AUSTRALIA PAINTING CONTRACTOR
BUSINESS COACH FOR MARKETING SALES ESTIMATING OPERATIONS
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AUSTRALIA PAINTING CONTRACTOR
BUSINESS COACH FOR MARKETING
SALES ESTIMATING OPERATIONS
This is episode 12 with Michael Hopkinson. Skaters. Let's grind.
Welcome to the DYB Podcast. I'm your host, Steve Burnett, where each week we interview successful entrepreneurs to hear about their success journey, to inspire you to double your business so that you can have financial freedom time for your family, and make an impact in your community. Thanks for spending some time with me and now today's show.
Thank you again for being here.
We have another inspiring story lined up for you today with Michael Hopkins in, but first a special thank you to Danny Herby of serious business painting for his podcast review saying Steve, April and the whole team are experienced, caring, knowledgeable, humble, and really care to see people grow in every way. You'll learn a lot about the painting business, but also we learned a lot about being a better human. I highly recommend.
Thank you very much, Danny. Herby of serious business painting for your podcast review.
In this week's episode,
I interviewed Michael Hopkinson, owner operator of Hopkinson painting of Australia. That's right. We're going down under me to hear hobbies, entrepreneurial journey. Without further ado, here's episode 12.
Today's guest is from Geraldton, Virginia Australia. Yes. You heard that right from the land down under owner of Hopkinson painting. Michael Hopkinson. Better known as his by his friends as hobby. Welcome to the show my friend.
Thank you, Steve. Great to be here.
Hey, it's a pleasure to have you on. As I'm watching the sun rise. You've already seen it said. Is that correct? It's 10:00 PM here in Australia, so we haven't been here in Denver, Colorado, so I'm glad we're able to sync up because it's going to be really cool. Really excited for this interview to hear about you, your business and some of the differences, you know, we might discover here as we in the US are in our bubble and we may not realize so hopefully we can unpack some of that. But first, how did you get started into this crazy business?
Well, I started when I was 17, so I've always been a painter from the beginning, from 17. So I originally went to law school after year 11. I'm not sure how the school system is an America near 11 is what? I'm 16. So you can legally leave school and I applied for an apprenticeship at a company called the Geraldton building company in Geraldton is a very small town at that stage is around 25,000 people and the job duty company employed a lot of trades people. So I had a dry wall. I'm calling over here, it's called gyprock or plaster. Both but in America is drivable. That had a draw will section.
They had glazing sheet metal, electrical panel baiting plumbing department and a painting department who showed us a few other departments. That was a massive company and they employed a lot of people every year they took on your apprentices in each department.
And I applied and I didn't get it. So I had to get back to school and do another year. A very good friend of mine, Jason Merit. He actually got the job that year and I applied again the next year and got the job. I did my apprenticeship for four years with the moving company. And um, it was an amazing business to work for because it was such a huge company and we did such a large, vast range of work from painting the front door all the way through to big commercial projects, industrial projects. So we got to, we've got to learn from a lot of different tradesmen on a lot of different projects, which I thought was fantastic because you really got to get a sense of how the whole industry worked on films. So just sort of heard you correctly. You will first. So Gerald, geography lesson, right?
For all of us in the states. You're on the west coast or the west coast. So the capital city of Western Australia in Perth, which is the remote, the most remote capital city in the world. We're far away from everything. So we, uh, I'm not sure in miles I'll do it in kilometers and I'll see if I can do a google search of what the models might be. So Geraldton is situated 450 kilometers north of Perth, which is around 290 miles and is not much in between. So when you, when people do come to Western Australia, they're quite amazed at how far you can drive without saying anything you could do. You could travel on the highway at 110 kilometers, 66, you can draw it that space before ours and see Bush.
Australia Painting Contractor Business coach for Marketing Sales Estimating Operations
So it's kind of like to relate it back to us here. It's kind of like driving through Iowa, Nebraska, middle of nowhere for hours, for hours.
Yes. We do a lot of trips to Perth because when you live in remote in a small town, that's what you do. We don't get a lot of Perth guys coming because it's so far. But for us that's what we have to do. So we're sort of situated in the middle about where we. We're on the coast of Australia is on the coast, so we have an amazing coastline here. Beautiful. So you're on the western coast and then just for perspective, Sydney's on the east coast of Australia.
The gold coast is over there as well, correct? Yeah, the Gold Coast in Queensland in down to Melvin say yes. And [inaudible] obviously is our capital city right across the other side of the country. Fantastic. Now you said that you checked out of school after your eleventh year at 16 years old. Sue here in the states at 16 you can check out to.
So does this mean that you are there more than 11 years to graduate school? How does that work? [inaudible] [inaudible] is the graduating year seven times and then it's on to university or get a job. Got It, got it. OK. So same here. We have the 12 years and at 16 you can legally check out as well, which is what I did shortly before 16. So interesting. OK. So go ahead and continue on with your story please. So you're working for this company who had all this. You got to receive all this experience from doors to commercial industrial and we used to do a lot of traveling. So being a large company that did a lot of work in the northwest, the Pillbra area. So if you worked for Joe Mooney Company, you pretty much traveled as well. You will just at the drop of a hat, you know, getting into Kyle, you're getting a plane and you're heading north to do work.
