Episode 9: Keith Donahue, Doctor Fix-It

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About this episode

Keith Donahue, Owner of Doctor Fix-It, shares his handyman success story. From leaving his job on a gut feeling, to growing from $160K in 2020 to $500K+ in 2021, and everything in between. Topics discussed are marketing, operations, estimates, hiring, and more.

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Audio Transcription

Hey friends welcome to the next episode of the handyman success podcast. We are super excited to have you here. I am one of the CO hosts Allen lead joined by Jason call. And we are here basically to share the stories of successful handyman business owners in light to help teach and, and inspire you guys to do better and get out there and make a difference in this world. Today we are joined by Keith Donna who Donohue. Keith, you want to go out and introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about your business and where you’re located.

Hey, guys, this is Keith Donohue from New Jersey. I run Doctor fix it. And I started this handyman business. Just because everybody said they couldn’t find a guy to do small jobs. So now I’m that guy.

Awesome. What year did you start?

So it was 2002. I’m on 2018. Okay, awesome. Awesome. So, August 2018.

Okay, so about three years, three years in business in

2019? Excuse me, 2019. Two years in

business, okay? Over two years. Okay, that’s it, that’s pretty fast track you’re on. So on that note, if you could kind of, you know, share with with our listeners, like where you’re at now in your business. So you know how many guys you have working for you maybe what kind of roles that they’re in. If you have an idea of like your projected like revenue for this year, or if you know the last year just so we could put a pin in where you’re at now before we start digging into how you got to where you are now.

Okay, so right now I have four guys plus me. So it’s five total. Right now I am projected to do over a half a million dollars before the end of year. Awesome. I didn’t have five guys. You’re all year though. So I think it was probably I was roughly two to three guys most of the year. And now I’m kind of getting up to the two, four guys. It’s kind of hard finding guys that will stick around or guys that know what they’re doing.

So when you say guys, do you have? Are they all technicians? Or what are their roles in the business?

So I have a foreman who is my lead carpenter. And he can do I can put him on anything. He can do anything. I have a professional painter. I have another carpenter. That’s pretty good. He’s not as good as my top one. But he’s raised very good. I have a helper. And then it’s me.

Okay, so it sounds like you’ve kind of hired people that are like, do certain things rather than one person that does everything? How has that worked out? I mean, what does that like?

It’s tough. Um, so my lead guy I could put on any job. Um, the other corporator I could probably put him on 90% of the jobs 95% of jobs. The painter can only do painting and he does some concrete work. And then the helper he is we call a tech and training. So we I call him a junior tech. So we have Junior Techs technicians, lead technicians and and a foreman there the company positions that I created for the guys in the field.

Okay, is there a certain like what kind of work do you focus on anything in particular obviously got a painter so you must must get a lot of do a lot of painting but is it all kind of across the board handyman stuff and what kind of work are you guys Fielding?

So last year we took on anything, anything that broke, we went fixed it this year, I’m kind of concentrating on a lot of interior stuff. So it could be bathroom remodels. Doing taking out an old tile shower, just free doing a shower, drywall repairs, painting. Deck repairs, deck staining, fence repairs, like you know storm comes through blows down the fence, we’ll do fence repairs. Just basic maintenance stuff or repair stuff that needs to get done. We don’t really get into like heavy remodels or anything like that. But just basic repairs, prepping homes for sale is a huge one. A lot of people don’t advertise for that. I advertise for prepping for homes. My name is out there. We get a lot of phone calls. We’re doing at least one or two a month. That’s awesome. You know, a decent ticket. Okay,

so that it’s not like a full like couple days like going into a home and just doing a beat.

We have a week to a week and a half with the full crew.

Wow. Wow. Okay, what would you say your your average, like Job size is like in terms of dollars per job? Like what would what would your typical dollars per work order be?

Um, it varies. So 1500 to

  1. Okay, around that. Okay. Yeah.

I’m curious to so with yourself and then four, guys? Are you splitting up into a couple different crews most days? Or do you go off and do like some stuff on the you can do? Or how does the logistics work of managing that?

That’s a great question. So, my lead guy, I can put him on anything. So when there’s smaller jobs will split up and the helper will go where we need an extra set of hands. So like, this week, we have, you know, a flooring job, there’ll be two of us on the flooring job tomorrow, we had some repair and painting on the exterior, and interior painting. So I had to help her and my lead guy on that job. And then we had a painting job and another Township, where I had, it was one guy, and then two guys, at one time painting a kitchen and a dining room. So there was basically three to four jobs. There’ll be five jobs total this week, and most of them were one to two day jobs. Okay, so it’s constantly flowing floating around.

So you guys do people? Yeah. Okay. What if we don’t mind digging into a little bit more like the the staff? Because I know a lot of people are trying, like, how the heck do I get four guys? And then, you know, I mean, Keith is doing this interview too, from the Home Depot parking lot like a true a handyman business. I want to shout that out. Yes. So is there a reason why? So most people that we’ve talked to they have, like someone by now, like a dedicated customer relations person to answer the phone, emails and things like that? How is how does that work? And is there a reason why, like, do you do that yourself? And is there a particular reason why you know, that is so and you just have the technicians.

