PAINTING COMPANY BUSINESS COACH
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Painting Company Business Coach
This is episode 18 with Matt Johnson. Welcome to the podcast. I'm your host, Steve Burnett, where each week we interview successful entrepreneurs to hear about their story, 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 us today and now today's show.
Thank you again for being here. We have another inspiring story lined up for you today with Matt Johnson, but first a very special thank you to Joe Jermaine of signature painting services for his podcast reviews, saying steeper net is a great coach with a lot of knowledge to help you grow your business. Thank you so much, Joe. In this week's episode, Steve and Matt Jensen, owner operator of Matt, the painter. Here's episode 18.
Today's guest is from billings, Montana, owner operator of Matt, the painter, Matt Jensen. Welcome to the show my friend.
Thanks Steve for having me on. It's an honor.
Tell us about last year. How did last year workout for you? How'd you end up and then we'll get to the beginning of your story.
Perfect. Yeah, we a had a, had a really strong year last year. It's not how you start, it's definitely how you finish as everybody knows, winter can be such a tough time in first quarter was very difficult for us just working inside and not as profitable as we would've liked. And then I moved into summer is everybody's looking forward, uh, to get outside and went through summer with some new greenhorns college kids that we took on to try to grow the business and help us out. And as you have somebody that's new and that's learning the trade, it affects production. So are, you know, we Kinda, we're moseying along, not as nice as we would've liked to ben as profitable. We're still doing well and then made a late question to the end of the year and to fall and finish it up and just really hit our groove with the team as their summer help moved on and went back to college and finished the year at just shy of 750,000 and grow sales. So I was pretty excited about that and even more so what I was excited about is even with that, and as I said before, it's not how you start, it's how you finish. We were able to achieve still a great net profit without that business that we, that we did that kind of exceeds some of the industry benchmarks and standards.
Painting Company Business Coach
Fantastic. That's awesome. And where to go, wait a way to bring it around and just close with a banner year, top line and bottom line. So I tip my hat to a fantastic job. Thank you. You're welcome to take us all the way back to the beginning now of joked around and some of the other shows. I don't recall anybody back in second grade when they said, what do you want to be when you grow? Want to be
policemen? Billy wanted to be a fireman. I don't recall anybody ever say and I want to be a painting contractor. Right? Back to those words. Couldn't be any more true or I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and in fact my father was a painting contractor, so grew up in the trade all throughout high school and during that time and also through college, slinging the brush with him and working alongside him. I never wanted to do it. I wanted to get my college education. I wanted to be like the people that were working for so certainly after college getting my degree came back home, was working for my father for a little bit and kind of frustrated with that too because that's not where I wanted to be. Long Story Short, moved to Minneapolis and was working there in retail for a couple of months. Is Permian. Let me jump in.
This is right around 2000 2001, so I was working in Minneapolis and was working for target corporation and the stores retail. Again, not what I wanted to do, but it was a job at that time and kind of a stepping stone and if I could go back a little bit. During my last year of college that summer I was working for my dad for a little bit, but then I went to go visit a cousin that lived out here in Montana that was going to Grad school and got to see the west, got to visit the national parks here, yellowstone and glacier, and get some time out on the river and see all the country out here. Just fell in love and knew I had to be out here. So after working in Minneapolis for about a year, packed up my bags, all my stuff. Didn't know a soul in Missoula, Montana, which is northwestern Montana.
And moved out there and worked in Missoula for an insurance agent for a couple years. Was going to take over his office as he was set to retire. But his whole situation change. He went through a divorce and I knew that with his financial situation changing that wouldn't be able to buy out his agency. So, uh, had been always wanting to get into pharmaceutical sales and an opportunity and landed a job with a pharmaceutical company and did that for a year. And it was kind of a dream job that I was applying for straight out of college and never landed anything and worked for pharmaceutical company for about a year and I absolutely hated. It was one of those jobs where I would wake up every morning with that feeling in your stomach and just no satisfaction, no matter how hard you worked and didn't feel like I had the control of things.
So what happened is I had a friend down here in billings that has a ski shop and I'd been talking with him as I was working in the pharmaceutical world and about some opportunities about getting into some ski swaps, which has kind of like a garage sale in the fall where people bring their used to ski equipment to sell before the season kicks off and people can buy it at discounted prices. So we found a little small business where we go to some of the big manufacturers and purchase close outs at a discount and they go around all the local ski swaps and sell the equipment. So did that for roughly about two years. And during that time, of course, it's so seasonal, I would help him out after the swaps, during the winter in his ski shots on skis and I needed to do something during the summer and I had an acquaintance here that had a painting business and he was phasing out of it and I basically took over his business and his clientele again, something that he didn't want to do, but I needed something to do during the summer and I needed something to kind of seasonal and I knew a little bit about painting from working for my dad for all those previous years.