I did. I worked for them for five years. I did my four year apprenticeship than I was a tradesman. I met some travelers on the way that came through town at work for the company as well. And I went and worked for another painter for around six months to see what life working for a small team of three guys really enjoyed that. And then we traveled to Queensland and we moved, moved to Brisbane and looked out on the coast and I worked for a painter that I'd met traveling in Australia. And that was Paul. Hey, small businesses, the three of us and I work every day for two years with him and um, learned a lot of, lot of different skills because in housing in Australia and Western Australia, it's a lot of double brick and like what set plaster, which requires different systems, metal door frames, timber doors.
When you over on the east coast, it's timber frame, housing, plastic bottle, drywall.
Tim The doorframes. And it was, this is a different cutting system, so helpless. They in Queensland as I have a lot of board, queenslander houses, the code Google that they called queenslanders set up high. So, um, it was a different lot of skill set that I learned working over there. Now somebody two years in Queensland and then we moved back to Geraldton and I did about six months with the company again and then decide that I'm going to start my own business because how could this really be talking Pyatok can run a business that's it, not. So I could definitely find a buddy, a steep learning curve on running a business. OK, well, before we get into how that occurred and when we started to realize we don't know, what we don't know is when you went to east coast of Australia, you say all of Australia is coast. So what does, what does it like? Do you travel through the center of Australia and is it, you know, nothing about Kangaroos popping out at you can say.
Australia Painting Contractor Business coach for Marketing Sales Estimating Operations
I wouldn't recommend. Oh, I'd recommend it, definitely. But it's not just a road that runs through the middle is a road that runs along the coast to coast. So you've basically, you head south from where we are, you cut across Western Australia and then you get to, um, get onto the, uh, I can't think of the name of the highway now, but there's, it's, it's all way number one, there's one hallway that runs all around Australia and you drive for days, five days, you know, end up in Adelaide across to. Yeah.
OK. So just curious back and Florida, you really, as you traveled across the state of Florida, you did have to watch for gators elevators. And so I imagine that might be the case with the Kangaroos. Emus and was. OK, got it. Got It. Last officers out there. So. All right. You saw that running a business. It looked easy and they were making millions of dollars. He so I can do this. And so you mentioned it out and started your own company. And is this Hopkinson painting that you started?
I did start Hopkinson painting. And very quickly I um, formed a partnership with another painter, which was the, my friend who had actually done is apprenticeship started this parish die before me, Jason Merit. He had a business called champion by painting surface and champion Bay is the name of the bay which is on Geraldton. So there are a few champion bade businesses in town with champion bay plumbing and champion this. So we formed an, we went under the champion by painting them instead of my name. So we operate that business for a couple of years together in a partnership. And it went really, really well. Jason was always interested in joining the fire brigade. So every year he had tried that and that's where we learned to do. And eventually he got into the fire brigade and then left the business and goes back to me. So I run the business myself around six months.
This was in 98, 99. My now wife Anne Marie and I, we were, we got married in April of that year and we decided that we were going to go and travel the world backpacking. So we decided to close the business, we put all that stuff into storage, turned off my Nakia phone that I had at the time, took off my a watch. And um, we left, we left Australia. Well I've got a British passport as well as Australian passport. My, both my parents are born in England, so joe citizen, which small offer dual citizens. So we backpacked around England and Europe and we traveled for two years. I didn't, I didn't have a phone, I didn't have an email address and I didn't even have a watch for two years. It was absolutely fantastic. Now if you're wanting to get hold of me, you'd have to send every. Yeah, a male on a hotmail account. So it was great. Fantastic. And you'd have to hit the Internet cafes then, right? Yes. I had massive Internet cafés all over London. So, um, yeah, it was really big then. I still had no idea even how to use a computer at that stage, you know, and she can. Emory could talk really fast and I couldn't say.
I would tell her what to, what I want people to know. And then she would talk that I can relate. I didn't stay in high school long enough for the typing class and I had to buy a speaking typing course for $10 for staples and I got my older kids involved and they were younger, made a game out of it to teach myself how to type and in them as well. So I understand not being able to type are some of the differences between, you know, the Brits, the Aussies, and then there's who are, who are the Kiwis? New Zealand is New Zealanders. Yes. And there's a big rivalry between the two of you. Correct?
Oh, you know this, it's, it's all in fun, isn't it? Oh yes. But when I was in England, I what? I did a lot of painting in England. So I worked for a couple of painting companies in England. Now Part I didn't have either the ITU.
I'm sorry. Primarily this was during your two years while you were.
Yeah, I still had to work. So the British British pound is a lot stronger than anything else was back then as well. So you know, it w, it was great to earn English pounds and then buy a ticket to somewhere or fly somewhere, fly to Italy and flow through Europe and fly to America and then just come back to use London as their base. Pretty much so yeah. I, it was learning the different products in England. Yeah. They paints, they've got different names and they've got a paint called egg shell and it's just this, they're very similar but I knew what names and what products we have in Australia and they just call them different things over there. So it was learning, learning curve of product and then the way they did things, it was just, it was completely different than the industry is different here.
OK. So you mentioned eggshell. Eggshell is the name of a sheen here, but it's the name of a product in England.
