The ServiceLegend Podcast – Episode #39 – The Art of Assessment and Scaling W/ Benji Carlson



Well, happy Friday, everybody, and welcome back to the show. The Service Legend podcast, episode number 39 today. And I have a real treat for you guys. Um, none other than Benji Carlson from Breakthrough Academy. Man. Welcome to the podcast.

Very happy to be here. Ryan Thank you.

Yeah, man. I think most of the people here probably see your face everywhere, you know, whether it’s a Facebook ad from Breakthrough or an email or something, you know, along those lines. I know I see your face everywhere. Um, and thought you were actually the owner for a long time, like you were the like, you know, which I don’t, um, which I found there was more people to the story now of breakthrough.

But it is a point. Yeah.

Um, but yeah, man, for those of you that don’t know Benji or even Breakthrough Academy, we’ll get into to Breakthrough here in a second, but Benji, um, is, is, uh, an assessment specialist at Breakthrough Academy and a co-host of the Contractor Evolution podcast, which is an amazing show. You guys should check. You should check that out. I’m, you know, I’m sure it’s Apple, Spotify Everywhere. The Contractor Evolution podcast show Benji’s passion for entrepreneurship began at a young age when he founded a profitable small business as a teenager. Later on, he built a highly successful franchise with college pro painters, earning accolades, accolades for having the most productive staff in the franchise network and generating over $1 million in revenue, which is crazy. At Breakthrough Academy, Benji has been an integral part of the assessment team since 2017. Man So glad to have you here.

Yeah, thanks for having me, man. It’s. It’s my pleasure.

Yeah, man. Um, well, love what you guys are doing over there in general, but just give us a, you know, like a, you know, like a deeper breakdown, maybe a, you know, quick origin story of you so we can get to know you more. You know, I want to hear more about that painting side. You know, I think it’s really cool for vendor, you know, for vendors in the industry, whether you’re doing coaching or, you know, whether it’s a software, whatever it is that, you know, it’s really cool to see these companies have like a real deep connection to the trade. I think there’s just so much more benefit and value that can be brought through that. So if you could touch on that as well, but just give us some, you know, some some context to you. Man.

Yeah, happy to. Yeah. So like my journey in this sort of like blue collar business space was, was with college pro painters. And I did that for about, uh, five years in my 20 seconds and, um, had a ton of fun with that. Obviously, like, you learn the ropes as a student painter, um, and ended up dropping out of university a few times because I was sitting in a supply chain management course learning like a made up curriculum and going like, this just is dumb. I’m going to go sell some jobs and make some money. And so that’s what I did. Hasn’t caught up to me yet. Um, but so I kind of just like took the plunge and did painting full on. I, um, got to the end of sort of like the college pro journey and knew at the time that, you know, Igor, um, Danny James, a few other people from like the college pro world had gone and started Breakthrough Academy. This is back in 2015. And I just even back then I was like, that’s, that just sounds like a good idea. Like, you know, you think about contractors and home service businesses. Um, this has certainly changed a lot over the last eight years.

But back then it was it was a pretty well known thing that those entrepreneurs really needed help with systems with structuring their businesses properly. Um, and that was something that we all felt really well equipped to do. So I actually took a year off. I did a, I did a big long motorcycle trip to Peru and I sort of went, went for a hike with them, was like, Yeah, okay, I’m going to go do this. But when I get back, let’s, let’s get rolling. And so I did that. I got back in 2016, we started, I think I was employee number 7 or 8 and we’re 45 now. So big team, um, uh, 550 some odd clients all over North America in the construction and trades space. So like builders, landscapers, painters, roofers, um, home service businesses. And what we do now, what we do is, is we systemize those companies for growth. We have a management system that we implement that works, that we know works. We’ve done it a few hundred times now and they work with the best coaches in the industry. They take our content, we methodically and in a very sort of intentional pace, implement all this stuff so that their businesses have the infrastructure they need to scale to make more money, to work less, all those good things.

My role with Breakthrough Academy started as, like you said, like an assessment specialist. Over the last year or so. I’ve actually transitioned. I really need to update those titles. I’ve transitioned to work on the marketing team and I’m really blessed to work with a really talented small team and get to spend my time, um, trying to make, trying to make the best. Free, easy to use business content available on the Internet very specifically for this niche. So tons of webinars that we do. We’ve got the podcast which releases every Wednesday on every platform contract revolution. You can check that out. Um, you know, all sorts of other just like content pieces, whether it be blogs or little lead magnets and little like quick tools and little white papers and all sorts of stuff that we have coming out the door for to, to build the brand and create an audience. And so, um, yeah, that’s a little bit about me. I live in Kelowna, B.C. I’m Canadian. I don’t know if you can tell. I sail my sailboat a lot and I ride my motorcycle a lot and I love to eat good food.

Man. You can’t complain with that. Yeah, good food, dirt bikes. Um, and. And the first one was what? My sailboat. Sailboat? Yeah. Yeah, that sounds like a fun day. Yeah, it is a fun day.

I’ll probably go cruise over there tonight and there’s any wind we’ll we’ll go for. We’ll go for a bit of a sail. But yeah, man, life is good. Uh bta’s is really good. We’re super excited about what we have going and and really blessed to have such an amazing group of contractors who we get to use, that we get to work with and get to help. So it’s really cool.

