Hello friends and welcome to another episode of the handyman success podcast. My name is Jason call owner of handyman marketing pros. I’m with my co host, Alan Lee, owner of a handyman journey business coaching and honestly, handyman services in Sacramento, California. Our mission with this podcast, if you’ve been with us, as you know is to use our guest stories and their experience within their business to provide you inspiration that you can achieve the goals that you have, whether you’re new or well established, and also takeaway very practical tips you can apply in your business to take things to the next level. So with no further ado, we’re super excited today to have our guest, Rick McFadden with enhanced property maintenance out of Castle Rock, Colorado. Thank you so much, Rick, for being with us. If you don’t mind giving us you know, a little lay of the land introduction about yourself and your business.
Thanks, Jason, and Alan. My name is Rick McFadden, I own enhanced property maintenance. We opened the beginning of 2018. We’re located in Castle Rock, Colorado, as Jason said, we serve as Douglas County. So Douglas County is the Southern Collier County to Denver, the Denver Metro area, we’re located between Denver and Colorado Springs. One of the interesting things about Douglas County is we’re always in the top 10 most affluent counties in the nation. And if you back out the Washington, DC counties, we’re in the top five. So we’re fortunate. A lot of what I’ll talk about, we try to play higher end, we try to be the Nordstrom in the in the sector, if you will. So that’s where we’re located.
Awesome. And I know, we’re one reason why we’re especially excited to have you is that you’ve labeled yourself as the mid sized handyman company. So with that, if you could share kind of, you know, where, you know, maybe last year’s like revenue and what’s your, what’s your goal is this year and kind of like, what like your team like technicians, office staff, all that good
stuff for Jason. And I joke that I feel like I’m a super fan of handyman success podcast. So, you know, we’ve seen a lot of guys on the podcast that are newer or smaller. And we’ve seen the big Alexander’s and the crystal Lomas that are multi million. I’m kind of in the in the middle. I’ll share my numbers. So our first year in 18. We did 108,019. We did 173. And then 374 646. Last year, we did 820,000. And this year, we’re working night and day to hit a million.
Awesome, awesome. And and what, what kind of got you into this into this business? Like can you tell us a little bit of that story? Give us a little background of? Yeah, what prompted you to start this up in 2018?
Yeah, good question. So I grew up in a family of cops and carpenters. We did everything ourselves. For graduate cops, yeah. All I knew grown up was cops and carpenters.
Yep, double C’s CC ops, and carpenters. That’s all you need. makes the world go round.
Yep. And I grew up in a Chicago suburb, I didn’t want to work outside in the winter. So I pursued a Law Enforcement Administration degree, only to find in my last semester I did an internship, that that’s not what I wanted to do. So I was an officer in the Marine Corps for four years. Got out, I got my MBA. We may find it as podcasts how geek geek out I get in my concentration in my MBA was operations management. So I love the data. I worked in corporate for about 20 years. And I made it to MIT middle management. I was a VP at Chase and my team underneath me managers working for me. But the problem with middle management is any little blip, change, leadership change, you’re out. So when my last four years, I was laid off four times in four years, with leadership changes, economic changes. And I was determined, I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m not doing this. My wife homeschooled our two kids. She wasn’t working and I hooked up with a franchise recruiter and I had to get off one of our phone calls because I had a side gig handyman good because I’ve always done this stuff on the side for myself for friends, and said, Hey, man, gotta hate me to franchise so we started going down that path. And fortunately, my wife said And we don’t need a franchise. We could do this. I don’t know, which is I already joke. There was no way it was me. So, inspiration. Right, right, exactly. So some of the guys on these podcasts, we’ve talked about reserves and be prepared, and I was broke, because I’ve been laid off several times. I had no reserves. I had no second income, you know, with Cindy. It was just go for it. Wow. So for four years, I started in 18. When I open for four years, I get the materials in the morning, work all day, do estimates on my way home, eat dinner, write the estimates at night or on Saturdays. It was brutal. But I share that story. Because, you know, over and over, we’ve heard about guys, great plans, great plans, and I compliment them. They were financially ready for it. That wasn’t me. I was trying to make the first you know, the next month, first day of the month mortgage payment. And it was just a scramble.
And how did that work for you? I mean, were you able to pay all the bills as soon as you went? I mean, or was there a point where you kind of struggled in the business getting going?
No, no, God provided? Awesome. You wouldn’t pretty, but we did it.
Beautiful. So. So at those first days, like, how did you find work? Like what was your strategy to find work? Those first days not prepared no money in the account? would you do
if referrals? You know, friends would call me and then their neighbors would call me. You know, I got friends in the trades, you know, painters and stuff. They would flip me business. Looking back, it was archaic? I don’t know how. I don’t know how I pulled it off.
Yeah, that’s a good you know, thinking about you cops and carpenters. Right. So yeah, you guys probably had some connections and, you know, in that industry, so they probably knew about you. Right? Okay. Very cool. Very cool.
What’s your business? Or was it from the get go? Rick? Was it enhanced property maintenance? Is that what you started as? Or is that something that transformed?
