Episode 7: Eric Beuhner, Derby City Services

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About this episode

Eric Buehner is the Owner of Derby City Services in Louisville, Kentucky. His business focuses on small home repairs, and also has a specialty niche service of duct cleaning. In this episode, Eric tells his story of starting his business, reveals a few valuable marketing tips related to Facebook, and much more!

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Audio Transcription

Well hello welcome everybody to another episode of the handyman success Podcast. I am one of the CO hosts Jason with handyman marketing pros. And I’m here with Alan Lee with the handyman journey. And honestly, handyman service today. Well, actually first, I should say, the mission, the goal of what we’re trying to do here with the handyman success podcast is to, we bring on successful Home Improvement business owners, with the purpose of them sharing their story, sharing their their business advice, so that you can take away real practical business tips that you can apply, whether you’re new or you’re well underway, and then also to be inspired, that you can start a handyman business, you can turn your business around, you can be successful in the home improvement industry. We see it time and time again, and we get to hear it straight from straight from someone who is doing it right now. So that being said, Today, we have Eric beaner, with Derby City services. Eric, thank you so much for coming on, man, if you don’t mind giving us a little introduction of you and your business where you’re located. Little lay of the land.

Yeah, absolutely. Jason, thank you for having me. And I’m honored to be a guest on the show today. I am Eric beaner. I’m the owner of Derby City services. We’re based in Louisville, Kentucky. We specialize in air duct cleaning, handyman service dryer vent cleaning, and attic insulation.

Awesome. Awesome. We’re okay. in Louisville. How many? What’s your Do you have staff? Do you have any technicians that work for you? Is it just yourself?

I have a helper that works with me. Now I also have a couple of 1099 contractors that that work for us as well, too. Okay,

and how long have you been in business for we opened

the business in January of 2020. So imagine that, you know, right in the middle of in the beginning of a pandemic, right. And in the business, I opened up in 2020, I was doing it part time, I still had my full time job. And my goal, when I did this was to build up the business and enough book of business to where that I was booked out 60 days before I was going to make the decision to make the leap over to full time. So I did that. And it didn’t it didn’t take too long, in July of 2020 is when I became full time in the Derby City services. And and I already had my helper in place at that time and, and we were working together. And then, you know, when I shifted from one, my previous business to this, it was Hey, I’ve got 60 days of work ahead of me. And now it’s just a matter of doing that work, continue to market myself and network out in the community and to continue to grow the business. So why COVID you know, we launched the business right in the middle of a pandemic, but it did not faze us. We were doing cleaning more people were at home. They were realizing that oh my gosh, look at my house. caulking and the baseboards are cracking and in this room needs painting. Gosh, we probably need some new faucets in the bathroom. They want to redo their kitchen. They’re living and working at home and they’re spending 24 hours a day in this house. And so we were going in and cleaning ductwork ductwork jobs would lead into handyman jobs. Or sometimes we get handyman jobs. And that will lead into duct cleaning business.

Okay, do you lead with one of those in particular, or kind of just like you’re in your marketing or communications, how you approach people.

So it’s actually how have a leads come into us. My family owns an hpac business, my grandfather started in 1962. The family the business has never had a debt cleaning division. And originally I thought about putting a extension of the HVC company as a duct cleaning business. But I’d knew that I wanted to broaden my horizons and either also work with other hbic contractors to help them and be a resource for them for duct cleaning. So I didn’t want to limit myself from that from that area. And I also knew that I wanted to get into the handyman work. So it just made more sense for me to create my own business. So to answer your question, I get a lot of leads. Air Duct Cleaning leads for my for my dad’s hbic company. So a lot of people will call in on that. And then on our cards we have all the bullet points air duct cleaning, handyman, attic insulation, and you know one leads to the next so a lot of times more were led into a home because they asked us to come in and do handyman work. And then they see the carton like oh, well you do duct cleaning. Can we go ahead and schedule the cleaning appointment as well too. So it works both ways. And the studio I’m sitting in right now is a client of mine. It’s a real estate agent. See, this broker offered his podcast studio to me to come record today with you guys. So I’m honored to do that. And but it just shows what kind of partnership I have out there. And how I work with real estate agents is my tagline is presale punch list. So we’ll go out and do a real estate pre sale punch list for their clients get their homes ready. You know, get them freshened up. If things need caulking, or if there’s a rotten door jamb that needs to be repaired, something that a prospective buyer would walk in and see. And they say, Ah, this is not for me, or you know, we want to freshen those homes up and get them market ready. So we would do that. And on the back end, sometimes the seller just doesn’t have any interest in doing that work. Because the market is so demanding right now, there’s not a lot of work that needs to be done. But when they become a buyer, they want to have things done on their own. So you’re also getting back into business for the buyers as well, too.

Awesome. So I know we have tons of dig into on even just what you just said as far as the business. But if you don’t mind walking back, like what did you do? before? The handyman wouldn’t before you started Derby City services? I know you mentioned the H fac. And if you if you kind of flesh out like what, what was your experience as you made, not only the leap to just start part time, which is a leap in itself to take on and start another business part time but also walking through that, that leap to go full time. If you could kind of explain that I know there’s lots of guys that they don’t know, you know, they just rattling with their own experiences. When do I leave? When do I jump into this? So if you can kind of walk us back and kind of go where you started and how you got to that full time point. Yeah, absolutely.

