Episode #13 – How To Think Ahead In Business W/ Spencer Little (Client Spotlight)

Transcript:

Well, happy Friday, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Service Legends podcast. And this is going to be the client spotlight session with an amazing guests. I have a real treat for you guys today. Spencer Little, CEO and founder of Deluxe Garages. Welcome to the podcast, man.

Hey, thanks. Thanks so much for having me.

Yeah, man, this is going to be fun. You know, I’ve been super inspired by everything you’re doing, man. And I’ll give you a quick bio. And like a quick intro here, a lot of you might know who Spencer is. He’s been on the Facebook groups. I’ve seen him around, you know, in hours and different groups. And he’s just been crushing it, building an awesome business. But for those of you that don’t know who Spencer is, he is the CEO and founder of Deluxe Garages. Like I mentioned from Austin, Texas, background in operations and most recently before you started Deluxe was really helping indeed from an operational standpoint. And before then you didn’t know much about epoxy, right?

Yeah, I literally bought a house and the garage was done and I was like, man, this is this is really nice. And who would have thought, you know, 2 to 3 years later that we would be kind of sitting here today? You know, I wouldn’t have guessed that for sure.

That’s pretty funny. I’m the same way before I, I mean, I was in sales my whole life in marketing and this and that. But when I got into the commercial estimating space for coatings and, and now residential, I had no clue what was going to happen. So, you know, it’s funny that you got into it like that, but you didn’t know much about epoxy, got your garage done, found a partner or found an acquaintance and was able to kind of get into the industry. And today, our main agenda, our main topic for today, guys, is going to be how to think ahead in business with Spencer Lyttle really focusing on the bigger picture when it comes to the business and all that entails, and really how to eliminate the large ups and downs that small businesses go through. I mean, true men, even that indeed I’m sure you saw people hiring people, you know, different sized companies. And, you know, whether it’s service legend or Cardinal Deluxe, whether it’s, you know, a bigger company like Jeff Gears at TSR. Right. Doing doing tens of millions of dollars or Tommy, you know, everyone’s going to have ups and downs. So I’m excited to get into how to reduce that friction. You know, as business owners, whether you’re a concrete coating company listening or a painting company listening, you know, it’s going to be super valuable today. But if you could open up, man, and just give us some context to a little bit about yourself, a little bit about your business, things like how long you’ve been in business, maybe approximate, approximate revenue, number of crews, things like that.

Yeah, man. So I’m born and raised in Austin, Texas, so I went to school. We’re based out of Liberty Hill, which is a small suburb north of north of Austin here. And, you know, went to school and kind of started my career in tech. And I thought I was going to be in tech. You know, probably my whole life. I really didn’t think that I would ever, ever leave it, you know, different different operation org’s trust and safety teams, call centers, all that kind of stuff, even into the kind of the product focus. And about three years ago, I got introduced into the epoxy roll and kind of drove into the home server side and we started we started deluxe garages and it was on a whim, me and another coworker from indeed who chose to stay in tech. And at the end of this year I kind of bought him out and went at this alone. But we just it was a side hustle, you know, and it was one of those things that we were like, Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s figure it out. We put we put a Lavina propane grinder on an Amex and and said, let’s just go figure it out, you know, and and that’s what we did. And it was a unique perspective because for the first almost year and a half, like, I was still working my day job. And so I really got like this.

See, that’s a crazy part for me, but that’s the crazy part for me.

Yeah, well, it was, it was like, kind of like almost being in a theater and watching it, right. And you saw these ups and downs in my poor business partner, Hunter. I mean, he took the brunt of it, right? Because he was in the field every day. And and we were just like, you know, sell, sell sales. Let’s go. Like, how did you go figure out the insults and all that kind of stuff and, you know, huge props to that guy, man. I mean, he has no quit in him and what he was able to accomplish, like I, I wouldn’t we wouldn’t be deluxe garages if it wasn’t for what he, he was able to put through. And, but it gave me a really good perspective of what’s needed to run the business. Right. And I think you see this a lot, you know, in the forms or whatever where it’s, you know, someone’s trying to do it all. And that’s just hard. It’s really, really hard. And then you add in the swings and the ups and downs and all of that. And, you know, so to be able to see that for a year and a half, I really think I had a vision of like, okay, this is how I want to run things and and this is how we want to go about it. And so I’m. Grateful for that time. And I’m I’m grateful for where we are today. A little bit of background. Yes. Kind of where we’re at. We run three crews here here in Austin. We do a one day system. So we’re doing anywhere from 12 to 15 garages a week. The last 12 months we’ve gone, I think 1.7 or 1.8 million in revenue. We’ll probably. Depending on Q4, we’ll probably do $2 million this year, somewhere close to that. And we’re just continuing to to try to grow and make happy customers.

Yeah. I love that, man. And I know there’s some details there. You know, before hiring service legend, you’re on track to do 700 and then you hired us. You know, obviously, I don’t want to pat us on the back too much, but, you know, you’re on track to 700 and then now it’s 1.9 or so. And I just wanted to highlight, you know, like just before we get into things a little bit deeper, you know, the importance of finding a marketing partner in the beginning to get dialed in, you know, and it’s so challenging, you know, to do that. Obviously, if you don’t have, you know, the Amex, you know, if you don’t have the Amex card, right, or if you don’t have the resources to get started or you don’t have this or that or whatever it is. Right. But could you just speak to the importance of maybe finding a partner, whether it’s service legend or somebody else that that can support the business at a kind of like an omnipresence level online?

Yeah. Well, I think it’s first really important to put into context what kind of what service legend is doing right. Like, I don’t remember the exact number, but I think 9% of small businesses make $1,000,000 a year. Yeah. In the United States, 9%. Somebody is one out of ten out of all businesses. Right. And so, you know, I watch these podcasts and, you know, obviously, like, we’ve been very blessed and all that kind of stuff. But I think it’s really important to put that into context, and I think that’s why it’s so important to find a partner that that can help you focus on that. Right? Because if you’re trying to wear every single hat. I mean, good luck. You know, like and I don’t mean that in, like, this super negative way, but, man, that’s going to be hard. And I already got enough grey hair as it is. My kids have given me all the great I’m.

Trying to get them to man. Like, it’s like it’s starting to come in right here.

I got to keep it super short on the side. So I still look somewhat.

It looks good, I got to tell you. It looks good like that, man. You’re doing.

Well. Yeah, but I think really putting that context, like, I know you come on and say if you’re doing less than 800,000 a year and the fact that you all put together a system that says, hey, we can do $1,000,000 a year, like, I don’t think people realize what that is actually suggesting and sorry, a phone call, but because because that’s crazy. I mean, one in nine or one in ten or whatever it is. Yeah. And I think that’s huge props to you and your team. And even before y’all, we did have marketing a marketing team and they were great. Like they were fine and like we were able to do 700, whatever it was with them. I think it’s kind of interesting though, that y’all were one of the first when I was talking about and even my business partner, that I was crazy and all that stuff. I was like, We need more leads, we need more leads, we need more leads. And you know, and I was talking about the budgets that we were talking about spending. The others were kind of like, Oh, I don’t know, we haven’t gone that far. And and we’re just like, Yeah, that sounds good. Let’s go. This is this is the game plan and we’re ready to do it. And, you know, it’s kind of funny because I’m to that point again, right? We haven’t increased our ad budget in a while and. You know, just now speaking about it, it’s the same thing. And now it’s me holding it back. I’m like, Oh, I don’t know. Do we want to do we want to go and add more outspend, add another crew or we’re kind of comfortable and yeah, it kind of puts a fire in me a little bit to say, hey, we’re we’re we’re looking for for growth here.

Yeah, yeah. I love that, man. I think that’s huge. I know when I first started Cardinal, there was there was you know, we had an advisor, basically someone that was kind of born into us. And he he had told us, you guys need to spend minimum $5,000 a month in marketing your first three months to get, you know, kind of ramped up, you know, in the beginning. So that that way we could keep our guys busy and especially early on, you know, as you start a new crew starting the business, you know, your your production team members, right? Like your actual company that’s doing the work, they see that calendar, you know, and if you’re booked out a week or you’re booked out five days, you know, or it’s not consistent long term, you know, it’s hard to build culture that way to, you know, and build and build security for your team. And so, you know, it’s really you know, I look at it as our duty as the business owners to find the resources to put the marketing in place so we can have security for our team, you know, and when they see that calendar, like I was telling you, like we’re booked out until the last week of October right now with our three crews, which shame on me. We just started our fourth career. We’re starting the fifth here soon, but shame on me for being that booked out. But our guys, they’re like, you know, they’re security there. And so I think that starts with us at the beginning, you know, like in the marketing and things like that. So congratulations to you on that man and for all your success so far. Yeah, and yeah, go ahead.

To your point, it’s not mine. It’s shared upon that whole team. Right. And you’re right, it does start, you know, and we talk about this a lot. It starts on the marketing side and then getting the appointments for the sales on those in person appointments. But in the day, if you can’t if you can’t complete the jobs that you sold, then you’re just kind of selling a dream, right? And not a reality. And so I think exactly what you said and that was really step one when we look at like when you talk about growth, right, that’s kind of step one is to have enough work to where you can have a full time crew and you don’t have to worry about are they going to have to look for side work or are they going to have to go anywhere else? Right. You know, Monday through Friday, they’re going to be working maybe a Saturday here or there. Right. And I do think what you’re saying is right, people enjoy that. People really like the consistency and that allows you to to ultimately put more into the business.