Yeah, that’s a fun story. I remember vividly, my wife and I sitting on the couch. We just kind of sketched this thing out. They were coming up with names, you know, doing the synonyms, you know, doing the Thesaurus thing. We came up with enhance, I didn’t want Handyman in a bit in the name. Because my vision for this is to kind of be the Nordstroms you know, in the industry in the sector. I don’t know if that was the right move or not. Because everyone now says What exactly do you guys do? We’re handyman. Oh, okay.
That was different vibes. Certainly, like 10 years ago. Yeah,
we’re changing that changing the game for sure. Yeah, exactly.
Okay, yeah. I used 48. Out, this might help startups. I went to 48 hour logo.com. And tell them what you want to do kind of what you’re thinking, and then they just pump you with logos. I guess there’s freelance folks out there. But like the next 48 hours, then you pick one. So so that’s what we did. Wow, that sounds
like the 20 You know, 48 hours, you know, to develop your pictures at Walgreens? That sounds old school man. Right. Right.
So so your first year, Rick, it was a little over 100,000 in annual revenue, like your first year as like solo, Rick McFadden like handyman style. And then, and then looking at where you are today, this year, you’re, you know, you’re shooting for a million dollars in revenue. If we could get like a little bit more snapshot of like your business right now. Like, how many how many technicians do you have are like your staff trucks? And then kind of piggybacking that is, do you have any specific focus like within your handyman business? As far as you know, I know you guys do bathroom remodeling, or like any kind of service focus that you guys are really pushing? Or is it just like, hey, if you need a home improvement, we got you covered. But those are my two questions,
for sure. So first, our structure. So I’m Manager heavy right now, because we just promoted one of the guys. But we reached the point where I can’t build out a second team without having some some more management structure. So I’m the owner. So my responsibilities is marketing, interfacing with the bookkeeper. Dealing workers calm, you know, just back office. I have friends that often ask me, Well, what do you you know? Well, I’m not I’m not in the field anymore. What do you do? Oh, 4050 hours a week right now and just Yeah, So Nick is our general manager. So he came on board February of last year. So when I say my first four years was sunrise, this past sunset, that change bringing Nick on. So Nick started as a customer support manager, and I’ll talk about that role. We just promoted him to General Manager. So he’s over day to day operations. And again, is because we’re starting to scale we’re going from one team to two teams. I’d like to have three teams this year, that might be a stretch, but definitely two. We have Jeff, we just promoted him. He’s been with us for probably a year doing a great job. We promoted him to customer support manager. So our CSM, his responsibility is he goes out and does the estimates. And we’ll probably talk about estimates here a bit. He does, excuse me, he does the estimates. And then skeevy, guys, yeah, you’re fine. Now. He does the estimates. And then he starts the guys on the job. So if we’re just putting in a ceiling fan, he’s not starting to mind that. But our sweet spot is like that 10 item list that customers have. So he’ll walk you guys through the house. You know, this is the room that we’re fixing the drywall. This is where the dog chilled to the windowsill, you know, and then he’s out. So generally his day starts with he starts guys. And he does estimates from mid morning to mid afternoon. And he’s back in the office, writing up the estimates that he’s ultimately responsible for customer satisfaction, because he learned the initial vision what they wanted done. So that’s what he does is a CSM, then we have a team lead, Chris, all my guys are just brilliant. We have the team lead role, because some jobs require multiple guys on the task, you know, in the home, and he’s there to make sure all 10 things got done. And then then we have three, we call them enhancers, Tech’s enhanced property maintenance,
I like it enhancers.
So we find that a CSM can handle four to five guys. Beyond that, they can’t do enough estimates keep them all busy. Start all the guys and all that.
Okay, so you have three enhancers or three technicians one lead right over the three that are on the job. And then the the customer service manager is that we set the port manager, customer support manager, okay, and he’s doing all the estimates and sending those out. And then you just got a part time office manager, is that right?
Correct. Okay, I have a part time office manager, I have a service that answers my phones, which changed my life. I use sunshine admin. Totally love them totally recommend them. So they feel their phone calls. And
when did you Sorry to interrupt? When did you get the phone answering service? Because that is something that I think is a missed opportunity for a lot of people that are like, well, how can I grow my business? It’s like, Well, are you answering your phone all the time? Never? Well, there. That’s how you can grow your business by answering the phone. So when about when did you start looking into call answering service and taking like phone answering seriously?
May of 2021? Yeah, way too late.
And what’s that called? Sunshine answers. Sunshine admin, Sunshine admin. Okay. And just
for anybody considering they put together a playbook for our business, we have generally a treat, you know, the same team of folks. So they know, know us, and we communicate via Slack. So 80 90%, they can just roll with, you know, normally somebody’s calling in for an estimate. They can put the data in, you know, we’re not like driving, you know, I’m not driving, you know, sketching on a pad. Right? Putting, you know, putting, putting the can of paint down taking the call. And then the other thing, so we have differentiators or differentiators on our website. And it also goes out in our estimates is page two of the estimates. And that’s one of our differentiators is we answer our phones 8pm to 7pm, Monday through Saturday, if I had a person on staff doing that, that would cost me a fortune. Yeah, yeah.
