2020 Home Services Industry Trends Report

In our 2019 Industry Trends Report, we saw home services entrepreneurs stepping back to take a 360-degree view of their business. It was a year to reflect and adjust.

This year, the message is different: Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

We’re about to enter a brand new decade. One filled with increased competition and changing consumer expectations.

That means it’s time to take a good hard look at the obstacles in the way of your business’ growth, and address them head on.

To find out what those challenges are and how to solve them, we surveyed over 550 home services entrepreneurs. Then, we turned to a panel of all-star business owners to share their most meaningful and pressing advice for the year to come.

The result? The top home services industry trends you need to know as we enter 2020.

2020 isn’t the year to rest on your laurels. It’s the year to think big, switch gears, and cement your legacy as an entrepreneur.

So take advantage of this final pit stop before the big 2-0 to rest, reassess, and repair your business. It’s going to be a fun ride.

The Top Home Services Industry Trends in 2020

Trend #1: Hiring, scheduling, and attracting new clients are still our biggest hurdles

Despite new technologies, home service businesses still face the same challenges we see year after year.

Hiring great employees, efficient scheduling, and attracting new clients were named the top business challenges across all industries surveyed.

We divided those answers by entrepreneurs who said they use technology to run their business vs. those who do not.

The results show that while our challenges are the same, our priorities are different:

Top Home Service Business Challenges 2020

“Those who are in the non-tech stage are in the infancy of their business. They feel so confused over everything that just getting their next customer is their biggest concern,” says Stanley Genadek, landscaping and construction expert. “They haven’t had the challenge yet of trying to actually hire their very first person.”

Whatever stage your business is in, these are deep-rooted challenges that won’t be fixed overnight. But that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to solve. The key is to identify what is broken and start building systems that work.

“You need to have people and systems in place that allow your business to keep running, even if you’re not there. A lot of guys let their ego get in the way. They don’t understand the power of delegation and creating a team they believe in. Replace yourself in the field, start building systems, and start delegatingimmediately.”

– Stanley “Dirt Monkey” Genadek

“Stop focusing on where you wish you were in business, or where you hope to be in 5 or 10 years. Decide where you want to be 12 months from TODAY. Then, work backwards. Break it down by the month and make a list of things you must do, the steps you must follow to reach your monthly goals. Focus on just beating yesterday. Focus on just reaching this months’ goal. One step at a time will create small wins that will fuel your inspiration to go on to have bigger wins.”

– Debbie Sardone, The Maid Coach

Trend #2: The best marketing channel is one you can measure.

Home Services Industry Trend Report: Where do you get most of your clients?

75% of home services entrepreneurs said that word of mouth is one of their most important sources of new clients.

It’s true that referrals and personal recommendations can help you build a strong and loyal customer base. But if you’re relying on a small customer base to do your marketing for you, you’re seriously limiting your business’ growth potential.

To truly scale your client base, you need to reach beyond your customers’ immediate network and tap into measurable marketing channels, including social media marketing, email marketing, and local search.

What works for other businesses may not work for you.  Track where your new customers are coming from, learn, and adjust your marketing efforts.

Here are the top marketing channels our industry experts recommend heading into 2020:

“I would only suggest going after new clients once your current clients are well serviced and checked in with at least 3x per year. The best strategy for getting new leads has been Google Ad words and consistently posting content to our Google My Business as well as a steady stream of reviews. We receive about 10 leads per day and 5 of them heard about us from Google. ”

-Dave Moerman, Revive Washing

The top channels I recommend for attracting new clients in 2020 are Google Local Service Ads and Amazon Home Services. When you set up marketing systems instead of one-off marketing tactics, your business will be growing no matter what you’re doing. ”

– Keith Kalfas, Kalfas Landscaping

“Currently a top performer is Facebook, both organic posting in groups and Facebook ads. Email automations are a powerful tool to nurture and convert the leads that got away, and Google Ads still work well. And of course one of my favorites, Cleaning For A Reason, which helps to build your brand awareness through cause marketing and making a difference.”

-Debbie Sardone, The Maid Coach

“Instagram has become more important than our website. Clients can watch our stories and feed posts to get an idea of who we are and how our company operates. Be transparent, people want an authentic experience.

– David Kenney, BroLaws Construction

“I would say the overall channel you can leverage for 2020 would be paid ads combined with SEO and local search terms. Once your buyer persona is built out and you know what, who and where your market is, that will dictate where you’re going to spend your dollars and how you’re going to deliver that message.”

– Ryaan Tuttle, Best Handyman Boston

Trend #3: Investing in your brand = Investing in your business.

Speaking of marketing, in 2020, we expect to see more service businesses investing in their brands and clearly communicating their true service offering.

With more and more competitors offering similar services, a strong brand is how you can set yourself apart and attract more of the customers you want to work with.

“Determine your message. What is it that you do that sets you apart from all the rest? It doesn’t have to involve reinventing the wheel. It just needs to be something that stands out about you and your company.”

– Graham Audenart, Painters Enterprise

Remember that branding isn’t just about a logo or website. Your brand is in everything that you do, and in how you make your customers feel. More often than not, it can come up in unexpected places.

