Episode #18: Nick Jensen, Envy Maintenance & Repair

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About this episode

Nick Jensen is the Owner of Envy Maintenance & Repair in Ogden, Utah. Nick started his handyman business to compliment his already successful property management company. Enjoy this unique interview that covers how Nick manages and grows his handyman business alongside his property management company.

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Audio Transcription

Hello friends welcome to another episode of the handyman success podcast. Thank you so much for joining us. I’m one of the CO hosts Jason call founder of handyman marketing pros. I’m with Alan Lee, founder of the handyman journey business coaching and also honestly, handyman services in Sacramento area. Our mission for the podcast is to teach inspire using the stories and experience of our guests. And today, we are super excited to have Nick out of Utah joining us today, Nick, thanks so much man for coming on, if you don’t mind, given us a little lay of the land a little background on your your business.

Yeah, so I guess the question is how far back you want me to go?

Where the heart leads you?

Right after the light showed up in? Yeah,

so let me let me give you, I’ll give you kind of a 50,000 foot view. And maybe it’ll be helpful for your listeners. So I graduated in, I graduated from college in business, went on and got an MBA spent about 12 or 13 years in the corporate world, mainly in finance, Wall Street type stuff, Wall Street investments, teaching people how to trade stock markets and things of that nature. Throughout that process, started investing in real estate. And then in 2016, broke off. Now I take that back. 2000 2015 left the corporate world started my own my own construction company, and then started a property management company off of that later shut the construction company down. We were doing mainly concrete. And concrete is just kind of stresses me out just because if you screwed up, dude, it’s expensive. You screwed up. So from there, started, the property management company had been building that since 2016. Got to a point where we were just really struggling with finding vendors. So here, here’s kind of what would happen. And it was rinse and repeat probably six or seven different times in about three, three year period of time, a handyman would come to us and be like cancer in a handyman business. Do you have any work for me? So I’d feed them some work. And then if they did, let’s say that there was some crappy dudes that I never felt any more work again. But let’s assume they did a good job. But six months later confined, because they were just so busy, like they just were overwhelmed and too busy. And so then another guy would come through the door, hey, I’m starting a handyman business. Do you have any work for me, so I’d feed him some work. And same thing six months later gone if he lasted six months, because he just got so busy. So. So we got to the point where we’re like, well, let’s just bring all the maintenance in house, right? So we can control it right control the the customer experience, and things of that nature. So we brought maintenance in house and started working on our portfolio of the properties that we own as well as the ones that we managed, all with our own team, just out

of curiosity to Nick, like, how, how many years did you go with the feeding the guy jobs, and then six months later dropped off?

It was probably so we brought in house maintenance in probably a year, a year and a half before we actually started servicing handyman client, like what I would consider retail handyman clients like people that we don’t manage their property. So I’m going to we’ve been the property management business has been it’s been in business since 2016. So what are we 2022 right now? So that’s six years. So I wouldn’t say let’s call it three and a half, four years. Like that. Was you know, that’s that’s a ballpark guesstimate that I’d have to go and figure it out for sure. But but probably right, let’s call you, right? So four years of this, this cycle, and we’re talking I mean, you’ve got your, your a track companies, your plumbers, kind of those people that are specialized, but it’s the handyman piece of it, that they would just they’ve come in, they do a pretty good job, they’d get overwhelmed, get too busy, they’d be gone, and either be gone, meaning like they just had too much work, and sometimes be gone being like, like, I’m a good technician, but I can’t run a business. So like I’m out of the industry, right? So. So with that said, so we brought it in house, we got some systems and processes in place to figure that out. I was doing a lot of a lot of the maintenance stuff I would have some guys helped me is that we’re kind of down in the systems and processes. And then I don’t know, I can’t remember what kind of sparked it. But we got to a point where I was like, you know, I think we can actually serve as retail customers. And what I mean by retail customers is I’m talking about people who have no business relationship with this on the property management side of business, but people are just like, hey, I need some data on my house. And they’re just looking for handyman. And so we started to kind of venture into that world to say hey, is there a mark? bid for it. And, and found out very quickly that there is a market for it. And we’ll probably get into it a little bit later as to why there is a market for it. But yeah, so started there and then from there have have been trying to build a team of, quote unquote handyman ever since. So that was, we started servicing retail clients, probably a year and a half ago. Maybe maybe just under a year and a half ago, but probably a year and a half ago, we started servicing retail clients. So

awesome question that comes up for me is what’s the difference between your retail clients and the commercial that you’re actually managing their property? Like, is there any kind of difference there? Because the technicians it’s all kind of the same for them? Is that correct? Well,

yeah, so there’s a couple of differences, one pricing structure, that the people that we manage their properties, they get a discounted price, right? Because there’s, there’s several different revenue streams. And maintenance is just one of those revenue streams. So we want to offer them as competitive of a price as we can if we’re going to do that maintenance in house because we want to maintain that relationship. Yeah. So retail customers, the prices are higher, meaning our labor rates are our labor charges are higher. Our our supply markups are basically the same, but so we charge more for labor. That’s one of the differences. The other difference is on the property management side, I would say 80% of the stuff that you do on the property management side is the same. So unit turns inspections, a lot of it’s the same, whereas on the retail customer side, like they’re asking, What I’m finding is they’re asking for things to be done, that they can’t find anybody else to do. So like a general contractor isn’t going to show up to do that. Or oftentimes people in the right mind are going to show up to do that. Those are the types of jobs that retail customers are asking for. And so the skill set has to be like you have to have a vast skill set to serve as retail clients, which is part of the challenge of, of building a handyman business is finding guys that that maybe they’ve never tackled it before. But they have the ability to look at the issue or look at the project and start to think through what does it take to fix this? Or what does it take to build this. So that’s a big difference is the scope of projects is is more or more, I would say more difficult on the retail customer side. Just because the reason they’re calling us because they can’t find anybody else. That’s that’s willing to do it.

