Episode 52: Reputation Marketing Made Easy (With Shawn Hill)

Episode 52 August 22, 2022 00:34:06
Episode 52: Reputation Marketing Made Easy (With Shawn Hill)
The Quit Getting Screwed Construction Podcast
Episode 52: Reputation Marketing Made Easy (With Shawn Hill)
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Show Notes

Reputation is everything in the construction industry. What other people say about your business can make or break your company's success. Shawn Hill from NiceJob sits down with Karalynn to explain how reputation marketing is a powerful tool that takes just a little added effort and can greatly grow a business's reach. Ultimately, the opinion of your clients can provide free marketing for your construction company. Why let such a powerful resource go unutilized? Shawn breaks down how business owners can improve their ability to collect client feedback and plug it into social media and reputation marketing tools to generate additional leads for their construction company. He explains further how his service, NiceJob, streamlines this process and alleviates the time and effort required by your team to get results that are just as impactful, if not more so! Your company is worth investing in, and reputation marketing is a tool that you already have access to. Take advantage of it, and see your business grow!


Listen in and learn how you can use reviews to bolster your business, and if you take away something new, consider leaving us a like and rating the pod.

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Check out NiceJob: https://nicejob.grsm.io/quitgettingscrewed

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Quit Getting Screwed was recorded on Riverside.fm and is distributed by Castos.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:11 This is Carolyn ING. Welcome to the quick getting screwed podcast, where we talk about everything related to contractors, the construction and information to help you run better businesses. Speaker 1 00:00:24 Hi, this is Carolyn CROs and welcome back to the quick getting screwed podcast, where we talk about all the ways not to get screwed in the construction industry and actually really focusing on resources to help you build a better business and to actually make money and, you know, take some time off of work to take a vacation, cuz it's not all about just, you know, working more than you can stand. You know, it's about spending time with your family and all those things in the long run. And today with us, I have a great resource podcast published author specifically in the construction industry, Mr. Sean van Dyke. Hey Sean, how are you? Speaker 2 00:00:57 Hey Carolyn, thanks for having me. And by the way, best name of a podcast ever for the construction industry. I love it. Quit getting screwed podcast. That is, uh, that's direct that's in your face and that's exactly what you're delivering here. So, uh, so excited to be on here today. Speaker 1 00:01:11 Thank you. And, and, and uh, if you've been in the construction industry for any length of time, unfortunately you've been screwed and that's one thing that I'm, you're trying to prevent, I'm trying to prevent. So we're trying to help everybody run a better business. Okay. So I picked up, I was looking for books to read and I'm, I like to read self health books and in the construction industry and I found yours, uh, profit first for contractors on Amazon. I know you've written another one. I haven't dove into that one yet, but so before we dive into the book, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you came from, how you got work to where you are now and kind of what you're doing right now? Speaker 2 00:01:46 Yeah, so the, the, I guess we'll try to make this as quick as possible, but, uh, by training and education, I'm an engineer. So I got a couple of degrees in engineering and civil engineering and structural engineering and went that route for a while after I graduated college. But then I realized I didn't really know how to build anything. So I kinda like to make fun of engineers since I used to be one and, uh, made a transition. I say, I made a transition into the construction industry. Really got laid off from an engineering firm. This was a long time ago. This is 20 something years ago. Um, uh, but then ended up on a project management team for a, a large GC commercial GC and really enjoyed that because it was, you know, part-time in the field seeing work going place. And then part-time in the office doing some project management stuff and really got a feel for how, how things actually got, got built, uh, and got to see how trades worked together and all of that kind of stuff on the, out, in the, out, in the field and just fell in love with it. Speaker 2 00:02:43 Fast forward, there ended up working for a, uh, real estate developer for several years as a, uh, construction manager. So I was traveling the us building Walmarts and lows and big commercial developments. And, uh, about that, that time I had, I'd been married for a couple of years, had a couple of kids. We have five now, but at that time I had a couple of kids and my wife was like, Hey, you traveling three or four days a week. That's, uh, I'm glad you enjoy your job, but uh, these kids gonna need a dad around here. So that was when I started my first business. So I quit that job as construction manager and I'm located here in Knoxville, Tennessee. Uh, so I started doing construction management for real estate developers in and around Knoxville. And this was 2005, 2006 and had, uh, two or three years where it was like, Hey, it was great. Speaker 2 00:03:31 And then 2008 hit and, uh, banks stopped loaning money to real estate developers. So my, uh, my clients almost overnight didn't have the money to do more developments. And even on some of the developments that I was managing for them, didn't have money to complete, uh, those developments. So made a transition. Then I, I had my general contractors license by then and had already done a few remodeling projects. So I transitioned and, and started a remodeling business, did that for a few years. And then one of my, uh, subcontractors, my trim subcontractor, his business, we were, we were friends, went to church together and his business was blowing up and, and he approached me and took me out to lunch one