Is there still a shame but we don't call it egg, shall we call it? Semi gloss or satin. OK. And what else are eggshell? I just wasn't sure at first, you know, just the go-to products that I knew weren't available there. So it was. But yeah, I learned very quickly. OK, so a couple of years there. Then, then what? Emory. I got pregnant so we thought let's go back to Australia because it's the best place in the will to live. So we decided to backpack back through, um, through it and we might our way back to Australia with I think around $60 in the bank. No vehicle at pregnant. Um, we arrived in Perth. And when you, after being in Europe for two years and you want to get a bus or a train somewhere, there's one leaving every half an hour. And my parents then my mom was living down in Albany and Albany is the very bottom of Western Australia.
So it gets the British from Antarctica coming straight through. It's a cold place gets. Yeah, it does get something for two days of the year, I think. I have friends who are gonna listen to this at our anatomy. Sorry goes. But it does get a cold breeze. Blondes with that mine straight. So, um, we thought we'll get off the airplane and you know, no one knew that we would actually coming back to Australia. So it was as big surprise, let's process give someone a heart attack. We thought so we got off the airplane and said we need to book a bus down to Albany that I said that leaves in two days time. We're going to days time, isn't there one this afternoon? So we had to let someone know we're in Perth and if you don't have a vehicle in Australia, you stuffed such a big place, you can't just get out of the airport and Perth and walk somewhere.
So everything is so spread out. So yeah, we came back to Australia and um, we arrived back in Geraldton. I was given a car to use at that stage for work for my parents that had a work. I had a vehicle. So I grabbed that. We decided to open the business again, Hopkins for painting over again. And we had, we had clients that are known so we did a little bit of advertising and yeah, I just, it's just evolving. Started again. Um, how did you, how did you get started this of pregnant? How far long you shipped this point?
Anne Marie, this is 16 years ago, say, oh, I can't remember exactly how far lotion it was. Uh, it was on the point of if you don't go back to Australia and now you can't fly. So she was a fenway along where got back know actually she was around six months. No pressure, no pressure. Crush out. Yeah. It's nowhere to nowhere to live. $60 in the bank, which I spent. I bought this beautiful way, bought this beautiful carved Hindu, wouldn't head in Thailand and I, it fitted my entire backpack pretty much. So I brought that back with me and we got to the airport in Australia. They very conscious of uh, bringing would back into Australia. So they, the customers are very strict and they said we need to fumigate that. It's going to cost $60 that if you don't pay for it, it stays here. And I said, Oh, I've been carrying this for the last month, last credit card, a few guidance this place. Cause I still have it. It's in our backyard still 16 years later. It's fantastic. See it every, every time I walk out to my office, I walked past it, so it's quicker side.
Sounds like Ann Marie is some way for it and I'm relating this to April when it said over and over again have won the lottery and we would've, as we get
into your story, I have succeeded without her support and encouragement. Definitely. Yes. He's the driving force. So quick, quick point I want to make and have made it before is that the wives that are listening support your husband's, support them, encourage them, support them, and I think we're going to hear more about hobbies, amazing story here and we'll see why. So it's, it's w, W, none of this would've happened if we hadn't won the flattery, correct. Copy is correct. So here we are. Last lottery as yes, $60 to our name and we hang our shingle again and hey, we're in business. And then the businesses float in, right? Like you couldn't handle it all and it was just highly profitable jobs and you're just instantly successful.
Yes. Instantly successful. Then I've retired. So it was, I didn't, honestly, I didn't set any records when I got back. I was doing some work. I was picking up work, working by myself and honestly it wasn't fully engaged in it. I really wanted to go back to England because I really enjoyed it over there. But you know, moving forward. So I got, I, I, I was approached one day by a while I was rebuilding coming due and new housing and he asked me to do one house to him. I did the house and he said that was a fantastic job. Can you do more? Said no problem. And then all of a sudden we've got other supervisors work and I had to put on an apprentice, like put on a brush and help us out, put an apprentice. And then I was, we're in a place called calberry which starts with a k, Google that.
It's a beautiful town, an hour and a half north of Jordan on the coast and we're there in January after the, during the Christmas holidays. And I got a phone call from a guy that was a tradesman when I was doing my apprenticeship at the gym company and he's looking, looking for a job. And when he rang I, I, I thought there is no way this guy is actually ringing me for a job, you know, I just didn't think he would ever be ringing me for a job. And I said, you can start tomorrow. Told him where to go, where, what has to go to and when it can start with. And I was still on holidays to that stage and he used to work for me. Now this is that. He's been working with me for 14 years now.
Oh, that's fantastic. So quick question, you've used the term apprentice many times now I'm just looking for some, you know, unique. Our distinctions between the two and that's a term we use here in the state. It's actually an older term. So. And then we have two functions of business for the most part there's the union and then there's open shop. And so an open shop, which was what we had. We typically don't use that term. It comes from the unions and they work through, you know, the way up through the.
So my question is with regards to using the term apprenticeship
is, is is everything unionized? They're like, you know, we used to have in the states or is completely different to what you guys have, so I don't know the full workings of your system, but it's the unit. There are union work on job sites that are run by the union construction sites, but no, there's not a, it's not. There's no union painter. It's completely different. So anyone that wants to learn a trade in Australia doesn't apprenticeship and it's just. Yeah, I can't really explain. So I don't know your system that well, so
you don't even have to.