So here’s the thing. I’m still setting up processes to how my technicians should communicate with the customer, what they do, like how to do drywall jobs still open up my app, we use Mark eight. And if they’re doing drywall, I have the process that we do our drywall with, as far as laying down the tarps to cleaning up taking photos before and after it, you know, every time the drywall job comes up, the same checklist goes out if they’re doing painting, the same checklist. So I’m trying to dial that in. So I can scale up next year have more technicians. By next year, I do want a customer service relationship relations person in there and a manager to run it this way and concentrate on getting more work. And then finding a sales guy that I can hold, get him in our group and get a move in this wagon kind of move into my next step of this process.

Okay, so you’re primarily just trying to stay in the game and like document everything into march toward Yeah.

Okay, so are you currently the one taking all the phone calls and all the emails right now?

Yes. And I’m I’m doing okay. Last year, I was really good at it. I got back to people within a day to 48 hours. This year, I’m struggling because the the volume of calls right now. You know, I use Jason steel on my handyman website, which I you know, helped me out tremendously. And I have other sources that I use for leads, so I can’t even keep up right now. So I would suggest getting a customer service person to help out or a secretary or someone to run the office. It would help but I’m not at the point where I want to do that right now. Because I don’t have enough steady guys that show up all the time. That right there is a full time job just hiring and keeping guys Going as a full time job.

Okay, so you’re gonna go ahead, sorry, you’re

gonna go through a lot of people. You’re like from when I first started I bet your went through six, seven guys, maybe eight guys, that just you’re gonna have guys that come in and say they can do I can build a house and they can’t. Hmm. So then I’m sure you guys have seen it too. People oversell themselves. So that’s like a tough thing that I’m struggling with right now.

Definitely, definitely people talk a good talk, but you don’t actually know till you get them on the, on the books to see how they work. So definitely, definitely. Hey, Keith, Could you walk us through kind of the history of when you started this business? And kind of what, what brought you to this point? How’d you get started?

So I guess we all say the same thing for freedom. But it’s not freedom. Yeah.

You haven’t found that yet? Yeah, I know. People are still looking for it

from the Home Depot

market. Yeah. So here’s the thing. I, I was sick of working for people sick of taking orders. And I’m like, Well, you know, I was working full time. And I was like, let me start this on the side. So I started my business. And I started getting work. And I’m like, wow, this is pretty cool. And, you know, I’m doing Angie’s List, I’m doing a home advisor or, you know, whatever it was, whatever app I could do to get me work. I did it. Then I joined a handyman group. And then you know, you listen to the other guys in Air and Air giving me ideas. And then it’s a website and I, you know, had this cool website. And it was horrible. But it was cool to me because it was mine. And then, you know, it’s just at that point. I think I landed my first really big job to me, which today, I probably wouldn’t even have done it for that price. Knowing my numbers now. But and I was like, you know, this is pretty cool. I could make, you know, a decent living. And I just went into work one day, and I called my wife. I said, I think I’m going to quit at lunch. Oh, wow. She was like, No, we’ll talk about it. So I caught her like 20 minutes there. I said 100 What my way home? She said what? I said, Yeah, my own boss. I laughed at me. I called the guy like, at the end of the day, I say, you know, I’m just letting you know, I left. I’m not coming back. What happened when I started my business a while ago, and I just want to go for it. And that was probably a year and eight months ago. Wow. Wow. So

that was your job when

I was a machinist? Okay, okay, CNC machinist. So I was always a lead form in a lead guy on, you know, just, you know, I can make anything out of metal. So I did that most of my life. So blueprint reading all that stuff from you stole that stuff, building stuff. I built offices when I was younger cafeteria. So I had some experience before I got into this. But so bringing us back to me walking out. I was money big and bad. I had a weak backlog. I was ready to hit the world. Well, the next day I started getting scared. So

what did I do? I quit.

I had a paycheck. Why did I quit? But that was over a year and a half year and six months ago, something like that. I haven’t looked back. I mean, it’s been crazy. So if you want to see as far as how crazy it is, I can share numbers if you

want. Yeah, right on. Yeah, we’d

love to. Okay, so

the first year, my account says then you were profitable, profitable. How do you consider profit? You’d have it’s what I put into this business. You made $5,000. I said, What? That was my gross sales. It was right around 5000. That was my first year in business. And it was only a couple months. You know, by the time I open it, got it going. Got my first couple jobs. It was right around five $6,000. Something like that. So your two that was last year in a box. I was at 140 right around there. This year. I’m projected to do over a half a million. Right now. I’m at close to breaking 400 now. Wow. 400,000.

That’s fantastic. And how many? How many people did you have working for you last year when you hit that 140? Me the helper. Really? Okay. Wow. And so So would you would you say that that growth from 140 to five has been just because of the addition of people or have you started taking on bigger Have you changed your pricing? What would you attribute that to?

