Hey. Hey. What is going on? Everybody in the service legend community, we have a special guest on the podcast this week. His name is Chris Moore from Elite Business Advisors. And they help painting contractors, home service companies scale their business by really creating more clarity in their business and understanding their finances. I want to talk a lot about that today and really simplify their production. So welcome to the podcast.
Awesome. Appreciate you having me. Marco This is fun. I’m excited to be here.
Yeah, 100%. And you know, just before coming on the podcast, you know, I haven’t met you before, but I always seen the noise about what you guys got going on. And, you know, I see the trade show booths, I see the stuff on Facebook, on YouTube and all these different platforms and just always loved what you guys have going on at Elite Business Advisors and we’ll kind of get into that later in the podcast here. As far as like what it is and you know, does it make sense for people to shop with you and kind of what the features and benefits are of doing that? But to get started here, I want to talk a little bit about how you got into the industry. Right. And so tell me a little bit about a little bit about yourself and kind of getting into the industry as a whole.
Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, born and raised here in Saint Louis. For those of you guys watching on video, you can see all the blue stuff in the background. So, um, born and raised in Saint Louis here in, you know, it’s funny because I actually have a unique perspective into the painting industry. I’ll just say into that is I started when I was in college with a company called Student Painters. They used to exist and still exist in a variety of markets. People listen to this. You might be familiar with it, very similar to how it works. College Pro, a lot of the other large college painting companies out there and, you know, really understood business first, right? They taught us how to be business people and then how to be craftsperson kind of came after that. And so I’ve always had that business mindset of thinking and got the experience of what it’s like to coach and train and mentor. People loved it. I spent about a decade in the painting industry between that company and starting my own business elite painting, and then started the elite business advisors in 2018. Um, knowing that we wanted to coach and work with business owners kind of as consultants and everything from new businesses to established businesses, everything in between there and then, and then ended up kind of making the transition and niching down into mostly the painting industry. That’s about 98% of our clients right now are all painting contractors and some other home service businesses in there too. But everything in the coding space is really where we kind of found ourselves just because, again, of my background, our team of advisors, everybody has painting industry experience, whether they’ve ran their own business or are currently running a painting business, still working with us on a part time basis. So, so yeah, that’s, that’s kind of really what gave me that insight of what it’s like to coach and mentor people and ultimately what led me into starting this company.
Absolutely. And you’ve been doing this for for a hot minute. I mean, you said in college you started working at the painting company. And how old were you at that time?
So I was 19, so 19 years old, out running my own painting business, which was terrifying to look back at 19 year old Chris actually being responsible. So.
Yeah. That’s crazy. And then what was your like, what was the sort of progression from because you went to college and then you kind of transitioned into the professional world, you know, for for those who don’t know you, you know, you went to you went to school for what was was it a business focus or was it like trade focused in school?
Yep. So it was it was entrepreneurial. So I was an entrepreneurship major, actually a double major in entrepreneurship and marketing. So, so yeah, I went to School of business and that was really, I mean, what student painters, you know, goal was, was to take business minded college students and teach them what it’s like to run and manage a small business. Right? It doesn’t get a lot more hands on than out actually running a painting business. I mean, we would mark it. We they taught us to estimate we would sell, we would oversee production, we would produce alongside our people sometimes. Right? Like it was literally hands on, Right? We always told people when we were recruiting, this isn’t an internship where you’re coming in and you’re making copies and you’re sitting in on meetings and you’re getting coffee for people like, you know. And so, yeah, it was definitely a unique experience going through college with it.
Yeah. And then how many years since you kind of transitioning out of that because you said you started elite painters then. Right. So tell me a little bit about.
Yeah. So I started, Yeah. So I spent about seven years with student painters and then I guess it was 20 into 2015. Early 2016 was when a lot of us kind of left and it was just it was time to move on, right? It was a great seven years. We had a great culture. But as you can imagine, when you’re overseeing 20, 40, 50 college students painting houses like there’s fires to put out, sometimes not literally, but figuratively. Um, and so, um, you know, and so it was just kind of time to move on. And so, yeah, I started elite painting in 2016. I knew the goal of that was to learn a lot, but also it wasn’t a long term goal, right? Doing what I’m doing now was the long term goal, even during that period. And I’ll never forget, my wife came home from work and she kind of knew that like we were starting to have these conversations about what the future looked like. Their student painters and, and I was like, Hey, yeah, we all decided to quit today.