Yeah. Mean and what you guys are bringing to the marketplace, you know, obviously it’s going pretty well. You guys have plenty of clients and people that are benefiting from the service. Um, the reputation that you guys have is, you know, um, you know, it’s amazing. You know, I don’t really think I’ve met one person that had something negative to say, um, which is, which is awesome. Um, and you know what’s interesting, you know, that you touched on was that the home service space or the trades or construction, It’s always been this thing that, um, you know, they might have been good at plumbing, but they’re not good at running the business, right? I mean, you know, that’s a common thing. Um, and I’m curious, um, like, why, why you guys think that is? Um, but also talk about that management system a little bit that you guys implement, um, because that’s the non-sexy stuff and, you know, and, and I know we talked about that earlier this week, but, um, because I think the sexy stuff is always talking about sales and marketing, you know, um, and branding and reps and, you know, I think most, most home service business owners would prefer to talk about those things during the week. Yeah, but the other stuff, right, Um, seems a lot more needle moving, you know. So if you could touch on that, um, and why maybe it’s different than like an iOS as well. Like why, You know, why it’s more specific to home service.

Yeah. Uh, okay. So a couple.

Things. I’ll just kind of do those in order. So the first thing you ask is like, you know, why? Why do I think that sort of like, you know, the plumber who’s good at plumbing starts a business, not good at business. You know, I have kind of a hot take on that, which is that I think that that’s kind of an overused trope at this point. I think that we say that. And I think that, like the marketplace has an associate maybe thinks of that to some degree. I also think that this little sector of the economy has has changed dramatically over the next over the last ten years and will continue over the next ten years. And so when people say that, I go, Yeah, I get what you mean. To be honest, like my lived experience with our members is that these are actually pretty sophisticated businesspeople who happen to come from a blue collar business who happened to start their job, their career on a job site. Um, and so, you know, yes, there are kind of like there is that kind of archetypal struggling contractor whose door car door opens and papers fly out and they don’t invoice on time and they can never keep stuff like, yeah, okay, that person does exist. Our little bubble and the contractors that we get to interact with and the people we see in webinar rooms, the people I meet at conferences, the people that listen to our podcast, the people that we actively coach like, I actually have a different perspective because I think these men and women are super smart, are super dialed the business, the brand of like contractors and blue collar businesses maybe historically has been looked down on by the marketplace, but I kind of call BS on most of it.

And I think in the next 10 to 15 years, even that archetypal character, that really struggling contractor will be quite rare. So I think, you know, um, you know, guys like you, Ryan, guys like us at Breakthrough Academy are really kind of fortunate to be a part of that conversation and maybe at the forefront of it. But yeah, I’m like, I am very pro construction, pro trades. I think this is an unbelievably good industry that funnels an unimaginable amount of money through it every year, and I think that it is becoming more systemized, more strategic, more professional right in front of our eyes. And it’s really neat to see entrepreneurs go from five years ago, you know, working hard but struggling to five years later they’ve got a seven figure business or an eight figure business. They’re incorporating real estate development sort of on the back end.

They’ve got a brand that they’ve built. They’re they’re not struggling to find people because word is out that it’s a great place to work. I mean, we just have dozens and dozens, hundreds, in fact, of like those stories within Breakthrough Academy. So anyway, that’s like my my take on that. It’s like, yes, it does have that perception, but it’s changing unbelievably quickly. Um, to your question about like the management system. Yeah. So like what we do, I think I can describe pretty succinctly. Um, we build out a six part framework, if you will, with our members. We call it the BTR management system, although it’s probably going to have a rebrand here at the later part of this year. We’ll come up with something a little bit sexier and shorter, but that doesn’t matter because the core components will be the same. Um, so number one, financial controls like you need to be able to see what’s going on inside your business. We set up KPI dashboards, we create an annual budget, we create a sales plan, a production plan, a cash flow plan. We have visibility into our company so that we’re not making guesses and working off of gut instinct all the time. We actually have data to look at and make better decisions with the.

Entrepreneur math, right? You know, the entrepreneur math doesn’t always work out in the long run. Totally.

So we get that done first because really nothing else that we do matters or is even possible without clear visibility. So financial control is number one defined roles. Number two, does your business have like clear lanes for people to stay within or is everyone doing a little bit of everything and you’re getting by? But it’s pretty stressful and there’s lots of confusion and Sheila thinks it’s Tim’s fault and vice versa. Like, have you actually defined roles for your people, set up KPIs for them to work towards performance pay accountability systems and proper meeting rhythms so that there’s a very kind of like focused effort and everyone is paddling in the same direction. That seems like such a simple concept, but when you have a business that swells to ten people and then 20 people quite quickly, um, it’s actually a little bit trickier to implement. So we do a lot of work on defining roles. Three Like third part of the framework would be, um, would be hiring systems. So if you have defined roles and you know who’s going to thrive within them, now the question is how do we get those people? You will always make a bad hire if you have no one good to choose from. So my belief is that most of the hiring woes with contractors you hear people talk about over the last little while, most of that is a top of funnel issue. And so we need to get applicants through the door first so that you have the luxury of being choosy. And we can work on behavioral interviewing, a proper expectations meeting, onboarding, etcetera.

Uh, part number four of this framework is what we call structured staff training. So now that you have the people, how do we get them carrying out and delivering the work in a really uniform way? Do we have SOPs? Do we have competency models? Do we have quality control standards? Is someone holding tension to these on the crew so that we can basically create a consistent brand experience for all of our clients? Um, part number five would be what we call like an optimized sales process. We want to remove the entrepreneur most of. The businesses that we work with, Ryan, are doing $1 million a year, $2 million a year, up to five and ten. Like there’s sort of a range that are that are business owners connect with us with. So it’s definitely not for people just starting out in their very first year, but around I would say 1 million to 2 million is when it becomes really, really relevant. And so at that stage, what becomes critical is removing the owner from like the chief sales person because they have to they have to CEO of their company, they need to set strategy, they need to recruit, they need to team build. They can’t be doing, you know, four estimates every weekend and nine in the evenings. And like they’ve got they have bigger fish to fry, so we want to remove them from selling. And so we get the sales process built, get a sales person in sales team built, and that frees up a whole bunch of bandwidth. And then the last thing, the last part of the framework, part six, we would call strategic leadership.

