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...
In the end, you should stop sending me flowers and chocolates over the holidays. You know it's been a bit much. I know you love me. But you know what life is. And where's he going with this. Does he know or online. It's got to be great coding batting I'm thinking. I don't know what you do. How are you, mate. Good to see you. Good to see you. Good to see you. What do we drink. Do we have we. Yeah, I think we've talked a couple of times, but I think it's been a head down for all of us bunkered in and obviously, you guys over there have been bunkered brought down. Yeah Yeah. We've come out well, though. So And for those who are joining. We're just going to give her a minute or so to get in and then we'll sort of start and it will be great in New Zealand has been great here. Beautiful, beautiful. Very lucky. It was like, hey over here. You know it's getting cold, but our call to your cold might be different. You know it's always a bit different. Probably 12 o'clock people have covenants. Yep Tripoli coming in. We'll give it to 12 by 1. And then we'll start the formal and the formal forward. But I thought just while we were Tripoli I thought might start Andy, who our audiences. And I was going to start out. I think the station. I wanted to be for those people who want to grow their business. And when I say grow. I actually mean grow by putting on new employees not just great profit. So while I also like controlled planes profitable fun growth. So the stations will likely want to grow the business with people. But don't in a controlled manner. So this how I'm approaching this station is those out here who actually want to put on people that you'll see in the Yeah. I think when Wendy when you've got a branding that's all part of one piece of the pie that you need in business. But if you don't have your staff right. And have the right people to help move your brand and get it out there. You're in a you're in a world of hurt. You've got to make sure you've got the right, team as well. Yeah, well, look, it's 12.1 that sits right to the formal stuff from right to those who joined the station is about maximizing your brand and your customer experience. But there's a whole lot more to brand than just a pretty label. So I'm going to be talking about what issues the brand comes at the end because we talk a lot about what's required to understand brand. You couldn't slide right. I am Dan Pullen founder of silk with and also an old plumber a goat greatest of all time trade a plumber. And I think my claim to fame is having to point businesses someone doesn't make it and And then two businesses that have made it really well lost businesses 25 staff to two branches and ask yourself, who are you. Who am I. So I had a plumbing business. He over in Sydney in Australia called Doctor Drake we've been going for over 20 years. And through that growth of that business to a team of 18 we've had our ups and Downs in business, which has been an exciting ride. But I ran about 12 years ago, we were at breaking point. And then we had a turn at business all around as a whole story around that. But turn it around. And then we started a business called lifestyle trading. And what we've been doing is educating trade businesses all around Australia and New Zealand for over 10 years and been getting some incredible results. So guys. We will answer your questions as we go through. And at the end EMQQ and a box put them in. See us emails. We have not topics right. So it's just to also stop to those listening. I mean, I just I called top two old plumbers and but we have no commercial relation whatsoever do we any now might we. But I am a huge advocate of business systems and mentoring. So I'm a huge advocate of all the customers signing up with the programs that shortcut business learnings. So I know luck's not 20 run a great program. And I'm a huge advocate for signing up to programs. But there's no rebate for me. Fergus lord or all the way right. So just not. We're here to help you. We both we both had the big deal. And we ended well I think I think that the moral of the story is Fergus has been around for a long time. And it's got a lot of credibility out there in the market. Last I'll try. He's been in here for a long time as well. And got a lot of credibility in it. It's about building and bringing businesses together. And this is what we get on. So well about integrity and honesty and going about it the right way. So I think that's why we fighting with you guys. So well. Right So on all these questions, I'm asking in the prepared. So this topics we're talking about. But I'd like to ask the questions that he's unscripted for and kind of say you. I think 90% of time we align and sometimes there is some little differences. So my job is to be as good as challenging as possible actually. Yeah, that's quite right. I'm here for. I'm up for the challenge right. So the first bit is. So for me hiring someone quickly especially is what you'll be used on recruiting boosts retention lock stock. Well, obviously, when it comes to recruiting it sets a bad. How do you find the right staff and nice meeting. In the process. How much do you put on retaining existing staff recruiting new staff. Right So retaining is recruiting. It's got a massive importance because you want to make you want to get the right people from the start with the writing integrity and honesty retaining though once you've got those people too many businesses are like a revolving door and on average, our trades and our business stay with us between six and seven years. And that's all about giving them the best opportunity for them to grow within our business. And I do train my team and part of what we do is to make them the best they the best they can. And I also help them. The challenge of them going out on their own. I teach them that much about business as I possibly can. So that's because I'm a huge believer that the first prize the first thing you do is work out how to retain your staff who is going to ask the army and the tradespeople are leaving you in under four years. I mean, with no personal reasons of people moving house. And that's not what I think for people trying to leave you in less than four years consistently. I think that's the problem for. So your business. Well, I think it sends an alarm builders of why you know I look at my business. And we look at, say, six to seven years that they're not leaving to go to another company they're actually leaving to go out on their right. So you know, if they're leaving in four years to go out on their own and you've trained them well. And they've given you a lot back and you've got you'll get a lot out of them. And they've got a lot out of you. It's a mutual respect. That's what all my wife's trying to building. Now I you you know, I had some guys that might be pulling me in for two years and then they want to go out and they're right. But they're giving me two of their best years and they've been very good for our company and I'm I'm OK with that. So it depends on where they're going if people are leaving you to go somewhere else. Then you've got to seriously, go. Woo And they great trade. Easy question why and try and find a solution for that. You don't want that happening. Let's see. So this is my next point I'd written down is the often saying goes people don't leave businesses, people leave. People have to be seen. And