day and said, Hey, uh, do you think it's a bad idea if I come in or if I hire somebody to come in and run the company? Speaker 2 00:04:20 And I said, no, it's a great idea because you suck at running a business. Uh, excellent, excellent out in the field, excellent at recruiting guys and training them. But on the business side, like so many contractors, so many construction business owners just didn't have a feel for the paperwork, didn't know how to run spreadsheets. And, uh, and so I was kind of dumping on his business saying like, you got a great, you got a great product and you got a great service. And, but the business side is horrific and you really need to bring somebody in. I said, and they're called, you know, CEOs, CFOs, C CEOs, people do it all the time. Uh, and I think it'd be the best move for your business. And so at that lunch, he was like, great. I'm so glad to hear you say that. I want you to do it. Speaker 2 00:05:01 <laugh> I said, I was like, no, I don't. What are you talking about? I got my own business. I got my own thing. And this guy is a great, great salesman. And so he sold me on he's like, listen, Sean, you got this small little remodeling company. I've got these big high end. I mean, we were in the, the highest end, uh, residential projects here, the Knoxville area. And he was like, we got three or four projects on the books. I've sold them. I just don't have the guys. I don't have the guys to put 'em. So I need to go recruit guys. And I don't have time to run the business. I want you to come in and do it and listen, this is gonna fast forward. You we're to get to this level, it's gonna take you another 20 years. And I was like, son of a gun. Speaker 2 00:05:39 He's right. You know, so I said, okay, I'll, I'll come in and I I'll do it. And I, I thought I was gonna call his bluff. I said, but here's the only way it's gonna work. I'm gonna run the business. You run the field. So you gotta turn the business operation side over to me. And he literally pulled out of his little briefcase that he had there, his little, you know, uh, his little bag. And he, he slid a Manila folder across the booth at the, at, at lunch. And it was just full of receipts and random paper and said, here's the business. And I thought it was joking. Two weeks later, as I'm digging in, I was like, oh no, this is about the level of business. Uh, and so I had taken this job, uh, with, uh, a buddy of mine and, uh, realized I was like, I gotta make this thing, make some money because I wanna get paid. Speaker 2 00:06:20 It was very selfish, cuz I was like, when I dug into the bank accounts and something, I was like, oh crap, there's no money to pay me. Um, and so for the next three and a half, four years, uh, working with him, we were just kind of heads down and um, and just working on, I just got to focus 100% on the business. He focused on building the team and getting the work in place and we put in a lot of hours, but I'm just a, and I go back to that engineering background. I'm just a systems guy. I learned very early on. I used to have the tool belt on when I had my own construction company and early on there, I realized that like, that's not where I make money for a construction company, having the tools on that's a way that a lot of people can make money for a construction, but not me. Speaker 2 00:07:02 I'm good selling work, managing work. And, and I need to be in front of a spreadsheet, running numbers and building systems. And so I kind of got that idea, uh, when I was running my construction company. And then when I became COO of that trim in millwork company, that's all I did system system building and implementation and policies and all of that kind of stuff. And so in a very short, in about 18 months, we went from six guys out in the field to over 20. Um, the company was losing money to a profitable company, gave the, gave the owner a raise and finally got him paid for all of the risk that he was putting out there into the world. And uh, after about three and a half, four years, I just kind of had this epiphany that says, wait a minute, this is all I've ever done. Speaker 2 00:07:45 This is all I've ever known. I think what I've helped helped do with this company, it wasn't by myself. We had a great team and great leadership that we had that we had grown, but I thought I just had this crazy idea. I, I think I could do this for other construction companies. I didn't consider myself an entrepreneur. I was, I always just, I always called myself a dumb contractor. I don't know anything else. This is all I know. But then when I realized that I had the ability to approach things from a very systematic, uh, way of looking at it and, and putting those things in place and breaking a bunch of stuff, then I said, Hey, I think I could probably do this for other contractors. And, uh, so with, at this 0.5 kids, we have five kids. I quit my job and I wrote my first book, the paperwork punch list. Speaker 2 00:08:28 It's it's nerdy spreadsheet system stuff, cuz that's my love language. And uh, put it out there. And uh, people, this was five years ago. People started signing up for that, downloading it. Um, eventually my first client out in Denver, Colorado, we're still good friends to this day was silly enough to hire me. And we started working together and just, I, I just went into my superpower of, you know, system nerd system mode. And uh, and then just started growing the business that we have now, which is the built to build academy where we train construction business owners on how to systematize their business. And it's, it's not, there's a lot of coaches out there that do sales and marketing and that's all great. We are nerds for systems. Uh, we, we, we, we do a lot of spreadsheet stuff. We do a lot of number crunching. Speaker 2 00:09:14 And then in the process of, in the past couple years in 2018 wrote profit first for contractors. And, um, I really wrote that as, as an expensive business card, as my speaking career started to develop, you know, you gotta have a leave behind. I didn't actually think anybody would read the book, but just in case they did, I wanted to make it, I wanted to make it good. So I told a lot of stories of the contractors that I had been working with and breaking down the financial and the cash flow stuff. That's a struggle for a lot