Right. And so just to kind of clarify in my brain, and maybe some of the listeners here, but so like property management, basically that means that people who own rentals, they would hire you to manage their property, correct? Yeah,

good. Yeah. So we are we’re a full service property management company, meaning investors own properties. And they’re like, Hey, I love real estate, I want to own real estate, but I don’t want I don’t want to deal with it. So we take that from start to finish, meaning we market the property, we find tenants, we screen tenants, we hold tenants accountable of the leases, and part of that is maintenance, right? Just routine maintenance. Or, you know, maybe something happened like a, you know, a main drain line backed up or a toilet, you know, just the just the normal stuff that happens with property. So our maintenance division take care takes care of that kind of so yes, that’s right. So

basically, like the tenant would call you as the property management company and say, hey, my toilets backing up, and I can’t unclog it. And then you would basically call the, you create an estimate and call the owner and be like this, this is the cost to repair it or No, how would that work?

Yeah, that’s a good question. So part of every property management company does it a little bit different, the way that we do it is worth full service. Meaning if you hand us the keys to manage your property, you’re handing us control of your property times 10, meaning we have full autonomy to make the decisions that need to be made to make sure that that property runs effectively. Okay, within a certain scope, right? Like I feel like that would draw some tact and we’re going to do it correctly. And we’re not going to be like, Oh, hey, this property needs a new garage. You know, there’s 100,000 bucks, but Right, but so there’s certain things that tenants are responsible for. So like a clogged toilet, like that’s actually a tenant responsibility, like unclog your own toilet. Like, if you will, will come out there don’t clog up for you, but tenant we’re going to charge you for in order for us to charge the owner for something has to be broken. That tenant didn’t cause right. So an issue we just ran into the other day was was we found and I don’t know we haven’t managed this property for very long but I don’t know how long the owners owned it, but we found I’m in the basement that the drain lines were not plumbed correctly. And so when the toilet when the when the tenant would flush the toilet, the floor drain would back up. Well, after we scoped lines and all that, what we basically figured out is whoever plumbed it, plumbed the, the bathroom sink, the floor, drain, the tub, and the toilet, all on a, a four way intersection. So all of those would converge on a four way intersection, rather than each of those feeding kind of their, their, their own y into the main line. So the tub would drain and go exactly to the toilet. And what’s interesting enough is the toilet was on top of this hole for four way intersection. So crap would hit the bottom of the the drain line and just go for different ways rather than I found where it was supposed to. So that, you know, that was an issue that that we had run into recently with with a property in which we fixed like property management has to fix that because now they can’t jack up a hammer concrete, redo drain lines and things like do you guys focus

residential? Like is that kind of the specialty for the for the rent management? Yep. Or for the

property management piece? That’s our that’s our specialty is is residential, we’ve got commercial buildings, but residential is the specialty so nicely into the handyman business.

Okay, we’re out what’s going to be kind of my connecting question is like the the original spawn of the handyman residential, retail, as you call it, was just because you already had the infrastructure. And it’s like, can we add this new revenue line?

Yeah, so So think about it this way. So So a general contractor, they’re set up to, to basically come and do big projects, right? Like, hey, I want to do this addition on my house, or I want to remodel my entire house or on a build a house, something like that, what they’re not set up for is, I have a project that it’s going to take anywhere from one hour to three days, that’s very hard for a general contractor to show up to because he’s like, I’m just not set up. Or we’re we we’ve got our guys running around in vans, with 80% of the tools that they’re ever going to need for any job that they run into are sitting inside those vans, and a pretty good handful of the needed supplies that they’re going to run into, at least on the property management side. So so our sweet spot in the handyman business is, hey, if this job takes one hour to three days, that’s our sweet spot. And in fact, if the job takes more than three days, like it takes a lot of scheduling on our end to make sure that we can fit everything in from a scheduling perspective, in order to take care of clients. It’s not that we can’t do the work. It’s just, that’s not our sweet spot. Right? The sweet spot is in and out and on to the next on the next job.

Yeah, that’s good. So so to get I’m still trying to, I mean, I got kind of the gist of this property manager thing, but I just want to be clear, like so when you do the property management for a homeowner’s house or a landlord’s house, basically, there’s no estimate process, like you just go out, do the work, and then Bill the client or take the money out of their portal or whatever,

as long as nothing’s broken.

Yeah, most most of the time. So if it’s a big project, meaning that I’m trying to think of something that we did recently, so you’re correct, I would say 90% of the times on the property management side, it’s billed as time and materials, right, we just, we just go and fix it, your build, whatever time it took is our maintenance guy to do it. And whatever materials, it costs us to do it. That’s what you build, that we will do estimates for larger stuff. So sometimes when a tenant will move out, and the owner will say, Hey, I actually want I don’t want to just turn this property, but I want to remodel it. So I want to do new kitchen cabinets, some new flooring will give estimates for that for owners, so that they know okay, you know, that’s gonna cost me 20 grand or 30 grand or, you know, 10 grand, whatever the case may be. But 90% of what we do is just time it’s billed as time and materials on the property management side, because most of us just little stuff, just little things that we’re fixing. So will you guys do the actual remodels? Yeah, yeah, we’ve done yeah, we yeah, we will. I’m trying to think we’ve probably done half a dozen so far this year. That’s good. remodels.

