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Sick of being “on-call” 24-7 for water damage losses?

Hey Steve,

tired-of-after-hours-emergency-cleaningCan I vent on you? So I finally get a day off, I’m going to “veg out” in front of my new 56” liquid plasma wide screen, watch a game or two, eat myself fat and toss off a few Coronas and bang!  The phone rings and I get to drive 58 miles one way to start extracting a flooded hotel!  Didn’t you ever get sick of being on call 24-7?

Ticked Off in Nebraska

Dear Ticked,

Did I get tired of being on call 24-7? Absolutely! After several years of invariably missing my kid’s school plays/ ball games/ family picnics and far too many “date nights” with my wife- I finally did something about it!  I suggest you do the same.

I finally discovered a fascinating concept called “employees”.  I even learned that I could field a water damage call without ever getting my lazy butt up from the sofa!  Yep, I could calm the homeowner down, get the essential information, dispatch a crew and all without missing more than three downs of the football game.  Imagine that!

It is called “delegation” and yes, I realize the above process is a bit more complicated than I just described!  But not really.  Here is what I did:

  1. Develop a formal “on-call” program- We trained all our employees both technically and in the Emotional Dynamics of dealing with a traumatized property owner after a water loss. I paid employees who volunteered $50.00 per week (they worked rotating weeks) just to be a) available and b) sober!
  2. Then when a call comes in you just follow your “on-call” program, call the one assigned on it and say, “It’s your lucky day!” Then pay your on-call tech double time and a 50.00 trip bonus too. (After 10:00 PM and on weekends we paid triple time with a three hour minimum.)
  3. Work it into your billing. Everyone will be happy.

So some tough love here, Ticked.  Suck it up, make the hard decisions about employees and stop being a slave to your business. Get to work!  (Or if you just don’t want to “go big” see my note below.)

Steve

P.S. Remember your on-call employee (or in the worst case scenario- YOU)  doesn’t have to DO the entire job on the Emergency Call-out. Do just enough “Damage Containment” to spike the loss and hit it with a big crew the next day.  (When everyone is on normal pay instead of double or triple time!)

NOTE:  If in your heart of hearts  you want to be a Lone Wolf owner-operator forever (nothing wrong with that but you really need to implement my Lone Wolf Special Report) just develop some “Strategic Partnerships”- capable and honest competitors  (if you have any!) that will cover for you and you for them.

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