Episode #14: Mike Radcliffe Professional Handyman Services

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About this episode

In this episode of the Handyman Success Podcast, Mike Radcliffe shares his perspective as a successful, highly profitable Owner/Operator. He runs his business this way by design, and enjoys the flexibility and stress-free nature of his business.

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Audio Transcription

Hello everybody to another episode of the handyman success podcast. My name is Jason call owner of handyman marketing pros. I’m with my co host, Alan Lee owner of and honestly, handyman services in Sacramento, and the handyman journey coaching group. Today, we are here actually, firstly, our mission, the reason why we do this podcast which I cannot skip over guys, is to teach and inspire other handyman and home improvement businesses by using these guest interviews. So they can either take their business to the next level, kind of you know, find some new tips and tricks they can apply in their business overall, just here to help just kind of share the experiences of others to benefit you guys. So with all that being said, today, we have Mike Radcliffe, he is actually it’s a special episode and that he is one of the moderators of the handyman journey Facebook group, truly doing the Lord’s work there, it is no easy task to keep that bunch in line. So Mike, thank you for all you do for the handyman journey. Thanks for coming on. And if you don’t mind, just kind of kicking us off with a little about yourself a background and how you started your handyman business. Well,

first, thanks for having me on. Alan, Thanks for trusting me with the group. And I hope I’m doing a decent job with that. But my basically, the way I started my handyman business wasn’t really a business, it’s much like a lot of the guys who come into the handyman Facebook group, who realize I’ve been doing this handyman stuff, this is like a business now, I probably need to do something about it, or they want to get legit, or they actually find out that they’re not making any money. You know, you know, they’re, they’re making money, obviously. But at the end of the year, they look back and you’re like, wow, I didn’t really make any money. You know, I bought some things or whatever. But from a young age, I just was always fixing stuff my for the most part, I was raised by a single mom. And so it’s you know, it’s tough on single moms and stuff would break around a house, I would just see what I could do to try to fix it. And at one point in time, we live next to a hardware store on a main street and I just go over there and ask those guys, you know, every now and then they just give me the stuff to fix whatever is trying to fix. But that’s the story of a lot of people who do handyman work, they just started fixing stuff when they’re young, and they find out that they like working with their hands. But as far as the business goes, I moved to Nashville to be a rock star. No, just to be. I’m a drummer, and I was getting a lot of opportunities. And that’s, you know, we basically, I didn’t want to be 65 years old looking back, saying hey, what if I had gone into music, you know, what would have happened. And like any musician in Nashville, you need two things, just to survive and one’s a wife who makes more money and you multiple streams of income. I just kept doing handyman stuff on the side. And and basically, you know, we were 15 or so years in Nashville decided to move to a little nicer neighborhood down in Franklin here where I’m at now. And so we’re basically you know, looking at a bigger mortgage, higher, higher bills. And I started as getting to the point where it’s kind of aging out of the music business and if anybody knows anything about music business right now, you know, it’s not a good time to try to start make my for Seidman it’s it’s not a not the best time but in any case, we decided that I needed a more predictable source of income. And so I just started doing the handyman stuff more full time and kept my old clients and started reaching out for more clients using a lot of the websites thumbtack and Home Depot’s pro referral and that kind of thing. And just started getting busier and busier and busier. And realize I can make more in a day than I could work making a week as a musician like out on the road with some below country artists you know, it was hard to make any money themselves. And you know, we we thought about you know, hey I go work at Lowe’s or Home Depot or something and then I looked at what those guys were getting paid and realize I again, I can make more in a day than what you make in a week. You You know, had had Lowe’s or, you know, after taxes and all the stuff we talked about on the site, you know, maybe maybe a couple days. And, um, you’re working for yourself. You’re picking up people you, you work for. at Lowe’s, you got to deal with a lot of free people getting their case and all that. And if I did a person like that there, I just don’t work for him anymore. So, you know that that’s the short, the long version of the short journey of how I started my handyman business.

That’s awesome. So how many years have you been a handyman? Like, because you did a part time and in house. So how long have you been full time as a handyman?

Full time? We moved here and 14, so 2014

Okay. Okay, so was that eight years? Yeah. I’m not the best at math. But okay. Cool, man. That’s awesome.

It’s not a tape measure. I’m

very cool. So do you do anything as far as like, marketing goes, like, what do you how do you get your name out there to get new clients,

you guys are gonna love me. I am I do very little, I just got a Google page or whatever. I made sure that my dress my, my business name was on Google just so it’s there. And so that nobody takes it. But it’s mostly referrals, a lot of referrals. And next door, the website, is for some people, it’s terrible. For me, it’s really good. Because there are a lot of bad handyman types on there, and they get talked about. And so your main goal, on next door is to first not be one of those guys. It spreads fast. And it’s not as anonymous as a lot of other places, you know, your dresses on there. And all that, which is a good thing, because it’s, you’re accountable. And you know, if somebody’s going to say something about you, they have to be accountable. But the goal Yeah, the goal next door, is to look for opportunities to help people who have been burned by a bad handyman. Provider, look for an opportunity to get your foot in their door. And you can be a hero. And then the word spreads you get in different neighborhoods. And next thing you know, there’s 75,000 100,000 People who can see your views. And it goes goes around quick. As far as the other marketing, I don’t even know if its marketing, its lead generating. But on pro referral, I’ve got all positive really high, like glowing reviews on there. I think I’m five star I think I’ve got out of I think there’s maybe three reviews I have that are less than five star and when the guy said it was an accident. And then I was on Thumbtack for a long time, and got off that because it’s the the pricing structure just kind of got ridiculous. And I didn’t need it. You know, I don’t need it anymore, because I’m getting clients in other ways. But it’s mostly mostly word of mouth, referrals. And next door, a lot of people contact me through next door just from a search. I’m one of the first guys to show up on the top because of all the good reviews when they search handyman. Another reason to have handyman and your business name. And the reviews on Home Depot’s pro referral. I get people who will call me immediately they don’t wait to, for me to respond to them, which they don’t have to wait long. But they’ll call me and people literally say, I don’t care if you’re higher than everybody else. I saw your reviews and I want you doing the work. And that’s I’m not a marketing expert. But when people are calling you just because you have great reviews. That’s got to be pretty good marketing.