So how do you define goals five years out, one year out? How do you create a quarterly rock? How do you you know, block schedule weekly so that you have a very, very you’re focused and doing the right things? Um, and, and how do you hold your team accountable to executing on those goals? So six parts, we call that the management system, although we could change the name later. And your last, the last part of the question then I’ll pause is how is it different from iOS? That’s a really great question. Um, we love iOS. Like all of our members have read Traction. Um, had Mark Winters on the podcast a couple of months ago. He wrote Rocket Fuel with Gino Wickman, like, so we love that framework, very familiar with it. What what we are is we are the only like contracting business specific framework. So that is like our thing. Like this is built by and for blue collar business owners, not just like a general framework that works for every business. And we’re very like picky. We’re like, you know, if you own a restaurant or a daycare or an ice cream shop, like go find another coaching business. We only work with this niche. Um, so that’s how we’re different, similar methodology and certainly kind of a I think we probably play in the same genre in the sense that we’re providing a framework consulting, coaching and implementing systems, but we are hyper focused on these types of businesses. So yeah, there you have it.

Man. Love it. Great breakdown. Um, I’m sure everyone’s going to love that. But um, uh, man, so, you know, I love this whole step by step framework. You know, I like to productize things. Um, and so, you know, I love step by steps and pillars and things like this. I think it’s really easy to, you know, to digest, obviously. Um, and I want to go back just a little bit. A lot of the things that you’re talking about, um, has, uh, people in it, you know, hiring people, leading people, managing people, building systems for people to then implement. Um, and if we could touch on that a little bit because I feel like a lot of the, the folks that listen to us are in that million dollar range, probably a great candidate for breakthrough. And I noticed that same thing where it’s you know, it’s usually a people thing. You know, it’s either themselves or they’re people they don’t know what to do, how to do it, when to do it, you know, those types of things. And I was just curious, um, because the people thing is such a big deal, I think we’ve, we’ve, you know, we agree on that the coach factor like that other person. So there’s an actual person unlike maybe like an iOS, which is, you know, it’s a great system and you have that integrated that you can hire. But like um, let’s talk about the coach side because the people side is such a big deal. But you guys have people involved as well dealing with the people stuff and the coaching of the people and encouraging and, and holding potentially the clients accountable. Could you talk to that a little bit like the coaches? Yeah. And like how they work and maybe like how often they get to talk to them and those types of things.

Yeah, I mean, our coaches are unbelievable. I mean, like, like I’m literally the dumbest guy on the team. I mean, these guys, these, these, these are like really, really senior, extremely experienced, very strategic, very, very accountable. Have unbelievable executive functioning. I mean, what we get paid to do, what they get paid to do is be really like supportive but tough on these entrepreneurs. I mean, like the best part, but simultaneously, the worst part of owning your own business is that you have no one. Calling your shots. You have no one there checking in on your work. And so that’s nice because you can peel off to the golf course on a Thursday when you feel like it. It’s also not so nice because when your business stalls out and it’s like your second or third year in a row of plateauing, you’re not really sure what to do. Like you’ve got nowhere to go. And so having someone in your corner who is like understands your business on a deep level, not just like, okay, yeah, you’re a plumber, like knows how big your business is, knows the names of the people on the team, what roles they fill, knows the Beehag five years from now, knows what the specific gross profit margin needs to be for this type of job versus that type of job.

I mean, that’s the level of kind of like coming alongside with our members that we have when, when entrepreneurs have that, um, they really thrive because of that problem. I just articulated a second ago where, you know, it’s nice in some moments, but then other times you really just do kind of want to be told what to do, especially when you’re navigating a forest with a machete and you don’t have a compass, like you’re just figuring it out yourself. So if you can plug into someone who’s done this, you know, a couple times with their own businesses now, a few hundred times with the Breakthrough Academy businesses that they’ve worked with, the number of icebergs that they can help you dodge is they really add up. And so our coaches are unbelievable. I can’t say enough good things about them. They work day in and day out doing meetings, tracking data, making sure that certain implementation projects that we’ve outlined for that business are on schedule and getting completed. They’re making sure after the fact that the desired result is showing up in the numbers that we track. So this is another cool thing. Like our approach to this is very scientific. Like we’re not just sort of willy nilly throwing out systems because they worked over here.

It’s like, what is your business need based on what the numbers say? Okay, cool, let’s try this because it’s worked in other businesses and we’re confident it will. But not only that, we’re going to check along the way to make sure that. Um, you know, let me think. This new onboarding system that we’re going to build is actually reducing employee churn six months down the road. And if it isn’t, we need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what is. So, yeah, I think I think it’s like to just close the loop on that. It’s a combination of like guidance and support and, and you know, you’re a business owner. Like there are moments where you really just like do need a shoulder to cry on or do need a vent session or do need, you know, some advice on how to get through something difficult. And then there’s also times where it’s like, hey, man, like, you know, you need to buckle down and get this done because this is on the strategic plan. This is what you’re paying us to do if we don’t have this complete. That’s a big problem. And so we’re, um, I don’t know what the word is. We’re, like, supportive, but strict. And, um, people really like that.

Yeah, man. And that’s why, you know, I touched on the coaching side because, you know, I’m a big believer in being coached, um, you know, um, it’s hard to argue with having a coach, you know, the most elite players in sports, elite business people have always gotten coached. They’ve always been mentored, they’ve always been, you know, fed, you know, wisdom and, you know, advice and things like that. Um, and so what I see too, is like our highest performing clients here at Service Legend that are doing, whether they’re doing multiple seven figures or eight figures or whatever. I was talking to Tommy yesterday, who owns a and you know, he’s being coached in every angle of life, the most elite people that I know and the people that we all know of, whether it’s famous people or celebrities, they’re all being coached. They’re all being they’re all being coached. And I love that aspect because the you know, the information is, you know, there’s this there’s this phrase that information is free, but implementation, you know, is worth millions because, you know, the information that you guys provide is there. You know, I pay for it. I’m going to I’m going to sign on. I’m gonna be a customer. But that coaching side is going to help you implement these, you know, these rocks or however you want to call them. So I love that aspect of it. Um, and I think that there’s a lot of coaching programs out there or consultants or whatever that miss that mark on that ongoing coaching and mentorship of implementation of these ideas. So I would agree.

