Episode #15: Marlin Landers, Landers Home Services

Subscribe to the podcast on the following platforms

landers home services handyman success podcast, handyman podcast, contractor podcast

About this episode

Marlin Landers, Owner of Landers Home Services based out of Boise, shares his Handyman Journey. He shares how he moved his business from California to Idaho, and the trials and outcomes of making the move. Of course, we cover our normal topics to help YOU, the listener, learn and be inspired to start or improve your home improvement business. Topics range from: Marlin’s story, pricing, marketing, estimating, and so much more. Enjoy!

links to this episode

Or search "Handyman Success Podcast" on your preferred podcast platform

Audio Transcription

Hello friends welcome to another episode of the handyman success podcast. My name is Jason call one of your co hosts, founder of handyman marketing pros and with me, Alan Lee, owner of the handyman journey business coaching and also honestly handyman services. Our mission with this podcast he’s been with us before, as you probably know, is to teach and inspire other handyman and contractor business owners to ultimately just bless their lives and in their business through the stories of other successful handyman businesses. We’re super excited today to have Marlon landers out of Boise, Idaho ish area. Thanks so much for coming on Marlon, if you don’t mind, just given us a background on yourself and your business and just kind of lay of

the land. Yeah. I’m Marlon Landers. owner and operator of land are some services LLC specializes in all kinds of handyman stuff. We’d kind of dabble into the smaller remodel stuff. been in business for myself for about three and a half years? Yeah, one time I had one employee. But we just recently moved to Idaho. I used to live in Southern California. That’s where I started my business. And I worked there for, let’s say about a year, two years, somewhere around two years, maybe two and a half years. And that’s where I really started my business. And then we moved to Idaho, and kind of restarted my business up here.

Awesome. What was that? I guess if you don’t mind sharing a little bit about your transition from California to Idaho? Like what what prompted that and kind of just any notable changes, like business wise that that you could glean from that?

Yeah, for sure. Well, we started our business in, in California, everything was, well, it’s kind of a hometown for us. The one of the cities, there’s closely was named after our family, landers. And so it was kind of a hometown, grow up, and everybody knew everybody. So it was kind of easy to start my business there. We started our business and everybody knew us. So everybody referred us to handle business was, we didn’t really have to advertise. And then we got to the point where we just kind of wanted out of California. And to move closer to we have lots of family that lives here in Idaho. And so we moved up here, well, we chose to make that decision to move and, you know, carry on the business and bring it up here and started brand new. Definitely a whole different world up here. It’s definitely a bigger city. It’s a huge city compared to what we’re used to. We’re used to a very small town, feel and vibe. So here it’s a big city live in and a lot more customers a lot more phone calls a lot more everything. So, yeah,

that that’s really good. And do you mind kind of talking about maybe the differences? Because like, you’ve you’ve, I don’t know, it’s an abnormal thing. But it’s, it’s really beneficial, I think, because you’ve been able to basically start your business twice, you know, in two different locations. So can you maybe talk about some of the things that you did to start your handyman business in California as far as marketing goes, and how you’re doing that maybe differently in Idaho? You’ve mentioned that you didn’t really have to mark it in, you know, you were in California, but what does that look like? And how have you kind of you know, navigated that?

Yeah, when I first started my business in California, like I said, it was a very small town vibe. And everybody knew everybody, especially our name, the name landers, everybody knew Landers. My, all my family down there has been local general contractors, concrete contractors, stuff like that. So everybody kind of knew us. And it was really easy to gain business from that. So when I first started, really, the only thing I did was, you know, I started a Google page, I started a Yelp page. And I kind of did that for a while. And that gave me some business but I was getting the majority of my business from referrals from friends, family and stuff like that. And then a family member of mine told me about BNI and I joined that for about a year, year and a half, and that really boosted my business. I was getting so many different things from that. So many different jobs. And it was really, I mean, we were in a way set, right where we wanted to be in our business. You know, I hired on another technician, which was my brother at the time. He was working with me full time. It was kind of scary. When I first hired him on we, we were making the bills and everything else, but didn’t know how it was going to be. And we were just starting to look further and further out. So we hired on my brother. And, of course, that ended up being our best month that year. Well, before when, when we had when we only had myself, so we totally expanded. And he kind of took his own truck and did his own route. And I did my own route. I was still answering the phone calls and the Yelp messages and, you know, Google stuff. And we were booked out a few weeks, everything was going great. And then we decided to move. So yeah, like perfect position for a company to be in and we’re like, Yeah, let’s start over. So, yeah, we decided to move to Idaho. And start up our business here. That was a big challenge compared to when I started my business at first. When I when we came here. It was September. So it was just getting ready to hit winter. The winters here, definitely different than Southern California. Yeah. No. Yeah, exactly. They have winter. So I felt like it was kind of struggling, or it was very hard to get up off the ground for the business. I didn’t really know a lot of people I have family here. But you know, I mean, they kind of referred me here and there. So I went back to my kind of roots and, you know, changed all my Google profile, my Yelp profile. And we, the biggest thing I think we started here was we send out some postcards, stuff like that to targeted areas. Again, it was wintertime there, there wasn’t a lot of work so well, that I kind of knew of anyway, so we just tried to advertise as we’re a new business in the area. We did handyman stuff. And we made it through the winter, for sure. Made it through the winter and slow. But you know, we we sold our house in California, so we weren’t like really hurting for money. We just kind of wanted to start this business the right way and just get it to take off naturally.

