5 Ways to Prepare Your Home Services Business for Industry Trends in the New Year
Year after year, industries see change and growth in a variety of ways and businesses learn to adapt along with the evolving times. Since the start of the global pandemic in March 2020, these changes and growth have been at an all-time high across every industry to keep up with what the world was facing. The home services industry was no different – but the changes and experiences it faced put the industry on a positive trajectory.
And as we prepare for the conclusion of another year, we look toward the future and where we expect to go. The start of a new year means it is time to evaluate current business strategies and plans off of two things: what worked or didn’t work and where your industry is heading in the year to come. Here are some business strategies and tactics to consider tapping into so you can welcome and adapt to industry trends in the new year.
Embrace the Expected Continued Growth of Home Services
The home services sectors saw significant growth in 2020 and 2021, largely due to the pandemic and people spending more time at home. Barring an economic downturn, the industry will continue to experience bullish growth in 2022. As home prices continue to increase and new home inventory remains low, it’s probable that homeowners will continue to invest in their existing properties. Businesses should always consider ways to stay in front of potential setbacks such as a pandemic or an economic recession. It’s also important to welcome ways to capitalize on industry growth – whether that be a shift in your business model or service offerings. Hello Garage’s model allows for a lean strategy where franchisees can run a home-based business with low overhead and strong gross profit margins that will still see cashflow, even if revenue were to drop for a period of time.
Look for Ways to Capitalize on the Shift in Work Culture
Another effect of the pandemic is how and the way people work. Typical work structures changed overnight but have evolved over time resulting in more efficient remote work models that businesses were originally forced into. And while some are slowly starting to return to the office and previous work environment, others will remain at-home in a remote work setting on a more permanent basis. Because of this, homeowners across the country are looking for ways to optimize every square inch of their home in a more permanent manner as it has now become an everyday office space. This will serve promising for the home services industry as a variety of employees settle into this long-term way of working.
Streamline Customer Experience Efforts
Consumers are continually raising the bar in terms of their wants, needs and expectations from contractors. Many home service contractors have not adapted to technology advancements and still practice a less efficient way of providing customer service. There are countless customers who simply want to get an estimate for a project in their home, but the communication process with a contractor typically leaves a lot of unanswered questions before and during the duration of their project. The most successful home service brands should be looking for ways to enhance the experience they are giving to customers to streamline all processes for requesting an estimate, presenting solutions, communication timelines and processing payments. As one of Hello Garage’s top priorities and pillar of the overall brand, we have placed a large focus on implementing strategies that remove friction from each customers’ experience. One being proprietary technology, what we call Garage ViewTM, which easily walks and educates customers through the sales process and builds three proposal options that are presented on a tablet provided for each franchisee and employee.
Create Plans to Overcome Supply Chain and Labor Shortages
Supply chain shortages and inflationary pressures have been a tenacious issue across the board and will continue to be a challenge in the new year. Material costs are consistently high and obtaining needed materials in a timely manner is increasingly difficult. Increase inventory levels substantially, where you can, to ensure franchisees have the materials they need to complete jobs. But be prepared and prepare your customers that as demand continues to outpace supply, we will continue to see an increase in prices. Similarly, labor shortages have affected so many industries including home services and will be a consistent challenge for businesses. In order to grow, employees need the right kind of support. Currently, Hello Garage is conducting a market research study on ways franchisees can attract and retain the best candidates. Make necessary plans surrounding hiring and employee retention, taking into consideration all the factors that are specifically affecting your business.
Lean into Internal Growth vs. External Hiring
Most emerging franchises have to focus on growing their roster of franchisees in the early stages and will eventually transition to growing those franchisees long-term. However, Hello Garage is doing the opposite. We have prioritized efforts around the growth of existing franchisees and their profitability over adding new franchisees in 2022. This shift in strategy is in part to labor shortages and people who may not be ready to take that leap into franchising. Consider placing a focus on hiring the necessary talent who can continue to and add additional world-class support for your current franchise network. Also keep in mind that if there’s strong interest in your brand, that will require a strong onboarding team for when new franchisees are brought on.
Now is the time to prepare for the immediate and long-term future. All of these play some sort of role for existing home service brands so it’s important to find the right combination of efforts that will produce the right results.
Dave Thrasher is the Founder and President of Supportworks and its subsidiary Hello Garage, an emerging home service franchise that specializes in garage renovation.