It’s a couple things. So knowing your numbers, and this is to all the new guys out there. Don’t be the $50 an hour guy. Hmm, I did it last year, the year before. This year, I said, I’m not doing it. I would go out, try to make that extra 50 bucks. 75 bucks. It’s not worth it. You’re killing yourself working all these hours for $75. Well, if your truck breaks down, you get a flat tire. Something goes wrong. That’s $75 doesn’t cover anything. No, your numbers, your numbers. And my so here’s an example right here. I had a I had a paint job last year in January. And I quoted $1,200 She cancelled because it COVID She called me up. She was like, Can you do that painting? Absolutely. I get every quote the job though. She was like why I said it was over a year ago. My numbers changed. So that was $1,200. I went and quoted Senator quote last night $1,900 Know your numbers you go.

There you go. That’s awesome. That’s really fantastic. Do you mind sharing what your hourly rate is right now or hourly need? You might share that. I

think it’s low. And it’s getting ready to go up again. At 750 an hour.

Okay. Okay, at 750. Nice.

And so we always like talk about the pricing journey, I think is what we’ve called it. So you know, you mentioned kind of being a $50 an hour guy. If you don’t mind kind of walking walking us through, like where you started with your with your pricing and estimating and how you did it and, and to now like, how do you look at estimating and pricing and like, how would you quote a job today?

Okay, so when I first started, I think I was at 60 bucks an hour. I was like, Wow, man, 60 bucks an hour. That’s way more than I make now. I was making 34 I was like, wow, that’s a lot of money. I could do a lot of wealthy now. You’re not a liability, all that stuff at the end of the year. 60 is nothing. I raised it up to 65. Then I think I joined the the the handyman group with you guys. I think I went up to 75. Then last year, I went up to 85. I mean at some 50 I am thinking about talking about going around 100 bucks an hour because I was talking to another handyman and he said he’s right around 100 bucks an hour. I’m probably before the end of year I’ll jump up again.

Nice. Yeah,

I think you could do it, man.

Oh, there’s guys out there way more than me. Oh, yeah.

Yeah. So I know, just because we work together. You talked kind of like before we started here about you know, a lot of jobs you have to show up to and and check it out yourself to do that quote. So what are you doing to kind of minimize your time spent going out and giving estimates. And like, I know, you promote people to text, you email you photos, and you try and get as many photos as you can. So you know, can you talk us through like what you try and do there? And just some maybe some hiccups and why you have to go and see some jobs over the others?

Yeah, absolutely. So the key thing is, is when a customer contacts us through our website, I try to get all their information. So I have it their address, phone number, email, that is all worth a lot of money to get their information for marketing later. But then the other thing is they’ll give you a description of what they need done. But I’d take it a step further. And I’ll leave that on my voicemail. Say if if you want faster service, go to our website, do this and send photos if we don’t have photos, it will take longer. So anyway, it says Send photos, I can call them up when I’m in my truck and say hey, yeah, I sold that I sold this. I think this job is probably going to be around 800 to $1,100. If you know and this is where the shampoo comes in. You know, I think we could do it for that price. If you’re okay with those numbers after we talk and get to know each other. They don’t go out. But that’s jobs I’m really comfortable on. There’s some jobs that you have to go out and see. So I look at the photos and kind of have a number in my head. But I’m not really sure so I gotta go look at the job. And that happens a lot. It’s about 5050 on what you have to see and what you don’t because I you know, even though you’re kind of losing money, if you’re not charging to go see this job, and you’re hmm I’d rather lose that hour. They lose 20 or 30 hours because I quoted wrong.

Right. Right. So

So you know, get a free estimate, or do you have any kind of charge that you add on, you know, if they do accept or

so on the on the jobs that I know my numbers, and I give them a solid number, you know, that’s gonna be $1,000 to do that. They still want me to come out. Yeah, I’ll charge 100 for the dollars to come out. I don’t do that on every job. I’m not comfortable with that yet. But next year, yes, we will be charging for estimates.

Okay. Cool. Cool. Awesome. So can you walk us through like some of your, you know, throughout business, some of your biggest wins that you’ve experienced in business? And you’ve been in for? I mean, surprisingly, you just started up in August of 2019. And you’re already almost at a half a million. That’s absolutely amazing. Do you mind kind of sharing with us some of your biggest wins, both in business and personal that you’ve experienced through this year and a half?

biggest win is, it’s great when you get recommended on like social media websites, or you know, referred by a friend. But now that it’s happening all the time, it just feels good. And you know, you’re doing something right. Yeah, I was recommended by this person. You know, that’s, that’s a huge win. Regardless, if it’s you or another technician that did it. We know we’re doing something right. You know, with our company. Because we have high standards. My guys don’t get away with anything, I treat them very well. I pay them very well. But I expect top notch service for my customers. So

that’s awesome. That’s fantastic. Yeah,

I definitely think you need to be at least $100 an hour, man. Got the high quality of the output, you got to take care of your your employees.

Well, actually, we’re this year, we’re going to be offering health insurance. Oh, cool. Prices will be going up? Probably within the next month or two?