of construction business owners. Uh, but the whole idea was like, if someone's gonna hire me for speaking, a book is a good way. And if anyone reads the book, well, I'll try to make it good. And then, uh, it just kind of, it kind of blew up and for the past three years, uh, it's, it's really taken off for, especially for a self published book. I think we've, I think we're approaching 30,000 copies of that thing sold. So yeah, it's been really amazing. That's Speaker 1 00:10:10 Amazing. That is amazing. And it's diving into, it's really written in a way where you can understand it, even though it's a lot about numbers and I wanna jump back to something you said is that one of those things, like your gifts is spreadsheets and numbers like that is like foreign to me and most people in the construction industry and yet to you, it's second nature. You like, you think everybody knows what you know. Right. And I think that's so telling about when somebody has a gift, it's just second nature to them. They don't realize that it's, it's their calling. And uh, so what is the whole purpose of the profit first and kind of like your, your coaching? What, what do you, what are you trying to do? Like what is your, why I guess is what I'm asking. Speaker 2 00:10:51 Yeah. So we'll, we'll, we'll say that the why of profit first for contractors is to simplify the cash flow management and make sure 100% bombproof way to make sure that you are permanently profitable. And if, uh, people are familiar with the book, then they'll get this. If you haven't picked up the book, go get it. It's on Amazon. Um, it's the, it'll be the best 1995 or whatever you spent. I promise. Uh, but what it does is it simplifies the, the, the financial part of your business without crunching a lot of numbers. Because the way that we run our businesses has, has more to do with human behavior and our own, uh, the way that our brains are wired, then it does with financial stuff. And so that's kind of the thing about profit first for contractors. I'll say, if you follow the system, first of all, it's extremely simple. Speaker 2 00:11:40 And that's the first thing that people get hung up on when they read it. They're like, I've always struggled with numbers. It can't be this simple. And what they have to understand is that profit first is about human behavior first, before it's about the numbers. And what I mean by that is we use this exam. I use this example when I, when I teach a lot is to say, here's the private first system in a nutshell, let's talk about like what you do in the bathroom every morning. All right, you go into the bathroom, you grab a tube of toothpaste. And when that tube of toothpaste is full, you just squeeze and go and you just brush your teeth. You don't even pay attention to the amount of, uh, toothpaste that you put on the toothbrush. Right. And then Carolyn I'll, I'll ask you, when you run out of toothpaste, what do you do? Speaker 1 00:12:20 Buy some more Speaker 2 00:12:21 Toothpaste? No, you don't see. That's what everybody thinks when you run out of toothpaste tooth more, what? Yeah, there's three types of people. There's the countertop. Smashers, there's the people that take the, the toothbrush and they iron it out or every now and then if you're a redneck like me and you carry a pocket knife, then I have been known to cut down the, you know, slit, open the tube of toothpaste and jam the toothbrush in there. All, all I'm saying is like, when something runs out, we don't get a new tube of toothpaste. We squeeze a little bit more out. And that amount that we get out of there is enough to get by for the day. And so if that's all we need, then that's really the amount that we should be using. But when we have a full tube of toothpaste, we view it for what it is and endless supply, right. Speaker 2 00:13:08 And everybody does that normal human behavior, right? So the same thing applies to the bank account for a business owner. When we get a deposit in and we stick that money into one bank account, <laugh>, we're rich. We can make payroll, I can buy some tools for whatever, right? So we squeeze it and we go, we spend money. It's just normal human behavior. But then when we run out of money, when cash gets tight, right, then we call, we call the big guys to go get the baseball backs and go break some knee caps and get money coming in. We also put in a spending freeze, we cut back on some other things, right? And if this is, if we can get more money in, by doing something differently, we can cut back on things that we don't need. And we can act in a different way. Speaker 2 00:13:52 Then that's what we need to be doing all the time. And so with profit first for contractors, we're just taking that one big tube of toothpaste and we're creating different bank accounts. And we have five foundational accounts and saying separate your money into these different accounts that serve your business for very particular reasons. And when one of those bank accounts gets low, let's say, for example, one of the bank accounts we say is an operations expense or OPEX account. When the OPEX account gets low, there's something in the operations of your business, that's gone wrong. You need to go fix that as opposed to the other accounts like profit and tax and the owner's compensation, right? We don't want to touch those other bank accounts. So that's the philosophy behind it. And, and here's where people get hung up. Even when they say that they can probably say, well like, oh, that behavior, yeah, I do that in the bathroom every morning in the bank accounts. Speaker 2 00:14:42 That sounds very simple. It can't be that simple. And then they go and complicate it and I'm like, Nope, that's the secret. It's not even really a secret. That's why it's so, so effective because it's simp. It's so simple. It's simplicity is the reason it's so effective, but people will get that. You don't even, and I would tell your listeners right now, if they're struggling with cash flow, here's what you do. Go down to your bank and set up another bank account and call it a profit account and then take whatever balances in your main bank account and move 1%. Just that's that little bit of toothpaste. 