45 min read
Watch Fergus founder, Dan Pollard, share his story of how his 19 person plumbing business got through the 2011 recession by developing new...
OK hi, everyone. So every couple of months, like few typical images this morning. So we'll kickoff in just about a minute or so if you're not here to start. If you don't know me, I'm Dave Paul. A central figure in the end of summer by trade. And this is Andy. Yeah hey, guys, it's me here on the panel. I tried as well. I still own and run my own plumbing business here in Sydney. We started in 1999, going around 20 years, hooked up to it. And we also run an education business that helps trainees all around Australia and New Zealand become better business on us. Yeah, so before we kick off with just a couple of housekeeping columns that we've been asked, I use about 60 minutes. And the big questions and answers at the end and it will be available what's right or wrong. So it will be sitting with a link to click and you'll find it at the moment. But questions and answers at the end in the least will in through to us to answer them. So I've been to these do hang on for those Q&A beat but we'll see you've got some focus team members moderating for technical support. So feel free to make some of them if you're having some technical challenges. So right. Do you think we should begin to get to know what? OK, so what's the voice? Oh, voice interests. So I've been a promise since I was 17. Dared to build. I started working for myself when I was 22. I had a few guys, almost 3 from Texas, full benefits, one for the tax trouble started. The second one was about 26 and the concept was 29. This one could just stress just pressure and started, you know, a steady third, one third time's the charm. So that was 25 stuff and sold it for a pretty good excess. And it figures during that time figures about 45 staff roughly all-female. So Well, it's something. So, Yeah. Hi I'm Amy from of lifestyle training. And as I mentioned earlier, we own the plumbing business here in Sydney that's been going for 20 years and, and still running. We're all about a lifestyle business these days. We have up to 17 staff, but now it's all about having a business model, right? And getting the lifestyle that you want and the freedom that you want. We started lifestyle trading approximately 10 years ago, so it was a 10 year anniversary this year and would be traveling the country through Australia and also in New Zealand. I'm teaching track. And business owners have to become better businesspeople, because I think the main thing to remember is we learn that rules and regulations are advice and processes to be good training to be really successful. These days you've got to be a really, you know, going to be a good business person. So to be really clear and do it just as good makes us, even if you don't really know, you will always get a lot like that. So it's no secret already what I recommend to business purchasing, but there's no rebates. You know that to find trying to help everyone else. So I need to myself. I'm sorry, but I said that if we've got six topics we're going to work through and they sat for 7 minutes on these topics and it's just about really these key topics because if you want to get off the tools and grow a business in all areas at all times, unfortunately. And so the first one is people, right? Yeah I think the interesting thing is finding the right people for businesses is a very, very important business. And you've had that over the years as well. Yeah, yeah, Yeah. So but I mean, you know, so 1992 is when I started and everyone was complaining that there was no tracing back in 1992. So that's been a recurring thing more yeah, 25 years or more now actually. And then and so when I grew my business, 25 staff, we didn't really struggle to find tradesmen. But the answer to that was because instead of being part of the problem as part of the solution, and I just employed lots of apprentices, lots and lots and lots and lots. Yeah so I quit and some didn't make it, but it didn't matter because I wanted I knew that if I was a good enough boss, enough of them would stick around. That would be with all the training. And so I think in those years I think we started probably 40 apprentices, probably only 15 or 20 actually sort of made it through and you know, maybe out to two or three years. But I'm like, OK, but some guys like the lights is out, right? And so that was worth it for me because a lot of what we do is requiring great tools, labour, not the most skilled labor all the time. And so. With many other things, but it was one of the things I did. What are some things you've done to try to keep stuff? It's interesting. I think this day and age, you know, you need to find the right staff. You will need to leave it to the last minute. But if I look back over the years, we're growing business. You know, I was very involved in the business and out there in the public eye, I suppose, and a few people were attracted to us because we were growing quite rapidly. But if I look at some of my best trainees that I've ever had, it's really interesting. Most of them have started as a first or second or third year, and they've been the two apprentices coming through. So that has really worked well for us and easily. If I look back over the 20 years, some of my staff sort of last, the longest have been 12 and 13 years and they all started as mature apprentices because an old is an old saying, there's a lot of truth to the saying about. And some people don't leave companies, people leave people. And so if you're consistently losing trainees in apprentices all the time and they're good blokes, you have to really look at your business. Because if everyone's a problem like an every employee's a problem is leaving you, well the chances are that you're actually the problem because if you've made it, if you, you know, if you think you're a good place to work. And actually a nice place and it's organized and it's systematic and it's good tools and good beds and what's the stuff why guys are going to leave. I sort of don't know if you're always losing good staff. You don't ever have a really good business to going shocks actually and why move all the problem by not actually go to good culture. I don't know what's wrong. And so I treat them like just $1 like a unit and actually. Just to make you more money because I'm still out there, just $1 you know, the pot side. And so I think it's a problem. It's how you bring a new culture. You know, I