Kind of was in California, but now in Idaho?

Yeah. Well, how I got to and California.

Yeah. Oh, yeah. I was just saying like, that’s the goal is like, we need to get back to, you know, kind of where we had goal. Yeah.

Right. So it was just, it was, but it was new to us. Because, you know, it’s starting out on a whole different area. Big City, like I said, I mean, we’re in California, everybody knew everybody at the grocery store, you know, and you hear it’s, it’s different. You know, you don’t see the same people there. There’s so many different kinds of people here and everything else. So I had to kind of go out on a limb and just do what I was doing. And then I got with you, Jason. And he built me that awesome website and started doing some Google Google ads with you. And that’s when my business kind of started taking back off. And we were getting more phone calls and handyman leads. And you know, getting into the point where we were busier with the work that we wanted to do the handyman stuff. Like I said, we kind of dabble into the small remodel stuff. But we wanted to stick with the handyman stuff. The smaller items, the smaller punch lists, stuff like that. And those Google ads, I really feel like really made our business kind of take off from there. I swear as soon as you kicked it on, it was less than that, hey, we were getting phones. That’s all that was. That was the goal. And so getting to that point where the transition from California to Idaho, me and my wife have always wanted to work together. She worked for a school down in California. But we knew that when we moved the business to Idaho that we would want to work together and she was going to maybe answer the phone calls at a certain point in time where, you know, I felt like I needed to have somebody answer the phone calls. So, yeah, we started getting to the point where I was on jobs, and it was kind of a pain for me to answer the phone, or respond to emails or whatever. And so we had my wife go full time, answering the phones and stuff like that. answering emails, and all the business stuff, you know, the stuff that I didn’t? I mean, I don’t mind doing but you know, when you’re, you know, up in an attic trying to do something and your phone’s ringing off the hook, you can’t answer. Right. So my wife started and and that was when I would say, customers started looking at us a little different. They were almost surprised when my wife would answer the phone, like, Hi, this is April from landrus phone services, and everybody be like, my calm the handyman. And right. She’s like, Yeah, you know, and it would, it would show our professional holism that way, and that I have somebody answering the phones. That’s when I feel like our business really took off because she was able to answer no more calls, respond quicker. If she missed a call or an email or whatever, she would be able to get right back on it. And, yeah, we’re looking really good this year. We’re booked out a couple of weeks to almost two weeks right now. And things have just been going a lot smoother ever since I did the Google ads.

Yeah, that’s huge. And I would I would agree with you, when you get someone there, whether it’s your wife, or hired person to answer them, like, it really takes you to that next level, because people just start viewing your business differently. You know, yeah, like, rather than, Oh, this is just some guy that’s like, you know, on the top of a roof about to fall off, and he’s just gonna come help me out, you know, for super cheap, like, you’re actually talking to someone that you know, is high, like, hired into that position to talk with you. And then you’ll talk to the handyman if you if you move down the road and want to move to the next role. So I think that’s huge. Yeah,

that’s something that we we talked about in a coaching call, like a month or two ago, like someone asking about who they should hire an office assistant, or a technician, I think the biggest bounce there is like, well, you know, do you want more help with the labor? And are you confident with your marketing and be able to feel that, but still, you have to do all the admin stuff. So it’s kind of like the weighing the pros and cons between the stress and the amount of work that comes into the office admin side, which, especially if you’re not able to answer the phone on the spot, you know, when voicemails and miss calls and texts and emails just pile up. And that becomes, you know, a big burden for the business owner when you get home? And then you got another two hours of admin work?

Oh, yeah, for sure. You feel like you’re working? 24/7?

Yeah, definitely. So while we’re talking about that for a second, you know, maybe you could take us kind of into your mind, because you you kind of mentioned when you hired your brother back in California, what was that like, as far as like mindset is concerned? And what was that like to actually take that plunge and hire that first employee? I’ll be your brother, but he’s still an employee? What were like, what kind of like toll did that take on on you personally? And how do you make that happen?