You can, you can just wake up one day here and file for what's called a dba or doing business as an llc and say I am in business
without any training whatsoever. No, you can't do that here. OK. I need to be. Need to be lost on registered and done an apprenticeship. There are a couple of states in Australia that have sort of stopped the banging and register into the hip on the trades, but in Western Australia still have to be a reticent painter. You have to have. You can't. You can't just open the business. I think it's the limit might be $3,000 worth of work if you're not a licensed. It could be less on so you can be applying to that. You have to do a little small little handyman job becomes sort of got it and we do have license restrictions, but they vary from state to state.
Australia Painting Contractor Business coach for Marketing Sales Estimating Operations
Some zero, some are very strict, so that varies from state to state. Here. Now you're back to circling back to getting started. The guy rang you for a job here, it would call, but he ran you there and so you hired him and he's been with you for 14 years, but before that point, the getting started, right? There had been some really tough times sometimes like, oh my goodness, we're having a baby. We had a. We had a child. Are we going to make it? Where are we going to find our next job? How did you, how did you get going?
Being a small town at your owns a small town and everyone knows everyone. I did have a very good business name before I left, so when I came back to his light up, people still still knew me and so, but most of my work was, it was all just word of mouth and repeat clients. So I would just, I can't remember exactly how it all went because it was 16 years ago. Maybe not that, but it was, I didn't have lack of work. I had more luck on a native. So yeah, it did take, um, it was, it was quite easy getting worse. Getting work was, it wasn't really the issue of getting, getting the work done and completed was issued because it was may. OK, great. So you had the better of the two problems? Yes. So employee employment, when we actually started doing the new housing, employing people wasn't, it wasn't an issue. We are employed pine quite easily.
So here you are, you've hired on your first painter and uh, you're getting going. What, what type of projects are you working on? Majority of new was new housing, so I used to let a re pilots and then we got, it was, there was a massive building boom here in Western Australia, had a mining boom which then caused the building them. So we were doing lots of new homes. Pardon me? What mineral was mined? What was the boom on to China saying, Oh yeah, striped back here twice. I said I haven't even sent it back to us. So that Western Australia has a huge on oil mining industry. Huge to. You had started repaints and then the building boom in it. For you, maybe it was the boom, but it, the new construction. Is it as profitable as repaints for you here? It's not a really good system.
We've had some really good systems in place. We have to get new housing pushed throws the way. Yeah. We had a very good systems. It wasn't highly profitable, but we were doing lots of it. Say the profit margins down Baloo to lots of new housing. So we actually did very, very well out of it and we will pay for what we did. We, yeah, we left. Had quite well. Fantastic. So what does it look like today? So kind of walk us through or catch us up to today. We grew to 14 at our most large commercial projects. We're doing anything and everything. The mining boom, the boom stopped, slowed. We send everything else and you hesitant was we could see it coming. New housing slowing. So he's not a pushing business back towards. We always did great pains with domestic and commercial repaints. We always had that going.
We just started concentrating more on domestic gray pants and conveying promotional rate. Hence the new stuff. So how tame now is down to look at turnover is less but our profit is very similar because obviously we, we shared then a Dib. This really, really cool project that you just finished. And what blew me away is. Excuse me. So Ron Ramsey talked about an article about the house on the hill and and where, you know, many times we venture too far out of our scope or our strengths to take on this great big projects only to realize we don't know, we don't know and the process isn't there or we're not set up for the process. And we ended up losing our tails, although the project looks great on our website. That wasn't the case, but he stepped out. You did this beautiful project and you almost perfectly nailed your numbers, which is incredible.
It was. Yes it was, it was. Yeah. So it was the cathedral, the Cathedral of St Francis Anxiety, which is a beautiful cathedral in Joelton. And we, we got the project and do the exterior of 2015 and then they've just completely renovated the interior of it. So, you know, I'm very fortunate that that rang me original first employee Brett. He worked with me at the [inaudible] company, so he has the same mindset and he was taught the same way. So when it came to doing commercial projects, it just came naturally to us. They'll know how to run them because it's just we've done, we've done so much of it during my time at that company, so yeah, we, we've nearly got the perfect spot on. Perfect profit margin on that one as I shared and that's exactly what our budgeted to I the day. Yeah, we will push. We're supposed to have three months to paint that project and we'll give them five weeks. Which what happens on commercial projects, I'm just, we're just in Bali for two week holiday, one missions that setup just heard from the company and we're starting that project this week and it has to be finished by this day and all that. That is not going to happen because I have other work on as well, you know, I can, I cannot sort of private clients down. The team stepped up. They did over time, they did weekends and we set a budget to how it's going to take and we made that budget by six hours.
You know, that was my, this is the, this is the minimum we can get to this amount of hours, but this is what I'm planning and it's amazing. We set that goal from the beginning and I set from the beginning what profit margin on a, on, and we hit exactly incredible. That's incredible. Post a link to this in the show notes of the project. The, it's an incredible cathedral. And what's unique about it that we've never seen the design, especially of the interior. You've got these great big stripes throughout the interior. So the cathedral was really designed. The one senior who was, was the, uh, the architect and he was inspired by the cathedrals in Italy and he was inspired by mainly the cathedral in Sienna and that is stripe as well. Black and white stripes, but it's real marble. So every column is a strip of black marble, white marble black models.