I mean, we’ve lived through I don’t know, I’m trying to make this a term, so maybe it’s just my perspective. It’s like I’m trying to like make this a known thing. But like we have lived through the coaching bubble, the coaching bubble, like, oh yeah, I don’t know. At some point in 2008 or 2009, like word got out that you can like charge money for advice and then everyone and their dog is now a nutrition coach and a business coach and a spirituality coach and a writing coach and like. So I think that I believe in coaching fundamentally. I’m also aware that there’s been a whole, um, see like a sort of a sea level rise in bad advice also. And so it’s like you do see people like on a daily basis about this where it’s like, well, are you sure you’re not like this other clown that I hired and did nothing? And I’m like, I’m sure. Trust me. Um, so yes, 100% believe in the fundamental concept of coaching. I also believe in doing some due diligence and applying some scrutiny and making sure that the person you’re working with, you know, Tommy, for example, he’s. He’s a good friend. I mean, he’ll talk to you about, like, how he vets the people he hires for advice. It’s it is not just like, Oh, you got a cool website. Awesome. Here’s some money. It’s very you know, he’s he’s he’s a scrupulous guy. And so he surrounds himself with the smartest people. And I think that that’s, you know, been a huge part of why he’s been successful. But um, anyway, yeah, it’s just an interesting like time, you know, you would deal with the same thing on your side, I’m sure. Oh, yeah.

Um, also what’s interesting that you guys mentioned a step number one of your guys’s framework is talking about the finances. Because when I first got a coach, when I was running the home service company, I got a home service coach, and that was the first thing that we went over as well. And that was really cool because I was like, Hey, you know, here’s the bottlenecks. And he goes, Ryan, first thing’s first. I want to see your I want to see this. I want to see that because that’s where we’re going to start. And I just love that you mentioned that because, you know, guys, if you’re listening here, whether you’re live, you know, if you live on the replay or Apple, Spotify. That’s how you know it’s legit. You know, when someone’s like, Hey, we can talk about hiring and coaching and systems, but dude, I want to see your let’s, let’s start there. So I love that you guys start with the real reality, the facts of the business. Um, you know, just let’s me know as you know, as, you know, as a marketing dude that you guys really have it together. Um, let’s go into some other things here. That Breakthrough Academy offers one thing I see, and I have a few friends that are clients of you guys, and I’ve, we’ve, we’ve had some customers that were clients. You guys do some really cool community stuff, like with the community of of Breakthrough. I think you guys were in Mexico building homes recently, things like that. If you could speak to that as well. How important just community is in addition to kind of the coaching or, you know, the course stuff and things like that or the content, the training?


Leadership is lonely, right?

So if you’re an entrepreneur, um, in most instances.

You can’t really talk to your, you know, your friends and your fantasy league about it. You can’t really, you know, your wife or girlfriend or husband or boyfriend may or may not kind of get what you’re going through. Your parents may or may not. Um, it’s a journey that, um, is sort of uniquely experienced only by the people who experienced it. And so that can lead to this yearning to have conversations and talk shop and go deep on these, like, super, like random and down the rabbit hole facets of your business. But I think that there’s for a lot of business owners, um, it’s hard to find the people to do that with. So we’re like, you know, abundantly aware of that and have always been, um, and community was like a really, really core.

Value in, in, in.

Um, College pro and we, we’ve woven it into breakthrough Academy I would say at an even deeper level. So there’s a couple things like.

Um, a.

Couple things I’ll mention on what we do on that front. So the first is like we’re actually like pretty, um, we’re pretty intentional about who we let in and work with in the first place because we really want to protect the culture of like high performance, integrity, honesty, openness. And so that’s a, that’s sort of like values. Alignment is something that we deal with upstream by just making sure that all the people we let into the program are cut from the same cloth. Um, because we coach members all over North America and a lot of it is done through Zoom and phone calls and, and a handful of other bits of software and our tech stack.

Um, that’s great.

But we also really just want in-person good times. And so we have a pretty active like event calendar. In January, for example, we were, we were.

All in Tulum in.

Mexico and we had what we call our winter summit. Tommy was there, a few other heavy hitters were there to do keynotes and speak. We did a bunch of panels, a bunch of bunch of sessions, a bunch of amazing dinners, a huge awards night where everyone, um, dresses up and we, we hand out awards to our highest performers of the year across a few different categories for unbelievable days down in Mexico. In a few weeks, actually, I should say a month, we’ll be going to Lake of the Woods. We’re going to go to super rugged Canadian wilderness. We’re going to go to.

A really.

Bougie fishing lodge with a bunch of our members, and we’re going to do a fishing derby and we’re going to fly in a speaker from the John C maxwell Group, and he’s going to teach us about the five levels of leadership. Um, we’ve done home builds in Mexico where we take all of the people that refer us new business instead of just writing them a check. We say we want to do a trip with you. So we take them to Mexico. We build some homes for some families in need. Um, I think that, you know, the word community gets overused a little bit and you’ll see it on you see it everywhere, especially.

With the coach revolution, right? Yeah, it’s yeah, it’s sort of like we.

Got the amazing communities. Okay, you have a Facebook group right on.

Um, so I just think.

That that is something that we have invested in.