so. I think so. I think the first person hiring starts working when your own staff to make sure they enjoy working for you. Yeah, for sure. You know you need to make sure that you know no one wants to go to work if they're not enjoying it. And let's face it works work. We'd all love to be fishing or down the beach or doing something. But we need to put food on the table. And we need to work. We all know that. But you want to go to an environment where it's fun and exciting. You know what needs to be done. And it's a great place to work and get that great team culture. Yeah So the key takeaway there is actually, before you look at recruiting new people working out why losing staff because I'm actually, I'm actually generally not a good place to work in. Yeah And majority of the time, it comes down to the boss and how they just talking to the staff. And it's not that the boss isn't a nice person. It's just the boss gets so wound up with all you did because a business isn't running that well that they get cranky and snappy and short. And that doesn't any guy with the staff try these out in the field. Back goes into the office as well. And sometimes their partners are in the office and. And that's another big problem. Yeah, it's good. So it's funny. They are 16 point here once. I'm not sure how many people are weird how often these staff will talk about the phosphate to the staff at the merchants and how often before an employee a prospective employee will apply for a job. The last the merchants well, what's Andy like. What's Dan like. Yes and a huge part of your hiring. It's starts 12 years before your hiring is what are people saying about you in the marketplace. I would say it's fishy. New Zealand's say most people don't try to work and live in the same somebody it's not something that working for people that close to home magazine right. Yes therefore, you know everyone and they ask about you at the suppliers or what's the you know like what's Dame like Simon Australia. Oh, I have a saying. And I think try his talk to try D as well. And as you said, it supplies that the guys might be watching me from afar. I see that track. I know you're the owner. They say hi to you. You say hi to them. You know know you know you can have a little bit of arrogance that want to look like a decade. I suppose. And you know, they want to get a really nice feeling for who you are that they're going to work for someone that generally cares for them. And he's going to look after them. And if you're someone that's not paying your bills. You're not giving a staff the exact conditions that they by law. They've got a GED. These are all those things that if you will trying to cut corners and do the wrong thing by them. It doesn't take long to get out in the sector and people understand that. Yeah And there's another saying I like, which is birds of a feather flock together. Yes And so you. And it's like that saying you get the democracy. You deserve. And so you end that with the employees you deserve by your behavior because when you write stuff you speak in great great people. The bad ones left self-serving to the house. And so if you find yourself constantly with troublesome staff. I think you need to look the look in the mirror. You do. But I'm a real believer when it comes to staff you know of don't blame them, train them. And I think is an element that on business owners you know we haven't been taught how to train our staff. And that's something that we help with. But you haven't been taught what your staff need to do. So you just sort of react similar to maybe your past boss deed and times are really changed now and you just can't run a business the same way as 40 years ago, 20 years ago, even 10 years ago, even five years ago. And I think business in itself has changed again, since covered and there's a lot of people out there going, oh my god. I'm hearing a couple of little rumors from people we work with. When some of their some of their clients. It's been a bit more dog-eat-dog way. Normally, it's a community spirit and there's been a few people being questioning pricing and all kinds of stuff. So you know, business is always adapting and you'll get to adapt with it. Actually just written it down in India. I think. Good actually nice catchy train. Don't blame. That's right. And I. That And that's one you can hire someone on integrity and honesty and find the right. Feet But if people are doing the same thing. And they're doing things constantly wrong. It's too easy to yell and scream and put them down. Yes How are you going to fix it. You want a solution to fix it. And then train them and prove to them. This is what needs to be done. And then if they keep doing it. And you train them and you train them and you train them, and then not following what you want. Well, that's certainly the time to get rid of them. But Yeah. And so it's sort. So to those listening you hear you mention the we train you go on. I don't know what that means. Well, Yeah. And so then this is why I encourage people to sign up for courses because then you will actually go through a module of one. This is how you train people. This is when you do it weekly monthly. This is what you teach them. And it's so hard to do this stuff. It's you know it's nearly impossible. I think to self learn all there is to learn. And so know if you hear any say train, train, train and doesn't succeed since like you want to be the science you need to sign up. So parties think just thinking business as tried to have always been the same done the same thing. Grab our tools we get out. There we go with our hands you know. But anyone that's sitting back. He now going on their hands. And I'm a good business owner and people like me. But in not really making money, you're not very organized. There's a real problem and moving into a recession. And heading down that point, there's a lotta there's a lot of troubles coming to the industry in Australia and New Zealand. And if you haven't sorted this shit out. Now look at it's coming and this is a real good time to get your trade is in. Get them on board. Train them make sure you got the right people in your group. And if they're not the right people then start making calls to move them on and get the right people in because these next six minutes Next year next two years is going to be a challenging for the construction industry in New Zealand and Australia. And we need to be at our absolute best IPA in good times. Everyone can make money in and kick along. But if all of a sudden you've been taking only in good times, not breaking any records. Well, you've got some challenges coming ahead. So you need to fix it. Get your business model right. And so roll it out. That leads me to my next question, which is actually keeping good people. It was not one's up until about what you value your life and business because I believe you keep good people. If you actually have good internal values. So my question to you is. What do you do to keep good people. But I want to hear about the internal thought process and how you think about keeping good people. And then what are some of the two or three principal things you do to bring your internal processes to life. You know what I mean. So this is how I think about values and people. And then this is the two or three things I've done to make that a reality. Yes So for me, I dive higher on finding the best tradesman you know finding the best