And some of his accounts that he had were painting gas stations and it's pretty hard to mess up painting the metal curb around a gas station or the pump islands are. So it's pretty disgusting work. But you know, it was a good introduction for me getting back into the paint world again. It was a difficult adjustment in my mindset from going from a pharmaceutical world where I was wearing a suit and tie, talking to doctors and nurses to bending over scraping gum and whatever is on those curves that I don't even want to know the training those and smelling gas fumes and try not to get ran over. So it was like, here I am painting again and this is not what I wanted to do. This was that part of the plan, but I just kind of stuck with it at this time. Just my wife and I, we didn't have any kids.
She's a teacher and we're just making a go of it. Trying to figure out what direction I wanted to go with a, with a career. What are your. What are your. What's your wife's college educated insurance sales. Looking in pharmaceutical sales and no scraping gum curb and that's the good stuff. Steve. So she was supportive. She knew that we were trying to do the swap business and she had moved down with me and I took her away from her family up in Missoula because she was born and raised there with her family, so she came down and it was a tough adjustment for her, especially the first year. So when we got down here she was just so supportive about, hey, you know, do, do what it takes. We'll get this figured out with which direction we're gonna go. Um, is that what ideas and just driven that, hey, I'm going to make something work whether it's this painting or want to find something or whether it's the, the ski swaps, if that's going to work out that I'm determined to, you know, to, to find my path and to be successful. Oh, exactly. A hundred percent that there's just no way I could be in my position where I'm at today without her support. So
indeed. Fantastic. OK. And what year did you guys get married?
Painting Company Business Coach
Two thousand six.
Two thousand six. So you get married in six, moved to billings. What year is this? We're now scraping off the curb. So have a guess. Bumps.
Yeah, please don't remind me. 2,000. Eight. Eight. OK. So we're doing that. And the long story short, this ski swap business didn't really materialize. It wasn't something that I wanted to continue to pursue for various reasons and I continued to help my friend out with this, this fee shop, but as I'm, you know, doing the painting business and starting to take off a little bit. I'm not as serious about it because I'm still enjoying some of the things that Montana has to offer. Being outdoors and enjoy my summers or not summers off, but you know, having the weekends and to go do some of the fun stuff getting out on the rivers. But you know, you're doing good work. Two thousand eight here. There's just some things going on with our economy that we had the Bach and oil fields that had been kind of peeking from thousand seven to about 2012 over North Dakota.
So that kind of took away a lot of the labor force from billings because guys could drive over there and make $200,000 a year just driving a semi. So why wouldn't you go over there if, you know, to make, have benefits and such a great salary. But uh, so it allowed me to kind of step in. They were looking for painters here. All we do is residential repaints. That's kind of what my dad did. So I kind of followed that line of, of work as well. And just slowly every year, you know, we continue to grow. I could see that you can become profitable and make money and start to make a good living and stay busy. Definitely during the summers winters were always like a disc for everybody, a little bit more of a challenge. But each and every year the business continues to grow, which has just been huge.
Painting Company Business Coach
So walk us through some of the growth as far as how did you generate your leads? How did you get going from year to year?
Yep. So one of the things they did is when my youngest daughter Riley was born roughly 2012, we, you know, that's kind of the moment where I'm like, all right, it's time to before she was born, when we were pregnant with Riley that I need to step my game up. So one of the things I did was a home show in March, and then I talked to a fellow contractor, uh, just about marketing, advertising ideas like, you know, what is a great idea, makes my phone ring and you'll get tons of calls, is called the local newspaper. They'd get a free deal that they'll do on you. Nobody does it, and they should, is they do a spotlight on small and local businesses that are, that are new. So I did that and the courts have literally a week between doing the home and that article. My phone just blew up with calls and running around and doing a bunch of estimates and just taking good care of people. Just the basics. Nothing that's high tech-y are really outlandish that as you're listening to a podcast that you're looking for, it's just basically doing good work, taking care of your customers, being honest, forthright, and the word of mouth and referrals because at that time the word again to small businesses, maybe me and one or two guys during the, during the summer, um, and then I would carry roughly one guy through the winter as much as I could.
