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...
Watch this webinar to find 6 ways to get a firm grip on your finances
Good morning. Or would just we're going to just wait till 12:00 and start at 12:01. So we're going to try to be a bit more sort of 2 to the skip. So give her a little bit time to come in, but we will be going on time. I'm just trying to find out what tonight says, so be interested. It's always good to get some feedback from you guys. So the question answer boxes really Hindi it goes to the support members within messages me so please do is know what's going on Fisher and the audio quality in video quality if there's any troubles I'll disabled my video. We've done a few things to try and get better internet speed, contacted the providers and whatnot to try and make sure we get good video feeds going in. Right some people are starting to come in now. Once again, we will record it sends out also my notes and slides are available. So if you ever want me to think, just ask the wise guy. It's good to see it's still nice and sunny weather outside and does make going for walks a little bit easier. Back home backgrounds where innovation is today. The similar working environment like the Steve Caseley it also. Jordan is progressing slowly, but renovations are always fun. 11:59 just keep going. All this is going on at home, taking the dog for walks every day. So he's loving getting more and more exercise out in this gets more and more excited every single time I pick up the dog. The dog lately, he says, jumping with joy. Like walking. Well, he walks and. So it's quite fun is amazing. It's like it's like being a kid again. Like there's no cows on the road or the family's going for walks. Events have a big Hill around the big families and the kids, bringing the cow court and real estate signs and flying in the banks. Just like when I was a boy. And essentially talk, talking to the kids about it to see if they enjoy it, that it's a bit quieter and there's more walks and more family time. And it's interesting here in the direction of yeah, it's kind of OK actually like. It's interesting just how much family time we're getting, which is really, really lovely, actually. And I try not to lament for the past, right? Like you don't look back with Rose tinted glasses and think, oh, how good was my childhood when, you know, cars? And it was more freedom and more bikes? But actually, I think it actually was a better time. You know, when I was young, there was no Saturday. It was shops closed Saturday midday. Right and then Saturday afternoon was always gardening. And the fire and Sunday was walks and. The little stuff. And it was a simpler time. And this was not in the United States. Maybe it was a better time. Right 12:01. We we will start. Thank you all to joining us live today. And so this one is a bit about getting a grip on your cash flow in this. There's a bit more to it than that would first seem. For those of you that don't know me. I am Dan Pollard, veteran trading and founder of Vegas. I always do, too, for first time attendees. I made a plan my whole life started work when I was 22 myself and a few guys got into big tax trouble and had to close that business when I was 24, 25 and hit the payoff a big tech bill for a year. And I started taking one of those sort of 20, even 28 and closed that last business from stress of just the pressure of running a business again. But my last trade business, we got the 25 staff in two branches and I sold it successfully and that they've been to software. So I have been through been through the mill many times and been through really dark and hard times. And I have come through. Many times as well. So I'm always here for advice and I actually do do know a lot about how to get through tough times and how to run businesses. Yes, I figure that's 45 staff and offices in two countries. Right so I've managed to get the hang of business and some housekeeping. We've muted your lines. Just have what? Background noise. But if at any point you have a question, please type into the Q&A I box and I'll get to them as I go through the webinar. If you the same question as someone else, feel free to avoid it because then it becomes a bit more of a priority. OK, so. So just wanted to start. So every morning I'm talking to about four different trades companies. You can book a free phone call or webchat with me, and I just talk people through their businesses and the challenges, business and personal with advice. So please do take advantage of that. So it's great to talk to you guys, but I would have to say there's a common theme coming through, which is people aren't taking it seriously. And that means I think it's sort going to go back to normal post code. Lot of guys aren't making a plan, financial plan or work plan. The software seem to be a real reluctance to actually contact your customers, to actually call and email them the same them, or just sort of get in contact with them. And then not really making a marketing plan to get the work post this to. To prescribe it. Like I'd like to point out. Lycopene New Zealand. New Zealand government has now put $12 billion aside for business businesses, for tax relief and benefits just for the business alone. You remember through the 2000 92,011 crisis, Steve was actually it was no help. So the fact that New Zealand's already put 12 billion and what, 10% of our GDP almost into tax. And business relief shows just how serious the situation is. So there is actually no room for complacency. And I think the thing will be for Australia to know how much. The Australian government is putting aside, but it'll be as the GDP similar proportion. America is putting over $1,000,000,000,000. That's like a trillion. That's how serious this is. But for new Zealand, the single biggest thing you have to really think about is these 165,000 people employed in tourism, and tourism was close to their number one export earner. Those people will be virtually without employment, post-covid. And so I know that most of you won't be doing domestic holidays for a while. So all that money that those people are earning is not entering the economy, which is why they're predicting the unemployment rate will go from about 3% over 10 to see. So post-covid there is going to be a real shortage of work in some. That has to be treated with some real sense of importance that, you know, this is going to be tough. So to help you through that, I'm freely available. Honestly, I'm freely available for you to walk into. Have you some plans in? The team's also here to help me get through any marketing that you might need. Right enough of the doom and gloom and sort of time to get into it. OK so what I always like to talk about, I'm always big on this thing called what I call like first principles, right? Which is what's underlying everything. Because once you underlie, once you have an understanding of first principles and good grounding, you can start to make really good business