EPISODE 18 – Knowing What Your Time Is Worth
Welcome to another episode of, Builders Business Success Podcast!
If this is the first time you’ve listened, or watched this podcast, it’s purpose is really, to help builders, overcome all of the unnecessary pain and frustration and challenges that come, with running a building business.
Most of it, is because of the building industry norm.
So, that’s actually good news. If it’s something that, we all tend to do, all of the builders tend to do, that’s common and can be changed, that means everyone can benefit from it.
So, hopefully we’ll be talking and giving you some real benefits on some of those specifics, in your building business throughout this episode.
We’re talking to a buddy of mine, his name’s Paul Purdon. He runs, a shed franchise down here in Tasmania.
He’s been with, the Builder’s Business Blackbelt, for about 150 years.
He’s one of our longest suffering members and he certainly learned a lot and he’s got a lot to share.
The Regular Segments
Of course we’ve got the regulars, the, “What’s I Say” segment where I said something valuable when is a conversation with some of our members during the week.
Gonna do a tech review. This, is something quite simple, very inexpensive, that can take a lot of activity off your plate and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your business.
Also got a Q and A, that is gonna make a big difference, when you use this idea and implement it into your business.
*Transcription of the show*
Hear my conversation with Paul Purdon!
So, it’s time to have a conversation with my buddy, Paul Purdon. As I said, he’s been around a long time. He’s got lots of experience.
One of the questions that we get asked quite often, is about the smaller jobs.
Does the quality client pathway approach and getting paid for your proposals, does that apply for the smaller jobs?
The answer is yes and no. It just needs to be modified.
So, I asked Paul, what he does, how he’s modified it, for his site visits and how well it’s worked for him.
– Site visits I’ve been doing for a number of years. And of course, as we’ve learned with the Blackbelt, we should be charging for whatever we can get our hands on. And so charging for quotes, wasn’t so much an issue.
We would charge for the commercial quoting, we charge for housing quoting, as per, well we’ve been doing that for years, as a matter of fact, it could be 28, 20 years, for housing.
Back in the early days, just after color television, I would do site visits for anyone that wanted me to come to site, because I thought that was what I, how I could add value to what we did. And there was no structure in place.
So what I was doing was, if someone wanted a site visit, I’d look at my diary and I’d go, “Yes, I’ll do it Monday”, or when someone else would ring, “Yeah, I can do this one Tuesday.
I could do this one Wednesday.” And, what I found, by nearly every day of the week, I was doing site visits, and there was no, no real time for, for quoting and for running the operational part of the business.
So I ended up, running around, just do it, but disappearing up my own backside. So, that was a few years ago, I decided, “Well, this is, this is not it.” You know, I mean, if we’re gonna go to the doctor, I can’t just turn up whenever I like.
I’ve got to make an appointment and those appointments, whenever the doctor’s there in the office, you know.
So, I thought, “Well bugger this, let’s change how we do that, how I do business.” And that is, I said to my staff, I’m gonna do site visits, one day a week and I’ll make it Wednesday. So Wednesdays, our prospects had to fit in, with when I was available, rather than the other way around.
– Yeah, cool.
– And that worked a treat, for the last three or four years, I guess, we’ve been doing that. But they’d always, be the exception of course, where, you know, if somebody was, we believed, was genuine, after going through a qualifying process and they couldn’t literally get there on a Wednesday, you know, on what, you know, I’d kind of see them on a Tuesday or Thursday but, rather than just book a time willy-nilly, I actually, considered the best time that would suit me on those days.
So, I was starting to get, I started to get more, not selfish, but I think it was about, you know, looking at really when I was available rather than, when the customer was available.
So, I came up with some alternative times. That worked okay, for, as I said, for a while, that became more and more often.
And so, the eight site visits a week, turned into 12, which is more than a days activity, for me, I think, it, depending on how far away they are, from your office, we can dock, probably just squeeze ten in, nine to ten.
After measuring the success, of the site visit prospects, by success I mean those that were converted into sales, I realized that our conversion rate, whilst it was better than our average of 20%, they were approaching 65 to 70%, there was still, 35, 40% of people that didn’t go ahead.
So, it meant I was spending, you know, 40% of my site visit time, just showing up, if you like.
One of the things that um, that was important and a light bulb moment for me, was some months ago, listening to a landscaper, who was involved in the, the builders group, that we’re involved with, mentioned that he, charges for his site visits.
His main point was that, you know, you need to understand the value of you and people need to understand that, you know, that they need to charge, they need to be paying for you to come out to site, because you have so much to give and so much knowledge and information.
