Episode #13: Maui Steve & Kellie, Dynamic Trades Services

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About this episode

Steve & Kellie, owners of Dynamic Trades Services in Maui, talk about their handyman journey. Topics covered include: their story, working alongside your spouse, marketing, developing commercial relationships, and so much more!

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Audio Transcription

Hey friends, welcome to another episode of the handyman success podcast where our mission is to teach and inspire through hearing stories from other successful handyman. And today we are joined by Steve and Kelly out in Maui. With dynamic trade services. I am one of your co hosts, Alan Lee. And this is your other co host, Jason call. We are excited that you are here and joining with us today. This podcast is all about you guys all about spreading the knowledge of the handyman industry to help you guys get started or take your business to the next level. So we’re gonna go ahead and get started interviewing, interviewing our people today. So Stephen Kelly, you want to go you guys want to introduce yourself and let us know. Kind of how you got started in the handyman industry?

Yeah, Stephen Kelly saw killed our company name is dynamic trade services here in Maui. Aloha to our friends on the mainland. And so basically how we got started was I was I’ve been a fireman for a long time. And in Oh, seven, they the economy took a dip and they were laying people off. And Kelly used to do house cleaning. So she said, Hey, let’s do house cleaning death. And I was like, Honey, I know plumbing. And I know firefighting. That’s all I know.

Kind of related the water. Yeah.

So she goes, Oh, we could do real well with it. And I was like, Alright, so we tried it. And we started doing house cleaning. And we lived in Reno, Nevada. So what we learned was the we went by the seasons. So we did house cleaning was our base. And then they would our customers would ask us, Hey, can you fix this? We’re like, Oh, yeah. Can you put it in a faucet? We’re like, Yeah, that’s, you know, it just went from there. Kelly’s electrician by trade. So that made it easier. I really don’t touch electrical at all. Period. I’m afraid of it. She’ll go in and change the switches the plugs here and Hawaii. The fans are a big job for us. So we get plenty of jobs switching fans out. And Kelly does all that. And so it works out pretty good. Or that’s how we started at least and then it just grew from there. We got into tough sheds. We got into drywall repair, small plumbing repairs, and just during the winter, and Nevada froze. So we did pipe falling, which used during the winter. So it it just grew from there.

Awesome. How’d you guys make your way from Reno to Maui.

Kelly was tired of me leaving all the time in the fire service. She was running. We had a five acre ranch. And we had a business. So we had 15 employees at one time. And so the handyman assessor, well we did both we did tough sheds and handy mocha. Okay. So Kelly ran the whole thing while I was gone. So she said, Hey, Dad, because I’m glad that you’re doing what you love. But I think you know, time it’s time to change and let’s do something else. So Kelly Sutton lived in Maui. And he’s electrician. And so they said, hey, you’ve been doing firefighting for a long time. Why don’t you come and spend some time with us. So that’s how we came over here. We visited 20 days a year prior to. And so we, we enjoyed it here. Every time we came here, we didn’t want to go home. One time I told her I said, Hey, sell the business, sell the house, I’m going to stay I’m going to find a job. I’m going to do something but I didn’t want to go home.

Yeah, there was actually a point that we would come here. And when we stay at the resorts, you know, you meet people in the hot tub and people from all over the world come and we’ve met to separate condominium managers. And they asked what we did, and we told them, you know, house cleaning, and we do electrical, plumbing, yard work, whatever, you know, and they wanted to hire us on the spot. Every time I came here, we were offered. You can have this whole condominium site and do all the maintenance on it. And we’re like, Okay, we gotta go sell five horses and shut the door. Wow. So we saw the we saw the opportunity, an opportunity here.

Yeah, that’s so cool. I commend you guys for kind of making that big move. I mean, it’s not easy to move especially, you know, you guys had quite a business goal and the tuck sheds and all those employees He’s in firefighting and to kind of that’s a bold, awesome move that people only talk about, and dream about, but they never actually execute on. So awesome job. Do you guys are just like going for it? It’s very cool to hear.

Yeah, it was, it was scary. And everybody was telling us, You guys are gonna make it, it’s too expensive. And we’re like, well, we we live through oh seven and oh eight when everything the economy was going down. So we live through that. So we knew we had something that was going to work. And in my wife, no matter what it was, we always, we always came through it. So we stuck together, put our heads down. And when we figure something out, everybody, no matter what needs plumbing, you know what I mean? it no matter what they need an electrician, somebody has to change out their switches has to you know, they have to, there’s just no way around it. And when we came here, it would, it just grew it was word of mouth. And then when I got ahold of Jason, it was during the the beginning of the pandemic. And so for the first couple of months, it was dead. And after that we have not stopped working. And for years. It just right now is just started slowing down right now. We’re awesome. Enough.

That’s it? I got one question. I think it would be kind of practical for going on right now. So you mentioned that you guys made it through the oh, 708 recession. I think it would be very helpful for our listeners to hear because there’s been a there’s a lot of talk about this recession that’s going on right now. And you know, there’s a lot of people kind of freaking out and wondering if the handyman business is the right business to be in during this recession? Like, what will that look like? So maybe you guys could shed a little bit light on like, how do you make it through that? Oh, 708 And what would be your guys’s like advice for people that are starting a business right now? We’re already or have a business right now.

