Happy Friday, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the Service Legend podcast. This is the category of client success here with clients at Service Legend. And we have an amazing treat for you guys today. We have just an amazing young entrepreneur that is just crushing it, guys. And in the concrete coding industry. Charlie Comber Welcome to the show, man.
Thanks for having me on. Ryan Appreciate it.
Yeah, super pumped about this. Um, and um, let me intro, uh, Charlie, for those of you that don’t know Charlie, um, he is the CEO, the visionary CEO of Comber Cross Concrete Coatings from Metro Detroit. Charlie’s passion for contracting began. It began in high school, and he sees the opportunity to enter the thriving home service industry with expertise in marketing, finance and sales. Charlie has led Comber Cross to unprecedented success in a pretty short period of time. So we’re going to get into that as well. There are people centric approach and innovative processes set them apart outside of work. Charlie enjoys sports socializing and staying fit. Let’s dive into it, man, and we’ll get on into it here. But if you could elaborate on that for us, that would be awesome. And maybe just give us some some like more origin context on kind of how you led up to kind of starting the business.
Absolutely. You mean just kind of starting from ground Zero?
Yeah. I mean, you can probably, you know, I’m not sure how far you want to go back. I’ll let you choose that. But I always like to kind of get some context for, you know, it’s always very interesting and intriguing for me to understand, like what was going on in your life or the entrepreneur’s life before they started the business that took off. Like what were the the things you were doing, the people that you were connecting with? Um, I think that tells a little bit of a story and there’s a lot of consistency with successful, you know, entrepreneurs.
Absolutely. You know, I think my background really started just in high school, you know, running power wash companies, running deck companies. I’ve always been very entrepreneurial, always figuring out how to make a buck in the summer. Um, I’ve always found it, you know, really fun. Like, literally, I just, I love to do it. Um, so I think starting with that just entrepreneurial spirit in high school and running those companies is kind of initiated where we are today. And then, you know, kind of, you know, getting into the college landscape and kind of slowly analyzing it and realizing that, hey, like this might not be 100%, um, for me, you know, loving college, a lot of fun studying hard, all that stuff, but just kind of seeing a way out of that situation and figuring out eventually, you know, how to work for myself again rather than going into kind of a more traditional financial field with the right was headed. So yeah.
Yeah. That’s awesome, man. Um, and we were chatting here before we got live. One of the really cool things that, that, um, that I like about you is, is, is you’re young, you know, business. You’ve, you know, you’ve been educated, you’ve got great resources and mentors in your life to kind of help guide you along the way. And it’s really a good picture of where the industry is going, in my opinion. There’s so many more business people or private equity. You’ve got guys that have built 8 or 9 figure companies that are turning, turning into private equity, coming into the space, owning companies, buying companies. And I see less of the traditional historical painter that has been a painter for 15 years and now owns the, you know, the painting company or the installer that’s now the CEO. And that took 20 years, right? Or 15 years or whatever. Um, and so it’s really exciting to see you doing this in our, in our, in our industry. Um, if you could talk to us a little bit about that, Like, what is that like being young, you know, knowing business, but coming into a field where, um, you know, there’s everyone’s older, there’s a lot of old dogs in the, in the space that don’t want to be taught new tricks, right? They don’t like millennials. There’s, there’s a lot of that going on. Matter of fact, um, when I first started the marketing company, there was so much hate from, you know, all these guys that were like 40, 50 years old that were like, Who are you coming in talking about generating leads with ads, you know? So what is that like for you kind of coming into the space with that?
Totally, Yeah. You know, it was definitely, you know, now it’s it’s good as we’ve built our our brand name in Detroit, you know, but I think starting out, yeah, it was really difficult. I remember walking down the street, my partner would take one side, I’d take the other, and we were literally door hanging homes, you know, just hoping for one call in February in the middle of winter, you know. So I think, you know, it’s really evolved right as far as the contractors, you know, that have been running those companies and their 20th year, they finally get to cruise through. Cruise. Right. But as time has has gone on, I think people are getting into this space because there’s just such a need for it just in all contracting in general. And I think people are really breaking them down into, you know, average tickets, close ratios and seeing where they need to be and walking into these industries and literally just crushing.
Yeah, yeah. Love it, man. Um, there’s an association that we’re a part of called the Painting Contractor Association. And I’ve, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve spoken at their events. I’m involved there, um, at, at some level. And there’s a guy named Jason Paris who is the previous chair of the of the, of the whole PCA and he has this, this whole mission to professionalize the painting industry, you know, and that’s been a mission of mine, too, is, well, let’s professionalize this industry. And I do believe that it’s at the beginning stages of the renaissance of that professionalization, you know. And so it’s exciting for you. If you could talk to us a little bit about your company and kind of like what you guys do to maybe the size of the company and just kind of the kind of the fundamentals of kind of what business you’re running and things like that?
Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, right now we are running seven, possibly eight cruise kind of on and off here. So we’re doing about 150 jobs a month, I would say. You know, hopefully that continues as we get into, you know, later, summer and fall as well. Um, but yeah, really the structure is, you know, I’ve got two CSRs, one of them is kind of half inside sales, um, three outside sales guys. I run them pretty hard, um, you know, which, you know, lets them make more money. I hear guys that want to work longer days, uh, you know, by example. And it’s interesting too. I’ve got younger guys too, you know, on the outside sales from 26 to 60, right? So it’s kind of an interesting dynamic there and seeing how they operate and the difference just from our generation to even how, you know, the older guys handle the customers, which is pretty cool to see. Yeah. Um, but yeah, in general, my partner, he’s the operating partner. He handles all the, you know, customers. If there’s any complaints, he has a general manager under him. So, you know, we also have a shop where a warehouse manager that, you know, is handling all the equipment, things breaking.
You know, once you get to seven crews, I know it’s not giant, but, you know, things start breaking, right? And you need them fixed quickly. Um, so you don’t have to have too much equipment, right? Um, but yeah, that’s kind of the general dynamic of it. You know, it it’s, it’s, everyone plays a huge role, right? From the CSRs booking the phone calls, making sure our issue rates are, you know, where they need to be. It really starts there. You know, I always like to say kind of like how you guys say it. You know, there’s marketing first, right? Then you have your CSR, who’s got a field, the the call and then get it on to production. And then last, you know, service, you know, if anything does go wrong with that client or that client needs a little extra bump, just making sure that all those things are going in unison. Right And we’ll never get them perfect, as you know. But all we can do is try and minimize and, uh. Edit our script daily on what we’re doing and what’s working and what’s most efficient, but also looking and seeing what works for the people that are working at your company.
Yeah, that’s awesome. And how many people would you say that you guys have right now over there?
Geez, we’re constantly hiring, but I would say 25 to 28.
I would say.
So the decent size, you know, operation over there. Um, and when did you guys start doing installs and things like that? This is our third year.
We’ve really been in business for two years and seven months or something. So we started doing installs in 20. Jeez, 2021 Then I think, yeah, 2021 was our first year, which was literally just us getting off the ground, you know, me and my partner, like I did this, I sold the jobs and I would show up and do a clear coat. Like, you know, I’ve never been like the handiest guy or like the best at a lot of that stuff. But it’s also important to show the guys that, you know, you can work too, and stuff like that. So I started doing it with just my partner, right, for that first year. Uh, second year, you know, we just did some planning. We’re listening to podcasts, reaching out to industry experts, kind of even evaluating if we wanted to go back to college or not, Right? You know, hey, are we going to keep doing this? You know, it’s working like we weren’t really planning on it working like as well as it is. And then, you know, making that decision, the first decision to leave school was tough, but the second decision was even harder to not go back because all your friends asking you, hey, you know, are you coming back? Oh, no, I’m not. You know.
Everyone’s like, Oh, that guy’s gonna be homeless or whatever. Right, Exactly.
So it’s like, Oh, wow. Like I come from a background where everyone goes to college, you know, like you’re going to college, you’re like, you’re dead, you know? So, uh, just making that decision and kind of doubling down with my partner, um, you know, and going back into it for our second year. Uh, you know, we immediately got busier. We really started to look at our cost per lead as far as marketing and stuff, um, and evaluate that. Eventually bringing on a sales person, replacing myself there, putting myself back to that inside sales marketing role, um, as far as you know, and still handling a lot of customers and getting that CSR as well was important to run three crews and then eventually planning out that next year, right? Financially and everything to get to where we are now of, you know this year was extremely calculated year and. I don’t think I think me and my partner, sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit. We’re always going. It’s never good enough, you know? But it definitely has been a great year so far and extremely calculated.
So yeah, that’s awesome. And those are the type of, you know, of things that, you know, when we talk about professionalizing what we’re doing here, those, those are those exact things, you know, systems and culture and being proper leaders and, you know, all these different things that, you know, that sometimes people look at as like, uh, um, you know, impossible, you know. And, and I think that’s a big thing historically with home service is it’s very unprofessional, right? Trucking the truck, the guy shows up, he can’t answer the phone, those smaller companies. But you look at these bigger companies like A1 or Kettle or all these big companies, and they’re so professional. Right. And I think it’s so important to to to be aware that you can provide that level of experience in your small business, too, right? With your employees, like it’s you know, it’s possible, but it takes a lot of effort.