Yeah, so sunshine admin was the company correct. So and then also toss out. One other Abby Connect is one that I’ve had experience with that they do a wonderful job and the trick to these answering service you have to train them to you have to equip them with the proper scripts that the proper scenarios and and really clear instructions. But once that kind of training trial has kind of gone through that. I mean, it’s it’s it’s dialed because like you said, I mean people are calling to get an estimate. And then so the they actually book the estimate for your, your customer support manager. Correct. Okay, he’s just gets it on his calendar
just gets it on his calendar. Very cool. And then the other thing just to take it to the next level, because they use service fusion, they have voice over IP built in. So I have several numbers. I have different numbers for Google, Facebook, Bing, so I can track where calls are coming from. So they come through my system and then bounce to Sunshine. So I have the call recordings. So I can even audit what they’re doing. Wow. Very cool.
Yeah. And so to recap that service, usually next year. Customer CRM slash the dispatch,
yeah. Field support management, yes.
All right. So Rick, what are what have been some biggest struggles that you faced in this business kind of getting it started kind of running a business that’s bringing in some pretty good income? What’s been the biggest struggle for you? Or some of them?
Why there’s a lot, right. So for my first four years before Nick came on board, I was running, I didn’t know where money was going. I didn’t know what my I get my monthly p&l. But I didn’t know what was going on. So that was, you know what I mean? I mean, yeah, I was doing it.
I laugh because I know what you need.
So now my challenge I got, I received a phone call from one of our electrician partners. He called me about a job, I had no idea who these people are. So we’re I knew everything day to day before. Now, I only know maybe 50% of it. So that was a big struggle. You know, obviously, Allen fatigue, the need to be persistent. You know, it’s I had a friend that wanted to hop into the handyman business and last for six months or something. And, and we were talking after he got out, it was like, how did you do it? When I explained the time I put into it? He was like, oh, for four years, I couldn’t breathe. Right? Right. Um, other challenges. Obviously, hiring is is a challenge. You got to have the right people on the bus. I’m real big on hire slowly, fire quickly. You know, it’s all about the people. It’s tough having to let folks go or performance managing people. The other tip I was gonna share is one of it. I’ve hired hundreds in corporate, I’ve hired hundreds of people. I have a lot of experience with that. And there’s no correlation between interviews and performance. You have to get them on the job. Right. But a mistake I find a lot of folks making is takes in this might be an overgeneralization takes about three hires to get one good one. Well, my experience with other folks in trades, is they hire their first guy, he’s a knucklehead, they’re like, I’m out there. Nobody good out there. Well, no, you know, you just gotta have to weed through.
So let’s talk about hiring a little bit more, because I know that’s something that a lot of our listeners, they have, like, how do I hire people? And Rick, you’re unique too, because your technicians? Most if not all their veterans, right?
Oh, yeah, we try to so of my six. So I’m number seven of the six. Well, I’ll include myself up to seven, three our beds.
Okay, gotcha. Um, so how what is your hiring process like, like if you could walk us through, you know, how you’re finding these, you know, great team members that obviously you have a lot of admiration for, which means they’re really good. So how do you how are you finding these really great fitting team members?
So at some point, I moved to ADP for my payroll. And ADP allows you to run one ad at a time nonstop on zip recruiter. So that more than pays for my ADP subscription, because anybody who post on zip recruiter, you know, what is it 200 bucks for two, three weeks or something. So a zip recruiter, you know, always kind of networking. We laugh here. I’ve gotten least to two folks might My wife has since the kids grown up, she has a tutoring business. I’ve hired two of the dads. And they were just some amazing employees. Nick is one of them. So how crazy is that? Walking by house with adjacent dads have the tutor kids? Yes. So it’s got to mean they walked in my house usually tutors out of the home, you know?
Yeah. That’s a great relationship to have, though. In my opinion, especially at the small family owned business level, you know, those connections that Yeah, with your team members is just so important. It really fuels them as well. Yeah.
I’ve had people say to me, You’re so brave to have your own business. Yeah. But you know, what’s terrifying is sending a person into somebody’s home. Yeah, that is terrifying.
So you found so your your team members thus far have largely been through this zip recruiter?
Yeah, zip recruiter. Okay. I’ve advertised on Craigslist before. I have gotten a guy off of that. So yeah, I just kind of always been out there always looking, always talking to folks.
So when did so you said the first four years of your business? You’re kind of by yourself, when did you exactly hire your first employee? And what employee was that? What was the first hire?
So in year one, I brought on a helper in September. Okay. And he was with me for a couple years, maybe? Then a couple part timers. And then then the first full time or, you know, then second full time? Or
was it a full time enhancer? Or technician? Or was it like someone to answer the phones or an estimator? What
was enhancer? Okay. Okay.
And at what point in your, in your journey? Did you stop being an enhancer?
At the end of year four.
Okay, so that’s the is that the end of 2020? The end of last year?
It was February 2022. When Nick came on board, yeah. 22. Sorry.
Okay. customer support manager took over all the run field stuff for you,
Last question on kind of the structure that I had, at least is, so what do you do Rick? Right, hit it, right. So yeah, I mean, like, what so what is your as the owner up above, you know, counting the money and making sure everything’s running well, and planning for the future and hiring all that stuff. But what is what is like a typical day for you look like now, because you got the CSM over the operations largely, call answering service, getting people on the calendar that’s being fulfilled by your enhancers and that team. So what is your time look like?