Very good. Now you had said that. OK, we've got a serious. We got to get after we've got to build this thing if I heard you correctly. Exactly. All right. So there are many, many tens of thousands of painting contractors out there who are still at the, just them and maybe a couple of painters level or will there still in the field right there still in the bucket. What was the mind shift that came to help you to make that change into what advice or specific steps would you encourage for them to, to get out of the field and to build a profitable business?
One piece of advice I got from one of the managers at the paint store and it just really stuck with me is if you can find one solid employee every year just to make that kind of a goal and to add them to your team that you can be a success. And it got to a point to, I think it was around 2000, maybe 2012 or 13 where I was back to myself because I lost to my employees and I was able to find that one that had some previous painting experience through his father as a painting contractor and helped me get so. He had great experience, great kid. And he came and got him trained up even more so and he was just an all star and were able to eventually grow cause we could split up and start running. You know, I could run a true. He could run a crew. So my short answer would be just to find that one person that you can train and develop them and do your best to take care of them. Make sure that you're keeping them happy. And that also he's taking good care of your customers because then you can split and form another crew to keep growing from. From there is a finding those right people,
grid points. So finding the right people, hiring for character. Now I know back when I first got started in Michigan, I would hire painters and then try to teach them character. Almost impossible. Right? So what advice do you have for finding great guys?
I just think you always have to be out there and make your businesses success because people will come to you. Right now I have four painters that came to me, previous companies because they've seen our growth and you know, see the bands out there and know that we're doing something different. And those for all had previous experience. But we've also developed people within our team. We've had younger guys and one of them that we had for a while, within two years I got him up to be a crew leader and he was developed without, you know, really had a little bit of a construction background, but we taught him from day one and it's just finding that right person I said that has the work ethic and has the ability and capacity to learn.
Fantastic employees. We've had other great guys. I'm here that, you know, some like Ryan Anderson, his subs, right. And then we had rob unit. So you also know he has subs and employees so far you've built this up with strictly employees.
Correct. So it's all.
What are your thoughts? Uh, not there were pro or against, but what are your thoughts? Why? Why do you choose to go the employee route over the sub route or even a minute?
I feel like there's more control with the employees and it also helps develop the culture and then make sure that they're taking care of my clients, that I had that accountability with them, that they're all in house. I don't have to worry about anything that they may be overstepping some boundaries. Again, it just comes down to I feel that there's more accountability with them.
Absolutely. What's been a paradigm shift for you to help you to reach this level of success?
I think for a lot of us it's, and especially for myself as the limiting beliefs that we have in our head, there's just always thought, you know, from day one I never wanted to be a painter and all of a sudden thinking you can't make a decent living. Being a painting contractor. You can't stay busy during the winter. You can't step out of the field and trust people to do things and to do it right. You can't delegate all those things that are difficult and you see other people doing it and you wonder how can I do it, but you've. You get frustrated when mistakes happen, so it was overcoming the head trash that is inside all of us and just knowing that other people are out there doing it, no matter what our circumstances or challenges are in our life. Somebody out there is doing it with greater difficulties that they're overcoming, so, hey, why aren't you doing it? So why am I not doing it?
Fantastic. So No mercy, no mercy bombs. Instead we just ask, start asking how clarity correctly seek out the others who are doing it. How are they delegating? How are they growing? How are they finding great guys? How are they so profitable?
Awesome. That's very good. Implementation of what you say has had the biggest change in your business,
you know, got to give big Kudos to, to you. Just the entire day be system has been such a help and implementing that is taking us to an additional level. Would we have grown? Yes. Would we have grown with more pain if I have hadn't done some of this stuff for sure. And just having a community, a mastermind group that holds accountability to you, work in, you know, as we have as a coach to have that help. I've seen other successful companies, one of my clients, my a clients, he mentioned to me that he worked with a coach for 12 years before he sold his business. That just really stuck with me.
Well, thank you for that. Appreciate that very much. Does company culture play in building a successful business and how do you elevate the culture of your team?