Yeah, yeah. For sure, man. And it’s fun to showing those guys like we just had a new technician start yesterday and, you know, it’s fun showing him, like, the calendar. Like, Hey, bro, like, look at that. He’s like. I’ve never worked at a company where they were booked out so far. We have three crews and he’s like, Man, you starting off for fifth. Like, it’s exciting, right? You know, for them. And a lot of these guys never you know, a lot of these guys have been through kind of rough, rough, rough patches, man. Like, I mean, they’ve worked for, you know, grocery stores, know they’ve worked for tile companies and, you know, they’ve been treated like crap. They’ve, you know, they’ve had their boss that was two days booked out, you know, and and didn’t have work for him for two weeks. And like, there’s all these things that these guys go through and, you know, it’s really it’s really nice to show them that board and be like, hey, check this out. We’re booked out until almost November. He’s like, awesome, right? And then he might go home and tell his wife or his girlfriend, like, man, I’m so excited about this company. And and then he gets here and, you know, you wonder why your production rates are or your go back rates are really high. Well, do your people want to work there? You know, are they excited when they’re working? Are they going to put in that extra 45 minutes to fix that, that top code area or fix that fascia board that they might have missed, painted things like that. So I think it’s huge, man, what you’re doing. So I love it. So let me ask you this. How many employees do you guys have over there?

Well, it’s a good question. So we have to office staff to sales reps. So and then we have six so three lead installers and three three helpers and then one manager on the install side. So seven. So we’re 11 or 12 people total.

Nice, very similar to us. And then I know you guys have expanded some service offerings. What are you guys offering to the marketplace over there right now?

Yeah. So we right now, we’re mainly a flake floor system, right? One day system that we we install every day. We’re just now starting and, you know, we go back and forth on this, right, like niche down, all that kind of stuff. But we’re, we’re deluxe garages for a reason. We picked that name from the very beginning because we knew our niche was going to be in the garage. And so we’re starting to offer storage options to customers. So we’ve done a really good job of setting ourselves up with financing partners to be able to finance jobs. And what we found is that those credit limits and some of those customers are getting approved for their larger than 30 $500 epoxy or array or starter for the garage. And and so we started to put together packages of overhead racks, slate walls and even custom cabinets in that garage system. And we’re going to start really kind of focusing on on the garages, the niche, you know, even outside of the concrete coatings itself.

I think that’s really cool. And by the way, guys, if you’re listening to this live, if you could type in the comments, hashtag live, let me know who’s listening in live gives me some good data of who’s listening in live. And then also, if you’re catching this on the replay, if you could put in comments, hashtag replay. And in addition to that, I’d love to know where you guys are tuning in from. So just put in your city in the comments as well. City and maybe your company. I’d like to kind of get a better idea of like where in the country everyone’s basically listening in from. So I would appreciate that. So deluxe garages and are you comfortable with me kind of giving you like 20 questions here today? Yeah. So this is like the gauntlet here.

Well, let’s go for it, man.

So. Who is the ideal customer and target market over there?

Yeah. So I mean, Californians know I mean, like I say, that perfect answer.

That’s a perfect answer.

But yeah, I mean, for real, there’s a lot of people moving to Austin. Even the people from Austin are kind of moving out to the suburbs and and stuff like that. And so it’s it’s really what I’m finding is people that are trying to expand their square footage in their footprint for their families. So they’re going from Austin proper and where maybe they have townhomes and stuff like that to to out to the suburbs and you know, and then also people that are moving here. Right. We get a lot of Texas Tech is really big in Austin. So a lot of people from California, even New York, like kind of the coast are starting to move here, much like like Phoenix. Right. And I think there’s people that are just really trying to to get more usable square footage out of their home. You’re seeing it in the garages, right? Like, I mean, used to before, they would never paint it. They would never have any kind of baseboards or anything. Right. It was just completely unfinished. And now on some of these newer homes, you’re seeing a textured painted wall with baseboards. Right. And so I think it just makes sense to for people to kind of go finish that out. It’s it’s one of those things, you know, when you buy a new home, it’s like, okay, a water softener. I seal my my tile and grout and I get an epoxy floor in my garage and, you know, like so I think those are our our key customers. There’s also a lot of like kind of remodeling going on in Austin where people are refreshing homes and stuff like that. And so, you know, I think most of the time our customers are someone who’s looking for more square footage, more usage, all that kind of good stuff. Right. Obviously, income level have some disposable income and they’re kind of looking to spend it. Right. So we’re there to help them help them facilitate that spending.

Yeah, I love that. And you’re so it’s so true. Like, even here in Phoenix, I literally just heard someone over here, I think my mom talking to a customer and she she’s like, you know, I’m closing on the, you know, on the 12th. And, you know, I’d love to get this. Like, it’s I mean, it’s incredible. Like four or five years ago when I first got into the industry, people were not doing their new homes like that, you know, about five years ago. Like, I mean, it was happening, I’m sure, but like, you know, it wasn’t as prevalent. And, you know, I was in Bakersfield to California, so maybe a little bit different. But in these metro areas, it’s incredible. Do you guys go after builders at all or like, you know, or like try to partner with other people like that?

Yeah. So I mean, we haven’t needed to and we’re starting to we have a couple like custom home builders hiring that we work with. They give us a couple of homes a year, but most of it is still on the residential side, most of it’s on closing day, that kind of stuff. And we are seeing a little switch, right? Like obviously you talk about the market and interest rates and all that kind of stuff, right? Like the if you look at any tick tock or whatever, it’s like, you know, Austin is the most overleveraged market in the housing market, all that kind of stuff. And and so you are seeing a little slowdown in in new home closures. But what we’re starting to see is an increase in people are saying like, okay, we’re staying put. And this is something that me and my wife just talked about. Like we bought our home three years ago. We just had our third kid and we’re kind of deciding like, okay, do we do we stay here and make this work or do we go and try to find another spot? And we ultimately decided to stay where we’re at, right? Just because the interest rate, the way the pricing is right now, all that kind of stuff. And so now we’re like, okay, well, let’s go ahead, let’s make our backyard what we want, right? So we’re talking about turf and all that kind of stuff. And I think we’re seeing that with with a lot of homeowners, too, is like, okay, we are staying put. We’re going to be here for longer than than we anticipated. And so let’s go ahead and make this more functional for us. And I think that’s where we kind of come in with a good offer.

Yeah, I love it. And you mix that with down economy, you mix that with the financing and the multiple solutions. And, you know, it’s really a recipe for success, in my opinion. What type of what type of like, unique selling proposition do you guys have? Like, what’s your guys’s USP? How do you position yourself in the eyes of, of your customers like anything specific that that that, that, that you feel really sets you guys apart there?

Yeah. Well, you know, this is an interesting question. I’m kind of curious your thoughts on this as well, because, you know, you hear on the forums all the time, raise your prices and provide value, raise your prices and provide value. You know, and it’s hard to to provide value, right. Like it starts with doing, I think in my opinion the little things, right. So first when our phone rings, we pick it up. And I think that sets the tone for for the whole the whole life cycle of going through with this customer. I think, you know, again, it’s a small thing, but we show up when we say we’re going to show up, right? If we have a sales appointment at 11 a.m., well, we’re going to be there at 11 a.m. and if something happens, we understand we live in a perfect world, but we’re going to reach out to that customer and let them know, hey, this is what happened. Whatever. You know, there’s a rack on 935. I’m going to be 10 minutes late, you know, so so I think those little things, communication and setting expectations and then following through really are important selling points that you can’t just point to that in a sales presentation, though, and say, say, hey, I was on time. Right. The other guy, he didn’t care about that, but I cared about it. I showed up on time, you know, but but I do think it sets the tone for the relationship. And so that’s a big thing to to me. And then you go in and you have your sales presentation. We really want to educate the customer, especially in the concrete coding industry. I was listening to to you while I was preparing for this on the easy concrete sell more floors you talked about there’s no association right in in Texas. There’s no contractors license. Right. So anyone that could be working at it and they go start an epoxy business and if they’re not, a.

Shame on those guys coming over, by the way.

Right. But but from a homeowner, that’s scary, right? Because how do I know I’m about to make a serious investment into my home? And how do I know these guys are legit? Right. And it is hard, right? There is no certification, there’s no licensing, HVAC, plumbing, all those guys have licensing. And so I think that’s where we go to the little things. We have our presentation, we try to educate the customer we don’t really want. We don’t really push like the guys are like epoxy or dye or poly your air or die or, you know, poly espada, all those kind of things. We really want to educate, say, Hey, this is where we think this would be a good use case. This is where we think this would be a good use case and then give them options, right? Price points, options, and then everything is written for us, right? So as soon as you get that estimate, you’re going to get the rating estimate with the exact pricing, you’re going to get our written warranty. So you can you can see all the all the fine print, everything before you sign up. And I think you’re just slowly trying to build trust with that customer and really try to humanize that experience. Because I think you have to write you have to get them to see, hey, this is Spencer from Deluxe. We absolutely want you to do your garage floor, but we want to do it because you want it, right. We talk about this all the time saying this is a want product.

Yeah.