think the whole apprentice thing, you know, we're a maintenance plumbing company over here in Sydney and bringing in a first year, we really don't make a lot of money over the first few years. It's not in a Darling point of view where you're getting into the ruffians and digging and all that kind of stuff. So we need advice. Customer service is really critical, but it's incredibly hard to find the right stuff. Not just in New Zealand and Australia and all parts of the world, to be honest, to which we are really struggling in the tried contractor sort of space. But in the you've got to remember, you've got to be able to offer stuff the first time. And my plane just did a sexy betrayal of what I was going to say. You know, I don't they're not thinking outside of the square had it on them and and that's a real critical part and once you do find them that it's hard to apply them. You know, these like this day and age, but around the red carpet, you got to talk to them. It's a whole other level of how do you hire them? And then when you hire them, it comes down to how do you train them and how do you get the best out of them? And once you train them, it's how do you retain them and how you get leverage off them to be able to use them in your business for the growth that you need to take the pressure off you as a business. So that's look, there's a lot to do staff actually, because it's actually not what it used to be. You could just be someone all of an hour ago. It's not going to work for the good stuff. So part of that is like how to learn all the skills, to learn how all there is to do that is you need to do some help. To try and get all the tips and tricks, too, because, you know, this managing trade is you managing apprentices and managing office people and managing yourself and really training yourself. And so the hope is that these try and agree on how to hire and train people. And then you touched on it is there is a shortage of tradesmen around the entire world. Yes so therefore, how do you stand out? Well, a lot of it is have to invest in the culture to make it a nice place to work. And that often doesn't mean high end advice, but it certainly doesn't mean in the least. So you have to work out how to pay and design a bunch of stuff. Well, and that is through other things like health sorry, health insurance benefits, life insurance benefits. Counselling with mental health is big challenge for a lot of these young people coming through. So having counseling service available, having mental health aides available, all these things are very important now. Wellness, it's a really big deal. So food and works with stuff for your staff. So it's a big factor in retaining good staff. Yeah, I think as you mentioned in the old days, we could just grab someone and we expected them to be like us. And I think there was an element at times we could get some of those. It was a lot feel like a little tribes that were like that at this day and age. We're running an ad at the moment looking for someone all over Facebook and we're getting really diddly Squat to. People are actively looking for a job at this point of time, but, you know, so you've really got to hire the right way, go about it the wrong way, leverage off this team as you give them increases on the way. But it really does come down to the culture and the leadership that you bring to these guys. They want to be a bit like you, so you've got to really look after them, treat them like a mate, treat them like family, know, get to know their partners what they do and have issues. And that's all part of really building a good unity and a good team. And given the way, we're going to move on to the next topic. So I wish that they in place. Right, the five brains promote your brains on the shoot. Well, a few started. I didn't think brain was all that big a deal and the more I go on through, the more realize brain is everything. But brain is not just a watermark, it's not just the dog. It's like, what is brain? It's a brand is how your customers and your staff interact with your business. So therefore what stays behind your brain is what's called the values, right? It's like what values. Values as how a business interacts with the patient, right? So when you've got my money, when you've got no work, what comes out of your business? So this is when you need this is when you need value. Say the values like my client were always reasonable. Just straight, friendly, reliable, professional. So no matter what happens, will always behave like that. And so this is so now part of our brand is bringing it to life, right? So when you interact with you and your business, how does a room behave? And so this is what brand is. And so the living brand of automatic we've got Fergus the dog was my dog is friendly, it was loyal, it wasn't professional. But you know, he was friendly and fun. But it was he was loyal, right. And so that was all is what Ferguson's those brand values and it comes to you deal with us and so what has to happen to have a hype. So then if you've got this brand that you believe in is going to take basis different understands that that's communicated and this is part of retaining recruiting staff as well. So they know what's expected of your company. And so I am a believer having a brand name that's not just your I used to be damn well. It's funny, I'm looking at the screen here and obviously my name's Andy smith, but know it's Andrew Smith and my first plumbing business was Andrew Smith plumbing. So, you know, and that's always a bit of a laugh because it's such a common name. And I, I even thought back then when I was 21, how am I going to sell this business down the track? What am I going to do? And, and that's what we came up with, the name duck, which everyone laughed out at the time of difficulty. So it's been a bit of a marketing coup for us over the years and right now I'm in my most successful name was not the reason, but it was because people knew I looked. Yeah so, I mean, it's all about getting the right brand for you, for the nation, the style of what you want to do. You know, there is an element where could Dr. dre? So at first. When 1530 that I could maybe to seem to doing leaking taps and we don't want to specialize in just leaking taps isn't a lot of money running around like that. But it does get a sense in the house, it does get us started and it does this is followers and really a good database of clients that we have. But you're right, it all started with the branding. What we