So if you look back in my career, I’ve been I’ve been a salesperson, the majority of my career, I’ve worked in the manufacturing side. Back in 2007 and 2008, when the economy crash, I left the manufacturing industry and went to work in the automotive industry. I did automotive marketing for franchise franchise automotive dealers in the Midwest. And so I had sales is in my DNA, I love selling, there’s a huge passion for it. I love the interaction with customers. I love servicing people, all at the same time. I’ve had this mechanical aptitude and the ability to repair things. I worked for my dad’s company in high school, and in part of college. So, you know, mechanics and turning a wrench was never a problem. For me, it became second nature. And I was always the known as the guy who could fix these things. So all of our homes and we’ve bought, we’ve redone them, we’ve torn out walls, we’ve redone the electric, we’ve helped my father build a lake house, it just, you know, I can do it. If I see it, we can get it done. And the stuff that’s beyond me, we refer to experts and get those guys to come in and do it. But you know, if it’s patching drywall, it’s putting in hardwood floors, it’s putting in laminate floors, changing out vanities and sinks and redoing the bathroom fillings and Palin you got on demand. So, you know, over time is like, I love doing these things. And I was also passionate about helping people in servicing customers. I found that in the industry I was in while I loved it very much I learned a lot it was it was cutthroat it was you got to be very thick skin when you’re working with automotive dealers, I just wasn’t fulfilled in the need of really servicing someone. I found that being in homes. I work in penneo home communities now and being able to serve as a customer, it made me feel better than what I was doing in the past. Also the spirit of entrepreneurship is, is alive with me. So I knew that one day I would go back to opening my own business. And people always ask me like, well, how did you know when when the right time was? Well, I people can know that there ever really is a right time to do it. If you’re passionate about it, and you’re looking to make a commitment, sure there’s some financial things that need to be in place. And sometimes those aren’t in place. But I would say that if you if you feel like you can do it, and you want to do it, take a chance because if you don’t take a chance on doing it, then chances are you’re you’re going to you’re going to be stressed out more about wondering if you should Why you didn’t do what you wanted to do. So kind of going back a little bit. I started before I started the business I went out and we’re scientists a handyman, right? So Derby City services didn’t exist before 2020 but I was doing some side work at night for people and finding out if it was really fulfilling my needs. And it was and I also saw the demand out there and I really believe That I can make this a business. And I felt I had the right connections. I felt like my professional background from sales, the ability to market myself the ability to network with realtors, the ability to meet with people and have, you know, a sit down conversation, set expectations with people, I had all those tools in my quiver all those arrows in my quiver, you might say, and then from that point on, I was like, Okay, let’s go get the duct cleaning equipment. Let’s use that as an extension of the business. Let’s use your handyman skills. And let’s go, let’s do this thing.

So you started, let’s see, January 2020, you were working, like in the evenings, weekends. And with the goal of getting what 60 days booked out.

My goal was to get 60 days booked out of continuous work before I was gonna I was gonna go full time in

it. Wow. And what was that 60 days, like, full of what kind of work was that? And how did you find that originally.

So it’s combination of duct cleaning. It was just doing a met with some realtors and said, You know, I can do punch list if it’s drywall patching, if it’s painting, it’s doing trim work. We had, I had an opportunity to meet with a commercial property manager. And they went in all their HVC filters changed and one of their, their facilities, and there was over 120 filters. So we had some flexibility to be able to go in there at night during the pandemic, and do the work. So I was working on my day job. And then I was going in leaving at five o’clock, and work until 930 or 10 at night with a couple guys. And so we did that for four weeks. If you compress it down, it’s a job now that we’ve we’ve retained and we manage that and we can do it in about a week’s time. So I was doing a lot of things and really just trying to find out my group, you know, like, what do I like doing out here, we change ceiling fans. We change out garbage disposals, we change out light fixtures, all those things, you know, I am capable of doing so now just started saying Alright, well, let’s start this making books of business off of here’s what we can do. And therefore I started creating, like everybody has a honey do list, right? So I’ve quickly found out that people in homes have this list of things that they need done. And they just said, that list gets dusty, and it grows. And I just go down the list with them. And I share with them, hey, here’s what I can do. Here’s what you need to find somebody else for. And then we also make it a priority, like what do you want to get done now? What do you want to get done in the next six months and what what wouldn’t bother you to have done for the next year. And so therefore, that all sudden started filling my calendar, because I had a lot of people that were urgent. And some people that said, Hey, if you can get to me the next 30 to 45 days and then and then six months came in now all sudden, I have all these clients that are here, I gotta get this done, I got to get these jobs done in the next 30 days, I got two to three months to do these. And I got six months to do those. So Wow. Real Estate Agents started calling me I’d ask for referrals. I have my first thing for me, it was important for me to have a really clean, professional website that looked bigger than what we were you know, because my goal is not just to be me on the streets and my helper on the streets. So when I went in to present to realtors, now when I present to property managers, I wanted them to go to our website, and I wanted them to see that they can book appointments with us, and I wanted them to see actual photos of work that we have done. And then I wanted to have, you know, a good book of Google reviews on there. So I want them to show that, hey, we’re serious about our business. we’re serious about earning your business and you know, we got a great clean, professional website. And you know, we’re professionals as well. We’re going to come in clean cut, we’re going to come in with nice logoed shirts will have clean trucks, and will respect your time you respect ours, and let’s go to business.

That’s awesome. So So you mentioned high quality like website, and then obviously had some connection with Abril tours and networking and things like that. Did you use you know, Facebook or Google or Yelp or Angie’s List or anything like that to get started? Or do you currently use any of that?