Right? Well, first of all, if without God, we couldn’t have done it, right, because trust us scared, we stepped out in the boat into the waves in the ocean. So crossed me we were scare. And we gave every we put everything we had into it. So we had nowhere to go but forward. So we just put our heads together. And we whatever it was, we did trash haul off we did painting, painting patches or patch painting. And we did just small stuff, plumbing repairs and things like that we kept on going for advice. This is the there. It doesn’t matter what the economy is. Everybody’s gonna need the yard work, everybody’s going to need what you have. So we’ve all we’ve been really lucky, we’ve had really good customers. And we haven’t had any hassle. So long as you come in professional. And you treat people good, you give him a fair price. And it just works out great for everybody. We’ve we’ve been really blessed how we how we are involved in our company and how we grown here. So just this is the thing to do. I try to help people as much as I can to start their own business to give them that push. If we didn’t have that push, and we didn’t have people supporting us, we couldn’t have done it.

Yeah, there you go. Man.

I personally have to say that through the pandemic, we were blessed because people still need you. When it comes to handyman services, even during tax season and Christmas, we always get those calls to keep us rolling. You know, those are slow times. But um, but we still needed us we had, you know, we’re our masks masked up and, and just did the right thing and kept going. In fact, we were renting at the time. And the lady had us remodel her whole house. So for the first for the first five months, free to remodel their whole house. So complete blessings. Yeah.

Wow. That’s amazing. So would you guys say like, what is what’s the number one thing you need to focus on? Like going into the recession or through this recession? Like did you guys have to lower your prices back in? Oh 708 Or did you start niching out into different items like what was your we never

load price? We never whatever it costs us that’s what it costs. There’s no change in that hard cost. You have to pay your rent, you have to pay the gas you have to pay your insurance. We never lowered our price. What we did is we won by volume. So we got more jobs this week. And different areas. So we did house cleaning. We got we our house cleaning money came in. We did trash removal up cleanouts and then plumbing, right? I still was doing plumbing. So I was gone when she, yeah, we did landscaping, we did whatever people need it. That’s what we, we found out what their need was. And we went after it. And, and that’s what we did. And a lot of you. So what’s great?

Yeah, I think one thing that we’ve we’ve learned from all these interviews, if any, like the, one of the resounding things is that the handyman business and most businesses, really it’s people business first, it’s just treating people, right. Maintaining a great professional relationship and building that trust and confidence with people where, you know, no matter what your price is, they want your quality and the relationship that comes with the with the job. And so, you know, you’re gonna get the call every time and so just really treating people, right. But it certainly makes sense. So as things slow down, you know, maybe the demand for plumbing, electrical slightly dropped, but people still need trash hauled out and house clean. So kind of just getting creative, you know, in that, oh, 708 time. One other thing I’ll mention on this topic, too, because I get asked this quite a bit as far as you know, the housing market and the economy and all these things. But when people were moving and buying houses like crazy, when before they sold, they had to get work done after someone bought it. They wanted to get worked out, or remodels done. And then as housing has slowed down new home purchases, or with COVID when people were at their house more they it’s like I’m not buying a house right now with the interest rates and the pricing. Well, what can we do to remodel or improve our current home? So in all these different scenarios, the handyman Home Improvement trade like thrives?

Right? Yeah, yeah. I mean, there’s always stuff to do. There’s always the deal, you know?

Yeah. That’s certainly my thing that I share with anyone that’s just starting out or wanting to it’s like, just go for it, man. And like, like Steve mentioned, like, but you got to go for it. You can’t just kind of, you know,

you can’t, I love what you guys said, it’s like, you went all in all, like, because I think if you if you have that, even in the back of your mind that it’s like, Oh, if this doesn’t work, I can go do this, or I have this side gig that I’m not fully lower, I have this side job, I’m not fully let go of like, when you actually make the decision. And like one of my friends says, just just send it like, just send it you know, and you have no other alternative, like you got to make it work, you know. So sometimes the best thing you can do is just quit your job and send it.

Yeah. So Kelly was, Kelly was driving a forklift for 12 bucks an hour. And then she realized that I was making twice her what she was making in a week, and a couple of days just because that’s it, I quit. We’re going for this, we’re going to take your fire checks, and we’re just going to go and I said, Okay, whatever you want to do, honey, and let’s do it. And like I said, in Nevada, we had snow removal saved us during the winter. So we are always busy. We got all the seven elevens all the gas stations, we went to Lake Tahoe, we all that covered us and made a lot of a lot of money for the summertime in the springtime.

How’d you get that connection with like seven elevens? And like the commercial side, it was just knocking on doors and shaking hands or if you don’t? out a bit and kissing babies kissing? Yeah. I know, Steve is. I will go further with that comment. I want to take it out of context.

Yeah, we, I used to go in and talk to the managers and stuff. And hey, you know, we never lowered our price. People would say, Hey, this guy doesn’t for this price. It’s a great use him and call me if he doesn’t show up. Or if he can’t make it. And then when he gets it, they would call us an emergency. They loved our service. They love my wife, and that we’re a husband and wife team. For one was there’s not a lot of that. Right? That you know that you could actually work with your spouse and live with them. 24/7

also, you know, as a team, husband and wife team, we get a lot of jobs where there’s a single woman or let’s say, the mom had to leave her teenager there, she had to work, but can we please go in. And usually that was for plumbing or something. And Steve would call me and say you gotta go with you know, and so we’re always there and a lot of people really liked that knowing that I’d be there. And you know, we’d go in and I made it a point to always go in dressed with our uniform on clean all over. I’m really about quality control. If we have guys in there, you know, no smoking, no water bottles, leave your cell phones in the car. So I’m a little tough that way because I love my customers and I want them to respect us. So I keep that side of it. He’s my sales guy. Beautiful.