tradesman isn't my number one thing. But what is my number one thing is finding the right people. So I want to find the right people with the writing take and the right. Trust and when we do all our meetings, and we have a chat with them and see this, but it's the internet. Why do you care about integrity and trust. Because that's what flows on through the business because as soon as you trust someone then you're worried they're doing the wrong thing. You know like let's say this sort of thing on this. That's good. But the fact that you even thinking about trust. Yes that's the important bit about values right. Exactly but you look on the same. But not even things like, but why do you focus on integrity, which is basic trust right. You want to trust your staff. Yes I think what we're saying here is I don't want to try. They can go to a job and bang out a job and give no customer service. And this guy tick. I'm looking for a person to work for me, that's going to bring his family values to the customer because we're dealing with them in their family home and we say you know happy you know happy families happy homes. And that's part of our motto and we want to make sure that that whole communication piece and that way that we interact with our whole business the whole culture of our whole business flows through that. So we want to make sure we've got the right people that aren't just telling Mrs. Jones whatever they want to hear. And then they're not following through. If you say, I'm going to do this, then we do it. Let's say that's for me, the values are a deep intrinsic belief that you want everyone needs to actually truly believe in themselves. Yes And so you know on the sign for me. It's actually being friendly and unreliable. It's very important to me to be friendly. It's deeply important to me because I just made my day. Value is the quality of life. Depend on the quality of your relationships. Right So I want a good life. Happy life. So different one good customers were happy to use. So being friendly is it's just a cornerstone for me to get good relationships. And so those are my deep values that I'm trying to bring to life in my life and yours is trust because that means I get it right. Happy families. Life is good, right. That seed and communication is such a big part of our business because I try these again to Mr. Mrs. Jones his house maybe four times five times a day. So communication being happy speaking with the customer. Building trust with them from the moment you start is just absolutely critical. Yes So when keep giving hurry up. So For me values of a boobs that describe behaviors. It's not a night. So it's actually boobs that you can bring to light. Right Yeah. So for example trust is so that people have happy homes happy customers happy families. So linking the verb with the noun. So people go, oh trust means this talk of outcome and action. Very important. Yes I'm going out also with wrap up with on this part is you want to make a decision consciously or unconsciously about your values. If you are living some values with a you know what or not. And I would encourage everyone to go make a conscious decision to the value based. And if it's not around how many in Gwinnett County will customers, people and employees be like it if you get a business because it's not going to work right. So I've been given the hurry up. So I like it. One question for you. Yes I mean, given hurry up. I'll go. We've got to be able to customer services right. I got a question. What's your opinion and not working for difficult customers. What's my opinion on not working for difficult customers. Yeah Yeah Yeah. Listen, we do these IBC day customer was like a product that we designed. But it's all about working for a B and C customers. And if they are a day customer moving everyone up because you know we start a business. What most trade business owners do is I start a business. And we need work. And we need work to make money. And then all of a sudden, they take on all these customers along the way and they're not necessarily your ideal customer. Now you build a business around not your ideal customer. And they are the ones to give you all the headaches. They are the ones that don't pay. They're the ones that you don't make much profit on. They're the ones that are stopping you from actually finding your ideal customers. It's a real disconnect. And so many people I talk to. And when I go through their businesses 20% of their customers is where all the properties in the other 80% is breaking even or even a loss and they're dealing with rubbish people that aren't even a joy. We started our business to be in control about business and all of a sudden you've taken on these customers and they're controlling you. Yeah, totally. I won't let you wait did you give your staff to walk away. If any of our staff have complete leeway. If we get to a customer. I mean, a lot of the stuff we do is we give quotes on the spot upfront and the customer wants to go ahead. But if a customer seems like trouble, then our boys have full permission to walk away. No questions asked. So if we had exactly the same people. We tried. We could meet hundreds of people we get a pretty good judge of who's going to be difficult. Yeah So I wouldn't it out. You've got to be smart about how you let that happen in a business. And if that does happen. You've got to do a complete review of why you can't have guys rocking up to a jog at full 30 in the afternoon going I'm meant to be at the pub at 5:00. I don't like this customer I'm out the door. You know it doesn't really happen for us. But this is where all of our core scripting from the very start in our office decides on the customer. We want then and there and anyone that we call is a tall, lanky guy that can even get through to the next stage. We say, listen, we're not the right fit for you. Yeah So the reason I'm going to meet the gods is a huge part of having good customer experiences is actually not working with difficult people. But actually, it actually starts it weeding out people who are just going to be hard with everyone. So for me, that first filter starts there. So I had this on the saying they'll live from someone else coming. It's called what's expected is respected. So good luck. I don't generally speaking, we can all people are great, but we all intrinsically default to our being minimum self justification of what's good enough doesn't make sense. Yeah, it does. And I think we have a thing called that. You know, we've done like a bit of a webinar around these, but it's all about what is the customer expected and really we have a level. There's a basic level of what customers think there's an expected level, there's a desire to live a level and there's an unexpected level and most tribe businesses that play on a basic level, they have their tools and they have a vein. And they can go and do a job you know, and then you go down to the expected level and they have a wide range of services that when you get a plumber or an electrician a trainee in you know they can do. But now it's all about you know that's what people really expect. And if you draw a line underneath that. If you're not doing that, there's a problem. But now you've got to push yourself injured to the desired area. And that is making sure that when you're at these customers houses you know you give them a text message before you ring even the phone call you do all