So what is what is the estimate process look like in your, as you call it, the retail clients? Like do you do the technicians go out and give the estimates or do you have an estimator or what does that look like?

Um, so we’re not that big yet. So I still do all the estimates. In fact, last week, I sent one of my guys to go look at a job to start to train him on how to estimate right so and this is this is the process. This is how I do it. And I don’t know if it’s right, wrong or indifferent, but I’ve got I’ve got an Excel spreadsheet, right. And in that Excel spreadsheet, I’ve got our, our labor rate. So that labor rate is how much everything’s built into that labor rate. So how much how often pay my technicians? What’s my labor burden? What’s my profit, you know, what’s my wear and tear on tools, whatever the case may be. And so that labor rate sitting at the top of this Excel spreadsheet, and then the way that I go in and bid a project is all look at the project. And I’ve got enough experience that and I’ve built enough stuff from the ground up that I can basically look at something and peel it back in my mind and be like, Okay, what are the layers to you know, let me give you an example. Let’s say that I was going to, let’s say, there was a flood in the basement, right, and we needed to, to do some mold mitigation and, and rebuild the basement, like, I can peel that back in my mind, right? Like, okay, you got to take off the sheet rock, once you take the sheet rock off, you’re gonna have insulation back, you’re gonna have to peel it peel that back studs may or may not be moldy, you know, you may have to replace some studs. Plumbing is probably okay, depending on what happened, you know, Mote your electrical probably should be okay, but you may have to, you know, redo some electrical. So that’s a simple example of like, I can just peel those layers back in my mind and say, Okay, once we peel that back, then we’re gonna have to put it back together, right? So right, then I’m gonna re put it into, you know, put some more insulation in Rishi rocket, mud tape, it painted, you know, put up baseboards, caulk, paint, all that kind of stuff, you know, light fixtures, light switches, things like that. So the way that I bid things is I on the spreadsheet is I will take each item that is gonna take place, you know, tear down sheet rock, that will be one line item, remove installation, that’ll be the next line item. And I just peel this back to where I think I mean to get to the root of the problem. And then I start to build it back in, right. You know, kill and clean mold, and then it’d be like, re install new insulation, hang new sheet rock, mud and tape, installed baseboards, call paint prep, you know, paint. And so, you know, I may have a list of, you know, five to 20. Actually, I’ve done some lately, I think my most is I had like 147 line items. Completed, right? Okay. And then what I do is I say, okay, if I’m the only guy on this job, how long do I think it’s going to take me to remove that sheet rock? Right? Okay. So you know, whatever the size of the room is, I think it would take me for hours to remove all of this sheet rock high that hauled out site to a dumpster and broom swept, okay, perfect for hours. And then and then the Excel spreadsheet does the calculations for whatever the rate is, and it feeds it out. But then what I’ve got in there is I’ve got a line in there that so I’m trying to think of a she rocks kind of a good example is not a great example. But some things take more than one guy, right? Like, there’s just like, I can’t hang a 16 foot beam by myself. I guess I could if I had several pieces of equipment, but you know what I mean? So, hey, it may take two or three guys. So if one of those line items is like, Hey, I think it’s going to take me for four hours to do. I’ll put four hours in there. But I’m like, this is a two man job. So then on that spreadsheet, it’s got a two so now it’s now it’s calculating my labor rate times the four hours times two guys. Right? Right. Right. And so that just extrapolates out to the end of the spreadsheet. And by the time those line items are done, I it’s built out how many man hours I think it’s gonna take to complete this job. Sometimes we nail it sometimes you don’t. Right. So so that’s how that’s how it happens from the Labor perspective. And then on that same spreadsheet, I’ve just got another section that’s for supplies. So given the same example, you know, removing sheetrock Okay, I’m going to need to either rent a dumpster or I’m going to need to bring our dump trailer in here to haul this stuff off right so that’s a supply you know, right. insulation, you know, how much insulation is it going to take me how much heat you’re actually going to take and so you just build out that supply list on that same spreadsheet and calculate you know, what that cost is and that and then that’s, it does its magic calculations and a bada bing bada boom,

that’s huge. I love I love that way of estimating because it’s like you’re you’re literally just writing down every single thing you need to do and every single thing you need to put back up so that’s super smart, because I think the best way to know your numbers is to write them down, figure it out. I love your your way of kind of reverse engineering that Can you tell us a little bit more about how you got to that labor rate? You know, because you mentioned a few things in there? Is that fully encompassing everything that it takes to run your business? And then is adding in some profit? Like, do you mind kind of talk a little bit about how

I’ll break down exactly how I did it? And I honestly, I don’t know that. I don’t know that it’s perfect. So let me and I’ll expand on that spreadsheet a little bit. So what the way that I did it is I said, okay, and it’s, it’s different now that I have guys, but when it was me, I was like, Okay, what do I want to make an hour, right? Whatever that dollar amount is? Actually, let me use my guys right now. So when I, when I hired guys, I kind of put their numbers in there rather than than having my numbers in there. Because I’ll be quite frank with you at this point. I’m like, if I’ve got to be on the job, the price just went up? Because I just

That’s right. Yeah.