So I think it's, it's big. You've got to have the culture because if you're constantly putting out fires and tensions between, uh, employees, then you're getting nowhere who just getting frustrated, you're asking yourself is all this worth it and you don't want that going on within your head. So it's big to make sure that you have a strong culture. I just tried to, to care for my guys just to show them the appreciation, whether it's writing a quick note on their pay stub, thanking them for what they did that week or invalidates something specific. I'm just trying to be genuine with them. Letting them know what's going on and getting to know them better and just being appreciative, uh, to the guys that came to me or will confront other painting contractor. And one of the thoughts that they kept sharing with me is they just didn't feel appreciated. And I always say to my guys and tell him how much I appreciate it, and it goes a long way because it's some of those things. It's not always all about money, but it's about feeling appreciated and feel like you're, you're making a difference.
Interesting. So I wrote a report that said as far as employee appreciation and motivation, money and bonuses was number three. Appreciation was number one. So fantastic. Give any specific examples you'd share out there. So I heard you say you write a note on a paycheck. What are some other specific examples that you find that really resonate with some of your guys to show your gratitude?
So we've recently here brought in and did some team building events. Didn't one of those and then also brought in a speaker at the end of the year to talk about goal setting. And as both parties came in to speakers came in to talk. One of the things that they said, each of them, as you know, this is a pretty cool opportunity that matt is doing for you guys because he is investing in. You said that the see the looks on their faces and to know it's not just going to be another meeting and we were able to talk about things and one of the things we're doing as a team is visiting about goals. What goals do we have individually and for 2018, how can we come together to help each other achieve those goals and sharing some of those goals with each other. We have some conversations between us as as we're out there working shoulder to shoulder and trying to encourage each other to to go further and accomplish more that you're just not showing up and it's not just another Mc job that you're going to to work with whoever you're working with that day.
What are some of your current lead generation systems, marketing, networking. What are you doing that's working well for you to help you to attract a and B clients?
Um, right now it's just taking good care of our existing clients. Most of the business that we did last year as I look back is you know, past customers and just staying in touch with them, whether using sendoutcards and touch base with them, there is his big connecting with them on on facebook and just staying in touch is as big just because you're developing those relationships. You're not trying to spend all this money going out to to find new people. Another great source for us, it's just been networking, whether we're doing bni, rotary, those types of social interactions allow you to get referrals and just when you get those referrals and make sure that you take good care of those customers.
Fantastic. Let's back up a little bit. Now you and I know what cards are and how powerful it is, but many out there may not. Would you just unpack that a little bit and share how you use that? Please just stay top of mind to your clients.
Yeah, so we'll send out. Send out cards is a website where you can go there and pick out any sort of card that you would want to send to your clients and you can personalize it whether it's, you know, for something for one of the holidays that are coming out or you want to do something for one of those Wacky, crazy holidays. I think we're sending one out here in a couple of days or a couple of weeks for the [inaudible] National Pizza Day. So we're going to be sending that out to our clients. Something too, because everybody sends Christmas cards and birthday cards, but trying to have something that comes out that's not a typical holiday around certain events. So we're trying to make it stand out from the other cards, but it's a great way. Send out cards to get in front of your clients so that they see it and in fact we do only gratitude inspirational type of cards or something that's. That's funny. You don't offer any sort of discounts and the customers that I ran into one at a networking event last winter and the first thing he said to me is, I get all your cards saved so much. I'll call you when what I need, you know, while you're staying in touch with what they appreciate it.
Yes. Yes. I love the God gratitude, inspiration and entertainment. No discounts, you know, call us now or even worse. Right? Is Hey, I'm never too busy for your referrals. Exactly. Yeah, we did. They know that. It's a great job. Quick thought to, on the pizza. Have you sent that one out?
That one? I believe it's February ninth.
[inaudible]. OK. And for everybody listening, if you're firing up your sendoutcards here's, here's an idea, here's what I do. If you feel like being entertaining, maybe say, Hey, I'm into fitness fitness pizza in my mouth, happy. That's exactly from facebook. You do a fantastic job on facebook and I would encourage everybody to pull up Matt, the painters facebook page and to follow it for ideas and inspiration. Would you share a little bit about your process?
Yeah. So. And there's been some changes now here within the last week, but with facebook and the algorithms and the way that they're going, but what we've done is I just, I don't share as many job pictures as I should, but I try to share things that, you know, motivation every morning, cool quotes and things that inspire me and then we'll have, you know, topics to that we'll share whether it's a blog post, share some of those things that get the most response are not the painting pictures, it's, you know, the inspirational stuff or it's a fun, wacky picture of something that you're doing on site. Like I got up on a roof to help out with the guys because I got short handed one day and I made them take the ladder away from me and I took a picture of them holding the ladder, not let me down, just to kind of have some fun.