these little bits and pieces you put on your clean boots you roll your mat out and you get into these unexpected level where they're actually looking at your company and your brand. And they're going, oh my god. I've never known a trainee to actually do this and know once you get to that unexpected level and you look after them. He sent him a birthday card and all these little things that you do. Well, it really that's when the customer experience just goes to a whole other level. So one more time is sighed again. Sorry about nappies that nappies. I promise you it's not a shitty story. I haven't heard about nappies night. Ladies listen. It's that quality control reports to the executive not to production. And this is what helps to really change my thinking was as practical a true life example. So oh, there's been plumbing running water lines and nappy factory. So they estimate an age were running water lines to cool down the machinery right. Yep and working for a long time and quality control production used to be in charge of quality control. Not like what they found it is as productions as though it's incentivized by how many boxes of nappies they produce every day. And so they would let faulty nappies go through whether it's not enough tape or packaging or whatever. Right and still they hate to remove the quality controls. But the right to stop production all right. So they hit to get quality control reported to the executive. So quality control could stop production and there's nothing production could do about it. Yet because the executive realized long term, we need to look after our brains and our image and reputation by quality. And we cannot have production in charge of quality and that's like actually saying if I get on the right in my car. I'm speeding you should find yourself I mean Yeah. So the biggest thing that I did in my business. Once I leave this place. And then we put a person into pool the customers the next day on charge up to new customers to see how we performed. And that is what actually changed my. It was one of the major things that changed my business because we started inspecting what we respected which was friendly, reliable on time. Professional because we check that that mean the staff knew was being checked and then they started respecting it wasn't what are you going to do to somehow enforce good values. We do exactly the same like we always do a phone call after the job. We talk a little bit later in this webinar, but about structures and systems and following a set path. But the thing is most business owners there's a lot of business owners out there, to be honest, that aren't even offering the best service to the customer. Even now. Even if you say to them and they may even be listening today going, oh my god, if I rang my customers what would they say. I know what that pile of dirt and electrical cables and these and these. And I didn't do these. Sorry but this is way if you can't do it. It's like an independent inquiry isn't it. And if you can't do it independently, then you can manufacture the answers. So you need to make sure you do that. Yeah So my question is coming up actually is. OK So you have this good customer follow up Cos there's this little toy. How long. You know it's between 50 and a 1/2% How many customers. You can record the deal with. So you've actually done the work you've filtered them first right. Between 50% and 100% How many customers. You can actually kind of go in to deal with or listen, I'd have to say 90% to 95% It's right up there. I mean, don't get your troublemaker that comes along. But I suppose for us if we didn't have our business runs straight. So streamlined Dr. drape that the customer knows from the moment the phone call cause exactly what's expected. Our trainees tell them exactly what to expect. And we collect our money and do our invoice and that's my point here is I put I also put 95% of customers are good yet. So it's not good. That also means they are an objective truth that we as the business side can trust. Yes So if we want to find the pulse of our business, we need to talk to our customers, because if the only people who are the object truth, because they're actually experiencing what it's like to rub up against us. The ones who are experiencing the tradesmen the office staff the invoice, the quiet. They are the ones to experience what it's like. So if no one's no one if no one independently lets say if you're operations people are talking to them. They're going to be boards to protect themselves and the processes. If you've got no one who's just independent quality control is just cares about the customer outcome. How are we ever going to truly find out what's going on your business to get the pulse it's like I would say as soon as the designers get that pulse light and go. Shit on it change. Because I think that I think growth comes from that. Like literally that's how you grow your business is used. So as you start talking to customers like this how you treat the business. And so I did a little I did a little math a little bit of math. Math really. Yep So let's say you hit five guys doing three jobs a day. It's 15 jobs a day right. So you know 10 minutes per call say you say you got a point office person to call them up and say you $25 an hour to call that $60 a day. That's $300 a week right. Yep cost to call up your customers. Now we know that you get about 60% in the month of new business from word of mouth. Right 60% So if you're doing 15 jobs a day and you get six new jobs that I can word of mouth. Average job is 250 bucks average. Average Joe that's 40 50 a day or 6,500 a week. So a $300 investment you will get a 6 and 1/2 grand return. I mean, it's just for me, it's such a no brainer to spend a bit of money on trying to achieve a customer outcome because the word of mouth flow on because what you would have you with him would always get your referral right. I repeat business is around 76% an average third right. Well, we're probably getting around about 25 or so a month. I haven't really worked that as a percentage, but so we do work on these whole referrals and getting people to tell their friends and family. And when you do these phone call at the end, there's a really good opportunity then to say, hey, listen, if you could refer a friend. And we do have referral programs that reward them for doing that. You can also get reviews of them, you can ask them to go on Facebook and do or if you will Google. So there's always other things. So when you're talking about the dollars and cents that's just about bringing the customers in, but they can also do a lot that a ring new customers do later on down the track by having a lot of reviews. Sure But my point is if you're not investing because Google AdWords is kind of Detroit. It's expensive very expensive. So here in Australia to be under the search term plumber Sydney it's around about $295 a click. No way, he can't you can't. When I last was doing AdWords which was about six months ago. It was costing me around $380 to get to the front door and knock. Bao wow, I mean, I would say, well, I mean, to me, that just keeps making the argument. One person following up on quality control is this is the cheapest form of advertising. You can do. And that's what we were talking about a bit earlier today was just about how once you get a customer. You've got to look after them. Many trade businesses out there that they