guys, 20 million company. We spend four Chris is 120 million company. He spends five.

John: And what I do with that extra budget is you build inside sales teams to do the same thing. Yeah. So it's, so yeah, huge proponent. Like branding, I think is really important. You want people searching for you direct your gross margin goes up. Revenue goes up and cost per lead goes down.

Jack: What's your feeling on the split, right?

Jack: Cause at some point especially when you're smaller there's an issue with branding work because branding work doesn't drive sales always. And we're trying to look at of that 10 percent cause we're actually, I think we're like eight or nine right now, really trying to grow.

Jack: I think we spend 1 percent on branding work.

John: Yeah, I think it should be like I don't think that you should be thinking about brand yet.

Jack: Plus we're going to kill our brand. So we stopped doing that. There's a chance we verge into somebody bigger.

John: That, that's definitely a part of it.

John: I think Like you're nothing really good happens until you hit like five, five million good stuff starts happening, but 10 is where really interesting stuff starts happening. Like you can start building marketing teams. You can start just doing more. I do

Jack: think brand gets like when I'm thinking of companies in our area brand is established prior to that brand though is probably established at that five, five mark, and then you really should start investing 10.

Jack: Yeah, that would make sense. Thanks. Yeah. Cause some of the branding companies in our area or some of the companies that have decent branding are there seven, 8 million companies there. People know the name, it sits well but really ramping that up as it moves through with the billboards and things like that stadium and the one that I saw the other day that does really well, surprisingly is yard signs.

John: Yeah, sure. I think there's a bunch of stuff that's like we're about to start up door knocking.

Jack: I was wondering if you're going to talk about that. I'm itching to hear what happens with that. Cause I'm, I will go door knocking if it works. It's real to me, to

John: me, like this is real. It's all what's the cost per lead.

John: So if our inside sales cost per lead is 19, which is roughly what I think it's going to be. Like I'm going to do that all day long. If door knocking is 15, I'm going to do that all day long. Cause I'm just comparing against search, which is 60 or 80. I think the downside of search is like you, you hit a point rapidly where in order to consume more eyeballs on search, whether PPC or LSAs is all you're doing is increasing budget.

John: Like the more money you throw at it, the more money gets wasted, like the less efficient you get with your search. So like PPC, that's how you end up with that thousand dollar channel. And Google won't shut you down.

Jack: We learned the hard way. Yeah, that happened to

John: you. Yeah.

Jack: Yeah. I lost all of July. We still had our best month on to date, but we lost all search in July.

Jack: Why'd you

John: get locked out?

Jack: So we got locked out because I didn't realize the old owner, his name and email address was still on the account. He started up another company down in Florida, used that same email address, it showed up as a suspicious thing. It locked us out for a month. Yeah, that sucks. Yeah, a hundred, a couple hundred thousand dollars probably even lost, which I mean, for us is a big deal, right?

Jack: That's a

John: big deal for anybody. That's a ton of money. Yeah, it's a big deal for anybody. Yeah. I don't like that. And I also think like the companies, when I look at the giants they're literally so big that search cannot fulfill all of their needs. Like they just can't like, there's not enough search.

John: Out there, but you'd have to have, 150 percent of search. So one, it gets way less efficient, the bigger your budget gets. And two, there's just not enough to keep you fed, especially during slow seasons. Yeah. So you have to build this internal capacity to drive leads, even when there is no outside leads.

John: So we're lucky because we have a hundred thousand customers, but rich is doing the same thing and he has seven. And he has two of these people. So when we're looking at our customer base at a hundred, we're like, okay, this might be a 15 person team within a year. Because there, we have enough people that our bigger issue is going to be recruitment.

John: Cause I can hire inside salespeople all day long, but can we keep up on the field side in order to run the calls that we drive?

Jack: And how many touches on a customer, right? So a hundred thousand, it's going to be. What's your expectation on how many times those customers are supposed to get called or touched by your inside sales team per year?

Jack: Is it even, do you have a metric on that yet that you're shooting for four touches per year for calls per year

John: for of that touch? Yes, there's a few other touches too, but yeah, four, this is something that we're in. We're in early stages. So while we're designing that, we're also designing like 10 other things that looks similar because we're really like fanatically chasing this down because we're concerned that there's, if there's a drop in consumer demand in search drops, I'm going to be just fine.

John: And when search inevitably drops in February, like it always does. I want to have a record February. So we're chasing this down pretty hard. We're driving new email campaigns. We're driving SMS campaigns, new postcard campaigns. We're adding door knocking. We're adding the inside sales team.

John: We're rapidly building out infrastructure to basically create our own marketing engine as fast as we can.

Jack: Getting as many people under email or phone or customer list as possible, and then you can drive with internally within that. It's a great strategy.

John: So there's a couple people whose whole job now is to just increase the surface area of the top of our funnel.

John: Does that look like branding? Does that look like door knocking? What like anything. Could be search. Like, how do we get more contacts into our funnel? Can we have 125, 000 contacts by the end of December? To anyone that's ever interacted with our brand in any way ever is now inside our funnel.

John: We're going to chase them down. We're going to retarget the heck out of them. We're going to run them through drips. We're going to run them through SMS. We're going to do postcard campaigns. We're also going to do phone calls. Love it. It's a machine. So we went from zero people on that team to 11 in our marketing team in four weeks.

John: Yeah. And then that's not even talking about the inside sales team that we're also actively building.

Jack: Wow. That's crazy, dude. Yeah. That's a huge jump.

John: Yeah. Yeah. So like that whole team will have roughly 30 people, like the inside sales and the marketing team by the end of the year.

Jack: Incredible. But we're replacing search.

Jack: It's going to be great. I'm excited to see how it goes and follow along and definitely. I'm pumped for money.

John: We've got to dive into it.

Jack: All right. I want

John: to hear I want numbers next week, dude.

Jack: Numbers. I'll be like,

John: here's what happened.

Jack: Here's what happened. Jack thought he could do all this stuff and really there's no, no dreams for Jack.

Jack: So yeah. We'll see. I'll give you numbers next week. It'll be exciting. Yeah. I'm really excited. I'm going to start outbounding plumbing now to everyone who's going to call and say, Hey, we did plumbing yeah, Hey cool.

John: All right. Awesome. Great episode. Yeah. Thanks for joining us again on Owned and Operated.

John: This was fun. Tune in next week. Thanks for tuning in to owned and operated the podcast for home service entrepreneurs. If you enjoyed today's episode, please hit the like button and subscribe to them. If you have any questions or topics you'd like us to cover, feel free to reach out. You can find me on Twitter at Wilson companies.

John: I'll see you next time.

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