Hey, that’s a good question. Because that came up on the last podcast, who do you talk to when you want to? You know, start offering medical insurance? Who do you who do you talk to, to figure that out and get that set out? My wife? For you, you asked your wife and she pointed you in the right Oh, that’s awesome. He

found some, there was a state run program for New Jersey that offers medical insurance for small businesses. So here in Jersey, you need a minimum of two people on the policy to get insurance. So I found something pretty decent. Well, I think it’s pretty good for me and my employees. So this way, they’re comfortable, they won’t go broke if something happens. And you know, they’re happy. And I know it’s scary in the beginning. But that’s the only way you’re going to get these top, you know, eight players. If you don’t have something to offer these guys, they’re not going to come to us, you know what I mean? Right, I’m looking to grow this company fast.

Do you offer any other benefits for your, for your employees? Or is it will be we’ll just be the first one?

No, so we we offer paid reviews, if you get a review, through Google, Facebook or anything your name has to be in there, it’s five bucks a review. Okay. I’m trying to implement working on details with my forming right now. A bonus program where just say it’s a 50 hour job. And it’s been in talks for like three months, and we’re trying to figure it out where it doesn’t affect quality. Let’s just say you have a 50 hour job. The guy finishes in 40 he gets paid for the 50 even though he only worked 40. Right? What we’re worried about his guys cutting corners to make more money, and the customer pays for it. So we’re trying to come up with something that, you know, if the guy cuts corners, you know, he’s held like to a strict standard and possibly loses his job if he

cuts corners. Yeah, I mean, that would happen if you’re quick.

But I don’t want the customers being taken advantage of just to make money.

Right? Right. Yeah, that would have tricky that would have to be tied into like comeback ratio. You know, like, if that if that job turns into a comeback. You’re not going to get that extra 10 hours. You know what I mean?

Yeah, I forget my policy. It’s either to two comebacks or three comebacks in a six month period or something like that. I have to look it up.

Hmm. Yeah, makes sense. Sounds like that. Some that you would definitely need to implement for sure.

I want to ask, if you don’t mind sharing on the like the health insurance side, what kind of cost is that? Like is it for per employee? I know you said to minimum if you can kind of shed a little light on that for people that might be interested

Yeah, absolutely. So the plan we were looking at, it’s for, and it’s pretty crazy because they do go by age, and they charge you by age. So if you’re 4445, they charge you this much. If you’re 25, you’re down here. So it’s pretty crazy, pretty crazy how they do that. But it if the employer does 5050, like I am, the plan I picked out for single guys or single girls, it would be roughly about 400 A month 400 For me, 400 for the employee, and that would come out of their check, probably weekly, I wouldn’t hit them all at once. But I’m looking for a plan where it’s a low deductible, or no deductible. And then I think the max out of pocket was like three grand or 3500, or something like that. So it was a pretty good plan.

Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve had to look at health insurance stuff, but that sounds on par with something, at least pretty decent. So

some of them I saw were like seven, eight grand out of pocket max. And I’m like, you know, a normal personal go broke over this. So I didn’t want to offer that.

Yeah, I do, like the health is locked out topic. But like, you know, the health bracket. I mean, it’s logical, it’s kind of it seems a little messed up. But like, at my corporate job, you know, I paid the same rate as the guy who was going in for all kinds of stuff on a regular basis, you know, and it was just one big pool rather than something a little bit more unique to

now, I don’t know if that’s for only for smaller companies. Probably they do that. You know, they say there’s there shouldn’t be age discrimination. And I brought it up, I’ll say, are you asking our age to discriminate against us?

So if you’re talking, so it’s $400? They you have to pay per employee? Correct. So that’s $1,600 per month that comes out of your 400 a month by Toby but 404.

So two, I think to my guys needed two guys don’t need

it. Oh, I see. Okay, so for the two guys. Okay, I got you, and it’s 400 bucks that they have to pay out of pocket as well. And does that just come out of their paycheck? They’re half high for

me. So I would have the payroll company take care of that. I don’t know. Okay, I just email my payroll guy, which I met through BNI. They take care of my payroll, and any questions with paychecks or anything, just email me he handles it, just send it over me, I’ll take care of it. Now, typically, with payroll companies, they do charge you per transaction. So if there’s child support, or health care, or you know, this or that payments coming out, they charge you so much per transaction or whatever. But it’s it’s not that bad. I know it seems a lot, but at the end of the day, you don’t we’re not an accountant. We don’t do payroll. So let’s learn it. does it handle it?

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I heard you mentioned BNI. Do you mind explaining for our listeners? What BNI is? And and are you involved in it? And how long have you been involved in it? What things?

So I joined BNI, just just when COVID happened, okay. And last year. So BNI is a business networking group. It’s all over the US. I think it’s global, actually. So I can call up different chapters in my area, sit in on meetings and find new customers. So it’s a referral based program where, like, in my current chapter, there’s a realtor, there’s a electrician, there’s a painter, a mortgage guy insurance guy. So out of my chapter, I think I did roughly about 35 to $40,000. Last year. Wow. And

how much did investment? Yes, 600 bucks a year? Six. Wow. That’s a good ROI. Yeah.

And that’s probably the charge. Yeah. So I’m a huge advocate of networking, personal networking. So BNI is Chamber of Commerce. I think that they’re massively underutilized in the trade industry as a whole. And I think 100% Maybe 99.9% underutilized by handyman. Keep being the point 1% That’s actually getting out there joining the BNI. Well, Matt, but there’s so much opportunity there with creating that personal referral network.