get them that use a nice speed amount and I don't worry about these whole repeat business and who they know and recommendations and that's why as we've got heme brand of your business and how you run your business and the values of your businesses what takes you to these next levels. Yeah, so we're going to move on. It's going to you know always try to explain to customers of business customers. Now risk versus reward, right. Like you hit to take risks. Yes And you have to balance that reward. But what I've learned over the years is anytime you invest in improving customer outcomes or engagement. It always works right. Like I've never heard a customer say, oh, that was a really good experience. I really enjoyed it. I'm never using it again. I want to be abused and have a bad outcome. Let me find that thing that literally was going to happen right. So I'm like, well, if you aren't investing I'm proving your customer experience you're probably investing in x Damien knowing your customers. If you're not talking to them you I reckon if you weren't talking to your customers, you're probably annoying them by x and I know. I was like, well, what do you what's the mean, you've been coaching for a long time. How like a platform makes you like choking them count how do we convince them please call your customers and find out what it was like to deal with you. I think the biggest challenge with all tried businesses out there is that you don't know what you got. No, but there's a lot of stuff you do know that you just physically don't have the time because your business is unstructured right. So a lot of people are listening now that guy. Oh, I know that I know that I know that I know that there a real strong policy that we talk about if you know it and you're not doing it, then suck it up princess you don't know it and you've got to make sure you're putting in place it, then it all comes down to, you know, everyone wants good customer service everyone wants a fantastic business. But where do you stop. Well, I think for me, I think I love it saying what's in speak to those respected. I know when the trade knew we were calling the customer the change in behavior was immediate. Yep, just because they go, oh, you're going to call. I don't get total yet. And I think everyone at the end of a day hot, cold windy rainy whatever. Sometimes people can cut a corner if they needed to get home fast you know and we will probably been they've all done it now. It's just about holding it, it. It doesn't matter how many rules how many structures, how many systems you have if there's no way of governing it people doing it, then they get to manipulate it. Yeah yes. Yes I mean, I do want to get off topic, but it's like, did did you two guest fitting. Yes, we did in New Zealand saying we going to do a guest certificate every time. Yes saying we had huge sum we're trying to get the guys to do it. So we bought a policy yet another guy to try to do was take photos of the Madonna for the gas readings and other appliances and then all the time. The other going to do it at night. So he was earning extra cash to do the suits. Yep And the deal was to the trainees if you don't take photos you have to get back in your own time and take them. I won't pay you for it. But the fact, I mean, all it did was take the photos. And then someone else would do it. And it was done. Yes And the fact that someone else was doing it meant it did get done, but it was all being checked right. There's checks and balances is so important. You've got to I think you've got to allow slop for people to be not lazy, but like as you say I'm tired. It's weak. It's not they're not feeling it. And you've got it. You could allow some slop for people to they haven't slept but they still notice being chicks. So yeah obviously very big at allowing slop the bunch chicken balances on them. Yep So you did touch on the point is it's never just one thing right. Like you've got to you have to customer what comes this time. So many things together, right. It's like choosing the right customer. Making sure they have a nice experience that invites engagement. Making sure the tradesmen know how to behave. Making sure you're following up on the trays actually behavior that way. And so when you've got that N0 loop going on. That's when you can get that all you know as I say happy wife, happy life syndrome going on, right. Because it's like the whole thing, but it's going to be a continuous loop that never stops. Right it's just got to run ev'ry every time. So that train is starting to work on default. And I think it starts with following up you know checking. That's when the switch starts. Like what. Yeah I'm comfortable say with 25 starting with 17 trainees seeming crazy right. And I think every time we went back to probably 3 to 5 job today realistically yes. Because you something needs a major type of stripping prep history being some kind of thing. But a rummage whatever you've got on the wall that when you come back. And what the model the whatever you just go back and do it right. You just go. Wait a second. Yeah Yeah. I mean, listen, I think when you try these new tools you're in someone's house things can happen and things can go wrong. And we have a policy that we take photos at the start of the job too, because we've had some people changing tack way of saying all that tile wasn't cracked before in my life. Well, yes, it was. You got to have text yourself for the customer site. Now you know that things are right. And they're not taking advantage of this business is just changing every day, every week, every year. And the old style handshake deals and all that kind of stuff gradually is going. And it's a bit more dog-eat-dog. And I know, in Sydney and in Australia, it's probably a lot more than New Zealand. But this is why checks and templates and checklist system you just got to follow these themes in business moving forward. I want to be clear, we get some we spent a lot of time talking about employees and customer experience and nothing about brands like here account. So it's been very deliberate to people that I've started here on purpose because rain is not just your logo and you also running so much more to it. So my philosophy on brand is you've got to specify your internal customer, meaning your employees treat them as customers of the business, because if they're not happy. They can't look after the external customer. Once it starts the infamy the brain league brand is also experience right. What's it like to experience your company and your staff unhappy then how can they. How on earth can they feel like crap. You've been a tyrant. How it is. Can you expect them to like emotionally be available to actually care about cosmetic companies like like, man has got range that again, like, oh, I don't need it. Right So I think it's a bit emotional well being first. But what do you think about brains. What do you think it is. Well brain as you say, it is. And just about how pretty it trucks are and the clothes you wear and all that kind of stuff brain is about the whole purpose of your business. And what the outcome is and what you want people to see your business as an. And for me, it starts from seeing you your web your tracks your business cards to the phone call that comes into the office and how you weigh into the phone and at how you go through the call scripting of what we do and what they expect. So everything that we