And she’s like, What are you going to do? And I’m like, Well, I know how to run a painting business. Like I’ve been doing it this whole seven years while we’ve been coaching and mentoring college students. So so it’s just kind of a natural transition, at least for the time being. So I ran that all the way up through 20 into 2019. Beginning of 2020 was when I made the full time switch. So 2018, 2019, I was running this business and the painting company side by side, which was good because it forced me to put the systems in place in my painting company that we now teach our clients to do so that, you know, I have the time freedom, right? So again, it was just definitely a huge blessing and learning experience. Um, you know, as we were going through that, honestly, like everything that we’ve went through or that I went through in the last, say, 13 years since 2010 has led us to where we’re at today, right? And the opportunities and the value we bring to our clients.
Yeah, 100%. So you kind of graduated college. You’re learning business development, how to run a business, entrepreneurship, and you kind of transitioned into actually running a legit painting business. And then now you’re doing what you’ve, what you’ve or your, your practicing or you’re preaching what you practice, right? And so you’re, you’re training painters on how to run their business, how to create systems, processes, how to understand their numbers. So let’s dive into that a little bit, if you don’t mind. Yeah, absolutely. I have. His name is Cameron Baldwin and he he runs a very successful pest control company in Phoenix. And he told me when I first met him, he said he said, know your numbers Like he’s like in any business, you have to know your numbers. It was three words. Right? And I just remember that because in any business, right, any business that you have Cogs, which is cost of goods sold, like you’ve got to know how much money you’re spending and how much you’re making. And so you can actually be profitable because you’re not running a profit. Right? And so one of the stated goals, you know, on your business and for elite business advisors is to understand your finances and really understand your painting finances or home service finances. And so how do you assist businesses in gaining clarity on their financial situation?
Yep. So I think there’s a couple of things that we kind of look at. And I will say this, Marco, like one thing that we really are big on is trying to keep things simple, right? Because we understand that we’re working with a lot of tradespeople that have created a business. It’s not, for the most part, people like myself that started that new business and then went into the trades. It was more the other way around, right? And so we try to keep things super simple. We try not to make it complex. We try to just say, Hey, here’s the things you really need to look at. So number one, job costing, you know, love. You know, our good friend Nick Slavik always says job costing leads you down a path of 15 more questions. And it does because it makes you think about your business, right? And so after every project is complete, you should sit down and analyze. Okay, What was the what was the total the customer paid us? What did we spend on materials, supplies, equipment, rental, anything like that? And then how much did I pay out for labor for this specific project? Right. And just understanding those margins, understanding those numbers, you know, and then from there, we kind of take it and we look at everything kind of on a month to month basis. That seems to be the best frequency. Weekly, bi weekly sometimes is too short. Quarterly annually is too large, right? So we look at it on a month to month production basis of what jobs did you produce that month? What was your gross profit? Right? What was the job costing look like? What was your overhead? Every penny that was spent in the company that wasn’t attributed to labor and materials or equipment, rental, all that stuff.
And then what did you pay yourself, right? How much money did you take out of your business? And then what did the company make that month? Right. And so for us, we’ve really just tried to simplify it and drill down to what is that monthly cash flow number look like. And again, I’m not talking money in, money out cash flow. That’s kind of a different definition of it. I’m looking at it on a from the jobs you produced, your overhead costs, what you paid yourself that month, you know, what did you make? And we look at it like that, Marco, because again, there’s so much discrepancy if you’re just looking at it via QuickBooks, right? Because you’re taking deposits throughout the month, you are you know, you finish a job on today, you know, June 30th, we’re recording this and you collect the payment on July 3rd. Well, now that money is actually in July. Like it’s so skewed if you just look at it like that. And so that’s what I always tell people. To me, cash flow has two different two different definitions. It’s the day to day, Do we have money to cover stuff and how is the money flowing in and out of the business? And then it’s the production basis on a monthly basis of how much money did the company actually make in the jobs they produce that month?
Yeah, yeah. I’m intrigued that you brought that up. And I’ve seen it. I’ve we’ve seen it on the marketing side even, you know, like just in the industry as a whole, businesses will essentially take in a bunch of deposits, 50% deposits, 10% deposits, whatever it is, no matter but use that to fuel their business for production. And it’s like you got to use that to fuel the production that you’re that on that project, not not for your your past projects. And so, you know, you don’t want to I think you don’t want to steal from from Peter to pay Paul. I think that’s kind of the same. Yeah. Yeah. You’re kind of in a treadmill, right? That’s what happens, right? Yep.