And that’s where I think you really have to figure that out. Right. Why do they want to get their garage done or their patio or their pool deck? What are they trying to accomplish? So I think if you do the little things, you figure out the why and then you’re really transparent in your process and your offerings, you end up with a customer that has built trust over those different touchpoints. And now you have an option to be able to make a sale and close a deal and and do all that cool stuff.

Yeah, I agree. And we were talking with Tanner, I think it was last week we did a webinar with him and it’s going to be uploaded to the academy here soon. But it was so true. Like every customer can be different, you know? And so. You know, you’ve got to be moldable, you know, and you’ve got to kind of adapt and overcome, you know. So if you’ve got a customer who doesn’t really care about the 50 year warranty because they’re selling their home or they’re they’re only going to spend the next five years there or whatever it is, and they don’t really care about all of that, but they want something nice on their floor. Well, you might sell them a little bit differently and kind of like build value a little bit differently based on their specific needs versus something that’s like, hey, you know, I’ve lived here for 20 years. I’m living here for the next, you know, like until I die, you know? And, you know, I care about high quality stuff. Maybe they have ping golf clubs, maybe they have a portion like, you know, there’s different value propositions for those customers. And so as as a company, we’ve got to be fluid, you know, and we can’t sell everyone the same exact way, you know, because everyone’s needs are different.

You got to I mean, it’s it’s as simple as this is a want product. Well, why don’t you click on that app, you know, because you don’t have that right. At some point, you’re going to start to match up to the other person that stops by after and gives an estimate. Right. Like there are companies, multiple companies that do the installation process correctly. They dive and grind the edge. They do the edges, they crack, fill and chase cracks and clean all the dust and all that kind of stuff. And you’re going to end up in a position where they’re like, Oh, it’s all the same. You can probably, you know, like you can try to educate them. And that’s part of it, right? Is content and pushing that to build a presence. But at the end of the day, if you don’t have their why and to explain their process, you’re just going to be to erase to zero for those other customers, you know, and and that’s you know, you don’t want to be in that situation. You want to be able to say, Hey, Ryan, you called me out there. We talked about it. You know, whatever. I use this example to my sales team a lot like their ex wife Corvette that she wanted. She had to have the Corvette and it was dripping oil and you’re in your garage floor. And then she left off with the doctor. And every day you go out into that garage, you see that oil spill, you remember that Corvette, and you remember her leaving for the doctor, right? Like, I mean, that’s an exaggeration, but it’s the point of like there is a driving force. Something drove them to click that ad to call you to give us your address, to meet with someone there. And I think it’s our job to fill that out and figure it out and then provide a real solution for them.

Yeah, I love it, man. Let’s dive into this concept of the bigger picture too. Like thinking ahead in business, focusing on the bigger picture. I think a lot of times, you know, we start out in business, whether it’s a concrete coding company or painting company, we don’t really focus on the bigger picture. You know, we think about next month or we think about this month or this week or today, which we have to write. I mean, we’ve got to live in the moment. We’ve got to live in today, tomorrow, for sure, as business owners. Right. We can’t like we can’t have a lot of uncertainty. But and so, you know, I think a lot of times we get so focused on, you know, closing the deals from today, closing the deals from this week and this month. And we forget to focus on maybe this quarter, maybe, you know, now between the end of the year or maybe even next year, you know, we don’t even think about next year. And so I love to kind of dive into that a little bit. You know, like what’s your kind of methodology and what’s your take on the bigger picture and kind of how we how we think ahead?

Yeah, well, you know, the first year and a half, I used to tell this to people like owning a small business is the highest highs and the lowest lows you’ll ever go through. Right. Like, you know, you closed 20,000 in one day. You’re like, yes, we’re going to the steakhouse. Let’s go. You know, and then for two days, there’s nothing like what happened. And it took me a bit to realize, though, like that’s my job as the owner is to put people, processes and technology in place to even those things out. Right? Like because that’s that’s tiresome. You have those ups and downs. It’s, it’s like trying to do everything yourself. It’s going to wear on you and you’re going to have more gray hair than I currently have. And, you know, going to be high blood pressure medicine, whatever it is. Right. And it took me literally like a year and a half to say, okay, well, that’s what I need to focus on is is really putting these these people processes and technology in place. And that’s that’s what I’m trying to do right at the luxury is I want it to be able to run. And this is, I think, a unique perspective from because I kind of backed my way into this. Right. I think a lot of the normal trajectory of a company is their installer.

They become a great installer and then they kind of move up through that. They do sales or whatever, so they’re always working in the business and that’s something I’ve never really done with the garages. And now I’ve done every position right. Like, I mean, when we first started, I was going through Zoom meetings and indeed and answering phone calls and booking appointments and all that kind of stuff so I could figure out this is the process that we need to have. But I think it’s so important for the team to be able to trust them and put them in. Place. I think there’s like, you know, I don’t know if you all follow like small business Twitter or anything like that, but there’s this person named Cody Sanchez and she’s like, you know, you want to work it and then find someone that’s 70% that’s able to do what you’re doing and then hire another person, right? So now you have 140% of what you’re trying to do, and now you can go focus on to the next thing. And I think that’s just really, really important. I tell my team oftentimes, like, I’m always here for you, we’ll mastermind, we’ll talk about it, but in the day, this is your role, this is your responsibility. And it’s very, very clear. It’s like these are your responsibilities. And I give a lot of autonomy for that, right? Like we talk about like the crews and the leads and everything like that.

And it’s maybe once or twice, like, don’t get me wrong, like, I can share stories all the time. We’re like, Man, that was rough. But then you get team members and Cruise that you know, you can count on and now you can do some really great stuff. Like I know my three leads. I can send them to any job, any situation, and I know they’re going to take care of it. They’re going to update us, they’re going to provide pictures. They’re going to do all the things that we asked to do and a good customer experience. And I think that allows you to to to focus on on the bigger picture. Right. And it starts with trust. It starts with saying, okay, we’re going to make this investment in these individuals and to these people. And, you know, I don’t like I said, I don’t think you can do this alone. Right. I really do think if you’re not focused on your team, then you’re doing a disservice to your business because, you know, what business do you have if you don’t have the team members or the customers? Right. Those are the two pieces. It’s a two sided marketplace and you’ve got to focus on that marketplace. Right.

Yeah. It’s so true, man. I was just talking to a guy in and messenger. He hit me up. It was asking about some of the marketing stuff for service and. I think he was on track to like 200 grand this year. So like, like he’s he’s pretty small, but he’s super motivated and he’s asking like, you know, like, what do we do? What do we start? And I was like, you know what? Like, our marketing programs might not be best for you right now, you know? You know, because if you’re if you’re, I mean, like, if your goal is only to do 500 grand or a couple hundred grand or whatever it is, you might not need to spend a lot of money on marketing. You know, you’ve got to get by. But what you should do if you want to make $1,000,000 is, you know, you start building those processes. And I, I think it’s so true to build these processes and the team and like just the, the framework of what we’re trying to do at the beginning, because I think I’ve done the same thing you did is we, you know, we kind of scaled and then we look back sometimes and we’re like, oh, I should build these processes. Or like, hey, you’re like, Hey, we have four generators now.

Maybe we should have a policy on how to maintain our generators, you know, but we usually do that after the generator broke, right? Versus like beforehand. Or we might lose a technician or two because they quit because of whatever. And now we think of, Oh, well, they left now I should build a hiring process or you know. And so I think it’s so important, like as you as you start out, whether you’re a coding or painting company, whether you’re doing 500 grand a year or $1,000,000 a year currently, and you’re looking to go to the next level, whatever that next level is for, you start to focus on those processes and building the team now. So that way when you have the revenue in the door and we have more team members and you have all these different things going on, you’re not being reactive with the policies, you’re not being reactive with how to hire more technicians, how to hire another salesperson, how to hire an office manager. How do you train those team members? You know, like if you could, I know, you know, I won’t speak for you, but, you know, if you had those things in the beginning, I imagine things would have been a little bit easier. Right?

Well, I think it’s important to remember, like where you are as a business and not to try to get ahead of yourself like I don’t know where I read this, but like it was like, you know, growth has a huge tax on your profit and loss that you don’t see until you stop trying to grow. And and so I think it’s really important to do those things at, at the right time. And it’s hard as a small business owner to know when that is. You know, I mentioned I had a business partner to start and he’s a strategist like super brilliant guy, right? Like he was running products to hundreds of millions of people, but he was so process oriented. He was just writing out processes for a team of three and it was like 100 page documents. I’m like, Hey, man, slow down. Like we’re going to get to that point, right? But it’s right now we can have a conversation and we can kind of start to set that up. And so I think it’s really important to make sure you’re putting your efforts and energy right size to to where you’re at today. Right. Like if you have four generators to now, you’re saying, okay, well, I have four generators now. I need processes on how we maintain these generators, but who’s going to maintain them? Do I have the people in place and the infrastructure to do that right? Are we going to put that on a lead installer where they’re going to try to be maintaining generators out in the field and then they’re burnt out because they’re working an extra 2 hours trying to maintain whatever it may be. Right. And so now you go from the process creation to who owns that right. And I think that’s just as important as that process creation.