People want it. They want it to be professional. The guys, they want to wear the hats, the shirts. You know, they want to have the nice trucks, the wrap trailers. Um, you know, everyone wants everything to be more professionalized. And I think that’s something like as far as hiring for us, you know, uh, we’re hiring for people that want to grow, right? Everyone here has the expectation at our company that like, we’re here for the long run and that we’re here to to ultimately grow and be the best. So.
Yeah. Yeah. I love that culture. Um, I want to chat real quick about, um, uh, um, about, like, managing older people. Obviously you’re, you’re, you’re in your early 20s. There’s people on your team. You have a decent sized team that are older, right. Than you. And obviously you mentioned that you’ve got a partner and you’ve got, um, managers in place that are managing people and things for you. But if you could speak to that just for a moment on, on how you, you know, how important it is to just to be a leader in the business, no matter if you have people that are older than you, younger than you, different color than you, whatever, right? Like how important is, you know, is it for you to be a leader regardless of who’s in your company?
It’s so important. You know, everyone’s looking at you and, you know, every day it’s like the vibe in the office or anywhere. Guys are constantly watching you, looking at your phone, you know, like, hey, like, does this guy really know what he’s doing? Right? Like, am I going to continue to follow him? And it’s so important to continue to have everyone bought in and think like are at first, you know, the youth. Is it definitely hurt you know like I’ve I’ve let sales guys go I’ve let you know just being young making dumb decisions right as I’m going to continue to make but being able to rebound from those most importantly has been important. But as far as age, you know, I think now just with the traction that we’ve had and the direction that we’re going, I think people really like it. I think people we have all kinds of people reach out, Hey, you got any spot, you know, for here for this position? Like, I really love what you guys are doing over there. So now it has caught fire. But yeah, I mean.
It just the past.
Two years, putting in 80 hours a week, every week, you know, just to get to this point and then struggling at this point, it’s just like, wow, Well, what’s next, right?
Oh, yeah. Yep, yep. I was just talking to our operations director at Service Legend. And, you know, there’s things that we’re working on, we run on. And so, you know, we have quarterly rocks and, you know, there’s a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of accountability in place. And I was just talking to our our guy, Caleb, and was just talking about, um, you know, there was decisions that, you know, I feel like he should be making, right, Um, that he knows he should be making, but he’s not making them. And, and I, you know, it was more about, um, fear of rejection or fear of making mistakes, right? Um, and, uh, it’s so important to just get after it, you know, and that’s where you learn and get experience is when you make those mistakes. Um, and like, you know, to your point, mean about making mistakes. Like you’re always going to do. It’s so true. Um, and so I want to segway there a little bit. Um. What type of mistakes like do you think that you’ve made that you think somebody that’s listening that maybe. Will or could make that mistake. What would you tell that person based on your experiences and your mistakes? Like, how could you have done it better and retrospect, now that you’re a couple years in now?
Yeah, I would say, you know, with what you’re building, like I think the culture and the standard that you start with is the most important. Like, what are you letting certain people get away with right from the very beginning, right? Because once you set a certain tone in a company which we had struggled with in certain aspects, just with anything, whether it’s quality of installation, what you’re going to let a technician get away with, say, you know, act, dress, do anything right? Like you have to set the tone and be very consistent with it. And I think that we struggle with that a lot. And, you know, actually being hard on people, right, Because we were a little bit younger. But I think, you know, now we understand the importance of being extremely consistent and sticking to the script. Right. I think that’s number one, you know, staying consistent in that nature as far as like a marketing and like growth perspective, I would say, you know, having enough money aside for marketing to start is the utmost important. Like especially in our industry, you know, you’re not marketing, you’re not in business, right? So like, you better figure that out real quick because you can’t make money in this business running one crew, you know, and everyone’s in this business to make money. And I think that’s a huge issue that a lot of people have in this industry. And it’s, you know, people we fight with, you know, guys doing $2,000 floors, right? It’s like. You’re doing them for free. But a lot of these guys don’t know that, you know, they are working literally for free. So it’s just. You know, sharing that knowledge is. I agree. So.
Yeah, yeah. Love it, man. Um, I want to chat real quick about, um, the topic of, of, of sales. I know you have three sales people outside and then you have, it looks like it’s 1 or 2 inside. Um, and I imagine that’s for rehash at some level. Um, but uh, could you talk to us like, you know, how important is sales and home service, you know, and you know, specifically for your concrete coating company in that industry, but like, you know, how important is it to have like a sales process, a sales system, Um, you know, and how has that benefited you guys, like actually having something in place and not just winging it, you know, 100%.