And that’s what we always encourage all of our customers to open a second account at their bank connected to the checking. Right? Typically a savings account with their business checking and they take all of your deposits, put them in that account. We have a quick log sheet to track it all and say when that job starts or you buy the materials for that project, great. Then move the deposit over into the checking account. Right. But just keep it separated and it’s hard to do. You know, I know a lot of people had a really slow winter time and we’ll kind of dive into that here in a little bit. Um, you know, and so sometimes you have to spend a little bit of the deposits, right? But we, we treat them as a liability. We treat them as a payable on the, on the day to day cash flow because technically you haven’t earned that money yet. Right. And so, yeah, I think if business owners and again it can take time to transition. I mean we’ve had some clients we sit down with and they’re like we add it all up and they’ve spent $70,000 in deposits and we’re like, okay, yeah, it’s going to maybe take us a year, year and a half to really get to where 100% of your future deposits are set aside. But guess what? We can get there, right? And then you’ve got that cash reserve, you know, for when you’re waiting on that $10,000 check and you got to make payroll and make your, you know, Sherwin-Williams payment and stuff. Right? So, um, so yeah, it takes time, but that’s definitely a good discipline to have.
Yeah, 100%. You don’t want to dig yourself in a hole. And if you are, the beauty is there’s resources to make sure that you you run the business correctly.
And I tell people this. Yeah, absolutely. And I always tell people this like if you’re in a hole or if you’re know you’ve done something that you shouldn’t have done, like it’s okay, just find a solution and move forward with it, right? Like I see a lot of people beat themselves up and they’re like, Man, I had to spend some deposits through the winter time and like really getting down on themselves. And I’m like, Hey, like, like it happens, okay, but you’ve made it through and like, let’s just forget about it and let’s just put a plan together moving forward with it. And so I think anybody that’s maybe listened to this and, you know, anything that we’ve said so far and they’re like, man, like, don’t use it as a negative, use it as a positive, right? So I always say, you don’t know what you don’t know, right? Um, you know, so I think just put it behind you and move forward if you kind of find yourself in some of those situations.
Yeah, yeah, 100%. Now, growing a business is often a pretty complex process, right? There’s a lot of moving parts. Yes. As a business owner, you’ve got marketing, you got admin, you got production, you have sales, you have a lot of stuff going on. Right? And yeah, with elite business advisors, how do you guys support businesses in achieving growth? Like what is the core things that you guys focus on from a high level?
Yeah. So I mean, I’ll be honest, we, we really pride ourselves in being able to help people in all areas of their business because I do believe that a lot of the decisions you make in marketing and in estimating and stuff, it trickles into every other area of business, right? As you guys know, the channel in which the leads come through will dictate what your closing rate is and will dictate your profitability a lot of times. Right. And so it’s all about how are we getting quality leads, right? It’s not even necessarily what channel are they coming from? How are they are they quality and are they qualified. Right. And so we are able to help people. I mean, I will say the areas that we really help in the most is the financial side of things and the day to day operations and like systems, right? Being able to put things together to systematize their business and just help give people a different perspective, you know, yes, we’ll help people put recruiting systems in place and interview processes, um, you know, that will help people with their estimating system and getting that up and going. And I mean every area of business we’re able to help people with, right? And we know our limitations.
I’ll be honest, if somebody’s like, Hey, can you help me with SEO? I’m going to say, Heck no. Call somebody that specializes in that, right. We know where our limitations are with these things. But as far as the advice goes, I mean, we really kind of take you from where you’re at right now to where you want to be at and guide you as a whole throughout that process. Because again, you know, what we’ve seen before is there’ll be people that are specialists in recruiting, but all they care about is recruiting, right? They’re telling you to spend $2,000 a month and do this and do this. Well, actually, that’s killing the finances and that’s keeping you from marketing. But they don’t see all that. Right? So we’re able to kind of look at it from a 30,000 foot overview and say, hey, based on everything you’re telling us, like these are the decisions you need to make that are for the best benefit to your business as a whole, not just to solve one problem and create three more somewhere else.