So fortunately didn't have that luxury here in journals. So when they built it, it was rendered and it was painted in stripes, a light gray stripe, a dark restaurant. And then all the archways, the light gray stripes with orange stripes. So you'll see it when you say the link and go, wow, that is the most craziest thing. But when you walk in there and it just goes, wow, that looks absolutely it does look amazing. Some people dislike it because of the colors. I think it looks amazing. But to actually quote on the project took me a long time because it's, you know, how I've had philosophy going, how did you actually put a price on that? I had to, I couldn't just say, look, we'll just start and see how we go knowledge to a price. And it took a lot of working out and um, yeah, yeah, no, I imagine it worked. I didn't know how it was going to go, but that's the challenge isn't a, that's it. You accepted it. And so now when, when the next one of these cathedrals comes around, you'll be better cathedral that day that I painting. You can give me a call. It's really, I've been painting that kind of that. Right.
We'll continue with the rest of Michael's story in just a moment. But first I wanted to thank Doug [inaudible], imhoff fine residential painting for his kind review of Dib saying, is the tip of the spear the best of the best makeup, the rank and file in this group? It's like having the team comprise your board of directors.
Thank you so much, Doug. We understand that building a business is hard work, but you're not alone. If you would like to double your business faster or more importantly, your bottom line and do it without paying for leads. Joined Dib today. Unlike the other youtube will be on your way to cashflowing having time with your family and making an impact in your community. Any questions? Just shoot me an email that email@example.com again, that Steve at DYB Coach
What's. What's been a major paradigm shift for you to reach this level in your business? Early on in the pace, getting a business coach, getting a business coach way after I had quite a few employees. We weren't making money. We were going backwards at times and then we would care for them to get backwards at times and the money wasn't really flowing evenly, so I bought a business coach. My wife said we need a business coach who need a business coach right now, and we actually got a grant from the government. Really I this into the bill, so why would you not get a business coach? We were only paying 20 percent and she was an amazing business coach and she kicked my butt. So he just. She was asking you questions than to just look at you and wait for you to answer and you had to have an answer.
She was local there. She was local, yes. She was brilliant and that it was. So. We've had business coaches ever since because it was amazing. The lack of direction and I didn't know numbers. I didn't, you know, I left school. I was, I did the easy math. I do understand that thought, didn't understand how to read the numbers and know what was going on. Just money came in and money went out, you know, sometimes more went out and then came in. So Aria or. Yeah, but more seasons than I'd like to admit, especially in the beginning. So that was a major thing having having, having a business coach for sure. Fantastic. Well you know, the implementation of. What would you say is what's brought the most success to you and your business? I would say giving up hides his freedom to do what they do best because our guys have guys know how to paint and if I, if I get in their way, you know, I, I let them.
I give them ownership of every job they they work on. So we had two guys on one job, three guys in this that, that one guy is overseeing it, but they're in charges is their project. They order the materials. They, they discussed with the. Kept the client update of what's happening and it gives them ownership and the frame to do it the way that they want to do what we do, discuss how it's going to get done, but they make the decision so early in the early on in the piece I used to get phone calls all the time with, with really, you know, to me stupid questions to them. Important questions, but it seemed like to me that was just running it past me to make sure I was OK with it. So what I would deliberately do is not answer my phone. I'd miss their phone call are given 10 minutes and ring them back.
So sorry I missed your phone call and they said that way was sort of there or he's running. One of the other guys asked him the question and they've sort of out. So they didn't really need me, but they were just running things past me. So I say giving them, giving them ownership, given me freedom and, and let them make mistakes. Don't, don't step in and put out the fire before they can do it. They can do it. You just got to let them do it. This is fantastic. This is, this is so good and there are so many great points in here. Or try to bring some light to this. So one was what I heard anyway. Stop micromanaging, especially for the perfectionist out there. In order to build a business to implement, to get to the next level. Now, was this easier for you or was this very difficult for you to step back and stop micro-managing and to give them ownership?
Extremely difficult cause I like it. Done the, you know, it's, it's my name that's on the business. It's Hopkinson painting. Michael Hopkinson. Say it's my name, my reputation that I built. So I know I love being onsite with them. I love nothing more than sitting in an office is not what I love, but I love being on site with the guys and having Jochen and I love saying what, what gets done every day, you know, I do. I do drive bys, have jobs after they've left just to see how things are looking, to just want to see the transformation. So for me not being onsite, stepping back was really hard. So even still I've been on the tools for a very long time to do going to occasion and help out when needed, but even wearing a the close of not trying to be way nice, clean, neat clothes and me a businessman was hard.
It was to arrive on site with my painting clothes on even though I wasn't painting anything because I wanted to to, to sort of blend in and keep rapport with the guys. And then I was starting to last clean pair of shorts and we'll have a nice clean shirt and nice clean shoes and all of a sudden I was dressing a lot differently. And then if I did a robin site and paint clothes, they'd look at me going, what's happened? What's wrong? Why are you dressing like that for? So there was the shooting going to need to blend in and stay like you guys. But I know for this business to grow and need to do this. And then when I do arrive like that, they go, Whoa, what's happening?