From day one. Um, you know, if we had a board of directors or investors, they’d be like, What the hell are you spending $1 million on an event for? That doesn’t even break even. We’d be like, we want to, um, so we do that because it matters to us, not because.

It’s like a profit.

Center. And I know it really matters to our membership. Um, I can’t tell you the number of, like, lifelong friendships that have been.

Sort of crafted and molded through betas. It’s pretty, it’s, it’s beautiful to see. Not at the risk of being corny. Like it’s neat when you see.

You know, a 46 year old guy and a 60 year old guy. One’s in Milwaukee and the other’s in Texas be like the.

Best buddies because they have all this shared experience and stuff to bond over and help. They can actually provide each other in their business. And so beyond, like the actual structured, like routine weekly coaching.

Some of that is.

Done in a group setting.

We really do try.

To get our.

People together for that really special.

In-person time to make some memories. And so that, yeah, you can check. We’ve got lots.

Of videos of the.

Stuff we do on our website and on YouTube and stuff like that, but we’re really blessed.

To be able to.

Do fun trips like that.

Yeah, it’s so important and I talk about it all the time. Like when I talk to clients is to get into community, you know, to get into a network with people that are like minded. Um, and I think growing up, you know, we, we usually all experience. That like we you know, we’re in football, baseball, swim, like whatever sport or community that you’re involved in. Yeah. Most people have some sort of that. And then you kind of grow up and you get in your 20s or 30s and you kind of get away from that unless you get into it at church or whatever. Groups bowling. But in business, that’s another big component to, you know, to scaling in my opinion is.

It’s funny, man, I was just saying that to.

To my girlfriend, I was like, you know, it’s really hard.

Making friends as a grown up. Yeah, She was like, it.

Is like it’s like it’s not, you know.

In high school.

They’re given to you in university. If you went to university, you just. Who’s the guy down the hall in my dorm?

And then you get into your, you know, you get a little later on, it’s like, you know, where are all the people at? So I think you do want to find community and build.

A tribe where you have the most in common.

And if you’re spending 40.

Hours a week, 50 hours a week, 60 hours a week in your business, hyper focused on.


That’s the thing that you have in common with other people because it’s a big part of your life.

So yeah, I mean, you can go so much faster. I mean, like I could I could talk to Tommy for literally five minutes because we’re like five minutes from from his. Yeah, that’s right.

You guys are all in Phoenix.

Yeah. Real quick. Five minutes. I can get more value out of that. And like, Oh, here’s what. Hey, hey, Tommy, there’s this thing. He’s like, Dude, I’m just like, okay. Like, I mean, I could get information that quick. Well, this is a, you know, a, um, a a a network of people where you could do that with, you know, And I’ve grown the fastest by having a network of people that I can just reach out to on whatever, you know. So, you know, I love that, you know, just that concept of what you guys provide is that facilitation of networking within the peers. So it’s amazing. Um, so some of the other things I want to chat about that I think is missed a lot is the non-sexy stuff. And we chat about that a little bit here a second ago. But um, and what I see at Service Legend and I see it after being around Tommy and, you know, all these guys, you know, the Brandon Vaughn’s and you got the Lance Bachmann’s and the Dan Antonelli’s you get to, you know, in these in these conversations with people. And the biggest thing, you know, when I ask somebody, hey, you know, how do you get to that 10 million, $15 million annual revenue number, You know, all these different things. And everyone always says the same thing. They go, well, it’s the non-sexy stuff, you know, And I see it a lot at 3 million. Like if you want to get from 3 million and beyond, it’s a big bulk of, you know, infusing the non-sexy stuff into the business like the people stuff, the process stuff, the hiring, the training, the the technology, working together, you know, the customer experience building the middle managers, you know, layer all these different things. So if we could chat about that a little bit, the non-sexy stuff and I know you have some, some fun stuff for us. Um, let me know if you need me to pull up the, the screen here.

Yeah, I’ve got.

I’ve got a few things I can show you for sure.


And by the way, actually, I’ll just preface this by saying everything that I’m going to talk about. I’ve just put together a bundle and I put it in the chat. I don’t know if I have access to put it in the public chat. Maybe you can do it and link it, link it in the description or send it out in.

The email or the replay or whatever. But um, I never show up empty handed, so I, well, I’ve got a few things. Um.

And by the way, guys, I have put this in the chat, just an FYI, um, it’s try service legend. It’s right in there for you.

So have you are you able.

To do screen.



All right. So not so sexy thing number one. And I and.

I also would not necessarily say that this is like what takes you from 3 to 10? I wouldn’t I’m not going to attach like I’m not going to attach.

A certain revenue range.

That this is the key. It unlocks, if that makes sense. This is a business fundamental. We implement these into businesses that do 500 K a year and we routinely meet.

Businesses that are doing 12 million a year and don’t have these things. So it really doesn’t matter. The sooner you get on stuff like.

This, the.

Better, but not so sexy. Thing number one would.

Just be an.

Annual budget.

And so.

The way that we when we work with our members, we kind of create a slightly more robust one that has a trend and it’s got a.

Year to date. We just made a.

Really simple one for people to wet their whistle, dip their toe.

Into this whole idea. It’s easy to overwhelm people. So what we do is we and what we’ll send.

You, by the way, it’ll be.

Empty. So you can fill in your own.

Numbers and play.

Around with this. But I just fill this up for an example. But usually what we.

Try to do with members.

Is, is.

Some analysis of last year’s numbers. You’ll hear people.

Talk about the term historical data, which is sort of a fancy way of saying what the hell happened last year.

Or the year before.

And so we want to get that first. We capture it in this tool which helps us organize it along categories.

Or your accountant.

Might call this a chart of accounts. We want to see what your variable expenses were, first of all, what your revenue was. So if you earned.

Commercial or residential or maintenance.