wanted to do, the colors, the uniform, the hats, everything we had was all part of that branding. I the vehicles, the business cards, the website, everything looked the same. We had the food trucks and the jetties and cameras and spent a lot of money on that kind of stuff. And our boys were very proud to be the Griffin. And as we were growing, they were sort of walking around with a chest pumped up because they feel I feel good about themselves because they look good. I had the best clothes and then I play the game. Now I do know some people are watching blue I've scumbags and sometimes work around that. Different areas are different, but you're doing maintenance in this area. You want to look clean and tidy, especially. Yeah I'm a huge believer in this image on screen. Right which is a nice thing. But signage, she's just right. She looks the Heisman. And so it's like if you want to get more work and you want your staff to be proud, you want them to be like having Detroit in the uniform, right? If you just letting them walk around and bodies from the base and rotations. Well, what does it say about your brain? Does it say what you care about? And so when customers see your training going to that too. And as my wife says, Angela, she says, if someone came to her door to open the door and she goes his head looks like she is close look like she looks like she he must be she. You know, I couldn't agree more. That's what I couldn't agree more. And I will say it when you start in business, be a young child it's good to deal with these will start new housing rights. Learn the basics of just working invoicing. But you soon find out very quickly. There is no money in New housing, which is cool when you start that, right? And so as you go through your business career, you should be moving through the value chain of getting into renos and housing and the environment. And so I made this promise make the most money out of anyone because you make the most margin you put in and tips and towards a 50% markup, right? So as you go through your business, you should go into hiding with those tapes. However, you're not going to be able to make this business. If you do not have a brand and you do not have staff set up well created and living your values. Yeah, that's right. And I think you touch on. It's there's an element that you can make money new housing is going to be so big to make it and it's a real cutthroat game and you're working with small margins when something goes wrong. It's you know, so I think this is all about, you know, getting that brand, not forgetting the niche, right. And getting where you want to. If you just want to do hot water heaters, will you be cooling yourself? But the hot water, you know, if you just want to do book drawings and your doctor book drying and whatever that may be. So think about your name and your branding and how it's serving you. Do people remember it out in the public. And these are the saleable 9 down the future? I think that's certainly something to look at. I'm doing it right. Next topic. We've become known for delivering a great customer experience. Now this is something Amy's passion about as a life, but Amy's more passionate about it, so I'll let you leave. Yeah, I think customer experience is everything these days. And when it comes to the marketing world, you know, you can be spending really big dollars in that marketplace, you know, and some of the people I work with are spinning, you know, $50,000 a month on adwords, which I don't know if you guys are doing that in nz at the moment, but it's just ridiculous. But to me, a lot of those companies and even talked, the people we work with running them 5% to 10% repeat business. So there's a real problem there. For us the documentary went on 74% repeat business. And the whole idea of our business we want to kind to build it around is that the customer knows what they're going to get every single time. Similar to a McDonald's, a bike. It's a lot of goose chase. You know what you're going to get. So from the moment the phone rings with a horse dripping, fly into the phone, to the moment the guys that drive up the trains all look the same, clean and tidy. We roll them out on the ground with the clean boots on and we go through the whole process of the job every single time. So we offer this amazing customer experience and that's what makes people come back was on again, which is essentially what you need any business. So you're not spending mega dollars on marketing and only using what you want to set aside. You're like, I'm still staggered by these. Do not ask or do not have it going to a cool feature like an answer service. They watch it and they'll say people are coming on to services like a message and they will text me the message from you Cos it calls stuff up. So then you can also it's quite simply a quick follow up. It's crazy. You've been done a job since the invoice. It never got that. And we're like, cause you're trying to get a job, you don't answer the phone. And then you want to wait. Only what you businesses are growing. So I mean, it blows my mind that actually to do it, to deliver a great customer experience, answer the phone it's literally do that actually be the knowledge, the voice, tradesmen and everything. You mentioned, there's sort of a big chunk of the trades that are out there. And I think what happens is people get too busy and it's too it's a hassle answering the phone. This thing's going to be hard, but you're so busy, it doesn't matter. But then all of a sudden, when you're not busy, what do you do? Most guys go, I'm not busy, I need work now. Then I have to throw money at marketing. There's a lot of low cost marketing ideas and other things you can do is deliver incredible customer experience. And for us, when we have our customers, our average dollar sign for our customer is three, three times as much when we got that second, third and fourth time relationship. That's interesting. I think it's also when you're in business, it's important to know about the more rhythm and frequency, right? So it's not always data is vital from this point. You'll be busy and you'll be quiet because they need a lot of hate to work with. This is natural, right? And so you're never going to get this. It's never going to be even. But what you want to do my opinion to disagree. It's not. Is this what you want your abilities to be increasing or shelling out? And so you go, how? How is it possible? But what happens is if you're doing a great customer