That's great. Fantastic. How, how could somebody say, let's take it back to somebody who's brand new and they say, you know what? I've heard, oh, this guys on the podcast, everybody's talking about Bni or just joined you ib and I see everybody's talking about Bni, how, what is, what does being an eye, how would somebody get involved? Once I got involved was what should they do to get the best value from it?
So Bni stands for business network international, if I remember the acronym correctly. Correct. So it's uh, a group of people that, that meets once a week. It's usually in the mornings and uh, it's a, it's a leads group. So you're going around and you're passing referrals and you have one person from each industry that's in there. So it's exclusive. And my advice is because I've been in various groups, is defined a power group, so a group that has some synergy with other contractors that will help but also kind of some power players that will be able to, you know, they're kind of movers and shakers that are aggressive with things. And then when you get into that group you just can't expect leads to start flowing your way because they got to get to know you and trust you. So then what you need to do is just start forming, you know, grabbing lunch, doing one on ones with the various people on there because that's where you're going to really make the connections and see how you can be of service to them and get to know them, not just going and sit down with them and throw it up on them about, about your business and what you need.
It's all about them. And then which is really key is when you get there and you start doing the BNI network is to step out of your comfort zone because everybody stands up and they. After a few weeks you can pretty much do everybody's one minute commercial and it just starts to sound like Wah Wah, Wah Wah Wah. And everybody's looking at their phone. So you really need to stand out and do some things that are kind of on and off topic at times. I did one here this past fall, I don't know if you remember all the commotion with everybody. Neal in and raising their fists at the Football Games. All the players over the. The national.
So I got up at, at mine and raise my fist in the air and started screaming and I will not take a knee for any, uh, challenging paint job. We will not back down for, you know, this colored walls who will stand up for that really went after it and everybody was just in tears and of course I didn't get it on video and that was the first thing they said is Matt, he should've got that on video and I've had to back out of that group just here recently just because I've got kids back in school and I drop off in the morning. But I always get comments from the group, Gosh, we miss you and we miss your face, your, you're funny commercials and trying to stand out. So again, you're going to be more memorable and top of mind and plus it gets to be a lot more fun on that. So
fantastic. Awesome. Want pack a point real quick that I heard you sharing all the information was one is when you meet for those one to ones I heard you say, don't throw up all over them. Instead of listen to their needs and discovered and truly hear what a great referral for them is. Correct,
exactly, and anything you can do to help them or where their struggles are because you know they're going to walk away with cash that you know that Matt is a great guy. He really does care and you have to be genuine with it and that's the biggest one is that people can sense that if you're not genuine and sincere with your intentions and your actions, then people can sense that.
Absolutely. Very good. Thank you. Matt. So you also mentioned rotary. What rotary, how did you involved, and then what's the difference between rotary in Bni?
Rotary is a service organization looking to reach back out and help the community and I have been in it for just shortly under a year and so it's a service organization and they're out there to help various people and there just seems to be in the Bni and some of the other networking groups. It seems to be more salespeople were in rotary. It's people that's their hearts and service and they seem to be more of the business owners and people that would possibly hire you, but it's also a networking group, but it's, you know, has it's more service oriented.
What, what kind of character to the members of rotary typically have
just being a service organization that the people that are in there just have great hearts, you know, they're looking to help other people and they have that, that mentality of service. So
It's a proper noun. Again, we'll continue with the rest of them. Matt Jensen. Story here in just a moment, but first we want to think Brendan Ryan or Ryan painting out of Pennsylvania who is episode eight and if you haven't heard a story, go check it out. He says, day 20. Today I woke up at 2:30 AM and was just so excited I could not sleep. Everything is clicking into place in my head like magic. I am already successful and I'm not even doing one. One hundredth of what do you, ivy is laid out. What will happen is I started implementing these principles. I know I blast theme Steve, but I don't even need caffeine to get out of bed anymore. I have not been this excited about anything in the last 10 years and I am not just talking business. This has impacted my health, relationships, psychology, and spirituality and ways I would never have imagined.
That's Dui be people. Thank you so much Brendan, for the awesome review. We understand that building a business is hard work, but you're not alone. If you would like to increase your revenue or more importantly, are bottom line faster than download brand new free day. Before you get instant notifications and access to all of our podcasts, videos, articles, and free downloads right away, all in one place. Just go to google play or the iphone APP store and entered Dib and get it for free today. The link will also be in the show notes, so download it today and like the others, you two will be on your way to greater profits. Having time for your family and making an impact in your community will be the first in your market to get the web app downloaded today.