1% go stick it in your profit account and don't touch it. And guess what? In a few weeks it'll still be there. And for many construction business owners, this will be the first time you're ever profitable. Speaker 2 00:15:23 Meaning if you stick money into a bank account and you don't touch it at the end of the quarter, at the end of the year, it's still there. Guess what? Free and clear. And then you can apply that method of separating out your money for taxes, for owners comp, for other things in your business. And it's extremely simple. Now don't get me wrong. You do need to go through the rest of the book. You need to crunch the numbers. You need to understand what you need to be charging and how to mark up so that you can get more toothpaste in these toothpaste tubes. But to start, you don't have to do anything. You just have to change your behavior. Speaker 1 00:15:55 So you don't even have to, you don't have to change your sales or anything to start. You just change how you're allocating your money. Speaker 2 00:16:00 Yep. And that's the, that's the simplicity about the 1% when people ask us questions like, oh, what should I be charging? What should my markup be? What are some rules of thumbs, all of that kind stuff we cover in the book. And I said, don't worry about any of that stuff. First it's behavioral change that we're after start with 1%. And the reason we say start with 1%, you're not gonna miss it. I don't care. If you've got $10,000 in the bank, you go put a hundred dollars in a profit account. You're you can operate your business off a $9,900. If you have a hundred thousand dollars in the bank, go put a thousand dollars. You can operate your business off the 99,000 that's left. You're not gonna miss it. And here's what you do in three months. Go change it to 2%. Let another three months go by, go to 3%. Speaker 2 00:16:41 You're not gonna change. Eventually cash will get tight, but when you have the whole system in place, you're gonna see exactly what needs to change in your business. Right? And it's back to the toothpaste thing. When we run out, we do a couple of things. It, it, it, uh, it instigates other types of behavior. We get frugal, right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> we smash, we roll, we squeeze a little bit more out and we get innovative. We come up with new ways to do things. And so it, it does take time. But you had, you had asked me earlier on about like, what was one of the, you know, some of the results from, especially from profit first mm-hmm <affirmative> we had a client that when they went through it and they actually looked at their numbers for the, for the, in the right way, the mathematical way, when we were accounting for everything they realized, and this was a custom home builder, they had made $2 in profit, $2. Speaker 2 00:17:30 And within, uh, within 12 months of doing profit first and looking at their cash flow and looking at these things in the, in the right, they didn't really change anything else. Other than the way they were looking at their money and setting money aside after a year, they had $118,000 in their profit account, and they had $45,000 in their tax account to pay for their taxes. Wow. So, and they had operated business for 10 years on no profit. And within a year, by changing their behavior, not doing a whole bunch of other stuff mathematically, but just changing their behavior a hundred thousand more than a hundred thousand dollars in profit, didn't have to worry about their taxes anymore. They had the money cuz it was sitting in a bank account cuz you can see it cuz that's how our brains are wired. Speaker 1 00:18:11 Mm-hmm <affirmative> you can see it it's there, but it's, it's sectioned out for something else like it. Yep. So tell me what is the craftsman cycle? Speaker 2 00:18:20 Yeah, the craftsman cycle. This is, this is the chapter, one of the book. This is where I suck people in where they're like they start nodding their head and being like, oh I, I I've been there. Right? I can. I wrote the book because I've, it's not because I'm smart. And I figure this stuff out it's because I had been in this same, this same cycle. So the way that we describe in the book is that the craftsman cycle is this brutal vicious cycle that construction business owners get caught in of, of reacting to the day to day and putting out fires instead of focusing on the important things that grow their, grow, their business. And so the way that we define it in the book is there's four stages to the craftsman cycle. It's price work, get work, produce, work, find, work, price, work, get work, produce, work, find work. Speaker 2 00:19:04 So it starts with most, uh, business construction business owners. When they start out, they think, oh, I'm gonna, I'm gonna go start my own business. And I don't know, maybe I'm making 30 bucks an hour or whatever. My current job I'm gonna charge 60 bucks an hour. Right. But they're guessing because they don't know of all of the other expenses. They just think like, Hey, I'm gonna make more money. Uh, cuz I'm in control now. And I'm the boss. So if they guess at their price and most construction business owners, especially when they, when they start out, they don't know how expensive it is. Right? So when they're pricing work again, they're just doing their best guess, but it's not enough. And they're probably producing really great quality. So I say, you know what happens when you price work and you do really great work, but your price is too low. Speaker 2 00:19:50 You get a ton of work. That's the second phase. But, but pricing work feels great. I'm out on my own getting work. It's like hot damn we're in business, man. This is gr this is so easy. I don't know what everybody's complaining about. Right? I'm getting work. Then the third phase kicks in, you eventually have to go produce the work. That's where money starts flying out. Right? You didn't estimate your time, right? Because you were guessing your prices. Aren't correct. Because you were, you were guessing you gotta hire attorneys and actually pay them fees for looking at a contract. So you don't get sued. You got insurances, all of this stuff that no one, you know, that everybody talks about, but you don't really in those first exciting phases of pricing work and getting work. Right. So producing work and you realize, holy crap, I'm outta money, but I still got project left to do. Speaker 2 00:20:38 So I kicked into the fourth phase. Now I gotta go find more work. I gotta go look for it. But my time is limited. I have no money. So what do you do? You, you just price work again. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and you're fearful because you gotta get the next job. You're fearful of someone saying no, cuz you need that next $10,000 deposit so that you can make payroll or pay your bills or whatever. So you're you don't price it appropriately. And it goes right back into the cycle. Price work, get work, produce, work, find work. And it repeats until you get so sick and tired of it. You're either gonna go out of business. You wash out, you say, Nope, nobody, nobody can make money in construction. Or uh, you know, all the things that you hear, clients are horrible and blah, blah, blah, all that stuff. Speaker 2 00:21:22 Right? Um, but understanding how the finances and the numbers work and what your price needs to be. And when you start charge charging what your price needs to be mathematically for your business to make a profit, a lot of customers are gonna say no. And that hearing no for a contractor is very scary. And I mean this as a compliment because most contractors and I mean this as a compliment are people pleasers. And what I mean by that is they're humble people that don't need a lot of accolades. They don't need a lot. They don't need a lot of applause. They know we built that. I built that with my hands. I created that thing and they can step back and they can look at a project and smile. And it's their, it's the smiles from their owners and their customers. That's what's, that's what feeds them. Speaker 2 00:22:08 Well, you know what makes owners not smile, change orders. And when owners don't, when they make stuff up or they change things or they don't want to pay your price, having those hard conversations to say like, well, this is what it's gonna cost for us to make a profit that does not make smiles on your customer's basis. And that's really hard for a lot of contractors. But when they realize that like, Hey, we're running a business and the purpose of a business is to make a profit. Because if you can make a profit, then you get to do a whole lot of other really great things with profit. But if you're not making a profit in your business, you're running a charity. And I haven't met a contractor yet that says, I want to run a charity. I wanna work 60 or 70 hours a week for free get yeah. For free get screwed by my customers just so that I can make every, just so I can build great projects. Speaker 1 00:22:59 No, I agree. And I think like you said, you start, people start out and they're so they're so good at what they do. And they love the idea of going and doing that thing, but they don't realize how much to be able to do that thing. You have to learn how to do the other thing, which is run the business and the business side of it. And if you can't do that, then you don't get to do the thing that you wanted to do in the first place. And so yeah, so trapped in this, you know, in the cycle of, you know, just doing whatever it takes to get through the day. And so what is the first step to breaking that cycle? How do, how do we do they call you? Do they read the book? Tell me what, what do we do? Speaker 2 00:23:32 Yeah. Well, I mean the, the first thing it's not from lack of information, all of the information that you need to know about running your business is out there. It's it, but it's, it's disseminating it and putting it into a framework. I mean, that's what we pride ourselves on here at the built to build academies. We've developed a framework where, where we take contractors through these four phases that we describe, we say, you gotta get, get from the doer where you're doing all the work doer to the thinker, where you start thinking in systems, uh, to the communicator where you're communicating those systems to your team, to your customers, to, uh, subcontractors, all, all of that to the leader. So you go from the doer to the thinker, to the communicator, to the leader. The only way you get there is through developing, uh, developing systems. Speaker 2 00:24:14 But I say the place to start, especially cuz it all starts with pricing. Work is understanding and what understanding the bomb proof mathematical way to determine what your markup needs to be. And the margin that is produced from that because, and this is what I always say to, to contractors when I, when we're looking at their financials and we're going through how to run a better business, I said, listen, you could disagree with my tactics. You can disagree with my strategies. I don't have to be right about all of that kind of stuff. But the one thing you can't argue with me on is the math, because I didn't invent it. God did. And he ain't changing it, right? The math of your business, if you don't get that correct, then nothing else is gonna make sense. You're always gonna stay in that struggle. So that's why I always tell, you know, tell contractors or I ask them like, Hey, if for example, your plumber gives you a $10,000 price. What are you gonna charge your customer for that? And a lot of 'em say, oh, well we mark things up by 20%. And I was like, okay, so you get a $10,000 price from your plumber. You're gonna mark that up by 20%. So you're gonna sell that for $12,000. And I'll say that generates a 16.7% margin. And they're like, Speaker 1 00:25:28 What, what does that mean? Speaker 2 00:25:30 And I'm like, yeah, there's a difference. There's a, there's a difference between what you charge and the money they actually make. And that's a big struggle. First of all, contractors, I say nine out of 10 of 'em would say, when I say, Hey, what's your markup? Uh, it's 20%. I say, well, why 20% they heard it somewhere. Or some guy told them or some somebody else that they knew that they think is very successful or looks very successful or whatever 20% that's what the industry can charge. And I'm like, what if I told you it had to be 50% because a 50% margin produces a or a 50% markup produces a 33% margin. They're like, what I don't, you know? And I'm like, yeah, well you just, some guy told you 20%, some other dude's telling you 50, use my number, cuz it'll make more money for you. Uh, but that, that's the that's the biggest thing is understanding the difference between markup and margin and