Kelly’s like the Super Woman, you know, getting in there and doing all that electrical A little handy woman,

they call me the wife you have to work with.

We had 1000 square foot shop. And so the guys were all in their Kleenex. I don’t know what you guys did, but mom’s comment is boy, she is mad. And she called me said she’s bringing doughnuts and coffee for everybody, right? So you guys better get this place shipshape before she gets here. All of a sudden, and everything, all the shells were put back together and they mopped the floor.

I walked in and everybody scattered. And I’m a really nice person. I’m like thinking to myself, Oh

that’s awesome. No, you just command your presence and personalities command kind of excellence and get stuff together. It’s it’s a unique, honorable trait. Yeah, so while we’re on this topic, guys, husband wife duo. You know, what? Advice? Really just anything the thoughts that you guys have? For anyone considering going to business with their spouse or people currently working with their spouse? Like, what are some challenges? If you don’t mind sharing? What are some like benefits? Like, if you just don’t mind kind of give an overview of your guys’s experience as a husband wife duo? Because yes, like you mentioned, you have to live with each other and go through everything that life throws at you. And that can seem like overwhelming enough. So yeah, anyway, if you guys don’t mind sharing a bit,

no. So Kelly is actually the boss. So, um, She’s the brains is operation. And so she does all all that I just, she’ll go get, it’s time to collect, and then I go collect or whatever. She goes, Hey, we’re getting slow. I need you to go find some more jobs. And then I go out, start finding us jobs are whatever we need. But she does. She did. Like she said that. She does all the fine tuning and making sure everything’s working out and talking to the customers on the phone. And then they meet her in person. And and then they when they it’s really big when people find out she’s electrician, so don’t really call for me they call for her. And then she goes, Yeah, we got into tile repair. So we grew up care tile, right? Oh, a woman could do tile repair. And we just want Kelly that. So they’ll take pictures, and then watch her and just unbelief that all the stuff that she does. And painting. She’s really good at painting and trim and doing all the finished carpentry stuff and that. And so as a husband and wife, it makes us stronger because we become one. And so whatever I’m weak at, she’s strong. So when I when when you have those days where you don’t want to go to work, you get that push, right? She gives me that. Same with her days that she doesn’t want to go, we just want to relax. And she goes, Oh, we gotta go to work, Dad Come on. And we just push each other. And we hope and we help each other. And it’s always worked out for us from the beginning. And like I said, a lot of people laughed at us until we started. Getting momentum. Once we started getting momentum, people started looking at us different. And we when we went to Home Depot, we started working at Home Depot. They’re given us jobs in Nevada. And so when they walk in, they say hey, Kelly, how are you? And they would treat us really well. When we came into every store knew us knew all of our guys. So all of our guys had to be on their best behavior. When they went in there. You know, they weren’t there’s no smoking in our trucks. There was no, like Kelly said your truck had to be cleaned. And, and so they it was just a different a different area for us.

So on my perspective of working as a husband and wife, we can’t we can’t not work together. The only thing Steve doesn’t do with me is is the kitchen. Right? So in the bathrooms when I’m cleaning, but a lot of people say how can you work with him? Because you guys know Maui,

Maui Steve.

So he’s the kind of guy that when I walk in the bank, they look around and they say where is he and I said I left him in the car. It’s about respect, you know, for each other. And we were really lucky. We have like, once every three months, we hit that off where we get to work and we can see right off the bat. We’re running into each other and we’re fumbling and he’s like, I’ll see you tonight, you know, and and then we go about our thing, but we just go back you can do it as a husband and wife and live together. If you go to work mad at each other, most often it’s just going to go away. So it’s a good thing.

You know, it makes it easier because when I do plumbing she’s my labor. She helps me If she gets all my material, she knows what I need. And when when she does her electrical stuff, Dad, I need this. I need that. And I go get it for her. For her, and I do you know what I mean? So it kind of works out that it’s always worked out for us. And then we’ve always, we’ve always done stuff like that painting. She’s really good and meticulous about that. So guys clean, right? So got when we clean our job, we just clean our job, right? Kelly details, cleans and taught everybody run the vacuum, you know, really clean up your mess. So it’s better than when we got there.

We’ll be together 20 years, this April. Wow. And we have a 16 year old. And we’ve always kind of worked together even when he had his Drain Cleaning Service, you know. And when he was in the fire department leaving all the time I went and joined and was a volunteer wildland firefighter for 12 years. Wow, that’s so we can be together. Yeah. It’s just one of those things. Some people, you know, they can’t work together. But I suggest you give it a whirl. Because because it’s a lot of fun.

Yeah, that’s, that’s a beautiful example. I mean, to go off topic, and not the handyman, you know, business. But like, that’s a great example of a marriage. You know, I mean, I don’t know about our listeners, but marriage can sometimes be hard, you know, and it’s just amazing to hear your guys’s example, because I think, you know, marriage is, you know, not just, you know, the wife giving 50% and the husband giving 50% And then together it’s 100%. But it’s 100% 100%. Like, I love how you guys got each other’s back. You know, if if you know, Kelly, you need something for electrical. Steve’s out there getting it. Vice versa for plumbing. Like that’s beautiful. And I would encourage the listeners to take that away more than just the handyman business here. We’re talking about life, right? Go home, find something that your wife needs, and do it. You know, just do it. Like that’s awesome. I love that example. Thank you guys.

