The Price is Right. Or Is It?
Ab Initio’s Rhonda Ridge, creator of the AdminBase installer management system, discusses the difficulties encountered in putting a healthy pricing structure in place and what a difference the right software can make.
Hitting the right price point is never easy. Too expensive and cautious consumers will continue to shop around or postpone their purchase a little longer. Too inexpensive, and it can send the wrong marketing message while failing to achieve a profit. No matter how successful a business is, maintaining the right pricing point through a turbulent economy is an incredibly hard thing to do.
If we go back to the basics and think about what’s involved in setting a price in the first place, we consider things like competitor pricing, market demand, the disposable income of the target audience, and the value the product can offer. But at the top of the list must be understanding the total cost of running a business. That includes hidden costs and variable costs; it all matters, and every aspect should be visible and easily accessible to make pricing adjustments easier. This may sound obvious, but all too often establishing the true cost of business is simply too time-consuming with disparate information stored in different systems that aren’t necessarily compatible.
Know Your Costs
AdminBase offers a complete solution that allows installation businesses to keep track of the true cost of doing business at any given point in time. A report on job costing can be created within the CRM, giving installation businesses an easy-to-read overview of all costs associated with installations. For example, the system allows you to capture the cost of all products from suppliers with a link to your accounts package to save double-entering invoices. It helps you keep track of supplier back-charge claims and can automatically include these in your job costing. Commission payments can be tracked and included as part of the report, and the system can also help to allocate specific costs to specific contracts for an even more accurate picture of job costs. Even fitting ancillary items can be managed and allocated to individual jobs for more accurate gross margin figures per contract.
In addition to an accurate indication of costs that helps installation businesses achieve the right price point, AdminBase offers a good overview of other aspects of the business too. For example, the dedicated function for Fitters Available Hours takes the name of a fitter or installation team and calculates the spare hours they have within a set timeframe. This allows decisions to be made about the best use of those spare hours. Another function tracks leads. You might get a lot of leads from advertising in the local paper, but if all those leads are for single-window jobs and your radio advertising brings in high-value jobs, you can make an informed decision about where to spend your advertising budget next.
Specific Support for Installation Managers
The system also offers a comprehensive My AdminBase Diary app that can be linked to the rest of the management system to ensure all data for any one contract is kept in one place. And at this year’s FIT Show, we launched a significant upgrade to this part of the CRM to make it easy for managers to see the appointments assigned to their team members as well as their own. So, for example, an installation manager can view the appointments assigned to fitters and add their own photos to the job to feed back into the contract in AdminBase. This makes it easier for installation managers to carry out site visits without the need for a specific appointment in AdminBase.
They say information is power, and this is certainly true when it comes to running a business or managing an installation team. By streamlining data and producing reports that make that data not only visible but easy to read, AdminBase is supporting home improvement companies across the UK to set their prices, market their wares in the most cost-effective way, and continuously improve their offering thanks to the constant flow of feedback.
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