starting there and making sure that your markup is high enough to produce the margin that you need to pay all of your bills, including the owner, paying themselves and having profit left over that pesky little number at the bottom of the profit loss sheet. That's the reason you're in business. Speaker 1 00:26:38 All right. So the markup is just what you mark the, the workup, the margin is the actual cash that comes, comes in that's over and above expenses. Speaker 2 00:26:45 Well, well here's the way I explain it. Like there, there's a, there's a very simple equation and this is how you make money in a construction business. Your and for your listeners out there, they need to write this down, right? Price equals cost times markup, that's it. Okay. We buy our costs. We buy labor materials, subcontractors and the use of equipment. Basically. That's what we're selling, right? So we have to take those costs and we need to add to it or multiply by a factor, the markup. We need to add our markup to it so that we get our price. Gotcha. Now the margin, the way that I describe margin is think about, uh, think about a page in a book there's words written on that page and there's space between the edge of the words and the edge of the page. That's called the margin. Speaker 2 00:27:34 So the margin is the space. So in business, we're talking about margin, the space between what, the space between what we sell something at and what it costs us. So that space between our price and our cost gives us our margin and our margin needs to pay for everything else. That's not a cost. All of our expenses, our cell phone fuel in the truck, computers in the office. It's gotta pay for all of that. Plus the margin has gotta pay for the profit that you want, that you've designed for your business. And don't fall for this crap of like, well, contractors can't make any more than three to 5% or six to you think apple cares. What, uh, what some other computer companies margins are. No. They determine what their profit margins need to be for what, what they need for their company. And the same thing goes for construction business owners. Speaker 2 00:28:29 So the markup is the amount of money you add to your cost to get to your price. The difference between your cost and your price is the Mar is the space and the money that's left. And with that margin, you go pay for all of your other bills. That aren't two by fours that aren't labor out in the field. It's the, the CPAs and the attorneys and the computer. I would say it's the paperclips and stamps. But when I say that, people are like, oh man, this guy's really old. Who, who uses stamps and paperclips anymore. Right. But it's all that stuff. And it pays for your taxes too, and it's gotta pay for your profit. And that's where, you know, a lot of business owners saying, wait a minute, how people don't want to pay my price. Now I'm mark it up at 20%. And you're saying, I gotta mark it up to 50%. My customers won't wanna pay that. And I always say like, yeah, it's great news, easy solution. Exactly. Well, no, we just get you better customers. Absolutely. Right. There are customers out there that want what you have and will pay for it. Uh, you just gotta, a lot of contractors are just selling price. Yeah. But if they sell the value, then price doesn't matter. You just have to find those clients that want the value that's associated with the price. Well, Speaker 1 00:29:39 And it's much better to have less work that pays more than more work that pays less. I mean, that's Speaker 2 00:29:44 Just, yeah. And that's when we, when we bring people into the academy, I mean, I, I understand I'm marketing this business and it sounds like snake oil salesman here. But like when, when you've get our systems in place, then you will work less and make more money. And that's just like that, that it's like, no, the way you make more money is you work more. It's like, Nope. <laugh> I know. Nope. You can, you can actually work less, do fewer jobs. But with the right margins, you'll have more money, uh, in profit by doing fewer jobs. But it, it takes time and it takes systems in place. So Speaker 1 00:30:17 Tell me a little bit about, more about the academy. What is that? Is that coaching? Tell me, tell me how it operates. What, Speaker 2 00:30:23 Yeah. So the, so the built to build academy, we, what we say our mission statement is we create confident construction business owners through training and coaching programs so that you can make more money, streamline your business and get your life back. So we have different programs in the academy, uh, where we're to hit different con construction business owners, like where they may be at, in their business. So we have, uh, right now we have three programs built to start built, to grow and built, to lead the built, to start stuff. A lot of people will hear that. And they're like, oh, that's for startups. And we're like, Nope, you gotta understand our language in the academy. The, the built to start is the foundational stuff. So we've got three programs in there where we work on time management for the owner. Uh, meaning we, we, we have a system for blocks scheduling. Speaker 2 00:31:07 So I, it, again, we have a principle in the academy that we teach, it's called the boring success formula. <laugh> meaning that we think everybody's from a business owner standpoint, it should be boring to operate. Yeah. Meaning when people say, Hey, how did you become so successful? Well, we figured out what was making us money. And we did that every day. And we identified things that were losing us money and we stopped doing it sounds boring to describe, but a business that adheres to the boring success formula is making really good money. They got really engaged employees and they've got customers that won't shut up about how awesome they are, cuz they just do this one thing and they do it with such excellence. They can pretty much charge whatever they want to with it. And they hone in on that. Uh, so that is where we start at with the built to start program. Speaker 2 00:31:51 We say, you gotta have your, the owner has got to have his or her time managed, scheduled out block scheduling every week, repeatable. It's just a system. Then we get into saying like, you're not in business until cash is coming in the door. The way you get cash