Yeah, it’s like this. It’s the best thing that you can be doing. I told people like you can have a choice between either the greatest marketing system ever the slickest website, all these different things going on and no reviews or just a Google profile with a bunch of five star reviews. I’d take the reviews in the Google profile as super powerful.

Really, okay. Yep. Oh, good. Gotta have a website. Got a website? If I was scaling, like some of you guys are if I wanted five trucks out there, then yeah, yeah, I could see that. But right now it’s me if I, if I do any marketing, any more marketing, whatever, if I need too much marketing, I guess and I’m again, I’m not a marketing expert, there’s maybe there’s a marketing expert that’s going to be scoffing when he hears this, but if I didn’t more marketing, I’d start to get busy myself out of clients. You know, there are people who are booked out for six months, most of the most of that work is for renovations, remodels, things like that. And people doing that stuff. They’ll wait, but somebody wants our kitchen faucet replaced. They don’t. They don’t want to wait three months. Right? It’s already dripping. Yeah, yeah.

Point, I mean, you can definitely be too busy. You know, and if you have no ambition to hire someone else to take care of, or help with that busyness, like, yeah, you could definitely, like we said, you know, busy your clients away, like you’re just too busy, you just can’t help them out, you know, and you’re gonna end up losing clients for that. So that’s a good point.

Yeah, and one that, you know, kind of, in bringing on Mike to because you by design, like you are just a handyman, and you you like it, the how you have it set up and, and most handyman businesses least that I talked to, they’re the same way. Either they’re they by design, or they have future goals to add employees and trucks. So anyway, on that note, Mike, if you don’t mind kind of talking about like, your, you know, one man setup and why that’s the way that you love it right now. And kind of just your, your thoughts on that.

Yeah, and, um, you know, I’m gonna give some excuses and some permission to other guys who might be watching this, as to, you know, why you can do this, and maybe why you shouldn’t. And just for background, I don’t, we don’t have kids, my wife and I, we don’t have kids. So there are guys out there. You got kids, man, you got different priorities, and you got bigger, higher bills to pay. And I get that, I get that. And, but I’ll also say that gives you it gives you a different motivation. You know, you don’t realize how hard you can work until you have the right motivation. I remember, when I built my wife and my first house, back in Ohio, 25, seven years ago, something like that was 1995. I took three weeks off work, we got to dry, went back to work, I go to work for eight hours, come work on my house, build my house for eight hours, and then go to sleep, get up, go to work for eight hours work in my house for eight hours, go to sleep, just repeat, repeat, you know. And I know, a lot of parents, that’s what their life is, like, you know, work hard with the right motivation. Having you know, and that goes along to I know, we’re a little off topic here. But if somebody’s worried about quitting their job, to go into handyman business full time, you’re not going to believe how much more you can work, and how much work and smarter you can work. When you’re working for yourself and your family, you know, and it’s your business, and it has to succeed and that sort of thing. And just the motivation of working for yourself is so great, you know, just the accomplishment you feel when you had a great week or whatever. But so anyway, being an only guy handyman, I’m afforded that luxury. You know, I had, I have two two loves in life growing up. One was baseball, this my old guy, Lee, and music. And I already explained the music part. And that’s but, you know, in the music business, if when you’re self employed or whatever, I’d be out late, you know, you’re out late till a gig starts at 10 You know, and to that kind of thing. So, you can’t necessarily you’re not going to be up at eight a lot of a lot of guys do that they can do it but you can’t be at work at eight o’clock. You know, so I can do I can start a job in the afternoon. You know, when I when I was in the music business, you know, if I wanted to get the rest I need started a job in the evening and maybe even maybe even do a job in the evening if somebody can’t be home during the day to let you in or whatever. But now you know, I don’t I don’t want to be supervising people. I’m a weird guy who enjoys working by himself. Without loud music going just my own thoughts, hear the birds whatever. I can, you know, start stop jobs when I want, there’s, there’s, there’s, you know, the stress of employees, and making sure they’re going here and there and feeling the complaints, going to have to fix the message, put out the fires, that kind of thing. You know, I do have helpers occasionally. And it’s normally younger guys. And that’s good because they, they want to learn, the ones I get are hard workers, but there’s that there’s that extra stress, you know, of just gotta hope they know, nothing up, man. I hope that all you know, give my give me a bad name, I hope they don’t, whatever, you know. But for me, there’s only the only stress is I hope I don’t screw up give myself a bad name. And that’s hard enough to It’s hard enough to supervise me. But, you know, with me, don’t have kids. I’m kind of, you know, I’ve got friends who grew up with their kids and sports and everything. And they, you know, they weren’t so they could drive all their kids around a sports right now and guys are gonna, some guys are gonna hate me for saying this. But other guys are gonna relate, you know, I’m working out so I can drive myself around the sports. I can if I can go play baseball on a Huntsville, on a Tuesday night when a team needs me down there. All right, I won’t schedule, you know, I’ll stop working at two and I’ll drive down to

