WEBSITE: service auto pilot

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by jbell36, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,391

    Unless they're "design only", I would caution against hiring someone who works with the competition (and if they have any integrity, they wouldn't take you on as a client). There is only one #1 rank for any given keyword. I say this quite often: You can't have one football coach coaching both teams.
     
  2. CutAboveGA

    CutAboveGA LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Ouch - good call. I didn't think of that, although we do service different areas. Thanks for the feedback!
     
  3. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,706

    Websites are crucial to success today. In the past, owners regarded them as an online business card or brochure. Today they need to be a lead generating machine. To be such, content of the right kind is king.

    Although pricey by some young or small entrepreneurs standards, a company called Hubspot has helped us this year. I've had a website for years, revamped a couple times, and it worked. Sort of. November of 2012 I learned of a company called Hubspot via an article about an Ohio lawn care company in a national magazine. Hubspot is really is an advanced tool for building an maintaining a site.

    Hubspot is all about what is called inbound marketing. Creating content to rank well, get a viewers interest, and lead them down the marketing funnel. I invested several thousand $ having them convert and host my site this year, plus a few more dollars on professional services with a Hubspot partner, and a ton of my own hours. It has paid off with economical leads that have made good clients.

    One thing all entrepreneurs should realize is that you continually need to grow. Reaching a desired size is not enough, because if you don't grow, some one else with energy and vision will overtake you, making you less significant or relevant.
     
  4. Jobber

    Jobber Sponsor
    Posts: 338

    This is a great topic, which I have a couple of thoughts on:

    1. Marketing your business online is really important, even for local service based businesses, and there are several different ways you should be doing it. I'll stick to points relevant to websites since that's the topic here, but wanted to also point out this blog post about marketing these kinds of businesses online.

    2. There are hundreds of options for getting a website in place for your business, and if you're not familiar with the territory it can be a little daunting. Don't let it intimidate you - just keep this golden rule in mind: Go cheap, or go expensive; forget the middle ground.

      The most important purpose of your website is to make it easy for your customers to find and contact you. A very cheap Do-it-Yourself website can accomplish this just fine without wasting tons of time and thousands of dollars dealing with a small web design firm or freelancer. Someone mentioned Wix further up in the thread which is a great cheap route to go - we actually have a post on how to build a Wix website on our blog, and Wix itself has some great material to help you get started.

      Hubspot was also mentioned above, and this is an example of the "Go Expensive" route. Hubspot, and other full-service inbound marketing companies are very expensive, but provide an end-to-end lead generation engine. If you have the resources and are looking to aggressively grow your business then this can be a great way to go.

    3. Once you have a website, no matter where it's hosted, make sure you're collecting leads from it, and are making it easy for your potential customers to request your service. If you're not doing this you're wasting a big opportunity. Landing on a website to get a phone a number that might just get you a voicemail is a lot less appealing to most people these days than a form that just asks for their contact info and the service they're interested in. You're a lot more likely to get inbound service requests with a web form than a phone number. You can do this using something as simple as Google Docs, or if you're using something like Jobber to manage scheduling and invoicing you can connect your website directly to Jobber. Here's another blog post on how you can do that with a Wix page.

    I think the key thing to remember, which is true of a lot of business decisions, is to keep it simple. Don't drive yourself crazy and spend a ton of money trying to build the biggest fanciest website. All you need is an eye catching photo of some sort, a description of your services, and a way to contact you. Once you have that, you can focus on making improvements that drive real value for your business, like a lead generation form, content syndication for SEO optimization and more.

    Hope that's helpful!

    Cheers,
    Sam
     
  5. ltomkins

    ltomkins LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    How do you ServiceAutopilot guys generate payroll since that module is not yet complete?
     
  6. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,706

    We still use a time clock with cards and Intuit payroll in Quick Books. I use their assisted payroll where I put i hours and print checks, they do all the filing. Not cheap, but hassle free and no more filing mistakes that cost me money.
     
  7. B-Mark

    B-Mark LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    No one has posted anything about this topic in over a year. Any current thoughts on it, or any better Service providers? Surely there is more to be discussed on improvements made in a year.

    I used a different type of online service until just over a year ago and when I discontinued the service I lost all of the contacts and current jobs in their system and the website they built for me.

    So, If you discontinue a cloud-based monthly service, like SAP, wouldn't you lose all of your information and database you built in the service when quit the service?
     
  8. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,515

    If you sync with QB. your customers info and invoice history would be intact.
     
  9. kemco

    kemco LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 714

    Not sure about any others but with SAP you can at anytime download your entire database in excel. I usually use my own excel db to import for client mailings using word rather than using SAP built in import function just because I'm used to doing it that way so i know you can save your own database. Ive also used their 29 website for years and have generated many leads fro it that import automatically into thw SAP system. But im in the process of building a new site on my own using a wordpress theme. Ill still use the SAP integrated lead for as it doesnt have to be used only on a SAP websitw.


    y
     

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