Being Available For Customers: Why You Need to Answer Calls 24/7
Every water damage contractor wants the most lucrative jobs possible, but sometimes those jobs will come during off-hours. If you don’t have a process for answering calls around the clock, you are definitely missing out on great opportunities to land big water damage jobs. Customers that call after normal business hours are more likely to need immediate service. This also means they are more likely to hire the first company that responds to their call. Learn how to get more high-value water damage jobs by answering calls outside of normal business hours.
4 Reasons Why You Need to Answer Calls Around the Clock
- You Provide Disaster Response Services – The number 1 reason to take calls 24 hours a day is that you help customers with disasters. Cleaning up flood or water damage comes with the territory.
- Some of the Best Jobs Come During Off-Hours – Perhaps just a little less important is that most calls that come in during off-hours are from customers with significant water damage.
- Customers Are More Likely to Hire You – In an emergency or disaster situation, customers are more likely to hire the first contractor that can arrive and address their problem.
- Customers Will Keep Calling Until They Find a Contractor – If you don’t answer their call, it’s unlikely that they will leave a voicemail and wait for you to call back. If they are calling during off-hours, they will likely keep calling other water damage companies until someone answers.
Landing a Six-Figure Job: A Cast Study in Answering Calls After Hours
One of our water damage contractors got a call from a customer the day before New Year’s Eve. The customer had a huge party planned for the following evening and desperately needed help drying out their flooded finished basement.
Although they had an appointment book with another company for the following day, they kept making calls. Our partner agreed to come out that evening for an estimate. They were able to get a signed order work and began removing the water.
After setting up their equipment, they went home for the night. He returned the next morning to check on the status of the job when the other contractor arrived for his scheduled appointment.
They knew each other and the contractor who went out at night explained the situation. The other contractor lost out on a job that ended up coming in at over $100,000 all because he wasn’t willing to come out during the night.
Obviously, the size of this job and the situation are uncommon, the principal remains. If you can respond when a customer is in need, you are likely to land the job. Not every late-night job will be six-figures, but you won’t know if you don’t answer the call.
The Best Times to Land Big Water Damage Jobs
We listen to thousands of water damage leads every week and we’ve tracked the best times to land big water damage jobs. While the volume of these leads might be lower than during the day, they are more likely to be emergencies. If you aren’t available to answer calls at these times, you are likely to lose out on a really good water damage job.
Calls that come in during early morning hours are routinely some of the highest value jobs. Between the hours of 4 am and 7 am, we see a large number of calls from homeowners that woke up to a water problem that occurred overnight. Building managers are often arriving at commercial and industrial facilities between 5 am and 6 am. These commercial jobs are often large loss insurance jobs that limit your risk.
Many customers assume that calling on the weekend will cost more. So customers that do call are more likely to have an emergency. They usually hire the first company that can get to their property. Although there isn’t a consistent window of time that produces a higher volume of calls, these are usually slightly more calls on Saturdays than Sundays.
During Severe Weather Events
This should go without saying, but the volume of emergency water damage calls goes up during and shortly after any severe weather event. This is especially true in areas prone to groundwater flooding or where storm sewers are known for failing. If you cover an area that has flood issues, staff your crews accordingly during these times. You can also maximize your leads by talking to other homeowners in that neighborhood.
As with early morning calls, there is usually a higher volume of calls during the early evening. Most homeowners get home from work between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm. If there is water damage when they get home, they are likely to make a call within 30 minutes.
Overnight calls are often unpredictable, but they are also the most lucrative. The peak window for overnight calls are usually between 11 pm and 1 am, but that’s only a rough average. Disasters can strike at any time and customers are more likely to seek help during the middle of the night than they are at other times.
6 Steps to Get More Water Damage Jobs Without Working Through The Night
Customers that call about water damage overnight or during off-hours are looking for immediate service. However, there are plenty of ways that you can manage those jobs without needing to work through the night or around the clock. These 6 steps will help you get those jobs without needing to work 24-hours a day.
- Answer Their Call – You can’t land the job if you don’t answer the phone. Even if you’re waking up in the middle of the night to grab the call, be as professional as possible and remember that this is a stressful situation for your customer.
- Provide the Estimate – Once they agree to have you out, get there as quickly as possible to provide an estimate on clean up and repairs. Offer emergency services once you arrive, but be prepared to write up a detailed estimate as well.
- Have the Customer Sign the Work Order – As soon as possible, get the customer to sign a work order or agree to a verbal contractor for emergency services.
- Extract Standing Water and Sewage – Remove as much standing water and sewage as possible.
- Setup Airmovers and Dehumidifiers – As soon as the water is gone, set up your drying equipment.
- Come Back the Next Day to Finish the Job – Your customer is likely just as eager to get back to bed as you are, so agree on a time that you can return tomorrow to reassess the situation and continue work.
This procedure is especially effective at getting off-hours water damage jobs when you are an owner-operator with one truck, but it can work for any company. The goal is to get the signed work order and address urgent issues, while still leaving the bulk of the work for the next day or subsequent days. Plus, dry out is likely to take several hours or days anyway, so you might as well get some sleep for some of that time.
What to Do If You Miss a Water Damage Call After Hours
A customer in an emergency will keep calling companies until someone answers their call. In some cases, they may even keep calling until a water damage company arrives at their door. If you miss a call, you need to call that customer make immediately. If they don’t answer or you get a busy signal, avoid leaving a voicemail. Instead, keep calling back until you speak to them directly.
Once they answer, apologize for missing their call and offer to come out. If they say they already have another company on the way, ask them where they are and tell them how quickly you could be there to assist. Never make unrealistic promises, but try to beat your competitor’s arrival time whenever possible. Depending on the situation, it might be worth trying to get to the job first.
How to Staff Your Crews to Take Water Damage Calls Around the Clock
Landing as many big water damage jobs as possible is about staffing your crews when they can make the biggest impact.
For Companies With Multiple Crews
If you have multiple crews or trucks, work with your team to maximize your coverage. Have on crew cover the early shift and another cover the late shift. The more crews you have, the easier it is to cover the entire day. You should also have a procedure for calling additional crews in during severe weather.
For Companies With Two or Three Crews
With two or three trucks, the best strategy to get as many off-hour calls as possible is to have someone cover an emergency phone. This allows you to keep most of your team staffed during the day while still getting those lucrative emergency jobs. Try to be as flexible as possible with employees to ensure everyone can maintain an equal work-life balance.
For Owner-Operator Companies with a Single Crew
Providing round the clock coverage when you’re both the owner and operator of a single crew or truck is difficult but still possible. Start by trying to juggle your schedule so that you can target those higher volume times like early mornings and early evenings. Nap during the afternoon when call volumes are traditionally lower and less urgent. If possible sleep with an emergency phone, especially if severe weather is in the forecast.
Get More High-Value Water Damage Jobs
If you’re looking for more water damage jobs, we provide high-quality water damage leads at a flat-rate. Each lead is sent exclusively to one contractor, giving you the best opportunity to land the job. You only pay for valid leads from the homeowner or decision-marker and never pay for fraud or spam calls. Schedule a 5-minute call now to learn more about getting more water damage jobs today.