2019 – The Year of Transition “In Like a Lamb out Like a Lion”
If you ask me to best describe 2019 here at BidClips, I would use the phrase “in like a lamb out like a lion”. The gales of change that frequently accompany the transition of seasons from winter to spring are the perfect metaphor for our latter half of the year – especially during the last quarter when we undertook a series of changes in rapid succession.
While it was an exciting time at BidClips and Service Station, we certainly encountered our fair share of challenges that required great team efforts to overcome. I know I speak for everyone on the team when I say I am thrilled to be beyond the last three months of 2019 and feel better positioned to grow into 2020 and beyond.
Overall, as I reflect on 2019 and look forward to 2020, I can’t help but feel proud of the remarkable efforts our team put in to accomplish our goals throughout the year. I am immensely thankful for all the fantastic people who have worked tirelessly to help this business come together. As someone very close to me likes to remind me, “success is not a straight line”, and 2019 – The Year of Transition, which came in like a lamb and left like a lion, will pay dividends into 2020 – The Year of Growth and beyond.
Now, let’s take a brief look back at 2019.
January through July – Beta and Feedback
We entered 2019 having just commenced a pilot program with Neighborly to prove the concept of our product within their Glass Doctor franchise. Working closely with Glass Doctor franchisees and the corporate office has enabled us to build the best sales solution for the service industry.
We learned a lot about our product through our focus sessions and feedback groups, which continue to influence product decisions today. That said, because of the previously mentioned changes in the latter half of 2019, we fell off the wagon in terms of collecting feedback and hearing our customers, for which I am sorry.
Our phrase for 2020 is “Back to Business” and feedback will again be a firm area of focus for our team. We have a saying around the office that we are a company that takes feedback on our feedback. We love it. We are pretty good at it. We need to get MUCH better and get back to practicing the art of listening well.
To that end, we are looking for more feedback users in several categories. In the early redesign of the feedback groups, we are thinking we will divide everyone into three separate user types. The Beta Users will test the early versions of new features. The Focus Users will participate in – you guessed it! – focus groups to provide feedback on our current product. And the User Experience and Interface Users will be the guinea pigs on who we test mockups for future development. If you are interested in joining any of these groups, please e-mail us at email@example.com with the subject “Join Feedback” and we will reach out to see which group you best fit into.
August to September
August was the harbinger for the craziness that would ensue at the end of the year. Most of our board members attended the Glass Doctor conference where they met up with our BidChachos, presented the findings of our pilot, and discussed how BidClips would change the way glass shops operate. They even brought a calculator we built to demonstrate the inherent missed opportunity in the way glass shops are run today.
Immediately following Glass Doctor Conference our team members walked into the vendor hall at Neighborly Reunion for our first official trade show. We met great people in various corners of the service industry and were able to generate conversations and buzz around our platform. We are thankful for all the fantastic people we met and cannot wait to be back in 2020!
September 1st represented our first official day of Early Access for providers in attendance at Glass Doctor Conference. It was really our first official day of availability to the public, but we were not broadcasting to the public, so we called it Early Access. We spent most of the month giving demos, selling platforms, and refining our onboarding process.
October through December
October is when everything really picked up. We encountered a few snags in our onboarding process and had to go back to the drawing board to better teach and coach on the product.
On the Service Station side of the house, we moved our entire sales team to the new platform and brought over all Service Station clients while simultaneously closing down the old system. We also began the initial process of changing our Service Station pricing which commenced November 16th.
The previously discussed pricing move included doing away with collecting 12% – 20% of completed sales through Service Station and toward a multi-level pricing system. In case you missed the details of our new pricing structure you can find it below. It should be made VERY clear that this is NOT pricing for the BidClips platform, but rather for our inbound call service known as Service Station.
