Are You Turning Away Calls? How to Stop Turning Away Viable Leads
As a business owner, you can choose to pass on jobs at your discretion. However, turning down too many jobs can negatively affect your business. Obviously, you don’t get paid when turning away calls, but it could also result in negative referrals, like “Don’t bother calling Rudy’s Restoration, he always passes on jobs.” If you’re using our lead generation system, you could be billed for turning away calls if they fit the right conditions.
Why You Should Avoid Turning Away Calls
Whether you’re a disaster mitigation, restoration, or home services contractor, your goal should always be providing your services to customers in need. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to predict when your phone will ring. For that reason, you should turn away the fewest number of jobs possible. Therefore, it’s important to capitalize on as many leads as possible.
If you’re one of our lead generation partners, you will be billed if you turn away viable leads. This includes leads that ring directly to you as well as ones sent to you from our call center. If you have questions about billable leads or how our call center works, contact your account manager.
Common Reasons Contractors Turn Down Jobs
Size of the Job
You should think twice about turning down the job if you haven’t seen the situation first hand. Damage is subjective and not every customer will evaluate a situation the same way. One person may consider it a major flood, while another considers it a little water in their basement.
Don’t let a large job scare you off until you’ve seen the damage in person. If you get there and find out the job is much larger than you anticipated, you still have alternatives to turning down the job. You could always rent extra equipment or hire a day worker to pick up the slack.
When it comes to small jobs, think of them as networking. By providing quality customer service, you can get reviews and referrals that may turn into future jobs.
Sometimes contractors will turn down jobs if the homeowner or property manager hasn’t contacted their insurance agent first. While there is a small chance they will call you back afterward filing their claim, it’s more likely they will call someone else.
An alternative to turning away calls is to offer to call their insurance agent together. Let them know that you wouldn’t want them to say the wrong thing and end up having your insurance not cover the damage.
Some contractors will also turn away calls when the homeowner doesn’t have insurance. If you are concerned about payment, it’s better to just talk to the customer about it than passing entirely.
You may be able to reach an agreement with them that fixes their problem while ensuring you still get paid. Plus you never know, the customer might be able to pay in full out of pocket. Some of our contractors have been able to secure partial payment upfront, set up a payment plan, or agree to a service schedule with fixed payments.
It’s Not Exactly the Service You Provide
Customers don’t always know who to call when they have a disaster. For example, they will often call a plumber when they have water damage. There are plenty of similar connections between disaster mitigation, restoration, and home services contractors.
Fire damage can also involve water damage and mold may be caused by a plumbing issue or water damage. A customer calling about carpet cleaning could even have a mold or water issue.
While your initial reaction may be to turn down the job, it’s better to ask questions to determine if it’s related to what you do. Whenever possible, secure the job and then subcontract out the parts you can’t do yourself.
One of the major reasons contractors pass on commercial jobs is the amount of equipment and manpower necessary. Just like residential jobs, commercial jobs come in all sizes. You could be missing out on a good job by passing on a commercial job sight unseen.
Even if you determine the job is larger than what you can comfortably handle, you still have options. You could always rent equipment and hire a few extra people to do the work. Alternatively, you could subcontract parts of the job to other contractors. You could even refer the job to a larger contractor and see if you can work on the job with them. For our 33 Mile Radius lead generation partners, remember that referring will result in the lead being marked billable.
Contractors often turn down jobs involving groundwater because they aren’t covered by insurance policies. If your concern is about getting paid, this situation is similar to other jobs where insurance isn’t involved. Start with a conversation with the customer about it and see if you can reach an agreement.
Another concern about groundwater jobs are potential health risks from bacteria or even wild animals. These are valid reasons for concern, but it’s unlikely the average groundwater job will pose a significant risk. Regardless of the cause of damage, you should always take precautions to keep your crews and yourself safe while on the job.
While there may be times when you are overwhelmed with work, you should avoid turning down any job before assessing the situation. Customers aren’t always the best at estimating damage over the phone. You could be turning down a huge job that would make it worth hiring an extra set of hands or renting the necessary equipment.
Once you’ve seen the situation, you can decide whether you can fit it into your schedule. If you can’t, try to refer the customer to someone else. Obviously, this doesn’t help your bottom line, but it builds trust with the customer. They just might call you next time they have an issue.
If you’re a current 33 Mile Radius partner, you should pause your account when you reach your job capacity. This will stop the flow of calls from our system and prevent you from getting billed for leads you had to turn down. With our pause feature, you can pause individual counties and services or your entire account. Also, remember that referring leads will result in them being marked billable.
You Don’t Accept Credit Cards
Cash may be king, but most people live on credit today. While choosing not to accept credit cards is your prerogative, you will likely have to turn away jobs. Having a system for credit card transactions was cost prohibitive in the past, but it’s really not that expensive today.
There are plenty of options for doing credit card transactions that have only flat-rate fees with no subscriptions, including PayPal and Square. Even if you choose not to advertise you accept credit card payments, having a plan in place ensures you don’t have to turn down a lucrative job.
Turning Away Calls From Our Call Center
If you’re a 33 Mile Radius lead generation partner, you will occasionally get a phone call from our call center. This happens because a customer called into our network, but had some issue with our phone system. One of our call center operators was able to call that customer back and confirm they required service.
When our operator calls to connect you with that customer, you should treat it as any other call from 33 Mile Radius. Just like all of our other leads, leads coming through the call center are exclusive to you. If you choose to pass on the opportunity, we do not send that lead to another contractor.
Since the lead will be marked billable if you decline the call from the call center, it’s in your best interest to talk to the customer. Whenever possible, you should try to book the appointment, provide a free estimate, and close the job.
Tips to Prevent Turning Aways Calls
Be proactive in communicating with your customers. From the moment you answer the phone, strive to be as clear and honest with your customer as possible.
Ask Qualifying Questions
Customers with damage are stressed out and may not be communicating effectively themselves. Asking them to quantify the damage will give you a better understanding of the scope of the job before you arrive.
Sometime you will need to juggle multiple jobs. Set clear expectations, but also give yourself some room to adjust course if you pick another job. Be honest and ask your customer before adjusting your work schedule.
What to do if You Still Need to Turn Down the Job
Sometimes you will still need to turn down a job even after an assessment.
If you need to pass, just be honest with the customer. You should also avoid leaving the customer in a difficult position.
Offer to provide a temporary fix to prevent further damage and then refer them to another contractor who can help. Whenever possible, call that contractor directly and explain the situation to them.
Ultimately, it’s your call as business owner whether you take the job. Your goal should be to balance what’s best for your company, while still providing the best service to your customers.
Do a proper assessment and explore all of your options before turning away a call. If you do need to pass, be honest with the customer, offer a temporary fix, and refer them to another contractor. This way you’ve still done right by the customer, even if you don’t take the job.