Yeah. No. 100%. I totally agree. And it’s funny that you say that. And so it looks like elite business advisors. You guys focus on day to day operations and systems and financial management. Yep. Just making sure finances are going in the right place and kind of focus on those two things. Because if those are done right, then kind of everything else comes, you know, innately anyway. Now in terms of like the operations and the systems side of things, I saw something from I think it was Eric from Pathfinder Marketing, great guy. I saw a a video from him about creating a SOP for painting companies. And basically he was talking about, yeah, you don’t need to make it complicated, right? You could just create videos or you could create simple bullet points for that SOP. And so like as a painting company, which, you know, we’re talking blue collar and you were you owned a painting business. Like what is the formula to create an SOP? Like what is what’s the formula start somewhere.
That’s the first place to start. Um, no, I mean, it really is just documenting how you do what you do, right? I always say, like, SOPs should be the, you know, in my previous business, the elite painting way that we completed our paint jobs. Right? And for most painting companies, you’re going to have a lot of different SOPs. And I think this is where it seems to get overwhelming for people and they feel like they have to take six, eight, ten, 12 hours and sit down and create these things. And I’m like, no, no, no, no. You just need to document how you guys are doing things right. Go, go sit on a jobsite. If you if you don’t know, go sit on your jobsite and just observe for half a day and you’ll basically create an SOP as you go or you’ll be like, They’re not doing this right. This would be much better and this is how we’re going to create the SOP. So I think for a lot of painting companies and obviously this applies to every other home service business too, right? You’re going to have different sops like so for painting companies, you’re going to have, you know, interior ones. And for interior you’re going to have walls only. You’re going to have walls and ceilings and you’re going to have walls, ceilings and trim, because the order in which you complete that project is going to be different based on, hey, we got to do this ceiling so that it dries and then how can we be productive on the walls while the ceiling is drying to then cut in at the ceiling? Right.
Because you can’t tape wet paint if you tape and you know all that good stuff. So so, you know, and then you should have an exterior one and then you should have a kitchen cabinet one and a deck staining one and everything. And it’s really just like you said, videos and bullet points. You know, it should be one page for each area. So walls only, right? It’s hey, we get there, we put a lawn sign in the yard, we greet the customer. You know, we, we do a walkthrough with them, make sure we’re on the same page. We put Dropbox down, we take off outlet covers, we spackle nail holes. You know, again, I could sit here and go through the whole process, but it’s really just a step by step guide on how you do your business. And really, the theory is anybody that doesn’t know your business can pick up that and at least understand how to complete a project. I’m not saying they’re going to complete it well or with high quality, but they can at least pick it up and say, Hey, this is the recipe for how to do a paint job. Yeah.
So just kind of having sort of the framework and you say document it, right? Like that’s so important is to document it, whether it’s through bullets or steps or videos, things like that, that is digestible for your team. And then obviously you probably have, you know, you’re going to have training to make sure that things are done consistently and things like that. And yeah, absolutely. So every business is unique, right? With its own sets of strengths and challenges. And we’re talking painting specifically here. But now what are some areas of or what are some common challenges that you guys help solve in this area?
Yep. Um, are you talking operations specific or operations?
Yeah. So, I mean, there’s a lot of things that we recommend. Obviously having SOPs is such a huge one. It’s just it’s a foundational principle and to make sure everybody is on the same page on how things are being done right, because a lot of times you’re going to do estimates and you’re telling the homeowner how you’re going to solve a problem. Right? But if your crew isn’t following the way in their homeowners home and they’re like, well, he told me they were doing it this way and they’re doing it this totally ass backwards way. Like, you know, it’s a totally different thing, right? So so I think SOPs is important. I think another big one, Marco, is work orders, right? Having a document that your employees have access to, whether it’s part of your CRM software, whether it’s something you create in a Google sheet. We’ve got a template for our clients that they can use that just, Hey, here’s what’s going on. Like this is what we’re doing on this project. These are the three rooms we’re painting. These are the colors. We’re doing two coats. We’re not doing this. We’re doing this right. You know, just having work orders in place. Again, some CRMs integrate with that. Some of them you can create externally and use other softwares with. I think that’s a huge one, right? Because it cuts down on questions. It makes the expectations clear. We have ours built to where, you know, you can put in the hours for each room so that they know, hey, he budgeted six hours for this room and these tasks.
