How to Systematize Your Service-Based Business

by Corey Philip
September 1, 2019

Technology is advancing. Artificial intelligence is improving so fast that soon it’s going to hit a point way beyond our control. 

We’re not here for AI. You don’t really need that much of an advanced technology system to scale your business. It’s just important to realize that technology is taking over, and you have to utilize it if you want to increase efficiency.

We’re talking systems here. Systems to manage technology, operations, and processes in your business. A way to automate it so that you don’t have to manually do all the tasks, allowing your business to run without you.

What is a system?

A system is an automatic process or routine that doesn’t require manual supervision and that solves a specific problem or issue of a business.

Corporations don’t get big because of their product; they become big because of their system. You don’t suppose McDonald’s burgers are the best burgers in the world, do you? Yet they are one of the biggest companies in the fast food industry. It’s most likely because of their franchising system and the many other systems within their company that aren’t exposed to the public.

As a small business, systems can be a useful tool to make your business easier to handle. Here are 10 systems that you can implement to make operations efficient and seamless.

Why Service-Based Businesses Need Systems

Unlike most new businesses nowadays, service-based businesses run both offline and online. The bulk of the vital work happens offline, especially facing the customers. Mishaps can happen anytime because every employee you let face customers represents your company.

At the same time, online marketing has grown to be as critical as offline processes because a lot of interactions happen online nowadays.

Systems provide a clear-cut procedure for every important aspect of the business. Having a system up to the most minimal job minimizes the margin of error and connects and automates every process so that it lessens the manual work for you, especially on the administrative side of things.


A large part of why you don’t like your job or working on your business is probably because you hate your employees. You don’t want to interact or get involved with them, even just on professional terms. A hiring system ensures you only take in people who you know align with the company’s standards and are perfect for the job.

This involves:

  • Vetting process for checking the credibility and the capacity of applicants
  • Screening people for negative records, backgrounds of unprofessionalism, misconduct, etc.

Routine Interview & Screening Process

A lot of contractors struggle with making people show up for interviews. The best way to resolve this is to make the hiring process quicker and easier for those who are looking for this kind of work.

Making it quick (we’re talking interviewing them the same day they respond to your job ad and making them start the next day) will naturally show you who among candidates are motivated and willing to get things done as soon as possible without delay. That’s an important characteristic you should be looking for. At the same time, this process eliminates those who are not really serious about doing this job.

Of course, you should still make a checklist to go through or to vet through applicants with. You should have a specific process for handling applicants from how to contact them initially to training them during their first few days and weeks on the job.


Operations system is how your team gets the job done. As a service business, every mistake is a great liability. One negative response could affect your business, especially if you provide large-scale services. Make sure everyone in your team knows exactly the step-by-step procedure of doing your service, so you can ensure top-notch quality of work to every customer.

Service Manual

Have a detailed outline ready about the step-by-step process of your service business. Prepare a detailed structure of how you want your workers to perform the tasks, especially the ones that require manual labor. This can be a manual or a full-blown presentation that your employees go through again and again. They should be introduced to it from when you’re training them and must have it at the ready for them to check whenever they do a job.


Delivering a service requires constant communication. Customer’s requests are abundant, and your team can only do one location at a time.

Automate your scheduling by having appointments and consultations automatically scheduled into the calendar and notifying the people in your team that are involved in the project.

Automated Calendar

If possible, use the same process as email marketing wherein triggers activate certain actions. For example, if a customer wants a certain schedule for your service, the system can determine whether or not your team will be available.

This isn’t the case for many though. Have someone handle all the internal scheduling – meeting within the team, what needs to be addressed inside the company. Have another person handle the external scheduling – who to send out to service project locations, where to assign people, etc. Systems don’t have to be just computers. Assign certain people to tasks that are better done by someone.

Customer Relations

If you think that’s a typo, I didn’t intend customer relations to be customer service because they’re different. Customer relations is the system for how you organize a project with a client.

This involves being clear about what will be done, how much it will cost, when certain things will be done, updates on the progress of the project, due dates for the billing, and all other trivial things that might get hazy and could be a cause for conflict along the way.

This system gives you confidence in facing clients and minimizes the opportunity from both parties to raise a negative feedback because you have everything documented. 


CRM or customer relationship management is exactly what this system calls for. There are plenty of CRM SaaS platforms on the Internet nowadays that allows you to track every project from beginning to end. I recommend taking advantage of this because conflicts with service-based businesses are more sensitive than other businesses. It could oftentimes lead to legal cases which you don’t want to be involved with for financial and business reputation reasons.