It’s, it’s so important. Like all the way down to I have a, I have a sales meeting bi weekly every Tuesday morning. I’ll go over with our inside sales reps and then our, our sales reps. And I’m technically in charge of sales right now. I’m looking to replace myself. I’ll always be involved. But, you know, getting someone in that role to to manage some of the little things. Right. But it’s everything, right? Like you cannot keep your technicians busy if your guys aren’t on the road, you know, estimating and understanding how to close on the spot as far as, you know, if you’re not going to close on the spot, you want to be too annoying, right? But having a rehash and, you know, understanding your market where you have to be at with your average ticket and where you can go with your inside sales team.
Yeah. And on the inside person that you have that does like rehash stuff, what does that look like? Like what does your guys’s process for the like unsold estimate rehash stuff? I think that’s a big there’s a couple of things that I believe that this industry doesn’t isn’t fully aware of and a couple of those are lead conversion. I think that there’s plenty of companies that get plenty of leads. They just don’t know how to convert them into into appointments that are qualified. Um, because the average lead to conversion rate in our industry I think was like 30%, you know. Um, and I think cardinals is like 70%. And I heard, and I posted something the other day about, um, and there’s people getting 60, 70, 80% on lead conversion.
Conversion. You mean to appointment?
That is a big think that’s not being leveraged or, you know, maximized.
73 to 75, sometimes 80. Uh, but like I’d say we go to more appointments that are. Some. I’ll take the chance with my guys sometimes and go out to some leads that aren’t as good. But again, I run them hard. You know, we do a lot of I mean, some of my guys do 7 to 8 estimates a day, you know, But that’s the type of guy I look for and that I hire for, and that’s the way I’m structured. But I’m sorry, where did your your you know.
Because, you know, there’s a lot of guys in the industry that like, there’s just key KPIs. And I think lead conversion is a big one. And then you have, um, unsold estimate, Um, like, you know, I think there’s a lot of meat on the table that is being left there with follow up and rehash. And same thing with lead conversion. Um, and there’s just a few KPIs that I think that are not being measured for some reason in this industry or they’re not as aware. Um, and I think it’s the lack of coaching programs and things like that, but, and just education to the space. But what is your guys’s follow up process look like when it comes to rehash, to like unsold estimates and things like that? Yeah.
So after two days my inside sales rep, you know, we use Hatch right? And that will get sent out and you know if they respond.
To do for you guys.
Exactly so Hatch sends out messages you know a or two days after we see them. Right. Hey, uh, so-and-so with Komar and Cross, you know, was looking at your estimate. Is there anything you know we could do? Right. So it sends those automated messages out to everyone. That is still in my estimate. Set pool with Builder Prime. After that, you know, the next day it’s going to send another one. If they don’t answer the next day, it’s going to send another. And then I think I skip a day and do one more or something. But essentially it just it sends really friendly messages for the person to be able to respond. And then we want to get them on the phone right away. Right? So we want to call them immediately as soon as they get that message out and, you know, hopefully convert them. Right. Um.
How long do you follow.
Up with somebody? Like how long do you guys say, okay, this person, like, how long would you guys call like, like a cold lead or unsold estimate or something like that?
Yeah. I mean, so what I want and what somebody else does sometimes a little bit different right now, but I’ll call you until you tell me to. To just. Hey, I’m done. Like, I don’t. I don’t want to do anything, you know, like, that’s when you should be getting a call. Because at the end of the day, these people are calling you to get a floor like they want this done. It just comes down to price a lot of the time. Like with our Google reviews and stuff like that, people trust us, right? So when you get to a certain point, it’s just people just want it at a certain price, I think. And I think that’s why, you know, I’m not saying we struggle, but there’s you know, I want people in this industry to understand that they need to get their prices up, you know, all across the board because, uh, it just. You know, at the end of the day, you got to be profitable to remain in business. You got to be profitable to have the shiny nice stuff that your people want and create, you know, a place of work that people want to be at. Right. And I think that this industry, the reason a guy like Jeff Gears walked into it, Boom. Exactly. He’s taking control of the situation because he knows what’s going on and he understands those KPIs.
So and there’s obviously opportunity. Right? Um, and Jeff, Jeff has just shown us, you know, that. And what’s funny is, you know, I saw, you know, I see a lot of the older dogs in the industry that have been doing it for a long time. You see it a lot in these Facebook groups with these guys. And, um, they’re probably good guys, right? If you’re having a beer with them, you know, playing some golf or whatever. But like they’re just so set in their ways. And Tommy Mellow, he always says this phrase, he goes, if, if Tommy wins, it doesn’t mean that you lose, right? Um, and we had the vertical track event a couple of weeks ago and there was hundreds of garage door and Hvac companies and had the opportunity to speak there. And it was, you know, and, you know, and Tommy mentioned that again, he goes, you know, a lot of these guys want to get their companies purchased. And he’s like, look, if A1 is winning, it doesn’t mean that you guys are, you know, are losing. He goes, I’m you know, I’m setting the new standard. I’m elevating the industry. You guys just come along with me. Right. And some of these guys don’t want to because of ego and pride. And that’s the old dog. You know.