And I, it got me thinking and I thought well, “I’m gonna give this a try.” Three months ago, I sat down with the sales team and I said, “Look, this is something that I think will help” not this lolly but, the idea.
– I think the lolly will help.
– The whole point about charging for site visits is not about collecting lots of money. It was, the sole purpose, of charging for site visits, is to sort out, those prospects that have come through our qualifying process, that are nearly there, is to sort out the weed from the chaff, the men from the boys, or, as my father used to say, piss or get off the pot.
– The charging for quotes and or site visits, isn’t just, about getting some money back, it’s, in fact, it’s not about the money, at all. It’s about the prospect having skin in the game and I asked Paul, what difference has it made to his workload, but also, how the prospects respond, since he has put paying for site visits in place in his business?
– I think what it was, it was the timing was right. I was finding, up to I’d say four months, five months ago, that I was just getting run off my feet, doing a lot more site visits, especially with the increase, in inquiry caused by COVID, believe it or not.
I was finding that I was spending, a lot more time on site and a lot of, a lot more people wanted me on site, that in fact, were more genuine and ended up buying off us, but had to wait two weeks for me to come to site. I think that was, that was the point where I’m thinking, well, that is my max out of about 10 site visits a day, as I mentioned before on a good day, and some weeks I’d have 15 and say that five would carry over to the next week, only to find out that five the first week, didn’t go ahead, or four maybe, but the five that got pulled off, were all genuine buyers, and I thought well, that’s hardly fair.
I and my team were struggling with that, I guess, to feel like the fairness of that. And yes, I did know that the landscaper had been charging for a while and others have been charged for site visits.
The penny just didn’t drop.
So, I think it had to be, it had to be a need for me there.
The ducks had to be lined up. I had this, blockage or hurdle in my mind, about, “How the hell do I handle that?” and all of a sudden this idea came.
On the other side, I thought, “Oh, how simple is that?” It’s almost as if I hadn’t even heard of it before, but it was just, the timing I think, was right.
– I quite often get the comment that, you know, “That might work in some businesses, but it won’t work in mine, or in my niche, or this, that, and the other.” So, I asked Paul about that, what were his thoughts about, how well this would work in pretty much any part of the domestic building industry?
– First of all, let me say to anyone that’s listening, is that, “You’re not different.” We’re dealing with human beings, my human beings, like wanna build sheds, bathroom renovation human beings wanna do bathrooms and houses, the reno’s or whatever, the lot is still only humans. And that’s what it’s all about.
It’s about the relationship between, those of us that have a service to provide, to somebody that wants our service. So, it doesn’t make any difference.
The evidence is there, with the home builders that I know, the bathroom renovators, that I know, the landscapers, that I know, that are charging the 150.
At the end of the day, those of us that have had our trade are running a business, We’ve earned our stripes in terms of being, an accomplished builder, landscaper or whatever, or whatever the qualification is, we’ve done our time, we’re employing staff, we’ve got our backside on the line, including our reputation.
We have a lot to give and there is value, real value in having us, I’m saying us, as in anyone in the building industry, that has a good reputation.
We have value. And, those of us that aspire to, the Builders Business Blackbelt, you know, we learn how to, first of all, I think those of us that are members of your, of your group, we all come to your group with a genuine need to be of service to people.
Be of service to others and give good service, are trustworthy and genuinely want to help people. Anyone that says, “I can’t charge 150 bucks for site visit,” I’m happy, to take a call, come and see you, after I’ve got rid of my COVID and you can tell me, to my face, why you believe you can’t and I’ll prove to you, that you can.
I know you do it, Mick. I know you can too, but you can.
The time to start charging is now, the next phone call that you get.
– So I asked Paul, “What other benefits come from charging for site visits?”
Because, we really wanna understand that it’s, it’s not about getting the money, it has a bunch of other benefits, some of which is just, reducing your workload and the amount of people that, you talk to, that end up being tire kickers. “So, how does charging for a site visit help you in that space?”
– Okay so, here’s a bathroom, or here’s a builder, that believes, he love to build houses, he likes doing renovations, but he’s, technically oversubscribed, by prospects that want him to do bathroom renovations.
So, quite by accident I think he stumbled across a great niche, where he’s very good at these bathroom renovations and every day he’s fielding calls. I think he can handle one a week and I think he’s getting five calls a week, to do bathroom renovations because he’s built up a reputation of being exceptional.
So, without doing a lot of advertising, I mean it’s like, oh I can’t say on this show, but I believe that, you can edit this out, I think he’s been kissed on the knob by a fairy.