“The two things we hear most from new clients are: 1) I read your reviews and 2) I’ve seen your pictures and all of your equipment is always clean. The first one is easy to understand, but the second one took us by surprise. How is clean equipment part of our brand? What we learned is that high end clients don’t want to see some kind of Mad Max rat trap sitting beside their house. Now we keep our equipment clean for functional purposes, but it’s also morphed into part of our known brand.”

– Brian Boase, MIL-SPEC Landscaping

Trend #4. Software does more than help you complete tasks

Home Service Industry Trends: How Do you Use Technology to Run Your Business?

Business professionals have a number of reasons for using software. Survey respondents said software helps with many administrative tasks; invoicing, time tracking, and collecting payments to name a few.

But one of the biggest upcoming trends we see is businesses using tech to help them with something even more important: looking more professional in their customers’ eyes.

“When somebody sees automated texts when you’re on the way, it looks like you’re running a serious operation, even if you’re running out of your home. We’ve had customers comment on that, especially the younger ones. The more professional you appear the more people will be inclined to want to use your service and want to refer you.” 

-Henry Sanchez, Valor Plumbing

“We can have a new customer completely set up in our system before we are off the phone with them. Customers have been impressed by this because the organization on our side translates to assurance for them that we are professionals.”

-Chris Senger, Mow Town Edmonton

Home Service Industry Trend Report 2020 - Henry Sanchez

In 2020, we expect to see more entrepreneurs implementing customer-facing technology that makes them look more professional in every aspect of their business.

Trend #5: Customers want to book jobs on their terms.

There’s a crater-sized disconnect between how clients want to book work and how service providers let them.

Home Service Industry Trend Report 2020 - Online Booking

46% of U.S. consumers told us they prefer to schedule appointments via email, an online platform, or a mobile app. This number jumps up to nearly 60% when we look at survey respondents between the ages of 25-44.

But only 38% of home service entrepreneurs are taking advantage of online booking.

In a digital world, it’s not just about picking up the phone from 9 to 5. The internet has conditioned consumers to fast response times and instant gratification.

In 2020, consumers will be the ones dictating how and when they book jobs, and by and large, they’ll be booking jobs online.

To stay competitive, you’ll need to adapt by offering online booking from your website or social media pages.

You can’t work 24/7 to service consumer demand. But technology can.

Trend #6: We’ll see more business price for profit.

Let’s all agree to leave lowballing in the 2010s.

As we roll into 2020, we’re seeing more and more service businesses implement sophisticated pricing systems that allow them to price for profit rather than undermining their own value just to win the job.

“To me it doesn’t matter what others are charging. We know our bottom line and what goals we have, and our prices reflect that. Stop paying attention to what others are doing and focus on your own goals.”

– David Kenney, BroLaws Construction

 

“The problem with most companies is that they are not pricing jobs profitably for the business. The consumer gets a bargain and the business can’t scale due to low profit margins. The three factors in pricing for profit are: 1) learning how to accurately sell time, 2) improving your production rates, 3) charging at the top of the pricing value, not the bottom or the middle. If your employees are slow and inefficient you will have to price at the bottom of the value scale. So, speed up your staff, don’t overestimate the time needed, and regularly shop the professional competition to keep up with pricing increases in the market.”

– Debbie Sardone, The Maid Coach

Accurately pricing jobs isn’t just about understanding the market. It’s also about having a system: Are you factoring in overhead? What is the minimum cost you can afford to do a job? And of course, are you documenting service prices to ensure consistent, profitable quotes every time?

“You’ve got to systematize every component of your business. You shouldn’t be figuring out pricing details on every job site. Come up with a pricing structure that you can re-use and modify. For example, when I’m demolishing a house, I don’t try to figure out the pricing details of each and every house. I look at what I did to the last three houses that looked like this house. Then I determine the average price for those last three houses. Boom. That’s my price. Don’t second guess your own decisions.”

– Stanley “Dirt Monkey” Genadek

“We have one for the most advanced estimating systems set up, allowing us to provide our clients with estimates within 1-2 business days guaranteed without even going out to the project to look at it. We can essentially copy and paste over and over making the process even faster for our team. Pricing projects should be the fun and easy part for any home service provider.”

– Ryaan Tuttle, Best Handyman Boston

“We have set packages made up in Jobber for sizes of houses for house washing, window and gutter cleaning. Our systems are accurate about 80% of the time.”

– Dave Moerman, Revive Washing

Trend #7: Efficient scheduling needs more than a band-aid solution.

Home Service Industry Trends 2020 - Efficient Scheduling

42% of home service businesses said efficient scheduling is a top challenge going into 2020.

When it comes to operational challenges, scheduling is a real double-whammy: overbooking jobs damages relationships with your clients and your employees. In the end, everyone is frustrated, and nobody gets paid.

In 2020, we can take control of scheduling inefficiencies. But there’s no band-aid solution. It will require getting to the heart of the problem—whether that’s time tracking, real-time team notifications, or better client communication—and overhauling your process so that it works for you.