Yeah, you guys just melted my heart especially I didn’t know Kelly that you volunteered with? I knew that you were a firefighter with Steve. But I didn’t know that. You volunteered to be a lot out there with him like that’s Yeah, that’s amazing. I

was a hose dragger, I did it all. Yeah. It’s awesome. Even in first responder and all that. So we yeah, we we’ve done a lot together and 20 years, and

they tried to put different engines and for some reason, we’d be running our hose together.

That’s great. That’s great. You guys are awesome. I would say the takeaway from that is, you know, the solid foundation without your foundation built. How are you supposed to go and do the job and take care of clients. So you guys obviously do a great job with your foundation taking care of one another. So you can go out there and do the business side too. And also, Steve, whenever you started, I gotta share this quote, you said, you know, Kelly’s the boss, right? Yeah. My father in law once told me said, Any man says that he wears the pants in the household. He lies about other things, too.

That’s funny. That’s great.

Yeah. And she leaves my clothes out. So

you might wear the pants, but she lays them out for you. She tells you what color you’re wearing today.

Yeah. Coordinate. You know guys will put on mismatched socks, whatever, you know. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, we’re

just gods. Well, thank you guys for sharing about the more off topic, kind of the husband wife stuff. It’s a really awesome, awesome that you guys could share that with us. Because I know there’s lots of husband wife Duo’s or people thinking about trying stuff together. So it’s good to get that perspective. It’s kind of unique and rare for us to be able to have that opportunity. So thank you guys. So we don’t mind jumping back into dynamic trade services. If you don’t mind kind of given us a little lay of the land as far as where you guys are out in the business right now. Like people that you know, subcontractors people are working for you. If you don’t mind kind of sharing with our listeners, kind of like some revenue numbers, maybe like last year, and like what you guys are shooting for this year if you guys have goals in that department, but overall, just kind of giving us a lay of the land of where you guys business is at right now.

So when we when we came over here, we started where we were like at 60,000. Not not a whole lot because we’re just getting it running. Right. And then the year after that, I think we did 120,000

So what year was that specifically?

That was actually 19. Right? We moved here.

We moved here in 19. And so we did we actually did our one of our best years during COVID. Yeah.

So I think we were the first year Oh Have COVID We did think we did like 160/5001 year. And then the second the first couple of months, everything was dead, right? So we’re like, what do we do? So we just kind of frame and it was our church. Here we go to one of the biggest churches in the state of Hawaii. I think it’s the biggest. Wow. But well in the church, were asking, Hey, can you guys come over and do this for us? Can you come over and do that and that, from that, it just kind of grew. And then our website, legitimized everything and made when somebody looked for our company, they said, Oh, that’s a good copy. Hey, you guys got a really good website. And it just grew from there. And but anyways, the next year, I think, I think we were at almost, I think we’re at like 200,000 for the second year. And right now, we’re right now we’re just below 300,000.

Okay, like shooting for this year?

Well, I’m shooting for a half a million is what I’m shooting for this year. But we have some pretty big projects coming up. And so we’re, we’re looking forward to that is what’s going to what’s going to push us commercial projects now. And so we do a lot of work for Home Depot. Lowe’s, we do a lot of commercial work for their actual stores where the actual Okay,

so make that distinction.

Wow, how do you what do you guys do for like Home Depot stores like what’s tell us

when they’re clear the drains? Toilets are clogged whatever they would go in there. What’s Yeah, we do their doors. They had broken wheels on their big gates we fix those. What was the other one? What was some of the other stores that crocs 300 Oz, a crock stores Old Navy. We have two malls here. We do both of the malls and they have plumbing and stuff they call us.

That’s pretty consistent handyman leads source to like these commercial because things that people are in their stores and using their bathrooms and all these different things and sliding the doors and yeah, it’s pretty consistent, like reliable when you have all these relationships.

Yeah, I I pulled out crazy things out of Home Depot. I got credit cards.

I got those handyman.

tacos for lunch at the taco shop, you know, man, so how did you? So you moved there in 20? Oh, you guys moved there in 2019. Right in Hawaii. Okay, so how did you guys establish all of these accounts? Like since 2019? Like, it’s amazing like that you’re working for Home Depot? How did you? Did you grow up as someone?

No. Do you know what they do is they call us and they say hey, can you guys take on a commercial job? The first couple of times we had were like what? And they wanted to wait 30 days to pay us. And I said okay, but you guys got to pay us, you know, because we don’t want to fly. Right. And so it actually started working out. So after somebody hears that you guys do a good job. Other people call you we have we were doing work for the post office here. We were doing work for the dentist, Hawaiian Dental. We do commercial stuff, you know, all the 18 T stores, all the Verizon stores. We do the inspections for them. We we got quite a lot of commercial jobs, I would say. Now, it’s kinda like 80% commercial. Yeah. And then the rest residential. They

had a hurricane threat. And we had four stores call us to board up their wisdom bag.

schamber Yeah. Wow.

Yeah. Did you guys get on YouTube to learn how to do that? Or seems like a really? That’s a handyman request. Right? Yeah. Can you board my window?

Sure. We can do that. Yeah, we’ll be right over there. Yeah, grab some sand. Yeah. I love it.