– That’s got to stay in.
– I’ll let you edit that however you want.
So, he didn’t realize it. All he was worried, all he could see was, he was under so much pressure. “I’m under so much pressure!
There are always inquiries, I’m oversubscribed.
What do I do?” Well, it’s quite simple mate, you just charge 150 bucks.
Stop going out to site for nothing. Stop doing it. “Oh yeah, well I’ve, I’ve thought about it. I don’t know what to say, I’m embarrassed.” And I said “Well, mate you’ve went through the, the value, the value you put on yourself, Matt. Of a tradie, you run a business, you’re very good at what you do, your reputation, is coming, you know, it speaks volumes, by the fact that you’re getting three to five inquiries a week. So, already people know about you, as the Bathroom King.
So, guess what? The reason I charge 150 bucks is because I am the Bathroom King. And you don’t have to put yourself up on a pedestal but, you turn up on time. You have a fully itemized quotation.
You spend an hour or two hours on site with somebody to get a really good understanding of what it is they want, you give them ideas, you get back to them in a timely fashion. And once you’re done, your quote, is your quote.
There isn’t any variations.” And he said, “I do that already.” I said, “Exactly.
So nothing, will change mate, except you’re charging 150 bucks and when, out of those five phone calls, one, maybe two, might kind of say, ‘Well, I’m not gonna pay you 150.’ Fantastic. No problem at all.
There’s other, bathroom renovators down the road, or in your area, give them their card, they do free quotes. Off you go.
So, be polite and you’ve got three, out of that five. And would three a week, be more than you can handle? ‘Yeah, it is.’” I said, “Well okay, so you got a great, you’re in great position, you get three jobs a week.
You might say lose, you might lose one of those because yeah okay, it’s, it’s gone past their budget and that’s a genuine thing that can happen.” Pardon me. “You’ve still got double the amount of future work that you can handle.
I didn’t want envy your, envy your position, that means to me that you can start managing and growing your business accordingly.”
So, it took about three or four weeks, for him to build up the courage to, I think it happened this week sometime, he charged his first one, because I did put a little bit of pressure on him, as you said earlier, and I said I would, because I know successful charging of 150 is, so, anyway, he did it and I think the outcome was, that I don’t believe this person’s gonna pay it, ah no, was it?
I can’t remember now, ’cause I think it was one other Blackbelt member that charged, went to charge too-
– No, the message I got after you put a rocket up him, the very next call, was the conversation about the site visit. And he texted me immediately. It was only half an hour afterwards and he said “The money’s in the bank.”
– Yeah, yeah, no, he rang me to tell me that too. So, you’re right. So, it was another one of the members that were, um, that was Andrea.
– [Mick] Um.
– She charged, for her and then the lady said, “No, thank you.” Which is fine.
– [Mick] Which is just fine. Dodged a bullet. I hope you get better soon. Thank you for not spreading your germs through the, the digital connection.
– That’s fine.
– And sharing your, your expertise and knowledge and putting the time aside, even though you were sitting at home because everyone at work told you to go away.
– I did. I’ve been home for two days, now. And um, I guess I’d better go and do the vacuuming or something for a while.
– But how good is it to have people in your team that, I mean everything’s still ticking along perfectly without you.
– Yeah, yeah, it is. And it’s, you know, that’s another subject, or topic for another day, talking about team, but you know, I’ve got a great team and once they’ve sent me home, or I had done, I wasn’t coming in yesterday, which is traditionally my site visit day. My PA said, “It’s not a problem, Paul, you rest, I will take care of it.”
– How good’s that?
What’d I Say?
You know, we’re talking to builders and all that sort of thing, that they tend to get sucked into, the business.
They kind of know what they should be doing, quite often they’re not actually doing it, because they give the working “in” the business priority to working “on” the business, but having experienced what you’ve experienced and turning multi-million, billion dollar businesses around and all of that sort of stuff, what do you suggest?
And he said, “Spend two hours a week in a time block, on strategy implementation.” And he gave an example of working with a multi million dollar mining company and just getting the key executives into a room, once a week, for two hours, they’d got in there and they said, “Is there an agenda?”
And he said, “No, you already know what to do, this next two hours is doing it.
Get on the computers, do what you need to do. Phone the people you need to phone, make this strategy, that you’ve created.”
So, they’ve created the strategy and, and he said that, as soon as you do that, they came back in the next week and knew what they needed to do, but because they knew, that this was a work, work time block, like it was a, doing it time block, not planning it, or any of that sort of stuff.