You put that in there, then we want to look at your variable expenses. What did you spend.


Generally jobsite related things.

To create that revenue?

So that would be like.

The labor of your Enfield.

Staff. It would be subcontractors that you hired to complete the project. It would be materials that you needed to purchase. It might be other like you rented something, you did a dump run, something was delivered or hot shotted, whatever it might be. Miscellaneous expenses. And we do this as an aggregate. So all of our jobs put all.

Together and we see what we spent on variable.

And that gives us what we call our.

Gross profit margin or.

Gdp. And I’m sure you talk about this.

A lot with your.

Members, like gross profit margin is sort of like the holy grail of operational efficiency. It’s what we track probably the most closely with our members because it tells us if our estimating is on.

If it.

Tells us if our crews are operating efficiently, if our.

Projects are being managed from a like from a PMS perspective.


It’s sort of like.

One of the most.

Important KPIs for the health of a growing business. So that’s why it’s kind of off here to the right and highlighted. And then what we look at is our variable or.

Sorry, our fixed expenses or overhead. People call.

That which.

We just kind of look at as three.

Categories vehicle expenses, operational expenses. So these would be things like your management staff, non jobsite employees.

Your office, your bookkeeping, your insurance, you know.

What you spend every month on job nimbus or builder trend or what have you.

To like to, to.

Have all your stuff.

In the cloud and track very closely your cell phones, all that overhead stuff. We also categorize marketing as.

Overhead down here. And then at the very bottom it shows us our net.

So this gives.

Us a really good snapshot of what the hell happened last year. Well, we did 1.8 million in revenue. We earned about a 33% gross, and that trickled down to about an 11% net.

Cool. Good to know. Now we can work on some stuff. And so then we.

Begin to.

Devise our plan for the next year.

And one of the things that I often do when writing these is I’ll.

Like leave little.

Comments for myself in the cell.

So it’s probably a little.

Small for your for everyone watching. But, you know, I’ve left a note for myself feeling very good about the market. In our brand, we are poised for higher revenue with a ton of effort without a ton of effort on the marketing and sales side, I feel like 2.6.

Is very.

Achievable. In other words, um, another note, we have a very good roster of sub trades to rely on. I want to use them more next year and reduce how much.

Of our in-house labor we’re using. So I’m just kind of like telling myself the story of what I would like to see happen. And you can see the little adjustments, right? I’m going to spend a little more on subcontractors, but less on labor.

I need to get my material spending way down, and that should lead to a 35.8% gross profit instead of a 33.

So that’s good.

And then that should, at the very end of.

The year, lead to a 15%.

Net, not an 11%.


So that’s sort of like the very, very quick high level run.

Through of it. This would be like a not so sexy kind of boring but super foundational system that.

You know, all 500 of the companies.

550 of the companies we work with lean.



Set financial goals for the year. Now what we do and this is where if you’re not with Breakthrough Academy, you need to do.

This yourself, is a quarterly check in where we’re literally tracking here’s how we’re doing against the goal. Like this.

Is how we are on trend to be ahead or way.


Here are the.

Course corrections we need to make in order to.

Stay on.


Materials are out to lunch. Somebody on the site is ordering, you know, really inefficiently. We need to clean that up. Um, you know, we’re not spending enough on marketing and as a result, our lead flow is not coming as we need to actually bump up our spend.

So there’s all sorts of little things that you can see when you have the data.

But I would say not so sexy. Thing number one would be getting an annual budget.

In place and this.

Which will make available using that link is. A lot easier to start with than just a blank.

A blank Excel spreadsheet.

And what’s cool, too, is I mean, you hear it all the time. How do you get your budget in place? And well, you’ve got a reversion to reverse engineer it from the, you know, like the annual budget, Right? And so like a lot of guys will talk about, well, what do I need to spend this month to get X, Y, Z goal this month? Well, this is a great place to start because let’s start annually and then let’s reverse engineer that based on the annual goal. So I love that kind of that that vision here. Yeah.

Yeah, it’s a big help. So, I mean, that would be one thing. Again, like if you’re watching this, you’re smart. Like you can get in here and fit pretty intuitively, figure out the structure and put your own numbers in. And if you break it.

You can call us.

And we’ll give you a hand. But that would be kind of the first thing is the budget.

And then what else did I want to mention?

Here’s another.

One. This is this is a this we call these.

In Breakthrough Academy.

This is called a competency model. Now we call it a training checklist because most people.

Know what that means. And this is maybe a.

Seasonal thing to talk about.

It’s May for a lot of North America, not you guys there in Phoenix because it’s hot all year. But for a lot of North America, they’re kind of coming out of a slower winter season. They’re heading into a busier spring and summer season. And so.

There’s usually a lot of green people on job.

Sites and new.

People who maybe don’t haven’t been shown the ropes. It blows me away at how rarely businesses have something as simple as a checklist like this. But it’s pretty common. It’s literally just what we call tribal.

Knowledge, meaning it’s handed from one person verbally, you know, to another, to another to another. It’s like, you know, we’ve had the written word for a while now. We there’s no reason we need to be like just explaining.

Things 10 million times to new people.

We can put.

It all in one place. So this is a super like industry agnostic role agnostic template that you can use to tweak and fit the roles that you need to train for. So we just.

Kind of call this like jobsite management. You could make this for a foreman, for a.

Construction company, you could tweak it to be a.

Garage door tech if you know, you run a one.

So it’s like whatever.

You need to do. But the idea.

Is it’s quite short.

And it has a little.

Scoring matrix.

On every section. So if we’re talking about how to order materials and supplies better, um, the way this is.

Actually used is it’s printed off, um, and it is used on a job.

Site with a checklist.

Where you, the trainer, you the business owner, if you’re still training, can be on site watching and actually scoring people based on what they, what you see them do. So if they’re like a three out.