decisions. So the business cycle that we're in now is this one here. Right so at the moment. We've now coming off the peak and we're going into contraction. Now, as you can see, it is the orange dot on the right called the trough. Now, what we don't know is how deep is this trough going to be? What we do know is it's going to be quite deep but quite short. So what that means is post covid, that's pretty much the worst it's going to be, which is the every recession has its unique, unique characteristics. The most unique characteristic about this recession is that all the job losses are upfront and immediate and its impact will be immediate. So the 2009 2000 recession that took at least a year. 18 months for the impact to be felt and for the unemployment to be felt. And then it took a long time for that employment to recover as well. So it's most recessions normally have that sort of flavor to them is the impacts which take a lot longer to be felt and they take a lot longer to recover. This one is very unique, is that all the job losses and all the lost revenue is immediate. So this is the first time or certainly my entire lifetime, that the job losses are immediate. So therefore. But the good thing about that is post-covid this is kind of the worst it's going to be and there's going to be a slow recovery back from the trough. So that's really good. That's the really good thing about this recession. This we know that the worst is upon us right now. The second big thing in play by the slide words is the law of supply and demand. And so. What that means is hopefully you're all familiar with supply and demand. If there's more work than there are workers, then wages go up. And if your hourly rates go up. When there is less work and more workers, then wages go down and default charge out rates go down. That's just basic economics. 101 so therefore you absolutely have to be thinking and around that underlying principle is not enough work for the workers. Therefore, to win work, we must drop our price. That absolutely must be the number one tool in your toolkit to be thinking about right now to win the workplace. COVID hopefully doesn't come to that, but in reality, it will. So once we get into that, we will post coded. We have to be thinking about. How on Earth do I start sort of wanting the work and how do I hold my business together? So I have a leadership framework that I'll show you in the notes with you later on. It's called the three days. You might just leave, so I can just drop this one on for you, see if you can see it. It's called alignment. Ambiguity and action. So as the leaders of your businesses, your number one priority is to get alignment. So what alignment means is you've got all the various stakeholders in your business. So stakeholders are your self, your partner, significant other, your staff, your suppliers, customers. So as the leader, you must be working with the setting some clarity around what life is going to be like post-covid. Why do you exist? Why do we exist? What works? What work are we here to do? What are we based at doing? And so that communication with the stakeholders all takes time. So it's going take time for everything to sort of come through. I mean, what we need to do with our business long term, which leads us into the ambiguity. So most people, especially most employees, really love certainty in life. And who doesn't? We all want to know. We've got a job and the politics coming. However, as the leaders, you know what's going on around the work and the economy and is kind of uncertain. So therefore we are dealing with ambiguity all the time. Now that's OK. And so if you have alignment, right? So alignment means what you're going. So at the moment, we need to be going is making sure you put a financial plan and a marketing plan. A sales plan and a staff plan. Right that's your big job is have a real plan around that. So could you deal with ambiguity if you've got a plan, if you know you're going, I call. That means you can make mistakes. In the wrong direction. And it's OK. Because we've got to get things wrong all the time, and this is life. But if you make them wrong in the right direction, the mistakes are quite minimal. So but if you don't have a plan, you don't know where you're going. You could make mistakes, which would put you into a very bad position. So that could mean you think, oh, well, I'll hang onto all my vehicles, all these vehicles, I'm going to hang on to them and it's going to come right. Well, until you talk to your customers, you don't know that. So if you talk to your customers, you find it like. So no, the jobs. They're all the same price and they're all going to need all the stuff that you can keep your vehicles. But if all this project had been put on hold and you're hoping it's going to come right, and they don't come on right, you're not carrying all these things. So if you don't make a plan, you can be wrong in the wrong direction. That's really bad. So what you want to do is make a plan, get alignment, and make. So if you do make mistakes and there in the right direction. The other one in the third one is action. This who dares wins. So what this means is. You can't see a boat that isn't moving, right. You can't wait until you've got 100% certainty in alignment. You can't remove the ambiguity. You just cannot sit there like a duck on the water. You're just you're a target if you don't know. You have to start taking action today and moving in the right direction. So those three things, that's what you communicate to your staff? Yep I'm going alignment. Making a plan. It's going to take a few months to come. Clear? yeah, that's ambiguity, but that's OK. We'll make some small mistakes, but they'll be small in the right direction. So that's OK. But we're going to make a plan. We're going to start moving today. Right we can start calling our customers. Right we're going to get back to work immediately. And that's what we're going to do. Right so that's how the whole thing hangs together. So then the next bit I talk about doing is, is if you think about life post-covid. So it's going to be very. Want to know my video. Which would. So I just turned off my video, so hopefully the audio is a lot better. So if you think it will post COVID. You have to get work off your customers. And I wanted to share this little table with you. Hopefully you can see it. So the best way for you to make sure that you get paid. From your customers. Is that you deliver an outcome that they were expecting. And so I talk a lot about the time cost, quality triangle and the old joke, as you might have any two, but never all three. So for those of you who don't know about the time cost, college time cost, quality triangle, it's the shortest time at the lowest cost. At the highest quality. And of course, the property owner wants all three. And the reality is, as a tradesperson, you have to juggle all three, 2 give them an outcome that they're happy to pay for. So I call that an acceptable