It was the doing it time block, they started to spend a bit of time in preparation, for the doing, so, when they were in that two hours of doing, it become really, really effective.
In effect, after a short time, they were putting four hours per week.
So, they’re doing two hours preparation for the doing section And then they were doing it and millions and millions of dollars of difference, in that particular business.
But if you think about it in a building business, if you, if you’re just working on, how you can stop some of the bleeding sometimes, like stop some of the bleeding of cash, some, stop some of the bleeding of productivity through poor practices of your team, stop some of the bleeding with your own wasted time and things like that.
If you, if you just worked on systems and processes the implementation, the creation, of the assets and the implementation of that sort of thing and you just did that for, you know, one hour a week, that was a time block, where everything was shut off.
And you did that one hour a week, within a month, you would transform your business financially, time-wise, stress wise.
There was a really great analogy, that he used, and this was it, for, for builders. But obviously in, in other industries, it’s the same, because builders are so used to instant gratification. And what that means, is that, you’ve put up the stud wall. Bang, there it is.
Like I’ve put in the effort, there’s a result. We called in the electrician, there’s the result. The kitchen guys come in, there’s the result. But when you’re working “on” your business, you are learning how to communicate better. Learning how to be a better leader.
Learning how to build procedures and systems. Learning, how to put quality content out and do all of that sort of stuff. Most of that stuff, can take between weeks and years, to produce a result.
So, where is the builder going to gravitate his efforts and his time, into where he can see results straight away?
Or, we’re we just doing all of this stuff and hoping like hell, it’s gonna work?
Number one, understand why you gravitate to working “in” the business stuff, because of that instant gratification.
By just understanding that we can, we can actually figure out, how we can add something extra to the activity, that doesn’t give us an instant reward or an instant result.
We can change that, so, when we do it, and this is why the time block process is so important, where, for instance, if you do a 15 minute time block, you absolutely must.
It’s essential to give yourself 10 minutes of reward. And if that reward is watching funny cat videos on YouTube and not doing any work for the next 10 minutes, ’cause it makes you laugh your guts out, do it. Because it doesn’t matter, what it is, the key to that 10 minutes, is feeling great, right?
So relieving the stress, relieving the pressure, with some stupidity, you know, watch a few Jim Owen bloody videos, or whatever and have a laugh. Or, if you like chai latte, sit down in the sun and have a cup of chai latte for 10 minutes.
The impact over time of your productivity, by teaching your subconscious, that time blocking, on working on the business activities, gives me pleasure. It means that you’ll do it more often.
Okay, it’s tech review time. Now this here, this here, bit of software here, it’s called active, ActiveCampaign. It’s what we use. It’s called a customer relationship management software, or it’s a database. It’s where you keep all of your client’s information. I know a lot of the building software has this sort of stuff in it as well. The reason I like this one, is it does so much and it’s incredibly cheap. I think we pay somewhere in the vicinity of 20 bucks a month or something like that. For, what this can give you, all of the functions this can give you. We used to pay something like, maybe $300 US a month, for a package that, this does everything, pretty much the same. And I think it’s actually runs a little bit easier. But here’s the thing that we’re always talking about. If you wanna reduce your workload, you’ve got to ask some questions.
So, you look at the activities that show up on your, on your day to day list. And you say, “What are the things that I don’t wanna do, that I dislike doing, that still need to be done?” And you ask things in this order, “Can this, be just not done?”
So, dump it. “Can it be automated?” That’s the second choice. “Can it be outsourced to another company or virtual assistant organization, to get done?” That’s the third choice.
The fourth choice is, “Can I delegate it?” Now, I asked those questions in that order because, it’s from cheapest to most expensive. The cheapest is to stop doing it completely.
But the next cab off the rank, is automating. And that’s why I love ActiveCampaign because, you can set it up, very effortlessly, so, you can just literally click one button, add a tag to a customer’s record. And they start to get a flow of emails. Your team get to start, get to a flow of reminders, so, you’re not forgetting things.
So, it ups your level of professionalism. It’s giving a lot of quality communication to both your prospects and your clients, depending where they are in the process.
And for 20 bucks a month, it can really up your level of professionalism, get a whole lot of activities off your plate and free you up to do a lot of other things in your business that you know that you should be doing, but you never get around to doing them, because you’ve got a full plate.
Q & A
So, the question I get asked a whole lot, is, “I’ve started asking to be paid for quotes and I get to, I get told to nick off hairy legs, because you know, the other builder down the road will do it for free.”