Right. And so I think that’s a big one. You know, another one with the operations that we talk a lot about, and this isn’t necessarily a tangible thing to put in place, but is is having good crew leads to me scaling a painting company is 100% dependent on how good of leads you have on your job sites. You know, we always say you should have set crews for the most part, right? Little fluctuations here and there, but you should have set crews that each have their own schedule. So if you have three crews, you should kind of have three different schedules that way. You know, it doesn’t completely throw off everything in the company. Maybe things get shifted around a little bit between the crews, but for the most part, you’ve got three crews that have their own schedules and each crew has a lead on it. You know, they’re responsible for everything and we did a podcast recently about kind of five levels of crew leads from bare bones, just the liaison communication point all the way up to like they’re scheduling projects and ordering materials and stuff. But I really believe that for people to scale operations, crew leads and the level of which you can coach them too responsibility wise, which obviously comes with pay, really will determine how large you can scale your company until you have to take on more and more overhead.
Yeah, absolutely. And then obviously, like on the production side, it’s kind of hand in hand, right? Like operations is, is basically production. And so like on the work orders, right? Like a lot of these CRMs have like template work orders, would you recommend that you use the one that you guys have if people work with you? You know, I guess like what’s different?
No, I mean, yeah, I think it just depends. You know, I always say do, do what’s easiest for your employees to follow and what is giving them the information they need, right? So like, for example, if you use drip jobs or jobber, you know, one of those platforms and they have it built into it and your employees are already using that software to clock in and clock out and to do stuff in it. It kind of makes sense for the work order just to be in there, right? Rather than a Google sheet where they got to go somewhere else to get access to stuff to, you know. But again, it just depends on the software that’s being used and what are the goals of the business owner. Right. I know, you know, some people are still using it a little bit more entry level software because they’re not ready to make that leap up to the next thing. They don’t even have work orders in it or the work orders they have is really of no benefit. It’s just the estimate without the numbers, right? They can’t add more details, they can’t add notes, they can’t add anything into it. It’s literally just the estimate without pricing on it, it really doesn’t do a lot of good. So in that in my opinion, in that case, then I always say you’re better off customizing something for what you need. Um, and then using that with your people rather than using something that just doesn’t really do anything for them. Right? If you really wanted that, you could just make a copy of the estimate and hand it to them. You know, that’s not really what a work order is, in my opinion. So.
Yeah, 100%. I want to kind of segway briefly, if you don’t mind, into some of the economic downturn uncertainty that we’re having. Obviously, we haven’t talked with you previously about this. So this is all new to me as well as is just everything about that. But, you know, how has the recent economic downturn conversation I’m going to call it conversation because I want to kind of see where you where your thoughts are on that specifically affected the painting industry. And let’s kind of start there.
Yeah. So, I mean, here’s here’s kind of my thoughts on what we’ve seen so far and where we’re going. And let me preface this entire discussion with I’m not an economist and I don’t have a crystal ball, right? But from what I’ve kind of seen, what I’ve talked to with a lot of people, I think what we’ve seen so far is an inflection is an effect from inflation that we’ve noticed. And what we’re seeing with that is I think a lot of things are just getting back to normal in the home services industry. And what I mean by that is the last three years, 2020, 20, 21, 2022, every contractor that we knew had work coming out of their ears, right? People were home. They weren’t traveling, they weren’t going to the office, they weren’t spending money on food. They were spending money on their house. Right. Work came pretty naturally and pretty easy to a lot of people the last three years. And what I think we’ve seen for the most part so far this year is we’re back to normal like things were in 2018, 2019, where you actually have to market, you have to put yourself out there, you have to make yourself known to people because they’re back to making decisions. That’s do we go to Disney or do we repaint our house this year? Right. Do we get epoxy coatings on our garages? Right. So I’m not going to say that the economy hasn’t played a factor in that yet, because I think it has in the inflation has made people a little bit more aware and maybe getting an extra bid where they normally wouldn’t. But I think at the end of the day, we’re just kind of back to what things used to be, but we got so used to it the last few years that by the end of February, early March, everybody was like, Oh crap, what do we do? Like, it’s not just naturally picking up from the slow winter season. We actually have to do something about this, right?