do is like it's a bcde f ghIj. And it never ever changes. So it doesn't matter if it's John or stay Fred. Bob I always do it the exact same way. And the customers know what to expect. They understand that Dr. Dre brand is to do it a certain way. And I'm thinking, life people hate change. And that is love. We're going to talk about Dr. drew because we both chatted about our names just for the record. I think Dr. Tripp is brilliant right. But you know also what I like this. I think about this is because it really reflects your fund vibrant personality. I don't think I don't think that would work for me because I think I know I'm a very serious. And I can be fun and friendly. I'm quite serious. I'm kind of you've met me it's like, oh, OK. We're appearing almost, right. And you fun and vibrant and I think goes if you actually deal with all his policies and procedures is actually, I want to fund appointment to the fee. It's kind of fun right the whole thing is the moment. I think this really important thing about your brand. It also represents what you're aspiring to. But bringing it like who you are and your peculiarities to life. Right I think it's really important not to deny who you are. And it's fun to bring who you are to like throw your brain what do you know to make it. Now I know exactly what you're saying, and I think the whole Dr. Drake model. And what we've done all these years uses is what we all do it as the same way we all want the same outcome that when we sit down and wait. And this is sort of going into the whole training port and employing but when we sit down with someone. And I still go through what we do in our business and how it's structured. They will sit there like a d in headlights. You're like, oh, my god, I've never been in a business like this. But I always say to them. I guarantee you within a month that you stop doing this, you will never it'll be the easiest job you've ever had because you never getting a boss yelling and screaming and not knowing what he's yelling and screaming about. You know your role you do your role. And if you do it well, then you get rewarded. And I just come to work. And I do the same thing. They understand it's fun. There's a bit of banter and everything we do is all about personality and communications and it's a fun. And that culture and the team is huge. Can you see that the slaughter protocols that weren't available to you. Not yes it is. And so for me, I actually think brain stops here. I'm happy. This is my opinion. Hippie like this could be really I don't think, like, I can. I know it can be very esoteric actually because you don't know what it means. It means like in deeply, deeply fundamental held beliefs on fundamental principles. And so for me, I love the sense that this is Mahatma Gandhi right. That particular ken button is some good choices. I think is so good, right. Thoughts words actions habits character destiny. And I think brain starts actually in your thoughts and words because this is how you speak to your star. You said your wife, your customers. And I think I've written down here that leadership is money matters when things are tough. What right now. Right Yeah, I would mention is going to be rain for two weeks, and then it's even worse. It's rainy. Cody wait. You stopped him and got a rope his like a few thoughts are already. Moment negative rumbling miserly this. You've got to stop living there with your staff and your partner and your customers are you going to try to inform. We've got a system. Grumpy angry. I want to work from another work. I'm stuck here. And so might I think brain starts that like now. I care about people. I care about my customers, I care about the environment. I really care about getting good outcomes for everyone. So when they when they interact with you. They don't want to hear. I think the problem is they are if customers hate if they hear you say that right. What cultures does that kind of not voting. I think you can say, I mean minute customer is really difficult. And it did not enjoy working with that particular customer. But you can say on a piece like, oh, Hi customers. I hate stuff you hear it. I think it makes me an element in a customer's to look at your business and you've got to train your customers to look at your business. The way you want them to. And that's what you get to build your whole personality around. So when they see you they say fun vibrant. You take that to honesty, you know that sort of thing. But I think the thing to remember is you know sometimes one of my best traits is that I don't prejudge someone. Someone could say something to me that other people about that was a bit rude, but I'm not one to take offense. I'm like, I know what it was, but sometimes you go into a customer's home. You do not know what's going on in their world. You know that could be having financial problems that could be having relationship problems. So many things I'd never ever judge a customer on how they first react and we take this with less sales training and stuff than we do. And how do you find customers when maybe their self-esteem is low can help drag them up. And if you know what it's like if you hang around someone that is down in the dumps and he's out. It's very hard. It drags you down. So how do you bring your customers up. And if you're fun and exciting and vibrant. The customer you help the customer lift up as well. And I love you being around. So to those who get you going. This is nothing to brain. What are you talking about. This is everything about brain because the brain. So I up and some of my men plumbing this. It's a brain. I particularly proud of this issue for the brain and the writing was really good, right. But the values were good, right. But I hit some shockers so I those about you. My first name was plum right services Limited shocking. How many plum quit plum go plum get thousands of it. The next one was the in Poland plumbing durable. Don't do that either. I think either you were the same. You're the same right. Yeah always Andrew Smith plumbing. And that's the way I started. And then I realized that sailing down the track if we're looking at selling the business or whatever, it just wasn't the perfect environment. And sometimes when it's cold and sweet. The plumbing there's an element, the customer expects Andrew to rock up every time. When you got they got a bit disappointed. We were a growing business you know normally the other one the lot. My last business was you know like a plumber. I was on that. Well before everything else. I don't want to go to your local bandwagon. Yes I thought that was it. I wasn't going to change my pretty mind. I was going to change it to a week here. Yeah nice because I wanted customers to go, oh, I can't believe that actually call themselves wicked. That must mean they actually care. Yes And so it was and it's crazy. It's like people would be oh my god you did that. But it would have actually worked. Wicked plumbing because it tells all my stop. This is how you behave. We've had literally night my business and how I want you to behave. Exactly So now because there's the other side. Always be on brand right. People might hate it. But for me being on brand means actually living with good character, which is like so on my staff no oh you don't swear about customers. You can sway by individual customers really hacks you off. That's totally fine. That's normal life. But you can't