So I use Facebook, I have not used Yelp. I use Google. My website developer is just, you know, put some keywords in there for SEO and we’ve used some keyword categories. And I make a practice of it to follow back up with my clients to ask them to give us a review. So I won’t say that I’m religious about it, I’m finding that I’m falling, I’m lacking in that a little bit right now, because of being able to balance my time. So I need to start delegating more of the admin work in the business. And that’s a good problem to have. So I would say, Facebook, I’m doing videos on Facebook, I’m posting in neighborhoods that we’re at, I’m connecting with neighborhood, you know, like art and subdivisions within the face, Facebook community, of people’s homes that I’ve done work in, and then they allow us access, we get referrals through those pipelines. And then the more I post and the more I put videos on, I have those people in those communities liking and commenting. And it’s creating a natural pool and drawing more business to us. So that’s, that’s been kind of my recipe to go to. Hell, I love to go out and prospect I love to meet face to face with, with opportunities, such as real estate companies. And that was a goal early on, for me, they go Alright, um, my goal is to meet with, you know, five different agencies a month, but I don’t have the time for it anymore. And I want to get back to that, because my biggest fear is, is not having enough leads in the business, but also setting the stage for the next step in my business to be able to bring on another full time handyman and have a full time cleaning crew. And then I would consider myself that I always want to remain an owner operator, at this time, I enjoy getting out in the field. I enjoy doing the work, I enjoy meeting with clients, I get real, I get satisfaction from that, it means a lot to me. And I love the engagement that I have with my clients and the interaction. And and I love you know, the workers that I work with, and being able to work with them and learn from them as well, too. So

awesome. Awesome. Kate, can you can you shine a little bit of light on for our listeners here. You mentioned posting in Facebook groups of areas that you live that you’re working in, right, like so, how does that look? Or how does that work? Right? Like, say you live? You know, I’ll use what’s what’s, you know, here, right? Citrus Heights, say you live in Citrus Heights, but you do work in you know, Roseville, do you while you’re working there, do you request to join that group? And then you post in the group? Like what’s that look like?

So a couple ways I’ll do it. When I’m on a job site. I’ll throw up a video and I’ll check in to a neighborhood. Oh, I

see. Okay, okay. And I check

into a neighborhood in and I’ll check in there and then they all send I’ll start getting a captive audience. And you know, I introduced today we’re in the Plainview neighborhood and we are doing a handyman punch list. If you have interest in in having a few things checked off your your punch list to your home, give Derby City services at call 502689 6700 and then I fire that video out like right there right now. And then I start getting more views, likes comments and shares and it feeds organically through my Facebook pipeline. And then it also feeds organically through the communities that are in the area that I’m associated with.

Wow, that’s something I’ve never heard that before that you can actually check into neighborhoods on Facebook. That’s super sweet. Have you ever heard of that? Jason?

I have not heard of that strategy and then distribute that video through the actual like neighborhood groups that you you’re actually you’re in right

so it’s it’s not changing in you know, like, because it’s all the subsidies around removal then I’m checking into and whether it’s hikes point, whether it’s Hirshhorn, whether it’s Plainview whether it’s Anchorage, they already have an audience. And so now all sudden, it’s tagging them, and it’s amazing. It’s amazing how many more views that you get with a video than then than posting a picture. And the engagement that comes with that is phenomenal,

you know that that’s just that’s an amazing thing because we’ve been trying to figure out income producing activities for for our new estimator. We have a guy that’s transitioning to our estimator role and we’ve been trying to think of you know, income producing activities that he can do when he’s called all the people that need to be called and I think that’s one that we’re gonna add to the list you know, he just just go to the job you know, and record yourself talking about that job talk about ourselves and then tag yourself in the neck man. Mind blown man Eric that’s that’s a nugget right

there yourself. I mean, that’s the thing is like for me, it’s it’s about you know, getting the audience to know you get into like you, and just get them to trust you. If they see my face, if they see my truck in a video, they see my helpers in, and then you know, we’re creating a relationship. ship that, heck, I’m not directly having a conversation with them. But their create not their mindset is like, Okay, this is the type of person that I want come into my house, right? So that’s my goal is I want my face to be out there, I want their VC services to be out there, I’m going to show the neighborhoods that we’re in, I want to show the areas that we’re working in, I want to do a video on some of the jobs that we’re doing to see in shome. Show prospective clients what kind of work we do, and how it’s performed. And you know, a lot of times I will guide them back out, I typically try to close with, if you’d like to schedule an appointment, go to Derby, city services, calm, well on that then go website, they can book an appointment, then go back to the Facebook page, they can do their own thing, you know, and they can have their own site time with it and make a decision. Well, they’ve seen me they’ve seen the professionalism and the website. Let’s convert.

Wow, yeah, that’s,

I think videos a huge part of that success too. Because, you know, most commonly people post photos in Facebook groups. But that video adds that personal element of that personal touch, which like you alluded to it, it removes the sales friction, it’s not even sales at that point because you have a relationship so it’s just like Eric, tell me how much is this going to cost because I know that you’re my guy. And I trust you I’ve seen the videos seeing the website so you’re all these activities, it’s not only like pushing out your business to your prospective clients, but it’s it’s just tearing down any kind of barrier that that there could be and making you the obvious choice. So kudos on keeping up with the video I know that that’s a tough one to always you know, put yourself on camera and be confident and just get yourself out there like that. But Facebook’s algorithm too does you know it does favor video just it’s more interacted with.