Now, speaking of service and staying top of mind and facebook, jude launched a peanut forward and what was when, when was the first one? A couple years ago? It was three years ago. Has it been three years? Would you tell us about the whole process and then the experience place?
Yeah, so we launched a paying it forward and what we did is the peanut board, if you're not familiar with it, if you're out there listening is it's where we find somebody in the community that couldn't otherwise afford. You know, a paint job has maybe gone through a difficult time, whether it's a single mother, a veteran, and what we do is from the community, put the word out there through facebook to reach out to the news, the newspaper just asking for them to nominate. Somebody will go in there and review all the nominations that come in and look at them and pick the one as a team that's most deserving and we'll go in and do a painter, whether it's a few bedrooms or a kitchen for free. But you think that you would get all these nominations for, for doing it. So something like this, and even though with our first one I really had to hype it, we were in the newspaper, got interviewed by two of the news stations all over facebook and off the top of my head I want to say we might have gotten 10 to 15 nominees, so you just really need to get out there and promote it to find that person that's deserving of the project.
But with that too, and I love to give back to our community because as a small business we're all community made is to be able to go back and find somebody in our community that we can go back and give and try to try to help them. So it's big and then your customers, the community itself sees that hey, it's just not about matt moving from job to job, but it's also he's somebody that focuses on or giving back to the community and we do some other things as well. Through habitat for humanity. We always end up doing the silent pain as well. And in fact, the point I kind of want to make is I was doing a home show and one of the boost next to me was a Mary Kay booth and they had different Mary Kay sales representatives that were sharing the booth and one of them was working at an hour and one of her customers kind of came by and she introduced me not as matt the painter, but as matt who does so much for our community before she even said, this is Matt, he's a painting contractor and he does good work.
It's no, this is Matt. He does a lot for our community and as a good guy. And that just really hit a real strong point with me. It's about giving back to your community to continue to do that. So people see that. And again went back to before you gotta, be genuine and sincere. It's gotta be in your heart when you're doing some of this. It just can't be. You can't go in it with the mentality of what am I going to get returned? Because otherwise it's not fruitful.
Absolutely. Your first forward after it was awarded, announced the, if I recall, correct me, you received so much pr or the news cycle kept running it that you felt like calling them to say, Hey, can you take my name out or enough please, because they ran it so much.
Yeah, it was on the morning news all the afternoon news and then the the evening news and being on both news stations and over facebook and it was great, but also too I was like, I felt embarrassed because it takes that much to find that right person and we were able to help them because not all the. As you can imagine that all the leads that come in are nominations, are strong candidates and so important to me that we find that that right person now that we've done three is each year we just found amazing people, so it's. It's great to be a blessing.
Fantastic way to lead. By the way, I want to talk to you about some of your favorite books, but first we've. You've already touched on tech. What does your tech stack look like?
So yeah, we use various things. The one, uh, I know a lot of people use tee sheets, which is the time tracking APP. We use a version of it called clock shark saying.
All right, you going to unpack that just a little bit for those who may not even be aware of t sheets either?
Yeah, so it's a, it's a great way and it's some tech that I would strongly suggest implementing right away. It's just the bill gets the, your employees the ability to clock in and clock out of jobs so they could track the time that's got a bunch of different functions within it where you can break down to the job that they're on the clock in and out of lunch or even in added tasks if you're wanting to time for prep versus power washing versus painting. And it all goes into the APP which prints out reports for you. That makes it very easy to pass out due to your accountant if they're doing your payroll or for you. And its biggest thing is it's legible and it's accurate and it's trackable.
That's accurate and track. Well, I liked, I love this. So before this, did you find that everybody was turning in 40 our time sheets every week
when I could read them, and the biggest thing for me too that I struggled with is making sure that the jobs and the hours assigned to each job was accurate because we do a lot of job audits to see so I can go back and track where we were at from a production standpoint.
OK. Now Mark Polos who's back in a previous episode, we'll link back to it. He had shared when, when he implemented a time, and I think you meant with t sheets, but these are, they're both fantastic programs. He found that one of his guys wasn't obviously working 40 hours a week and so just this app for one of his guys saved him $6,000 a year and that was just for one guy.
Oh my gosh, that's crazy.
OK, what's next? What's the rest of your tech stack look like?