in the door is by selling. You gotta sell for the, you gotta sell for the right price and you gotta sell to the right customers. And in this day and age we've been teaching this for years, is you charge for your proposals or your estimates. Now most, most customers that call up, they'll say, Hey, I, you know, can you give me an estimate? Yep. I can give you an estimate right here over the phone. Tell me about your project. And I'll give you an estimate. If you want me to go spend 20 to 40 hours planning and meeting with subcontractors and walking the site and meeting with your architect, all of that kind of stuff, that's a professional service. Speaker 2 00:32:36 You gotta pay for that. And people will get pissed off cuz they think contractors are supposed to work for free. Right? So we, we have our, our sales program teaches them how to weed out over the phone and also sell over the phone. The, what we call pre-construction services, all of the planning, estimating design work that goes on before you get to the construction. So that's the second leg of that built to start stool. And then the profit first for contractors, uh, the, the full comprehensive program where we do get into crunching the numbers and show you how to set up the bank accounts and do all teach about, teach it 17 different ways of margin and markup and, and how to, how to get all that. So that's the built to start program. We say, it's, it's your time, your sales and your cash. Speaker 2 00:33:19 Once you have tho, and those are when we say the word start, it's foundational. It means we've worked with a lot of clients, been in business for 10, 12, 15 years. They don't have these things for time sales in cash. They don't, they don't have these systems in place. They can't achieve anything greater in their business without these foundational systems. Then we get into built to grow that gets into hiring, estimating, scheduling, and what we call our customer experience. Um, we're not real, I'm not real big on business plans. Uh, the only time I think you should really have a business plan written down is probably when you're sitting across a desk from a banker trying to get a loan. Cause they'll be like show what's your business plan outside of that, most people don't use them. So we, we say like your customer experience, the way that your customers experience your product or your service, that is your business. Speaker 2 00:34:05 So that's where we get into planning out every step and every stage. And with technology these days, you can automate a lot of that stuff. A lot of contractors we're really slow to, uh, to adopt new technologies. So part of that customer experience is teaching people how to automate what can be automated, where we can get a machine to do sending out emails and notifications and, and how we collect payments. And all of the we're doing the same. Again, back to the boring success form, we do the same stuff again and again and again, a lot of that stuff can be automated. Um, and so that that's in the built to grow. And then our built to lead program is our one-on-one mentoring program where people work with me for like nine months or 12 months. And we take a deep dive, uh, into their business cuz we're working on leadership, communication, budgeting, organiza all of the nerdy stuff. Like I'm a, you know, we're gonna, we're gonna develop an org chart. And I guarantee no construction business over said, man, I can't wait till I get to design an org chart <laugh> but without an org chart, knowing who, you know, what positions do, what and how you grow as a company, it's very, you know, it's a very useful tool. Uh, and so that's in our built to lead program. So that's kind of the, the academy in the, in a nutshell. Awesome. Speaker 1 00:35:14 So tell me some of your favorite client success stories. Speaker 2 00:35:18 Oh man. Um, so we actually recently got one, one of our clients out of, uh, out of Kansas city, a remodeling contractor. And this is actually not the first time that I've ever heard this, but it's, uh, it, it it's, it's just the most recent one. So I got a text message just the other day. I haven't posted this on Instagram, even though he gave me permission to, so I need to put this out there. Uh, but he sends me a picture from Puerto Rico where he is fly fishing for Tarpin with his 15 year old son. This is a guy that's been in business for 20 years, struggled with his, with his business. And in the text, he sends me a couple of pictures. His son has this huge fish and he's got, he's got a huge fish here and below the text, it just says his project manager's name. Speaker 2 00:36:01 It says, uh, he's, he's got everything under control. There are no fires to fight. And my wife said that we could stay here another four or five days cuz the fish are biting. So I was like, well, first of all, your wife is an angel so that you won't get that in the academy, by the way, if you want, you know, if you want to get permission for your wife to let you go on a fishing trip. Right. But the fact that he had a, he had a vacation planned paid for in cash from the profits of his construction business. He got to take his son and plans changed and they wanted to stay another four or five days. And his folks back at home, he, he, he doesn't have to run back home to fight any fires. Um, we, we had talked about before about the $2 to $118,000 in, in profit. Speaker 2 00:36:44 Uh, but a lot of this stuff just on the, on the day to day stuff like charging for estimates and proposals, you know, uh, these construction business owners go years thinking they have to work for free and then they just try it once. And I love hearing the stories where someone was timid. They tried it for the first time and they just charged. Yeah. I don't know something small 75 bucks, 250 bucks. And they realized that people did, I hear this all the time. They didn't even bat an eye and I'm like, awesome. Raise it to a thousand. And they're like, oh crap. Like, but I was like, the same system applies. And then they come back and they say never again, because someone just bought it for a thousand dollars that they were given away for, for free. So it's, it's stories like that. We in our hiring system again, right now, it's super hard for everybody to find, you know, to find people. But in our hiring system, we've, we've