You're going to help us. So then what was the, what was the
insight, the Aha that helped you [inaudible] this is very difficult. It was difficult for me. It's difficult for so many. What was the insight that that helped you or the realization to say, you know what, I've got to step back and let them take the reins. Some did. Do you remember? Can you think back to what was the light that went off? Or he said, I can't be a perfectionist or a micromanager anymore. I needed to step out and let them handle it and just. So it was like a slight progression.
I think just realizing that they do know what they're doing. They don't need me. And I even had a phone call from one of the guys I know. I ran one of the guys four times and he said, you run me four times today. Why did you keep ringing me? He was joking around and he said four times, you know, and then when I saw it for at least 10, 15 minutes, he will say, what are you doing here? Is it something that you need? I'm going to not just having the realization that it was really that, you know, I, I needed to step back because I've put it back to like a sporting team, know when one of the players is injured, the coach doesn't run out and grab the ball and stop playing, does it? He sends someone else into to keep the game going. So when someone would not turn up for work, I think I need to go in and fill a day in, but I can't because if I'm not at the wheel of the ship, it's going to hit the roof, isn't it? You know, I need to be a claim on site helping out for half a day for whatever reason is phone calls. They get missed. There's emails that get missed and then I'm behind. And if I did that for a couple of days in a row, the shit's going to hit the roof.
That's it. So we have to stay at the wheel or the ship's gonna hit the reef. Really great point you made is that when they would ring you, you would wait 10 minutes and then call them back. And let's solve the problem in that meantime. Interesting. So a challenge and encouragement to listeners out there to try this a few times. If you have a hard time stepping back and letting go, try this a few times and see how it goes for you. Right. Definitely. Fantastic. It sounds like you hired well as well. Sounds like you hired some guys from craftsmen who had ownership or you know, we talked about being above the line and taking responsibility. So that must have been a factor.
No, I, I, I have an, we have an amazing team of painters. Absolutely amazing. I, these, we have had some that are just not the right fit. They can paint that attitude wasn't right or attitude was just couldn't pay it, but I can teach you that, you know, so there was a few mistakes on the way with hiring as I'm sure everyone has had that the guys we have are just, they're just brilliant. They're just, they're just really good relief. So what do you do to elevate the culture of your team? We have a great time. We laugh, we joke around, we're going to take us off series, it'll, we have lots of inside jokes that we can bring up six months later and everyone knows what's going on. We just have a good time. You know, we, we really, we love [inaudible]. We love to have a nice, clear enough then to, you know, so can't have beer. Doesn't go astray. What do you call it in America? We call the Carnegie, which was a box or I don't know. What'd you say? Card? Caught a carton of beer. So beer is a box of beer, you know, bring them to the website last night. Everyone has a beer. OK, severe. OK guys are you guys call it a case? It's a cotton. Yeah, someone messes up. You just got to say that's a cotton and they know what it is, you know, by the next case. Case of beer. That's a cotton.
All right. So what about books? Other books, seminars. You talked about having a business coach was one of the biggest things. Healthy for your business. What else? As far as constant and never ending improvement and help you to develop your business books, seminars, anything about lots of lots of segment. I've done lots of seminars over the years. I've read lots and lots of books. I was thinking about this question today. There's a, there's a book, there's a little book and it's called who moved my cheese. Have you heard of that? Spend to John's very good little book and I gave that to some of our guys at work to read and you know, I really enjoy that. It's a very simple, easy writing book, isn't it? But it's got some great stuff in there. It's, it's, it's, it's a powerful quick nugget. Um, there's a book I really enjoyed called blink that the way we think and the way we make decisions in a snap.
And I really, really enjoyed that book, but there are lots of books I was attempting to think about all the books I've read and I couldn't, um, couldn't come up with killer. But you lots of different business seminars and personal seminars learning lots of. I've done it. I've read lots of books on body language and reading people's body language and understanding different people's personality types so you know, if I need to ask one of painters to do something, I need to ask him this way. I knew to ask another guy a different way because he's going to take it the wrong way. So I learned a lot of stuff about the way people think and the way people respond. So that was all valuable. Has that been for effectively communicating with your team and also networking and again, in sales. So just even just reading the book about body language and known when you're speaking to someone who just take a little bit of faith and I know which, which way their feet are facing, what, what they're engaged with it or not, you know, networking events.
If you walk up to a group of people and you can tell what their fate, so you're going to accept you into that conversation or not, you know, just little cute little cues that they don't even know they're doing. You know? Yes, yes. That's fantastic. Or they rub their ear and they scratch their nose, you know, so really sort of stuff. But trying to remember. Oh, part is, it is. And it's probably been awhile. You don't remember the name of any of the books. There's Paul Ekman, um, does a lot of the body language stuff and it goes online courses as well, which do. I did one of these online courses and pretty sure Paul Ekman. Paul Ekman. We'll look them up. This is a new name. Sound familiar for me to see or go to Australia or is here? He's an American. I'm just going to [inaudible] but no, he's, he's an American.
E K m a n Paul Ekman. E K m a n. all right. We will include that in the show notes as well. Thank you. So tech stack. This is going to be fun because you have a unique tech star that you streamline your business. And, and uh, everybody in dob is like, Ooh, what is that? Every time they see it we get, you know, sh, new shiny objects syndrome. Never. Every time you show a screenshot I get all the time. Say, Oh, well, can I get, I get so many messages from people about this now because I'm, we have some really good close facebook painters forums in Australia and there's um, one called lock Monterey Pine is Australia have to be an Australian painter to get into it. So sorry guys, ever American? Can I get into this biases, but screenshots and all sudden messages coming through.