But that that all goes back to the handyman group that I joined with Alan, so all the guys on there, even the I don’t want to say old timers because they’re old. I’m just saying old timers has been in business for a while. Most of those guys will tell you hey, I joined this when I first started. I did Angie’s List, I did this I did that. There’s there’s business groups that you can join. They’ll tell you how to get your feet wet and get some leads in. And then the real ticket is you know, getting your website going and doing a good one. Because my first one was Vistaprint and it didn’t do anything for me. I had a website I was happy but The website should be selling to. And now my website is growing and growing my business, I think. So, you know, BNI is a, it’s it’s a great investment for $600. And, you know, 35 to $40,000 in return. That’s it. That’s a huge return on investment.

Definitely. And I love that you brought up the handyman group. And I think we should mention that for our listeners here is we do have the handyman journey Facebook Mastermind group is an amazing thing to get involved in. And then also, we just create a new one, the handyman, handyman success mastermind group on Facebook. And that’s where everyone who’s ever been on this podcast is going to be in that group. So you can tag them, you can ask them questions. We explained it last time, it’s kind of the after party of these podcasts. So you can actually get and join in on the conversation. So join that group, and tag Keith in there. I mean, I’m sure that he, you know, you can learn a whole heck of a lot from him. And yeah, that’s fantastic that you brought that up, how would someone find a BNI group if they wanted to join one?

So you would just type in BNI on your Google website, or Google search bar BNI. And it’ll it’ll pop up? It’s the cheapest thing to get your started, especially if you’re on a fixed budget. Mm hmm. That and probably Angie’s List. Yep. And you can probably,

yeah, I mean, yeah. And, and to just to drive home, like why those things work. It’s pretty, it’s pretty bulletproof. Because not only are your ideal clients there, because they’re working professionals or their business owners, but they are very likely to have friends and family in the area as well, that are also likely your your ideal customers that have you know, the ripple effect there is pretty endless. So it’s the networking groups, BNI chambers. You know, if you’re into real estate, or working with realtors, there are realtor associations that you can join and go to their weekly, sometimes bi or two times a week meetings and network and get your name in front of realtors. It’s just really great and super affordable ways to start marketing and getting your name out there.

Mm hmm. Definitely, definitely. So I love it. And we’ve kind of already talked specifically about it. But I’d love just to ask you this point blank question of what do you feel has worked? Well, in your handyman marketing strategy? Like overall, what has helped your business get from where it was making 5k? The first year 140 To the next year, and then almost 500 this year? Like what marketing would you say, has been the best investment.

So the I want to say Angie’s List was probably the Angie’s List and BNI was the were the first two that kind of got me going and have leads coming in all the time. Especially the first year when it was only me. Angie’s List was probably right around 40 to 45,000 my first year. And BNI was a little bit slower the first year that it was probably rated. I think it was low either high 20s. Low 30s. I know I’m at like 35 of BNI this year.

Okay, awesome.

So, you know, go ahead.

So if you had say 40, to 45k and Angie’s List 20k and BNI. That’s 2020 What would they say? Where’d the rest of the word come from? Or was it word mouth or Facebook?

Oh, and just people like join different groups. And people are always saying, you know, I need this fix. I need this nobody’s returning phone calls, or I need this just to answer. Right? Thing is is you know, just as an example, you know, doors need something done. Hey, doors, this is Keith Wynn from Dr. Fix it we can definitely help you out with your project once you reach out to us. And you know, leave your phone number. It’s treated like a human being.

Yeah, and I love it. You’ll love it. You know, success is actually pretty simple. It’s just doing what you would want people to do to you. So I love it. That’s great.

Next was a good one to Elon. Okay, next door next door app.

So how do you how do you use I know that you mentioned that you you join different Facebook groups and whatnot. How do you predominantly the do you do Facebook ads do you post on your personal page? What does that look like?

So last year, I did a lot of Facebook posts on my page this year. I’m so busy. I’m trying to get my wife to help me out here and there. Um This year I haven’t answered any Facebook stuff at all. I haven’t put my name out there. It’s strictly word of mouth, my website and Angie’s list this year, but I’m getting ready to get rid of Angie’s List and what everything going through my website everything. Like if a phone call comes in. What we typically do is we send everybody to our website. This way it drives traffic to it. yard signs I get a lot of yard signs wrapped your truck by truck is wrapped.

My other van is going out to get wrapped right now. Just you got to kind of think outside the box.

Awesome. So tell us a little bit about yard signs because I’m fascinated by that. What do you what does that look like? Are you putting them just on the street corner? Are you put them in people’s front yards?