outcome or an agreed outcome. But I wanted to take a second to talk about this little table. So this table is really, really important because I don't know about you, but I remember and it was almost like the property and it was the enemy. It was always a battle to get it right. But when I thought about it and changed my thinking, I realized that I was the one who was getting it wrong. And because of this. So is the property owner and the business owner. You all want things done at the fastest, most efficient time. So in a quote, a job you want your to in there for the smallest amount of time possible. You want them to buy the least amount of materials and you want the highest quality to stop warranties. So therefore it means that the property owner and the business owner, you guys are completely aligned on the Twin cause quality. And where it all goes wrong is the communication between the business owner and the trade person. The trade person isn't incentivized on time, cost, quality. And the main reason for that is no one actually normally tells a tradesperson what's expected. So, for example, this could me this is talking about a real example. Let's say the customer, the property owner has a rental property and they need a new kitchen tech. Now it's a rental property that they're selling in a year's time. So they don't want to buy don't want the highest quality kitchen. They just want something cheap and cheerful that will last a couple of years. The team is also moving in on foot on Saturday morning. So they want the job completed by 4:30 on a Friday. So therefore on the job cards you need to be putting. The owner wants to spend about four $450 on a kitchen tip and with that done by Friday, 430, because the tenant's moving in on Saturday morning. And this is simple as it is, is communicating with the tradesperson, the time cost, quality expectation that's required. As soon as you start doing that, that's how you'll start delivering a great outcomes to your customers, which is how you then get cash flow, which is going to be the single biggest thing you need to do to get through this. This really had time. Now we come to ambiguity. You won't ever 80% to 90% certainty what will happen. And that's OK. You don't need certainty when you can use logic and experience. Right but the one thing I do want you to think about is if the government's applying this much money into the economy, it's a sign that it's a really big deal. So please do take this quite seriously with what's going on. Now preparing for the future. Before you do that, you still need to take the action you need to take. So the actions you to take is understanding your money. And so what I mean by that is I put out a little spreadsheet and I'll share it with you at the end is actually it's nothing very complicated. It's very simple. It's as simple as this. What is your total cash to come in? What is your total cash? You have to pay for the Bills you owe. You have a figure here. What are your monthly non-negotiable overheads? Because you can negotiate your overheads, right? That you've got rent and other bills. You can go into rent, holidays, you can renegotiate the lease agreements. You can do a lot right now because no landlord wants a tenant that wants a vacant building and the courts are going to be so overloaded with court cases that there's no way the landlord is going to get a court case to take you to court to enforce your lease agreement. Right that's the reality. Simmons is going to be overloaded. But what? Are you agreeable over here? What are you spending on advertising? Fuel, uniforms, all this stuff? What can you actually cut? For your cash to come in. What can you really get in? Sure the details might show you're owed 68,000 or $150,000 $750,000. But what of that cash? Can you really get in? Workload what are you actually coming back to this? We need to talk to your customers and find out what are you actually coming back to that will let you know your staffing requirements. Staff costs. Who do you need? Who do you actually need in terms of office staff and the workers? What are your employment contracts? A part time wage cuts. Can you put your people on? I mean, the best cases, people just go on reduced hours. Right I'm always sad to hear of anyone who can just be reduced hours. That's always the best. Now, the next week, when a lot of the government assistance for the salary support and how long for. Because the governments are being very good right now, providing lots of cash to keep people employed, really are doing a great job. So do take advantage of these subsidies. If you don't know how to do that, you must talk to your accountants. And I am most qualified. We are not qualified or financial advisors and so we won't be giving advice on the grants from the government. That's not our role. So let's taking action on your money, right? I can easily share that little spreadsheets. It's nothing. The second point is, understand yourself. And what I mean by that is just make sure you can hear me just OK. What I mean by that is, what state are you in? Right now, you've got the emotional capacity to go through this. Have you got the support of your partner and friends and suppliers to get through this? And if you haven't, you need to have some really, really good conversations with everyone around what's required to get yourself in the emotional state to get through this. Once you've got yourself sorted, you need to understand your staff like. You will have some staff who are vulnerable. They might have challenges at home with children who need to sit-in terms of care. They may be quite exposed financially. We really need to find out where your staff are it and which ones you need to care about. I always care about my staff and try to look after this best I can. And you might find some staff happy to take a long holiday. They've got a renovation like me, and they're happy to work at home, or they got a farm to go to and they can afford to take a long break. So if it were your staff, it. The next thing is, understand your customers. You may have some customers who. Have children or extended family members that really need the work done or do I need to get things done for the unique situation such as? I'm always very conscious of people with children with disabilities who need care, bathrooms and all that extra care. I always make them a priority. The elderly. I always make them a priority. So that's the action you need to take. It's just understand the whole situation is going on around you. I often use the term life is like a six sided dice. You have to look at all sides of the dice at one time. You can't just look at one side and think, oh, that's what's going on. And in many situations, a life can be a 20 sort of dice can be very, very complicated. So you must look at all sides of the dice that's going on for you to make the best decisions. It is always true for you to look at time and with me to talk to you about that was one q nice. Sorry