So we also use a group me, which was kind of a messaging platform within our team so we can post pictures and have kind of a running dialogue of what's going on or all of our employees are on that and we'll post pictures and kind of talk about what's going on or where help is needed. So we use group me also use base camp too for all of our projects. So we'll post the job in the work order into base camp two and then it allows you to do just so many different things. You can have a conversation about what's happening and you can document things with pictures if there was damage that had taken place before you got out there that you can post that into that project and then give access to all your employees so you're not having to hand paper were corridors to everybody and it's a game changer.
Absolutely. And it's also your production calendar, is that correct? Correct. Young. Maybe the whole team can see all the production. Everything gets scheduled out. Exactly. Fantastic. What about estimating programs? How do you. What are you using for an estimating program?
So I am using estimate rocket and that's great. I liked the follow-up sequence so when you send out your estimate you can put them on a sequence of emails that you can follow up with, you know, at different in set it up for if you want to follow up in three days or if you want to follow-up in a week or that from six months from now. So we're, we're using that. That's been a big help. Also using the Google suite, a lot of google drive, using the spreadsheets in there and the documents is nice to have everything on the cloud based. So it's accessible for me and being able to share any of those documents when, when I have to as well very easily. That's another thing that we, that we use.
Fantastic. What a. What about a crm now? So don't it has a crm feature in it? Is that the one you're using? Are you using a standalone?
Yeah, I am using the crm within estimate rocket. I was using pipeline deals which just found that I wasn't using it to its full capacity and for what I needed, so I'm just sticking with an estimate rocket for now, but it's going to be something. I'm going to revisit it fairly soon.
OK, very good. Any other tech?
Yeah, I use a little bit of a Zapier, which is software that just makes apps talk to each other so that you can cut down on your data entry type of stuff. So if an estimate, for example, an estimate rocket is or actually it starts in my. Somebody books with us through you can book me a far a website which just allows the customers to schedule appointments with you. It'll create a zap which fills in a spreadsheet with their information and then I have another zap that comes from estimate rocket into the spreadsheet. Just tracking different things so I don't have to go in there and manually type in information into the various apps and programs are spreadsheets. It does it automatically for you and then what I use to. That's a big help as a person, I'm sure like many out there that has a piece of paper or multiple pieces of paper with a list on it and trying to track what I need to be doing every day and losing that piece of paper and scratching and having to start a new one, so my to do list that allows me to track what I need to be doing and then to focus on some of the bigger tasks and the bigger rocks and of course my day that I need to be paying attention to.
But that is a great app and then it allows you to assign tasks to. If you have somebody on your team, we could do that. Build out projects within there with certain tasks. So I highly recommend to do this.
To do with t, O, d o I s t correct. Correct. Fantastic. Now how about all the calls? So you've got a lot going on. Well first, before the calls with all this tech, do you have to pay a project manager or an office manager?
No, I don't. I don't have one at, at this point. Um, you know, the, the crew leaders basically are able to pull up base camp and see the projects and take care of things. It will be something that I will be adding. I'm just to help with the implementation of some of this and the networking an office person here in the near future. But yeah, you can get by without having a form in per se as well as an office person as you know, you're starting to grow your business by taking advantage of this tech and then delegating to your team and getting them on board with it and it'll be a challenge. People are always resistant to change, but you just got to show them how it's going to ultimately benefit them and make it easier on them and then now are going to be more willing to accept it.
Absolutely. And then that ties back to the beginning of our conversation in regards to hiring for character. Exactly. OK, great. Books or some of your favorite books. What are you reading now? What are those that have made the biggest impact on you in your business that you'd recommend for others?
Yeah, so obviously your book got me started on my journey, so I have to be a little bit of a brown nose there.
Thank you. Appreciate that. In
the book I entrée leadership by Dave Ramsey had read a few years ago and I've always been a reader of business books. I read a lot of fiction. I'm always kind of a business nerd and trying to always improve and learn things and how I can implement into my business. But that book, when I read it, I just thought, Gosh, and incorporated a lot of the great points made in various other books that I read and that was a few years ago. But I would strongly encourage you to read that. Correct? Correct. And just recently to a book, a peak performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magnus just addresses and talks about some of the science behind, you know, being a peak performer and what, uh, to kind of do and how various people have gotten great results and how they've been able to not only get those results but maintain them over the long course of time and make it sustainable.