baseball or if you know, my wife works from home, if she decides she wants a day off, I can take a day off and we can hang out and go to lunch and do whatever. Or if we just need a vacation, if we need to run down to the panhandle, you know, and take a vacation. I mean, that’s it’s such a great freedom. And I you know, I know a guy, he’s got a similar business. And he works. He’ll work six, seven months, eight months, and he goes down to the keys, he’s got a place down in the keys. Life down there. I don’t know what kind of retirement he’s building up, what kind of wealth he has that sort of thing. But that’s the lifestyle he’s chosen. You know, a lot of a lot of guys you can’t the whole, saying he can’t tell you with you. You know, we, we have a retirement plan in place. And you know, but I don’t. And again, it has a lot to do with not having kids. I don’t need to die with $10 million in the bank. Oh, I do have a nephew. If my wife and I both died in a plane crash tomorrow, he’s going to be pretty well off. Because he’ll get life insurance. But you know, other Nat, you know, it’s not, you know, and some people are gonna be like, Oh my God, you’re so carefree about it, or you just, you know, there’s no, there’s not a big legacy that I have to leave. Enjoy life while I’m living it and have the freedom to do whatever I want. I mean, I’ve got, I’ve got other friends and Alan, you and some others on the group that can relate to this. They’re self employed because they love doing missions work. They can leave in Africa or India, or Haiti, when earthquakes happen in Haiti, they could just pop and lead or if they own their own business, and they got guys that they know they can, they can run it. They can just get on a plane, they can charter a plane some of these guys. They make and one of the reasons they make all the money they make and one of their motivations is to help people

right now.

They did they can go charter a plane to Haiti, you know, some some church in Uganda gets burned down, they, they write a check, you know, and it brings them great joy to do that. So you know, everybody’s got different motivations for why you’re working, obviously, to make a living. And if you have kids, that’s That’s it, man. That’s your goal. You get them to realize their dreams too. And, and then they’re your grandkids, all that stuff. And I totally get that. I don’t totally get it. Because I don’t know, right? I’m not gonna pretend. So there’s guys going out there. Oh, you don’t know. I get that. And I know there’s some of you that are. Some guys are probably jealous. You know that I’m able to do all this and everything but don’t be too jealous. Because you know what you have yet?

Yeah, I think it’s all different. in different styles of life, and not one is better than another. But the amazing thing is I love what you said is that having your own business, whether that’s handyman business or whatever, it gives you so much freedom to do whatever you want. I mean, and I think that’s the, that’s the whole crux and that’s the whole reason for starting a business is so that you can do other things, whether that is going on missions trips, or, or, I mean, I know, I’ve talked to some people that like, they were in the corporate world, and they never once were able to make it to their son’s baseball, you know, baseball game, right? But now that they’ve started their own handyman business, they’re able to be there. Like, every time he’s at practice, or baseball, like, so it’s the things that matter in life, the things that we really want to do. And that’s, that’s the beauty of starting a business, you know, so that’s fantastic.

I had a pastor, he had a common saying, and I’ve said this on the handyman group before, but said, No man on his deathbed ever looked up and said, I wish I’d spent more time at work. No, that’s not. It’s always I didn’t spend enough time with my son or daughter and my wife, that kind of thing. I mean, that’s an age old tale, cat’s in the cradle, whatever that song is, you know, you got to work you got to provide you got to, you got to do things. But if you’re your own boss, you’re if you own the business, that freedom is worth so much more than than what you’d be paid, work in some corporate job, even if you make more at that corporate job. I mean, it’s right now, it’s invaluable. Just even just for that, just if you can spend more time with people you love, when they need you.

Yep, that’s what it’s all about. I mean, I remember, you know, one video I made recently was like, you know, the number one thing I hear of people, the reason why they don’t want to quit their job to start a handyman business is because they have really good benefits at their job, you know, but it’s like, well, what are those benefits really worth? Like? You know, is it worth having those benefits for being at a job that you hate, or like, so you gotta, you gotta weigh the pros and the cons, and you may be making a little less money to start out, but at the end of the day, if you’re getting to spend time with your family that’s worth way more than extra benefits. You know,

it is and, you know, the other part of that equation is, if you’re married, you know, your wife has to be on board. 100%. Yeah. And, or, and I say this, because we’re in the, we’re in the business of, you know, encouraging people to do this. You know, if she’s not on board, 100%, you’re asking for trouble. And it’s, I’m not saying, I’m not saying, Don’t ever do it, I’m saying, do what you can and get her on board. You know, whatever it takes, if you really want it, and because the stress of a wife, you know, the it’s, it’s beyond. And I I’m only I’m in my early 50s. So I don’t want to step on the tails of new generation and what they think and everything but, you know, usually, a wife is a caretaker for the children and has that motherly instinct thing. Their their worry level is way higher. Right? Right. Fathers wants the kid to go out and jump his bike over cars and play in dirty water and, you know, jump out of trees and everything, you know, that we’re, you know, we’re just wired for adventure. A mother is wired for protection and comfort and stability. So if you’re gonna if you’re gonna jump off the cliff, just be prepared to not have a happy wife. Yeah. And again, I was blessed enough to where there was this buffer. And first of all, I moved to Nashville to get in the music business. So obviously, my wife was, you know, supportive. I mean, do that, you know, and last and then half the guys I moved to town with more than half their they’re all divorced are on our second third wife. Oh, wow. Yeah. And but that’s a whole nother that’s a different podcast. I’m just saying. It’s hard enough. It’s hard enough. It’s hard enough keeping a marriage together and keep keeping everybody happy. And it’s hard enough starting your own business. To do both. It’s exponential. I’m not trying to scare anyone away. Like I said, she may, she may just be scared now of the concept. But when you start doing some weekend work weekend jobs and start seeing the money you’re making, maybe she’s gonna start taking you out of your corporate job.