For sure? You know, I’ll answer that. You know, what I’ll throw out there too, as is. I’ve always had a bookkeeper, which is mission critical. You know, I hear guys say that they do their own books. And if you can’t make more money being in the field than what it takes the bookkeeper to do it. We come on. So what do I do? So Nick just moved into general manager position. Two weeks ago, we just promoted Jeff. So I’m transitioning, and I’m like, 99% out now. So what do I do during the day? One of the things I want to be able to do is more vision stuff. My brain just feels like it’s always in a knot. You know, when you’re when you’re trying to be the backstop when Nick was a CSM, and I was kind of the GM. You’re always the backstop, you know, did we get everybody scared, you know, just kind of the double check and everything. Now that’s Nick. So I want to get more visionary. I want to do more networking. Write down because everyone we meet goes, I need you. So it’s like, I just need to go meet people. You’ll see, you know, I spend time with the data. And then of course, the workers comp. And the bookkeeper has questions. You know, the government needs info, you know, they’ll hit you up. You know, you normally received a letter and says they had to have the information yesterday. I just can’t just get the letter. What else? Oh, Jason, the biggest thing is I want to have figuratively, back in the in the day, we had three ring notebooks. I want to have a three ring notebook that I can just hand to folks, because, you know, I’m all about scale. You I’d love to somebody open up Colorado Springs, Omaha, you know, Kansas City, and I want to just be able to hand them a book and say, This is how you hire this how you market this is how you hate us. Ceiling Fan. When we go in to do a bathroom remodel, you put the carpet protector down. So I spent a lot of time doing that. That’s great. I just brought on an office manager. And I’ve already got hours into right now, how to do just conceptually it’s easy, you know, follow up on estimates. Well, how do you feel find it in the system, you know, click here, then you click here, and then this gives you the list. And
that’ll be a game changer for you, by the way, having someone dedicated to follow up on the estimate.
Yep. Yep. That’s huge. So, So Rick, what’s worked well, in your marketing? Like, how do you mark it? And what’s what’s been kind of the best? Where’s the best place to invest in marketing?
Sure. So, you know, we all need a time machine. I wish I could go back in time. I had heard as many of us have referrals, you know, the guys are all proud. I’m all referrals. Well, I’m big on coaching, and receiving coaching. And my coach said, when his quote, but he just shared, he said, referrals will make you a living, but it will make you rich. And it was like, oh. So it wasn’t until May of last year that I started SEO. I was with a wonderful person. He’s a personal friend, professional SEO guy. Just super. But what I found is he didn’t get handyman. Nobody gets handyman, right? What exactly do you guys do? Then in February or March, I moved over to Jason handyman marketing pros. Because of these podcasts, one of the neat things, and I shared this with Jason, we’re doing an SEO call yesterday. Are the weird things about podcasts is I get to know folks, but they don’t know me. I’m on the other end. So when I meet them in person, I’m all like, we’re buddy, buddy. Like I know, you know, with you. That was a rabbit trail. So anyways, Jason, yes. Handy me. I didn’t have to mean what we do. And we were reviewing numbers were early. I think we determined yesterday. We’re four months in. But all my numbers are already doubled. Wow. So where do we market I think was a question. Yeah, obviously, Google ads. Jason is big proponent. And I think there’s a lot of wisdom in it. That Facebook next door and Aman ball. I spend money on ads on both. But that’s like brand awareness, because we hear it all the time. I know you guys. I don’t know, I’ve seen your trucks or seen you somewhere. Right? Right. I hope so. You know, I spend a few $100 a month on Facebook and next door getting brand awareness. But Google ads a number one, if I had a time machine, I would have found a JSON type guy years ago, and just found a way to pay for it. And then I just started Google Local Ads. And that’s working pretty well. That’s if you’re not familiar, it’s also called Google guarantee, or one of those two terms is the old name, and they have a new name now. That puts you right at the top. So Jason will talk about the real estate show up at the top show up on the mat, show up in ads, and then hopefully, organically, you’re up high.
So So walk me through that. I mean, just for edification of the listeners here. How do you do that? Is that something that Jason does for you? Is that something that you log into Google My Business, and there’s a way to do those ads? Like, you know, are you running Facebook ads, like monthly, weekly, or someone else doing that for you?
I run Facebook and next door. And I run Google Local Ads? I don’t remember the reason for that. Jason. Yeah, there’s
so local service ads is amazing for any kind of like DIY, someone looking for paid ads is kind of just a plug for that is, you know, if you’ve got some money that you’re looking at, for paid ads, like and you can’t spend more like three or $500 a month, Google Local Service ads, you set it up, and there’s no optimization. There’s no marketing expertise involved. You just go through the background check verification, get the account set up, type in the type of jobs. You want to be showing your ad for so
straightforward. You don’t even type it in there. There’s a menu and you just choose, so it’s not like highly customizable.
Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s hard to mess up. No, and there’s no ongoing optimization because Google Search Ads pay per click. It’s varied. different ballgame. You’ve got to look at negative keywords and like ad copy, and all these all these different things to making those work. But local service ads are wonderful. And just to clarify to for listeners, like a huge piece of like Rick success, and what we work with do is Google Maps a Google business profile, and just building those organic rankings. So you know, the ads is a great like way to just throttle leads by spending more money on paid traffic, paid ads. But the nuts and bolts of any basic foundational marketing is, you know, a great website, and then a, you know, a Google business profile that setup correctly. And then you, you guys do an amazing job at generating reviews, I mean, you guys are up to 180 reviews, and just it just keeps going up. And so there’s a lot of different factors. And then, you know, Chamber of Commerce and next door Facebook group posting. So Rick has a very comprehensive marketing strategy and obviously takes, you know, we’ll dig into his numbers a little bit more towards the end of the show. But he runs an amazing business. So it all works together, to you know, to, for him to be hitting these goals.