The money first before the hurricane hits.

There you go.

Y’all are 30 nets now, after a year or two of doing or just come on all these businesses. You know for crocs we were hanging up shoe. The big shoe panels on the walls so they can. at&t now. I got inspections. Steve puts in the floor tiles the carpet floor tiles when they get stained just so many different odds in

touch up painting.

So now they’re all They’re all hitting. He’s always said I just want to sit back and go to them. mailbox and get some Yeah, yeah. And now they’re hitting their boom, boom, boom, all those 30 yards have been staggered enough to where it’s been worth. It

comes in almost every day. So I go, I gotta go to key he goes for what? Ever? No,

that’s beautiful, beautiful every day getting money. That’s cool.

Yeah, awesome. So 80% commercial, percent residential. That’s, that’s pretty significant. And it’s, it’s cool because we actually have another, we have another interview, we’re doing it he focused on commercial and so it’s, it’s, it’s, so it’s good to like, learn about all this stuff from you guys.

Definitely. So is it just you guys? Or do you have employees or subcontractors or so

we kind of have like 10 nine guys that they they have their own little businesses. So we have a tile guy. And he has his own business. And then we have a guy, he has a boat business on another island. So he goes home on the weekends. And he works all week with us. And so he’s finished carpenter, a painter, amazing. Guy, I taught him how to put in faucets, shower faucets, cartridges, all kinds of stuff guy picked up like that. I don’t go up to the jobs no more. He just tells me what he needs. And I just open. Yeah, so him and his son worked out really great for us. And so now we’re in on growing our company, we can actually manage our company, we’re, we’re not there all the time we deal with our customers, we introduce them, and tell them when they’re going to be there when they’re leaving all the communications through us. And it works out great. There. We have the best employees are not employees. But the best subcontractors ever. These guys are just great. And they just move from job to job and, and they hustled. That’s great.

I got one question about subcontractors, because I know there’s a lot of people that are interested in that. If you guys wouldn’t mind sharing, like the pricing structure for that, like, how do you run a subcontract? Do you give them like a certain percentage of the job? Or how does that work?

So when we ran tough sheds, we learned right away hourly was not going to work because they were making more than us on on. So I had to do the same thing to them. And we had a breakdown the job, the material and everything and said Listen, this is what we need for the company. And this is we can give you the labor on that. And so that’s basically what we do. So they will work harder to get that, that percentage, and then they’re looking for the next job, right? And then and they just go from job to job, and they want to work harder and faster for you. So you got to selling? Yeah, what’s your percentage

that that they get?

They get, I usually give them like 25 to 30%. It all depends. There’s some jobs like the commercial jobs we get, we’re kind of hourly. So I pay them on, you know, $100 an hour, it all depends on what they’re doing, and how long I get. Sometimes I just get it, they only give me like 10 hours, then I give him half or whatever. I tried to make it work because it’s expensive live here. So we got to get well and take care of them.

And if I recall to Steve, you do some kind of like mentoring I know quite a few times, like you know, your training got younger guys that you know from your church or whatever, and kind of taking them around on the job and having them work. And

yeah, so what we what we’re trying to do is get some right now the construction field is dead. There’s I mean, there’s it’s not the construction field, the younger guys coming in to the grades is hard to find. Everybody wants to stay home and work from home. And so we’re having trouble finding those guys. So when we find those guys, we try to help them and start teaching them a trade. And we’ve actually had a couple guys come here, we train them. And they left and started they won’t they went back home and started their own business. Wow. So we enjoy you know, because you got to bless people, and if you teach them how to fish or fish, you know, they’ll fish on their own forever. So that’s what we and we always send them to your guys’s way, you know, hey, this is there’s things that we don’t know about. We don’t do fencing all the time. We don’t do repairs all the time, you know, so we send them to Allen’s stuff to so they could look at it to watch it to you know, show the beginnings of the business. And you know how to start the small projects and do the small projects and they will win by volume on that. So that’s what we try to tell them that you just it’s okay to be afraid but once you get out there and start doing it, you’re relying on yourself, not anybody else. And so we try to bring all the younger kids in that and try to help them out to get there. Yeah, love it.

Kind of question on like the, you know, you guys use subcontractors like, what is your guys’s goal to kind of like, continue to, like, grow? And like add, like, whether it’s more a subcontractor networks or hire staff? Or are you guys pretty content with like, kind of your involvement with the customers in the day to day? Because I know a lot of folks like, I mean, we talked, there’s a ton of like, solo owner operators, that that’s the way they want to do it by design. And then there’s the others that you know, are growing companies and adding fleets and all these things. So it’s like, what are your guys’s goals with the business? And what do you enjoy?

At one time we want to franchise we want to grow it and build that business model and grow it in different areas because like Old Navy and all that Home Depot, they’re everywhere. We can we redo those anywhere if we have the right people to run it.

And it’s pretty processable Yeah, yeah, exactly. So

that was my main that I wanted to do that for a long time. I could just never find anybody that would fit to do it. Right. Because once that used once you teach them that, they’re like, hey, I

can do this. I’ll do it myself and make more money.

Hey, thanks for giving me all that information.

expenses to running a business. Yeah, my job back, Steve.

Yeah, so it works. I mean, we’ve been trying to do it, we I’ve all that was my dream is always to have a franchise. And like I said, we want to grow our business, we always want to we never stop learning. Right? We always want those other challenges. And so right now we got three good people, and we want to build off their foundation, and keep growing, I want to grow to other islands. And and just keep growing if I can.