Yeah, yeah, I know, for me, I had to, I had to kind of prove to my wife a little bit that it could be done, you know? So I think every wife is a little bit different. So

Oh, yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s enough of that.

Yeah, thanks for sharing Mike. So if you don’t mind transitioning, and oh, sorry, what was that

all want to get anybody in trouble with their wife? I don’t

know, I mean, that’s a soup. I don’t think we ever talked about that on the podcast yet. But having the support of your spouse and your family on board is very important. Because, you know, it’s, especially initially when you’re in that I like to call it new business hustle. I mean, it takes a lot of work to get a business up to sustainability where you’re making your ends meet, right. There’s a lot of work, a lot of stress involved. And when you don’t have everyone on board, especially your partner. It’s, that’s, I can’t imagine that that would be a really big weight to bear. And so I think it’s a really great point that you brought up to make sure that you know, your spouse your partner is is on board. It’s super important for your own mental health and like confidence to move forward.

Yeah, that’s part of it. That’s Wow, that’s, that’s bigger than anyone can realize. Just having that confidence and knowing that that supports their that’s, it’s huge.

Yeah, yeah. And when you have your wife behind you, you can do anything, you know, I mean, but when your wife’s not behind you, it’s like, makes you feel like crap. You know, just yeah. So yeah, I know for me, like, you know, whenever I left my corporate job that ate my soul, I no money, no zero clients, just nothing. And the only person that blew me life. Yeah, I did. I did.

My soul I like that’s it.

I mean, that’s literally how it felt every day. And it just hit a point where it’s like, I literally physically couldn’t do it anymore. But anyway, the one person that was on my side was, was my wife. And even like, my parents, my family, and everyone’s like, yeah, you kind of crazy. Like, why would you give that up? It’s Yes, pretty good deal. But, you know, underscores, at least from my personal experience, when your spouse Sambor that’s all you need, man. Just let it rip.

Send it send it.

So anyway, so if you don’t mind transitioning, Mike, how, if you don’t mind walking the people through how you estimate and price your jobs?

Yeah, there’s a big question. So imagine this on the handyman journey group. Hey, Mike, how do I

price this job set the record straight from the admin or the moderator themselves?

If only there was a handy book somewhere that could be purchased.

If only right, that’d be good to make

some kind of guide so handyman guide.

Line, that’s a good name handyman pricing guide. That’s, that’s what you should name it.

Yeah, I’ll say it. Alan has a book called the handyman pricing handbook. And you can buy that and it’ll, it’ll help you a lot. And books are super cheap. So you know, it’s, it’s a good investment. But anyway, Mike, how do you estimate price jobs, man?

Well, I don’t have a book feel guilty.

But I’ll send you one. I’ll get you in Mike. Problem. So

can I answer this question next time?

Okay. I’m pretty much like everybody else. When you first start out, you’re like, I have no idea what this cost to do. And this all goes back to somebody who thinks they’re making money and are not making money. One of the things I do I take notes of every new task, or basically every new task I do, I put it in a notebook it’s on on a computer. I think it’s Apple notes or whatever,

that you had not previously done before. Yeah.

And I’m like, I’d take notes of how long it took. And also right in there, any kind of stumbling blocks anything, it’ll help it go faster. Next time.

That is so cool. And I updated,

you know, dishwashers, sinks, mailbox posts, just a single door, French door, exterior door, all that stuff. I’ll update it because you get you get quicker at things. Which means you you can choose to do them for less if you want or you can just choose to make more money in that time. So like, and we

advocate for the second option, because you’re getting paid for your experience and you

know, exactly, exactly. There’s there’s a garage door guy around here. I’m recommending to him to everybody, because I was hanging some shutters on a house and their client had this guy doing the garage door. came in on swapped the door and and opener in 45 minutes. Wow. Yeah. And they don’t deserve to make, you know, 75% of my hourly rate, because I mean, certified, okay. They deserve to make a lot of money. Yeah. Because they’re, they’re very quick. Now, if they, if they can do 10 a day, they can they can charge less and attract more people, you know. But it’s, it’s their prerogative, if they want to charge the going rate for $1. And get it done in an hour. Good for them. They should make a lot of money. And a lot a lot of money this year, next year and the year after that. Yep. But also, I do use a site and people are some people are going to be just oh my god, not this site. homewise. It gets mentioned a lot on there. There’s there’s a lot of bad pricing information on the internet. And that’s, that’s, that’s, again, what everybody does. When you start out? How much should it cost to replace? Disposable, right, it pops up? Well, there are a lot of sites on there that have like, I don’t know, when the internet was invented, but the first pricing guide that came out when the internet was invented, it’s still up there. And that data is being recycled and regurgitated by hundreds of other websites. And no, it shouldn’t cost $45 To replace the garbage disposal.

Right, right.