And what I just added that is what a guy like Jason does, what makes Jason specialist he gets us. But what these guys do is they know the keywords in what to target. I learned yesterday, he’s putting pictures up on my Google profile and stuff, which adds to the algorithm. So that’s why by a time machine, I should have brought an SEO long time ago.
Man, yeah, I
appreciate that. Shout out, man. So as far as like a like, earlier on, though, too, because we didn’t start working together till March. Like you got up to I mean, last year did up 820,000. So what would you say? You know, getting up to that point before even looked at like a website and SEO like what like for kind of a guy starting out or you know, that or owner operator, they’re looking to kind of hire or add people like what marketing works really great for you, personally, when you were kind of, you know, kind of building up year after year.
And before I answer that, I’ll put a plug in for Facebook. One of the nice things about Facebook is you can choose your demographic. For awhile, I was only doing women between 35 and 65 in the top 25% of income brackets. So that was a you know, that was my sweet spot. problem is they don’t go to Facebook to find a handyman, but it’s brand awareness. What did I do early on is I logo right away. professional business cards. We all show up in our maroon maroon polos, gray pants. Our mantra is arrive on time do excellent work, leave our work area clean. We preach it, we advertise it, we do it that kept the phone’s ringing. Oh my guys. So my challenge is not only to find competent techs or enhancers, but they have to be presentable. Right. Again, my, my avatar, my target customer is that like 35 to 65 year old woman. We’re going into her home, we have to be presentable, clean, communicate well. So that’s what we did Jason and you know, some networking, but that was tough. Because I was working, you know, crazy hours, right?
Yeah, I’m glad you kind of touched on I want to loop a little bit back to the your team members because there’s so much more than just like zip recruiter right? You What do you do to attract people that are a good culture fit that you know, they don’t like show up clean and think like, Oh man, I’ve got to clean myself up today. They’re like alright, let’s go work and I’m ready to like serve the mission of the business and get paid to do that. Any like, thoughts or feedback on like, how are we you attract and like bring in these people that not only can do the job and they’re looking for a job, it’s a job match, but it’s a culture fit.
Right? So it starts with we’re very clear about the arrive on time Jackson, we’re leave our work very clean. We’re very, it’s really important that we look sharp. We have nice winter. We don’t bite carhart’s But nice winter, where they call a duck jackets. We have nice vests so we look sharp, in I’m always replenishing. We make a big deal out of customer service. This is a personal passion of mine, spent 20 years in corporate and got like two thank yous in that time. Right. Normally that was in a group meeting. Then half hour later they were pounding on us. We could think all the time we make a big deal out of reviews. You know, we we text them out Oh, you know, hey, Darrell just got to review. We, it’s very important to me and Nick, Nick and I are a great fit. I’ve worked for bad bosses, Nick has worked for bad bosses, we treat everyone like adults, and you don’t play like an adult, you’re just not on the team. We just don’t play, you know, it’s, if I have to treat you like a child, it’s not going to last long. And that’s another topic for another, you don’t just fire people, because then you pay them unemployment and unemployment rates go up. You know, there’s a way to separate. But I think we have a pretty neat culture, aren’t we, we do a lot of Facebook a lot, a lot. On our website, we have pictures of the guys, you know, when you look at you to put in a handyman near me, encourage the listeners put a handyman near me and look at the pictures. And it’s like a finished project can finish a bathroom? Right? But to show a sharp looking guy smile on his face. You know, some of the guys leaving screenshots of Facebook posts, you know, hey, it was them, you know, this is cool, or, or they won’t take credit. But they’ll be like, Oh, those were really nice folks, or you know, whatever.
And we’ve got a we’ve got to get to estimating and pricing, and then you’re kind of you’re tracking. But if you quickly touch on how are your enhancers, your technicians? How do you compensate them?
So I think I paid very well. I want to pay them kind of above market is my goal. I don’t current so one of my jams is and this may help others. I pay everyone well out of the blocks. And then I give raises based on performance. But I don’t have health insurance. I looked at given health insurance last year, and none of the guys really wanted it. They all had some way. So I compensate them well. Treat them well. We give $25 bonuses for Google reviews. So I have an opportunity bonus year end bonuses, things like that.
Awesome. Any kind of like commission scale for like productivity or anything like that.
Man, we have talked a great deal about that thought a great deal about that. I don’t know how to pull that off. Because our challenge so my, my one of the things that’s unique about enhances all my guys are W two. But yeah, yeah, I’m paying him 40 hours every week. So when we took that deep dive at the end of last year, everybody got paid, except for me. So that’s, that’s the challenge. So we’ve looked at I want to bonus, because if guys finish on time, that that hits the bottom line. Right. Right, we get to the next job. We have not yet come up with a good plan to do that. And again, you know, I know like Chris on his podcast, trusted toolbox out of Atlanta. He has like a low minimum hourly rate. And then then they get commissioned. I’m not sure how to do that for W twos, yet.
