If I had to pick which business decisions have made the largest impact on my small business, Jill’s Office would certainly be in the top three. After you figure out your marketing and grow your business to a point, you are going to get a lot of phone calls from people in your area. So many in fact that it will keep you from actually working.
That is what happened to me, and Jill’s Office was the answer to my problems. For starters, Jill's Office is a receptionist business that can answer phone calls for you, and book clients. Here I am going to go over the whole process I went through and what happened once I finally decided to call Jill’s Office.
I am the type that will always work as hard as possible. When a part of my business is lacking, my first reaction is to work harder. The problem is, I only have so many hours in the day. I was getting so many phone calls that I could not keep up with the actual landscape work. Plus, my phone was ringing all the time, whether I was working or taking time off.
At that volume, it was just not possible to keep up. I was missing dozens of calls per day, and working during every waking moment. One day my business was crazy busy, I was stressed out, we had work going on at multiple job sites, we were booked out, and the phone was still ringing off the hook. Not to mention I was in the process of moving into a new house. That is when I finally took a step back and said “I have got to give Jill’s Office a try”.
Even if I wasn’t missing a host of calls every day, I was still answering dozens. I would get calls while I was on a job and that meant that I either had to stop working, or miss the call. That means I am shutting engines off and on, and just delaying the current project.
I would also get phone calls while I was talking to clients in person, which was just not a good time to take a phone call. Those calls could have been converted into jobs, but would you disrespect a current client to talk to a prospective client? No. So all the money I spent on marketing to get that call was a waste.
There was also the fact that I would get phone calls while I was on a ladder, or driving, or just at home with my wife. There was never a sacred time that I would not be working as a receptionist for potential clients. That honestly drove me a little crazy, and that freedom is worth hiring Jill’s Office alone.
The first thing that many people would think of is hiring someone to help out with phone calls. You hire guys to make a landscaping crew, what's the difference? Well, a full time receptionist would honestly be more work than it's worth. You will likely need to rent out an office space so you can give these people a place to work where you can also go and train or talk to them.
Another big flaw with this would be that once this person goes home for the day, they are not picking up the phone. Which again leaves you answering the phone at 7 PM while you are trying to have dinner on a weekday. Plus, they will likely not work weekends either.
You would have to put them on a full time payroll, which is going to be extremely expensive for a small business. Even if you just pay a receptionist $15/hour (which is on the low side) that is $31,200 over the span of a year at 40 hours a week. That kind of investment is not worth it for a small business that makes less than a couple hundred thousand dollars a year. Plus, if you are really pulling in the traffic, you will need multiple receptionists.
Meanwhile, Jill’s Office is a highly trained and US based group of receptionists that can handle many more phone calls than your marketing and mine combined can produce. Plus, you pay by the minute, so you are not paying for anything unless they are actually talking to a soon to be customer. Unlike a full time employee that you would have to pay eight hours a day regardless if they are talking to a customer, or playing on their phone.
With any small business, hiring someone to do something that you have turned into an art form can be tough. When a customer calls me, there is a lot that goes on before I close the job. Qualifying customers is extremely important, and it is not a trivial task. In a way, qualifying customers is an art. You have to be good at it if you want to close more quality jobs.
When you start using Jill’s office they give you a template to make a script out of and to add information to. This information is like a total guide to your business and the way you qualify clients. As long as you do a good job on your script and give them enough background information, they are going to be able to close the majority of jobs. After all, they are professionals.
When I first heard of Jill’s office, I thought that there was no way that I could use them because they would just not be as good at turning phone calls into jobs as I am. In reality, I might close a couple more jobs than them but that isn't the point. They still close the majority of the jobs that I feel like I could close and they free up a TON of my time.
Now I never miss a business phone call that could be turned into revenue, they have the capacity to answer every one. Even if they were 75% as effective as me at closing jobs, the fact that they can answer all the phone calls I miss (hundreds over the span of a month) they will still close more jobs than me. In the end it is well worth it.
I have got nothing but great feedback from my clients about “my” receptionist that they talked to on the phone. Since Jill’s Office answers the phone as your business, they say something like “Kalfas professional services, how can I help you?”. So the customer has no idea that I am outsourcing this, and it even makes me look like a larger company in their eyes.
After I got my script figured out and gave Jill’s Office all the background information they would need to qualify a customer, the jobs started to magically appear on my calendar. Not only can they handle the phone call, but once they book a job they also add it to my calendar, close certain types of jobs for me, and I am notified on their app when they book a job.
The jobs that they added to my calendar in the first two weeks brought in more than $2600. In the first two weeks! That is incredible. I went from scrambling to answer calls 24/7 even when I was on a job or at home, to never having to touch a phone if I didn't want to. I could just focus on the job at hand. Plus, having $1300 a week added to your calendar on autopilot is pretty nice huh? That number has only grown since then.
For a service business, you are usually exchanging your time for money. Most small business owners do not have the income to hire a whole team to do their work while they sit at home watching tv. Small businesses require a ton of work, and therefore time, if you want them to be successful.
I know this has happened to me, but do you ever just step back and say “man I wish I had more hours in the day to get this done”. Well outsourcing your calls is giving you exactly that. Time is the most valuable thing we have, and you can use it in a variety of ways.
For starters, you can just fill that time with more jobs. Then you are working the same amount, and making more money because you are able to get to more jobs in a day. You could also spend that time online and work on your marketing. I like to use my extra time at work to build things like this website, and article you are currently reading. The opportunities are endless, but more time for you leads to more money and in this case you also remove the stress of customer phone calls.
You could also use this saved time to just spend some time at home. If you are able to get through your jobs quicker, you can go home early if you choose to. Plus, while you are at home Jill’s Office is still picking up the phone and you are free to watch that movie with your family without thinking of work.
If I haven’t shown you just how valuable Jill’s Office is at this point, I think you should read this article again. In my opinion, any business that books clients like a landscaping business should have a team of dedicated receptionists. Jill’s Office offers just that. They are all highly trained and American receptionists that are going to make your customers happy. I would hire Jill’s Office 100 times over again. Plus, if you let the know that it was Keith Kalfas that sent you, you will even get a discount!