So there’s no doubt on that phone up there and seeing your eyes go this way instead of this way and you know how your face is and but it’s just a matter of I just if you’re not if for the audience out there, if you’re not doing it, just do it. Have fun with it. Just you know you know just be yourself. it you know, be humorous, make light of the situation that you’re in just be real because that that’s my best advice be real be you show your audience who you are, have fun with it. And just go do it. If you make a mistake. It’s okay. Do it again. Yep, yep, you might get more viewership just by making the mistake because people think Gosh, what’s he doing but that person that’s looking at it for like I would never do that you know you’re saying

Yeah, yeah, it’s funny that that makes me think of a YouTube video I posted the other day I spent all this time editing it and all that and when I uploaded it to YouTube, I uploaded the unedited version so it was like 20 minutes long of me just trying to say the thing and then stopping and to go like you know and then saying it again and then just messing up and I got so many comments. He was almost and then I deleted that one and put up the real one but I got more comments on the one that I messed up on then the one is just hilarious

is hilarious like I wish that I could video myself trying to figure out how to use Tick Tock because my daughter was like you Dad You need to use Tick Tock like we can get this up and I was on a job site trying to figure out Tick Tock and I wish that I could actually do a Facebook video of me trying to figure out how to use Tick Tock that’s probably get more viewership than all my other videos just because it was like here’s this middle aged man trying to use any man trying to use Tick Tock what is going on

you know i don’t know much about Tick Tock but I’m sure there’s a way that we could get you as a jockey on a horse

that’s that’s the mission we we got that happen

man that that’s amazing. So just to follow up on that so when you do that on Facebook, make a video and post and check in in the neighborhood is that on your personal Facebook page or your business Facebook page?

It’s on my business page. Okay, I have my phone and I’ve got I check into my Derby City services Facebook and start rolling video. Okay, perfect. I love it great post and then send it out and you know like for me it’s like I get excited to you know use seeing what’s happening while we’re out on jobs you know, and it’s not it’s not uncommon to get messages while while we’re on the job site and asking people to come in and have us do estimates so

man that’s cool. I know this video I know that this podcast is for the viewers but I’m stealing that one that’s kind of selfish.

I’m gonna make it happen soon along. At one one like kind of like bigger level point that all this that makes me think about it. Is it to not forget that when you work in someone’s home, like that’s a sacred place of them, you know, they raised their family there, they might have kids, grandkids, whatever it may be, and you going that next level and creating video and being yourself being personal, being approachable, you know, that goes so far into getting the relationship and also being able to charge you know, premium rate for premium service. So, you know, just, I think it’s easy to forget kind of some core core thing of it, but the home is a sacred place to people, and they want someone in there that they can trust and what that strategy what that does, it just hits that home out of the park. So I commend you for that, that thing.

And I will say, I’m glad you brought that up, because when I do my videos, I’m very cautious of you know, I don’t want to advertise maybe that homeowner is not interested in having their home in the in the video. So a lot of times I will position myself whether I’m by my truck, or on the corner of a house when I’m when I’m running these videos, but I’m definitely not walking through the kitchen. And it’s Eric from Derby City services. And today we’re in the kitchen Oh, maybe

four or five

years back full of the client and also, you know, make it make it professional, but have fun with it.

Yep, yep, you know, I love that. You might run

into that client that says let’s do the video together asked today they go like ask him it’s instant. You know, it’s instant gratification. Instant opportunities. But it just it makes you feel good at the end of day. Yeah,

that just another point you mentioned was reviews and following up for reviews do use a CRM like Mark aid or Java or something like that.

Currently, I’m I have a I have a CRM, it’s just a symbol, it’s invoice heligan I manage all that through there but that’s the next step for me. You know, we’ve talked about Mark eight through our Facebook group with Alan and I really think that that’s going to be important for me as I take the next step in our business to categorize jobs and really have that back in Intel because right now it’s more manual for me and that’s time consuming. So I am that’s that’s that’s my that’s my plan is to shift over that before the end of the end of this year.

Okay and I asked because a lot of the many CRMs they have automatic review asked functionality so when an invoice is paid automatically shoots that client and email or text message asking for a Google review so it’s just an easy way to you know take that right off your plate


oh yeah unfortunately I’m I’m just playing the handyman in it and I’m hands on doing that stuff and sending out the text and and and I’ll send out thank you cards with another nudge in the thank you card is please go in and do review but what I found most effective is to send I will send a link from Google that takes them right to my review page because I don’t any type of like I want it to be as easy for them as possible

easy one button

yeah one button click let’s go to the review page here it is in and I’m just it make it easy like hey really thank you for giving us the opportunity to come out and do the work if you’re happy with our service. It would really help us because we like to find clients like you if you can go on onto Google and here’s a link to the Google review my Google review page and give us a review I’d really appreciate it and no people were i mean i people are just really nice and I’m very thankful for the reviews we have and you know we’re close into 25 reviews right now and they’re all five stars i you know i don’t i mean gosh it’s an honor to have all five star reviews so

that’s pretty amazing.

Yeah, pro tips you want to ask is best time to ask for reviews right when you’re leaving the project for leaving the house and just ask them right on the spot and be like you know I’m gonna send you a text message or an email and then before you pull out that driveway, you send it and that’s the most surefire way to to get that get that review. One thing I want to ask you mentioned thank you cards. Yeah, thank you cards for your clients.

I do my wife erred and say that

again, every single job

not every single job. That’s where I had to be more consistent the busier I’ve gotten. Some things have fallen by the wayside and that is one thing that I do not like that has fallen by the wayside, but every job doesn’t matter the size. I don’t discriminate, but also invest a little bit more money into it very high quality. Thank you guard. I’ve got some really thick cardstock material Do we have a nice logo on our thank you card. And we spent extra money for that because I mean, I think it just means a little bit more, it kind of stays in line with our professionalism of how we value the client. And what we want to portray our business model as

I love that, so you just had them printed at a local print shop and keep them keep on hand and you just manually Yes, write them out with your wife and

write them out, write them out and put another business card in there on the on our thank you card, it just has our Derby City services at the top has our name, our phone number and our website at the bottom in between there, that’s a space to be able to put what we want to say, and we personalize it based upon the job that we had. And we ask for referrals in that in that thank you card, and just really appreciate the opportunity to perform the work of their home.