Um, you know, I got to the point where I was getting in California, we did a lot of work for Airbnbs. We were based out of Joshua Tree, California, I don’t know if you guys are familiar with that. But it’s a big tourist area, we have a national park there and everything else. And so we had a lot of Airbnbs there. And so we got to the point where or our business got to the point where it was bringing on so much work from those Airbnbs. And they were smaller jobs, you know, I mean, the handyman stuff, just, you know, tighten up doors and stuff like that, where we kind of just went through and did maintenance form and stuff. And I really started feeling like I was getting behind, like, the homeowners or the property managers for those Airbnbs we’re getting to the point where it’s like, man, you can’t get out there for two weeks. And I, I kind of had to just say, well, I need to hire somebody, you know. And my brother lived in the area at the time. And he basically said, I’ll help you. So at first it was it kind of started out where he was just kind of helping me on a few jobs here and there. And then before you know, it would be like, Hey, can you can you go to this job and do this one yourself, you know, and, and then it got to the point where it’s like, Hey, can you just do this route? I’m like, well, we might have to start talking about a little bit better money and just just real domain. Yeah, exactly. Because yeah, I mean, that’s how usually starts with family, you know, working with you. It’s like, first they’re helping you out. That’s like, Hey, man, you need to pay me. So, yeah, I got to the point where we were busy enough where I was just like, You know what, let’s, let’s bring him on full time. And because I was only using him really on my busier days, but I figured if I can book him a route and book myself a route, then we would be doing twice as much work. And there should be no reason why I couldn’t pay him for the whole day or whatever. So he got to the point where he was doing his whole route. And I was doing my whole route. We both been pretty handy for our whole lives, really, we’ve been working in the construction industry, since we were like, you know, 10, and 12 years old, with family and stuff. So I can trust him with doing things the way that I like things being done. And we just don’t, we don’t like to Mickey Mouse things. So we, we do it the right way the first time. And that kind of made our name. And yeah, so we just hired him on full time and kind of took off from there. And that’s when we got started booking I even the two of us, we were booked out for like, almost a month out. Wow, most of the time. Yeah.

Wow. So So even though you had two guys running two separate routes, and you got to do jobs quicker, more jobs came in, and that calendar, was it just like a magic pill or people started realizing that you could do more jobs,

you know, it gets to the point where you know, you start losing customers because you’re booked out, you know, a week or two or three weeks or whatever it may be especially for smaller items like you know, when you have a kitchen sink but sleek and or something you kind of need somebody sooner more than one or rabbit rather than later, you’d start losing that business so it was just a matter of time that Yeah, we had to hire somebody on and that way we could get customers quicker and in a way that kind of was the magic pill just and I keep going back to I mean California it was a lot different for us because our name was known and if you needed somebody you would always just give us a call and we would be there you know we would fudge things make it work you know same day stuff sometimes but you know depending on and we started we started offering like emergency services and stuff like that especially for our Airbnb ease we were able to you know charge a premium rate for that for those Airbnb is and you know, you let them know upfront what those charges are and they’re just happy to have somebody that will go out there at nine o’clock at night sometimes

you know it’s kind of a fine balance between you know, the handyman trade of course has so much involved with it and you know, one question I’d have for you certainly is like the light remodeling like what does that look like and what Why do you take those on but for me to you know, the emergency service that’s a whole other ballgame I guess in my mind the handyman it’s always been you know, you get in there and you do that one job but then the real trade is those improvements and repairs that aren’t necessarily emergency like you know the faucet leaking or you know someone could just call emergency plumber but like we’re fixing the doors or reap you know, those kind of home improvements but actually getting there and then I know Alan you do the the home maintenance inspection as part of your guys’s sales process but that’s where like the bread and butter comes in there is like they’re not emergency items. They’re just those items like oh yeah, we need to do that it’s not enough you know, but anyway just just a quick observation there but so on the lighter remodeling stuff like what what does that look like for you Marlon? And like, what when do you take those kinds of jobs or like why? Cuz I know I talked with a lot of folks that they kind of think about getting into that but it’s kind of like you know, they’re not sure what they’re getting into and and certainly larger remodel, it’s a whole other ballgame. But what might remodeling look like for you and your business?

Um, you know, the kind of the main reason I kind of looked into it really would be the fact that the winters here so different than the winters in Southern California. So when it comes to booking work in the wintertime I would be able to do maybe those remodels in the wintertime and the handyman stuff in the summertime springtime stuff like that, where the jobs that we take on for the remodels and stuff there’ll be a small remodel like bathroom remodel will go in there will pull everything out of it toilet sink. And, you know, paint the whole room, put in some new vanity and put it in a toilet, maybe do some flooring, stuff like that. But really the kind of the only reason we do it is to fill in that time for the wintertime. But honestly, we don’t take on a lot of that work, just because the majority of our work is still being brought in just the handyman stuff. So if it is something remodel that we look into doing, it’s not necessarily put on the backburner, but it’s booked out a little further. So we can kind of make time for that. And at the same time, were kind of juggling back and forth between going to that job doing those things. More smaller items at a time, we won’t go in there and just rip everything out, and then replace it, we’ll you know, we’ll pull everything out, maybe do flooring, if they have a separate bathroom and stuff like that bar will remodel. I mean, it can be just as much as you know, a pawn bedroom carpet out, putting some flooring and new baseboard and paint in the room putting a new ceiling panel, you know, that’s kind of where the smaller remodels can where it’s not such a big remodel. But at the same time, we work for a lot of property management companies too. So when it comes to that kind of stuff, we have to book out or book for a couple of days where a rental will be come available and somebody will move out of a rental will come in there and we will patch all the holes will paint mold to touch up paint will swap out light fixtures or stuff like that get everything up to par for the next renter to come in. So it’s turnkey ready for them. We do things like that, too. So

that’s great. So

you mentioned property managers there. I guess one question I had to was, you know, in California, you know, you did the BNI. And it was more like networking people knew you. How have you done anything similar to that in in Idaho? Or like how developing relationships with these property managers?