You know, in 1978, or 1980. That was

me a quarter makes so much sense like that people

that don’t understand it just regurgitated it for their own like website. Sorry, going like,

Well, I was and and my point is that they, you know, homewise is actually an estimating software or whatever. I looked into it, it wasn’t for me. But what I found out is that all the contractors who use it, they import their numbers into it. And there, they allow by signing the terms of service agreement, they allow homewise to then use those numbers as aggregate or whatever the right word is. It’s their their data that they bring in. So when they’ve got, you know, 400 guys or whatever, saying it takes this long, or takes me this long to do garage door opener, right? They take the high and the low and the average. And that should be a pretty good number. If you’ve got 400 guys who all did, you know, a garage door opener replacements last year, and got paid that money? As long as they’re professionals, you know, and doing it legit, and not chuck in a truck shout out to the trucks out there. There is as long as that part of the equation is correct. And that should be pretty good numbers. Don’t you agree or not?

I would say to if it’s coming from businesses that are already paying for an estimating software, there’s certainly inherent level of legitimacy there. Right?

Yeah. Test it out.

I find for the most part that when I do a job and I go back and look at what home I said it was is fairly accurate. I mean, at least ballpark because there’s a lot of fine print and a lot of knobs different you know, and again you do get faster. But I think for for something new I’ve never done before I’ll go there and it’s it’s it’s a good place to start and and for you anyone watching this podcast is in the in the Facebook group, who says oh man, I saw homewise Their high end that was ridiculous. It was astronomical. As long as as all the other parts were equal. All the fine print in the labor breakdown and all that as long as all parts are equal. It’s not crazy. Is that nobody’s getting that number. Yeah, they might. You know, maybe they’re in San Francisco or somewhere you know, we’re we’re stuff cost of living is super high. And if you’re out in the middle Hi, well, yeah, you can. But if you’re on the middle aisle, we’ll take a look at the low end between the low and the mid and if you think that’s high, then you need to take a good look at that one. going on, you know, because it’s not high, people are getting that money.

Yeah, sometimes people have a misconception of what things cost because they think, oh, at my old job, I made 20 bucks an hour. And now this is telling me that I should charge bla bla bla for garsons are like, that’s crazy, you know, I mean, like, so I think it’s a whole different mindset of running your own business and setting your own pricing rather than getting paid this for a specific job, you know, working for someone.

Yeah, and once you get, you know, an accounting, software, bookkeeping, software that keeps track of expenses, and everything, and once you look at what you have to pay in taxes at the end of the year, and, you know, you look back at all the cost, preparing your vehicle, the new tools, all that stuff, you know, it, it’s the best time in the world to be to start a handyman business, just because there’s so much help out there with the bookkeeping software that just, it gives you a number every day of what you may, what your progress is, you know, your profit and loss statements, after taxes, and what to pay for taxes and all that. And so after you’ve done it a couple of years, and you look back, and you realize, I’m barely breaking even, or I’m basically on my on my own employee, you know, I’m just paying myself an employee wage, I’ve got all the headaches and everything else that go along in front of the business. You know, you need to look back and say, I gotta start raising my rates. And you have to be good enough to do that, though, you know, so maybe you do have to struggle for a couple years to build your skill set to where you can charge more and do or get more done in a day, that sort of thing. But it’s, it’s, you know, I just, I hate seeing people on the group that are charging so little, and you just know, you know, that they’re going to be they’re going to come back and a couple years ago, people, I was one of those guys turned to you gotta raise your rates. I was losing money. I was losing money. And there have been guys that posts like that. And I wish I hope more do I hope now?

Yeah, when I first started my business, I, I just pull the number out of thin air. And that was 50 bucks an hour because I’m like, well, at my old job, I was making X amount per dollar, or per hour. So I’ll charge 50 bucks. Now that sounds great. Right? But then, like you said, I quickly found out I was not making any money. Like, you’re just not, you know, and then from the outside, you think well, how can you be charging 50 bucks an hour and not be making any money? Well, there’s a, there’s a heck of a lot of expenses that go into running your own business. I mean,

people definitely have to get out of that employee business comparison, they conflate employee wages, with with what a business needs to make to operate, just to stay in business, let alone build retirement, build wealth off and all that whatever else. And I’m looking at a camera, I am not a business expert. You know, anything I say here today, people need to, you know, not take with a grain of salt because there’s experience involved. But, you know, vet vet the information, you know, prove me wrong, if you think you can run a business making 50 bucks an hour. Show us? Yeah, that’s

the waters, show

us how to do it. And but anything, you know, I am not a business extra. I’ve learned so much in the last eight years. Just by forcing myself to be a legit business, you know, to pay taxes and everything else that’s, that’s involved. But, you know, I still, as much as I know, I’m a business expert compared to what I knew eight years ago, right? But I’m nowhere near the level of some of the some of the guys in that group and you guys,

well, the beauty of the handyman journey group is there’s people that are one, maybe just one step ahead of you, or half a step ahead of you. And that’s really all it takes, you know, so like, there’s guys that are coming in right now that they may know, something that I don’t know, even though I’ve been in the business for so long, you know, and there’s things that I might know that they don’t know. So it’s, it’s really cool, because you can learn anything new from anybody. You just got to find it. So I think there’s definitely value in what you’re saying. I mean, it’s this is eight years of experience. Whereas if I was I if if I had just started this business, I would probably argue with you, but like No, no Mike like I was making like So 20 something bucks an hour at my job. And now I’m charging 50 An hour like, I’m doing great. Like, you don’t know what you’re talking about, but at the end of the day you do because you are eight years ahead, you know what I mean? So,

yeah, and I, you know, I’m I’m more, you know, I am in the handyman, mastermind group for, for them some marketing ideas for business ideas, guys that are, you know, guys that are in there that have, you know, seven eight trucks or guys that are doing a million or two in revenue. I want to hear from them, you know, and that’s, listen to those guys. I don’t necessarily listen to me, or, you know, the business end wise, now I’ll, I’ll repeat it for great information or stuff. I’ve learned, I’ll do that. But just business, I still don’t think I’m charging enough. And I need to I need to charge more.