And then the technology piece, I think comes into play where it’s like, okay, we have the process, we have the people, and now do they have the resources and the tooling to be able to get that done right? And that’s that’s kind of how I look at it. And it doesn’t it’s definitely hard to time when that happens, right, because you absolutely need it, right. Like you’re we talked about this like I talk about this with my guys, with our vacuums and stuff like that, like they’re not disposable, you know, like we’re not going to buy a 5000 vacuum every four months. And so we’ve got to take care of these things. But how do you do that in a way where you’re not putting stress on your organization and your team, but at the same time there’s accountability and ownership and to be able to handle those things right, because if you have five jobs a week and you’re also expected to maintain a vacuum and a grinder and a trailer and all that kind of stuff, maybe that makes sense. You know, I don’t know. It kind of depends. Right. But maybe there is some at some point where there’s there needs to be a role for that. Right. Or, you know, more resources to do that, whatever it may be. And as owners, I think that’s our responsibility, just like you said. Yeah. When do we invest the money on the marketing side? Well, it’s the same thing. When did we start to invest on the operational side and kind of really decide like, okay, we’re moving to a more mature outfit and we’re we’re going to continue to invest and make sure that that’s worth it.

Yeah. Yeah, 100%, man. Yeah, I love that. Let me ask you this, too. Like on the marketing side, what type of marketing mix do you guys have right now? I mean, obviously, you’re a client of service legend and so you guys are on our Mastery program where we’re doing a lot of different things. But maybe you can speak to that a little bit, but also speak to the. Things that you’re doing kind of outside of outside of the online side.

Yeah. So online side is Facebook, Google and SEO. I think we’re talking about tick tock here and stuff like that. You know, as we move further south, I think there’s bigger.

But you’re going to be dancing, right? You’re going to be dancing for the for the videos. Right on. Tick tock.

Hey, I don’t know if that will be.

I would pay to see you dancing. And then we use those as the ads, dude. Hey, it might sell. You never.

Know. Yeah, well, I’m willing to try anything once, but. But. Yeah, so I think that the online, too, I mean. I really feel like we’re in a gold mine, like a gold rush type, you know, infrastructure for home service businesses. Like I just hope Facebook continues to, to, to prosper. And the metaverse, I’m like, Yeah, let’s do it, you know, all that kind of things. Because, you know, it’s truly in a situation if you get with the right partners and you know, I’m not saying that, but it’s a money in and money out situation. Right. And you got to be smart about it. You got to understand what your costs are, what it costs to acquire that customer, what it costs to acquire that in-person lead. But at some point, it is literally money in and money out on the on the online side. And like I said, I think it’s you know, if you’re not taking advantage of of ad spend or Google searches or anything like that, you know, I highly advise you to go find someone going if you’re not at the spending for service legend go network. Go find someone to run some Google ads for you because they’re, you know, they’re worth it offline. We’re doing several things. We just went through a rebranding. So this is our our old logo. You’ll have to see our new logo on the Facebook page. But we went through that with prolific brands. We started to wrap all our vehicles, which we’re already getting calls about. So we wrapped our van probably two weeks ago. And I think like I personally heard in the office, like at least like four or five people saying, Hey, I saw your van driving around, can you give us a quote or whatever it may be.

That van is it looks bad ass, by the way it looks.

Thank you. Yeah. And shout out to creepy goat graphics in Leander. They they hooked it up there but yeah so you know all fine branding stuff like that. You know brochures were starting to get a lot into just kind of more, more content related stuff. We’re doing a podcast with Jim Check, a pro radio show where they kind of they recorded broadcast and then they cut it up in four or five minute pieces and then they push that out. And I just think content is key, you know, even if you’re not advertising it. And then also we’ve done some radio stuff. So with the local sports radio show radio network here, here in town, we’ve tried that out. It’s I don’t know if we’re to the point yet for radio and stuff like that like it’s it’s hard to track our why it’s harder to to to really kind of get to that point. But it was a really interesting learning lesson and I think it is an avenue, especially once you kind of, you know, I don’t know what the max is on social media spending, but, you know, to be able to just start to bring up your brand presence a little bit and people are much more familiar when they see that on online.

Yeah. And you know, just to the offline point, like, you know, obviously like I’m an online marketer, but like. If you do a more offline marketing and there’s more branded keywords and searches in your area. So if you do a lot of offline marketing and whether it’s TV, billboards, radio, home shows, wraps, all these things, people are going to go to Google and they’re going to go type in deluxe garages and you get more branded keyword searches. And so Google starts to recognize that as wow. Like this is wow. Like people are looking for this brand and then it makes the SEO that’s being done more fruitful too, because Google starts to recognize that that that keyword, which usually it matches your your URL and it matches your Google business profile listing name and things like this. And so Google likes that. And so Google will reward more organic reach and getting just basically getting found online a lot, a lot more and a lot easier based on more offline marketing. So, you know, this concept, I think there was some misconceptions or like just some misinformation online about like online marketing offline and which one is better. And this and that’s like, you know, that’s one of things I learned from Tommy is like, who cares? Like, stop, stop being judgmental about things like, well, what’s better, Facebook or Google? It’s like, dude, who cares? Do them both, you know, find out what the best cost per lead is on both and doing both, you know. Now, obviously, if you can’t do them both, that’s fine. You’re going to have to kind of like organize the importance of what’s what’s best for your business right now. But ultimately, like from a conceptual standpoint, it really doesn’t matter where you’re marketing. It matters that you’re omnipresent, you know, and that you’re maximizing each platform.

Well, and I think there’s also a world where there’s a hybrid of both, right? Yeah. Now that you mentioned that, I’m like, oh, yeah, here’s some other things. You know, like, we’re really trying to build up our our reviews, right? We have 45 reviews, all five stars except for one. But we won’t talk about. No, just his name.

Say his name. Let’s take him out.

No, no. I mean, we live in a perfect world. So it was we didn’t get the quote to them or whatever, but so we’re offering gift cards. So instead of like discounts and trying to get people to negotiate on price, we’re talking about rebates. And maybe I heard this on your podcast. Ah, another podcast where it was like in fact whatever, starting to talk about rebates. And I was like, Oh, that makes sense. And so we started to offer rebates to where if you leave a review, an honest review, like we want an honest opinion, but if you do that, we’ll give you 100 bucks, $100 gift card, $180 gift card, whatever the size is.

Actually, that’s.

Cool. And then another thing too, that we really try to push and this is, I think a gold mine honestly like is these Facebook neighborhood pages. So I live in a neighborhood called Santa Rita Ranch and it has 3000 people in their Facebook neighborhood page. And we get 3 to 5 jobs a month solely from that neighborhood Facebook page. And I think that’s where these kind of like hybrid approaches where you’re talking to someone in the real world. We did a real job for them and we’re saying, okay, hey, you’re satisfied, everything’s awesome. Can you do us a favor? Instead of going on Google, can you type into this Facebook neighborhood page and just just talk about your experience, right? Or talk about why you wanted this done and how you went about it. And those blow those blow up like you almost are guaranteed to get a job if you can get someone to post into their Facebook neighborhood page because it’s it’s like micro-influencers ship, right? Like it’s it’s their friend basically coming to them and saying, hey, this is this is a good idea. Right? And even if they don’t know each other, even if they live six blocks away. And so I think those are other approaches that are kind of hybrid, right? They’re all flying online and I think they produce big results.

Yeah, I like that too, because it is spammy when we would do it ourselves. Hey, guys, I own cardinal concrete coatings. You should hire me. Like in the comments. You’re like spam. You’re a douche bag. Who are you like? You know, right? Like, and you get all those comments. But if someone else does it for you, like, Hey, my name is Sally or Hey, my name is Bob, and I hired this company and they’re awesome. Here’s some photos. It’s a whole nother level of comments and engagement in there, you know? So who does that like? Is that like a marketing person? Is that you or is that or is that a salesperson? Like who does that for the business, though?

Yeah. So that’s our design consultants. So they’re the last point of contact with the customer. And so they make sure everything is is good to go. There’s no issues. We don’t need to go back or anything like that. And then they always are pushing reviews or referrals, trying to turn into turn that customer into to another appointment. Right.

That’s awesome. I love that. So you guys are definitely mixing it up with offline and online marketing and what’s working the best for you guys right now? Out of out of everything.

Well, I mean, you know, Google is always going to be a higher content customer, right? Because they’re actively searching, searching for what’s going on. But I mean, we’ve had success with Facebook, you know, I mean, like we’ve had a lot of success from our online perspective. I think we’re getting, you know, don’t shoot me. I don’t know the exact math, but probably 250 to 300 leads a month and we’re converting 60%, 60 to 65% of those to appointments. And there are solid leads. There are people that want them. You know, I think as an industry, we still need to kind of set the expectation of pricing and what that looks at. You know, like I’m not a video production, but we get this a lot like, oh, I can do it for myself for $500. And it’s like, well, actually I went to the Home Depot website and obviously I would never say this to a customer, but literally I just plugged in what would be needed to do a Home Depot kit and it’s 830 bucks or something like that. Right. And then it’s like, what is your time worth? And you know, all of that. So but most of the time the customers are really engaged.

They want it done. They know if you’re going to drive out to them and see them for an appointment, you know, you’re already kind of setting price expectations there. Right. And then you show up with an iPad, clean cut, you know, all those kind of things I think is is is super important. So, I mean, I wouldn’t say like I prefer one or the other, like Facebook or Google. I mean, if I had to choose like a budget was an issue, I would I would focus more on Facebook just because it’s a little bit more like a billboard and you’re going to get a broader presence and be able to cast a wider net. But but Google is is a gold mine, and I really want to do without both of them. So I think it just kind of depends on on what your budget is and all that. But if I had to choose, I would probably say Facebook, you know, my sales guy would probably say Google. But just because the cost to acquire a customer on Google is a little bit higher and the margins are better if you have a good process in a good team for the Facebook side.