That’s awesome, man. Yeah, there’s certainly opportunity in the Hawaiian Islands as far as like, you know, marketing goes, it’s way more grassroots, like just the culture and the way people spread. So there’s a lot opportunity for marketing and just getting getting their name out there and making those relationships.

Yeah, so that’s a good point. I mean, you know, we’ve already talked a little bit about, you know, acquiring commercial jobs and things like that. But what do you guys do right now, as far as marketing, and what would you say is work the best? I mean, obviously, in Hawaii is a little bit different than, say, someone in Wyoming or whatever, but, you know, you guys, what, what do you do for marketing right now.

So we we use Jason’s website, which is really good. It brings in a lot of people, most of our, I would say 75% of our jobs that come in, is from our church. To be there’s always somebody that needs something, we have a ton of contractors in our church, that they asked us to do finish work, you know, install some faucets and stuff like that. And the church, Pat, we pass work back and forth. Like we don’t do a C, so we have five guys at our church that do a C. So we just have, hey, hey, here’s a job who wants it, and then we’ll call our customer and say, Hey, Chris is going to go over there and do the AC and here’s his company, and, and we give them the resource, right? Because the more resources you give to a customer is so much better than that, if they have to call from for themselves. And a lot of people here don’t live here. And they’ll call us and say, hey, you know, AC guy, you know, a plumber, do you know, and we have all those people, you know, had our church. So we like other people. Yeah. And it works out really good for everybody. We got other electricians that if the job or is too big for us, we give it to them.

Well, our website, our website is amazing. Jason call handyman marketing pros. Yeah,

he doesn’t Alright, job. Definitely number one, handyman website, Man, this guy, I

have a, I have a guy that sends me an email every once a while, he’ll call me. And then he’ll say, hey, we could get you more views and blah, blah, nice. Okay, what would you change on my website to make it better? And then so we’d go through it, and then he really had nothing to change. I said, well, thanks for calling, but we’re good with who we have. Yeah,

we tell them to look at our website before they call.

Yeah. Well, and I think that’s a good point. Because, unfortunately, marketers they need to do advertising to and one of the, one of the I get hundreds of emails every week, you know, saying, Oh, if we found this problem on your website, we can fix it. You know, and I’m sure some of our viewers have gotten the same and it’s like At the end of the day, like Jason’s created that website specifically for what is needed for handyman, like, it’s awesome. But that’s like, you’re gonna get that. And most of the time, those are people just looking for they’re looking for work. Yeah,

that’s what I tell people is like, I get emails and phone calls about websites and ranking and stuff. It’s it’s part of being in business as you get the spam, right. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, I appreciate the kind words.

Yeah, we get a lot of that.

That’s awesome. So I had one. One other question. As you were talking, Steve, have you guys ever looked into doing because we had one other guy from Florida, Brian Davis, and he does a thing called home watch, because there’s a lot of people in Florida that own homes there, but don’t live there. And so they basically hire him to watch their home. Do you guys do any of that? Or have you ever looked into that?

Yeah, we have. We have quite a few customers like that. Call us they live on the mainland said, Hey, we’re renting our condo, can you go out there and watch it and look at it. So we’ll go in after they rent it. Take pictures, send it to them, give them updates and stuff like that. And we’ll come inspections and make sure everything’s good. And you know, and we we watch out for people?

Yeah, that’s great. I love it. So what do you guys? What do you guys do? Can you guys walk us through like what your pricing looks like for your business? And how you figured out what you guys charge per hour? Or how much you desire to make per day? How do you figure all that out?

While we followed your your book?

Oh, thank you.

No, we did. But we had to figure out what we needed to live on. Right and our bills and everything. And that’s kind of how we can we have everything we do is a flat rate. We don’t work by the hour some some lady called Kelly. And we told her that we had to come out there and look at the job to give her a flat rate. And we don’t we don’t give estimates over the phone, we go out to the jobs. And as Kelly was talking to her, the job got bigger she wanted to do it for for a certain amount. But all of a sudden she wanted window cleaning and things that we we don’t do. And you have to go look out because there’s second story. There’s third stories. And there is a specialty here to clean the thought. You can’t just hire anybody to clean windows. And so there was things that there was going to be more money. And she wanted to pay us by the hour. We don’t we don’t work by the hour, everything we do is flat rate.

And we we offer a free estimate. And most often people want a number on the phone. Yeah. But I tell them straight up that we need to see the project in order to give you the proper, you know, price and estimate.

Do you guys have like a minimum charge that you would communicate to someone on the phone? If they’re asking for a price? Like hey, we

have one? Yeah, 100 and depend on that. And the island that will charge to drive out there to give them an estimate. Because some it’s an hour and a half drive we do a trip charge? Yeah, we do a trip charge.

And I think two I know it’s a pretty, you know commonly talked about thing as far as you know, giving an estimate over the phone doing an in person estimate do you charge for the in person estimate but like a a benefit of doing an in person estimate that that you guys just showcased in that example was you get to meet the client and actually show face build that relationship. And then if they’re a great fit, there’s likely a lot more work to be had than they originally called you about. So there’s a lot of opportunity that, you know, that might be you know, forgone or someone that’s sacrificing by just not showing up to do that in person estimate if that’s not their business model. You know, there’s pros and cons to each. But I love that that example showcases like the real benefit of showing up and meeting the client and creating that relationship.