Yeah. That’s what I noticed is like, people are. Slower, just less on steroids than they were in 2020, 2021 with their business growth. And I think from what it sounds like, we’ve kind of all had it easy for the last couple of years, you know, and it’s starting to get more difficult as we kind of navigate into the next few years or even just next decade in general, whether there’s a crash, like a crash or not, you know what I mean? Um, yeah. What are some strategies or tactics that successful painting companies have employed to navigate through this sort of economic uncertainty?
Yeah. No. So I think a couple of things. You know, one, I always say I think people are getting more bids now than what they used to just because they are a little bit more price conscious. You know, and this is where I think moving forward again, what to expect in the next six, 12, 18, 24 months, it’s really hard to say. Right. Are we going to see a total market bottom out crash? You know, I don’t know. Is it going to just be a, you know, an inflation pullback until that gets under control? It’s really hard to say to what extent things are going to change. But I will say some of the things that do tend to work well is since people are getting more bids. Number one, make sure you’re able to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Right. Um, think through I always say two things here. Number one, what is the customer experience and journey look like in your sales process? From the moment they hear about you? Request an estimate, whatever, all the way through, whether it’s a book job or they decide to say no, What is that entire process look like? What are the expectations that are set, the touch points? How are you presenting yourself? Are you professional? Are you communicating? All these little things add up, right? Because if you’re watching this, there’s a good chance you might be, you know, average or above average pricing in your industry. Right. Because you’re taking your business seriously.
And so how do we communicate that value to people over the truck and a truck that, you know, doesn’t care about his business, doesn’t have insurance and stuff? Right. So I think make sure that you’re you’re communicating your value and you’re showing that because, again, actions speak louder than words. And then the second thing is we always had a great leave behind with our clients that said, hey, if you’re getting other estimates, here’s some things just to double check and make sure the estimates compare to apples to apples, right? Because the first bid you got, they might have you might have just said, hey, I just need all my walls painted, right? And then I come in and I’m looking at your ceilings or I’m looking at your doors and your trim, and I’m like, Hey, have you thought about, like, doing this while we’re doing everything else? Like, you know, it really would freshen up the space and I only would upsell when it was a benefit to the customer. But all of a sudden our bid is now a third higher than the other guys because we’re doing a whole nother service, right? So make sure that like that’s comparable. Make sure insurance quality of products, one coat versus two coats. Like just we had a checklist of things that just said, Hey, if you’re getting other bids, cool. But let’s just make sure that everything’s on an even playing field when you’re comparing the price at the end of the day.
Yeah, 1,000%. And that kind of brings me to, you know, something else I wanted to ask you, which was, you know, given that painting, companies have tons of different services, right? There’s cabinets, interior, exterior deck, like, you know, painting companies that whole like I’ve never really traditionally I’ve never really specialized in one thing. They just kind of said they do everything. And so given the economic climate right now and kind of given that consumer spending might be a little bit more tight, is it recommended like from someone like you to diversify your services at this point, or is it to sort of focus on 1 or 2 things? Or what are what’s your thought on that?
You know, I think it really just depends on the skill set and what you’re able to produce quality and systematically, you know, So for example, if you don’t do kitchen cabinets and you have no clue how to do them, adding it in just to maybe get some work may not financially be the best idea, right now unless you go get some training and you really commit to that. Right. But I do think for those of you guys that are listening to this that do have multiple services, I think it’s just going to help you. Right? Because, you know, again, for for people that do interiors and exteriors and cabinets and power washing and deck staining and like a little bit of everything. It’s just more clients, right? And then I look at it like this. I look at everything from the ecosystem theory, from, you know, Apple, right? If you do deck staining and you’re able to do deck staining for somebody, guess what? There’s a good chance down the road they’re going to need interior painting done, exterior painting done. Maybe their kitchen cabinets, maybe just the power wash like. Now you have a repeat person, right? Even some of our clients that specialize in kitchen cabinets, you know, are starting to look into doing more and more interior painting just to diversify. Because one, there’s also there’s really not any repeat business when you paint somebody’s cabinets and vanities.
Then what? Right. So you’re kind of shutting yourself off to a whole other market for repeat business. You’re kind of relying on referrals at that point. So I do think that there’s some strings to it. I mean, I’m also one of those people again, we’ve niched down really into the painting industry as well. Not that we can’t work with other home service businesses, we totally will, but that’s who we really communicate to. So I do think that there’s kind of some stuff you can do with that market to where you are the expert in one thing, but you’re also able to do other projects, right, where you can kind of cast a wide net, but you can be the specialized expert in this, right? And so there’s some ways you can communicate that, I think, in your marketing, too. But no, I think I think especially as we move forward, diversifying and just having options again, as long as it’s not a learning like now is not the time to go learn something the hard way, right? You know, Jason, say you learn or you earn, right? Like now’s not a time to learn stuff the hard way. But if you have the skill set, you have the capabilities. I think casting is wide of the net as possible is a really good idea.