always be moaning about customers. It will stop. Will people will like in general, your brain starts to like me. You do it to love your brain every day by being fun vibrant positive and uplifting when you will thoughts. Yet that's what it's all about. You need that whole being vibrant and you know we've really been chatting about that you know over the last 15 minutes or so it's just so important that whole brain. Let me just quickly ask you a question, because I was thinking about the defense tonight. I'm going to throw it back at you, Mike. So in New Zealand you guys potentially you know the weather is amazing. And I mean, it's a bit. It can be wet and cold and miserable. So it can be like that here in certain areas as well. But what's your thoughts on Friday's rocking up a hoodie on or a beanie on A&E. I'm OK with it. It's a cold winter's day. Yes hoodies were not allowed in my workplace. It's interesting. It's a bit of a grungy look and a lot of people like it. And I don't mind the look of a hoodie as well. But you know, these are all those little things that you do. The way your vehicle looks the way your boys dress and ladies, as well. But how everyone dress is all part of that whole branding structure. Yes totally. No, I'm big on big on uniforms. So when we give the haaretz we got a few questions to answer yes no, we're sort of wrapping up in a pond like the slide. Yeah So I mean, I like to I think we did chat about business as a system right. It's like inside the body, the arms, legs lungs. It's all going to work together. You can't run a business in and with separate parts and think it works you've actually got to work it together. So the reason I've included and we've talked about is and we did it in conjunction with lots of training. We both we both agree branding the core elements as your staff like getting the right staff. And it's your customer engagement. And it's the business and all those elements have to work together. Consistently so that the customer. How can the customer receive a good outcome if the business doesn't know what the hell it's trying to achieve. And how can a business achieve anything if it hasn't got systems and processes. It's just ad hoc randomness. So it's complicated. This is to keep your brand right. You got to start with systems and processes. So you can actually build a brand or something. I think the challenge we have. And I know there's probably listeners watching us now going. Just trying to have any time to even do my invoicing into and you know, there's so many things I need to do. And I wear so many hats in in a week that I've got. Oh my god. I get what you're saying. I understand what you're saying, but how do I do it. Most people come to us and let us go. I know. I know in my business. They tell. I know. But I just don't know the right way to go. And once self-doubt gets seen that's when it's a bigger problem. So do you need to get back to basics get the structure and part of basics is branding. But get all those pieces of the pie right. And once you get them right. You've got to have systems and structure and training to flow on effect. And once you have that, you can take your business to whatever level you want. Yeah, look, I would say to everyone who's listening. I have one coach lot of businesses now. So is Amy like light. That doesn't sound too bold, and arrogant Amy but when I help people in 60 days I can tune myself to the business on its head. It doesn't take long if you know what you doing. I can fix cash flow and profit. Actually in a couple of weeks there quickly, I can actually write a tune a business ramp for cash and profit in a couple of weeks. The other things take time right. But like I said, guys you can actually fix businesses really quickly. So do sign up for things to get training right. Lee good luck. I waited seven years of my life 23 to 30 makin around. I just paid whatever it was done six months on the court. Oh my goodness. I mean, look what you're saying here is 100% right. And I think when people come to us the first thing we're going to do is stop them hemorrhaging and wasting money on stuff they shouldn't do. So knowing your numbers is absolutely critical. Absolutely I'd say 95% of every business owner. I talk to. And I say to you, you know your numbers like a year of I've got 0 and I have no do you really know your numbers. And the next thing that comes out of their mouth is not knowing. And how do you run a business when you don't know your numbers. If you are doing that right now. You have to fix that right now, especially with where the economy is going in the next year. You need to understand that stuff. It's simple stuff. But it's where do you start. And the accountant that you have might not be the solution. We have a lot of training around that to get everything right to make sure your profitability goes should really straightaway. And to be clear that is missing the numbers on how this probably only happens in key numbers. And between Ferguson's 0 they're all there. But you need help to know how to interpret them right. That's exactly right. But what to do to change them and how to go about it. And the thing is small tweaks small small tweaks make it big different standard equipment. But for those listening to numbers. It's not like 30 reports. No, it's not. It's literally five or six key numbers that you track week to week and make sure that number is being hit. It's not that hard once you know how with the right tools in place. Of course, I'm going to plunk Ferguson 0 they're amazing out of a. Right So you do need help from business mentors to know how to run to the end and go to action. So we've got to wrap up and ask some questions. So the summary is is written on the screen. You can read those as well also to a couple of questions here. Good question for you actually. Well, good good. Want some from anonymous how do you guys deal with the employees that are good workers. Yep But don't meet the level of service in communications continually. Yeah fantastic. And this is a common theme. You can have someone that's a great trainee but they say, I just don't want to be a part of these other processes. So the thing is it all comes down to making them understand why. Like there's an element that you can tell. I try to I need to do a decent niece and niece but if you don't tell them why it saves 10 minutes, half an hour, three hours down the track that I don't understand why they're doing it. So you've got to have the why around it. And they've got to understand that part of the reason why you pay well is because they follow the instructions and if you don't follow these structures the whole business is not going to run this as well as it should. Which means we don't make as much money, which means we can't look after you more. So it's all around that hole to serve. Vicious circle if one person isn't doing it right. It's a flow on effect and affects the whole company, then you need to stop with one person if this is true at your business, you're going to get one person right. And especially the business owner. They're out there on the tools. I've had some business owners go all out. Now, I'm not going to do that. I expect my staff to do it. No that will never, ever work. You need to lead by example, then get the leading hand to lead by example and gradually everyone will follow tack. You just got to make those steps. Yeah yes I agree. I also have taken it took a