Business Articles - On the Job

Top 10 List: Why Some Home Service Professionals Are Not Successful

During my work as a consultant, I have noticed many reasons why home service professionals are not successful. Over the years, I've worked to develop my top 10 list noting these reasons and offering ways to help others avoid the same mistakes.

10. Lack of financial planning and review.
Managers need to create budgets and review them monthly to ensure they stay on track and are not caught off-guard at the end of the year.

9. Lack of principles, purpose, and vision.
Business owners need to inform all their employees what the company stands for and what the purpose of the company is.

8. Lack of management systems.
Having a clear policy regarding specific procedures may take a bit of time at first, but it can and will save everyone time (and headaches) in the long-run. This can be as simple as writing a policy and procedure for answering the telephone to how to train employees.

7. Over dependence on specific employees.
Training ALL employees is key. If too much reliance is placed on a single employee and they leave, then business owners and other employees are left scrambling. Managers need to put procedures for important duties and functions down on paper so everyone knows how to handle a task if they need to. It's also essential that managers cross train employees so they can handle multiple tasks.

6. Not establishing or communicating company goals.
What is the goal of your company - besides making the owner money? Determine what the goals are and SHARE them so everyone can feel a part of the team and work towards accomplishing the set goals. Managers should also provide updates to employees on progress towards meeting the goals.

5. The owner concentrates on technical work and not on strategic work.
Owners should not be running service calls when they don't have time to run their company. "Work on your company - not in it".

4. Poor time management.
Don't focus on insignificant details. Learn to identify the things that are most important and concentrate on them. Learning how to delegate can be a lifesaver.

3. Lack of professional sales presentation.
Most people who run sales calls have had little to no training. Salesmanship can be thought of as a craft - like repair work. You must get educated and practice your craft. You are better off closing than running more sales calls.

2. Poor or inadequate marketing.
There is more to marketing than running a yellow pages ad. Learn where your customers are finding you - are they online?

And the drum roll please...

1. Inadequate capitalization.
Many owners do not have enough money on hand to grow. Your cash reserve should equal about 10 percent to 15 percent of your annual sales. Watch your accounts receivables!

By: James R. Leichter
James R. Leichter is a lifetime contractor and President of Easy Street, Inc.; a leading maker of contracting software, management materials, and consulting services. To learn more please visit his company website at for he can be reached at

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