Yeah. So we we actually instituted a bonus incentive program for our employees the end of last year, and it’s worked out really well, you know, basically, they’re, they’re, they’re paid, you know, a flat hourly rate for those 40 hours. But then, depending on how many build hours they bill in a week, they get an extra dollar an hour for those whole 40 hours, or an extra $3 an hour for this whole 40 hours. And it’s it’s really a good incentive. Because if they don’t produce, then they don’t really they make their base pay. If they do produce and they make the business more money, they actually make more money, which is fantastic. Like that’s how I want to be, you know, so maybe you could talk a little bit more after this. And yeah, talk about that, for sure.
Okay, so what if you could walk us through your pricing journey, Rick, like, how do you price jobs? Where did you start at? We’d love to hear where just start, like, how would you price jobs at first, and then how do you price jobs now?
Yeah, how much would you charge to tear down an awning and rebuild it? And put a toilet on top of it? Right? Are you to answer that for me?
Right? Like HGTV show. They’re just walking through the house and this is a $30,000 kitchen in this.
Yeah, that’s gonna cost you $100,000.
So I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve had some great coaches at the right times. I started with handyman startup. I think his name is Dan. So he got you know, he got my head right as far as as what we do is rocket science to us, we would do it for free, we enjoy it. We’re good at it. But to the client that’s hiring us. It’s Rocket Science just like SEO. To me, that’s rocket science. So I started at 80. And progressively have moved up a couple of things with that. So the way I came up with a rate today, we’re at 140 an hour. How I came up with it is, you know, I know we’re low on time, you guys have talked a lot about this in past podcast, but I know what are our how much I pay everybody. I add 15% For burden, taxes and such, we give two weeks vacation and six paid holidays. So I factor that in. I factor in overhead costs. I know what that is. And then I want to know, if we average five hours per producer per enhancer per day, where do we have to be? So for that, it’s 140. So how do you get 140 an hour, you have to have a sales funnel. Because if you don’t know where your next job is coming from, you just have to take anything with whatever anybody’s paying. We’ve been pretty good about keeping our sales funnel full. So we work on the jobs and we make 140 an hour. And then I learned on this podcast, we used to do the is it gonna be three hours? Three hours? 45 minutes? No, we’re just doing the two hours half day full day period.
Right? Right. Now, do you have profit built into that pricing structure?
My breakeven, is that five hours per guy per day? I see anything beyond that as profit.
And that five hours includes my pay. Okay, very salary, my salary.
Very cool. Thanks for breaking that down for us. So I would love to kind of hop into more of like your pricing. I know that. You know, you’re you’ve been in business for a while, there’s a lot of questions on the handyman journey mastermind group about things like, what does gross revenue mean? What does gross profit mean? What does your net profit mean? What does profit margin mean? And I’m wondering if you could kind of walk us through that maybe using some of your numbers, just to kind of educate some of the listeners here on what some of those terminologies mean, and why they are important to know in the business.
So the top line, often referred to as top line, or revenue, or sales, or income all means the same thing. That’s what customers paid you. And then you take out what it costs directly to do those jobs. So what you paid your guys, the materials, sometimes you can put gas in there, you know, whatever it took just to do that job. So you take the top line minus what it costs directly to do that job. Net gives you gross profit. So a good number is 30 to 35%. For gross profit. I mean, a great number is even higher, again, and then then you start taking out all your expenses, you know, the cost for your CRM. If you have an admin if you have a building if you have storage. What else? Cell phones, let me look I’ve got a p&l here. If you bought lunches, trades, tradesmen, insurance, all that stuff. So then you subtract all that out. And what’s left is called net profit. So as Chris from trusted toolbox says, I don’t know if he said it. In his podcast, or in his book, he calls it. That’s the note. He was referring to this, but he uses this phrase, I love this phrase. Was the juice worth the squeeze? Yeah, bottom line is net profit. So at the end of the day, was all that work worth it? And hopefully, you’re not just working, you know, to have nothing leftover.
So that’s fantastic. Thanks for breaking those down. So you said 30 35% of gross profit is kind of what you want to go for. What about net profit? What kind of percentage are you looking for? They’re typical.
If it’s less than 5%, the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze. I’m trying to get to 15%. So that five to 10 is kind of where you want to be 15 is probably world class.
Now, world class Rick has
is does your pay come out of that net profit, or does it come out? Before in the overhead?
My salary is overhead? Yeah, so yeah. So after I’m paid, that profit is What enhance was left with?
Right on? Right on.
Alright, so we just covered like profit, gross profit net profit all that stuff. So next question Rick is, how do you guys estimate jobs? We already covered how the someone would call in I know you can estimate requests if you can kind of just break down like your your guys’s estimate process and how you get the estimate in someone’s hands.
Okay. So as we talked about our call answering team scheduled it, the customer support manager goes out, etc, earlier, we found that we win more when they meet us in person, where it’s not just transactional. We like to walk the job with them, you know, what they want done? Understand the vision. Ideally, there’s a why, you know, the, there’s not always lie behind the kitchen faucet, you know, drips, you know, just has to be fixed. But sometimes there’s a why we’ve, we’ve done a few kids bedrooms recently, where the parents were trying to make these teenagers feel more comfortable at home. And we’ve actually painted the bedrooms, black LED lights itself, I don’t get the black thing. Like ceiling trim doors. But we’ve done that a couple of times for some different families now. They was that’s a that’s a vision, right? That’s a why to try and do that for the kids. We want to we want to uncover that. And then we’ll speak to that in our estimate when we write it up. And then we tell our client that we’ll have a written estimate within three days. We email it over, and then they can accept it online. And finally, I have somebody to follow up on him. Because we do here, you know, I didn’t get it. Well, actually, you did. But if your emails like mine, if you didn’t get to it right away, it’s 100 down the list.