Every time I sell a job so I only had four of them. Oh, as for them, I just ordered 100 of them. Okay, and so every job that we do will have a yard sign now this is pretty close to it but this right here is a wrap it’s in the shop

that’s gonna stand out that’s awesome. Yeah,

you got to get that in you got to take some nice photos you in the you and the team or the website Yeah,

that’s fantastic. Yeah,

that stuck out like when you see horizon trucks they’re orange or a heating and air conditioning guys you know it’s horizon trucks are all the same the RAPs the same that they’re all dressed the same. So my guys have the gray shirts all their truck by my pickup my trailers getting ramped. We just got a brand new trailer. My vans getting wrapped my other F 350s get wrapped. I got a rap a month right now. Starting that’s awesome. This month, a wrap a month on each vehicle. So they’re all the same,

man, that’s That’s great. That’s gonna create some good brand awareness.

Yeah, and OSCEs keys colors too for Dr. Fix it I’ve never seen this combination. And if I hadn’t seen his his branding, I wouldn’t have thought I’d work but it’s like this. orange and purple. Yeah, no, it’s killer. It’s out. It does. Yeah, yeah. Hands out. It works. And So Keith, you mentioned you know, when you see that Verizon truck, you know, you know or like for me it’s like the Amazon semi truck and always can spot those but that orange and purple on that wrap man that’s gonna be Doctor fix. That is pretty cool.

Yeah. So and people know, like, like, I’ve had phone calls from my pickup, like going into Home Depot. I have my wrap truck. It’s not like that. But I have Doctor fix it on the side. They’ll call my phone number that you know, Hey, I saw your truck on Home Depot. I saw your truck over here in Cherry Hill at a at a neighbor’s house. Yet. The RAF truck I know it costs a lot of money. But it is it’ll pay for itself in the first year. No problem.

Good investment. If you don’t mind me asking what that picture you just showed us? What what does that cost to wrap a vehicle like that if you don’t mind share.

So the company I used to wrap my pickup, that was a partial wrap. It was only the doors that cost me about $1,200. Okay. If I went back to that same company, this would have been 4500 to five grand. Wow. So one of the BNI guys I know. My buddy Matt. He has a painting company. He had his truck wrapped. And I was like, wow. Oh my god. That’s phenomenal. I love it. Because I go to my buddy, he does it. I was like, Well, how much did you pay? It was like right around 1500.

I was like what? Wow, no way. No,

I’m paying 2500 To get my van wraps. Wow. Which is very, very reasonable.

Yeah, that’s killer. So the BNI group has also saved you money, like that’s another.

I get my business insurance through BNI workman’s comp. Paychecks everything went through BNI.

Everything we all need to get involved with some BNI Yeah, mine

the power of a personal referral network like, yeah, it’s just, it’s huge. It’s huge. Definitely.

And it keeps on going. Like as, as I give them business, they give you business. It just goes back and forth all the time.

Yeah. That’s why you said, you know, the first year is about like, 2025 this year, you know, 3540 So they’re starting to like you more and more every year. Yeah, they’re getting used to you.

They’re tolerating anymore.

And here’s the thing, it doesn’t stop there. Like when you’re say you’re with that insurance guy that gives you work. Now I met his wife, she’s a realtor. I get a lot of houses over her to prep for sale. Oh, it’s continuous, you know? Just keep on getting work.

Yep. And that’s fantastic. So So Keith, you shared first year 5k Second year 140. You know, this year hopefully hitting 500 Where do you hope to be next year or the year after that? In five years? Where do you like foresee yourself what are like your future goals?

Next year? I have to be over a million.

Wow, love it. Okay.

I follow your, the following your 2 million.

I think I remember because we started working together that started this year and your goal was like, I think you said like 400. So yeah, you’re you’re beating that this year. Yeah, you’re crushing it, man. That’s

my account set the same thing. I told him where I thought I would be at the end of this year. And he was like, Dude, I remember when you first came in my office, hire me, he came down to my house, I didn’t have a lot of money. It was just me and a helper. And he sat down and I was like, I ordered QuickBooks. I don’t know anything about it. Can you help me out? Show me how to use it. Because I can show you how to use it. I can do it. So you know, give me $75 a month, I’ll get you going your small business. And I’m like, I just do whatever. Just get it done. What you need. And, you know, I was scared. I was scared going out on my own. How am I going to bring home $1,000 A week? How’s that even possible? Right now. It’s like, I’m looking at the next truck payment the next trailer what, you know, our trailers, we have sole set up, inside, you can cut trim, you got lights, inside outlets, charging stations for your batteries, USB cords, everything you can work out of these trailers the way we got to set up.

That’s fantastic. That’s fantastic. So what are what are some of your steps that you’re going to take to hit those goals to hit a million dollars next year? So to go from 500k this year to a million next year? What are what are some steps that you’re going to put in place to make that happen?

Kind of it kind of seems crazy, but I’m gonna spend money to make money. Guys, I’m gonna pay my guys really well. Insurance. And I’m hoping next year. I’m a little upset because I wanted to try to do it this year, I wanted to kind of implement a retirement program this year, but most likely it’s going to be next year. So I’m looking at health care, dental 401k and pay my guys good. This way they don’t leave. I take care of my street. Well. That’s gonna. So my my top guy brought his one of his guys that he used to work with. So he knows he’s a player. Mm hmm. That was quite as good as my league guy. But he’s up there. Yeah, so Oh, I forgot the other bonus thing. My guys bring in a technician $1,000 to them after 90 days. Love it after 90 days. Okay,

after 90 days, 90 days, they gotta be good. No, no, you know, gotta make it a week, buddy. Come on.