Yeah. Well, I guess, I think it was about six months ago, a realtor reached out to me and asked me to really consider about this. It’s like our realtor group. It’s not necessarily like BNI we don’t necessarily meet once a week or once a month or anything like that. It’s more of a an online groups. And they have an app on a on your phone or tablet or whatever. And you can search home service providers, whether it be plumbers, roofers, stuff like that. And this lady reached out to me and says, you know, I haven’t ever seen the handyman? And are you in our book or in our app? Or in our database? So would you like would you be interested in it, you would kind of be our go to handyman. And so I definitely said yeah, let’s let’s do it. It was something that I had to pay for to be a part of, or whatever. But all in all, I thought that it was a good move for the business. And so we decided to go with it. And yeah, there’s a lot of real realtors that reach out to us now. For just me mainly after an inspection happens for a sale of a home, he’ll have a punch list of items that need to be repaired or stuff like that. And they reach out to us and we go ahead and knock it knock the whole list out forum where you know, is if you hire a plumber, you have to have a plumber, go do the plumbing, electrical, or electrician needs electrical stuff like that. We’re kind of a one stop shop for that. And we just kind of do their punch list of things and that’s really brought a lot of business to us as well.

Is that like like 30 $50 a month kind of association dues or you know, I ask because I usually lump this in with for me BNI Chamber of Commerce realtor associations. I’m not sure if that’s what they would call it there. But yeah, like a realtor Association. Yeah. And I know in our area, it’s huge. And a lot of home service providers you can join that show up to a meeting every once in a while host sponsor the breakfast. There’s a window cleaning company I know the the owner and the only marketing he does is twice a year, he shows up with breakfast to these relative association meetings. That’s all he does. And anyway, you get on their list as a provider, you get to meet realtors, you know, they just get to know you. So it’s a really wonderful networking directory opportunity as well, just getting on in a list.

Right? Yeah, exactly. Just being on that list. I mean, she even informed me that, you know, I would be their sole Handyman in their directory. So I’m like, Yeah, of course. And, yeah, I mean, I think I think it was $900 for the year. Or, No, that was a two year commitment. So it was $900 for two years. Okay. Not too bad.

Yeah, for 40 bucks a month. Yeah, I think it’s, it’s funny that she said you’d be the only handyman. Whenever I talk to people about joining BNI and Chamber of Commerce and shump these networking events and getting out there. I can confidently say that there are no other handyman that are doing that. And I look forward to that changing in the future. But you know, plumber, you know, occasionally there’s a plumber, electrician H fac they’ll join these lists, but it’s certainly an unmet opportunity for the handyman trade.

It’s funny, though, since we’ve been doing this podcast, I had one other handyman join our local Chamber of Commerce. Oh, yeah. Like, oh, I know you Alan to run your podcast, and you guys told me to join the Chamber of Commerce. So yeah, now I’m not the only handyman. No,

that’s good, man. Yeah, you get voted as like best handyman. situasi. Yeah. So yeah, joining the Chamber of Commerce, realtor associations. BNI is like it’s just an unmet opportunity. Right? In most I would say 99.9% of markets. Yeah. I

mean, that’s the thing. It’s like, the handyman journey. We’re literally changing the name of the handyman industry, you know, so for so long, the handyman has just been like a chuck in a truck driving around with tools in their truck and fixing stuff, right, but we’re actually making something legit. So the majority of it right now is like, there is so much like market to be had for the handyman. Yeah, you can go out there and really, really take it up because other handyman are not doing what they need to do in order to actually create a sustainable business, you know,

look forward to, you know, someone telling me, Hey, you said I’d be the only handyman and the Chamber of Commerce, but I’m the second one. Right, right, we’re

growing this thing. So. So Marlin overall, you know, you mentioned last winter is the first winter when you move to Idaho, Maine, it was kind of sparse. Right? You just moved there in September. So how is this winter looking as compared to last? Like, is it? Is it looking better? Or is it still like, oh, you know, still the winter.

