Every organization has to have plans and goals, determining which quotas to meet each week, each quarter, and even each year. However, there are times that approaching these long term goals can seem rather difficult or lofty, but as the old saying goes, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. The first question you have to ask yourself is ‘how many units can I service a day?’. This will give a baseline for your other numbers.
But what if you don’t know how many units can service in a single day? If you’re new to the septic service industry, or maybe only have recently bought a sewage vacuum truck, you will need to make this determination. Let’s start by looking at a few factors that can impact your day to day service route.
1.) Impacting Factors
Did you know that the average septic service only takes about ten minutes to perform? While that might be the case, we all know that there are obstacles that can crop up along the way. Not to mention factors like drive time and vehicle maintenance. While you can’t magically make traffic disappear and you can’t always avoid making chit chat with long-winded customers, there are a few factors you should consider when mapping out your daily routine.
Start by asking these vital questions:
- How many customers do you have?
- What are the locations of these customers? Are they close together, evenly spaced out, or a bit all over the map?
- How many sewage vacuum trucks do you have? How many drivers?
- Are there any units that have heavier use than others?
- How often do some customers require service – weekly vs. monthly?
- How big is your staff size? Do you have enough hours scheduled for both part time and full time employees?
While this likely won’t cover all the bases or questions you need answers to, it can give you a pretty sufficient starting point. Talk with your business partner or other members of your team to see what input they might have. Valuing their feedback is also an important part of working as a cohesive unit!
2.) Optimize the Day to Day
At the end of the day, the main goal of your business is to produce more revenue. The more money your business makes, the better you can pay your employees, the more you can invest back into your company, and the better safety net you have in case of emergencies. In order to do this, you have to get things streamlined and operating at maximum efficiency. The more units you can service in a day, the more money you make – plain and simple.
When you are discussing the factors listed above, you should also think about solutions. For example, when looking at the space between customers, you need to create an optimized route. This is especially important considering the current gas prices! Map out a route that connects these customers in the shortest distance possible, minimizing any backtracking if at all possible. Also consider equipping your sewage vacuum trucks with quality GPS devices. This will help drivers when they are faced with elements such as road closures or traffic jams.
Here are a few more tips to servicing the max amount of units in a day:
- Have your tools prepared: Ensure that the driver has everything that they need to get their job done, as well as any backup equipment they might need in case of an emergency or hiccup at a job site.
- Don’t skip the inspection: Have your driver or equipment manager double check the sewage vacuum truck prior to heading out for the day. Look at the tires, check the oil and other fluids, make sure that no service lights are on on the dashboard. Servicing the truck will be much simpler while still at the shop as opposed to getting stranded on the side of the road.
- Have a system for communication: Does your business have an effective way of staying touch throughout the day? This doesn’t just have to be in the case of emergencies. But how does your driver mark job sites complete? Do you have an app or is everything done via paper charting? Either way, make sure that it is efficient and done correctly with everyone on the same page.
3.) Safety First
While crunching numbers and operating at peak performance is a good thing, it’s also critical to ensure that you aren’t pushing yourself, your employees, or your equipment too hard. This can lead to fatigue, breakdowns, and burn out! Any one of these three things can be a total dealbreaker for your business.
When setting your goals, keep safety as a top priority. Could that driver squeeze in one more unit for the day, or would traveling that far out put them back at the shop well after dark? Remember that employees who feel burned out might be inclined to cut corners, and that could mean skipping safety inspections on trucks just to get on the road quicker. Or it could mean having a poor attitude with a supervisor, which leads to a hostile work environment. One more unit in a day is not worth that trade off!
Every septic service business is unique! You have different customers, different employees, and different goals. Just because you see a competitor operating in one way doesn’t necessarily mean that is what is going to work best for you. Sure, you might be able to emulate some good qualities, but it’s still important to determine your own wants and needs.
Begin by figuring out how many units you can service in a single day. Don’t be afraid to reroute or rework things as issues arise! That is all a part of the planning process. From there, you will be able to set realistic goals for monthly, quarterly, and even yearly quotas! The better oiled your business is, the happier your customers will be and more money you will make.