That’s exactly right. That’s what happens, when you just present, exactly the same thing and ask to be paid for it, compared to someone else who’s doing it for free.
So, what I want to offer you, and this is the, one of the answers to the questions.
There’s multiple ways of going about it, but I’ve got this sheet and it’s simply called, I don’t know whether you can see that too terribly well, but it’s called “The Free Quote Suck Explainer.” And it’s just got half dozen ideas, that you can learn, to explain to your prospect, as to why free quotes suck.
And, it is all to the detriment of the client or the prospect, if they go down that free quote track, they are opening themselves up for a lot of problems. And this helps you explain it. It talks about how free quotes end up costing clients more in the long run.
So, there’s something you can do about that. It talks about getting rid of those nasty surprises of variations and things that weren’t accounted for, or weren’t considered when the quote was done. It talks about, there’s no such thing as free. And there isn’t.
There absolutely isn’t anything, that can be valuable that is free. And there’s a bunch of others on there as well. So, if you want a copy of that, all you need to do is reach out to me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You just mention, you want a copy of “The Free Quote Suck Explainer” sheet. I’ll mail you out one. And if you’ve got any questions, about how to apply it, into your business, at least we’ll be in contact and I can help you answer those questions.
So what’s the Take Away from this episode?
For me, it is always making sure, that before you take any actions, such as, going out to a site, or putting pen to paper and starting to access other trades, to put quotes together, that you get paid for it.
Basically what’s happening, if you don’t, is you’re the only one in the process that has skin in the game. The client, or prospect at that point, doesn’t have any skin in the game.
So, they’ve got nothing to lose. There’s no urgency. If it, if it doesn’t happen, when it’s meant to happen, it’s no skin off their nose.
You’re the only one, that is losing. So, it’s really important, that you have a process in place in your business. That, has what we call in Blackbelt, “Behavioral hurdle”.
So, in our quality client pathway, it’s full of behavioral hurdles, that cause your prospects, to take action and until and unless they take that action, you don’t go to the next step. And what this does, is ensures, that you don’t get your time wasted.
You don’t get used up, by the time-wasters, the price shoppers, the bargain hunters, all of those sort of people. And, if you follow the process properly, you will be paid for your quotes. Particularly, if you’re using some tools, like the “The Free Quote Suck Explainer”, that I talked about.
So, that would be my Take Away, is make sure you’ve got a process in place, for all of the parts of your business that protect you, from getting your time and your energy, your knowledge, and your intellectual property stolen.
So, I hope this was helpful. I hope you got a lot out of this episode of Builders Business Success Podcast. We are here to help and I am genuine about offering help to you to implement the ideas that we talk about in the Builders Business Success Podcast, the stuff we talk about in the Builders Business Success Forum, Facebook group, all of that.
And, if you are an established builder and I’m saying this because, there’s only so much that I can help the new guy with, if you’re solo, just getting started, thinking about getting started.
The best thing I can offer you is, consume a whole lot more of these episodes of the podcast, jump into the Facebook group, ask questions there.
But if you’re an established builder, if you’ve been around for a while, if you’ve got a small team, the amount that we can help you improve in a really short amount of time, is absolutely massive. In fact, I just got off a zoom call, with a bunch of people who have gone through a program, we call the Blueprint, the Blackbelt program. We had five people on it.
They all went through the program. It’s a 12 week program. They all went through it together. And they’re all talking about, how not only had their business changed, but their life had changed.
Their business had transformed, in just 15 to 20 weeks. Now, 15 to 20 weeks will go in the blink of an eye, in fact, the Blueprint program only goes for 12 weeks.
But, what my point is, is if you are an established builder, you’re reasonably open minded, to doing things a little different and you’re prepared to back yourself, I can help you change things in your business, really, really quickly. And these guys we’re talking about how that had happened for them. It can happen for you too.
All we need to do, is jump on a call, find out where you are, where you want to go.
What’s in the way. So, we know what we’ve got to work with and we can point you in the right direction.
So, if that’s something you wanna do, and there’s absolutely no obligation for anything, it’s just a conversation.
All you need to do, is hit the button underneath this video, or you can navigate to buildersbusinessblackbelt.com.au and the “Schedule a call” button’s all over the place. It’ll take you to a form.
Tell us a little bit about your business, book a call, and we’ll be on the phone to you before you know it, pointing you in the right direction.
I hope this episode was full of value for you, and there’ll be another episode of Builders Business Success Podcast out before you know it.
So, I’m Mick Hawes from Builders Business Blackbelt. That is it for this episode. Bye for now.