Well, we’ll get you that book. And then you’ll start charging enough.

Yeah, well, but you know, me the knowledge of building all that stuff that I that I acquired through education, experience, everything since I was, you know, 1718 years old. That’s the stuff I really feel like I can give to the group. Because there’s not a lot. I don’t want to say this trying to sound arrogant. There’s not a lot, I don’t know, a guy’s like Michael Crowdfunder there’s not a lot he doesn’t know, like, Construction wise, and how to do those things. You know, so, but business wise, I still have a thirst I still have a lot to learn. And and, and that’s what I want to learn. Because if I can make more money if it’s easier to make more money, you know, that’s, you know, the other stuff, I got down the knowledge how to do why to do for some odd reason, my service, people give me glowing reviews. And I never thought I was that kind of guy super friendly. Make people feel great when I leave a job, but apparently I am. I thank God for that. Because that’s not because I’m a Northerner. I’ve been in the South 22 years now. And it took me almost that long to admit that, yeah, northerners are rude, or just rude. But it’s not a purpose. It’s just how we are, you know, to two guys from New York, they’re not rude each other, they’re just talking right out of Tennessee. And it, it can be harsh adjustment. And I’ve never I’ve one of the reasons I like working alone, too, is because I can you know, personalities will clash. And I don’t want to work with somebody if our personalities are clashing. And that’s all there is. But, you know, be it being a rude northerner coming down to Tennessee and having all these great reviews and people saying how friendly I was and how all that stuff. That’s that’s, I don’t get it. But I just because I, you know, that’s a transformation that you know, I don’t know. I can’t take credit for it. But you know, it’s apparently they liked me. Yeah. I’m waiting for some bad reviews. I want no, because it’s almost like, and again, I, I don’t want I don’t want this to sound arrogant, but people do not understand how important reviews are if you get Yeah, start with 10 Great reviews. And that just knocks down doors. And just people are looking for you with those great reviews. And have I maybe done some subpar work and didn’t get a bad review, but it didn’t get a good review. I guarantee 100% 100% I know that has to be a fact. And have I left the jobs and I’m not sure if I want to ask for a review. Yes, and you gotta you gotta admit that everybody asked, why everybody, you know, you just you can only do work for so many people before you get some bad reviews and you can’t also and no, you can’t. You know, you can’t get too upset about that. If you got 10,000 good reviews, and you don’t have any bad reviews. There’s something wrong with the algorithm. You’re just gonna there’s always somebody that hates everything about everything and they just live to get on the internet. complain about people? You know, I’m not going to say the word Karen. But no, I said, I feel all the really wonderful people named Karen, lovely mothers and grandmothers named Karen.

I know, I’m in a group at church and there was a gal named Karen. She says, Hi, I’m Karen, don’t hold me. Don’t hold that against me. Yeah,

yeah. I honestly feel sorry for them. But you know, the whole review thing. And it’s, and this is also something that you can do is you have more control over as a sole proprietor, like as an only a one man band. You can take more time to address people, you can take more time to talk to them, you know, explain things, whatever. If you know, you know, you’re not having to rush you know, you’re four weeks, five weeks booked and you really need to get 30 jobs in this week, that kind of thing. And I guarantee it, it’s not even a question of that’s one of the reasons that I have such great reviews and mostly all you know, five star reviews is because I you know, I don’t have to rush around and all that. If somebody wants to say Hey, can you take a look at all this other stuff and walk me around the house for 20 minutes and showing me all this other stuff I can do? I can do that with a smile I’m sorry ma’am. I got another appointment. I can make an appointment to come look at your work for whatever. So you know that friendly neighborhood handyman comes into play for people. And and but also it’s I don’t want to beat a dead horse. But I would get a review. Really good review if I did. That’s supposed to be

a dead horse.

Yeah, hey, I would get a great review if I did.

Well, it depends how good you Yeah,

I blew that line. So just great reviews. And then that they will beat a path to your door. It’s got great reviews and don’t worry about a couple bad ones. And I jokingly say this and I probably going to jinx myself, but I I don’t want a bad review. I just think it would help. People think you got all great reviews, people think there’s something wrong with it. What has

statistically your Google profiles that have somewhere between like a 4.7 and 4.8 they perform slightly ever so slightly better than the straight fives really interesting. If you got a bunch of five stars just just get that one one star and tilt it just

is that a thing? That’s That’s true. Yeah,

it’s it’s very small. But it is statistically like proven like if you have somewhere it’s like a slight less than a five because it seems more real, less artificial. Anyway, I thought that was a really interesting fact. Yeah, but

I was suspected. So to have a have a handyman leads expert confirm that.

That’s I’m not sitting here saying to anybody, like go get a one star review to get a 4.9 or one. I’m not saying that

we could start a business selling one star reviews. I don’t think there’s

anything like that. There is for your competitors. But

I ask your friends and family to leave your reviews. Personally out. cycled guilty tell him I did lousy.

I bet you saw me beating a dead horse and just leave me I want to start.

Hey, Grandma, can you leave me a one star review?

That’s funny, man. That’s awesome. So over, over these last eight years, what would you say have been like some of your biggest wins and some of your biggest losses as well.