Per call $2.49
Per message $0.50
Per service request $1.99
Of bid total 1.99%
Of job total 7.99%
Throughout the holiday season in late November and December, our team worked hard to adjust to the pricing changes we made in early November and complete our final platform release for the year. It was an enormous release, officially three times larger than any of our prior releases!
We officially pushed the behemoth out the door on December 28th, and I thank our testers and coding team for doing a tremendous job finding and running to ground issues to make our final release of 2019 our smoothest to date.
One of the key features of the release was the completed API integration with Mainstreet Computers™ Glass Avenue™ product. It is an integration we have long looked forward to as it gives our front-end sales product a strong operational partner in the glass industry. If you want to learn more about how Mainstreet and BidClips work together, please sign up for a platform tour.
For the final note of 2019, I would like to give some statistics to show what we have been able to run through the platform in a relatively short amount of time.
9,583 Service Requests
$3,919,242 worth of Bids sent
$1,081,656 worth of Jobs closed
$160,269 payments through Authorize.net
Glad you stuck with me for the recap of 2019. Now let’s take a look at 2020.
2020 – The Year of Growth and Integrations “Getting Back to Business”
We have many exciting initiatives coming in 2020 for both the BidClips platform and Service Station sales team.
One of the main goals for both companies is to move into the Plumbing and Lawn Care industries, while we expand our current offering of Flat Glass, Auto Glass, Window Washing, Mobile Storage, Auto Detailing, and Carpet Cleaning.
Service Station Initiatives
One of the primary areas of focus for Service Station is our new follow-up service which we began trialing in a few shops at the end of 2019. The initial results of the service are very positive! Our process is designed to maximize the follow-up offering for your unsold estimates.
We also need to get “Back to Business” and operate at the highest level as an overall sales team. We recognize that the transition at the end of the year took a lot of our management team’s time and effort, and we were unable to manage the team in a way we consider appropriate for the level of service we customarily offer.
We are heavily investing our time and resources into analytics and processes to make ourselves more efficient and more accountable so we can get back to doing what we do best – providing the premier first impression for customers and closing jobs. We will also be taking on 1 to 2 clients a month beginning in the second half of January, so if our contact center service is something you are interested in, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
On the platform side, we are targeting a few large initiatives this year in conjunction with our normal release cadence. We spent too long getting our last release of 2019 out the door, and we want to get back to a three- or four-week release cycle. We already have our latest version complete from a features perspective and are just wrapping up some bug fixes.
The main areas of focus in development for 2020 will be our pricing engine, including the ability to automatically generate bids and bid packages based on customer-supplied information.We will also be giving great thought into how we can better add automation throughout the platform as well as create flexibility around how we define a customer.
At the beginning of 2019, we worked on some exciting pieces of the system centered around calendars and schedules that we want to get into your hands sooner rather than later. One piece of feedback we have heard loud and clear from our users is that they would like native provider iOS and Android applications, and we are taking a hard look at doing these.. And, as always, we will be listening to feedback from all platform constituents.
I couldn’t reasonably call 2020 the year of integrations without including a section about integrations. In 2019 we completed integrations with Twilio and Mainstreet but would have loved to complete more. In 2020 we are going to make this a core initiative of our platform development.
We recognize it’s not optimal to operate in today’s technology environment without having a marketplace or being part of the marketplace of another software. We are absolutely going to tie off integration with Quickbooks as well as integrations with Google Calendar and Zapier. We would love to do one with Slack as well, either directly or through Zapier.
With our Twilio integration, it is a straightforward leap to porting in other phone systems, and we are looking at how to achieve this for RingCentral and Clarity. We will continue to update our subscribers on our integration initiatives, and we would love feedback on integrations you want to see come to fruition.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this post. Every one of our customers and subscribers is incredibly important to us and we strive to be transparent about who we are as a company and where we are headed together.
We are expecting an incredible journey in 2020 and we thank you for being a part of it. Come visit us again. We will be here getting “Back to Business”.
Austin Casey, CEO BidClips and Service Station