That’s the biggest thing. That’s the biggest thing to do is to show up and see face to face. And who they are. And some people might be really nice on the phone. But they’re not direct your company. Yeah. Oh, well. Hey, thanks for calling

in. And we always watch out for those guys that call us up and say this is going to be a really easy job for you. I could do it. I just don’t have the right. Right. And then we’re like, okay,

yeah, we had we had one gal call us a while back. She’s like, she’s like, I was really easy like, the Boy Scouts could do it. You know, my Well, maybe you should call the troop down the street. Have you come over?

Yeah, yeah,

it’s Boy Scout handyman services. Yeah, it’s an opportunity.

We charge more when they start telling us what to do. Yeah.

Awesome. So I’m sure to like, what if Kelly shows up on the, you know, to give the estimate, that’s probably a pretty like for a woman, like I know my wife whenever we’ve had, I think on one occasion, there’s been like a female, that’s really DICOM services. And there’s just this. Like, she was impressed, there’s a bond that was struck up there, because it’s so rare to have a female in the trades. So anyway, that’s probably a solid selling point and relationship building point to, you know, not only just Kelly, but just the husband wife, I think that there is a lot of security that someone might find in that and, you know, we’re showing up to do that in person estimate could bear a lot of fruit in that relationship.

And there’s, there’s quite a few. Yeah, and there’s quite a few like real estate. Women here. And so when we both show up, that that opens the door, right? Because then I don’t have to, I don’t have to talk to them direct Kelly, and damn can, you know, make a connection and go from there. So it makes it a lot easier on me, I don’t have to take the pressure. Sometimes.

And it speaks to, like, for all our listeners is like, you need to look at your pricing and come up with a charge that you can you can live off and profit on because people will pay the price that you probably are doubting yourself to charge. Because it’s it’s more than just the price like your ideal clients, they want the relationship, they want that security, they want the quality service. So you know, it’s just an example of like, you don’t have to be super concerned and be too fearful about charging a rate that you want to charge. Because there’s so many more dynamics at play outside of the price.

Yeah, you can’t be afraid to ask what you’re

worth. I feel like we’re in the middle, we’re not the low. The $15 guys that just want to go buy beer that evening, are the real high price guys that promised the world and then don’t show up. We just tried to stay in the middle. There’s a lot of no shows here. And that’s a big sell point for us. That’s somebody who has been on time and dressed in our uniforms. And yeah,

if the waves are good, you’re gonna lose a lot of handyman.

They’re surfing. That’s great.

You’re like checking like the tide charts like the night before, like, Oh, honey, tomorrow is gonna be a really busy day. Lots of calls.

That’s a great story. So maybe you guys could maybe you guys could give some scripts to people listening here. But so like, what would you say, if someone called you up? Like you mentioned that gal who wanted to pay you guys hourly, even though you didn’t work hourly? Or if you gave someone a price, say of 500 bucks. And they didn’t want to pay that they felt like the job was $300. Or it’s worth $3? Like, what do you what do you say to those clients? You know?

Well, for an example, yesterday, she called me up to do a last minute house cleaning that the floors had already been all professionally done. And all I had to do was the bathrooms in the kitchen and some light dusting. But then she added a couple more things with me on the phone. She wanted me to do some water stains and things like that. She said, I have a gal that said for 200. She’ll do it a show at work all day. And I said, I said well, I would take her in and I said I just want to be honest with you. I said that is for me to go in. I can I can do it in three hours. And it’s going to be $375. And she said, she said okay, and then she started talking and her husband said something to her. She said okay, can you be here Tuesday? That $200 lady in the very beginning, she knew she didn’t want her but she wanted to feel what I was gonna say that. Okay, what happened after that is she text me. Then she started texting me. And she says while you’re doing that I have a nine foot ceiling and I need three chandeliers, dusted. Wow. And I need you to clean out the frigerator clean out the stove and wash the lanai. And I thought okay, so that’s how

they got to 500


I text her back with a higher number. I said that’s like a change order to me. Little more time there. And I’m love to do it. But now you’re at 525 And so she cancelled. But that’s the way it goes.

Right? Yeah, I have a saying you don’t negotiate with terrorists because at the end of the day, you still get blown up. You know?

We just try to give them the right price for the

right job. You give him a fair price for the right job.

Everything’s different here on the island. We work with a lot of singles. Steve runs into some crazy stuff.

Oh man. I’ve never seen plumbing and stuff like this out. Who wrote my uncle did it. I said man.

Yeah, right after he was surfing and drinking some beers.

Yeah, don’t call him back.

Awesome. Well, I we got, I think another like five or 10 minutes here. There’s a few other things that we got for you guys. One is if you could share some of like your biggest, like personal and business like wins. And then conversely, like, what are some of the biggest challenges that you guys have faced since starting your handyman business? They’re in Maui.

Shoot, our biggest win was moving here. And just you know, because we’re in paradise, it’s beautiful. Most of the people are very nice to you. You know what I mean, there. We get the aloha spirit a lot here. We just love it here. I don’t think I think we’re planning on retiring and being here, forever. We’re playing aloha

spirit does exist. And there’s a lot of good people here that that’s our when

I think there are challenges there. Are challenges are the gas prices going up? Right. So now we’re charging a A to E a truck operation expense? Per invoice? And

what is that? Is that based on miles? And how much per mile? Would you

give up? We kind of just give what it what it costs us a month to run our truck. Okay, so we just divide it right what we’re spending and and pushing it on to the customer.