different approach. Yes orthodox that prescriptions is talks to try to get y yes. What's going on for him. Yes Look, I'm amazed at how much dyslexia there is in our industry. Yep So, literally, a lot of guys struggle with writing. Yeah, I think that's all part of the process is understanding what's going through their head. Understanding why you need it and trying to find a solution of how we're doing it. But for a trader just to say I'm not doing it. It's easy to say that behind the fine when you're sitting down in an office and you've got it in and you're actually doing the two walks meetings and you're going about it the right way. It's a whole other level. And if it gets to a point that is go, you know what I am just not doing this. And I don't care what you say I'm just not doing this. Then you've got to weigh up. Are you going to let that go. Or are you going to move them on and clean the ships and start again. I pretty never even see someone even said it's me. It doesn't have. Everyone wants to please everyone wants to be a good employee. When I wake up in the morning and go. How can I piss off my boss today, although it was business idea sometimes we think they say that the time that I do that. So they want to be good. The other thing is. So there's nothing like with 25 staff civilian trainees I actually hit on actually does hit a person who would do that could call to do it for them, because I'm some is just done. And that was what worked for me because I like creating a stress free environment for people. Yes So the deal was I hate to have it done. But I provided other pathways for them to get it done. So some guys. Some guys are going to paperwork but I actually would get it because he didn't want doing this for supplies because they were actually dyslexic. They actually had trouble writing and using the patterns. And so they would just call the office next basement for them because I just didn't care what the outcome was complete the paperwork. Yeah my outcome was not shouting yellow dog shit. Yeah So maybe there was provide pathways to allow the outcome. But you know 17 staff workers help you. But no idea the level of complexity. And it was one case in the office. They called it fine call them. Thank you. I get it. And that's how I solved it right. So that was answer that question around how. How do you get to do the right thing. It's like, well put a process in so they can do the right thing. And you've got to work on their mindset and I understand because some of these people mindset is I'm a trainee. I don't do anything else. I'm just a trainee and you got to realize that things have changed. Things that's right. And we've got three minutes two questions both of a great similar not sure we have all these questions here because we're talking about brain people in systems into equation, but fun and because you're looking at numbers. That's why Nick given numbers like we'll do next. One number shall we. Yeah, it is a lot markup you put on materials do we answer that because it's way more complicated question than a few things. Well, I mean, it depends on what margin you want to make, and it depends if the is it a is the item cost $5 or does it cost $5,000. And there's so many variables with that. But I think that a rule of thumb people would say around 30% to put on materials right. And if you're doing building work. And a lot of that kind of stuff, then that's the sort of going right. But you know in a maintenance game if we go There we could have 300% on a $10 material. So it depends on what it is. It is. I mean, I think as a Bayes' rule like nice to sit markup on job school maintenance there's a 50% markup. There's so much more to this. It does not go on rules. But as a global institution for maintenance and probably 30% for the renos it's sort of guidelines, not 100% but I'm going to go back to you. Hey, Dan and say, OK, but what about if the customer goes down to your local hardware store and the product is cheaper than the 50% you put on top. What happens then at the next topic. Mike this is the basic question ever really. Yes, I love with Christian. Never anticipated this question. What if you are an employee. Yes would like to see the business flourish. Yes But you know that the bosses with the issues stemming steaming from what tools can you give employees to assist the boss. Yeah, I mean, you and I it's a great question. You know what. A lot of the times it's the actual business owner himself that holds the business back 100% I mean, the actual staff want to do this, and they want the business to run better. And that's the business owner is so stuck in his old ways that he wants everything has to go through him. And he has to be the decision maker that he's so poor at everything he does. He's very old school. And that's where you've got to change that. Great question. I think that is when you need to sit down with the boss and say, hey, I really want to help you take this business to another level. I do this. That would take some guts. Oh my. No, I would just leave. I would just make a note saying, hey shit you're just actually saying, let's look at the business and talk about things we need to improve. Most people that don't do the right thing 100 percent know that I do the right thing. My what a great question. I'd love to answer it more. But I am conscious of time, I would just leave because I often seen as very hard proliferate to change its spots. You can't convince an alcoholic stop drop and stop drinking. Very hard to convince some to change can. But they've gotta warn us. It doesn't matter with coaching or whatever it is. If you don't want it. And I don't want to. You're never going to change him. No one's ever going to change. Well, so that's our. Andy, thank you so much, as always, it's always great. The alignment between us is always spot on. Love it. I hope those of you enjoyed decision. I know I certainly always enjoy talking to Andy. Thanks Mike. You know I always enjoy talking to you guys. Well, we will arrange the next one on numbers, please email questions and that you'd like us to talk on and we'll work around that. And then if anyone needs anything just reach out to Fergus or the lifestyle try com. And we're more than happy to help you will please everyone please sign up, please. We don't talk about the money. Of course. It's not this conversation. But please do check them out. You cannot believe what a six month investment in this training of years is. So please do sign up, guys. The main thing is everyone knows that can be better in business. But why try and reinvent the wheel axes and need to meet. Well, we've been doing this for over 10 years, we've helped thousands of trainees often some of the best trainees around Australia. People we've worked with. And so if you want a short cut and you know you need help. But you're a bit unsure what to do. Common sense because that's when self-doubt comes in. And when you have self-doubt about what the next stage is I guess, what do you do not gain nothing conquered down anyway everyone you go well keep busy and tune in for the next episode. Talk to old plumber is going for it. Thanks Bye. See you guys. See you guys. But
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Watch Fergus founder, Dan Pollard, share his story of how his 19 person plumbing business got through the 2011 recession by developing new...
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