A well organised, efficient office is a key ingredient to running a plumbing business that is both profitable and fun to own. Does your office feel chaotic? Invoices piling up? Slow paying clients? A pile of quotes? Are you reliant on one or two key people who if they moved on would cause you major headaches? Getting your office under control so you can “work on your business” can be broken down into four simple steps.
First, you complete a thorough task analysis. Task analysis involves creating a list of all the tasks required to run your office. Get everyone involved so your list covers everything. It doesn’t matter who’s doing the task at present. Include everything from answering the phone, invoicing, GST, payroll, compliance certificates, quoting through to WOF’s for vehicles and getting stationery. The more detailed the list the better. Listing all the tasks that your business currently does is the easy part. It is as important to list all activities that you are not getting to right now. For instance, marketing (website, social media, email marketing or building relationships with local contractors), performance reviews for your guys and other activities that will help your business grow and improve. Using a whiteboard (or an A3 sheet of paper) works well. Most people are surprised at how big the list is!
Once you have all the tasks on paper divide the tasks up into roles such as Receptionist, Office Administrator, and Estimator etc. By clearly outlining what tasks each role is responsible for you prevent confusion around who is responsible for what. Clear roles are important in any Plumbing business but especially so in a family business when a husband and wife work together!
Key Performance indicators
Including Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) in your Job Descriptions ensures your team have a clear understanding of what good performance is. Take an Office Administrator for example. KPI’s could include all quotes followed up one day after sending, all jobs invoiced within 2 days of completion, Profit and Loss Statement completed by the 10th of the following month and all tax obligations (GST, PAYE, Income Tax) filed and paid on time. An incentive program where your team is rewarded based on achieving their KPI’s can also improve productivity.
Once you’ve completed the Task Analysis, Job Descriptions and set up KPI’s for each role in the office, a daily and weekly checklist helps ensure all tasks get completed. Your Checklist will include all the tasks for the day and at what time of the day the task should be completed. Weekly tasks are also assigned to specific days and times. For example, “follow up overdue accounts” could be included on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. Monthly and annual tasks such as GST or annual accounts can be included too. The act of physically “ticking off” the tasks encourages more ownership and accountability from your team (and yourself). You reduce your stress levels as all the tasks are written down and no longer stuck in your, or someone else’s head.
If you’d like a free example of an office checklist that we use with members of the Million Dollar Tradie program please visit http://profitabletradie.com/4-ways-to-get-your-office-under-control and download a copy now.