Like, it just has to be that way. Or we don’t have a business. So. So what I’ve done is I put my guys labor rates in there, and I just take the average, right, so this last summer, I was up to six guys, now I’m down to three, but I’ll just take whatever their averages, let’s call it, let’s call it 25 bucks, right? In Utah, the labor rate for handyman is between about 18 to 25. Which I did. That’s actually on a side note, I think that that I think we’re gonna see that rise. Like, it’s, it’s very tough to keep labor for for those prices anymore. Anyway. I’ll just say, so let’s say I gotta pay my, my guy. 25 bucks. Right? And so then you got to put taxes on that. Well, you’ve got payroll taxes. So, you know, whatever the percentage of payroll taxes is, I can’t remember off the top my head. Let’s call it. Let’s just make an analogy. Let’s call it 10%. Right? Yeah.

Yeah, forgot that my guy. It’s 10.07%. Yeah, no.

So yeah, let’s make it easy. So it’s 10%. Right. So now, now it’s 2750. Okay, well, he’s driving around in my truck. Right. So how much does my truck cost me on a on a on a monthly basis? Right. So we’ve got we’ve got Sprinter vans, we’ve got a little Ford Transit vans, we’ve got a diesel truck. So we’ve got a couple different vehicles out there. So I basically take the average of the cost of all of those vehicles, and say, Okay, what’s, what’s that going to take? I wish I had the numbers better off the top my head, but let’s just let’s just say, you know, if a guy’s going to work full time, so 2080 hours

a year, and we’re still here, by the way, Nick?

Yeah. Yeah, I saw I, I saw you, you freeze there. But anyways, so let’s say guys gonna, you know, work 2080 hours, I’ll take that number of however long however, much of those vehicles cost me on a yearly basis. I’ll divide that by 2080. And I’ll add that so let’s just call that was, let’s just call it $3. an hour, right. So now, what are we at? We’re $30.50? Well, those trucks don’t run for free. So there’s maintenance and fuel and all that stuff. So I’ll I’ll take that number. What’s that number going to be? And then I’ll add that in there. So let’s just call that it’s another dollar. So what have we got? We’re at 30 $31.50. And then you’ve got it? Insurance, right? So you got general liability insurance, you got workman’s comp, insurance, all that stuff, let’s just say that that’s four bucks. So now you’re 35 bucks. For for, for labor. These numbers are off, because that number is really, really low. But you guys get you guys get the idea. So yeah, the just the breakeven is I gotta have I gotta charge 35 bucks an hour just to break even. And that’s assuming that I get I nail my estimates, right? That’s assuming that when I bid 100 man hours or 50 man hours or 20 man hours, that we get it done and 20 man hours. So then on top of that, you have to go, Okay, what do I want what I want to make as a profit, right? So let’s say you want to make a 20% profit, you would just add 20% to that. So let’s just say you come out, you’re like 45 bucks an hour, that’s what you’d make. If you got everything, right. That’s what you would make, you know, and you you’d make 20% profit. That’s how I’ve built it out that so that number is super low. So I don’t know exactly where I got the, the, the dollar amounts because because I know what our labor rate is. And it’s, it’s more than double that. So those numbers are low. But that’s that’s how that’s how I built it out is is what’s our cost? What do I want to make and then go from there and and what I mean the beautiful thing about having a having a business like this is you can name your prices right? And then people can choose whether they want to do business with you or not. So if your prices are competitive, people will probably choose to do business with you. And you’ll probably get overwhelmed with business. And if your prices are too high, people choose not to do business with you. And you’re gonna either learn to adjust your prices, lower your costs, or you’re just gonna go out of business, right playing

demand. Yep,

that’s a supply and demand thing. So you just kind of gotta finesse, you know, what that looks like? And you know how that works for you. Yeah, that’s how you built it out.

Yeah, I love it. Thanks for explaining that. Yeah, I mean, we do something very similar. I mean, it’s basically the same kind of calculation, it’s just, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, you know. So we actually start from like, the full expenses from the business, and then basically multiply that by 20%, multiplied by another 20%. And then divided by the hours worked in any given month, and then basically break it down to an hourly rate from that way. Whereas I think you started from the hourly rate and went the other way. But it’s all it’s all the same

stuff. So and, you know, you know, what’s good? And I could probably, so when we started doing it, like, we didn’t have that data, right, like, what are the business expenses? I can probably go back now I could go back now and say, Okay, I can say, well, you know, what did we spend last year? What have we spent here today? And we could probably back into it, like you’ve talked about? So let me let me explain to and this goes back to the estimating. So that number is that number is good. If you get everything else, right. For me, what I found is dude, sometimes I get it, right. And sometimes I don’t so. So on top of that number, I kind of build in a buffer, you know, a little bit of a buffer of like, Hey, I’m going to win some I’m going to lose some. So I need a little bit of cushion there. And for the ones that I don’t get, right, like I’m remembering a job last summer, we bid. Did we bid two guys two days? And it took two guys three days? So I was I was 16 hours, right? Shorter over Yeah. What what I had estimated, right, but yeah, sometimes sometimes I have so and then back to my spreadsheet. So on top of that spreadsheet, what I’ve done is I’ve also put small percentages in for little things like hey, how, how long does it take to set up? How long does it take to tear down on a daily basis? Because let’s say that, let’s say that rate is $45? Well, that’s assuming you’re swinging a hammer for eight hours. But right, we all know that, like you’re chasing materials. And if it’s an if it’s an estimated job, not Tyler materials, but an estimated job, you got to build in that that. That time spent chasing materials, setting up table saws, tearing down same old table saws, sweet broom, sweeping things like that. So so if I think you know, if I think a line item is going to take me four hours. By the time my Excel spreadsheets done at the end of that calculation, it may have four hours and 15 minutes built into it. Because, you know, I mean to kind of help with that, to help with that labor push a little bit.