I think my biggest win this, it’s going back to the reviews. When I when I walk out of a client’s house and they’re thrilled to death, you know, or they they say I had one lady I get I get emotional. I had one lady say, you know, you took all the stress of this entire project are away from you. Thank you so much. You know,

wow, that’s awesome.

And another one said, you know, we had all these handyman cars on our fridge. And after you did the job we took them all threw him in the trash. just solving saw solving that dilemma for somebody looking they’re looking so far for someone they can trust, who’s going to do the work? Do it do it well, properly. Um, come back, if there’s a problem. You know, being that guy, for people that that, that gives me a high, you know, I love that. And just knowing, you know, you know, harlot probably comes back from, you know, my mom, knowing that you know, seeing her and maybe getting ripped off, or that kind of thing. But if I can be that hero, somebody that’s awesome, or just, you know, not necessarily necessarily the hero, but just, you know, there’s only one fridge, or there’s only one magnet on the fridge, you’re that guy, and they don’t have to worry, they don’t have to call around, they don’t have to do any of that. It’s just like, just call a mic. And I’m sure that names already taken just call Mike. All those positives, look for it on Gmail. But you know, that’s, that’s really what I what I love, you know, a serve people do something that they just think is impossible, or they have no idea how to do it, they, it’s just like, you know, sending a rocket ship to Mars as far as they’re concerned. But for us, it’s easy. It’s, you know, stuff, some of the stuff we do. It’s like, we think it’s easy, but it’s not if you’ve never done it. You know, I look back to when I first screwed things up when I was really young, or even build my own house, how easy it is to mess something up. You know, there’s a million ways to do something and one right way. hyperbole, but you know, but, you know, I’m, I’m digressing. So basically, you know, being able to serve people take care of stress that they have in their life, remove that stress, walk out of their house, knowing they never have to worry about that, again. Think about that again. And also knowing that, you know, they’ve got somebody reliable now that trustworthy, they can call and, and don’t have to search anymore for any of that stuff. Now loss. Yeah, I mean, lot loss wise. You always, you know, you look back at some sour moments. And people that maybe maybe wanted to leave a bad review, I don’t know. But just, sometimes it’s just the feeling feeling like you walked off a job. No one you didn’t do your best. Maybe you cut a corner. Those are things you remember, you don’t you know, and I hope somebody getting in his business go their whole career without one of those of those moments walking off a job going. I don’t think I did my best or saying, walking off knowing that you did good enough. And it should have been better. And that’ll happen. You know, you, you gotta get past it, you got to forgive yourself. You got to hope it didn’t leak. You know, you’re going back. I’d tell you this. That if you call it karma, or stupid tax, or if you’re believing the Bible, it’s reaping what you sow. But a lot of times you leave that job, knowing that you could have done better or should have done better. You’re going to be making a trip back. Yeah, just, you know, go outside, have a cold drink, take five minutes off, say a prayer, whatever you do, and get back in there. Right, do it better?

Definitely. Sometimes that means cutting out what you did to do it, right. You know, because you had those jobs on I have I have and it sucks because it’s like, when you get it done, you’re like, oh, like I don’t know what whether it’s, you know, hooking up a new sink with a vanity and you put the P trap a little bit too far out. And it’s like, oh, it needs to be in just just slightly, you know, and the so you can’t get the drain quite correct. And it’s it just like, you know, like, this is what it needs to take to fix it. And that means removing what I just did, you know, it sucks. It’s ego hit but you got to do it. Right. You know,

and I something I’ve said on the group before, it’s like you have to you have to determine you ask yourself the question, what’s the what’s the cost of my integrity? What’s the price of my integrity? My integrity. Three hours. extra work. Is the price of my intact really using some standard parts? I don’t know. But when it comes to something like that you’re like, Is my integrity for sale for the 75 bucks? I’m going to lose by making this right, you know, that kind of thing? And I’ll just say, I hope it’s not.

Yeah, that’s huge man. If you listeners are no takers, man, write that down, what’s the price of my integrity? I wrote that down. That’s, that’s,

that’s not mine. I heard that from somebody. And it, you know, struck a

chord. That’s amazing, something new

every day, you know, walking out walking out the house, especially if you’re starting off new and you’re frustrated, and you know, that this job you’re walking into is going to take you longer than it should, because you? Well, you’re just you’re paying tuition. You know, there’s guys on the group that say that a lot. I like that, you know, for a job takes you twice as long as it takes me you’re just paying tuition.

That’s good. You know,

but if you’re going to take shortcuts, because you don’t want it to take that long, then then you’re talking about the price, your integrity, and you need to look in the mirror. And ask yourself that.

Yeah, I think it’s good. I mean, it’s, it’s good practice to especially like if your goal is to, you know, add trucks and not employees, and all that stuff, because you’re gonna make choices are going to cost you money in the future. So you may as well you know, eat the ones that you can have more direct influence over now and kind of work that muscle of like, you know, my integrity is worth a heck of a lot more than that. So let me do this, right.

If you’re, if you’re going to cut corners, now, you know, you and your employees, when you grow are going to cut corners, then, and there gonna be bigger corners. And that could have lasting implications that could, at the end of the day, even land you in jail. I mean, we’re building we’re putting stuff in people’s homes, you know what I mean? It could land you in bankruptcy. You burn someone’s house, Dan, you’re, you’re screwed.