And it just deals with stress and how to deal with it, science behind it, and just making sure that you're resting not only your body, but your mind. And a lot of these people that set world records are accomplished, great physical achievements, have rested right before they went and performed. They didn't overtrain themselves before they went into the whatever they were trying to compete. And, and, uh, also just to, for the mental challenges and stress that we go through on what to do to make sure that, again, as I said, that you're achieving that, that success and that you can maintain it without going through the burnout peak performance. Yep.
Yeah. Bob Berg's being a go-giver, finally read that. I kind of always knew what it entailed, but it's just a, a great story about giving back. Um, and in a nutshell and something that we'd been doing and kind of connected the dots is like, I don't have to be the silver tongue to salesmen or implement a sales process or that. But if you're out there caring for other people, giving back to your community, people are gonna want to do business with you, they, they're going to care. In fact, I sat next to an insurance agent just here recently in a chamber event and we were talking and she was always given back a hundred percent to, you know, the community against. She's genuine and sincere with it. But uh, she mentioned to me just how it's so big for, for her business, and she had a record year and she said, I, I truly believe that is because we're going and we're giving back to the community and helping out every which way we can want to do business with you because of this.
So yeah, those are just a couple of the books that just really hit home with me. Thank you for sharing. Those men will be sure to link to those books in the show notes as well as their question I should've asked or a point that you'd like to make a couple of things. Nothing groundbreaking, but just know your numbers as you're a small business and track everything because you're going to be building your database, whether it's for production or trying to forecast where you should be, where your hourly rate should be. If you don't have an accountant, find one. You don't have to learn everything to become an accountant, but just to have a better, more intelligent conversation and understanding with them and as far as your numbers, just tracking your production rates. It's something I always tell people that are new in the business because you need to know those in order to estimate accurately and become profitable.
Something that's been big for me is it takes time, but to build out kind of a a strong financial reserves because there's enough stress with running the business and trying to make payroll and things of that nature. But if you can have a strong financial reserve, that alleviates the financial pressures so you don't have to worry about making payroll. You don't have to stress as hard about waiting to get paid that it'll be just a big thing that you can take off your plate. So build up that war chest and don't tap into it and as you build it up to kind of a double edged sword is you have to be careful because I think it's Michael Maccallum [inaudible] who's in profit, I think he says, what does it profit first is says, it's kind of like that roll of toilet paper, but it's a full roll of toilet paper. You're going to be a lot more generous when you're grabbing at it, but if it's a little bit smaller you're not going to grab as much. So just be careful when you're able to to build that up. But don't forage courage that so
fantastic. And again that book is profit first. Correct. So this has been great. What final words of advice for others out there on this crazy entrepreneurial journey is first it's worth it, right? Pain contract. You might not seem like it's attractive. None of us rose her hand and second grades that I want to be a contractor, but there's great opportunity in it. It can be very successful. Make a very good living. What words of advice would you have for others out there who are on this path?
So I'm an introvert. There's not a better time, I believe just with the, I would call it the perfect storm of opportunity because as you have a grain workforce out there that if you're getting into the business now is such a great time and the information is out there that helps out there whether you're working with a coach, finding the knowledge through social media, getting on websites to self, educate yourself, so get out there. You should be able to get up to speed a little bit faster just to implement and don't be afraid. You're going to feel uncomfortable at times as you're implementing some of this stuff, but just to keep going, keep pushing and and things are going to go wrong and nobody has it all figured out, including myself. That's one of the things I always look at. Other companies, Gosh, they are.
They're running like a smooth engine and they've got everything figured out. They don't have any other problems that I have, but they do. As you start to talk to them and some of those things are just going to be continuous. We're gonna all have people problems so it's never as much as the people problems, so don't get discouraged. Find that group that, that can support you and give you the insights because by the time you just deepen the forest, you can't, you can't see everything. And to have somebody that can kind of pull you out of that and you can't always do that to yourself, is to, to kind of elevate beyond the situation and look down on it from the second set of eyes.
Hmm. So don't go it alone. Exactly, man. Thank you so much for your time. Taking time out of your day here. If somebody would like to contact you, how can they best to reach you?
Very easy to find me on facebook at Matt, the painter or Matt Johnson, or please just email me at Matt at matt the painter Dot Com. It's always great to connect with other painters and, uh, to share stories and glad to be of any sort of help that I can to, to anybody out there.
Fantastic. Again, thank you so much matt. It's been an honor to have you on the show.
Thanks so much, Steve.
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