experience, you're getting more work all the time. So that allows you to ride out the peaks and troughs much smoother because you're growing, because you're getting more customers. It's not as extreme. But if you're not constantly delivering a great customer experience, investing in marketing now when you run out of work, it's so extreme. It could be this ramping up overnight. It takes months, years. And I think consistency is the key. And I think if you're looking not at a maintenance plumbing level, but obviously you have those. Right and you got to spend a lot of money when you're expecting 50 jobs a day or whatever coming through, depending on how big you are. But then you've got your builders and the thing with the builders and other trades is they get a big job and they're quite content. And then by the time they realize they look no other work lined up, it is a bit late. So you should have a doing that customer experience the whole way through and consistency is the key. I just flat out a Little Lies sort of being on a look. So we were already 2 to 2 and 1/2 million business facing maintenance. And somebody knows that we'd point to the same thing based on that. But when we're doing the new housing every once or twice a year, and that was 50, 40 Grand Army and it really hurt. Right it really hit. I got sick of it. Yeah I think some of it comes down to a, B and C and D customers is another question because it's sort of a swipe. Yeah, but the thing is 80% of most peoples work c, C and D customers and 20% and B customers, but the 20% in the and B customers waste only profits coming from. We fall into a habit of business of getting caught up when they see the customers. We keep working for them for low rates, not making much money, not margin, but majority of trainees and they don't know the numbers to understand exactly how they're going at any given time. So the whole idea is to push these indices. And you season to B's into these guys and push the line up and then you can turn, turn on its head way where 80% of your work is and B customers and 20% of what b, C and D customers. So that's really what we hope we can help change the whole Avenue of looking at your business because marketing, customer service sitting that the right way, it all comes down to dollars and cents in the end. And what your profit margins are at the end of these jobs that determine not only are a great person, but you're actually still making the margin on that to help grow your business and thriving business. If you don't have a good margin, if getting a low margin as you make a new housing, you need to have a lot of guys to make it work. And when things go wrong, that's a challenge. And I think the other thing is if you want to see customers, what's on their plate with the customers you get different seems to be like unfortunately, sorry, it's a hassle. Maybe it'll be yourself. Because of that. So many customers are doing this probably because it's the service you delivering. It's the business for me to put up with you. So the feed the flock together, you often end up with a customer to serve. Yeah, I believe in that. It's about really finding your avatar, just like the movie. And you got to look like them and walk block them and talk like them and act like them. And that's where all your marketing strategies should be going for the customer that you want to be to sell and understand. You know, I think when it comes down to the whole branding and even touch on the marketing side, you know, we have a different fine for every piece of marketing that comes into our office. So we know exactly where every new lady's coming from. And then we also know exactly how much dollars and cents have come from that. So it helps US market and helps us know where we need to spend our money. That's really important. If you are expecting a big marketing budget, you've really got to know where every dollar and safety is going. If you're not out there spending a big money on marketing, that's fine. But you've got to make sure that your customers very well and you've got a margin and putting out good customer experience. And if you have that, you probably don't need to mock it as much as some of these other going, yeah, we could be given the view on Roi deposits. This is a favorite favorite of mine. Tell you a little story which is. So I was spending a lot of my focus when it first started and I had spent all my money and I was on monthly change with the supplier. Then you have two drains and it wasn't a real cash flow or real cash at all. And we got this big tranche of dry stock and I couldn't get the I couldn't get the money for points for any more credit for the company, for the work that you install. And so, like socks, it's big trouble. Good job. I need the job. And so we sent them a deposit and like 540 grand deposits the finest. And it was like a kind of fraud. And it's like everybody was like, OK, we're trying to pull this with everything. Surprise to me was it broke ice deposits and they went, you. It's just like this was a great sign. I'm like, this is the hard teacher. She gives the taste first in the place and afterwards. And so that's a lot that a lot that's not there. Right and so what I learned from that is people are used to playing politics, like for the roof, working on the Windows joinery, the concrete, the kitchen, the stocks, the bonds, the carpet, these sort of. But they were also it was I don't want to pay to posit that it's a problem. And it's like when you got to take part in with the audience, it's only half the paint. And so that whole thing just changed. I changed my business within about a month. It was unbelievable what they did for cash. Right and what it also means is made the point not finishing jobs properly so I could get the rest of the thing without so but also you've got quite up front now see pricing deposits, completing cash and it was just a life changing moment for us all to say, though, that 40 grand deposit that I ended up paying, they would not have paid that if you didn't have the credibility and the freedom and the awareness of who you are. And this is a challenge and you got no runs on the board and no one know who you are. I'm going to just give you 40 great centuries. And so that's the beauty of what you do on the line as well as that is very true. But yeah, but don't be afraid to ask with all how to say everyone should be asking for the deposit. But I think this is where the brain in looking at all the websites I mean 14 if you have