Yep, it means a lot to have a handwritten thank you card. I mean, that’s, that’s important. And I think that’s something that, you know, as you grow, and we’ve talked about this a lot in our Business Builders group, you know, that stuff that if you delegate, you know, you can make sure that it gets done and not make sure it doesn’t get, you know, put behind you know, that’s something that you know, we have, we have a CSR that, you know, she handles, following up for review. So she follows up every two weeks after the job is done, she gives him a call, she sends him an email, this and that, then she sends it at that same time, she sends a thank you card, and then also birthday cards and things like that. So that might be something that be worth looking into down the road, you know, is kind of automating that with a person to do or I think you you I don’t know if you can, but you probably should be able to send that with Mark eight. You know, there’s lots of systems that Yeah, I assume but but there’s something about the handwritten one. Yeah, you know, man, for some,

I used to be in the direct mail business in the automotive advertising side. So we used to have a handwritten letter that was actually it was a machine written font, but it’s got a lot more open rate. And I do believe that the personalization with a handwritten letter, a handwritten note means a lot more to every, every client of every age, you’ve taken the time out to single them out. And thank them for the opportunity they gave you to come in and do the business and that’s really important. We take too many things for granted in this world. And this by simply saying thank you in another way means a lot to a lot of people and other people might look at the card whatever but you got to practice it make it make it make it a process.

Definitely, definitely so So Eric, what would you say kind of overall have been your biggest wins that you’ve experienced to get to where you are both in business and your personal life.

To get to where I am the biggest wins I would have to say this one I would say the big win for me is is willing to take this step of opening up this business and taking the risk of you know leaving a company as a corporation and you know, all the benefits that you want healthcare and and bonuses and vacation time. And then so taking the risk to open up my own business and just go all in and be successful. We’re you know, we’re going on two years now. And we’re going on two years that 80% of the two years have been in a pandemic. So it’s been very interesting from that respect, so that’s one of my biggest wins and I guess to couple with that is you know, I used to have stress about working in other businesses like stress about hitting the goals and hitting these sometimes unattainable numbers and with this grind to do it the stress that I have now running the business for me is it’s good stress I enjoy the challenges of the business I enjoy getting up and getting it done. We get to work on Sunday I’m in you know it you know, I’m always working right now and I understand that that’s the growth of the business and I’m willing to take that on but I really enjoy it I sleep better at night now working for myself than I did when I knew I was already getting paid from somebody else so

that’s awesome. So adversely what would you say has been some of the biggest struggles that you face throughout this whole process both in business and personal.

So the some of the biggest struggles is actually it can be the growth You know, I’m thinking that like you know, in the beginning I was great, we got these clients were round here we’re doing the business and now all sudden, you have multiple clients coming in and you’re trying to please clients the same way you were pleasing clients, when you’ve first started, because when you first started, you didn’t have a big book of business right away, you could do a repeat customer right away. And one of the biggest challenges for me is being able to fulfill the needs of my customers that were the entered into my business early on the same way now that I was able to then, and that’s part of the growth, you know, that’s a stress for me, I don’t like that I can’t get to certain customers for 30 days. I don’t like that. I can’t answer their phone call at 10 o’clock in the morning, because I’m on a job site that they’re going to have to wait and it’s going to have to go to voicemail. I don’t like that the phone’s ringing and it could be a number that I don’t recognize and it’s a prospective client. So those are the challenges and I’m willing to take those on and I think as a business owner you have to realize that you’re going to struggle even when you’re growing there’s a there’s an you’re you’re at one step here right you’ve grown you’ve grown Life is good you’re making money everybody’s happy you’re going out to lunch, you know you you get done early and and you start the day over again and it’s good now all sudden, you keep on growing you keep on growing and man you got quotes coming in from every which way the phone’s ringing, you got to get ready for the next job the next day, and good Gosh, it’s stressful. It is stressful. But I’m a firm believer that you have to keep on taking it as far as you can, as a small business owner until you realize that Okay, now I got to start in another layer. What a business you’re gonna have to you’re going to have to go as far as you can stretch yourself to the limits like kind of paddling upstream into some rough water right? smooth sailing at first all life is good now you get into some rough water and you got all different angles thrown at you. And how are you going to handle them? Are you just going to clam up give up and quit because those people will go away right no go away your phone You’re no fun to find Don’t try to find somebody else or are you going to accept the challenge and keep on going and if you’re if your goal is to grow then take it as far as you can to the extreme and say Alright, it’s time to add another person so for me that benchmark is very similar the way I started the business I knew that I couldn’t go full time until I had at least 60 days at work right? Okay, I needed 60 days I need a 60 day runway at least that’s how I looked at the numbers and thought that that was the best fit so as I stretched myself out in this business now it’s another money I want another 30 to 45 days of book business because I’ve got no problem generating handyman leads. So now it’s the next step of bringing in another qualified person that can handle this business and then we go get more business

Okay, so what’s that? What’s that next step then for you? Is it is it a technician? Is it an office manager? Have you have you thought about that next step to kind of you know, level up and hit that next level of growth? I think sounds like you’re kind of stretched right now am I right? you’re reaching the ceiling

I’m stretched down to that I’ve talked about this we’ve talked about virtual assistants weigh the options in the business that we’re in right now with with doing a lot of handyman work and I have a couple multi day projects that are on the books it’s like well another handyman know working another 30 to 40 hours a week would be good but the phones to ring and that and the thank you cards need to be taken care of. So you know the first step more realistically for me is to get that assistant right you know the 10 to 15 our employees that are you know i contract a virtual assistant will be really helpful and that can handle some of those admin needs. So that’s going to be the next step for me before I can I can take I want to take that off my plate and know that that stuff is taken care of and making manage my schedule a little bit better for me and I can be more in the field and then take the next step of the next handyman Come on.

