Removing Payment Hurdles and Automating Your Business With Mike Callahan and Jen Morris

On this episode of the Profit Roadmap, we welcome two special guests, Mike Callahan from Simple Growth Systems and Jen Morris from OPTIMUS. 

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How to get paid on time
  • Financing options for customers
  • Automations for your business
  • Increased growth by streamlining operations

Mike Callahan is from Simple Growth Systems—a Service Autopilot Certified Advisor specializing in the development of next-level automations in Service Autopilot. Mike got his start in the industry by mowing lawns to pay his car insurance and grew his business to be very large. So much so that he had to reevaluate the business so that it could be maintained with the right automated systems in place for sustainable and scalable growth, which is why he started Simple Growth.

Jen Morris is the Business Development Manager at OPTIMUS contractor financing by EGIA —an innovative platform that helps service businesses offer financing solutions to their clients.

Here are some highlights from their amazing episode:

Creating a Business That Runs By Itself

When Mike first started his lawn care business, he quickly learned that it was tough to operate the business. The whole thing revolved around his direct actions, and being gone for even a day or two caused serious issues. As the business grew, this stress took a toll on Mike’s life and his relationships.

That’s when he found out about automations. He spent the slow winter months figuring out how he could save time and put his effort into using automations. This allowed him to streamline operations. He was even able to help other businesses use automations, which led to the creation of his business, Simple Growth Systems.

Ultimately, implementing automations led to less stress for other service business owners and gave them time back with their families. On top of all that, automations paved the way to creating sustainable growth.

Use Time Management to Scale Up

When businesses first start out, they have to overcome a lot of hurdles, and one of the biggest hurdles is time management. But really what that translates to is having the right systems in place that allow you to scale up. 

Mike talked about getting a ton of estimate requests, say 60 – 80. The time it took to build those out would prevent your business from scaling if you have just one person doing everything manually. Tasks like these need to be taken care of on a daily basis within any successfully growing business.

Mike says one of the best places to start is simply by looking at your calendar. Set aside specific time to work on your business. By intentionally taking this action, it is easier to move forward and become proactive instead of reactive.

Time management is a simple system that allows you to effectively direct your efforts on the things that matter most to your business.

Why Offering the Right Amount of Services Matters

One of the keys to continued growth is being particular with your service offerings. Mike says that the majority of businesses that work with him are offering way too many services. It simply isn’t scalable, and it is way easier to have a few strong core services. From there, you can build up the lifetime value of a client and expand your offerings as you grow.

Financing Options

Jen noticed early on with her background in HVAC, that offering financing options made a lot of sense for service businesses. This gave customers the ability to make payments, which is especially important in uncertain economic times, like right now. 

For many places throughout the country, things like heating and air conditioning aren’t really a luxury, they are a requirement. Having the ability to get equipment fixed and control the temperature was important in everyday life.

One of the unique things about OPTIMUS, where Jen is a business development manager, is that they have various financing options. They partner with contractors so that they can offer three-tiered options based on a customer’s credit profile. They typically have a 90%+ approval rating which is great for customers and contractors.

Jen says that about 50% of consumers choose the financing option. This is something many are already using for other services such as paying off their cell phones. Additionally, it is also becoming increasingly more common on e-commerce sites too. 

Financing can also have its own process too. Jen says that some of the companies that work with OPTIMUS even incorporate a pre-qualification process into the experience. This is something dispatching can start with so that when it comes time to make the decision about financing for service, it is much easier because they already know that they are pre-qualified which takes the emotion out of the decision.

Ultimately, offering financing can help you close more sales and offer more options to your clients.

Use Automations to Get Time Back

Mike notes that many service businesses can feel a little bit of fear when it comes to automations. Really they are about saving time. One of the best examples he says is payments. With service businesses, a service is performed and a credit card is charged. 

Even though there is a small fee for credit processing, it is something that service businesses shouldn’t worry about. Part of this is the cost of doing business, but it is also about being able to get paid quickly and offering an easy way for customers to pay. The payment processing fees can simply be built into the hourly cost, and working with the right company can take care of the heavy lifting when it comes to “PCI compliance” (which are the rules regarding how credit card information is stored).

Mike says that for recurring services it is important to time when those services are charged. Making sure that money hits your account before it is time to run payroll can make things function a lot smoother.

Automations are really there to help give you time back and help you operate with more efficiency. Some of his clients ask him if automations are going to replace people in the back office. Mike goes back to the fact that it isn’t replacing people but allowing them to work smarter on repetitive and mundane tasks. 

Cash vs. Card

There are still clients out there who would prefer to use cash and checks. In the past, making that switch used to be tough, but credit cards make things so much easier for you and the client.

If you’re still taking cash and checks, Mike recommends that you “rip the band-aid off quickly.” People are a lot more open to this post-COVID, as things continue to move paperless. But Mike says that the people that give the most pushback on this issue are the ones whom it will likely be difficult to collect payment from later.

Again, there is a HUGE time saving when it comes to automating payments and having a card on file. Having to chase people down and remind them to send in a check is incredibly time-consuming.

Improving Your Business

While there is always room to improve your business, it is important to think strategically about how you improve. Focusing your efforts on the things that will increase sales and give you more time back can help you scale and serve your clients even more effectively.

Want to learn more about Mike and Jen? Check out the links below:

Related: Beating Hiring Bottlenecks and Building a Winning Culture With Libby DeLucien

Published April 23, 2023 XX:XX XM

The following music was used for this media project:

Music: Summon the Rawk by Kevin MacLeod

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License (CC BY 4.0):

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