And you guys send estimates out there directly through your service, fusion software, direct
email, and text. And here’s a tip I learned this year, last year. Like some low number of emails are read 10% or so. But 90% of texts are read. Yeah. So email and texted.
Okay, as a service.
Obviously, the text is a link, which takes them to the estimate.
So So I know that we talked a little off camera about service fusion. And I would like to kind of dig into that a little bit a little bit. How long have you used search service fusion? Did you use anything before for your CRM or estimating or invoices and what’s really like the main thought of moving to service fusion.
So I started with thrive. They were just beginning and it was awful. Oh, that was one of them may for months. And then I moved to breeze works. Breeze works was inexpensive. But at the time breeze works told me we’re good for about a five person team, but it’s not super robust. So then I moved to house called Pro. And obviously house called Pro is industry standard. But I wasn’t getting the reporting that I want it. So I moved to I looked at a couple I can’t remember the other one I looked at but then I moved to service fusion. Oh, get this I did it March of last year, right after Nick came on board. So okay, it’s bookkeepers and now with noble financial, like no BS no bull financial law, Chicago. I’ve had four different bookkeepers and noval is incredible. If anybody’s needing a bookkeeper they know what they’re doing. It’s just a game changer. So I got Nick, a chase bookkeepers not done noble yet. That bookkeeper was a disaster, which to service fusion. All at the beginning of last year. You are right there. Oh, and I joined a new handyman coaching program for level coaching, which was there all about the scaling? Great, great coaching. But last year, I thought my head was gonna explode. Service fusion, what does service fusion do for me? So obviously, the estimates, the invoices, the calendar, scheduling, they all do that. But the reporting is very robust. You can see and I think housecall did this too. You can see when people opened up their their emails for the estimate. One of the things I like about them is you can get Voice over IP, through through service fusion, and with that cost that cost me $25 On One Plus $2 A line. Wow, seven lines? Well, I’ve got different numbers for, you know, Google and Facebook. And honestly, I can track my calls. But I just brought out an office manager this week. I just gave her a number. She plugs into her laptop. So she’s not taking calls on your cell phone or anything like that. I really love that. I can record the calls. I can listen to them. Trying to think what else about service fusion? Does
email email marketing at all? Or text blasting or anything like that?
Yes. Okay. But for texts, we now use chirp, which is a company out there to run our campaigns. I do that through sunshine, my my call answering team, okay, they actually run the campaigns, they respond to the, you know, when somebody responds to the text. So I find chirp to be more robust for text marketing, and I try to text my customers quarterly with an update, because I’ll always get five phone calls after I do it. Oh, I couldn’t remember the name of your company. I love you guys, but couldn’t remember.
Right, right. But yeah, you can you can email mark it out. And it’s just not super robust. Okay. I don’t do email blasts anymore. But when I did, I used the monkey one. What was a?
Yeah, but one thing, Rick, I commend you on you like anything that you’re doing. You’re like, How can I not do this, right. And I think that’s a really, it’s just an incredibly important and necessary mindset to have if you’re really wanting to scale is you have to stop doing what you’re doing and pay someone to do it or find a service or outsource it to a call answering service. I just love how creative you are. And in plugging in the pieces that ultimately just remove you layer after layer from all these different activities in your business. And then obviously, having the responsibility, you’ve got to look over everything, make sure it all works. But I mean, you’ve created a pretty well oiled machine that that starts with just the intention of alright, I’m doing this text marketing, and I don’t want to do this anymore, because my time is better spent somewhere else. What can I do to you know, remove myself from that? So I think that’s one thing that our listeners can take away from this for sure is, you know, what are you doing that you can not do you and pay someone else to do that’s going to free you up to get spend more time on the job, or spend more time in the office?
Anyone that scuze me here. So anyone that’s struggling with that, I suggest Dan Sullivan’s got a new book out who not how and that’s what it’s all about is instead of figuring out the how figured out the who, the WHO to do. Yeah.
And yeah, there’s lots of great stuff. And it takes a lot of courage, though, to actually do it. And I know Alan, and the handyman journey, they are really good at just helping the you know, people kind of build those layers in to remove themselves, but it takes a lot of heart to actually do it. And so it’s it’s awesome that you’ve you’ve made it where you are, man. Let’s see we got another five minutes. So let’s see, let’s go through what are what are your biggest wins in personal and business from your entrepreneurial journey with enhance and then also conversely to that the losses and you could start with losses or wins, or whichever one you want to do first.