Awesome. Yeah, from our conversation I kind of had had in the back of my mind I was like it sounds like Eric needs like someone to help with the phones and follow ups because you like being in the field. So it’s good to have that flexibility to as you look navigating growing your business, like what do I want to keep? Because I enjoy it. Right? So that’s that’s great. I I have a question about that so I love I’m a huge advocate of like kind of like the niche service within the handyman service so yours is duct cleaning dryer vent cleaning. I got I guess I have a couple questions here one, what would you say the percentage break out of handyman tasks versus duct and dryer vent cleaning? And how would you kind of pitch that to another handyman? Like hey, you should consider you know, really having a focus on dryer vent cleaner and duckling like how does that work for your business?

So it’s work the duct cleaning has worked for my business because I’ve been able to have a helper if you’re going to be a painting man, this is going to run a one man show than duct cleaning businesses is not going to be possible for you. And about 30% of our business is the duct cleaning work. You definitely it definitely is definitely a two man job. So you know and then the handyman side is a lot of days can be a one man job. Fortunately, my helper has the flexibility to say hey, I’m fine not working today. And so you know but most of us I want you there like if we’re if we’re doing ladder work if we’re it’s just great to have an another person who understands my my work ethics and one understands my work process that he literally is there picking up tools cleaning up he sees ahead of what we need to have done so that’s beneficial but I would say that if you’re if you’re going to get in the business yet and you want to do cleaning service in addition to handyman you definitely need to have somebody else that is committed to the to helping you run that operation

so it’s it should be looked at as a service if you want to scale and kind of have that run itself because it is it is like systematize it’s pretty straightforward once you train somebody in it

in the duct cleaning business to it’s very competitive. There’s a lot of companies out there offering that service and you’ll see them in a range from you know, these guys out there that market duct cleaning, they’ll do nine vents for 299 well good gosh, you and I know that from an operations we can’t pull up a truck with two people in there and do a $300 job it’s gonna take you four hours. So you know and i’ll get calls about that and I just kind of share that with with customers the same way I have to share with you I can’t afford to bring a truck to your house for $300 in two min and spend four hours cleaning night events at your house. So maybe we’re not a good fit. So yeah, and and and then you know, take it from there, but the duct cleaning work that we do. You know, it’s good quality business, it leads to handyman projects, or to attic insulation. There’s an opportunity to market yourself with doing duct cleaning work and offering an including a dryer vent replacement as well too. It’s not very often that we go out and just do a dryer vent cleaning for someone it’s complemented with the handyman service for the cleaning service.

Paul Pacheco pjp handyman we had him on one of our first episodes very first first steps. And he has a dryer vent cleaning like business alongside his handyman company and he upsells both like they work so well together having this like repeatable niche service where he has trained a guy or two that they do all the dryer vents. And of course raise awareness for their handyman services. Vice versa, the handyman services Hey, everyone needs their dryer vent clean once they do, right everyone needs cleaned at some point. So you know kind of hitting on a previous point of what you excel at is relationship. So you get in there and do that handyman job which from a marketing perspective is also cheaper, less competition, like you know duct cleaning, there’s people spending crazy money in metro areas trying to get all the duct cleaning. Big that’s all they do. And they do it you know, at a rates you can’t compete with but when you have the relationship as the Home Improvement specialist is the handyman and you tell you they know you do duct cleaning your i would i would wager your ideal clients, some of your best clients, they’re gonna have you do the duct cleaning and the dryer vent cleaning even though it’s going to be more expensive. And so they do I think that those two work, they work so well together because people need verify they have a dryer vent. They have ducks, they need some cleaning. Yeah,

I remember that. I was I remember listening to a podcast, but pjp on there in the first in the episode and he’s right. I mean, and that’s what I don’t think is emphasized enough is that having your dryer vent clean is super important. It’s a fire hazard as the number one risk of house fires in America, and that’s statistically speaking, so the numbers don’t Why from that respect and it is reoccurring revenue it’s an annualized opportunity to be in a home it should be complemented with changing the batteries in your smoke detectors. I am guilty of not changing my Jarvan every year you know do we change the batteries and a smoke detector every year? No I’m a handyman and I own a dryer vent cleaning company we did not do it regularly. Now we do it all the time. And I’ve been into homes that I can tell you that it’s amazing that they have not caught fire because the obstructions that are in these jar events and the first the first response that homeowner say is they call and say well we’re thinking about getting a new dryer right it’s not working very good you know it’s taking like four cycles to go through and I can’t get my drop my clothes broken make sense to go get a dryer right? No timeout let us come out and look at it and inspect it before you do that in fact I’ll you know I’ll tell them like hey, before I get there go outside and stick your hand out there by the vent you feel much air coming through no not really okay chances are it’s plugged right I like to have them self diagnose it first that makes them feel good and so we go out there and and I’ve had it and several situations customers call me back and they’re like thank you because they were ready to go spend $850 on a new you know new drug and all it was was you know $175 fix and the jars got several years so

yep yep and yeah the other thing is right that I mean it is a huge fire risk right but the thing is like efficiency wise like your dryer is having to work so hard to you know pump all that exhaust out you know when you clean that out the dryer is gonna run smoother you’re gonna have less electricity being used or less gas being used depending if it’s gas or electric and overall your equipment is going to last a whole heck of a lot longer.