Yeah, that’s smart, because we actually did a poll recently in the handyman journey, Facebook Mastermind group, and the majority of people work about 80% efficiency. So in any typical eight hour day, most people get about six to six and a half hours worth of work done, like build hours done in an eight hour day. And you got to factor that in. That’s huge when you’re factoring in price. Because if you’re thinking that a technician is going to go out there and do eight hours of billable work in an eight hour day, you’re pretty crazy. You know,

and to be honest with you, if you’re at 80% efficiency, i Dude, I think you’re slaying it. Like I there’s days if I was the guy on the job, there’s days I could get that. But there’s a lot of days I never got that and and very seldom will my guys get 80% efficiency.

What would you say? What would you say is the majority of efficiency that you’ve seen in your particular business?

Due to our bet 60 to 70% is pretty average. Just because so here’s the other thing about a handyman business that I’ve found, like if you’re a roofer Did you can you can call a roofing company and you can have all of those supplies ordered and delivered on the job site. Because you this is what you do all day every day, right? You know exactly what you need as a handyman. You don’t necessarily know everything you’re going to need like you’re going to show up to a job and you and you’ve gathered all the supplies you think you’re going to need and then you’re on the job and you’re like do I need this one $3 part that I gotta run five miles to the supplier to get to like do that happen all the time in the handyman business because you just you can’t, it’s impossible to plan for everything. Because there’s times and we’re refining this now. But do there’s times we go to the job and there’s like, let’s say $50 worth of supplies built in, we’d walk out of the store with $200 worth of supplies, because we didn’t want to come back.

Right now just buy it all by.

You don’t use on the next trip.

I have been there so many times. Yes, yeah. Because

it’s, it’s such a waste of time. In fact, I’ve got a I got a buddy, that’s out of business. Now. He he started a business maybe year and a half ago, and he’s out of business now. Because he, he couldn’t, he couldn’t solve it, it like he would be at the suppliers four times a day. Yeah. And so he was just like, half of his day was spent chasing supplies and making any money,

it’s, it’s a rough thing for sure. One thing that we found that helped kind of Curb it a little bit, but obviously it adds to expenses, is getting a technician assistant. So basically, we have a guy that he’s he’s just really a parks guy, you know, so every Monday he works with our estimator picks up all the materials that were ordered for the jobs that week delivers them at every single job. And then throughout the week, he’s working with the technician as a second set of hands. And also a really a, you know, a parts guy. So if you need to get that $3 part, you can send the tech assistant while the technician goes and works on something else at the house. And it’s really been a time saver, because you’re sending a guy that is, you know, maybe it’s a little bit less skilled than the technician to go out and get get the materials. But that’s still a huge value, because you’re not having to take an hour away from the technician to go and get that part.

I actually think that’s a that’s a great idea. So are they delivering supplies? So let’s say he picks up supplies on Monday, or they deliver him to all the jobs like the job that’s going to happen on Friday? Is he delivering supplies on Monday to that job. So you just tell the the client, hey, we’re going to drop supplies off, or whatever.

Yeah, so basically, it’s up to him to you know, call the clients. Basically, Monday is a day where the technician works by himself and the technician assistant just as materials. So he’s, you know, spends whatever the first quarter the first half of his day at Home Depot picking up materials, and then delivering to each job calling the clients being like, Hey, can I drop this stuff off? Obviously, it’s if it’s raining or whatnot, you drop it off in the, in the garage, or wherever the client will allow you to. But yeah, it’s it’s really increased our productivity by having that technician assistant. Do that’s a

that’s a good, that’s a good idea. I was talking to some guys last week, and they were talking about a local, it’s a plumbing. It’s a plumbing company here in town, but he’s like, they’re the most efficient that I’ve ever seen. So what they do, and they’re a big company, right? They’re not just the one man handyman band, they’re like a big company. So their guys show up at night and park their trucks at the at the facility. Well, first, they built their facility across the street from their supplier. So Game Changer number one, nice number two, their guys show up at night and park their trucks. And then they have an overnight crew. And he’s on a bidding like, like, spinning table like a big roundabout, if you will, that just has all of the supplies that they use on a daily basis. And so all night long, they’ve got guys stuck in their trucks with the with the supplies that that technician is going to need for the next day. So that’s beautiful goes up, turns on the key away, he goes off to the next job. He’s like, that’s the most efficient that.

Wow, that’s beautiful, because that’s that’s the one issue we always encounter. Like when you’re doing like PVC stuff, right? You’re always like, oh, I need this one PVC adapter, and I have like 50 million on the truck. But I just don’t have this one, you know? So that’s always the trouble is like, how do you stock everything? You know, without stocking everything?

Yeah, yeah. And that’s the thing. That’s the challenge of the handyman business right is, is you just run into so many different scenarios. So for example, a laundry drain bytecode is a two inch ABS pipe. Well, you show up to a house that was built 30 years ago, and somebody thought it was a good idea to put in an inch and a half, right? Like, unless I’m replumb this whole thing, I gotta go get an inch and a half elbow, you know, or an inch and a half P trap. So yeah, you just run into that kind of stuff all the

time. It’s not like he can tell the client like the whole story of like, well should be two inch but they put an inch and a half. So we have to charge you extra for this. Like, they don’t care. No, I don’t care at all 30 years.