had people that have landed great employees pulled them away from other construction companies or even people from outside the industry and said, Hey, we don't care. If you don't have experience, we're gonna train you. We've got systems for this and giving other people the opportunity to see what, what lies in the construction industry has been really exciting to hear those, those stories as well. Well, Speaker 1 00:37:53 That, that's so amazing because the trades are honestly a great way and an honorable way to make a living that I think get overlooked so much with this push to go to college and, and it just, and to make it a place where you don't get screwed and you can make a living, you know, that makes all the difference. And part of that is realizing you have to be intentional about the finance. You have to be intentional about the processes. You can't just show up to work every day and just like put out the fires and then, you know, see what fires are there tomorrow. Right? Like the block scheduling. That's huge. Yeah. You know, I tell people about there, they're like, there's no way that could be done. There's just no way I just don't have the time. I was like, no, no, no, make it. Speaker 2 00:38:30 Yeah, that's right. And that's what we say about time. It's like, Hey, we all have the same amount of time. Right. And so 168 hours a week. And what, what it it's, it's counterintuitive to think about the time. And I'm a, I'm not even a big like productivity guru. I'm not about like doing more and less time. I'm about getting more done and spending less time doing it. And so it's counterintuitive to say, like, we teach a lot of our business owners, for example, Hey, you need a day in the office to do the financial stuff or whatever. Guess what? Eliminate Fridays from your calendar, meaning Fridays don't exist for anybody else, for anybody El, for anybody else. Like they can't book a time with you. They can't walk into your office. They can't call cuz Fridays for your team or even your customers or whatever. Speaker 2 00:39:17 Doesn't exist on your calendar. That's your time. And when, and, and I say, but it's very, very hard to say, just eliminate Fridays from your calendar. So I say, Hey, do this start with 45 minutes. Yep. Start with 45 minutes and eliminate that from everybody else. They can't, you, you're not available. 45 minutes grows to an hour to two hours. Two hours grows to half a day, half a day grows to a day. Like it's a process. It, it takes time. But then when you realize, and this is what the, at the time we're recording this as we end up towards the end of the year and going into the new year, that's the first thing I do on my calendar. I look at my, again, I have, I have five kids. So the first thing I do is I eliminate all of the days where they're outta school, you know, like president's day and those random teacher in-service days, cuz I know like let's just eliminate those. Speaker 2 00:40:03 The kids are gonna be home. Then we look at vacations and holidays and I eliminate those days and say, Hey, I've got, I don't know, whatever, eliminate weekends. You're like, oh crap. I've only got whatever it is. I dunno, 200 days. Mm-hmm <affirmative> in the year. That's when I'm working. Yep. And then I'm gonna say, Hey, my team, we're gonna do some quarterly stuff. I gotta eliminate one day, a quarter. And once a month I better do some other, I gotta eliminate those days. And it forces you to say like, once you remove them, then you say, this is all the time that I have left. Then you start plugging in the important things and you realize you will run out of time. And that's exactly right. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, you're gonna run out of time. And the thing that, the stuff that doesn't get done is the stuff you have to delegate or the stuff you just need to get rid of anyway. But it's very counterintuitive when we come into a week and we see an open schedule, some people think like, oh, this is gonna be a great week. If I come in and my, my calendar is open. I'm like, crap, this week's gonna suck. <laugh> cause nothing's organized. Nothing's planned out. Speaker 1 00:41:01 Yeah, I know. Okay. So where can people find out more about you and, and all the things and, and you know, hiring. Speaker 2 00:41:07 Yeah. So if they wanna, if they wanna follow me on social media, I'm pretty active there on Instagram. So it's just Sean van Dyke on Instagram. It's SSHA, w N V a N D Y K E. Uh, we've got a couple other accounts on Instagram, uh, profit, first contractors, and then also built to build academy. You can get all of that stuff there, but I'm mostly most active on, uh, on the Sean van Dyke stuff, cuz it's just me. I'm not, you know, I try to be a content creator, uh, and I'm just like, ah, screw it. This is who I am. So deal with it. Um, so there's that we got YouTube channel, uh, Sean van dyke.com. You can get to our blog post and you know, all of our free stuff. We have a bunch of free trainings. And then if you want to find out, uh, more information about the academy, you can go to built to build academy.com. And again, I would just say type Sean van Dyke into Google. If you can't find me there, then let me know, cuz I've gotta smack my SEO people around, but just Sean van Dyke much Speaker 1 00:42:02 After I got your book, that's what I did. And you came right up. So they're doing a good Speaker 2 00:42:05 Yeah. And hopefully people are like, oh you go down the rabbit hole. Yep. That's exactly. That's exactly what we Speaker 1 00:42:09 Want. There's this and there's yeah, I know there's Speaker 2 00:42:11 This. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:42:12 <laugh> good deal. Well, thanks so much for joining us today. I'm sure we'll have you on again. Uh, you've been a great guest, um, and have a great afternoon. Speaker 2 00:42:19 Oh, thank you, Carolyn. Thank you so much. Thanks. Speaker 1 00:42:24 Thank you for listening to this episode of quick getting screwed. I hope you found it helpful. And if you like what you hear, please like us and follow our podcast. If you want further information. So you can find [email protected] We're also on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, and the book is available on Amazon. Thank you.

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