Yeah, absolutely. And something that I just thought of was, you know, we talk about, you know, obviously we talk a lot about marketing, but you have marketing, you have admin, you have production and sales. And in times like this, right, in times like where it’s uncertain to etcetera, where should people be focusing their time on? Because it almost seems like if I could give my opinion or like it almost seems like if you could just have a good business who takes care of their customers, like you’re going to be fine as long as you don’t have tons of expenditures and you’re profitable, you’re going to slow down, perhaps. But then once you get everything tight, you can start focusing on the other things like sales and marketing. But.
Because it kind of.
Seems like I mean, I want to get your thoughts here in a second, but it seems like if you were to just go ham with the marketing or you go ham with the sales and then the operations is in the gutter. I mean, what happens, you got a bigger business, but you just got I mean, you’re just kind of going up the wrong creek, you know? And so I want to get your thoughts on that. You know, like what rocks should people focus on, you know, and when is it, you know, when are your operations good enough to know, you know?
Yeah, No, I think it’s good. I think I look at it from a couple of ways. Number one, you know, getting a professionalized business. I mean, that’s the term and a lot of us use is, you know, having a good, professionalized business. Right. Having systems, taking it seriously, understanding the financials and everything that kind of comes in that I mean, that’s good. You know, I think when when things get tough, relationships is what gets you gets you through that. If you have good relationships with people and good relationships with your homeowners, you’re going to weather a storm a little bit better than somebody that’s 100% reliant on random marketing and no repeat business. Right? If you think if you talk to everybody again, I came into the industry shortly after the 2008 crash, which everybody said was, oh my gosh, I can’t believe you started a painting business and did all that then. And I was just like, I don’t know, we just did it. Like I didn’t know anything was going on. I wasn’t smart enough to know that the world was crashing at that point, but we did it right.
And so everybody that I talked to through that, everybody that’s that navigated it successfully said that it was because of the relationships with their clients, with their referral partners, with people. Right. So I think if you take care of people, you build that relationship with them. We’re really big on like relationship marketing, organic marketing, right? How do we stay in touch with our homeowners? You know, our happy, satisfied customers are the biggest assets you have in your business. How do we how do we stay in front of them? I think that’s a huge place to start. And then also, you know, like we said, like, you know, just if you’re trying to grow, do it from a smart perspective. I think that’s another thing. Right? Now’s not a time to take huge risks and overleverage yourself and overextend yourself and hope that something’s going to happen. I think, you know, good calculated risks is kind of the name of the game, at least for the next 12 months, until maybe we have a little better idea of what to expect or what direction things are heading right.
Given like your knowledge and your ability to successfully grow these companies and things like that. Like, obviously the track record speaks for itself. And I’d like to get into maybe some case studies, if you don’t mind, in a second here. Yeah. What you know, what are some challenges and I know you’re not an economist, but like what are some challenges that you see coming in the pipeline, right? Like, not from from my understanding, like it’s nothing different than kind of like what we’re seeing right now. But I want to hear from you directly, like, what does it look like?
And I think so here’s what I honestly believe. I think there’s going to be a point at some point. I don’t think it’s going to be catastrophic, but that people are going to really start to understand what inflation has done in the last year and what they’re actually paying for stuff. I truly believe and I’m going to speak from experience and I’m going to be vulnerable here in a second that we don’t understand how much prices have gone up on everyday things because, one, that’s not what things are telling us. And two, we only see certain things, right? You see the gas price every day. Yeah, it’s gone up a little bit, but not much. But when was the last time you stopped and looked at how much Jimmy John’s went up or McDonald’s or food in general? Right. And so I think that there’s going to be this point that I think a lot of people and again, I’m saying this because the other day I was getting something and I was like, holy crap, Like this went up 20%. It was something food. I don’t remember if it was Jimmy John’s or what, but and I was just like, wow.