Here’s an interesting thing. From from an estimating standpoint, that I try to explain to clients and I get I understand why they don’t get it but I’ve done a test in our own business and what I estimate something I’m taking on the risk, right? Like as the as the business owner, I’m taking on the risk. Because if we spend more on supplies or we spend more on labor, I’m going to have to eat that. So what do you think I’m going to do on my estimates? I’m going to, I’m going to build a buffer, right? Like a patch, I literally think it’s going to cost $1,000, your estimate is probably going to come back at 1200. Right, or 1100, or whatever. Whereas if I’m billing time and materials, the clients taken the risk, right, so. So oftentimes, what I found in our business is, if a client would choose to allow us to build them time and materials, they will ultimately save money. Because we don’t run into that many scenarios in which like, like, it’s a game changer to where like, oh, yeah, you know, it’s not going to be 1000 bucks, it’s gonna be three, you know, I mean, so that’s something in I don’t know, you know, how every handyman runs their business, if I could choose if I could just be like, Hey, we’re only going to do time and materials. I would probably do that, because I think you could run a faster and more efficient business. Because estimating did just takes Yeah. So much time. And I actually, I got to the point where I’m like, we don’t we don’t go we don’t do on site assessments. Well, we do. But you’d have to pay us 100 bucks.

Right? Yeah, we do the same thing. And the the issue with time and materials that I found is, you typically as you get quicker, you don’t get paid for that quicker knowledge and that learning experience, you know, so like, back when you started, it took you say, an hour and a half to do a ceiling fan. Well, now you can do that same ceiling fan in 30 minutes, you’re actually making less money than you used to make. That’s the that’s the one issue that I found with it.

You’re 100%. Right. So except for I would just build on a floor. Right. So.

So like a minimum?

Yeah. So for us, we have a minimum, our minimum. And it’s, it’s honestly, it’s changed, it changes like on a weekly basis. But it fluctuates between 250 and 300 $350. That’s a minimum. So you needed to come change a battery and a smoke detector, it’s 250 bucks. I mean, and so and I understand that that’s a turn off for some people because they’re like, Oh, you’re gouging us and, and I get where they’re coming from. But I’m also like, Yeah, but you’re also not paying for these trucks and guys and insurance. Just like I just can’t send a guy out to for 10 bucks to change your you know,

it doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make any sense of business, I would

be the only way to get around the floor have the time and materials. But that only works if it’s a 30 minute job or an hour job. Right? If right? If it’s a 10 hour job that takes you five hours because you’re so efficient. Yeah, yeah, then you’re getting a hose

yourself. Yeah, you’re over your threshold. And you’re well,

except for the other way. The the way to get around that is just raise your raise your hourly rate. Right. So that’s true. Yeah. So instead of charging, I don’t know, 100 bucks an hour, maybe charge 200 bucks now. So that’s, that’s one way to get around it.

So I’m curious, between the different kinds of clients that the retail and then your property management is like when the work orders come through? Like, is there a one that’s better? What do you like? Do you prefer? Like, like, what do you think between having both retail clients, which is most most handyman businesses are residential, you know, the service, the retail residential market. But you’re unique in that you have this maintenance division, where it made sense to expand, but you get work orders through, you know, those property management plants already, is there. Is there any difference in the kind of client or the job or getting paid? Or like,

there’s pros and cons? Yeah. So the property management side, the Pro is there’s no marketing involved with the well, I take that back, the marketing that’s involved is on the property management side. So in our owners agreement, our management agreement is when they hire us to manage our property. We have full control over the maintenance. So guy can’t own the property and want to come swinging a hammer, like no, everything goes through our maintenance department. So from a from a marketing standpoint, for the maintenance division, there is no marketing, right? We went 100% of that business that we can do anything we can do we outsource to vendors. But it’s a volume game, meaning that our margins on that business isn’t as high because you we offer that that service at a discounted labor rate, the maintenance piece of it. Yeah, because we manage your property. We want to take care of these owners and we want this to be a long term relationship. So that’s the advantage of of the property manager. In a piece, the retail client piece, from a profitability standpoint, there’s you just make more money. That’s just the way that is because there’s, I mean, a few clients will turn into long term relationship clients, but most of these people, you see, once, one time, like we we’ve gotten in the year and a half that we’ve been servicing retail clients, we’ve probably only had 20 repeat customers, just because, and I don’t know if those other customers went somewhere else, or if, you know, we just, you know, they don’t, they didn’t have anything that else that needs that needed to be done. But most of the time, you just don’t see it, that’s been my experience, I we just don’t see these people again, so. So the pricing on the retail side, it’s it’s retail pricing, basically, right, so the margins are a little bit higher. So that’s the advantage of that. But I will say, we spend more time on the retail customer jobs, because I tell my guys, I’m like we charge a premium. But like I already know that. So we got to make sure that the quality is there and that we do it. Right, right. So so the stress level on the retail client side is a little bit higher, because I just want to make sure that they’re super happy, because I already know they’re paying a premium. And part of that is we provide an absolute quality service. The other part of it is, we’re just so busy, that we’ve had to raise our rates in order to just kind of weed out the like, we like we just kind of have to out price some people which it’s getting to the point where it’s turning people off. And so this is actually something that I’m struggling with is because it’s getting to the point where it’s turning people off, because they’re just like, You guys are way too expensive. And the like, I already know we’re expensive. But part of the reason we’re so expensive is because we’re so busy that like, honestly, if you wanted me to do your job, we probably aren’t gonna be able to get to it till January, I like we’re having this conversation right now, the end of September. We are if we didn’t take one ounce of work, not one inkling of work, we are booked out to the first part of December. Just full on that’s between property management and retail clients that we already have in the books, we’ve got some bigger projects that retail clients have been waiting for. They paid us a deposit two months ago. They’re just barely, you know, we’re starting, we’re starting one of those jobs next week, because that’s how long it’s taken to get on our schedule. So back to a pricing standpoint is, is I understand that some people get turned off and frustrated, which, for me as a business owner is a little bit stressful, because that’s not the reputation I want. But it’s a necessary evil in order to just to be able to service the current workload that we have, you got

to be able to take care of folks that you know, you have an obligation to and you know, if you don’t have the labor and the technicians to go out and get there faster, like you’re just not going to do anyone any service by taking on a job bite off more than you can chew.