Um, you know, it’s definitely looking better. I think for the biggest part about that is, we have a lot of property managers that we work for up here now. Where they feed us a lot of our business, property managers and real estate agents, stuff like that. They’ve been feeding us a lot of work alone. So there’s some times where, you know, if somebody calls us for something, you know, sometimes we don’t get those phone calls throughout a day, you know, I mean, I would say every other day, and then all of a sudden, sometimes where it’s just the phone just rings up. I think that’s for everybody, though. I mean, that’s not just my area or anything. The biggest pain point here is the city so big, there’s, there’s lots of handyman, you know, why why choose me, you know, so we have to stand out, we have to do something different than the other people are doing. And, you know, just the property managers that have reached out to us to hire us on for certain things. I mean, they just they look at us and they’re like, man, you’re so much more professional than handyman around here. You know, you have a website, you have somebody answering your phones, that’s huge for property managers, because, you know, when they have a tenant calling them saying, hey, my faucets leaking or whatever. And they can physically call their handyman and we have somebody answering the phone or getting them on the schedule or just reaching out to that tenant saying, Hey, we can be up there this day. is huge. And they they appreciate that, too.

So that’s great. That’s awesome. So you’d say that’s kind of your secret sauce that sets you apart from others just more professional having someone answer the phone and being kind of Johnny Johnny on the spot.

Yeah, that and, you know, showing up with that doesn’t, you know, isn’t smoking out of the van You know, I don’t know, I always have that picture of, you know, that guy, like, have a guy coming over here to fix my air conditioner or whatever. And it’s like, some guy jumping out of his, you know, Ford Escort, you know, fold up ladder and smoking a cigarette, we’re kind of set ourselves apart from that. And you know, we have uniforms and have somebody answering the phone, we’re professional. And we pride ourselves on doing the job right the first time and, you know, if it’s something that we can’t do, we’ll find somebody that can do it for you. The majority of the time, but the majority of the time we can take care of it.

Yep. I tell people all the time that there is an incredible demand for professional handyman service. Yeah, underscoring professional. You know, there’s so many I see it all the time on the Facebook groups of like, I can’t charge that much. No one would pay that. And it’s like, well, most people probably wouldn’t, at least people you’ve been working with, but there is a sense at the top, that they want to pay a premium rate because the guy shows up in uniform and is clean and isn’t smelling like cigarettes, and you’re out on their schedule. It’s all organized. There been people, your ideal clients, they want that organization, they want to be put on a schedule, you know, they don’t want to just get a text like, Oh, I’ll be there sometime tomorrow, I think. Okay, like, yeah, there’s so much demand for that. Yeah.

You know, it’s funny in our we were having a discussion about this recently in the handyman journey group, and one guy was saying that he stopped, he doesn’t have clients that asked him to lower his price anymore, now that he’s raised his price.

Let me get them in there.

Yeah, so we had a discussion where, you know, one guy said that he hasn’t had anyone asked him to lower his price now that he’s raised his price. And I think the main reason for that is, because now that he’s has a higher price point, he’s raised his price, he’s attracting clients that aren’t really as worried about price. And so you, it’s kind of interesting, when you start getting into a different realm of clientele, when you first start out, you’re charging 25 bucks an hour, 50 bucks an hour, whatever it is, you’re gonna be getting the people that want to pay that, you know, and they expect that type of work. But when you start getting up into the range, where you’re charging 150 200 bucks an hour, even, you’re gonna be attracting a whole different type of client, that’s not really as worried about the price point, but they’re really worried about, like, the white glove service, you know, yeah. And I think that’s a huge, huge testament to kind of think about is, like, that’s the, that’s the threshold that you need to break through when you’re talking about pricing and raising pricing and creating, basically attracting more clientele that want that, you know, and there’s such,

like, as there’s a huge demand and an under supply of it. So when people like you, Marlon, that are just, you know, presenting yourself in that way and providing that experience. You know, you’re just setting yourself apart from the 95% of them that, you know, they’re fighting for that bottom, you know, the lower price points and those kinds of crimes. So, yeah, so all our listeners, don’t be scared to, you know, be be professional and charge accordingly, because there’s just incredible demand for

it. Yep. Like, like in the in the newest handyman journey book. You know, I opened it up with this story of Tommy Callahan, you know, where he was talking about, he’s like, your dad could sell sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves? Well, you can’t sell ketchup popsicle to a woman and white gloves. You know, it’s like well, you know, you can if you have enough finesse and you know you talk it up and you really tell them how to use that ketchup popsicle and not get it on their white gloves. So you know, it’s all about service and creating that that kind of thought process around the thing that you offer so

that’s huge and there’s more demand for handyman then catch up popsicles there is there’s positive but yeah,

you just you just got to make sure you’re not eating your ketchup popsicle while you go to the client’s house. Get it all over there white gloves that won’t that won’t go very well.

Like serial killer level right there. Okay, catch up obstacle.

Yeah, I swear to catch up. Okay, so Marlon, how do you go about doing estimates like what does that look like in your business? I know that there’s a few different philosophies you know, some people just do them whenever they can. They swing by it seven o’clock at night, you know, and just give an estimate but then there’s also other people who book out a full day to do estimates like what does that look like for your business?

