Tradespeople: How to best use video calls to scope out a job

Video calls are proving their value right now as the technology that can help keep flooring fitters, tradespeople and businesses of all sizes working while remaining at a safe distance from customers and colleagues.

For tradespeople, one of the key advantages of having a video call with a prospective client is that not only does it allow you to connect with them on a more personal level, but it’s a great way to gain an understanding of the project requirements without having to set foot inside a new property.

It might not be as good as getting out a tape measure, but a video call could provide you with enough information to provide a quote or at least allow you to see the site for yourself and get an idea of the extent of the work that’s required. You could also use it as an opportunity to show the client any samples or visual aids that you have.

In addition to helping you gather information from the customer, why not ask suppliers to jump on a video call as well? If they agree then this could be a good opportunity to build the relationship further and allow your customer look at materials and equipment before it even leaves the warehouse.

Top five video call options

The majority of video call solutions are quick to set up and simple to use, however there are a lot of different choices out there and most of them require both parties to have the same provider installed before you can get in touch with each other. We’ve listed out the main ways to video call someone below, along with a few top tips to bear in mind for each. We’d advise having access to as many as possible so that you can talk to a customer regardless of what app/website/software they’d prefer to use:

  • Skype: Probably the most well-known video calling option, Skype is a free application that can be used on computers, smartphones, tablets and even smartwatches and games consoles

 

  • Zoom: The up-and-coming alternative to Skype, Zoom has cemented itself as a popular choice thanks to its user-friendly nature. Free calls are meant to be restricted to 45 minutes in length, although it’s pretty common for these to be extended indefinitely for no cost

 

  • Facetime: If both parties have an iPhone then FaceTime is one of the quickest and easiest ways to video call someone, as all you need is their phone number

 

  • WhatsApp: WhatsApp has a high-quality, easy to use video call offering available but does require both parties to have the app installed on their phone

 

  • Facebook Messenger: Much like WhatsApp, this is also a text messenger that has video capabilities. The default settings don’t require you to be friends with someone on Facebook before messaging them, unless the person you want to talk to has changed their privacy settings

Practical tips

When setting up profiles for any of the above, make sure that you keep your accounts professional and easy to find, so think carefully about the user name (which should be as close to your actual name or business as possible) and profile image that you choose.

In addition, consider the location in which you make the call. Ensure you choose a semi-professional setting (it doesn’t need to be a bookshelf behind you like we’ve grown used to seeing on the news, but just somewhere with a plain and uncluttered background if you can) and also pick a spot we’re you’re not likely to be disturbed by others in the household.

One other final, but critical, piece of advice – whether the call is on your phone, laptop or tablet, make sure that the battery is charged before starting or that there’s a charger nearby if the call goes on longer than expected. They often do!

In the future

It’s worth getting onboard with video calling now, as even after the lockdown when things are returning to ‘normal’, they will still have a role to play. Customers will continue to expect tradespeople to continue to offer video calling options as we all get more and more used to this type of tech. Plus, there are lots of advantages of using the technology on an ongoing basis, such as the time you’ll save by avoiding driving to a project simply to have a discussion, solve a problem or look at something which could have been achieved with a quick Facetime chat instead.