Of five and you’ve got some good notes you want to give them.

You can put all that.

In here.

And hand it back to them on a daily basis, on a weekly basis. But the idea is you have.

Structured criteria.

That you’re grading people against and you’re constantly trying to.

Manage the gap.

And move them towards, you know, what.

Is your.

Process? This is a quick and dirty, more.

Practical version.

Of an SOP and standard operating procedure.

Because it’s short, it’s easy.

To train off of.

It doesn’t overwhelm the learner. And so these training.

Checklists, people gobble up and love it.

Again, like this.

Is not rocket science, it’s just a.

Word document. But based on the way.

It’s structured and.

The way it’s organized, it’ll save you time and and and.

Your new employees will be really glad that you have it. So that’s another just like not.

So sexy thing that’s going to.

Create consistency.

Around the way projects.

Get completed, the.

Way customers get interacted with the way jobs are closed out and money is collected, the way referrals.

Are asked for or Google reviews are requested, like all that stuff that you.

Want to have.

Happen but feel.

Like it never does. Get it on a training checklist. Hold some tension to it and you’ll be really surprised at.

How quickly you can kind of.

Turn the boat around.

Yeah, and guys, this is a huge one. Why you go to the next one? Because the biggest thing I just cannot stand is seeing a business owner get upset at a new employee about them not meeting KPI in a certain period of time, but providing them no structure or process checklists like expectations, things like this. And I and I’ve done it myself. That’s why I hate it so much, because I know how how negatively impactful it is to the team member. So, you know, I love these things, man, because it just, you know, it serves both parties. It serves the business owner, it serves the employee, and it actually gives them both. It kind of facilitates them both to have success in the business, you know? Yeah.

And I think like the so a couple things I’d add to that.

It’s like you or New ones too. So take the.

Time to share the knowledge that.

You’ve accumulated.

Over the years. It’s good for your.

Learner and employee because they’re developing. It’s good for you.

Because now you’re not having so many.

Phone calls to deal with because they’re competent.

Um. It is nobody.

The thing I would mention too is like nobody is plug and play. Like a lot of people think that because you they have some experience with another company or whatever.

That they’re just going to like. It’s like there are.

Intricacies and nuance and idiosyncratic ways in which your business.

Does things that are different from other businesses. So nobody is ever like hire and put on the job.

Site and immediately, like 100% perfect. You always have to do some level of this. And then the other thing I don’t know if people think about is like documentation like this.

This is.

One simple system you need more over.

Time. But documentation.

Like this, if you want to build a business of value.

That a.

Private equity company is going to say, Wow, this is.

Actually like pretty valuable, we might be interested.

Or a.

Competitor might want to.

Buy. Like if you want to sell your.

Company for value at the end of this long journey, stuff like this is going to be one of the first.

Things on the list that an M&A person looks at, a broker.

Looks at another entrepreneur.

Who might be interested will look for. So yeah, easy stuff.

Um, highly recommend doing it. Should I move on to the next one?


So, um. Yeah, the last one. Okay. This is really not sexy. I mean, but. But it kind of is working. It kind of is.

And you see them working.

We’re going to talk about employment agreements.

Yay! Everyone is so excited now.

If you. Okay, I can explain this very simply. When you fail to.


To a new employee.

What good looks like, they will do it for themselves.

And so when we do business assessments.

With new businesses.

90% of them do not have a clear employment agreement. Now, this is just a document that has a reminder of your company values. It articulates the deliverables and the accountabilities for a certain role. So it’s all itemized. It’s very clear. It talks about the reporting structure. So who do you report to? Who’s your boss?

When do you meet them? What do you talk about? How often?

Right. It’ll talk about their compensation.

This is what you’re paid Hourly.

We have a bonus package based on these KPIs that we just talked about in the deliverables section. It’ll go through hours of.

Work, vacation, pay, employee benefits, your probationary.

Period, general.

Expectations, all.

This stuff. Now, this is literally fill.

In the blanks. You can just take this, put.

The fill in the yellow spaces, make this your own. Get rid of the Breakthrough Academy logo. Put your own.

Logo on it like you can plagiarize the heck out of our stuff. We don’t care. Just get this in place. Because what will happen.

Is you’re going to be dealing with a lot less finger pointing. You’re going to be.

Dealing with a lot less blame game. There’s going to be that widespread confusion around who does what gets cleaned up really quickly.

Um, and this is probably.

The lowest.


Fruit. The simplest thing you can.

Do to start injecting clarity and structure into a.


Um, so we are big proponents of these. I also would mention the sooner you can.

Have an.

Employment agreement, like I literally sent one of these off this morning to someone to sign and bringing on someone new. I sent one of these off this morning before they ever set foot in our business, before they before day one. Because what we.

Want to do is capitalize.

On what we call the window of malleability. Like there is a period of time.

Where people are the most impressionable. You’ve definitely noticed this. It’s like.

It’s probably somewhere between like.

Two weeks.

And a month, maybe a month and a half. But like a year in is sort of like. They are who they are. I mean, like you, it’s not saying you can’t coach.

You can’t change. That’s not totally true.

But you really have you really have an opportunity to set the standard in those early days.

And if you don’t, the window does kind of close. Haven’t you found that?

Ryan Yeah.

Like, yeah, there is a window where like, you know, let’s say eight months in, you’re like thinking, Oh wow, we should have taught them this or they should be doing X, Y, Z. And you try to add that to them or add that to their role or their job description or whatever. Yeah, it’s always like a hurdle, you know? Yeah, they want to get paid more or Hey, that’s not my job, right? Yeah. I mean you just deal with people challenges.

So if you have, if you’re like in a big.

Team building phase and.

You know you’re going to add like 4 or 5.

New people to the business in various roles this year, I.