So a win was I was having coffee with another entrepreneur who had a kind of a similar journey as me similar age. We were having coffee a few months ago, we’re talking about being institutionalized in corporate, you know, to give it a big week with Kohl’s like a regional or something. And when talking in a hit me I had just left working with a senior citizen that enjoys taking baths in her tub, but she can’t get in and out. So I was over there to do the estimate. And we’re playing with the grab bars. You know, if we put it here, you know, and it helped her in and out of the tub. She dressed in it right but we’re just trying to figure it out. And when I’m talking to this fella, we’re talking just how cool it is what we’re doing, I’m like, that’s fine. I was just helping a senior who likes taking paths. I was able to help her do that. You know, we’re gonna have a solution for her. So that was that was your that’s the kind of stuff right this is huge.
I’ll say real quick. It beats the bank. Oh, And so my corporate career we didn’t talk about this was in banking. And so something always tells me is, Hey, man, even in the roughest days, it’s like, beats the bank. Beats Chase bed.
Yep, I spent 15 years in the bank. Another when I mean, these are like real, like corporate things, but I got to work with my son for two or three summers, I would hope I would do it all again for that time. That was just incredible. losses. So I started with no reserves, no back, no backup plan, financial, you know, no second income. So we’ve been scrapping this whole time. Negative was when we hit the skids, probably started in October, definitely November, December, January, February, when everyone went to the sidelines. And I think it was because they just bought a gallon of milk in the store. You know, they’re like my wife, and she’s madder than a hornet cost of milk eggs. And we’re put $4 You know, a gallon of gas in the car. Everybody just went to the sidelines. I blew through my reserves, I blew through my my business line. And I had to go to my HELOC to pay my guys. I wanted to vomit. That was horrific. So that was that was a low. That was one of those. Do I even want to keep doing this? Oh, I have to because now I’m in debt.
Was that last slow season here?
Yes. Okay. Yeah. But unfortunately, march 1 happened. And now we’re off to the races again. And remember, I have at the time five or six full timers. So I just had a big load. And the thing with that is, my My guys are incredible. I, I should have looked before the phone call how many folks I’ve had on payroll, you know, I’ve had a lot. But the current crew is top notch. And I didn’t want to lose anybody. So that was a low, but then the high was what I was, I was physically just sick over the whole thing. I actually did get sick to the I got a wicked cold. When I finally told my wife, she was like, No worry, I’m thinking she’s gonna lose your mind. I’m losing my mind. She’s gonna. She’s like, Oh, no, we are directionally correct. We are on the path. It’s all good. Wow. So it was kind of a low, and it’s still low. But that’s, you know, when you have somebody in your corner like that, who like isn’t like to pat me on the head, like, oh, keep it up? He’s like, No, I believe in this. It’s pretty cool.
That’s awesome. That’s beautiful. So Rick, what? Would you have any last advice for our viewers? Anything you’d want to leave them with?
Yep. Start SEO early. Don’t wait, like like I did. If you’re doing you know, I want to be careful. We’re all at different places. But to me if you’re doing your books, come on, don’t do books going out of a bath or something. Call it answering. You know, never cease to fail. You finally hit the lazy boy at 830 at night in speech calling. We’re going to voice it. Oh, come on. What else find a way to stay sane. I don’t do very well with that. There’s another good book out there the gap in the game that kind of changed my life. Dan Sullivan book coaching coaching is incredible. You know, I was with him and startup for a while. That was great. I was with Tom Reapers, contractor fight. And he’s really aggressive and kind of a kick in your pants. I’m already kind of psycho about this stuff. I don’t need you know, the kicks in the pants just don’t don’t help me. But the he has great material. Allen’s stuff, the handyman success journey. What I love about that is know your numbers. You know, Elon is big on your numbers, all the collaboration. One of my big takeaways from Elon is he uses a word sometimes patience. That’s not even like on my radar. But I need it. I need it. And he said that one of his podcasts or trainings or something? And I mean, he could have said like a Japanese word or so I was like, but it’s so true. You know, Jason talks or excuse me, Helen talks about just be patient. It’ll come and then for me I’ll believer. You know, it’s it’s finding what is the Lord have to do and what do I have to do? Because we’re co laborers. You know, Moses, as long as he held up the staff, you know, they were winning the battle, but he couldn’t hold up to Staff he needed the system he needed guys to help home. So just, it’s a daily battle for me. What do I need to do? And what do I have to let God? And I haven’t answered that when I do. I’m gonna read a book
to read that one. That’s awesome. That’s fantastic. Well, I want to give you guys some resources. If you guys want to connect with Jason call, he does fantastic marketing at handyman marketing proz.com And you can connect with me over at handyman journey.com, we both would love to connect with you also get connected with the handyman journey mastermind group on Facebook. There’s about over 10,000 members in that group. It’s a free group. Rick is part of that group. And it’s just fantastic collaboration from handyman all around the world. So you need to join that. And also, if you’re listening to this podcast, on any podcast listener device, leave us a review. So if you’re listening on Spotify, or Apple Music, or wherever in the universe, you listen to music, or podcasts, leave us a review that will really help get this podcast on to the next person that needs to hear it. So thank you guys so much for tuning in. This has been a fantastic podcast. Thank you, Rick, for coming on. Thank you to my co host Jason call. And thank you to our listeners. We would not be here. If it wasn’t for you guys listening, we would just be talking into the universe. So we appreciate you guys. We want to ultimately bring you hope that you can have a better tomorrow. And we bring that hope by listening to other people’s stories and sharing that with you. So thank you guys so much and we will catch you guys on the next podcast.