Everybody wins like everybody’s.
On the same team in a way. Um, I fully agree, right? Because the trades in general, you know, people are doing things to just keep food on the table sometimes and it’s like, that’s not how it should be, right? Like people, you know, and you’re always going to have that lower tier, right? Um, but at least having a baseline, like if I’m going to lose a job, I want to lose a job to a good competitor, right?
It’s always painful when you lose to somebody that you’re like, Oh, well, hey, this guy said he was going to do it for for two grand. I’m like, totally like, Well, is he going to be here next week?
That’s just a client that you’re never going to get a lot of the time, right? Like, they just can’t afford it. Like, that’s that client. And I’ve kind of gotten to that point of vetting them over the phone, Right? But like, you still run into them and you still really want to close them, right? But, uh, yeah, that’s how it is.
Um, and how important is the marketing side for you guys? I mean, obviously you’re using service legend, but how important is marketing when it comes to online but also offline? You know, I heard you talk about reps and, you know, in promotional items and things like that. Just talk to us how important kind of like the offline and the online marketing is for your guys’s business over there?
Yeah, the combination is huge. You know, we do we do everything TV, radio, we’ve done billboards, um, don’t really recommend billboards, but that’s.
Say it again.
That’s more for ego and pride, right? Just putting your face on.
Papers, magazines, all that stuff on the. On the physical side. All the way to the truck reps, to the yard sign. But yeah, also. So, um, you know, the Internet, right? Facebook obviously with you guys, you know, uh, Google, obviously ads, stuff like that. But really getting Google reviews, uh, you know, having a system to send out Google reviews we use. Nice job. Um, and just being able to master those, those little things. I think the biggest thing for us is Google reviews all day long. Like there’s no one in Detroit that has better Google reviews than us. And I think that goes a long way. Like a Google review for me is it’s amazing. It’s just as good as selling a job.
Yeah, I mean, that social proof is so big, especially, you know, being in business three years in, you know, in less. Um, there’s a lot of homeowners that have been homeowners for a long time, 20, 25 years. They’ve, they’ve hired home service companies, right? So like, they know what’s up, you know, um, and so that social proof helps a lot. I imagine.
It does. You know, and obviously referrals are huge and stuff like that. But a Google review, when someone sees you have all five star reviews at 200 plus reviews, it’s like it’s almost like a referral, right? They already trust you.
Else that’s below or above you in the, you know, in the in the in the three pack or whatever. Um, 15 reviews, right? 4.2 stars or, you know, I got 72 reviews, 3.7 stars or whatever, you know. Um, and so it is a shiny like you stand out. Um, how do you guys focus on those reviews? You know, Well, you mentioned nice job, but is there anything else that you guys do? And then how do you guys use Nice job for that.
Yeah, exactly. So we pay our people like everyone’s incentivized to get reviews, right from the the technicians right to our GM right is incentivized to your reviews we pay per review which is important. Obviously we don’t want to get reviews just because you know the monetary aspect, but, uh, you know, just it’s kind of like a pulse check right on. Like, how are we doing? Like, how do people feel about us, right? So. They’re, you know, going to get an automatic review sent out to them, you know, no matter what at the end of the job. And if it was a terrible experience, let’s hear about it. Right. If it was a great experience, let’s hear about it. And I just think the more reviews we get, I think it’s just a good pulse check. Obviously, I want all five star, but eventually, you know, I got a bad, bad review coming soon. I guarantee it. Right. But it’ll.
Come right. It’ll come. Uh, yeah. I talked to Tommy about and he was like, Yeah, I was like, sharing something with him. He’s like, Oh, yeah. Well, I had an assistant one time still like 15 grand for me, so just chill out, dude. It’s gonna be okay.
It’s like, literally, I was.
Like, All right.
It’s going to be.
Fine. I have a couple questions for you. Um, regarding a couple things in this industry that not a lot of people talk about, and I want anyone else listening just to talk about, you know, I think the biggest struggle of the concrete coding industry, especially in the Midwest, you know, and even you’re probably pretty seasonal in Arizona, is really just the off season, um, in this industry. And I want to talk to a lot of guys and see, you know, what they’re doing. We do commercial work as well. We’ve done half million dollar parking decks, stuff like that, big work, but it’s a completely different business. Right? Um, so just kind of want to get your thoughts on that and you know how you keep your guys busy and stuff like that.
In the winter for you, I imagine, right? Um, the winter is tough. Um, so there’s, there’s a couple things. And obviously in Arizona, the summer, um, however we still work through the summer, but we don’t do pool decks. Um, and we try to limit like any driveways, things like that. Right and.