Yeah, yeah. For sure. You know, it’s always good. Like with Service Legend, we have the blueprint program. And so, you know, if you’re doing less than 800 or $1,000,000 a year, it’s a great program because it’s ads focus and it’s all about getting leads, getting leads now, getting them in the door. And the main platform that, that that our clients use is, is Facebook. We started to incorporate Tik Tok and we’re getting leads, you know, ten, 15, $20 leads as well. It’s a little bit cheaper, but the lead to appointment ratio is a little bit lower. I think the last time I looked it was like I think our Facebook and our Google and anything like that was ended up being like 70% lead conversion rate. And then TikTok was as low as like 50%, maybe 45 to 50%. So it’s definitely less, but it goes back to that point of just being omnipresent. And so so I’m curious like do you guys have any special things you guys do to attract reviews at all? Like, like, is it in person? You have anything special you guys use right now?

Yeah. So again, I think this goes back to like the process side. So one, it’s on the design consultant. So their commission structure is actually set up a way to incentivize them to get reviews or referrals so they get an extra percent on their job if they do that. Right. So, so that’s that’s one thing to set it up because, you know, again, I want to make sure that those people feel empowered to to take care of the customer, make sure everything is right. And so we actually completely 100% incentivize it on the sales side. So that’s one thing which is substantial, right? You’re talking about 10% of your income as a design consultant, if you can just get reviews and referrals. Yeah. And then the other thing, obviously we offer the rebates and the gift cards depending on what the customer is. And then we use nice jobs from a technology perspective, nice and so nice job loops into our CRM, which is work is when a job closes and work is, then it kicks off a campaign and nice jobs and starts to kick kick it off. And we get, you know, I would say probably like 5 to 7 reviews a month that way, give or take some months or less. But if if a human is on the other side, your chances of getting a review, probably ten X if you put some incentive, a money incentive on the line, your chances of getting review are probably 100 X.

Yeah, I just talked to our, our, our technicians today. We had a team meeting this morning and I was here for that. And I think we’re going to do like $25 per review, you know, you know, it’s not important. I mean, that important. And sometimes a lot of these homeowners, once we leave, they can’t find it. You know, it’s you know, they have their kids baseball game or gymnastics. They’re going to dinner, you know. Right. And so, like, if we can secure that review on the spot from because I mean think about it the technicians. Are their last. You write, they’re like the last ones to see the customer. They’re completing a project. And so we’re going to incentivize them. Like, you know, I think it’s like 25 bucks a review. And so I’m going to focus on that too, because it’s that, it’s, it’s that human to human interaction.

Yeah. Well, and I mean, just the reality is a small business owner like I mean, how many times in a you know, how many times where a customer is like, if you don’t do this, I’m going to give you a bad review, you know, like, and it doesn’t happen a lot, but like, that’s their, like, whole crutch, right? Like, you know, if, if a situation does get to a point to where it’s escalated or whatever, you know, I’m going to go online, I’m going to bash you. And. And so having those reviews help you in those situations gives you a little bit of clout to be able to make the decision that’s best for your company and for your team and not necessarily having to to sway both ways. Right. Because that’s something that I’m really big on is, you know, like we want to be blameless, right? Like we live in a perfect world. There’s going to be times where deluxe garages messes up. And when that happens, we’re going to go and do everything we can to fix that issue. And then there’s going to be times where we held up our end of the deal. We’ve done everything that’s in the contract and whatever else happened, and I want to be able to have that flexibility and having those reviews, those good experiences, just help with that. And I know that might be taboo for people to talk about, but like I literally had a situation two weeks ago, you know, we had a lady scheduled for for 4 to 6 weeks. Her kids come into town, decide that she doesn’t need an epoxy floor in her garage.

She cancels 24 hours before like less than 24 hours before we’re supposed to arrive like 5:00 pm on Tuesday. We’re supposed to get there on Wednesday. And her daughter is on the phone with me. You know, it gets escalated all the way to me and she’s like, hey, you’re this is not right, blah, blah, blah. I’m like, Well, I’m sorry, man. We have a contract. We went through this whole process. We held up our to the deal. We went to 150 sales appointments since we left your mom’s place. And we did not offer that insult to anyone else. Right. And and, you know, obviously, it’s like, oh, I’m going to go leave bad reviews. And I’m like, well, I’m really sorry you feel this way. We would love to do your garage, but at the end of the day, we’ve upheld our end of the contract and I can go home and feel really good about that, right? Because we’re not going be able to satisfy everyone. We want to we want 100% satisfaction. But sometimes, you know, and I want to make sure as a small business owner that I’m not held almost hostage to be able to do that. Right. There’s there’s things where you’re like, you know what? It’s not worth our energy. We’re just going to move forward and and all that. But also at the same time, we want to make sure that we’re in a position to be able to put our energy in the right place.

Yeah, it’s so true. And you know, I think one thing that’s helped for us, that’s helped a lot for us too, is, you know, I think the customers, once they start to realize that you have processes in place, you have policies, you’re not just a fly by night company. And like how you answer the phone, like what you talked about like from a USB perspective is like if there’s an issue, if you can have a professional, assertive kind person working with that person or that customer, and you let that customer know that, hey, we have a process for this and there’s policies because for example, if you go to Lowe’s, they’ve got processes for everything, right? Like it’s not the the opinion of the of the employee or if you go to, I don’t know, Morton Steakhouse. Right. Like like there’s policies there, right? Like it’s not like a decision by this, you know, this employee that has an opinion or there’s a motion there, it’s like, hey, it’s is kind of how we, you know, if you’re unsatisfied, hey, I can I can I can give this steak for free off your bill. Like, I can’t like there’s an actual company there. It’s professional. And I think a lot of times that small business owners, we think that we have to like like just do everything and do it right now and figure it out right now. Oh, my gosh. It’s like but like, we don’t have to do that, right?

Well, it’s exactly what you said. Let’s take the emotion out of it. Like, as long as you are setting expectations and you’re holding up your expectations, I think that’s something that you can hold your head high. Now, it doesn’t mean like, you know, I think there was some comment in the forums or something like that, I’m not going to negotiate with a customer on price or I’m going to walk away. Like I think there are certain things where it does make sense to to work with the customers and and try to leverage the small business where you can. And then at the same time, if you have those processes in place because I mean, even when I was at indeed, we had a trust and safety team that would lock out employer accounts. Right. If they’re doing someone that thinks is spammy or if it just didn’t fit their profile to post jobs on the right like commission only jobs. Right, like our sales reps are commission only. It’s a great gig. You know, they’re all going to be making six figures. But if I want to go post a commission, only job one, indeed I have to sponsor that job and it doesn’t matter how much I call in and yell or complain or threaten like that is the policy. Because indeed it’s decided this is what’s best for the job seekers. Right. Because oftentimes commission only jobs can be a situation where maybe job seekers are taken advantage of. And so they’ve created this policy and they hold to it and they stick to the job seeker.

And that’s what I really try to get to my team to, is we’re building these policies, we’re building these processes, and we’re going to uphold our end of the deal, right? We’re not going to do something that we feel is shady or anything like that. But that doesn’t mean we’re just going to be walked over 100% of the time because our customers matter. Like, I don’t want to get away from that. Like, you have to care about your customers and take care of them, right? But at the same time, otherwise, your team’s going to get run over, right? And you’re just going to have to bow down and they’re going to get frustrated with that. And that’s why contracts exist, right? Because it really spells out this is what you’re going to do and this is what we’re going to do. Exactly. And there’s there’s no gray area here. Right. It’s purely, hey, boom, boom, boom. Right. And and so I think that stuff is is is important. And it helps, you know, in my perspective, where I’m trying to to not get away from the day to day, but make sure my teams are empowered to take advantage of that. They also need that defined. This is what I’m able to do for the customer. If something happens right, like if we mess up, we’re going to go fix that garage. But if it’s something that we feel like we’re going to stand behind, then we’re going to stand behind it, you know?

Yeah, I love that, man. And you know what it reminds me of? You know, I spoke to Jeff Gear a couple of weeks back, and I’m actually going to go out and we’re going to we’re going to go visit his headquarters in in in late October. And I’m super pumped about that. But he he had he was like, you know, I asked him a question. I said, hey, you know, a lot of a lot of concrete coating companies are painting companies right now are struggling, collecting final payments. Right. And and I’m like, do you have a form that people sign off on on the day of completion? Right. So like if you finished at 4 p.m., you know, there’s a form, you have them signed and they pay. He goes, Why would I do that? It goes in the agreement. It says, Upon completion, I’m going to charge their credit card. Why do I need to ask them for approval to charge their card? And I think that’s the benefit of having those policies. And I love what you said, too, bro. It’s like, you know, if you if you develop these policies and these processes, it actually makes your team their job more like, you know, easier, right? Because and and they can be more confident, too, because they know that they have a leg to stand on and there’s structure there that they can. And ultimately it does serve the customer. Ultimately, you know, most of the customers that are going to that that are going to pay the money that that that we charge are going to appreciate the structure. You know. And so I think it’s great, man, that you’re doing that. Let me ask you this. Do you guys have any specific follow up marketing that you’re doing? Like like the salespeople that you guys have? Like, what’s a follow up? What are they doing? You know, I personally feel like you can grab another ten at a minimum to 20% in closing percentages on a monthly perspective. If if there’s awesome follow up and I just wanted to kind of dive into what you guys do for follow up.