something like QAnon ice slides. So the importance of communication is really what I'm doing. Talking about here is. Actually, it's don't do nothing. Right that's the old it's the old proverb. You can't stewardship that isn't moving. So you have to do something. And if you make it so, they are all the same on the construction side as planned. Work and then work the plan. So the plan is work out your financial situation. And then communicate it to your staff and customers and staff. And start making the action. I truly believe the plan will be quite a long recovery. I really can't see it getting better in less than a year. I really can't. If it does, great. If everybody else is predicting 18 months or so but have a hard time, that's probably realistic. And so you may have to think what you need to cut. If you've got expensive cars, expensive rents, if you've got private schools, bikes, magazine subscriptions, wine subscriptions, all those extra stuff, you might have to think about cutting those expensive properties you're leasing. You might think about selling those working from home, just cutting as much courses as you can. Now, the other thing is. Part of communicating is talking to your customers around the cash. So you need to contact your new dates and ask for 80% now and payment and the rest. That's a really good technique for getting some cash in the door and some of you 50% right today and then a payment plan for the rest. Often if people. Are you 100% paying? 110% today is too hard. However, once they got 50% in a payment plan, then it becomes a lot harder for them to keep paying the rest. Obviously, the best place to start with 80% and then pay 10% over the next month. But you can't take them into payment plan. Now, also contact your customers around the work that you've got to finish off. So you you will have jobs outstanding due to where they are at with it. So if they've got renovations or houses being built or big jobs to finish, can they still afford to finish it? Because people are quite bad at making sure they get the job finished so they know that they've got the house finished, that they can sell it. And then if you're not paying, it's a very bad thing of those many times and deep recessions. These people will get work done that they can't afford to pay for. So absolutely contact them. See where there is. Make sure they've paid for the work up to date and make sure that they'll price the work to finish and do that work. And don't extend credit to them unless you know them really well and you've got a good relationship. But if there's been any finish with them repayment, don't extend them credit. And the third step, you must do is contact your customers and book stop booking that future work. And now. The reason for that is you want to start knowing what we're coming back to as part of the financial plan. If you've got no idea how much work you've got coming back to, how can you communicate to your staff around what workload you can provide for them? So it's very important that you do start talking to your customers around the future of work and booking it in on lock dates. Marketing no marketing is a catch all phrase. I never know much about marketing and thought it was just some sort of weird thing that big companies do. Marketing is just talking to your customers. That's basically it. So you don't need to go and do a flash email campaign or build a flash website or do anything complicated. Marketing is just talking to your customers. The single biggest thing you could do is pick up the phone and literally call every single person that owes you money or call every single good customer of yours and just check in with them and see where they're at. But please just do something. I'm just grown up. Talk to you so far. Hardly anyone is doing anything. Just waiting for it all to go back to work. It's like. Please don't do that. Please just call your customers if that's all you can do. And if you're reluctant or reticent to call your customers. I understand. Well, actually, I don't understand. These need to call them. But if you're not going to call them, can you find someone to call them and talk to them? Can you get, like a mother-in-law or father-in-law or family member, just someone to stop calling your customers, the ones who are your money and us with. It's the ones you've got work to finish off for and the ones you could do work for and just start asking the same questions. Please do something. And the best thing you can do during this time is to learn about video conferencing. So I think there's a poll out and now the digital one is we can get some staff to give you a confidence to use a Zoom or Skype or what other messaging tool. But please get really comfortable with it. He does many of them installed on your computer as possible. I think people are still doing home deliveries. I'm a huge fan of getting a laptop. With an in-built microphone and video so you don't have any and it's permanently set up like this laptop on top. And he was personally set up. So the video and audio always works. Makes my life so much easier. Please do sit something out so you can just have constant video calling with your customers. It's the future. It's going to be the way it is. Post-covid, even now. People are used to it and you just have to join it. If you don't like it, you don't like technology, and it's all a bit scary. All I can say is, please get over yourself. What? run a business. Castle, when I talk to you, meet your customers. Whether it. It's no longer they know. They no longer need tradesmen. We need them because they've got the work. You must meet the customer, whether it's the customer with communication, given communication, and they want to do to video call and give them video calling, not participating in this video conferencing world. It's one of the worst things you could do right now, so please take it seriously. Go online, order. I got a laptop with the camera, the audio and get it delivered, get it set up. And then start practicing. Talk to us for help on that. Or there's a myriad of videos on YouTube. Got to see it all up. So then that leads us into the winning winning work, right? So during this time, if you've got your video conferencing set up, you can now start asking your customer to walk around the house with their phone and videoing what's going on with them. Right you can look at the drainage, the scaling, the down pipes, the heat pumps, the switchboards, the lighting alarm panel, security. As they're walking around the house. You don't have to do a site visit. You can say, oh, you just look around look under the date. Look at can you go to the switchboard? Looking at switchboard, the alarm panel? Yep Yep. So without all the heating. So you can now start actually doing the coding over the video that you caught in Ferguson to them, call them back and talk them through it all in real time. It has to be on site. And then this is going to allow you to come back to Future work. And