I recently had a post about work worth losing. This is the other side of the coin: big customers worth seeking out.
Is your business seeking out the bigger customers? If not, it might be time to! Let me define “big” customers first. Those are the ones that have tens, hundreds, or even thousands of backflow devices to be tested yearly. Some examples of bigger customers include property management companies, home owner associations, large stores chains, or even military bases. From hospitals to jails, anything that might need a backflow preventer needs to have a backflow testing company to test them. It can be easy to think about the individual irrigation tests, but big customers are the game changers for a small business. Why? Several reasons. First, Expectations are clear, with quotes prepared beforehand, and estimates of repairs often presented before any backflow testing. Big customers are, without a doubt, repeat customers. Repeat customers can make (or break!) a business: small or large.
Benefits of Big Customers
I’ve mentioned a couple benefits of getting those larger customers. But let’s get to know some of the others.
- Travel time can be reduced. If you’re testing a large hospital, for example, you’re not driving across town throughout the day, but instead working in one area. This goes for HOAs as well since homes are side-by-side.
- Invoices get paid in a timely fashion.
- Big customers aren’t easily lost.
When you test an individual sprinkler of a home owner, it can be difficult for them to want to pay a high bill to repair their backflow prevention device. When working with large corporations, hospitals, jails, property managers, and the like, there’s no issue with not paying the bill. They recognize they have to pay it – so they do! Even better, many big customers require a contract and estimates, so there’s no shock value when they receive their invoice.
When you gain a big customer, you won’t likely be losing them anytime soon for a couple of reasons. One, if it’s taken care of, the customer has no reason to seek out another tester – especially if things are done in a timely manner. They are unlikely to seek a “lower” price if the work done is sufficient. A small discount typically isn’t enough for them to be swayed from someone they trust to test all their devices, and there is a lot more set-up involved in having these customers. Second, a company with a contract isn’t likely to forget who tested their devices last year!(This is a little different than a individual customer who might forget who they used to have their backflow tested since they contact them once a year.)
How to get them
Okay, sure, that’s all well and good… but how do I get those clients? This might be obvious but seek them out. The individual customer might be hitting you up via your customer portal, but that’s not how you’re going to get customers that need tens, hundreds, or thousands of devices tested. There’s a few ways to find and contact these customers.
Call up local property managers in your area before the annual water purveyor notices go out. Ideally, seek them out several months ahead of time so you have time to migrate all their data into your system before needing to test them. Be prepared with a quote depending on the number of devices and size of device, as well as have a quote ready for hourly repair work. (Just because it’s a big customer does not mean you should undercharge.)
Search for Backflow Testing Request for Proposals in your area This is an ideal way to find large swatches of backflow devices that need to be tested. Just by googling “RFP Backflow” you’ll be able to find some opportunities. You’ll need to fill out the application to be submitted with the RFP, but it can be well worth your time.
I got ’em! Now what?
First thing to do after landing a big contract is to get organized. Tally how many return customers you have from last year that you’ll need to test outside of the newest client you’ve landed, and decide early on if you’re going to need an additional backflow technician. Some districts and states require additional certifications to repair backflows on top of the regular cert to test the backflow, so weigh the pros and cons of hiring a technician that can also repair backflow devices.
Communicate with the customer. This can be when you send invoices, or when you test a certain number of devices, etc. Don’t leave them wondering if you’re testing their devices!
Be prompt. Nothing says unprofessional like being late. Perform those backflow prevention tests on time. If you commit to having them finished by a certain date and can’t make it, notify the customer BEFORE the due date. (Use common sense.)
Nothing makes managing big customers easier than C3.
If you’re looking for the reason to switch to C3 if you haven’t already, these big customers are a huge incentive. With C3, you can notify the customers of upcoming devices to be tested, automatically allow backflow test reports to be emailed to them as soon as they are submitted to the water purveyor, and invoice them directly from C3. We built C3 with the intent to make backflow testing easier, and we’re confident we can help you out with that. Give us a try – free for 30 days! See how we can help you win those big customers.