“As our schedule seems to change every few hours, the best tools we have are the people in charge of the schedule. The more they are on top of things and communicating with our clients and team members, the smoother things run.”

– Dave Moerman, Revive Washing

“I’m not surprised that scheduling is still an issue. I think we can tack that up to most small business owners being too busy, understaffed, or having fear of technology. With all of today’s simple, intuitive apps, software and smart notebooks, it should not be that hard to utilize something that works. Technology has helped our team with scheduling in so many ways. It’s helped cut down on double-bookings and unhappy clients with missed appointments. Our team loves having the ability to look at their schedule right through our app.”

– Ryaan Tuttle, Best Handyman Boston

“Be very realistic when it comes to scheduling. Take into account weather, delays, Murphy’s Law, maintenance, transportation, setup and breakdown time etc. Lock every appointment in the schedule right now. If it doesn’t go on the schedule, it’s guaranteed to never get done. And use a calendar or scheduling software religiously.”

– Keith Kalfas, Kalfas Professional Services

“Efficient scheduling starts with a specific goal and clear objectives. How many billable hours per day do you want to produce per person? Second, if you are still doing manual processes that a good software can take over you, you are losing money by not adding this technology to your business. One missed appointment because you haven’t automated the scheduling or reminders can cost you that client forever. What is it costing you to not automate and systemize your scheduling? Always look at the cost to you if you don’t automate your scheduling, not the cost to do it.

– Debbie Sardone, The Maid Coach

Trend #8: Recruiting will become a year-round activity.

Hiring and retaining great employees is the #1 business challenge for home services entrepreneurs across the board.

Home Service Industry Trend Report - Hiring and Retaining Employees

This is a serious issue to address — without a team you can trust, you can’t confidently scale your business.

One of the best ways to solve this in 2020 is to stop hiring out of desperation and make recruiting a year-round activity.

“We’re constantly hiring in our company, we’re constantly recruiting. We’re recruiting even when we’re full, because the problem is most companies wait until they need people and then they go out and start looking for people and at that point you have a two-week, three-week, sometimes four-week window. And then you’re short-staffed.”

– Kory Ballard, Ballard Inc.

Kory Ballard for Jobber

“The truth is, I do not believe there is just one tip for this issue. We have found over time that the best way to hire and retain good employees is to recruit for new employees all year and to create an environment where people can succeed and not just come to work every day to fill a spot. Over time the right people will choose to stay.”

– Ryaan Tuttle, Best Handyman Boston

Trend #9: Finding (and keeping) the best employees means being better employers.

The final trend in our 2020 home services report isn’t an easy one to swallow.

There’s a lot of talk about how to find and retain the best employees. But rarely do we talk about how to be the best employers.

In 2020, one of the biggest trends we’ll see is employers taking a hard look in the mirror when it comes to their people management practices.

“Everyone is desperate to find better workers, they are searching for people who want to work hard, people who care, and employees who aren’t lazy, or employees who will work out long-term. But we have it backwards in this industry. Stop searching for better employees, start being a better boss. If you want the best you have to BE the best. Stop focusing all your time and energy on finding a better ‘them’ and start being a better boss. If you create an irresistible job you will attract irresistible workers. It’s not them, it’s you. The day I realized that was the day my business changed forever.”

– Debbie Sardone, The Maid Coach

So how do we be better employers?

Think outside of the box. Referral programs, retention bonuses, and employee benefits are great places to start.

But many employees care about more than just financial reward: customer service training, safety training, and career mentorship are valuable ways to build up your employees without spending a dollar.

Here are a few of the tactics our experts have implemented to build hardworking, loyal, and lasting teams:

“We do training and role playing with all of our employees to make sure they are all trained properly. To keep our existing employees happy, we’ve created a positive environment to work in and make sure we reward those who produce good results.”
-Chant Singvongsa, Chant’s Daily Hustle

Chant's Daily Hustle

“Even the work load and be transparent. I do the same amount of work they do, so nobody is overburdened. I also verbally confirm they are happy with payment amount.”

-Stacey Flanagan, SEF The Lawn Surgeon

Stacey Flanagan, SEF the Lawn Surgeon

“Culture. Make sure you have it and that your culture in the company is the one you want. Once you know what it is, share it with the team. Keep the people that belong in the culture and that want to be a part of it and lose the ones that don’t.”

-Graham Audenart, Painters Enterprise

Graham Audenart for Jobber

We pay a recruiting bonus to our internal team members. They receive $200 for a seasonal employee and $400 for a year round employee.”

-Dave Moerman, Revive Washing

Dave Moerman for Jobber

2020 is the start of a new and uncertain decade. But the core tenets of running a lasting home service business have never been truer: do good work, take care of your people, and put your customers’ first.

How you do that comes down to organization, putting systems in place, and above all, not getting overwhelmed.

Tell us what you’re doing differently in 2020 and beyond.

We’re here to help you grow and succeed.

You don’t have to tackle 2020 alone

Join the Jobber Entrepreneurship Group on Facebook to share your strategies and plans heading into the new year, and to hear from other entrepreneurs who understand what you’re building.

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