I need $1,000 Bonus.

That’s awesome. I commend you for taking care of your people. I mean, I think that’s huge. You know, you hear most talk about like saving money, and, you know, can’t pay over this. But from what you’ve shared with us, you’re really looking for all the different ways that you can build up your your team, which which points to something that I know, I’ve talked about on here before, but something I saw or read, and it said, As business owners we aren’t, we aren’t building a business, we’re building people. And those people, you know, do everything. So, you know, our work should be building up people. And it sounds like you’re really focused on that. So I commend you for that. Yeah, that’s fantastic.

So here’s the thing, if you if you really think about any job that you had in the past, if the way you were treated, if you’re treated great that day, you probably performed really good. So I’m trying to have I’m trying to set an area where my guys come into work, it’s no drama. You know, if the job is running behind, no, we don’t yell, let’s figure out how to get it done, how we move forward. And you know how we can fix it for next time? Yes, it’s about money, but we’re all human beings. So I’m just trying to create that work, please, good environment, where if you listen to other podcasts or other people, that you’ll have employees instead of me paying, like zip recruiter to find these employees or whatever, they’ll want to come to us because of the environment that I created, that we create, that all of us are happy to be at work and you know, the pay is good. So it’s just that work environment. If you create a good one, you’re gonna get the people to come. Yeah. And that’s what I’m hoping for next year.

Man, I love it. I love that that kind of thought of creating more performance by investing in the bottom bottom line, like I think that’s that’s really cool. And you don’t hear that for most people. So that that’s really awesome, Keith.

Here’s another thing like I asked my top guy I said, um, you know, you do a lot of you do a lot of side work. Like what’s it gonna take for you to stop doing side work? When he’s so much an hour, what’s that number? And I asked him, he told me I was like, Alright, so once you’re there, you can stop side work and live comfortably. Yeah. All right. Yes, we weekly Are you watch ESPN cuz I, I know where you got to be in a couple years. So he knows I’m thinking about him, he knows he’s gonna be there, alright gave him raises, he, you know, it’s about taking care of people, you take care of him a little train another guy, he’s gonna run your company, he’s gonna, he’s gonna be the top guy of my company. So you got to take care of them, anyway comes in.

That’s a common thread that I’ve heard of big catalyst to being able to grow certainly past like a couple couple texts is having that right, that Foreman that you can rely on to do everything and you take care of them. I know, Alan has Frank on his team, that is just an all star that he takes care of really well. But I can’t imagine the amount of like, you know, confidence and stress that can take off of you by having someone that you can trust is going to be there. And that person enjoys that opportunity and appreciates what you do for them.

Yeah. It’s a huge help. You have the right guy in your corner. It’s a huge, huge help.

Yeah, so we got like about five minutes left. So I’d like to see if we can fit in two questions here. One of them I know you’re not going to want your you might not like Keith. But I want to know like how how you stay organized. I know you’re you drive around like that answering calls, emails, you’re in the Home Depot parking lot, you got a ton going on. So is there anything that you do to kind of, you know, keep your sanity keep things organized, or you kind of just flying around doing the best you can if you can kind of shed a little light on how you keep things together and keep your guys on the job.

Right. So the organization with the guys is through my app, which is more Kate that tells them what job they’re doing everything they need to do with their job supplies, everything. As far as me answering phones and all that. I’m probably about 90% There. Lately what I’ve been doing, if I tell someone, we’re going to do this, this and this, I make them hold on the phone, yes, it’s a customer, they’re going to hold on the phone. Let me do it. Now I have you on the phone. So it gets done. And I’ll say that to him. Because if I don’t forget, and we won’t have this appointment, so just bear with me, I’m going to talk out loud to myself, we’re going to take this up, I got a laptop in my truck, I got a cell phone in my truck, I work out of my truck. And any appointments, I thrown right in the book right away. Any estimates I have on my clipboard, I try to put the customer’s name, I take a photo of where I’m going. And then photos of the whole job on my phone, I’ll write down on a piece of paper what they want, like you know what repairs they want, what I think it is, and just kind of write detailed notes, and then I’ll transfer that to my work order. So it’s a lot of

Norquay. And then your guys can see that when they get to the job site.

Yeah, the only thing they can’t see is pricing. But my foreman knows what everybody knows what I charge an hour. So it’s not like it’s a big secret. They just can’t see pricing, the customer can’t see pricing, but they bring my checks back to me, you know, so they know what I’m charging. It’s no secret

that that’s a good practice to put in your business is that the whole team knows the value and the cost of the customer. What do you think about that? So I talked about that before?