I think for us, we try and do a lot of estimates based off of so my wife will get a phone call and say it’s for a ceiling fan. Well, we have a pretty much pretty standard rate for ceiling bands. Whether it had the bright has the brace so or she can pretty much give them a couple of different price scenarios based off of you know, you just want a ceiling fan installed. Are we replacing a existing light fixture? Are we replacing an existing fan. So there’s a lot of items like that she can probably just quote right from her little cheat sheet of different things that we offer. If it’s something a little bit more entailed, she gathers their information, and tells them that she’ll submit all that information to the estimator. And the estimator will reach out to them if they need any more information, or to do the estimate, most of the time, she’ll ask for them to maybe send some pictures if she thinks that I can probably do an estimate off of some pictures. And you know, at first, it was really quirky working out that kind of stuff. But the more and more of those phone calls she takes, and everything, the smoother it gets, she kind of knows already what I’ll be, what questions I’ll be asking. And so she is able to ask those questions while they’re on the phone, she puts that information into the, into our system. And I’m able to go in there and say, Oh, this lady wants to ceiling fan or three ceiling fans or whatever, I’ll write up a rough draft of an estimate, send it off to them. And they can either accept from there. And we’ll and then she’ll call him back, we’ll get them on the books. I’ll go out there. And if nine times out of 10, I would say that it’s exactly what we’ve estimated for. And we just go from there. The ones that are maybe the smaller remodels, paint in the bedroom or whatever. Or just the fact that you know, some of our customers are older and they they’re not savvy with texting a pitcher or texting at all. So those are the times where we’ll usually just set up our window. And I’ll go out there and take a look at it. I still do those free estimates like that. Yes, even with the gas prices nowadays. But yeah, we try and cater to them if if that’s what it needs. And we’ll go out there and we’ll take measurements or whatever. And we’ll give them an estimate that way. And most of the time, I can pretty much have an estimate to them. By the time I leave there, if not within 24 hours.

Awesome. That’s great. What What would you say, would be your biggest wins in your business? You know, I’ll be it just kind of all from California and Idaho, what would be one of your biggest wins that you said, you have

to guess wins. I think for one having my business in California and having my business here. I think the biggest win that I have is being able to hire my wife full time to answer the phones. That’s a huge win, just because it takes a lot of headache away from me trying to be the technician and the person answering the phone and doing all the business stuff. I mean, she does my expenses through QuickBooks and all that stuff. I mean, she does all that stuff. That’s a huge win for me, for my business. A huge win for my business would definitely be reaching out to Jason and, you know, get me a website built and being able to incorporate because, I mean, I had a website before but just the different things that he was able to do with my website, where you can go to my website, you can create a request for an estimate right from my website and their information dumps right into my system, and we can reach out to the customer from there. And that’s how we try and channel all of our estimates and everything is just go to our website, go to our website, go to our website. That way they can request their information that they want and it goes into our system we reach out to them from there and it just makes it so streamline I just love that part of it.

So shake that man Yeah, I mean there’s yeah there’s so many like moving pieces to like making a business like work for you and you know, not being you know, hung up with phone calls voicemails estimates, you know, is it a Facebook messages and Instagram is yeah, you know, text message so, and then when you look at all the CRMs and who’s answering the phone and the website, there’s all these things when you get them together, they can really start working for you. Yeah, Yeah.

And anyone that’s listening right now if you’re interested in getting a high quality handyman website, it’s handyman marketing proz.com That’s where you’re gonna want to go. Talk to on man, Jason here. That’s awesome. Marlon, thanks for sharing that. What would you say would be some of your biggest losses that you have faced a both in your business and personally? hardships? Yeah, we could lose it till you give up. That’s true. Right. He has not lost

fingers on there

would have been some hiccups that you’ve experienced.

You know, I mean, it was it was a big struggle for us to start our business back up in Idaho. You know, I mean, it was starting all over. And it was a different world than we were. Naturally, so. hiccups. We had all kinds of hiccups at the beginning, when we started our business here. Just where to advertise how to advertise. In California, I mean, it was it was weird, because California was so different. I would be able, I got the majority of my business through Yelp for hours, not advertisement. But you know, the sites and everything else like Yelp was, I was constantly getting phone calls from people that were checking me out on Yelp. Were Idaho, I don’t even think they use Yelp. I really don’t like I don’t even know if anybody use it here. So just from area to area, those are, you know, it just it’s different everywhere. That’s where you have to kind of learn that whole how to advertise here versus there. Yeah,

I think to like, in your story, it showed like the fundamentals are the same everywhere, though. Like, you know, having your business set up right at the website, Google online reviews, and then you take for granted, when you grow up in a place, everyone knows you. So you’ve already done the networking side, right. But even going somewhere new, like your people are just waiting to meet you, you know, in the chamber and realtor association. So you know, I would say that as encouragement, anyone that feels like they don’t know where to start, you know, look at the fundamentals, go shake hands and meet people, because there are people that need a lot of help in every single market. They just don’t know you yet. And the best way to go out and meet people is to go out and meet people. That’s yeah, that’s good. And when you look at those organizations to BNI, realtor associations, chamber, the these people, they’re, they’re pre qualified that, you know, they’re at least to a level where they could be a really great ideal client, they likely have friends, family, neighbors, that would be ideal clients as well for your handyman service. So the fundamentals are the same. But yeah, when you look at platform to platform based on area, and Yelp, and all these different options, it’s it can just give you a headache, I’m sure. Oh, yeah, definitely,