What is this?
How do we get all of this stuff in 2014? We used to, we used to run a lot of excel sheets and a lot of work. We were using second or third party apps for guys to access excel sheets to fill out the time sheets and project sheets work, but it was clunky and I looked at different apps, time keeping apps and project runs and creating apps and I couldn't find anything that was all inclusive. I wanted a, I wanted a convert it to a project at the, that hours into that with update my system and track my leads and track my profits and nothing. There was nothing available at that stage. [inaudible] and that was one program that I could find. There's probably one now, so I got it made I guys the developments that I need to build a program. It took around a year to get the inflammation out of my head into her head so she could write code to build this program which we call simple because I believe it's simple.
I didn't want it to be hard. I wanted to ensure to live and I want it to be simple to use, so it does all our contracts, all of our customer's details attracts all the employees, do their time sheets, projects, lead conversion, profits. It's. It does a lot. It's a lot more Kendo. I've stated pay the developer more money so our guys have a simple login on their phone now. Got a very simple page that just says endure hours. Had your materials, you know, and once for the them to get paid, they need to put their. I was into this into simple on their phones and when they do that it feeds all my other sheets of feeds. It feeds their personal time sheet. If he's the project they're working on, it captures leads that captures profit. So I either wanted to do the data entry to the easy.
Every time we do, I'll do a quote where you guys call them bids, we call them quite, um, quite. There is a question that pops up right away and says you have to put in where the lead comes from. You cannot start a quote unless you put in the lead. There is a box that says unknown because sometimes people go, I don't know. This is so important. I don't want to gloss over this. Now, sourcing every lead your program which you call simple, has the crm function that you've had built into it so that you were held accountable to source every lead. How important is that to building your business? Oftentimes it's the graphs that once you get some historical data, I could look, I can pull up a graph of la where our leads have come from the 2017 and I can look it over 2016 and they move around.
The graph moves. It changes. So you know, we did a whole year of advertising in the local newspaper, I want them to trial it and I know I've got stocks by about 17 leads from that I converted seven jobs to the profit made from those seven jobs, didn't even cover the cost of the advertising. So without that knowledge, I have probably advertised again, you know, not going to advertise this year because it's actually costing me money to advertise in your newspaper. Yes. This is previous. I wouldn't have known. I'm just going to let you know if you're not asking where your leads are coming from and yeah. So now it's fantastic. So I know that 78 percent of our work is repeat clients, repeat client recommendation, word of mouth for those little scene in the states when I was building. Brilliant. I used pipeline deals and it'll do this for you also as the rock and pep have and functions to it.
And to the hobbyist here you can cut, you know, it's not a feeling or a doubt. So when these guys call you to to re up, you just say no and then you could give them the facts on what your experience was and they don't bother you anymore because they realize you're tracking and measuring. So then you cut the losers and you doubled down on the winners, correct? That's correct. So if I'm not getting the leads from that lead source, you know, concentrate on the one that leads with a that are coming in and even just tracking the exact profit of every project. So I would say the guys have to put the hours into it, you know, like it and the materials and it gives me an exact measurement. So I know if the, if the box turns red and the job's going bad, keep the boxes in the green, you know, so, but before, you know, like they will say to me, um, when we're doing housing all, you don't make much money, you don't make much money at a new housing.
You know, said, well how much do you imagine the girl? Not much. I go, well, how much they tell. Well, I can show you this builder I make on average this percentage, this build or make this percentage. I can show you Nigga robots that make much money in the bank. That's if you're not tracking. It can't be saying that is not making money. If you don't know, you must track and measure your programs. Simple. It does almost everything for you. It's this elusive Unicorn. The all in one that everybody's searching for is actually the, there are things that doesn't do and there's things that I'd like it to do. And like I said, it's having the made up, hadn't developed it to go. It gives me simple quoting. It uses simple project management. It gives me using the word simple of it gives me, I can track this stuff, I could make it more detailed and lots of other things, but it just comes down to even you've, you've made quite an investment in developer to put it together.
So do you or can you solid to others? I can. It's actually, it's, it's based on the, a, on a platform that is only available on apple devices. So that does limit it. But um, so yes I do, there are four painters in Australia are actually using it at the moment and also there are different on the east coast of Australia and Tasmania. There's a guy using it so it people can definitely use it. I haven't pushed it for other people to use it because I did build it specifically for me the way I wanted it to and a couple of abuses that are, can you make it do this and you can do that. Yeah, I can, but to make changes cost me money and I don't really need that. So those are a few people that sort of uh, wanting to use it and then wanting it to do different things so I haven't pushed it to be, to be solved.
But it definitely can be because it could turn into just a great big developing, I don't want to say nightmare, but businesses that might distract you or would distract you from your focus? Yeah. And that's what during the building of the year it took our so focused on it and writing at sheets and you know, when you press this button this has to happen and this has to happen. So I lost focus on the painting business while I was doing that and it was costing me a lot of money to build the system and then all sudden the business, the pine business was not working as well because I was not focused on it. So maybe that is in the back of my mind if I start really focusing on simple for other people use.