Yeah. And we, we have what’s called the pre-sell fall and Winter program and we call it the ten and ten. So, um, you know, you know, everyone’s reaching out for pool decks right now, right? And we tell them, hey, if you let us install this, you know, in this time, right? It’s like December through February or whatever it is, um, we’ll, we’ll only require 10% down. We normally require 50% down. We only require 10% down and you get 10% off automatically for, for doing this. Right. And a lot of people do it. Like last year we had like probably like 20 or 30 pool deck and like driveway like, like those those exterior projects scheduled for Q4, like the end of Q4 and early Q1, um, by the end of summer. So that’s one thing to fill that up. So for you it’d be pre-selling like it’s our pre, you know, it’s our presale interior and basement program, right? Um, and so you can mark it for basements, um, pretty soon and get booked out as much as you can, Right. Um, you know, put as much effort as you can. And then also, um, I remember Jeff Gear was doing something, um, he had a program and, and I’m not sure if he minds me sharing this, but it was a program where he, um, would put a percentage of the employees, um, check and a bank account for him. And then it would have, you know, it would build up through the year and that way, and then they would pay them through that and like during the off season if they weren’t working right? So it was like a way to help the employee understand how to save their money properly and kind of prepare for the winter. Yeah. And it was like a guaranteed thing. Hey, we’ll hire you right back.
Something similar. Yeah, we take percent, you know, give percentage at the end.
Of the year.
That’s cool, dude. I think that’s really cool for those loyal employees if you know you’re going to lay them off and because they might go work somewhere else and still use that or whatever. Um, another thing.
You know, we keep our main guys and all that stuff, but it is tough, you know, you do when you have 20 plus guys, right? Uh, in the industry it is tough, you know, with the off season you’re going to lay off, you know, half of them.
And we don’t lay off here because of, you know, our strategy. So we fill up, you know, garages, things like that. Um, and, you know, it’s all about scheduling too. Schedule optimization is a big deal. Um, but I think the, the pre-sell fall and winter program is a big one. Um, so you guys should start selling like. You know, incentivize any any any interior job, interior commercial, interior, residential interior basement, a garage that you think could be installed when it’s snowing. Um, you want to try to push those people to, um, put a deposit in and schedule them for the winter?
Right. Like, yeah.
That’s the best thing you can do because you’ll look up and if you really put an effort into that, you’ll, you know, look up and you’ll have, you know, quite a, you know, a bit of jobs on the books for, you know, for late Q4 and, you know, in early Q1. Another thing is having a supplementary or a um, a supplement or what I’m looking for, um, um, like a secondary division where whether it’s Christmas lights, um, something, you know, even if it’s small and it doesn’t make a ton of money, but it keeps your guys busy and you know, you know, and it covers the overhead of that thing, snow plowing, whatever it could be. I would, I would, I would do something like that too, potentially. Um, but, um, I, I’d really love Jeff’s opinion on this or, or, or somebody a little bit more experienced than I am, because in Arizona it’s pretty easy. You know, I got to be honest. You know, I mean, it gets hot, but we don’t ever stop, you know.
Which is great.
That’s a luxury, right? Yeah. And I would say, like in a place like Detroit for two months out of the year, things are pretty slow and obviously will still work. But there’s a big difference going from seven eight to, you know, one, 2 or 3.
Well, you could also do this. Um, we have a, um, we have a painter in Detroit. Ellison painting. They do really well. Brad Ellison is just this guy is an absolute specimen of a of a male. Okay. This guy’s a rock star. Okay. Um, but, um, they do, you know, same thing for a painter, right? You want to schedule your cabinet, installs your interior jobs for the for for Q4 and Q1. Right. And so he should be doing the same thing for cabinets, interiors and then commercial interiors. You know, ideally. But you could also try to partner with like a painter and tell you guys, hey, for two months, you know, we partner with this painter and you guys can go work for this, you know, you know my buddy Brad and do paint work and get paid to your thing and you can come on back. It might be kind of dicey because they might want to stay there if they like it. I don’t know. Um, but, uh, yeah, you know, it’s just being resourceful and creative and, you know, and also being straightforward and, you know, with your team and most importantly, being proactive hundred percent. Yeah. So, um, I want to kind of circle back with you a little bit around, like, the culture thing, because, you know, you kept talking about this, this culture and things like this. Um, I want to know where that came from, you know, because not like you have 20 years of business experience and you know how to build culture, but it seems like you have a good, a good grasp of it. Um, how important is culture for you personally, you know, but like, how do you, how do you do that, you know, at your age and this business size, this many people. Um, how do you build that culture, man?