I would say another another big pain point for me was, you know, in California, we had our prices set. I mean, our prices didn’t change much, you know, I mean, we would maybe raise our prices here and there. But coming into a new area, we didn’t even know what to charge. So doing research there. That that was kind of hard to find out where we were going to be able to be and if people were or would be willing to pay the prices that we had or stuff like that, that was a kind of a roller coaster at first, where you’d start out somewhere and you know, we ended up a whole different area for price wise,

is it? Is it somewhere close? Like now they’ve kind of figured it out? Or is it still completely different than what you did charge in California?

Oh, you know, it’s, it’s crazy, because in California, I felt like our prices were pretty reasonable and, you know, affordable. And we moved to moved up to Idaho. And we kind of, at first I was just like, Well, why don’t we just keep them kind of right where they’re at and see where we can go from there. You know, I mean, and, you know, the first I would say, month, you know, people weren’t really accepting our estimates. They were it just it wasn’t happening. So we kind of lowered our prices a little bit and we started getting more work. And then soon as springtime hit, things were starting to pick up and you know, we’ve ramped up from there where we’re almost charging a lot more than we were in California now versus when we first started just because the prices are definitely really similar to California’s for the different items and stuff like that but you know, you get to the point where you are able to offer that premium pricing for The, you know, the certain, like, you were saying white glove treatment that you give them, you know, and you have to charge accordingly. And, yeah, I mean, we’re finding our ideal customer now. And I feel like that’s where it’s really come into play, where those are the customers that we really want to work for, and the customers that we can really help.

It’s funny how like your price, and then backed up with the quality that goes into that price kind of like leads itself to like the ideal clients, right? Like there really does your client is drawn to, you know, not drawn to the pricing fairly, but they’re drawn to quality, and they understand the price that comes with that. So I know Alan, I always love the story of like, whenever you were because people feel sometimes it can feel super tied to their pricing. But when you’re smaller, it’s a lot easier, right? When it’s just yourself as owner operator, you know, Wi Fi in the phone is on more flexibility there where you can change your price, and then change it back in an hour. Yeah, I mean, I remember whenever it was like last year, you were playing around with pricing when you did some huge increases, and you went up to like, what was it 250. And you were there for like a couple of weeks. And then you brought it down to you know, ultimately close, closer where you settled on. But the amazing thing was I remember he told me like people were accepting bids at that rate. Yeah, it just it depends on your business and how booked out and your your technicians, all these different factors. But you know, one other quick one I’ll share on pricing real quick is there’s this guy I talked to in, he was in like Los Angeles. No, he’s in the Bay Area, like super upscale Bay Area, and he charged like 250 hours just himself, and he worked part time. And only just, you know, didn’t didn’t have to do much work every week, but it worked for him. And he just had this great clientele base that we’re paying him $250,000 an hour to do like ceiling fans and electrical things and little minor home improvements. But to me, it’s just, you know, you can play around with your pricing. And don’t don’t be scared to test it out test around your market,

I think I think listeners will be shocked to think of what they could actually charge clients and actually people will pay for and if you want to try that, like try charging more and see what kind of clientele you you know, you bring in, you know, and see if that works for you. Because I was amazed when we went up to 250 like, yeah, we sold, you know, a few jobs that were like, wow, that was amazing. You know, just crazy what people were willing to pay for the certain jobs that we did.

What we found here at least that that was not entirely sustainable. You know, that’s why we ended up lowering down a little bit but it amazing. And you back it up with the quality through in the white glove service like that’s yeah, we’re not sitting here saying if you don’t have any other anything going on operationally marketing professionalize. Don’t be trying to charge $200 Yeah, definitely.

So So Marlon, what? If there was someone brand new listening to this podcast, which the most likely is that wants to get started in the handyman industry? Or maybe just got started? What kind of advice would you have for them? Either in just getting started or wanting to get started? What What kind of advice would you have for them?

Advice that I would have for somebody just starting their business or wanting to start their business, I would say jump in, but make sure you’re wearing your boots. Because it’s gonna get messy. It’s always messy at first, but being being persistent, and consistent to just, you know, if you want to work for yourself, and that’s your, that’s your goal. And that’s your dream, then do it and reach out to people. I mean, I always I reached out to a few handyman around here, because any men have that mentality where you will get dirty looks in the Home Depot parking lot when you’re seeing competition. And I’ve never been that type of person. I’m always that type of person, like, Hey, man, how’s it going? You know, and they’re shocked. You know, it’s like, they’re, they’re, they’re shocked in a way where it’s like, oh, the competition is saying, Hey, what’s up to me? And I’ve reached out to a few of them around here. And it’s like, they’re blown away, when I’ll sit down and I’ll have coffee with you. Tell me what works for you. I’ll tell you what works for me. There’s plenty of work in this, this area for all of us. You know, I mean, it doesn’t matter how many there is, you know, you and that’s something that you should be willing to do is, you know, jump on calls like this and, you know, help people out because that’s just the way to do things, you know? I don’t know.