a that set up right and people can see you. And then see the watch if your eyes were high, they a great company, then they're more willing to pay that over. Well, that is true. If you find a website for you to attend. Looks good. You got uniforms, you look good. You look like a real company and you are a real company. And you? I thought about that, especially at 40 grand. I think it's $500 an hour and 40 grand is like you got to have those runs on the board. Honorable Avon deposits as well. It's the only way to find it. And we do have some rules here in New South Wales and Sydney where they say you really only ask for the same deposit. I'm not a believer in that and I've always never done that. So for me personally, I think that's the if you're building a $4 million and 5%, maybe you got to stop that when you're doing an automated job for $2,000 and we will get them to pay for the hot water heater upfront and looks. I mean, for the job, especially if we're not doing the job on the dying we're going to apply to it gives us the money to pay for it. It's a great way to me. It's it once the person is paid to the deposit that there are 100% is. Now we've got to locks it in so it doesn't affect your calendar whenever you going to start that down, any other thing. So what it does is it makes it somewhat easier for the charity to collect the cash to need because they are paid half upfront, which is not clean invoices, just collecting the customers what it is, it just takes the pressure off everyone and the homeowner knows what they're expecting. The whole thing works and I've also seen businesses grow to be really getting property to and charging deposits. So if you're going to grow your business, you have to put into stuff pricing upfront, charging deposits, getting the cash because otherwise you just kind of the cash for the place that kind of way. Yeah, cash flow is absolutely key. And I think the other thing with getting those deposits upfront, depending on how big your jobs are and what they are is, as we've mentioned, locking those jobs in are just absolutely critical. And it also, if you give them an invoice, it's a nice site. Go ahead. We're all believer and get that signature, the stock a signature at the end. But if you don't get a signature at this office, for example, and you've given the, quote, a $10,000 deposit of $2,000, that tying of the deposit is $1 paid for that. So it stands up in full as you go down the path as well. So it's about locking these customers in and making sure where you go. But cash flow is King. There's plenty of businesses that have made a lot of profit with that cash flow. You've got no business and you can go broke. We just got scale and take your business to the next level. And many times, yeah, right. And we're seeing this is another hot topic that I'm just on. The cycle is slightly more nuanced. I call it the ability to invoice every day. So obviously you don't get an invoice or ring out every day or a new house every day. Right I want the information in every day so that I can invoice every day if I want to. And what I've got to say, if I can, I mean, I will if I can invoice start up, I will invoice that every day. Not in seven days is one of the same day. And I think is touched on the other day the most important thing about doing it every day it's in a week or three weeks. What turns up from four or five invoices a night piles up into 50, 60, 80 invoices. And then it's commitment. Yeah and we're a real believer in trying to get it done on the day, on the job we pay. We, we actually get paid to do quotes we tend to call out to quote and we get them on the spot. We give them the invoice. When our average bill is tied up to $20,000, we ask the sign on the spot, the ones who have done the job, we invoice them as well as soon as we can and we try and get that money in the door as soon as we possibly can. And it's a real thing when it comes to saving. Some small businesses are giving 30 day terms and I'm like when it all last trades get in a circle, put a hand in the air and go, we're going to be a f in back. You know, like, when have we ever done that? And, and. I'm a real. Believe me, when we work, you should get guidance and go down that path because I'm gobsmacked that small business owners that are doing, you know, less than $1,000,000, half a million dollars, hitting 30 day terms like it's ludicrous. We are in our business time and on completion of the job. And we don't leave that job going to apply to this whole other state. We go as well. But that means we've got flow to grow, to scale, to do whatever we want in that business to market. And we've got money now say this is all layering up. Just a random conversation happening. So should be getting cash on completion, right? But to make the journey easy that the company is at one time, you start from the start this way you look what paper is actually reasonable. Speaks can communicate well. They're not aggressive. They're well-presented. So just in uniforms, the customer's had experience. You've got a website, you've got to find a job. Some of the quotes you see the quite frankly, fill up the course. They've accepted it. You've got the deposit. So all of a sudden, the experience with your friend is like, oh, this is a good fit. This is rock solid. The customer knows what they're going to pay. And you've told them fixed pay. You told them to expect kind of thing. You're trained to try to get payment on the end and all of a sudden the whole thing's working. But if everything you see before it's this. And this is the critical thing, it's the same experience every single job, every single time, because it means that everyone knows what they're supposed to be doing in the system. If we get the time experienced, it brings understanding and it's not stressful for anyone involved in that process. Yeah, because if you've got a business and they've got on an old stevo tomorrow, Johno or whatever it is within your business and they're all doing it a different way. It is just a not. And the other thing to remember, too, if you're a business owner and and you're not doing it yourself, your staff will never do it themselves. So you need to make sure that you really lead by leader and follow that process. When you follow this process, that's what makes life easy. People say to me, well, how can you have a business around without you? It's because everyone, it's a step by step process. Everyone does it the same way. And the only time we have a problem in our business