Customer Service

Customer service is one of the most important things that makes your business remarkable.

For small service-based businesses, we’re mostly referring to customer service representatives or the CSRs of the company. Calls are usually your first point of contact with customers, so you need it to be seamless.

In-House Call Center

Create your own call center within your office with people whose main job is to accept calls and represent the company on a one-on-one conversation. It’s either the caller is making a complaint or inquiring about your service. Either way, this requires a vast knowledge of your company and the services you offer.

If this is not available to you yet, you can also outsource your calls to trusted third parties that can deliver business calls according to your standards.


A service business is quite flexible with prices because every project is different. Every client has a different budget. Creating a pricing system is essential so that each party is fairly paid and priced for the service delivered and availed, respectively. 

Standard Pricing Computations

Have a specific procedure for computing the costs of your service. This should allow you to make a precise estimate for your customers before starting a project and a definite amount by the end of it.


Accounting is one of the most undesirable parts of any business unless, of course, if your business is accounting services. This could take up a large amount of time that could’ve been allotted for much more productive tasks. 

Bookkeeping and Cash Flow Management

Outsourcing this job is what many business owners would consider one the best decisions they made. This allows you to complete the requirements set for businesses: paying taxes, filing papers and documents, and many other tedious bookkeeping work.

Systems make businesses successful. Without these systems, your company won’t grow to proportions bigger than what you initially planned for, and that should be your goal — to make your business work even without your focused supervision.

Sales and Marketing

Over the course that technology advanced, sales and marketing was the most affected. For service-based businesses, it’s hard to reach service coverage areas that are farther from your local area or neighborhood. But now with online ads, it’s easier to reach everyone at the same level.

Sales and marketing systems have changed dramatically because now you can get leads from online, meaning the volume of clients you can accept could also increase. There are several aspects and systems to sales and marketing that you can get into, namely these 4:

Email Marketing

An email system is basically email marketing. Automating your emails allows you to establish connection with your customers and audiences without having to craft the emails every time. You just have to make it once and then let external web tools like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign to create the automations.

Automating emails starts with making sure customers are getting into the right lists — in the overall customer list and into segmented lists. Make your email system more personalized by creating welcome emails, birthday emails, and specified emails according to your customers’ interests.

Content/Relationship Marketing

Social media and editorial calendars are becoming more important to any kind of business as online content marketing proves to bring in business than any other traditional marketing strategies.

Having a content system means creating the exact image you want to portray in all forms of content your business puts out. This includes the tone of your captions and the pictures that you post.

Build out a process for your writers and content marketing team to follow for a consistent content that abides by the business’ general branding. This system should also determine the frequency of your content.

Lead Generation

Lead generation is the process of acquiring prospective clients through several means. This could be from ads on social media, from forms on your website, getting an estimate, or other channels.

Several contractors I know have lead generation as the priority because it’s the first step to closing sales. In fact, too many contractors focus too much on getting leads.

What techniques are you employing to get people to sign up for your service or give you their information?

Sales Process

To continue from lead generation, the sales process is actually the most important part. It involves conversion, which means you’ve closed the sale and people have committed to giving you money in exchange for your services.

A good sales process walks your client through a convenient procedure so that they won’t ask many questions and will be completely convinced to pay for your service.


Constant learning and education is important so that everyone in the team grows with the company. Having this system is motivation for everyone to seek out new knowledge about the scope of your business and the processes involved in it without coercion. Doing it together makes the habit less tedious.

Company-standard Trainings and Mentorship

Training is the best way to interpret this system. Every new employee usually goes through training first, but some companies don’t have offer anything more after that.

Set up a meeting where anyone from your team can join in and dedicate that time to learning, acquiring new skills through tutorials and courses that you go through together. Set up a book club within your small crew. Work on each of your people’s mindset. This is the best way to continuously foster a culture focused on growth and expansion, both on a personal and company level.


Systems are incredibly important for any business, but more so service-based businesses. From what most businesses do today, they merge offline and online systems to deliver not only a premium service for premium prices but ultimately a convenient and client-first interaction so that their customers are happy.

Most service-based businesses usually cost a lot, so there’s so much process involved from getting clients, closing sales, organizing the whole project that could take months, and not to mention, the administrative tasks that come after a project is done. It could all get very complicated for one person to handle. Having these systems automates some of your crucial processes so your company can function without the overwhelm.

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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