Yeah. I mean, getting coffee, the competition, you know, you’re just you kind of mutually accept, like there’s an abundance of work, right and the value and growth that you guys both get from that and the connection and you know, you learn what they do want what they don’t like. And there could be some trade off there too is it’s reaching out to folks like I remember Alan, I’ve mentioned this on the podcast multiple times, because I love it. But when Alan first started, he’s just called all the competitors. And only like one or two answered and responded, yeah, but that’s, like, it’s no surprise to see Alan where he is today. Because like, you just go out there and learn and meet folks that are doing it and learn from each other. So

yeah, especially I mean, everybody’s ideal customer could be totally different than yours. You know, we were talking about ideal customer earlier, where it’s like, my ideal customer could be wanting to pay me $500 an hour, where they’re just looking to make 20 bucks, you know, I mean, who knows, they’re that customer that you want to work for? There’s tons of different customers out there. And there’s no reason why us as handyman or just normal, good human beings, you know, just need to help people. You know, I’m, I’m in it to help customers, why wouldn’t I be in it to help somebody’s business?

Yeah, and I think I think that’s good. I think another reason to mingle mingle with competition, you could say, is because at the end of the day, it is helping the clients because like, I’ve mingled with a lot of my competitors, and we’ve, we’ve even had some of them here on the podcast. But it’s important, because I found people that I agree with their persona, and the way that they live life and the way that they do business. And they just happen to do handyman work. And they do good quality handyman work. So when we’re too busy, we refer people to them. Yeah. And so it’s helping my clients out, because it’s like, even if I can’t help my clients out, I want to find someone that I trust to help them, you know, and then they do, they would hopefully do the same for me, I know that some of them would. But at the end of the day, it’s not really about what others do for you, but what you can do for others, you know, like, I love this quote, of show respect, even to people who don’t deserve it, not as a reflection of their character, but a reflection of your character. You know, I think that’s really what matters in this world is who we are, and who we project ourselves to be, you know,

yeah. Yeah,

I love your, your, we kind of went off there, but your advice was, go for it and be persistent. Yeah. Something that was always told to me when I was a kid was, you know, you gotta love what you do be good at what you do, but then be persistent. You could love it and be good at it. But, and business and life is hard, and you can feel beaten down, but you just got to stick with it through like the times where you know, especially at the start, you know, I personally think that, you know, getting started certainly probably the hardest part. And there’s big challenges that come in every phase of business, but just getting started and getting out there and being persistent with it. There’s so much opportunity.

Yep. Yeah. Don’t take that initial jump. You’re sure. Yeah. Yep. Well, Marlon, I wanted to thank you so much for being here on the handyman success podcast. It’s It’s truly an honor. Every time we get to talk with you, we love, love how you operate business and love just your mentality on business. So thank you so much for who you are, and all that you do. And do you have represent in California? They’re in Idaho?

Yeah. Awesome. Thanks, man.

Because you talked about like, oh, in California or in a small town, then you move to Idaho and it’s big city. Usually it’s, I thought it was Yeah, and I live in rural California. So it’s funny because it’s so you know, it’s misinterpreted a lot of times, small towns in California to you guys. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah, exactly. Definitely. Well, for for all the viewers and listeners out there, we really appreciate you guys tuning in to the handyman success podcast. You guys are the reason why we do this. We hope that you glean some information from this podcast. We would love to connect deeper with you and take it to the next level. We have a few handyman, Facebook groups. We have the handyman journey mastermind group on Facebook and then also the handyman success mastermind group on Facebook, where we have all of our guests here on the handyman success podcast join that group. We’re going to get Marlin in there. So if you have any follow up questions, want to talk to them more about things that you learned or questions that you had during this podcast, that would be the time to do it. And we would also love to connect with you you can reach you can reach both of us really at handyman journey.com We’ve talked about coaching, we’ve talked about books. We’ve talked about many things in this podcast and that’s where you can gain access to all of them over at handyman journey.com And then you can reach Jason specifically for marketing expertise at handymanmarketingpros.com But if you guys are watching on YouTube, Like this video and also subscribe to this channel, because it helps us out a lot. And these episodes of the handyman success podcast come out once a month, the first day of every month so make sure you check back wherever you listen to podcasts so that you can find I ended the newest and improved episode of The handiness success podcast so thank you guys so much I hope you guys have a fantastic day we really enjoy spending this time with you we’ll talk to you later catch up