is when someone doesn't follow the process, the system, the procedure. It's always the way it is. Like, is it, as I understand it, a repeatable system you're going to. It's not like we did A30 prefigures. We did it when it was on paper. But if you understand that, you've got no idea how easy it is right now, it's like so simple. So what you do is pay people what, Ferguson zero and 80 some money. It's like, come on, string horses get materials, including because the thing I was thinking about. So I started when I was 22 and I basically speak seven years in the wilderness back and around. Yeah, I hear a lot of people say when they, when they come and join us, the livestock fighting, one of the main things is, Oh my god, I didn't realize there was so much more to be successful. I was a good businessman and now I realize I actually knew quite limited stuff. But the other thing is what? Learn from trial and error. You did it. I did it. Now what? That's what we're getting. What we're getting at the moment is the young guys coming through. It is adapting everything we do and they are absolutely fine because that is full of assistance, the procedures that way profit and they go, that's what we're going to do. And I guess all those headaches are gone and it has gone from strength to strength and it might be missing. We were talking about getting coaching those inputs dying, but the ability to good styling means you've got so much to grow and your business is a little machine to build. The machine is what it's all about. And you always must always remember it never seemed afraid to say, I'm his friend from day one. He's got it. He's got to put in an apprenticeship for like two years with trainees and learn the rights. What's the same for your business to learn to invoice? Davey it's really. You'd probably want to need six months of training. Yeah, Yeah. I think. I think you just need to know the processes. Everyone knows how to invoice, but it's just very easy to site. It's two audits to Colorado later. And then when he's due later of I going to an even try if you still don't get the paperwork which goes into it Fergus but then you go Oh yeah, that's right. And then you might think of all that's a bit of a problem. Customer I'll do that next week and then it just, it just keeps builds and builds and in the end, good luck. What am I doing? And most trainees I talk to say, I know, I know, I get a similar saying. If you're not doing it, you don't know. Let's stop telling everyone we know you've got to do it or you don't. And go down that path. But if you can make these changes, that'll change your trading world forever. I think the big thing to remember is 90% of all trainees we talk to are struggling in some way or form. Well, why are we all sheep following all the other guys that are struggling as well? Why don't we think about hanging know, what is new? What can we do? I like damned if I did. And it's exactly the end of the show, the radio and the radio. So the next one is about empowering you saying, right. And so this is actually what it all comes down to. And so because you just write one, you cannot do it all. And so how do you employ yourself? You employ others to do what you want. How do you empower you attainment to want to do the right thing? So first of all, it comes down to the right thing to do. Right so we're assuming that you've already got some systems in place. What does it take to get your team to want to do the right thing for you? That's where it comes down to is why would they want to do what you want them to do? Why should they? So this is the crux of it. Why should they do what you want? So what's the secret sauce to getting people to willingly do what you want them to do? I think the big thing we talk about finding them and then hiring them on our labor and hiring on attitude. And if they're a quick learner, then we will take them to be. That trainee is struggling a little bit on that, but then it really comes down to spending that training, building that culture, having that leadership within the team and making sure that got a place to follow. Nice trainees yell and scream at the guys, and then I do it themselves. Most people yell and scream. They go, Oh my god, I've told you that 10 times. But there's no real structure procedure for the guy to look at, so they feel like they can't make a decision. So then what happens if the guys do what? They can't make a decision? Let's face it, most business owners have had to, you know, have to had everything going through them. They control freaks. Then the guys won't make a decision. They've got to go for you. And this is where the problems will start. Build a culture, build a good team, and then you need to leverage off your team so you can get more time back. Obviously, being a big leader at the end to empower your team. And yes, they will make mistakes sometimes, but empower your team to do the right thing. You can do that. You're going to kill a business moving forward. And so I'm going to tell you something that's going to sound counterintuitive. And so. The more you tell you. So obviously in Detroit stuff, you have some good guys who take responsibility, right? And those are the guys that really want to keep going. And, you know, most guys are going to be 25 plus around that sort of I mean, what are you. But they're going to leave mentally and start their own thing. Well, you know, I but here's what happens. If you actually start sharing with them all the stress that actually goes on. The more they understand in the management meeting around, you know, marketing, branding, website sales, tuna collection, stock uniforms, the more they're exposed to it, the more they go, oh, my goodness. And the more they realize how hard it is to run a business, the more they realize, I need to stick with you for longer to learn more of the business, so don't ever be afraid to let them in and they will train them. But that training also goes on. My goodness. You know, because I'm a very good the mystic plumber. Right good maintenance. But there's no way I take on a commercial voting for Patrick. I've got no idea what goes on. It's only One Touch. It is the same with the business. The more they know what's going on, the more they realize, OK, now I know what's going on. I realize I don't knock on the door immediately. It's like you're ready for a few more years of it's more skills and your job is made about through operations manager, on site manager, whatever sort of roles integrate with them so