Yes, it’s important, but you’re gonna have guys that say, and I’m sure you’ve guys come across this? Well, it’s a big check, man, you know, you must be really making money. But at the same time, pay the $70,000 of insurance that I’m paying here. Right? Right. You know, they really, they don’t think about they think like the one guy had, and he didn’t make it that long. He was like, Dude, you’re only paying me 20 bucks an hour. That’s all it costs you to have me you don’t realize what it costs to run a business. No, it

takes a lot. No, I I found that it’s it’s pretty important to be transparent, you know, keep that transparency open in our business. But, you know, that is something that you can definitely have is those people that are like, Hey, you’re making X amount and you’re only paying me X amount, but I’m even open about that. I’m like, Hey, like even at the very beginning when we first hired you like, I’m paying you 20 bucks an hour but it’s actually cost me more like 35 You know, like, just be straight upfront with them about all my expenses, and then that way and I You know, I mean, I don’t need to justify my hourly rate to them. But no, it is I’m, I’m willing to talk about it if needed, you know, and I think that that really creates a good company culture. Because people buy in, and they and they understand why you’re charging what you’re charging. And then they, they, therefore, are not going to offer the client a discount behind your back or whatnot. You know, that’s what I found. Yeah. And I

don’t know if you do this, but I also get them to fill out a non compete for

that, Ellen. We so we have that in our contract. But we never, I haven’t had to fill it out for anyone at this point. So we never filled it out. But we have we have the like the verbiage is there, we just haven’t actually implemented it.

Every guy that comes aboard signs that all it states is basically they’re not to steal my customers, any stuff that we do won’t compete against us with our customers. That’s it.

Yeah, the only population that I that I put in, along those lines is any documentation is obviously you know, it’s ours. Right. And anything that you get from us, you need to get back when you leave, you know, so as far as them going out starting their own handyman business, like, more power, I don’t because I like challenge. So I’m all for it if they want to go. But by and large, if you’re what I’ve seen is if you’re honest with people, they stick around, and they buy into your mission, you know? Yeah.

Awesome. Well, one last question for you, Keith, before we sign off here, a lot of our listeners there, they’re thinking about starting a business, handyman business or that, you know, their new might be struggling what what kind of advice would you have for somebody that’s that might just be getting into this?

Yes, I guess the first couple things is, and I’m sure you hear it all the time, know your numbers, figure out what it costs to run your business, what you want to make your bills, all that stuff. And it’s very important because I left a lot of money on the table, my my first two, end of the years, I left a lot of money on the table. I never marked up my materials, mark it up least 20 to 25% Some guys do 50% Some guys do 100%, figure out what you’re gonna markup your materials, figure out, you know, figure out what your guys are charging your area. And if they’re 65, it doesn’t mean you have to do 65 You can do 85 or 95. When you start out, you might be a little bit lower, but don’t be that cheap guy. Because all you’re doing is gonna drive the rates down and everybody’s gonna flood you with work. And you think you’re busy and making money and you’re you could be making a lot more money. I guess, the first the so it’s knowing your price. If you get too overwhelmed hire helper because you’re gonna burn yourself out. Even if it’s a $15 an hour guy. I know it seems a lot. It’s not. It’ll help you out. It’ll help you get through the week, you’ll make more money with that helper. Advertise. Get your website going. And just go for it. Don’t be scared.

I was really tired. Love it.

It took me a while. I’ve had two other businesses never went full time. I joined Alan’s group. It kind of gave me a boost of confidence. There was a couple he’s got a couple Facebook groups. It gave me a boost of confidence. He and other guys that didn’t have a lot of experience, but kind of got in the game and wanted to do it and you know, you hire people are better than you and you’ll go for. Yep, my foreman is better than me. My accountant is better than me. You know, the helper. The the second corporator I hired. I hope there’s stuff that he’s better than me right now. I hope there is stuff. I don’t know yet. He’s only been with me for a week. But he’s, that’s fantastic. Well, they’re better than you and you’ll go for.

Yep. That’s huge. I think that’s what it’s all about, is hiring people that have that have strengths where your weaknesses are, you know, I think that’s important. Yeah. And there’s this gut feeling to like Keith had like call calling your wife, baby.

I think I’m leaving.

Well, yeah, it’s it’s it’s a true story though. And you can ask my wife, and I tell you what I love for the end of next year to chat with you guys and see where I can if I come back on and see if I hit my numbers or talk to you guys. I’m pretty sure I’ll hit my numbers next year too.

We will definitely have to have Yeah,

for sure. That’s what we’re planning on doing. I mean, we’re in our you know, we this will be episode what, eight or nine. But our plan is to bring back on guys and you know, not only the accountability side, but just to hear how the journey is going for you after a year. So So, man, I can’t wait to connect again next year on the podcast. And you could tell us Oh, it’s gonna be 1.2

Yeah, like handyman success revisited, you know, revisit all of our Oh, yeah. So we’re gonna go ahead and trim off Keith. It has been a pleasure. We are blessed to know you and so honored to have you part of this handyman industry and this handyman movement. So thank you so much for being on here. Yeah.

I appreciate it was an honor. Guys. Thank you very much. Thank you, Keith. And

for those for those of you listening out there, remember to like this video on YouTube, subscribe to our channel, and also join the handyman success podcast, post a question and tag Keith in there because Keith will be in there to answer all of your questions. So thank you guys so much for tuning in. I hope you guys have a fantastic day. These podcasts are produced every first and 15th of every month. So catch the next one. And go ahead and watch the old ones while you’re waiting. So we’ll catch you guys later. Have a great Day. Bye Bye