Payaca content writer Felix Rusby sat down with Lewis Ward from Swift Heating to discuss how Payaca has impacted his business
My name's Lewis Ward from Swift Heating and Gas Services. We are based in Cleethorpes in North East Lincolnshire but we operate within a two-hour radius.
I've been a gas engineer for 16 years and I run my own small company of 12 people.
One of the original challenges was organisation.
When I first set up, about five or six years ago, there was very little help available for smaller companies.
For me, I've just slowly progressed year on year and have really done my research and looked into different technologies and products that can help us.
I've then reinvested back into the business and that has done us well.
We're a million-pound company now.
I've managed to do that with the help of different technologies like Payaca and the good staff we've got.
About two years ago I switched the business model slightly because I was finding that a lot of the smaller jobs came with a lot of admin and recalls.
So we decided to switch focus and go after the bigger boiler installation jobs and actively target jobs where there's less admin and running around.
So the challenge early on was that we were still doing paper time sheets and taking cash as payment.
Now we've evolved into a seven-figure company, which has been challenging, but rewarding at the same time.
I was doing some research online and I came across Payaca on YouTube, and I liked the sound of the company and how helpful Matt seemed. He really seemed to understand what small business owners want and need.
The support from Payaca has been really helpful. They're not just a company that takes your money. If there are any issues, they're there straight away to help.
When you've got a small to medium-sized team like me, you need that good backup. Because ultimately the CRM system we use is essential to how we operate on a day-to-day basis.
So the analytics has been great because it keeps historical data in there.
The way we can easily filter the quotes and utilise the different pipelines for different jobs is also really helpful.
The different layouts of the pipeline view or the list view are very handy too.
I've literally had a new surveyor in today and I've managed to teach him the basics of Payaca in about two hours. He is confident with it already and can go quoting tomorrow.
He can build the quote inside the house and he can take deposit payments on-site there and then. All I've had to do is buy him an iPad, spend two hours training him on Payaca and tomorrow he can go out selling boilers.
So I've just taken on two staff this month who have both come from a national company, and they have both told me that the Payaca system is far better than what they were using at their old jobs.
So we're operating on one of the best softwares out there, even better than the national companies. Our quotes look that good.
Those two new staff are really excited to use the software. The way the automations work, for example, is going to save them so much time.
Whereas at their old jobs, they used to have to do things a long-winded manual way, now we just work using tags.
I've custom-created my automations to suit my business. We use what I call the ghosted pipeline.
If a customer reaches out to us and asks for a quote, but then they don’t get back in touch, we put them in the ghosted pipeline. This will then send them automated texts and emails to try and ask them if they're still interested.
All we have to do with a customer that is potentially ghosting us is put them in that pipeline. Then by the end of the pipeline, it will have sent out six different messages on two different channels.
And it only takes us 30 seconds rather than 30 minutes.
So we send three text messages and three emails to customers that have been in contact with us but have yet to call us back.
If you average that at five minutes per text and per email, that's 30 minutes we were spending. Now, we can set the customer to receive all of that, automatically, in 30 seconds.
And we get ghosted daily. On average, I would say there are probably 20 customers per month that completely ghost us.
So instead of losing 20 times 30 minutes on customers, it’s now taking a total of 10 minutes to do something that was taking 10 hours.
The way Payaca runs the whole operation from the second the lead drops in is brilliant. Whether the customer answers the phone or if they don't answer, we know what to do with that lead.
It allows us to move much more quickly.
Our company, Swift Heating, operates on speed, and being able to use Payaca and other technology helps us be faster than the national companies and the local one-man bands.
Because we've got someone dedicated the whole time, who understands our process and how we do it quickly using Payaca, we are able to deliver that speed across our whole business.
To put it into context, last July we sent just seven quotes in the month. This July we've sent 80.
So we've literally tripled our turnover and the amount of work we're doing in just over a year.
It's great and it's exciting and I'm really looking forward to the winter this year rather than dreading it because I know we're set up as a good team.
And because Payaca is so easy for the new starters to learn, if we did need to bring anyone else in, it would take just a couple of hours to teach them.
It's much quicker.
Because we can custom-make the Payaca pipelines, so they make sense to us as a company, it literally takes us just two hours.
I've got one surveyor who's 50 and another who is 64 and he absolutely whizzes through it.
So it's not like it's just a young person's software either. It's available for anyone that can use a phone or tablet.
So something that Payaca has helped us with is tracking the numbers.
With Payaca, we can clearly see how many quotes have been converted every month. Which is great.
Before Payaca, I wasn't doing any tracking, whereas now I can actually track our surveyors' conversion rates.
Before Payaca our conversion rate was around the industry average at 33%, this year we’re at 44%. So Payaca has really helped us.
It helps the whole team as well and lets them see how well we're doing as a company. Because everyone has access to the analytics and everyone can see how many quotes we've sent off and can see our conversion rate.
It's been really helpful for me to be able to forecast as well.
Three years ago my quoting process was to pop and see the customer on the way home. I’d pop my head in for five minutes and then email them a price. That’s if I didn't get overwhelmed with other things.