they get more experience. You'll hear it quite often when people say to me, well, I don't want to train my stop result, train them and I will leave. And then I turn it around and say, well, if you don't try them, train them, you'll just have Robby stop. And he likes to laugh. And yet I hadn't thought about that. So I'm a true believer. I actually with a lot of our advertising weight, I show them, teach them, I, I show them that I'm going to make. I show them and I'm going to teach them to be the best business owner they possibly can. And if they do that, they're going to be incredible for us, and that's what we want. And then if they want to go out on their own, we have to train them to the T of what I need to do and I have to buying because most guys that come to work for me want to go out and arrive in Sydney with 20 or 30 businesses that have worked for us in the past, and they do it the same way as we taught them. And they look back even now and they say, Oh my god, I even used to feed me all that information. I think, yeah, yeah, you're really killing it. Oh, yeah, yeah, that. Oh, shit. But deep down now they've got out there on the block. I've realized how much harder it is to run a business today. So don't hide that, show them, have them involved, make them realize the challenges. And when jobs go bad. And when we lose money and we customers don't feel them in a true believer in making sure they are that customer you went to, this is what happened. This is the problem. This is what we can't do next to get me. What does it sound like? OK but it actually does more. They the more that has to be on your side and maybe you want to wrap it up in a young guy that you got. So we just kind of said fast like it was a big company. So we told them to leave two questions at a time. So should we take the questions? Question the question is how much onus do you put on the guys on site doing the materials? All this question. So it just needs to be broken up into three. One is if it's a new going to quit, one if it's a renovation, you can charge him three if it's the charge up relocation collection. So if it's a new house, they don't put any artists on it. Because if you're hooked up with fungus and you raised the my house, the invoices are going to come straight into the system. So what they buy at the wholesale out will charge straight through automatically into instance. So it's no big deal if they're on a Renault and using stock on events, then they shouldn't be leaving silicone. So they need to be materials in the van or especially want to get the guys trained before you guys speak for minutes in the van, the new stuff. But absolutely. Why wouldn't you do it on site? Yeah, I think it's absolutely critical. I mean, this is all part of running a business. If they're not doing that, potentially you're losing materials. I agree with the Newcastle new year in and year out. I think majority of the time you need to make sure exactly how much, how much material, what they've done and keep a bit of an inventory and a stocktake within the vehicle that make sure that you've got that stuff in there at any given time. So we always do that. Yeah the next question is I find myself having to adjust materials used from invoice supply documents or put stuff on hand for them. This is a really. Touchy subject for me. So what you're actually saying there is that the guys are slacking the leading things and this all comes down to the training of them, understanding where they're on the job, making sure that to stay in the importance of every single feeling. And that is that where we're going? Well, it's also they say they've done a job and they've gone to the wholesaler and they say that was a leaking or a leaking something. I just think like what, two or three tracks? got a couple places, I've got a couple of dishwasher tests and then what happens there. Is it going to. Yeah and so I'm really hot on but this is my solution. And on the data on this picture stuff like report, they put the supply document in the bag and when the mix it in supply and if they think what's the unused parts and it gets credited. I do not want putting excess materials into the stock because it often just goes walkies on the jobs or hymens. So it's very hot. It always created take the stuff back. When the Nicks go into the nicks, apply it back to the office, otherwise it just disappears. Yeah, we're 100% the same. So whatever I have, we have a stock control within the vehicle. And not always sit at a certain level around about $5,000 or $6,000 for what we do and any other automatically getting lip support fittings like you say, when they do a drainage job, whatever fittings that I use, I go straight back to supply or that comes back to your house, go back to the warehouse and it has stockpiles. All these dropping so, so hard to get rid of in all these stocks that you've really lost money. I've actually written a book about all this that's looking at least send you a link to race through read. That third question is see a significant improvement. See efficiencies if the trained end of it themselves might with the thing on self control because this is huge. Absolutely widely soon as you control materials. Oh my goodness Yeah actually we can't get into it is too much to talk about. Yeah, there's a lot to do. And I think not just the materials but the efficiencies of running their business. I think majority of guys I talk to when they think about how they beat drums, there's no A stop the same way in running our business to us and systems and procedures. And that is critical. And when you do that, not only is your efficiency within your whole business. So much cleaner, so much easier, there's no paperwork like not totally clean to allow it, but a business as a style of it as well. And that's another part of it. So running that training is guys, getting the efficiency of the stage systems is killer. I'll send you a link to book approaching on material management I can answer and a few minutes it's much more something you want to the systems required. So let's come back to it. The next question, a question, customer service. I want to get my go on the tools to really put the effort when it comes to this. Well hopefully this how to try a firearm how to get guys to here like it comes to the brand it comes to the marketing, to the website, the they, the systems. The whole thing is to layer up. Otherwise where the other way to go I just turning up to fix drill holes and flip-flop were of right. So