Like, you know, it’s just little things you don’t think about, right? Like, and so I think that there’s going to be a point where people all of a sudden go, Wow, things have really shot up. Now what industries do I think that’s going to hurt the most? It’s hard to say, right? I don’t know that Home Services is going to be it, but I think that that’s just going to make people a little bit more conservative with their spending when they really understand how much things have gone up. Right. Because mainstream media is going to tell you one thing, there’s always a narrative, Right? And so I think that there’s just a lot of naiveness and not in a bad way. It’s just that we haven’t realized that because we haven’t sat down and really looked at what things were two years ago and what they are right now. So I think that’s one challenge. And again, I think just differentiating the value and having those relationships is an easy way to combat that.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
And who knows what the real inflation rate really is? And a lot of money was needed. And I can tell you for sure, we’re all spending more money just to live now. You know what I mean? Like, it’s just we.
Are noticing, you know, if you look at the line item, you’ll start to notice. But it’s definitely gone up and that’s got to affect things in the long term, I imagine. And that’s kind of what you’re reporting there.
But, you know, and I think, you know, I think one thing, too, is like, when was the last time you assessed your pricing to in your business? You know, for everybody listening to this, like, you know, have you kept up with inflation, right? Or are you just taking the brunt of it? You know, obviously, paint prices go up. You’re going to raise your cost on paint prices and your estimates and stuff. I get there’s like the obvious things, but think about all the other little things that we just mentioned, right? Like wear and tear on vehicles and meals and this and that and office supplies like every little thing. If it’s gone up, like have you offset your pricing because of that? I mean, that’s unfortunately, that’s how inflation does get to be theirs because everybody raises their prices to offset the prices that they’re paying. And there’s that trickle down effect. But that’s also how the world works and how business has to work because it’s not fair for you to be paying 10% more for your expenses and not passing that cost along to your customers. Right? So I think it’s a good point to think about with some of that, too.
And you’re doing them a service by increasing the price. Because if you’re not increasing the price, you’re cutting corners on some aspects probably. And so you want to have a nominal service and great customer experience. Then you got to charge the extra money so you could pay your employees, right? Etcetera, etcetera, like you’re talking about. And so.
It’s, you know, totally makes sense. And I appreciate you for bringing that up. And I want to kind of before we end the podcast here, I want to dive into a little bit about elite business advisors and what it looks like to for sure to work with you guys. So what is the process and tell us a little bit about that.
Yep. So all of our clients come in, we do a free business analysis meeting. It’s about 30 to 40 minute zoom call. We just like to sit down, chat with you about where you’re at right now, how you operate your business in each of those areas, right? So we talk about finances, marketing organization, production, estimating and sales. What are the challenges that you are aware of that you’re facing and just kind of get a good understanding of who you are and where you’re at and then obviously where you’re wanting to go with your business. And we do this because we really want to make sure two things. One, we want to make sure we’re the right fit to work with you, right? Again, we know where our limitations are and where, you know, our sweet spot is. And so we want to make sure we’re the right company to work with you. And number two, we want to kind of create a customized plan of, you know, when you move forward, we want to be ready to hit the ground running on day one, Right? This isn’t like a two month like, you know, investigative process to learn about your business. Like we want to be able to hit the ground running right away and bring you the most value we can. So we always do that analysis call, say 30, 40 minutes, it’s free to do. You can go to our website elite Business advisors.com There’s a contact form at the bottom. You can submit your info and we’ll get that scheduled. That’s step one. And then from there it’s hey, when you’re ready to move forward, let’s, let’s get the first meeting on the calendar. We’ve got some stuff we’ll send over kind of onboarding stuff and we’ll hit the ground running in whatever area that is that that is most important. That will help move the needle the furthest in your business for you.
And then for those, you know, who are looking to learn more about you guys, where can they find you on social media? What’s your website? Yep.
So elite elite Business advisors.com is our website. We’re on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. All same thing at Elite Business Advisors is the handle on all those platforms. Yeah, you can get more information about us. Check us out. You know, we do have a YouTube channel. We’ve got a couple of things on something more on our radar to do as we continue growing and have a little bit more capacity. But yeah, check us out at Elite Business Advisors on all the platforms.
Cool, man. Well, it’s been a pleasure having you on the Service Legend podcast here and hopefully we could do this again. Hopefully it’s not even hopefully I know everybody got value from this episode and so make sure you guys share and subscribe to the channels here. Appreciate everybody and we will see you guys next.