Yeah. So I have a I had to admit that we weren’t doing follow ups for, for a really long time until Jeff was on your podcast and he was talking about 360,000 a month and follow up how it did the math real quick. I was like, Oh crap, that’s 17% of his revenue. Yeah. So that’s what I’m actually like the last thing that’s in the business, I’m our inside sales rep right now. Nice. And so I’m building that that roll out. We just got Hach up and running to help with that a little bit. I know high level and you know service legend has a lot of campaigns that you can kind of build into that directly and I’m just kind of testing the waters but basically I’ve for four weeks now, give or take, don’t hold me on my math exactly. But for weeks I’ve done follow ups to where I get at least one job closed. So for four weeks in a row, I’ve closed the job on follow us. And that’s really opened my eyes. I’m like, okay, wow. This is is something that that we have to do still need to work out the process because I think it needs to be more content in educational posted.

You know, like indeed we did these things called bond bond videos and they’re just like quick little like they put a gif in it and all that kind of stuff. So, so need to work out that process and what that looks like and try to make it more educational. Right now it’s more so like, you know, feedback related. It’s like, hey, I’m the sales manager and I want to hear about the design consultant and and stuff like that. So lots to come on that. But I think you’re absolutely right. Like I was leaving it to the design consultants and you know, I think they did a good job like they were so closing at a rate that is is good and all that kind of stuff. But I think, you know, because our marketing produces so many leads and appointments that they can. Trying to get like shiny object syndrome, right? Like, I don’t need to to follow up on the five appointments I had yesterday because I got five more tomorrow. Or two of those. Right.

And they have their calendar so they see it. All right.

Right. So and.

Yeah.

And so that’s why we’re actually going to separate the roles themselves. And outside is going to be outside and inside is going to be inside. And so, so right now text space follows. We’re doing about ten days and then they go into a long term nurture sequence. It’s, it’s based on feedback. But we’re going to we just brought on a team member who’s been awesome on the inside. He’s been helping the leads. He’s going to start helping on the follow up process, and I want it to be a lot more. The vision for it is a lot more educational. Tik-tok style videos trying to make it a little bit more humanized. Yeah, and just from the text based system, though, like I said, I think I don’t know the exact number of closes, but I literally have done it until I get too close to that day and it’s almost every day. So if you’re not following up, I mean, it’s just wasted money. And that’s just the reason we’re going only a month back right now. Like, I’m not even looking at the ones that we did 12 months ago. And then this is where I’m starting to get excited. We started really pushing financing a lot. And the reason why that is it’s a it’s a revolving credit line. And so you can put on a promotion at any point 0% interest or whatever. And these customers that are getting their flowers done, maybe they don’t opt for storage or something like that, but they have this revolving credit line and we know the amount we know is 9000, 10,000 or whatever it is. So we know K 12 months, 0% interest on your 3000 floor. Well, in 12 months we know you have another nine grand to spend that we can throw 24 months, 0% interest and I think.

Have you a walkway or something else.

Yes. And and I think that’s what I’m kind of getting excited about is we’re just doing follow ups and just such a short look back once we really get a full 12, 12 months or or even longer. Right. Just newsletters and whatever else may be to keep those people engaged. I think those numbers are going to be maybe even bigger than 17%. That’s my hope. Right? Like that is is 2020 5% of revenue is is from the follow up process.

Yeah, yeah. It’s awesome and I love it. Yeah. I love all this stuff like kind of building the operations systems, the sales systems, the marketing systems. I love it, man. Let me ask you this. Like and we’re coming to a conclusion here a little bit, but I got a couple more questions here. How do you guys hire interview onboard and train new team members? Like do you guys have specific hiring processes, templates, interview questions, tech training, self training, things like this? Obviously, in our in our industry, you’ll ask most business owners, especially in these epoxy guys and all these different forms, right? People are like, oh, I can’t find anyone. Right. And I and I and I posed a question the other day, maybe it was last month sometime. I said, you know, is there a hiring shortage or does anyone want to work for you? You know, and so, like, are you having trouble finding somebody because no one wants to work for you? I think personally it’s because lack of processes, lack of systems, lack of, you know, just maybe knowledge or information of how to find new people or whatever. But in my opinion, there’s no there’s not a big shortage of people looking for work. I mean, shoot, man, I put out an ad on. Indeed. And I mean, we get hundreds of people. And so how do you guys kind of work through that? You know, that challenge of hiring.

I probably talked to an hour on that. So I think first, yeah.

We have our indeed specialists here, by the way.

So first, as a small business, I think your your network. Right. Is extremely important. I think we’ve hired six people from my high school. Right. And we’re in the same area, so we get some benefits of that. So I think that’s a big part of it. As a small business, like it’s the same thing, referrals and recommendations, right? Those are like really hot leads. I think it’s the same thing on the hiring side. If you can get someone that can vouch for them and say, Hey, this person is really solid, I think that’s that’s huge, right? Because you kind of get an opinion right off the bat and people will tell you like, Oh, yeah, I got a friend that’s looking. But I, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t want him here like, you know, like that kind of stuff. So I think that’s super important if you’re not really out there in the community to do that because that’s, you know, it doesn’t cost a lot. And until you’re probably to the 12 or 15 employee mark, you probably get all your hiring just through that process, right? Now, obviously, as you start to grow and look for more specialized roles, you’re going to have to get into a more online presence.

And, you know, I don’t think people realize this, but indeed it’s literally the same exact algorithm. Everything is Google and Facebook and all that kind of stuff, right? Like you can post organically and if you post organically, you need to make sure that you’re posting content that is relevant to the search results that people will be searching for. And so, so that’s one super important. And then you are able to sponsor your post, right, and be able to pay for that. So I think on indeed, our Facebook, whether it’s Facebook ads or whatever, I think if you’re truly trying to attain, attain talent, then it’s the exact same philosophy and structure as trying to attain a customer. Right. Like it’s they’re identical to each other. I mean, indeed, it’s just another social media platform. Linkedin, I know this is not more for blue collar, but literally a social media platform that that allows you to attract talent and.

You can find managers there like so I mean, if you’re looking for a GM or if you’re looking for an office manager.

Or site sales rep or whatever it may be, you know.

They’re there. I mean, the funny thing that I know about employees is that, you know, people are like, oh, you know, it’s fine. You know, it’s hard to find employees. I’m like, Dude, they’re just people just like you now. I mean, everyone works, everyone’s on Facebook, everyone’s on TikTok, everyone’s on Instagram, everyone’s on LinkedIn. Like, trust me, like, they’re, they’re like, they just don’t want to work for you.

Yeah.

Or you’re not doing the right activity maybe to put yourself out there or the right messaging. And I like what you said, though, about the organic side, because you call yourselves people design consultants, right? Well, the guy that’s going to be working for you won’t probably type in to indeed design consultants for concrete coatings. Right. So we have to kind of understand these platforms, too.

Yeah, no, 100%. And then once you do get those those applicants, you know, I’m not a big fan. So I spent a lot of my early career interviewing, hiring, and I’m a data guy like I really do like numbers. And I don’t think interviewing produces like reliable results. And I know that’s kind of catchy, but I think you flip a coin, right? Someone can come in and be a great interview. They can pump their energy, their high, you know, saying all the right things and and then they don’t show up on day one. Right. And you have someone that you’re like, Oh, I don’t know. He was really nervous and you know, but then he’s like one of your best employees. And I’ve just seen that too many times. And so I think when you get in, get someone into your doors, it’s really important to set proper expectations so they know what their role is. You know, like for our sales guys, I say, Hey, look, I’m going to get you 100 appointments and we’re first, you’re going to go through a week of installing and then you’re going to ride with our sales reps for two weeks, and then you’re going to ride with me for two weeks. And then we’re going to get you to 100 appointments and we’re going to check in throughout this process.

I shouldn’t be able to answer. But at that 100 appointment, mark, we’re going to look at the data. Right. How many closings do we have in that? 100, 100 appointments? Where are you feeling? What kind of feedback are you looking at? All that kind of stuff. And so I think that kind of puts them immediately like, okay, I know where I’m at, right? I know if I’m closing one out of ten, then I need to go back to Spencer and talk about like, Hey, what am I seeing? Why is this or whatever? But if I’m closing four out of ten, then I’m crushing it, right? And I can feel good about myself and all that kind of stuff. And the last thing I think is like, like people work for money. Like you can sit there and say that you’re a family and all that kind of stuff, which is great, right? Building culture is super important, but at the end of the day, they show up because of the paycheck. Like if you stop paying them, like, you know, and I’m lucky enough, I think I deluxe we would still have some guys continuing to show up, but at the end of the day, like, like they’re there for that paycheck to go and take care of their family. And so we do something called pay for performance.