this is the same approach that you want to take to when the borders do open again and you start to get home and go on site. You must start getting really comfortable talking about price with the customer on site will face to face. Because you post-covid, you are going. If you want to win work, you're going to talk about money on site with the customer and fixed pricing. And this is going to be the single biggest thing you're going to get comfortable doing. Quoting on site with the fixed price and getting agreement there. And then to go ahead with the work and learning to not let the customers say, oh, you'll get your a year maybe yet. We'll get back to you. We can hold a webinar on objects and handling, how to kind of get around that. The single biggest thing you want to do is discuss the price and site, get equipment on site, get to deposit on site or materials on site and have the tradespeople ready to go. That is a great customer experience. And it is how are you going To get the work and be able to get through this post post-covid world? So those who adapt that are going to be just fine, those who want to keep going back to the old way of thinking, I will get back to you and take a week or two just in. The quote you're going to find is going to be no work. You'll still get some old customers, but you won't be busy. You'll be if you like fishing, then you'll have plenty of time for fishing. But winter is coming. And I don't like fishing in winter. It's too cold. Right take action. Now, the trade hub is now what we'd like to finish on the trade hub in Fergus, focus is a very powerful tool. It's not like a general concrete counter that's going to burn out or get down. It's up 24/7. There's lots, lots and lots of power in Fergus that we know is not utilized. I talked about how to just quoting in favorites the other day, you can quit in a couple of minutes if you set up your favorites properly, you can create a house or hot water on the switchboards in just a minute or two. That's the single biggest thing you can use this time to do is learn to use Fergus properly, learn purchase orders, learn all about customer price books, favourites, checklist forms to really get your business sort of humming. So please, please do that during this break. Right a switch through. So these daily online training at Ferguson every day were holding training. So please do sort of jump onto to the training sessions that we can just try to open up my questions and answer for. Also, sorry for the looks of it. Here we go. OK they re not tits. So at this point. So I just could not follow my cue and ice cream. I'm just going to try and tune on my video. So you were coming to the ends and then you can ask me any questions. I could find it at the tune of my video and having trouble. I know. Well, can't do it that I can. This one. This is coaching webinars. Please do take advantage of my time I really don't mind. I actually always love talking to fellow traders and business partners in their significant others. I really have been to the ring and many, many times and have come out the other side most times. 2 times I did get the better of me 2 times. But the 2000 90,011 was a really, really hard recession, especially around the World Cup in New Zealand. We I literally lost money for three months in a row. I literally paid more money out in wages and overheads than I got. And because there was no work when the Rugby World Cup for us it just shut down and I was facing the prospect of having to shut the food business down again. But I just waited and thought it might come it might come right after the World Cup. I just waited. But I was beat the whole thing down. I came. When it came. Right it was a very, very testing time to go through that. So that was a tough recession. But I've been through so many tough times. Please do do call me. I really do like talking to all you guys. There's lots of reasons from the team. Do take the poll because I'm happy to hold webinars and whatever you guys find interesting. I think marketing is really the thing you should take seriously. My team is really good. I mean, I may not I may host them or I might get one of the marketing teams to host marketing. But marketing isn't flesh campaigns. It's just simple communication, just talking to your customers. So please do take us up on all of that. Just looking at stations. That's fine. So online. Any questions on q&a? Please do. Now I think I have. Good Yes. I'm trying to keep these more short and near-zero rather than taking the hour. So I've taken 35 minutes of your time, so I'm feeling quite happy about that. Can you see the Q&A on your Zoom screens? Now's the right time to ask me some questions. None of us. Melinda no, I don't. So one of the questions is, do I go look at your figures account to see how we are using it and where we can make improvements whilst using figures on a day to day basis? Yes, I am happy to look at your account on a day to day basis and happy to make the suggestions around training. But generally my time is in many ways limited, so I don't spend technical time on how to do feature training. I like my time is limited to business coaching, mentoring and high level strategic decision making in businesses. But I'm happy to look at New figures accounts to see what needs attention into your business. So that's no trouble. I'm also happy to give you my phone my phone number out privately with the call me pool for one on ones. I would encourage all of you, though, to download Zoom and Zoom is my preference. And I do like a video call, as is always. Race is always race. It is always very nice to see the person that I'm talking to. Steven asked thoughts about asking to go 60 days for supplies? Yes absolutely. The single biggest thing you can do right now is getting as much free credit from your suppliers. So you get in as much cash as you can and you take as long to pay others as you can. That's what everyone will do to you in this, what you do to everyone else. Absolutely take as much time as you can. More questions. Yeah you know, it will be. Will be. How effective is Facebook in occupy marketing? Occupy, I've never heard of. So probably not Facebook. Absolutely very effective, actually. I've been surprised how effective it is if you do it right. So the thing you have to ask yourself is. What sort of work you want is the work you want other customers going to be on facebook? And so that's the challenge, right? So if you're quite a large plumbing company and you do work all over a city and you've got guys all around in space, what can work well for you? But if you were just two or three guys working in Geelong or Hamilton, it's going to be less effective for you. So we should redo a marketing session about marketing to the right people around you and being realistic. So, for example, if you're a commercial plumber, you would never advertise on Facebook because you want commercial work. You want to make it work. And so. If you if you want domestic