if you guys don't really care what it's a deep fundamental structural problem with your business that it requires all the effort to fix. And it's not just it's not one thing. It's all of it. It's the whole business has to be geared around achieving proper homeowner outcomes. And I think the other thing is for us, a lot of our guys have KPIs. So there's a KPI that we all know how much the gross profit should be each day we understand what they're doing and monitoring everything they're doing each day. And we have KPIs for everything, for callbacks to see guys that what money they made, what money they lost, the whole thing. So we've got a whole capacity around that. And you can do that. You can hold people accountable. And it's really interesting when John is over here and for me to be is a good bloke, but he's being hopeless and you got to say no over here, he's killing it. There's a real interesting be side by side of John. I look at his figures, look at your figures, because with our guys, they see the spigots and they're all trying to drive each other, see who's going to be the King for the waiting. And we do have some teams that help with that as well. But in this life, if you do this plan of reach and you teach your team to be average, the average, so what are you going to put in place and make them be get at what are you to put in place your business to be better and constantly look at driving down driving that path with everyone wants to stretch. Everyone does want to be better. There's a little carrot at the end. That's that's the way you should be looking at it as well. But you can just put money in if your business is below average right now, just putting money in is not going to work. The money only works when all the systems are in place that can achieve that outcome of want to. So the brand, the values experience as all has to mirror before we can just put money into them because otherwise I just the dollar unit I'm not a real big fan of the money and cities are some people that are 10% depending on the style of business that you are. What I've seen in our industry in Sydney can break groups where they're trying to finish jobs quick and easy and and so for us of way more there is a money context it but it's not a percentage of a job. It's more like we call it a peak system and they get $10 for every little take. And before you know it, it won't be $400 or $500 extra for the week. That's the goal dollars. And we try and do that with gift vouchers and card so the boys aren't winging about getting job 6% tax is going to us five we're hiring this places. Would you recommend Fergus pay to help raise your cash flow or for other completion factors? Yes, that's the best equation is the point. The point is it's so simple and it's the whole point is this is the expectation upfront around payments. So that comes across with the customer as a 500 bucks agreeing to rent and then communicating if the tradesperson is OK. The customer is expecting this job to be finished by Thursday, 3:00, and they want that bathroom fill it up because the amounts coming to stay that night and you've got to click the check at the end. $5,000 Is the level of. If you're going to improve your cash flow, that's actually needs to get to its final, what the customer wants to pay and what they want done. And we want people and they communicate to the vice president and make sure that if and when that happens, you catch with problems. The cash flow is everything. I think when you're saying they get the biggest pay help improve the cash flow, have no doubt it does. And pilot completion is a match. So whatever platform you use, I'm assuming it's a service platform, but whatever platform use payment of completion. If you can do that in the industry, do it. Otherwise, don't do 30 days to bring them down, seven days, 14 days, whatever it is, but not to leave it because you've got customers that are paying you, you know, 30, 60 days, 90 days later, you kind out of business. No, you can't. Next question is the last one. Hi, guys. My business has grown year on year and there's now a well-established interest space range. The valuation sees it is too big to be sold locally to make it easier to leave town. How do I do an exit strategy by for guys? Maybe I both ways as I'll leave the business in the advice You will have a look now is the most common way trade business are sold as an existing stock and that is always the best way. But there are the brands around with the laser and the Quakes and other events in New Zealand, Australia. But normally there are if you got over 15 staff, Christophe, there are some bigger players here that will come through and buy it for your companies, but feel free to drop me an email. I'll give you a call to New Zealand. I'll talk to you. Can only be here for sure. OK, so we told you to wrap it up. So I'm sure it's been an excellent pleasure for you to listen to us. So I Thank you so much. Thank you so much for your time. It's been a real pleasure. I do have I would say I do hope that you do get a break over the Christmas holiday some time with your family, but you want to be thinking about them that can affect your business over the year, right? Yeah I'm a true believer in this is the best timing year. I know it's a busy time, but to try and see yourself over that Christmas period and and over that Christmas period going into January to make sure 2020 is your biggest year, as I mentioned, most people in business just do the same thing that rattle that running real hamster wheel. But I think the interesting thing is, what are you doing to push yourself forward? What what is maybe holding you back? You know, we talk a little bit about self-belief and some people struggle with self-belief. Now, the problem I see with that is you struggle with self-belief because you actually don't know what you don't know. And that's the challenge. But you have a process. You know exactly what you're going to do, you know exactly how to do it, and you set your goals and put the time and effort into it. You make sure 2020 is your best to get in place. Do contact us. Please do sign up for and lots of writing and we will see you guys in the new year. Yeah, great. Great chat with everyone here today. And it's also good having the day in any given show. You guys have been joining and no doubt chatting in 2020. And the big thing is to at least Tracy put on the right scales. All right, guys. Signing off on Christmas.
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