Absolutely yeah they they’ve awesome lives off of that dryer but we can we can keep running a little bit longer

for sure for sure

one one point I want to I want to point out that Eric said was the annual recurring revenue from that people need to clean once a year so that’s another benefit you know looking into a CRM free Eric is that you can you can tag people and you just ask him like hey do you mind if we call you every year and we’ll just make sure we get this taken care of on the schedule I personally I have a I have a pellet stove and there’s this company every year they come right before winter season actually in July when they’re super slow they come and they clean it all out they clean my dryer vent and originally started because on his way out after the first year we said hey, do you mind if we call you and we just take care of this every year it’s something that should be done every year I was like that’s awesome and so then every year now I call me up and they say when can we put you on the schedule they get me on a schedule and they get the chuck nice so the same thing can be done for dryer vent cleaning

or Venice so you know and then I think there’s there’s also opportunities what I’ve what I’ve discovered is that the handyman side I feel like now that been in the business for almost two years I’m in a house probably once a quarter if not more so the CRM would allow you to send those those email updates and reminders How do you know remember there’s things on the list is your checklist growing again kind of thing? Or is your you know your honey do list is it starting to get long again? Or is it I think there’s a way like I haven’t figured it out yet but I mean in my house my wife has a honey do list because I’m kids so I’m trying to think of a humorous way that would be like you know if your honey is not doing the honey do list let this let this guy come in and take care of this for you know something like that to play off of again just to like make somebody laugh right about it and then get it done.

Quarter in a way in a sense handyman services it’s a reoccurring revenue because we pulled a bunch of handyman and it’s once every three months. Someone needs needs repair done so you know add dryer vent cleaning on top of that, it’s you have the the reoccurring revenue there with your commodities, they’re just a matter of how do you you know, do that quarterly email or text blasts? Or how is that worded, that it’s approachable and not invasive? Because at the end of day, you’re just trying to help people. You’ve got a business of course that’s there to help them.

Yeah. And

all things come into play, right? Because all right, well, they had me in their budget for this quarter right now. I had we did 15 things and they have 10 other things that they needed to have done but at that time, they didn’t have a budget but we know it’s going to come up next quarter right or we’ve talked about it and we’ve talked about you know they want to change out their sink or they wanted to put in a new bath You’re in vanity or they wanted to put hardwood flooring in the basement so those things are always there and I think it’s super important to have that CRM and rather than just your notes from the estimate and the notes on the side because I’ll forget about them and you know there’s there’s a lot of revenue sitting in my little invoice home tool right now that I go back and I look at the tickets and and I have all their I’ve got all their email addresses and and all their phone numbers and it’s uh you know it’s it’s a pipeline for you what other things feeding pipelines I was on the phone with a customer the other day and she said my kids they have several things to their house and I’ve already cleaned it condemned the deck cleaning at this house I’ve been handyman punch list of this house. And she said you know, they have a new faucet they need to have taking put in they have ceiling fan that hasn’t been put in. I think I’m just going to give him like a gift of ours from you to have this work. That’d be a great Christmas gift. So I got me thinking about like a handyman gift card, you know, to be able to give somebody Yeah, is Hey, you bought you bought two hours from Derby City services, I’m giving this to you to get these things done. So

like handyman credit or handy credit, right? handy credit is somewhere you can go

and write it down.

So Eric, looking forward, you know, what are your goals, say, a year from now, two years from now, three years from now? What kind of things what kind of growth Do you want to see what kind of difference Do you want to see in your business.

So for me, within the next year, I want to have another full time handyman. And I would like to have a full time cleaning crew. So I still want to spend time as an owner operator out in the field, doing work, but I also want to have the ability to scale my business up. You know, fortunately, I’m able to take many vacations now. But I want to be able to take and say hey, we’re going we’re gone for about a week and a half we’re going two weeks and have your business run and have my business and just know that you know the majority of is not stopped. So that’s really important for me to to scale up the business. And then if you if I look at it, three years from now 12 to 15 employees like minded individuals who are mechanically inclined out there performing handyman work in the field based upon the current customer base that we have, and then incentivize them to go out and retain or attain new business as well to buy marketing marketing ourselves too. So I want to grow this business, I want to keep on growing it but also want to maintain our core values of being professional, responsive, you know, overly friendly to our customers and know that that customer likes us they trust us when they come in, they can leave the key under the doormat, they can give us their their code to the door to get it entry access. Those are really important to me a model that after my father’s company they haven’t had to do hardly any advertising since 1962 I mean it’s been the back church bulletins and the Better Business Bureau has always referred them you know, I think the most money they’ve ever spent is on Angie’s List. So you know that that type of reputation has taken them a long way. So I look at those those morals those values, and I respect that and and I you know I want the people that that work for me, we have a good time we work hard, I respect their time, they respect my time. I try to minimize stress work stress on the job site. And you know, I think there’s too many things that life brings on for people that are stressful. And companies create a lot of stress within a work environment. So I’ve learned over my years that I want to minimize that and just create you know, a great work environment where people can work hard. We have a goal in mind and belief in fulfilling the needs of our customers while fulfilling the need of us going out and carrying on and doing that service.

That’s awesome. And what what goals do you have to kind of get to that point.

