Scheduling seems like the easiest job in the world. Answer the phone, talk to the customer, and write it down. The hard part is huffing and puffing up and down those ladders or climbing over the edge of that roof, right?! Well, physically – yes. But, scheduling is NOT a cakewalk by any means. If you schedule too much, the crew will be cranky or, worse, the client will be. Schedule too little and gas, time and money get wasted. Here are a few tips to make the process go as smoothly as possible.
1. Keep track of how long the job took the previous year. If you know that a job takes two guys, just under three hours to complete, it makes your life so much easier.
2. Ask what the customer wants before you hang up. It is beyond frustrating to block off time for an out only and then show up and have the customer announce their plans for an in/out/screens/tracks/chandeliers/coach lights/gutters cleaning. A quickie job just turned into an all day project.
3. Know what the house looks like. With the advent of GPS mapping services and the ability to zoom in on a house and see the windows, this is not as hard and fast of a rule that it used to be, but every window cleaner has had the experience at least once of pulling up to a house and realizing that the customer’s “regular ole windows” were, in reality, really old french panes.
4. Don’t forget drive time. Of course, if you can schedule your accounts so that they are in the same city or subdivision, your schedule will run smoother than having a crew zig zag back and forth all day. In fact, don’t be afraid to call a neighbor or two. Calling Mr. Jones and letting him know that his next-door-neighbor just scheduled for Friday may seem presumptuous, but customers love that stuff. It makes them feel special and your schedule is suddenly super nice, too.
5. Think like a customer. It’s a fact. It stinks to have to wait for the cable guy from 8am to 1pm. Don’t do it to your customers. If you say 2pm, then your crew should arrive between 1:45 and 2:15 … no exceptions.
6. When all else fails, call! If a crew is running late or someone needs to get bumped because you can’t clean windows in the dark, call. The sooner, the better. I once had a crew show up to a job only to realize that every single window was screwed shut from the outside. Apparently they had a sleepwalking kid. They charged extra (of course) but the time it took to climb up a ladder, unscrew 2 screws and then move on to the next window – all before actually cleaning anything – sunk my schedule in two seconds flat. There was no way the last house of the day was getting done. I called her and told her the truth. Luckily, she found it to be just as bizarre and funny as I did.