Everyone that’s full time is is well above the median salary in Austin, Texas. You know, they’re taking care of they get a lot of autonomy to be able to do that. And so and we pay them really well to have that autonomy. Right? Like if you’re a lead installer for garages, you’re going to make 70 to $90000 a year. But we’re going to expect you to be able to take care of your crew, make sure everything is being installed correctly, make sure that your crew is safe. Right. That we’re not doing anything that’s that’s going to put our crew in danger or stuff like that. And we’re going expect you to be able to manage those customer relationships and all that. And we’re going to compensate you well and we’re going to give you all the tools and processes necessary to do that. But at the end of the day, like, Hey, man, it’s you, it’s your time to shine. And so I think that’s important to you in the hiring if, if you want to hire someone like I mean, you just got to think about it like in Austin. I don’t know what it’s like in Phoenix, but I think you go to Chick fil A 18 bucks an hour or whatever it is, 16 bucks an hour. And that’s good. Like like I’m when you.

Get free milkshakes. Right? So, like, I mean.

Chick-fil-a was my first job ever so chocolate. But, you know, I wasn’t making that at the time, you know, eight bucks or whatever it was. But I think that’s super important. And that goes back to, you know, if you can take care of your team, then you can take care of your customers. And the customers start to see that because they’re going to get a more friendly person and all that kind of stuff. And so I think that’s a big portion. Like, I wonder how much hiring is just because like you’re trying to pay someone $17 an hour to do hard work, you know, it’s not even $17 an hour. It’s $17 at 1099 and you know, like all these kind of stuff. And I’m not saying that’s the case, but I think if you can start people off and show them like, hey, here’s a career path, here’s an option to get autonomy, to build trust, and then here’s an option to be able to take care of your family where you can buy a house in Austin, Texas, even if the the market stays continue high and you can have that kind of American dream, I think that helps with your story. Just just like you need a story for your customer. Like what are the value propositions, right? We answer our phones, all that kind of stuff. Well, it’s the same exact thing with your team. What are the value propositions? Why do you want to keep them on board? And it’s again, you have to understand their why, like what are their dreams? What are they trying to accomplish? Why are they showing up to work every day? Is it their little girl? Is it they’re trying to buy a ring for the love of their life, whatever it may be. And if you can start to help that out, I think that’s a big process and you have to be able to tell that story very quickly in an interview process. Yeah, but that’s where you get the team involved and you do shadowing and and all that kind of stuff so they can kind of hear in real time.

Yeah, I love that, man. I love the breakdown between like, you know, the team members that were looking to hire. It’s just like trying to acquire a customer, it’s acquiring a team member. And I like also what you said about the kind of the ascension model for them, you know, like, like the career path. And there’s a guy named Skyler who owns a painting company in in in Pittsburgh. He has this broken down on a graphic, and he posted it in one of the groups. And, you know, like, I think if you can show these guys, hey, starting off at $20 an hour plus plus overtime, plus whatever it is, plus bonus is opportunities. But you know what? Over the next five years, you know, we’re looking to grow. So we’re looking for production managers. We’re going to be looking for team leads. We’re looking for salespeople. We’re looking for, you know, area managers or whatever. Right. And I think these days a lot of our technicians are younger, you know, like their early twenties, mid twenties. I, you know, I think the guy we hired yesterday was like 34, but. Most of our technicians are mid twenties or early twenties and these guys are looking for what’s going to happen the rest of my life, you know? And, you know, we got competition, man. We got, you know, we got we got a one garage door. We got kettle, kettle, kettle. You know, we’ve got these big companies that are providing amazing benefits and, you know, things like this. And so I think, you know, I love what you said about the expectations about the pay and really serving these these team members because they have lives, too, you know, and I think sometimes, like back in the day, the business owners were so consumed with, you know, I’m going to make the money, I’m going to do the hard work, this and that. And I think it’s kind of shifted towards really serving these team members because, I mean, I was I was 20 once, too, you know, and I think I think we have to really have some humility, as, you know, as the business owners.

Yeah. Well, I think two points that brings up. I think it’s important as business owners to look at total compensation package as well. So not necessarily just what are you paying them hourly? You know, like we obviously offer like health insurance and all that kind of stuff. But one of the things I noticed was a lot of my in-store guys like we’re not signing up for health insurance even though we pay a good portion of it and all that kind of stuff. So as we’re planning into 2023, we’re really talking to the team and saying, okay, like we have this budget here, what kind of benefits are important to you? Right. And you know, like we do weekly pay, but we’re talking about maybe even doing going down the daily pay, right. And so W-2 employees, but finding a system to where we can get these guys money immediately. Right. And it has a benefit that they value and then flexibility, right. Time off, you know, obviously like the great resignation and remote work, all that kind of stuff. They’re hearing about all this and you know, you can’t do coding installations remotely, but, you know, what are things that we can do to to try to cover that? So I think total compensation package is really important. And if you all have the perfect plan, let me know because we’re still kind of crafting that.

But finding benefits that actually matter to your team I think is super important. And then to like to your point, I think especially with people that maybe don’t have the skill set yet, right. Like that goes back to their why I remember my first job, you know, they had this process, it was just a call center. It was it was a company called Hot Schedules and they had this process called Node Acro. And basically, if you retain information, you took a course, you got a quarter 25 cent raise and there was 20 tests. And so at the end of it, it was like, you know, I think a $3 and 50 cent raise or something like that. And then you were eligible for promotion and they did that because they retained information. And while we haven’t done that at the I think again, knowing their why in that whole conversation, because it could be like, hey, you’re going to learn a skill set and you’re going to be able to lead a crew or lead your own business one day or go into the sales side. And again, it’s really finding the benefits in the packages that your team actually wants and not just trying to pigeon them into a square, a square peg in a round hole or whatever it may be.

Yeah. And a lot of the guys come to us and they and they share that story. What’s funny is like, they’re like, Hey, I’m coming from this place and I’ve been there for four years and the owner doesn’t care about me and I haven’t got a raise. And there’s no Ascension model, there’s no promotion, there’s, you know, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about building. So it’s like we already know and we’ve all been employees before. I mean, most of us have worked jobs before. We’ve been employees. We’ve been entry level or been managers, we’ve been in leadership. And so I think, you know, I think it’s just our our due diligence and our duty to kind of set it up for those people and put them put ourselves in their shoes. I mean, they all come over saying the same things. You know, I hate my boss, I hate the company or even not that hostile it could be. I just don’t think there’s a lot of opportunity for me. I don’t think that they’re going to pay me more. I don’t think that they’re the benefits. I don’t you know, whatever it is, you know, they don’t care about me. And if we can just listen to, like, all of those all those employees, like why they’re coming over to us, why they’re trying to leave their current company and just build kind of the the framework or the structure. So they so that way that they don’t feel that way when they get here. And I mean, dude, it’s it’s that simple. Not easy, but, you know, but it is that simple. Let’s transition here a little bit to the culture here. Like, how do you guys build culture? Like, you know, is there a certain meeting rhythms or is there certain things you guys do like maybe quarterly or or different things you guys do to help build culture there?

Yeah. So we we definitely have, you know, every Monday morning or Monday morning in the shop, we have a weekly review with the production team. You know, we have quarterly incentives. So on the sell side we have something called Mean Green and Top Gun to where basically, if they’re if they’re hitting their their target. They get some kind of cash bonus and then it’s different types of things, right? Close percentage, number of jobs, closed, average jobs, ticket price. And then Top Gun is if you hit those consecutively for four, 12 months, then your top gun, if you get two or more than than your like top gun, platinum or whatever, I forget what I called it, but basically you’re able to kind of go on a trip at the end of the year, incentivizes consistency. On the production side, we have a lead installer and helper of the quarter where they’re able to get the same thing like kind of cash are like one of the when we did Milwaukee pack out stereo because they like to listen to music and stuff like that in all of these pack outs. I think for me though around culture, I’m really big on empowerment and you know, like I want to set expectations and I want to make sure that you understand those. But at the end of the day, like, you know, like you’re on the floor, right, with you and one other person or two other people.

And and so that culture starts with those guys. Right. And, you know, I say this to to one of our lead installers. His name is John. And I tell him every morning, I’m like, it’s a great day or not, the choice is yours. And he you know, he gives me a hard time about that because he’s like, I can’t control it. And whatever else, I’m like, No, but for real. Like at the end of the day, like we can choose, like, are we going to have it a great day or is it going to be a crappy day? And we’re going to let it kind of roll over ourselves. And and obviously, there are things that are out of our control, right? Like, you know, you blow out a tire or whatever else. But, you know, I think this is something my dad’s told me. As long as you have your health, then you’re highly blessed. Right. And I think that’s kind of the perspective that we’re trying to bring to the deluxe is like, we’re going to be okay, we’re a healthy business. We’re going to be able to take take care of our employees and pay them well. And and, you know, at the end of the day, you know, it’s not work.

It’s just hanging out with the homies and trying to get the work done and all that kind of stuff. And I think that starts with the culture and making sure people understand that they’re valued, making sure that they understand that their position matters, right? Like, Yeah, I can’t go install this. We got like Chris and Tim, there are two men crew and they can go knock out like 1200 square feet in 8 hours. Like it doesn’t matter, like what we throw at them, they’re just able to knock it out. And I would be it would take me two days to go do that kind of stuff. And, you know, I think a big part of that, too, is putting people in the right position, right, so that they can be successful and so they can flex the strengths that they have and all that kind of stuff. And so I think that’s that’s big on culture, letting people be who they are to right. And indeed it was like bring your whole self to work. And and I think that’s the same thing here. Like, you know, a deluxe is we’re not, you know, you can be whoever you want to be. At the end of the day, we’re all in the same team.