You just made me think of that right then Steve, thanks for that think. So aside fromw , w, what does the future look like for you? What are some of the goals, ideals that you have moving forward? Goals moving forward? I like text them or holidays now take a lot of holidays. Um, I, I really want to grow the domestic pining so, but you know, we for so years we did a lot of commercial work and we did a lot of new housing and which is so impersonal. And I really enjoy working on people's houses now, meeting with clients. I really want to grow that side of it because it's just you get to meet so many different people and learn about them and their families and that's the part I want to grow. I wanna improve on our business. I want to as far as like a team and have a, have someone have one person step up more and take a bit more of my role.
I'm not sure how that looks right now because actually our senior slump love what I'm doing now soon to be busier now than I used to. Because obviously in your housing, you know, sometimes I wouldn't even, I wouldn't in this see the new house, I'll just get a calendula, send the guys there. So that part was easy for me. Now I'm a lot busier meeting clients and coordinating work so I can be busy, but I actually really love it. Absolutely. Sounds like we have something in common to us. Relationships developing and creating new relationships are more important than just the numbers when it comes to building the business. Definitely. You know, I always seem to, when we had a team of like 12 guys and I knew that there were the building industry was slung and we're going to have to reduce that tape and it was really going, how are we going to make the same money, but if we have less people, you know, how many times have been tough in western Australia and Australia in general with the 10 of the industry and um, it seems that I just had to make the cut of a few people and we.
Yeah, it's actually works. It's actually working really well. Like I say, I have prophets aren't Mowgli down from when we had more people, but we're just doing better work as far as we're doing private customers in higher, higher value, higher quality, better people to work for it. More profitable to them as well, you know, for. Well is there a question I should've asked at this point that you'd like or a point that you'd like to make? Not that I can think of. We've asked a lot of good questions. I can't think of anything that I haven't asked, but I can't think of what that would be.
Final words of advice you'd have for others out there on their entrepreneurial journey or rollercoaster.
I would say stick with it. Stick with it. If you love it, stick with it. You know when, when things, when things get tough in your business, just just sit back and have a look and remember why you started it in the first place, why you wanted to start this business and what you want to achieve and you know it pushes you. Sorry. Pushes it through and ask questions. Find someone who's done with what you want to do and ask questions. There's never. There's never a dumb question. You know? If you don't know something, don't be afraid to ask someone because there's going to be someone out there who's actually done what you want to do and that will love to tell you about us. Absolutely would love to tell you what they've done and how they did things. Fantastic.
So what I heard was stick with it when times are tough. You remember why you got started
and seek help. Ask questions.
Pretty much everything's been solved in others. Love to help miss it. You know, did we, as I said about that, that painting forum that's here, the like-minded partners, Australia, there is so much good stuff on that with guys sharing their knowledge and I and people are asking questions that sometimes to some people in the form might seem like a stupid question, but going, we notice this form is full of so many different people with different backgrounds and different skill levels and, and something to them that they don't understand and you may understand, doesn't mean it's a dumb question. Just, you know, ask questions. Seek seek. Fantastic. Well this has been great. If others out there, if listeners want to follow up with you to ask some questions, what's the best way that they could reach you? A couple of ways you can head to our facebook page, Hopkinson painting that Tycho, p, k I n s I o n Hopkinson pining, check it [inaudible] like, Hey, send me a message through that or you can email me, um, put my email, please do. Absolutely. Hello@Hopkinsonpainting.com. That I hear and get through to me privately, so that was that a you don't.
Its Hopkins and Painting Dot Com dot a U R U for Australia helped with new Google search. If you put a unit for Australians, are we? Yes, indeed. Dot Com as well. Happy. Thank you so much.
Australia Painting Contractor Business coach for Marketing Sales Estimating Operations
It's evening there. Morning here. I'm so glad we're able to sync up. It's been awesome getting to know you and your business even more. You shared some very valuable insight, not just for your fellow countrymen down in Australia, but here also that we can use in the states and in other countries as well, so I thank you so much for your time, for giving up a little bit of your evening with us. It's been pleasure
and wish you the best in moving forward. It's been really good. Fantastic. Thank you.
I hope you enjoyed this episode. If it was helpful, please share with a friend to help to inspire them to double their business. If you want all the free downloads and links mentioned in the show, go to DYBCoach.com/12 also if you would like full access to all of our courses to help you to double your business. Just go to join [inaudible] dot com. You'll get complimentary access to our members only community with over 200 smart and encouraging members. Also send you a free copy of my book, how to Double Your Business, so go to join [inaudible] today and get all the courses for just $37. Check it out, and if for any reason it's not for you, I'll give you a hundred percent refund and you can keep my book any questions, feel free to shoot me a direct message on facebook or drop me an email at Steve at the Dui. Be Coach [inaudible]. In the next episode we interviewed, Tony is grove of Tony is groves, painting and decorating specialist of Sydney, Australia as he shares his entrepreneurial ventures. Once again, for all the show notes, go to Dui, be coach.com forward slash [inaudible]. Thank you so much for listening. Our mission is to inspire you to double your business so that you can have financial freedom, spend time with your family, and to make an impact in your community. I appreciate you. I'll see you next week and remember, dream big, hustle harder.
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