work and you advertising on Facebook and you put your GO geography distance at 100 K's, well, that was ridiculous. You don't want to go for a joke. But if you do relocate, well, hundreds, maybe you do. So marketing is all about being really, really clear on what is it, the work that you want to do and you can do an are a specialist at. So yeah, I think well if you actually used to do marketing, I can't there's so many answers to that question that I can't I can't do it justice trying to answer it with just one statement. But generally speaking, Facebook can work very, very well. If you do it correctly, you will get one of the marketing teams to join in on the decision. Then your eyes will get in touch with you. Joy Holt. Any chance of a webinar on cash flow forecasting? Yeah, I'd love to. Yeah, that would be a really, really good one. And if some other people can upvote that one of those, I'll just talk to you personally, Joe. Yeah, that would be. Yeah Katherine forecasting is. It's actually really simple. It's nowhere near as high as is what you would think. I'm doing OK. Daniel says I've been trying to make the best use of favorites. Is there a way to keep materials at a certain mark up and just increase the layer? Yes, that's done. Is it that she wants to do this restricted pricing and on the coin itself, probably core content support for that. Now here's a good reason why Tim felt. I'm very keen to extract data from Ferguson vale sales team target faced by the system is there improved it going. The guy. With that question gone, you have to be very, very sorry. Used to be very careful. It's trying to give staff bonuses on. Doing work used to be really careful. It's incredible how you can incentivize the wrong behavior. Right because if you incentivize everyone just on the hours, that means on a quota job, guys will start trying to take as many shortcuts as possible. Which then affects the quality, which then affects the warranty in the outcomes. So you has to be really, really careful how you incentivize it. Generally speaking, if you have to incentivize your staff to work hard. Then you've got the cultural. So we should talk about culture. There might be another organization talking about culture. You shouldn't have to incentivize tradesmen to work hard to do a good job. If you've got good values, good leadership and a good firm, then the staff will willingly work for you. And in fact, you speaking. Now, I know this to be true. If you tell tradespeople, I want the free pipe finished by Thursday at 5 PM. Because you've got this job, often this opportunity, just make an effort. And if the staff wouldn't make it happen because that reasonable request, you'd say to me, why wouldn't you just work hard and get it done? Do you not want to be here? So you shouldn't have to incentivize people with money, to do a good job. There's something wrong going on in the French culture if that's the case. So reading the questions. Sorry Now, great question by none of us. Should we cut prices now? And by how much? Now, this really is a great question. Let me be really, really clear about this. Hate him to cut prices and rights. It's terrible. But the reality is. It has to be something you need to do. So this is why I'm a huge advocate. You want to be negotiating this onside with the customer face to face, because the only person who's absolutely prepared to tell you how much they're going to pay is the customer. And so this discussion is being held face to face with them because you have to work out what is the minimum you're prepared to work for. So you get to decide, let's say the job's 10 hours work or let's say, you know, my rate is 100 bucks an hour. So normally don't charge 1,000. So you're paying your staff 40. So like at 400, the business makes 600 bucks. So you now on site with the customer starting to haggle around what they can afford to pay. And if they say 500 bucks. It's 50 bucks an hour. That means you've got to pay tradesmen maybe $25 an hour. You've got to decide based. If you've got no other jobs lined up, you'll have to take it. And you can say, yeah, OK, oldest candidate for that. But the trick here is you don't want to try and drop a hit on price. You'd want to just discount off the headline price if you can. Because the whole idea is you want to keep the market the expectation that the hourly rate for plumbers in this area is $85 an hour. And so, therefore, everything is of a discount of the hourly rate because you want the market to come back to the hourly rate, which it will. However, if this takes a year or 18 months, you might find the hourly rates may drop to 75 and you just can't take off that price again. So the only way to know how much you have to cut your price is by actually talking to the customers, negotiating and winning their name. Because the market will tell you. Whether you want to work for that. That's the hard discussion that you have to have with your staff and with yourself. But if you haven't got much work, you've got to take it. That's the law of supply and demand and action. So it's going to be trial here that we're going to find out just how long we're going to have to go. Apprentice training, education in invoice and downtime education. Yeah so, like, I'm a huge believer in apprentices. Always have been. Always will be. I don't know. I always had at least one apprentice tradesperson. I just had I think we started at 8:00 years or so. So from when I was 30 to 38, I grew the trade business from me to 25 staff. So in eight years we're a large company. And I think we had about over the course of that time I think made. It was 30 or 40 apprentices. I mean, not all finished, you know, some last two, three or four months and quit. But I'm fine with it. But I'm always a believer. And you don't have horses doing donkey work. I don't want ever I don't ever want to see my tradesmen digging trenches or drilling one man's holes on your house. I want my tradesmen actually running the pipes, turning the cables, doing all that complicated technical work. And it's been my experience that most apprentices are only useless for two or three months, and then after that they're actually quite competent to drill holes, dig trenches. You know, starting with the donkey work. And normally they're cheap, you know, like 15 bucks an hour. And during these hard times, they'll be on reduced hours. That's fine. They can work in a workshop, they can build your banquettes, they can do shelving, tiling the stockyards like a place that doing all the maintenance that you put off for years and years when you spouting paint the house, just do all that stuff you've always wanted to get done with a super cheap and you let the bad ones go and keep the good ones. And absolutely. I love training apprentices. I love someone. Gave me a start. I'll never forget my boss, Darrell Capel. He gave me a start when I was a young fella and I was a terrible apprentice. Really? oh, my goodness. The stories like how incompetent I was. Oh, my goodness. But he gave me a start. And I'm forever grateful that Darrell gave me a start. Just reading and really another question. Jared wood says in relation to the lower charger ride it is also important to remember that working less at a higher margin can provide the same routine as working at lower rates, but more hours. This is true, but it's always been a ticket. 