Well, I think, number one, it starts with hiring and people that are going to accept culture, right? I think a lot of there’s there’s a lot of guys that want nothing to do with it. They just want to come to work and do their thing. But I think when you’re actively, actively seeking people that want to get on the same page as you and, you know, grow and excel and learn and fail together, I think that, you know, that’s culture. You know, obviously we do a lot of fun events, you know, company parties, you know, top golf, whatever. Like we do it. But it’s just I think it’s getting people, uh, on the same page as you and that are, you know, like minded is really important. And then, you know, having meetings, not waiting to do a review once a quarter, right? Like keeping, you know, knowing how every person is doing at our size, at least right now. Um, you know, every week, every two weeks. Right. Keeping people in the loop, knowing that you care about them and them kind of feeding off my energy and my partner’s energy and then each other’s energy.
Yeah. Um, and the, um, um, uh, you know, I think most people and I experienced this too early on is, uh, you think that culture is built in a company outing, you know? And, hey, you know what? If I just spend a couple hours at a company outing, you know, a quarter, that’s where I’m going to, you know, actually care about them or spend time with them. Um, but when it’s, you know, in between those outings, you know, it’s work and I’m going to crack the whip.
On my side of the operation, like, you know, in our sales group chat, hey, you make a sale, like we’re all going to get fired up for you. Right. Like, send a funny meme, you know, whatever it is like just getting excited for our people and celebrating our people and constantly telling them, you know, how good they’re doing, right? Um, and that’s another thing. I just, I don’t think that people learn, um, from like, from criticism. Like, I really don’t, I don’t think it helps anybody, you know, um, you know, little thing here and there. But overall, like, people, you know, thrive with positivity. So yeah.
Yeah, I love that man. Um, you know, we’re getting towards the end here a little bit, but I’m curious about the production side, and I know that’s your partner, You know, more so. So, you know, you don’t have to go too in depth. But you mentioned the warehouse manager and there’s like, you know, there’s seven crews. Um, I wanted to understand how you guys have managed the scale of like crews because there’s so many variables when you, when you start adding crews. And if Dr. Jeff Gear, they’ve mastered this like you should see their trailers they spend like. $50,000 per trailer to set it up, right? I mean, this thing is like a freaking RV back there, right? And so they have this master where it’s like, oh, boom, you know, this many sales coming in, boom, boom, boom. Okay, we need this crew. We need this trailer. Here’s all the parts and it’s like a whole situation. Have you guys mastered kind of that, like the scale on the back end side of, you know, things a little bit? And. And how does that look?
I mean, we.
Have manuals, right, for everything that we stick to. Obviously not everything’s going to go as planned. Right. If you ask my partner. But in general, you know, everyone’s on the same page. I would say as far as manuals, you know, building the trailers out, keeping the crew leads accountable for, you know, flaws like that. I’m working on, you know, more of a performance pay system for our installers and stuff. And I think that’s really hard for our industry specifically because it is a team effort with everyone on that crew and crews are going to change, right? But in general, you know, I mean, we have a scorecard for the crews and we go over the jobs. We go over pictures, befores and afters. Hey, is it grinded? Right. You know, all that little stuff because.
You know, it’s.
Important you can trust people, but you need to hold them accountable, right? Especially on the install side of things.
Yeah, for sure. Um, could you share with us what softwares or like, what techs like, what technology and softwares that you think are important for a home service company?
Yeah, I mean, obviously it starts with a good CRM. You need to understand once. Can we plug this? My computers.
Running out of battery.
You need a good charger, right?
That’s one. No, There you go.
You need to get charger. But yeah, I would say obviously understanding your CRM, right, and understanding where your your leads are coming from, you need to categorize your leads. Obviously, that’s number one because if you don’t know where to market, you know, your toast as far as production, you know, I think just for our industry specifically, like a roofing or like a one and done sale, uh, I think it’s really important, you know, just have a CRM that where you can assign, you know, that main lead, right? And then maybe some of the other technicians that are going to go along with it because you’ll see like we use Service Titan, it really was a disaster. It was a disaster. I mean, we wasted six, seven months on it. Total headaches. I mean, hundreds, maybe thousands of hours put into it and just not being on the same page with the implementation people, right? Yeah. It’s not meant for what we do if you really look into it. Yeah. Wish it was because it’s got some sweet tools but that’s where Builder Prime obviously Jeff building it out was God’s grace to all of us. Um.
Is that, um, with him building that out, was there like a was there stuff in there that, um, like a snapshot, if you will, or like, or certain things that you, uh, that you got to benefit from, from what he was able to do with?