So for me on goals, it’s going to be number one, I’m going to need that assistant has to come in place right so from a are you talking when you say goals you’re talking about like

Yeah, I just realized I worded that kind of kind of weird What? What steps are you taking to get to those goals. That’s the way I should have said it. Sorry about that. We got

Well, first step is for me right now it’s kind of working myself out of like these other jobs that I’m that, you know, I’m selling like, I can’t be everywhere in everybody and I need to sell enough business to take and hire that next step person in, I’m looking within within the area of rovol here to find the ideal candidate that would be someone who is semi retired that is mechanically inclined, that has general carpentry skills that just wants to work, you know, 15 to 20 hours a week start out with or, you know, there’s a lot of kids now that college isn’t for them, right? And they are going to trade schools, or they still haven’t figured it out. And I don’t I would like to see, you know, a young young young man in his late teens, early 20s, you know, come on in and take the bull by the horns and, and have some good skill sets and wanting to learn, because there’s a lot of value in what we do. There’s a lot of value in the trade industry, right? But there’s not enough professional handyman out there. I’ve talked to many general contractors and they say the same thing. They’re like, we don’t have anybody do these punch lists, there’s a ton of big time general contractors out there and those guys they don’t want to deal with small jobs. And there’s so many small jobs out there that you know, there’s plenty to go around. So that’s really my next steps is is to find, you know, the next full time handyman, get an assistant really sell myself out to where I can’t, I can’t do any more jobs within a certain time period and then bring the next person in.

So something that comes to mind that we’ve we’ve heard now quite a few times is check out your local like fire departments and EMTs that work couple 24 hour shifts, and they’ve got four or five days off and they’re looking for part time work. I mean, how many guys now we talked to you that there’s been three or four Yeah, that’s how they have found this, you know, prime part timer that is mechanically inclined, good character. So just maybe a potential thing, that’s a great

idea. And I remember way back in the day, I thought about doing that we did at the time, but it was like, I couldn’t afford him. Now we’re in a different position, you know, so and I feel like the guidance of being able to put a job description down through the Business Builders class has really helped me in focus on number one, what our daily rates are needing to be looking at, looking at the business plan, and looking at the overall profile, the candidates and the person that we want to bring on. I’m much more structured than I was, in the beginning days in the beginning is like, let’s just go find somebody right now. It’s Yeah, we’re a strategic plan in place.

It’s all about getting better every day.

Yeah, no, absolutely. Yeah, no. And I’ll plug for Alan because I I have no incentive but like the Business Builders 100 so we work with a handful guys there and I can tell you 100% of the people we work with that are in Business Builders, they’re just they’re crushing it like they’re learning they’re growing together it’s an awesome group. I’ve been blessed to be a part of a couple coaching sessions there and so yeah, handyman journey Business Builders. There you go, Alan, I have no shame for plugging that one because it’s been I’ve just heard great things from the guys in there and witnessed it myself, the the growth and the learning and the just a community that that you get from like minded individuals. I know, Eric so it is,

it’s fantastic. Because, you know, we collaborate with one another couple times a month, in our in our weekly videos, and our conference or zoom calls. But, you know, I also know that we can all reach out to each other anytime. There’s times, you know, when we’re in the field, it’s like, gosh, what am I doing? and other days, it’s like, it’s glory, right? It’s so awesome. And then the next day will come and it’s just like this up and down roller coaster. And it’s, it’s rewarding to get into the Facebook group, and share. Share your stories, share your challenges, share your success, and know that there’s that opportunity out there to, to keep going and do great things feel good about yourself and, and, you know, be fulfilled by taking care of needs that other people have that need to be taken care of.


you’re not alone. It’s business ownership can feel like a very lonely lonely endeavor.

But even when you’ve been doing it for a few years, you know, it’s good to have a group Yeah, it’s very lonely. Yes. So it’s good to be in community and that that brings up you know, we do have a handyman Success mastermind group on Facebook, which is, you know, people from this podcast everyone who comes on this podcast joins that Facebook group. So everyone that’s ever been on a podcast is in that group. And you guys as viewers get access to that Facebook group to ask them questions to commune and it’s really a great place just to, you know, find camaraderie and you know, grow, grow your knowledge around business and marketing. So I would highly recommend check that out. The link for that is in the description of this video. But I think it’s about time to kind of wrap up we’re right now at about an hour. You want to you want to take us home, Jason?

Oh, well, like yeah, so with that being said, Eric, last piece of advice or tips to somebody that you know, is new or just starting out, they’re thinking about starting a handyman business, what would you say to them your parting words, if you will.

So if you think you can go do it, go do it. Take the risk, take the chance, and go out there and make it happen.

Awesome. Yeah. And of course, knowing your parameters, you know, with Eric, it was, you know, 60 days booked out. I recall, you know, pjp handyman. He’s, uh, he must make an impression on people I keep remembering him. But, you know, he had six months of savings, I believe. Yeah, that was his kind of trigger. So you know, set that and then stick to it and when it happens,

make it happen. Go do it.

Ain’t nothing to it, but to do it.

There you go. There you go.

Alright guys, well, hey, Eric. Thank you, man. It’s been an honor to it’s been so awesome to have you on this was an amazing conversation, the knowledge bombs that were dropped. So thank you for opening up about your story about your business. The details behind that Facebook and the video like, man that’s is very generous of you. So we appreciate you sharing that and you know, I’ve no doubt that the positive ripples and effects that it’s going to have on people watching and listening is just going to be huge. So thank you again.

Jason. Thank you guys so much for having me on. It’s been it’s been awesome. Thank you.

All right. Well, thank you guys for tuning in. Join the handyman success Facebook group and we will see you on the next episode.

See you later guys. You guys. Bye bye.