The way we're set now, it's a lot more professional, things aren't missed and customers appreciate that.
So from the moment the job comes in, it's really professionally handled by our team, from start to finish.
We've also got links so that customers can check out our online reviews before we even attend the quote.
And once the job is complete we can send the customers requests for reviews. We can ask them to follow us on social media and if they're interested in our service plans as well.
So the customer's journey doesn’t just finish when they’re paid. We've got that customer in our CRM and we want to help them in the future and get them to recommend us.
We find that once we have them in our system and they're impressed, recommendations off the back of that are pretty good
The process is so straightforward, you don't have to actually know anything about a specific boiler.
For example, the girls who work in our office could also raise a boiler quote in less than two minutes, without any boiler experience, just because it's so easy to actually put the quote together.
And then, once it comes through, it looks really good.
I also like the fact that we can see if a customer has viewed the quote. It essentially allows us to confirm whether that customer is interested in using us.
The quoting tool itself has saved me so much time.
We use the templates and attach our terms and conditions, which customers can view when they click the link. We’ve also got all the commonly asked questions at the bottom of the quote.
I reckon it probably takes two to three minutes to knock up a straightforward combi swap quote, which is really great for us and great for the staff too.
No one minds doing it, because nothing's a hassle. It all runs smoothly.
All our team carry full-size cellular iPads and keyboards, so they can use them anywhere out in the field. They can just click on the app and can knock quotes up in seconds. It's really straightforward to use.
We never have any connection issues with it either.
With Payaca we very rarely experience any bugs and if there are ever any issues, Payaca are normally pretty quick to reply on the online chat.
With Payaca, because the service is so good, even if someone did try to tempt us to move, we probably wouldn't, just because the service is that good.
Payaca is just integral to how the company runs.
From the start the team at Payaca have been so helpful throughout the whole process, we wouldn't move anywhere else.
It just works.
For example, the release of service plans earlier this year was really good, and straight away I got help setting that up.
Service plans are something that I've been thinking about for over a year now. And then when you at Payaca decided to integrate them into the software, that really accelerated my desire to implement them. Plus it was just so straightforward to do.
It was a bit of a no-brainer.
So we're actually bringing in recurring revenue now, which is a nice little touch.
So on average, we take around a hundred leads per month from Leads.io.
Typically, manually typing out the details for a new customer takes around 3 minutes. With the leads.io integration, this process is instant. So in one month, we’re saving our office staff 5 hours of time, just with one integration.
It also reduces the chance of human error as we copy information across. Because it's integrated already, it eliminates any mistakes.
We've managed to set up some really good tags within our pipelines as well so that depending on if a customer does or doesn't answer our call, we can put them in the right pipeline and within seconds that appointment is created.
Yes. Without a doubt.
Again, the new starter we’ve got that has just come from a national company, literally told us, in his own words that, “This is a dream”. And that’s because it’s saved us so much time, time that we were previously spending typing everything out.
Integrations like this are so valuable.
Definitely. It is a two-way street.
I would definitely say that Leads.io is our best lead source and the one that we spend the most money with.
So when that connection between Payaca and Leads.io was made, I was over the moon.
I'm obviously much more likely to buy leads from that company than any other leads service because the work is halved for me, it's been an absolute dream for me to use.
As we've grown as a company Payaca has helped us. With growth, there come certain challenges and certain metrics that need to be monitored more.
Payaca is always happy to help us and make sure that the system works for us.
Yes. The problem with growth is that it requires you to track so much more, but with the Payaca system, it already tracks everything for me.
So I don't have to duplicate any jobs because I've got faith in the numbers that Payaca has given me. So instead of using an old clunky spreadsheet and recording things with that, I can use Payaca.
It’s great for filtering as well.
Now we've got four surveyors, they have access to different user accounts with different logins, which saves things from getting messy - they can only see the deals they need.
We can also search for what stage of the journey a customer is in, so I know which customers need a follow-up call or text or which quotes are still outstanding - and I can find out within seconds.
It's had a significant impact. For example, the way the quotes double up as an invoice. That's really handy because we do all the quoting and invoicing together. So it looks really professional.
It's just so basic and straightforward for the whole team because you're not having to raise anything new, you’re just converting a quote to an invoice and then we can print it out in our office and it comes out lovely.
It's really been beneficial to us.
It is the software that I use most and I'd be lost without it. It would be absolute carnage.
In fact, if I were to lose the software, I don't see how the company would be able to run as smoothly as it does. Without Payaca, it would take a hell of a lot of work to try and do what Payaca currently does.
For anyone that's not got a good CRM, it's absolutely essential to invest in software like Payaca. Even if you don't want to grow, even if you just want to make your life easier and have more free time in an evening, it’s still so helpful.
I feel like having a centralised system is essential when you're running a business. Whether you're a one-man band or you've got a hundred people.
Even if I went back to being a one-man band, which I've got no plans to do, I would still keep Payaca. Because I think it's that good. It saves that much time.