Okay, so it’s more like a flat rate kind of thing. Yeah. The to me, I love the truck operating expense rather than like, what fuel surcharge or the operating expense? I think that’s,

yeah, we do a mileage charge. But this is a little different. Because it’s like kind of flat rate. So yeah, it’s cool.

Yeah. Like I said, and then we do you know, if, if it depends on what part of the island it’s at, then we charge you know, to show up. But other than that, yeah. We haven’t had any really bad customers here. We everybody’s pretty much paid us. I think waiting for 30 days, you know, to get paid. Now, that was kind of a challenge for a while. And then once it started coming in, like Kelly says, We gotta check every other day now or every day. We got checks cut rolling in, you know, and that was a challenge to get going. Once we got it going. Now it says wham bam, and it’s great. And we just we’d like it just, um, the price is going up kind of hurts everybody, right? So if we get the prices to come back down a little bit, it’ll just help out the small business. Because that’s, I think most of the economy’s small businesses, right. It’s guys like you and me. And they’re kind of carry a lot of the load of the country.

Yeah. And so I think to having the commercial focus, there’s a lot less price sensitivity there as compared to like maybe a residential people are fluctuating with the economy, and there’s fear and yeah, whereas like, the commercial, there’s no fear and fluctuation. It’s it’s a budget line item. And, you know, the dang door doesn’t shut and customers use it or the toilets, you know, it needs to work. Yeah, there’s a lot. There’s a it’s a lot more stable. And so my question is, so you’re currently 80%, commercial, 20%, residential, if you had to be 100% and commercial or residential? Would you would you do 100% commercial or 100%? Residential.

For me, I would go commercial. But there’s so many people that need us residential, you know what I mean? That, that there’s a lot of good companies here, you know, I mean, but we enjoy helping people, we enjoy the face to face contact. And we’ve been to places where I remember one of our customers. She gave us a job and she wasn’t feeling good. And we got to pray for you know, so we enjoy that I enjoy. I still have that firefighter in me that we love helping people. And sometimes we bless people, there’s jobs that we’ve done for free to just help people out. You know, it’s sometimes it’s not always about the money. It’s about our community, and helping our community you know,

yeah, that’s awesome guys. Reminds me of, I’m not sure if Pete slay come with fix it. Pete. He’s in Louisville, Kentucky, I believe. But anyway, I talked to him a few months ago. And he mentioned you know, one of the joys that he has is the residential side and showing up he works with a lot of retirement communities. And so there’s people that are widow that are lonely and he gets to part of his job he feels is just being with those people and spending time with them and helping them and it’s just a huge joy. You know, that him and it’s they’re actually husband wife duo that they get to do in their business. So anyway, it reminded me of him. So shout out to Pete if he listens to the podcast. Yep, that’s awesome.

So what kind of as we wrap up here, what kind of parting advice would you have for both, maybe some advice for the new guy that’s looking to get started in this business, and then some advice for someone who’s currently in it, and maybe looking to kind of grow a little bit.

Don’t be afraid, get out there and do it. Because it’s better to make money for yourself than it is to make keep making money for somebody else, right? Because we bought our time back, we own our time. And that’s the thing, I don’t have to be somewhere at eight o’clock or seven o’clock in the morning, you know, me, and if I don’t want to be on our podcast

at 6am.

So we owner, we own our time, we all you know, we get to do what we want, we we set set the schedule for what we want to do. We’re not under somebody else telling us, Hey, we got to get this done. We got to do this, you know. So starting your own business is the way to go. And I’m glad that we’re really blessed that we were able to, to do this. And we have the support from our family, my cousins, all my cousins on one side or business owners. So we’ve had people that helped us get going. And yeah, you got anything.

That was don’t be afraid or yeah,

don’t be afraid.

I just think that like, like Steve said, owning your own business. It’s It’s amazing. You know, it gives you your time you meet the most amazing people and you can learn something new every day. There’s no doubt about that. You know, kudos to the husbands and wives out there that are working together. You know, it’s a good family business.

What about the party? What do you

do to party? Just just hanging there, go for it. Like Steve said, love it. Awesome. Don’t be afraid

to fail. You know what a lot of people are afraid to fail. We failed in our plumbing business the first time we failed in our in our dream business. We never gave up. We kept on trying. We failed hundreds of times. And but we never gave up we all we always kept on going. We never stopped we yeah, we we just pushed through. And we just never never gave up and we never gave up hope.

And thank you guys. You’re an inspiration to us.

We appreciate that. Thank you. Yeah. All right. Well, hey, what’s what’s that, Steve?

I said let us know when you guys are ready come visit. Yeah.

Well, you guys it’s certainly a tempting offer there. Yeah. Well, thank you again, Steve and Kelly. And just to clarify to this is the the man the legend, Maui Steve, you’ve probably seen his comments on YouTube and Facebook. He is near and dear to my heart. Thank you guys for coming on and sharing your story especially the uniqueness of the husband wife duo. I any anything else, Alan? No. Take it. Okay. Awesome. Well, again, I’m Jason call owner of handyman marketing pros. I’m with Alan Lee, co host of the Heymans to get six podcast handyman success podcast and honestly handyman and the handyman journey. The list is long for that man. Thank you guys for tuning in. And we’ll see you guys on the next episode. Have a great

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