Well and and so that that was that was part of the reason that our rates got raised is because we were just getting inundated with requests. Right and weird when the work. And then we’re like, yeah, they’re like, so when can you come? We’re like, in seven weeks? Yeah. What? Yeah, like happy to give you a deposit back. That’s but but that’s just you know, that’s where we’re at. So, so yeah, it’s, uh, it I’ve I’ve said this a million times if I could find six, stolid handyman. I can have them 100% busy in 30 days. It’s right now the biggest the biggest problem in the industry is labor. If you’re a one man handyman band, dude, like you could absolutely slay it, but you’re gonna work. Trying to get people trying to hire handyman is that’s, that’s that’s one of the challenges right now in the business. Have you had

any tips or how have you hired the technicians that you have or any kind of learning from, you know, trying to find quality labor?

Yeah. So, I mean, I’ve hired people that I know I’ve used indeed, I’ve tried temp labor. In fact, we’ve got a temp labor guy starting tomorrow. I haven’t had any success with temp labor. In fact, I’m going to be on the job tomorrow afternoon. Yun, I’m just to monitor this temp labor guy, because if he’s like the last temp labor guy, like I’m pulling him off the job and yeah, this isn’t working out. So it’s, there’s an I haven’t found a secret sauce. So I had a handyman that worked for me for about a year, he was a guy I knew. And he did a great job. He just, he, he wanted to, it was kind of a and we kind of knew this, when I hired him, it was kind of a gap field between him really wants to leave his other job to try to find find something else. In fact, he probably stayed around longer than he originally anticipated was going to. So he was great. Another kid I hired I knew I had, you know, I knew him. And he was he’s a younger guy. So I’ve had to teach him training, which is totally fine because he’s willing to learn and, and he’s been awesome. I got another guy found on indeed, that, you know, out of three or four guys I’ve hired from indeed he’s the only one that’s that’s work so far. I had one guy last the day. And I had another guy last like a week, so I don’t have any secret sauce on. I mean, we’re always kind of beating the bushes, you know, telling people we’re looking for guys, we’re hiring. So, I wish I had I wish I had the secret to that, but I simply don’t at this point.

You’re not alone. That’s the biggest struggle of of any handyman business that’s trying to you know, take it above three or four or five guys. It’s just finding you know, quality labor.

It’s not only that I like to find quality labor. So let’s go back to the roofing example. If I’m a roofing company, and I find a guy that’s willing to work I can teach him how to roof and in about two weeks he’s going to perform that same task probably a half a dozen times right? Right and the handyman business he may do something today that he might not see for another three months ever seen. So you’ve got to like the skill set to be a Handyman in my opinion is higher than most other blue collar jobs because you have to be a jack of all trades you have to understand how to do mostly everything versus like oh yeah, I know how to install residential roofs or I know how to build decks it’s just a different so it’s like trying to find good labor. Being able to that good labor been able to have a vast knowledge set Yeah, form handyman. Yeah,

it’s just totally different. We were talking earlier. You know, age back, it’s like oh, well we need some new technicians. Well, who just graduated and got their their certificate? Right? It’s no handyman certificate.

Wow. So did you bring it turned into my head? I’m like, man, it may be time to start a handyman school like yeah, here’s a handyman like, you come to school. Like here’s a handyman certificate. Because I’ve looked because I look to like send my guys to trainings and stuff. I haven’t found anything out there that Yeah. outside of YouTube that is

basically the handyman University Yeah, handyman

journey. That’s, that’s what we’re working on create here is just a place that can educate, you know, handyman. Yeah. So because I think it’s definitely needed for sure. Well, it’s

it’s really needed because, um, you kind of think and this is what this is what younger guys don’t understand. So as you guys know, like, as I stated earlier, I spent 12 years in the finance world, right? So corporate America, Suit Tie, not suited but business clothes, blah, blah, blah blah. And guys aren’t going through high school graduate and be like man, I’m gonna be handyman when I grow up. And nobody’s doing that. They’re gonna be like, I’m gonna be a venture capitalist or I’m going to be a YouTube influencer or whatever the case may be. What they don’t understand is the way that society is going to handle that are going to be some of the highest paid people in the next five to 10 years because the dudes that know how to do it are in their 50s and 60s and getting ready to leave the market but young kids coming up have zero desire to learn how to do the work because it’s not sexy like let’s face it, it’s not sexy work but the but the demand is not going to go away people still need stuff fixed so what’s going to happen is his labor pool is going to be a lot smaller. You’re going to get a you know a few guys in there that are sharp that know how that are kind of a jack of all trades are willing to learn and you know, they’re willing to be a one man handyman band or You know, build a team of six or 10 or 20, guys, and they’re going to be able to basically name their price, right? Like a CPA is charging 250 bucks an hour and attorneys charging 250 bucks are you watch dude Handyman in the next five to 10 years are going to be charging close to those types of rates simply because there’s going to be nobody else in the industry that can do it like they’re just they’re not going to have enough labor to, to perform the work.