You know, this is really important. I’ve learned in the home industry slash construction, all is something new is you know, you have to assume good intent. Right. Like I think people sometimes, you know, maybe don’t assume good intent. And I think that’s super important that we’re all pulling for you. We’re all on the same team. We got your back. And and so those things, I think and then the culture starts to build itself right. Like I think if you can lay the foundation, you can do the right things, you start to hold up your end of the deal. I think your culture really stands by it and you see that like I’ve had an installer recently, he left for another company and he turned into two weeks and did everything right. And then two months later he’s like, Hey, do you have a spot for me? I need to come back. I didn’t realize, you know, all these things. And and I think that shows you just the type of culture that we’re building and the team that we’re trying to build. And, you know, ultimately, if you can do the things right, you can set people up for success and you give them the autonomy to to flex their muscles. You’re going to have a nice well oiled machine.

I love that, man. Coach are so big, especially today, you know, and as you scale the team, like you and I as the owners and all of you, all of you that you know, that are listening, you know, you can’t be on every job. You know, you can’t be on every sales appointment. You can’t you can’t even collect every invoice. You can’t you can’t do everything like you like you started with. And so, you know, I know. So I’ve got you know, I got a good buddy, Danny Brewer, and he talks about, you know, your culture within the business is a direct reflection of you and your soul and your personality and all these different things. And so, you know, if you’re a bitter guy and you’re, you know, you’re angry all the time or you don’t get things done, you don’t follow through and you’re not nice or whatever. Right. I can guarantee you your company probably looks like that, too, you know, but if you’re if you’re following through and you’re being productive and you serve with a servant leadership mentality and you’re building the systems in like what you said, you’re doing your part. You’re going to find people that. Kind of are our magnets to that right there, you know, and I think it’s so important to really self reflect first, you know, so like if you don’t have a coach right now and you’re listening to this and you’re like, man, my culture sucks.

Do take a self-reflection, you know, do you need to hit the gym or do you need to eat better? Do you need to, you know, read some books? Do you need to go learn leadership? Like whatever it is? Like just have some humility about it. Open up to yourself a little bit, be honest and have some self reflection, you know, because I think that’s a starting point, you know, and a lot of these small businesses, you know, obviously it’s hard when you have, let’s say, 100 employees or whatever, you know, to do that. But when you’re talking like what we have, you know, we know every single person by name. We know they’re their spouses. We know what they do for fun, like, so they know what’s up, you know, like they know like that B.S. meter. They know if we’re going to be BSing them or not, you know? Yeah. So it’s big. Okay, so two last questions here or actually I have three. So what is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Well, I think this goes back to kind of what you were saying. So this is, you know, probably for my mom and dad and you can’t give God and whether you’re religious or not, I think the mindset of you, you kind of get what you give is, has been something that has been extremely important in my life. And, you know, we talk about this like we’re one out of ten, right? Like one out of ten small businesses are doing $1,000,000. And that’s not because of me. That’s not because I have this big head and it has all these thoughts in it or whatever. Right. Like it’s it’s because we’re blessed and we were able to find people around us and to be able to give back to them. And this is why we do the profit sharing and all that kind of stuff, because they’re so valuable to, to our success. I think that’s a big piece of advice that that I’ve taken. And then the other thing, too, that I’m learning more and more of is, you know, at some point you’ve got to bet on yourself, right? Like, you know, in if you don’t bet on yourself, then you can’t really ever change your position. You’ve got to take the risk. You’ve got to jump in and see what happens. And, you know, I found and like I said, I’ve been blessed where the more I bet on myself, the more I’m able to double down, you know, the more that we’ve been able to to be successful.

You know, it’s the same thing with like Deluxe. Deluxe started with me and two buddies drinking beers, watching the Longhorn game. And I was like, Hey, do y’all want to go into it? And one said yes and one said no. Right? And you know, I don’t know who’s better off. You have to ask them. But I think Hunter, even though it was a rough year, he’s in a position now where, you know, he’s he’s part of a multimillion dollar company that, you know, we have plans and processes to be able to expand. And now he’s running crews. He’s not on the floor. He has a career, a skill set, all of those things. Because he bet on himself, right? He said, yeah, let’s do it. I can go do that. I can I can figure out how to do it. And and so I think those things, you know, being able to bet on yourself is, is super important because at the end of the day, you do want to build your team up, but they’re not going to work as hard as you. They’re not going to be there at 2 a.m.. And it shouldn’t be an expectation, right? Like that shouldn’t be the expectation for your team. But to am in a warehouse to do inventory or driving to Dallas to get my materials if I’m a slave.

Right. I mean, we don’t hire slaves, right?

Right. Exactly. Yeah.

Those are people like.

So as a business owner, like at some point you’re going to have to say, you know what, this is it, let’s do it. I’m all in. And I think that’s that’s advice that I’ve had to learn and figure out and and not be scared of it. Right. Because it’s it’s it’s scary, you know, like, I mean, I got a wife, I got a mortgage, I got three kids, and I left a job in tech that was you know, I could have just coasted right in and we would have had a good life and everything would have been good. And, you know, but at some point, you’re like, okay, I’m bored, I want more, I want to do this. And and so I think bettering yourself and trying to give what you get, I think are are two big things.

So good, man. So good. Kind of an opposite here, but what is the worst advice you’ve ever received?

Hmm. That’s a good question. You know, I think the worst advice is the opposite of that, right? The opposite of betting on yourself. There’s a lot of people, even to this day, they’re like, oh, they’ll slow down. Like, do you really want to be doing a full time job and starting to like all that kind of stuff, like a side hustle or whatever it may be? I think people that are kind of like scared a little bit, right? And they’re comfortable. You know, I think comfortability is is a. It’s it’s a it’s necessary. Right. But it’s also can be something that can can be a huge driving force, because I think this is like one thing that you miss a lot in like the forms and stuff like that is there’s no like goal set, right? So you’re kind of assuming like this is everyone wants to be this biggest and baddest company, right? And that may not be someone’s goal. They may just want to make a living. They may want to do a couple of floors a week, be a tradesman. And those are really admirable. So I think anything where someone is is trying to get in and making a assessment without knowing who you are and what you want to do, I think is is kind of the bad advice. And I think, you know, it’s like I was talking to the business owner who I started with who just chose to stay. And indeed, you know, he was like, hey, I think I underestimated like your want for how successful this was going to like how much you were willing to go through to make sure it was successful.

And I think it was because, again, we never got on that same page of like, you know, this is it. I have a lot of pride and I want to do that. And yeah, I’m willing to be up at 3:00 in the morning to figure it out and to put in the work. So yeah, I just think if you start to listen to others that maybe not know the whole full story, right, and they’re chirping for, for whatever it may be, I think that’s where you kind of get into a headspace and a process. It just, you know, it just doesn’t make sense. Right. And you see it a lot, I think a lot in the Facebook groups and and stuff like that where they don’t know the full story and they’re telling you to run away or they’re telling you whatever else it may be. You know, context is important. Understanding where that person’s at is important, understanding their background and what they want to do and what their goals are, which you just don’t get in that slight slightest. So I would say any advice that I’ve gotten where they just didn’t know me, they didn’t know where my heart was, I didn’t know where where I wanted to accomplish was stuff that I’m learning to just kind of brush off. Right.

Yeah. It’s so good, man. That’s so good. Okay, last question here. I know, man. By the way, thank you so much for for giving us all this time and all this all this all this information. What is the greatest insight that you can share with our audience that has helped you find success in your concrete coding business?

Yeah. So it’s it’s not fake it till you make it. It show up til you make it like literally show up every single day. Put in the work.

You make it one more time. More time for the people in the in the nosebleeds.

So show up til you make it not. Not fake it till you make it. Love that. I think that’s you know, it’s hard, like anyone that sits here and tells you, like, this is not easy, has not done this before, like. Like, just plain and simple. Like, it’s there’s been so many times where, like, I’m talking to my wife and I’m like, Oh, deluxe is done. Like, you know, there’s, there’s no going past this. And, you know, and, but you know what? The next day we show up and we put on put on our shirt, get into our truck, and we go at it again. And I learned that from Hunter, right? Because there were so many times at the very beginning where I’m like, Man, this is never going to get it. He just showed up the next day. And and I think that’s I think that’s so such an important lesson because, you know, just you just it’s not easy. It’s and I even you know, I learned this from from my I’ve just seen everyone anyone who’s been successful. There was a period of time where it was hard, it was not easy. And they put in the work to get it done. And, you know, I know there’s crypto millionaires now and all that kind of stuff and.

Well, now they’re six figures. Right now they know, well.

How much are you going to hold? Right. But I think that’s really I think what it comes down to is and also to understanding I’m going to put it in the work, but understanding where you want to be as an individual, because it doesn’t necessarily mean that, you know, you want three crews to do X amount of revenue. Maybe you really only care you’re going to do the labor and and your profit is your your margins are going to be 40% and you’re going to do three jobs a week. And that’s enough for you to be happy and to live the life that you want. So I think those things, if you can show up, you can put in the work. Generally, I think things will start to swing in your direction and if not go higher and find someone that that can help you in that in that situation that you’re not good at, right? Yeah.

So did I love that, man. Well, dude, thank you so much, man, for your time. You know, I know we went over a little bit. We had some tech issues early on. But, man, I really appreciate you. Appreciate your business, man. And God bless.

Well, I appreciate you guys. Next week we’re doing.

See you guys.