Just just simplifying, you know, having the sales calendar, the production calendar on a different page is, is huge for our industry. Um, you know, seeing the issue rates is huge, right? Appointments set. Right. How many appointments are we setting? Hey, we got to get to 100, 120 for the week. Like, you know, where are we at right now? Where do we need to be? Like, that’s so big to be able to look at that at any point in time, You know, uh, salespeople, you know, tracking commissions, all that stuff. So, um, those are important. Obviously, jobs sold, um, you know, accounts receivable. We run all of our accounting through it now, so we’re just all on one system, which is huge. Um, so yeah, that builder prime has been great for us. There’s a lot of things that they could definitely improve, but I think it’s a work in progress and it looks pretty, pretty promising.
Very nice. That’s cool, man. Um, yeah, I think that’s a part of professionalizing this industry too, is, you know, technology and the software’s being implemented and there’s been some great folks that have come in and, you know, and done some great things. Lee Baker’s done some great automations and, um, Brandon Vaughn and, and things like that and the kind of things that we’ve done. And I think we’ve kind of brought a lot of new stuff and ideas to the industry. And so it’s exciting to see those things being implemented. And um, is there anything else that you feel like, um, you know, I mean, as we’re kind of coming to the end here, you know, is there anything else that you feel like you want to share with with the audience and that has helped you kind of get to where you’re at?
Thank you. Right. No.
Say it again.
You said outside of service. Legend.
Yeah, I think just.
Uh, you know, not getting down on yourself and showing up every day is huge. I think a lot of people, uh, just need to show up and go through some of the pain. Uh, and there’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel, right? Like having a good day to day tomorrow. Not might not be as good, but I’ll, I’ll show up, you know, and continue to make it happen. Because if you look back at how far you’ve come and, um, with calculated risk, I think that. What’s the worst thing that could happen?
Yeah. Yeah. I love that, man. There’s never been a better time right now in home service when, you know, private equity is coming in and coming in hard. You know, it’s a good time, right? Because they. Because they because they I mean, these guys know the opportunities they see the opportunities they have all the data to make the decisions. You don’t normally see a private equity company making tons and tons of, um, bad investments. Right? You mean it happens, Right.
But yeah, uh.
They’re pretty calculated, so it’s a great time for us.
Here. Absolutely. And are you with with your operation, are you more so focused on, you know, kind of service legend or are you looking to kind of grow what you have in, you know, in Arizona as well?
Uh, well, so I don’t really have any, uh, responsibilities at all, day to day at Cardinal. You know, I’m partnered with my mom, dad and my older brother, and they and they run the business. They they like it. They like being there. And my parents are retired. So it’s like, you know, this is like a like a secondary thing that they do, although it’s full time for them, basically. However, it’s it’s a kind of a retirement thing that’s fun for them. And then my older brother, um, does a great job as well. Um, and so the company just kind of, you know, steady, we’ll do a couple million dollars, probably like two, 2.5, maybe something like that. Um, my main focus is service legend. Um, you know, we have so many opportunities. We have so many great clients like, like yourself that, you know, that we work for. And there’s a lot of new products that we’re going to be rolling out this year like. Hulu streaming ads. Youtube ads. We’re going to start doing short form content for our clients to help them become like micro, like influencers in their space so we can like edit the content. We’ll do the captions everything, post it as reels on YouTube shorts, Instagram reels, Facebook reels and TikTok. Um, so that that service, um, doing more reactivation campaigns and email marketing for our clients and so we have all these new products that we’re going to enroll and I think it’s going to be really, really cool to be able to. I’m excited about the Hulu one because I think it’d be cool to have us do your Hulu streaming ads and not have to go anywhere else, um, beyond TV. So that’s kind of my, you know, my main focus right now.
That’s huge. No, that’s, that’s awesome.
Just, you know, optimizing things, right? And there’s always challenges, you know, in a business. And, um, so, but yeah, I love this man. I love this industry. You know, I’m speaking a little bit more. I’m speaking at the huge convention in August in Nashville. Um, just spoke at Vertical Track. We have our own event coming up later this year, which I’d love to have you come on out too. Maybe we can get you on the panel or something like that. It’s early October for the Service Legend Summit. Uh, Tommy Mellow is going to be speaking. Brandon Vaughn. Um, Jeff Gears. Coming. Um. We have a bunch of really awesome people coming later this year. So just stuff like that.
Yeah, that’s great.
No, I love it. That’s. That’s fun.
Yeah, man. Um, well, thank you, man, so much for your time here. I know you’re, you know, busy. Obviously. I appreciate your time here and your business here at service. Legend man. And, um, just wish you the the ultimate success, man, and, uh, keep us updated. You know, everyone that’s been listening is probably pretty amazed at 23 doing multiple seven figures and all these people that you’re managing and leading. And so it’s cool, man. So keep us updated and we’ll talk to you soon, man.
Well, I appreciate you guys. Thank you. Have a good rest your day.
See you guys.