5% margin on $1,000,000. Then 40% on $100,000. So, yes, that's all true. You can still make money. Absolutely I, I just think you'll find there won't be enough work to make good margin it reduce prices. just don't think that will be there this time. I think that may be the worst of the questions we just quickly scan through. This one is quickly scanning decreasing because there's more good ones here. I hope I answered the question. Well on cutting prices and by how much? Only the market can tell you. And you have to ask the market. Don't wait for them to come back to you. Jared steel Hi Dan. When you say contact clients to start booking in future weeks, would you recommend a date for this? Would just get them in it after lockdown finishes. Yes, because we don't know when the lockdown finishes. Right but what I would encourage you to do is look at all the work you've got on your books right now and. Because it makes you quite a humanitarian in many ways. And the people I would prioritize face after lockdown the elderly and those with young families with disabilities who need that work done first. And so you call them. And took them in first for the first two weeks afterwards. So you give them a lot date, but everyone else you can then start booking and lock them after their sex date. So because the biggest thing you want to create is what's called a team called FOMO was fear of missing out. It's one of the great drivers of behavior for making sales. So if you start calling customers new customers, existing customers see where they're at and say, yeah, just contacting you because we're so busy. When we come back, we've got all these lives locked in a window between these dates here. What we're doing is guaranteeing that we will tune up on these dates to do this within. Are you interested? And if they go, yes, I'm interested because you created a fear of missing out. You retain some power. You guys could make this stuff on a video call. Show me what you need. I'll give you a price or get the materials ordered and we'll get stuff delivered to site. So it's all of this and we become a ready to work. And so this way you seem super awesome, right? You've given the specs, price or the materials. I mean, make sure you get payment for it. I'm not I'm not at all ever recommending selling goods without payment, but the suppliers are doing delivery. Right but what you can do is once you've had the materials to live with the site and a deposit, you've locked them in. Right they're not going to go anywhere. But what a great experience that means. You go to site materials there, you're working. And so this saying is absolutely cool and start wrecking and stick to them as much as you can. And I think it's. They? OK. Ross Julian. Ross, you've asked the question that you shouldn't have asked. How do you talk to the stop about a pay cut if you have to cut your prices? It's really simple, but this is a difficult conversations. It is that you are the boss. And so this is when you have to be a leader and you have to stand up, put your shoulders back. And just own it. Now, but you can also only ethically and really well. And so one of the things you can do. As you can say, you can come to site and watch me negotiate. Because the proof is in the pudding. Right you can say, I don't know. I know I'm going to have to cut our rates, what, ten, 15, 20 bucks now? I don't know. But it has to be an option have to consider. Then you can say what we're going to do as. The $15 an hour pay cut, the funeral take. And I won't pass that on to you guys. But if it's any more than that, I can't keep you busy. We're going to have to talking about cutting your wages. I don't know how much it's going to be. It it all depends on future work. And unfortunately, it is going to have to be an ambiguous conversation. Now on the flip side, you say to the staff, and I'm a huge believer in this, which is. If you're a good tradesperson, you will always keep yourself busy. Like I always. One of my things I'd say to all because I was basically a maintenance firm. One of the things I always say, I learned it from another guy, which was mine, and he said, I'll give you your first week's worth of work. The rest of it is up to you. Because how many tradesmen tell you the best treatment in the world? Like nearly every one of them, right? Oh, Yeah. I'm the man. I'm on the business. Well, if that's the case, you'll keep yourself busy. So what's the work? Whilst the firm has a duty of care around providing a good health and safety work environment, a good culture, and also doing its spin around marketing will trace you as your Tracy will also have a huge responsibility to be an awesome. So if you go back to my original right started the thing that you as the boss must do is to deliver on the time, cost, quality statement. You must communicate clearly to the tradesperson. They want the kitchen temp installed by 4:30 PM on Friday for the tenants coming in Saturday morning. Then you explain to your tradespeople. Now it is up to you to absolutely deliver this experience and make it phenomenal to the customer. So like I say, it was good getting with it going to end and he was good. I use him again and tell other people about them. So if you try to do that good until having them as customer experience, you might find that you want to cut your prices at all. But if you tune out in a bit Reagan, a bit light again, poor communication again, it's always just been average as it has been. Then you make the point you cut your policies by $20 an hour. So how much you cut and how deep absolutely is going to depend on your customer service level. Now, the second big factor that determines how much you cut your prices is also on your geography, like where you live. Now, the bigger the cities, the less impact it's going to have on us. Right that's just the way it is, is, you know, there's 4 million people in Sydney and Melbourne. There's a million Auckland. These places are going to sort of be OK. The smaller the province, the harder your time. So the more rural you are, the tougher it's going to be because there'll be even less work. But once again, if you're in a holiday destination like, say, queenstown, you'll be OK with this. This is quite good family money and there's always going to be people with money, to spend. So a lot of what happens depends on your geography. Once again, this is that six sided dice. You must look at all sides of the situation and be really real where you are in terms of your geography, the work around you, the people around you to make a good decision that's worth a phone call to me to talk