Yep, definitely, I would highly agree. And I think that’s exactly what we’ve created here at the handyman journey. You know, we have courses, we do coaching, we have books that really help people become a handyman and create their business and take it to the next level. So I think that’s something that’s definitely needed, I would highly agree with you. And really, the educational system has gone the other way where they they expect everyone to go to college, you know, and they don’t really offer trade schools and, you know, certain classes like metal shop, or auto shop or wood shop anymore. But that’s something that’s going to be needed more in the future, because they’re just not being raised right now. So we are going to hide,

yeah, we can go down that. I mean, you’re talking to a guy that’s like I did the college thing, right? I got an MBA and I’m, I’m a huge, huge proponent of education. I’m like, I’m so anti universities and colleges, unless you’re going to like specialize in something that requires it did you’re absolutely wasting your time. Yeah.

It’s specific goal and out. Yeah, exactly. Like,

if you’re gonna be like a doctor or a lawyer, which you have to go to college. Fine. But other than that, like, if it’s not required and what you want to do, like, in my opinion, you’re absolutely wasting your time.

Yeah, most people that I’ve talked to lately, younger kids, they’re like, Oh, I’m gonna go to four year college just to figure out what I want to do with my life. Like, that’s not the place to figure out what you want to do with your life right there, man. Expensive, that’s an expensive way to figure out what you you could you could just go get a part time job through the summer, like working for a handyman and the work for a plumber like, and you actually get paid to learn and figure out what you want to do with your life. Like that’s, that’s a better thing

than the fact that it’s not sexy. It’s not being sold on, you know, in schools and universities. So kids don’t want anything to do with it, which I mean, I get it. But what what, there will be a few kids that probably aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to the classroom that are going to figure out like, I’m gonna make a lot more money than then the dude next to me simply because I’m willing to do the work.

Yep. Yeah. I mean, people, I love the I love the quote by Mike Rowe. It’s like, you know, people that say, oh, opportunity just never comes right. He says, no opportunities always there. Sometimes it’s just dressed in overalls, and comes with a shovel like, You got to get dirty, you know what I mean, to figure out what you want to do? And that’s what opportunity is, so yeah, a lot. So, as we kind of close here, Nick, what kind of advice would you have for people that are looking to either start up a handyman business, or maybe are currently in their handyman business and kind of looking to, for some help or knowledge to kind of help it get going? What kind of advice would you have for those people?

Yeah, so I mean, that’s, that’s a little bit of a loaded question, because everybody’s kind of in a different stage. But if I just had to give blanket advice, my advice would be, make it easy for people to do business with you. What I mean by that is, make it easy to get an estimate, or, quote, if you’re gonna, if you’re gonna get estimates, versus like time and material, just make it easy for them to get that. So just so the full disclosure, so the Westerners know, like, I’ve hired Jason, to build out our handyman marketing piece, right, it’s very easy for people to hit our website, and to request a quote, and then on the back end built systems and processes that makes it very easy for them to get scheduled on your calendar and makes it very easy for them to pay. So. So the way that the way that it works on our business that I’ve tried to just make it easy for people is they request a quote on the website. From there. We very seldom do it on site assessments, but all just from pictures and their descriptions all give them an estimate. With that estimate. There’s a deposit required. If they pay the deposit, that obviously bounces back to us. I see they paid the deposit, then my team is to within one business day is to reach out to that client and let them know when they’re when their job will start. And we’ve gotten to a point where we used to we were able to just say hey, you’re gonna start on Wednesday, the 22nd or whatever Wednesday is. But we’ve gotten to the point now, where we actually have to give ourselves a little bump for meaning like, Hey, your anticipated start date is Wednesday, May 22. That could fluctuate, give or take, you know, five to seven business days will as it gets closer watch, you know, heart date. So. So once people have given us money, immediately, they know Hey, boom, we’re scheduled and they’re good to go. And then dude show up when you say you’re gonna show up and do what you say you’re gonna do. By that’s beautiful. That’s very simple. Like, yeah, and then take care of customers concerns, right? Like, even if you think you’re in the wrong use, sometimes it’s better to save face, just fix it, lose a little bit of money, or not make as much money and and get a five star Google review over. So yeah, definitely. It’d be my advice. Try to make it as easy as possible for people to

do business with you. Beautiful Mike drop right there. Well, in closing here, Nick, we just want to say thank you so much for being on the handyman success podcast. You have made it great today. You’ve really inspired others. You’ve inspired me. So great job. And thank you so much for tuning in. We just really appreciate having you here with us, Nick today. So thank you so much.

Thanks for having me. It’s

been fun. Yeah, you’re welcome. And to all of our viewers and listeners out there, I just wanted to say thank you guys for tuning in. You guys are really what make this podcast worth it. You are the people that we want to inspire you are the people that we want to raise up You are the leaders of the next generation and we appreciate you guys listening to this podcast, and hopefully you glean some information here. Want to give you guys a little bit of info of how you can contact us how you can take it to the next level. We do offer you know business coaching, we offer courses we offer books, you can reach all of that as well as contact me and Jason over at handyman journey.com We also have a free ebook over there that we’d love to give you. You can also get plugged in with Jason and his awesome marketing expertise over at handyman marketing proz.com If you guys are tuning in on YouTube here, like this video and subscribe to this channel that really helps other people see this video. So thank you guys so much for tuning in. We will catch you on the next video. These podcasts come out once a month the first of every month so stay tuned for those and we will catch you guys on the next one. Have a great day guys.