Would take this and like I say, just plagiarize the hell out of it. But you have something that’s 80% of the way done and you can backfill the remaining 20 and and you’re going to notice when you need to have an accountability.


And, um, you know, bring someone back to the standard. It’s going to be.

A lot easier.

Because you took the time to kind of set it in the first place when a lot of people don’t. So yeah, I’ll pause there. Those are those are three those are three not so sexy, but super.


Business systems that I would say are timely, especially for this time of year. And whether you’re big or small will have a pronounced effect on results. And also, just like how much you enjoy your business.

Yeah, 100%. Yeah. I love this man. Um, and as we kind of come to somewhat of a close here towards the end of this, this show, um, I’m curious and I’m sure a bunch of people that are listening are curious. Like, why do people hire Breakthrough in the first place? Like, you know, when they come to you like what is going on specifically? I mean, you know, we can, you know, we can, you know, assume that it’s operational things. But like, why do people come to you guys that you guys have documented like, like the biggest maybe top three challenges that people are going through of why they come?

Um, so like the, the high, like the very sort of high level answer to that is their business is at a.


Where they’ve.

Figured out how to get a lead.

They’ve figured out how to sell a lead, they’ve figured out how to do a job. But there they are. So usually what happens is their ability to sell, their ability to create demand for their service or product has outstripped their ability to supply it. Yeah. So they’re like, Man, there’s so much opportunity in front of me. If I had three more great people on site, I could do X. If I had better technology, I could do Y. If like they know that there’s this.

Massive gold mine that they’re sitting on that they can’t.

Quite drill into or tap.


And so that’s that’s like the very, like, like, so they.

Know that the.

Demand is.

Outstripping supply and they want help increasing operational.

Capacity. And then they call us and they’re like, Oh, that’s how we do it. Okay. Again, in the program a year later, they’re laughing and their business is growing. So that, you know, that’s just like big picture answer to give you like.

Maybe a few specifics.

Um, there is a lot of entrepreneurs, even.

With big businesses that really struggle with.

Visibility, that financials piece. Yeah, they have a bookkeeper. Yeah, they use QuickBooks, but do they really know what they’re looking at? And usually they’re too embarrassed to ask or say so they’re like, I have a $5 million business and I know I’m making money, but I’m not really sure where it’s coming from. And we want to grow more, and I know I need to clean this up.

So that’s sort of like financial visibility. Financial controls piece is a big one.

Um, I would say.

Another thing is, is like team building, like people are.

Really frustrated with the talent market and they want to know how to create hiring systems. They want to they want.

To get a candidates and they’re not.

Sure how that would be. Another one where people we get we do a lot of business with entrepreneurs who are who are struggling to recruit the.

Talent they need.

And we show them how. And, you know, the list goes on. But those would be like some, some.

Really common ones.

Yeah. Okay. Um, and guys, that, that link I actually dropped in the comments. I’ll put right here but it’s legend and if you click into here you guys will see this form right here literally just fill this out guys and you guys are going to get access to all of this, all of this free, um, you know, business information, right? And all of these free resources that are available to you guys for free because of Breakthrough, because of Benji and their generosity with this information. Um, well, would this be the best way for them to reach out if they’re interested about breakthrough? Or is there another site that would, you know, if this would be the best?

So if you scroll down a little bit like and they fill out that form, there’s two boxes. My preferred follow up is send me the templates and let’s talk about how you can help my business.

If you.

Click that, we will have.

Your info and we will reach.

Out to you in the.

Next couple days. And let’s just do a call. Let’s just like talk. Let’s tell us about your business.

If you’re like.

Hey, I just want the templates, you can hit that bottom one, but if you do want to connect with us outside of this talk that is that little.

Form and that specifically.

That send me the templates and let’s talk about how you can help. My business button is the best way to do that.

Okay. Um, and you guys have any questions outside of this? You can hit me up on Facebook. Totally available for any questions you might have on Breakthrough or if you can’t find the link, let me know as well. But it’s in the comments here. Um, in the Service Legends Facebook group. Benji any other things that you want to share about Breakthrough about what you guys are up to like any new things coming up, new offers coming up or new exciting things coming up through summer.

We’ve got a really good we.

Have a really.

Good web.

Class coming up on.

May 16th. Um, called Scaling.

To 10 million and beyond the.


Accountability system for rapid growth Contractors.

I don’t have a link for it, but it is all over our.

Instagram, which is at BT Academy. You can find the links to that. We’re going to talk about like what we call our goal setting interview, which is like a very methodical accountability system that.

All of our entrepreneurs.

Use to basically hold tension with their people and really keep keep them focused on what matters. That’ll be really good.

Um, there are some new offers that I can’t.

Talk about publicly yet, so there’s a whole bunch of stuff.

Happening behind the.

Scenes. That’s pretty.

Exciting. Uh, that’ll.

Will announce later this.


Only other thing I would say is that.

We are like, very. We’re a good follow on Instagram. Go check out the podcast.


Revolution every Wednesday on every platform. Um, we’re on YouTube or on Apple or on Spotify. So that’s a good way to get to know us for free. Um, just experts. No ads. They’re short.

They’re concise. So, yeah, if you like this conversation, you’re into business systems. You don’t want to. You want to grow your company the smart way.

Like we’re a good follow.

Online and there’s a whole bunch of different places you can go.

Do that. Um, but yeah, that’s it, man. Thanks for having me.

Yeah, man, Thanks for being here. You guys are doing some amazing stuff, man. So go check out Breakthrough Academy. Go check out the Contractor Evolution podcast. The webinars you guys put out are amazing too. Just the content, the value that you guys put out is amazing. So go check the guys out and give them a follow. Outside of that, guys, have an amazing weekend. And Benji, thank you again. We’ll talk to you soon, man. Yeah, everybody, thank you.

Talk to you soon.




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