about, actually. Sorry it's three questions. Yeah I'll post that. The Castro document, the show which aired. OK anonymous. Would it be a reasonable move to send a generic email to customers, letting them know you're lowering your charge out rate? Or is the US to talk about discounted prices on a store with each customer? Now, this really is a really good book. Could do this to discuss, right? So you absolutely want to be going out with an offer. So we want to try and maintain our charge out rates. The customer expectation is that, yeah, we really, really don't want to be sitting on time. We're dropping a price all across the board. Right this baby bet. We can all go, hey, post-covid, we recognize that this is what people are going to be struggling. And going through some tough times. So what we've done is for the next 90 days, we're going to drop our prices by 25% But only if you register now and book some work in now. So once again, creating FOMO. Right? so you're using this as an opportunity to actually make it, make you appear the good guy to go. Hey, Yeah. We recognize this is tough. Is going to be struggling. But uncertainty. We're going to do our bit to actually meet you guys. So for 90 days, we got a lock on this. The discounts call us now looking to work. But our conditions are for this price. We've got to take it, take a deposit off you and not make that work. And so try and we want to try and maintain that headline sticker price as much as we can and just discount off that for a period of time, basically a sale. And then in three months time, once more information becomes clear, we can revise, we can extend that discounted price. All we have to do a price drop. So the time will tell. But these always offer the discount. What's the headline price and try and headline price for as long as possible. But all communication to your customers as best emails are great, phone calls are better. I'm going over time, but I'm OK for that. I will just know, I've got 4 minutes. So there is a principle called the Toronto principle. I'm not sure many of you heard it before was the 82. You might have heard of the 80/20 rule. And it's so true because based on the bell curve, I could to where for a long time I quite like it. The standard means a deviation, but what it means is it should say if you understand the bell curve and how it works, the hell bell curve was that whole big loop. So 80% of the 80% of workers make it right. That's the broader principle. So 80% of your work will come from 20% of your customers. 80% of your profit will come from 20% of your jobs. So 20% of your customers will give you 80% of your profit. So those are the customers that you want to be getting in touch with right now. And servicing the heck out of. I bet if you all look at your business, you're all going to have a handful of customers that are just awesome that you like working with, that pay you well and you've made good money on their jobs. Those are the customers you want to be getting in contact with right now. And keeping on your side and finding out what they need. And those are the ones you might be offering them a discounted price now. So try to go on about it because I hate doing discounts. And I giving people free credit. Right but life is life is a dice. Many, many, many sides to it. So a new customer base. Say you've got a contract for a, like, education facility, government, like a teacher training college. I had a teacher training college. I had youth hostels, boarding hostels. Government money, school money. We made contracts at like foodstuffs. Right those companies are not going to go under and they're always going to pay the Bills. Those are the companies that you can give free credit to and extension payment terms in return for doing work because you know, they're going to pay you. Right so those gold customers, the reason the gold is goes back, oh, man. So you want to be doing as much work for your gold customers and being generous on credit with them because they know they're going to pay. But the more credit you give them, the less discount you give them. Does it make sense? So? so absolutely. Get on the blower to good customers and try and see where they're at and try and not just count them back, but what can you give them, right? Can you bring forward all that maintenance work we do in winter? Can you clean up the scouting now? Can you do the water blasting? Clean the clean this, clean the pumps out, clean all the filters, get all that stuff done. Now so you can pay me in 90 days time, because they're going to pay you, right. The big organizations. So that's the new ones. What I don't like giving credit to is people who are exposed. I do not like giving credit to property developers do not want giving credit to commercial properties. And I'm very wary of giving credit to homeowners that I don't know very well and don't know their personal situation. Right you just no one knows how exposed someone is with the personal projects and they've ended up in the cash deal. I do know that people with personal property, doing renovations require the property to be finished, for the banks to release the final funds and for them to sell. And I do know those people will do many wicked things to get jobs completed for them and then sell and not pay. Because I've lost money on another project I've been doing the many, many times and I'm very wary about those situations. I have another great saying I love it's the came from Ronald Reagan during the Cold War when asked about the Soviets if he trust them. And his answer was, of course, we trust them. But we verify everything. So I'll use this. Trust but verify. So if a customer says, yeah, yeah, but the money's great, right? You're going, oh, great, can them my pinochle controllers just asking for proof that you've got the funds available to pass. Can you give me some proof? You've got the money in bank accounts or something, please? Yeah I'm very careful at believing what people tell me without truth, and especially when it comes to money and in these times of recessions. Do you want to remember also that the legal system for mediation and space tribunal are going to be overloaded and understaffed and you will have no access to justice in recompense? So the best course of action is to not put yourself in that position in the first place. But that is one O1. Any last questions that has us. Thank you all so much for your time. I hope I've added some value place in through your Q&A. If something goes wrong, please do fill the poll out. When the email sent you think it still with the link to my calendar to call me because what I'm always happy to do that in place to install the Zoom on new machines and get comfortable with it here at the time. But on that note, very nice to have all of your time and I look forward to seeing you again soon. Thank you.
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...
We just need to grab some basic information to help us personalise Fergus for you.