You know, the other thing is, it gets it gets easier to do after the first time. Yeah, yeah. You know, and it’s, you know, the first time you cut a corner, whatever made you feel super guilty about it feel so super guilty. And then the next time you don’t feel quite as guilty in a year from now, it’s just part of your standing operating procedure. Yep. And like you said, you scale up, you’re gonna, you’re gonna be teaching that to your employees. And, you know, and you won’t get good employees. If that’s your mode of operation, if they, if you’re cutting corners, and doing shoddy work and trying to charge as much as you can, for as little as you, you know, or, or for, for shoddy work. I’m all for charging as much as you can for as little work as possible. That’s, that’s determining your market value. But you know, if you’re, if you’re just trying to make as much money off people and do shoddy work and cut corners, you’re not going to get good employees, you’ll get employees like you. We don’t mind doing that. They want to learn how to do that. And that’s, that’s fine. But I hope you don’t join the handyman mastermind group.

Because you will get moderated. So in closing here, so what would be some parting advice that you would have for the new guy looking to get started into this business? Oh. I mean, besides everything we’ve already talked about, this whole podcast has been like advice. So I’m got

that’s really the question what else you got my we got a couple minutes here

learn everything, learn not just how to do stuff, but why it’s done that way. And this is something I’ve said on the grid before but there are a lot of workers out there a lot of construction workers in my area, it’s booming. Its booming. So you know, they’re not getting the best, most knowledgeable workers because they don’t exist. There’s not enough of them. So all these guys learn how to do something, but they don’t know why they’re doing it. Hmm. Have you come across a situation where something needs done? You may you may do it wrong, you may do a certain thing correctly. But it’s not why it needs done so you’re actually doing the wrong thing. I wish I had a better analogy for it but you need to know why things are done. way they are. You know why is there a Jack’s that Jack stud underneath it? You know? Why is it there? If you don’t just put it there. Put it there. It’s transferring that load down. Where’s the transfer? Floor? Or where’s it going into the floor? And why? You know, it’s got to go down to a footing, that sort of thing. People are framing up walls or just putting in headers and jacks does and they don’t need to be there. You know, that that sort of thing. On the why the how is all over the internet? YouTube’s got all kinds of great channels. There’s not a lot of why. On YouTube, there’s a few guys that tell the whys. I think essential craftsman is one essential

craftsman Man, that guy is amazing. That’s like listening to like your grandfather. Like, that’s just a wealth of knowledge.

I want to I just want a nice warm fire when he’s when he’s

like, I just want to hang out with that guy. You know? Can you adopt me?

Now he’s a great educator. I wish I could do YouTube. Like him or, or amazing. Joseph Millis moment to get that

dude and some pearl snaps that Joseph Millis man killing it.

I still think his voice is fake. I think he’s faking it. But

you We interviewed him? He’s not unless he’s got some crazy technology. There. Yeah.

That guy’s awesome.

I watched that. That was good. I wish I wish I started buying rentals earlier in life. So anyway, yep. Long, the why behind the house. That’s, that’s my best advice and learn it all, just don’t watch TV. Get into books. If you’re going to learn this, if you’re going to do this for a living, all your spare time, that’s not spent with your family, you need to be in a book, or watching instructional videos, the right structural videos, you know, learning electrical code, you know, pick up a codebook learn all that stuff. All the codes are online now. All the building codes and local building codes, go through that stuff. Like it’s your Bible, you know, and learn learn that stuff, because it’s your job now. And, you know, you can play video games later, or, you know, blow off steam if you want but, you know, turn TV off, get get into the learning.

Definitely, I think one book that was recommended to me when I first started out was the Home Depot 123 book. And that was kind of a cool book of learning how to do things and also a little bit of why but it was it was mainly reading, but it was it was really informative, because it walks you through all kinds of stuff.

You know, nobody wants to be seen carrying out of the store, especially if you’re if you park in the pro section, right? I didn’t have somebody buy it for you meet down. But, you know, it’s just it’s knowledge. And it makes everything go faster. You’re problem solving. You know, that stuff’s exponential, it’s a logarithmic scale, the more you learn about something else, it just goes up faster. All that stuff combines, you know, learn about the three way wiring and four way wiring and you know, how the path of signal flow and all that stuff. Just whatever I just I’m just saying stop. If you’re doing it for business now get serious about it. You know, if you’re on a handyman group, you’re serious about learning the business of it. If you’re listening to this podcast, you’re serious about learning the business. Get serious about learning and learning the hows and whys.

Good. That takes a lot of time and a lot of effort, but it’s worthwhile. Yeah,

you get confidence in pricing jobs and all that when you know what needs done, how, why, you know, the traps that you’re going to find and all the stumbling blocks ahead of time. That confidence that gives you the confidence. Hmm.

Man, so good. Mike, thank you so much. For all of your knowledge and your wisdom man. Fantastic. You are definitely worthy of being on the hey man success podcast. Thank you so much for being here. That’s a wrap on today’s video here guys. Thank you guys so much for listening and tuning in. A few things that we want to let you know about is we do have a handyman success mastermind group on Facebook. And we’re gonna get Mike into that Facebook group. He’s gonna be there to answer any of your questions you guys want to you know, talk to him about moderation maybe you know he’s your guy. Join us there handyman success mastermind group and that’s so that’s one group on Facebook. We also have another group that’s the handyman journey mastermind group and that’s another fantastic one just to learn everything. Get started in your handyman business. I’m one of your co host Alan Lee, owner of the handyman journey business consulting and then my good friend Jason call. Owner of handyman marketing pros. We are here for you. We are here to help you out. Um We are here to see you create the life that you want to create so thank you guys so much for tuning in and Mike thank you again so much for being here and we’ll catch all y’all on the next episode of the podcast Have a great day have a great day guys