What do lawns and businesses have in common? You gotta learn how to grow ’em. | RGR 057

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Overview:

When Eli Hall took over his grandfather’s lawn care company at 26, he knew nothing about business. “I had one truck, his equipment, and his accounts,” he says, so he started learning business from … the grass roots.

He identified processes and documented them, and started tracking his labor efficiency ratio. He didn’t know what LER was at the time, but “what doesn’t get measured doesn’t get improved,” he says.

Since then, he’s grown his staff by 1,500 percent and gained private and commercial clients throughout metropolitan Phoenix. So what does growing a landscaping business have to do with yours? Listen to Eli and be surprised.

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Rise Grind Repeat Podcast powered by EIC Agency

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Hosted by Dustin Trout
Produced by Andrei Gardiola

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Check out the full video episode at:

Youtube Channel – https://bit.ly/3dlwjnJ
Spotify – https://spoti.fi/2Mgfpe6
Apple Podcasts – https://apple.co/2MiQdUv

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Check out the full video episode on Youtube at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ibIldSfV8Q&

For more information visit our website at https://eic.agency/ We are also on
Instagram @EveryImpressionCounts

| Rise Grind Repeat 057 |

00:00

What doesn’t get measured does not get improved. And that’s just a fact.

00:12

On today’s episode of Rise Grind Repeat, we talked to Eli from a AMS landscaping, talk about what it was like to take over his family business, and what he’s done in order to build his team to what it is today. Let’s dive right in. Eli, thank you so much for joining on episode of rise, grind, repeat. You know, what excites me is I mean, we’ve been kind of working together. But even before that, I mean, when we’re first getting to know each other, I could see the passion and, and what you have for the business that that you’ve kind of grown. Also, you know, multi generation business, which is really cool to see it get passed through generation and generation. And so we’d love to hear just the story on how it all started, how you became part of it. And so I guess, to kind of, kind of kick it off, I’d love for you to introduce yourself and kind of how you got started on the entrepreneurial

00:56

path. Yeah, my name is Eli Hall. Obviously, we own m s landscaping. It was a fit. It was my grandfather’s business actually started out as champion lawn service in 1969. moved here from Santa Barbara, like so many people from California just came here to for the cost of living and I think there was like a quake in 68. My grandma was like, we’re out. So he came here with a pocketful of cash. And, you know, he was a farmer, he had on 20 acres in, in Santa Barbara, and he actually farmed it. And so when he moved here, it was just his natural instinct to do something in the agricultural fields. So he just started a yard service and did it for forever. It was just a one truck operation. A lot of my family had worked in and my cousin’s we had all kind of worked in it. And, you know, like, it was just a one truck operation. He never really was trying to expand it. You know, he was fine with his lifestyle, where he works six days a week, every you know, forever, like he hardly had any days off. He’s just It’s just that work ethic. He’s an old, old, old, old school Italian guy grew up very in that fight. He was a farmer. He was used to working every day. So it wasn’t a big deal to him.

02:09

And it was a brave. Yeah.

02:10

Yes. Anyway. So I was 26 when I decided to go to work for him full time, he was 79. And, and I knew he wasn’t gonna do forever. And I, you know, my college path wasn’t looking wasn’t promising for me. I didn’t find myself driven by education. So I, you know, I was going to college, but I wasn’t really driven in to do anything. And I thought, well, you know, nobody was interesting, my grandfather’s business, so maybe I’ll do that. And so I worked for him for a few years. He ended up passing away in March of 99. And he worked up to four weeks up to his death. I mean, he was just like you, he was, you know, he got diagnosed to have terminal cancer. And four weeks later, he was just gone. And so I was 26. I’m sorry, I was 26 when I took it over, actually. 99 And I just knew it, you know, I was gonna be alone this business. All I was given was the truck, the equipment and the accounts, did not get a bank account to get anything which, you know, fair enough. My, you know, my aunts and uncles, you know, they got their fair share stuff. And I was grateful to just be able to have the business. And basically, I was the business. It’s not like we had any technology at all. In fact, a year before I finally started writing things down. My grandfather had everything in his mind, like people owed him the schedule, everything was up in his head, and I’m like 80s is still doing it. And like, this isn’t gonna happen. So I took some habits from an old job I had I created these cards and the dates and how much people owed us and that was back in back when you still advertise in the phonebook. So yeah, took it over. And you know, obviously here I am in my mid 20s. For me, it was exciting. I had a business kind of handed to me. It was just a one truck operation is really a job. You know, I was really just self employed at that time. It really really wasn’t, isn’t the business wasn’t the business that it is today. And I knew I didn’t want to push a mower forever. But I was so young and knew nothing about business. I remember when I first hired somebody to drive my crew around in the early 2000s. And like, you know, I’m not gonna I’m just gonna kick back and you know, and what I found when I was young is when I had time I spent money and I would run out of money. And so every year every winter they got in the winter, I went back to work to like build a reserve and mostly consumed my time. So I realized when I was young, my time was like a drain in the bank account. So yeah, so that’s kind of how it led to me wanting to get into multiple. I wanted to get I knew if I could get into multiple trucks, I could make enough money and it would keep me busy enough that it would start to turn into a business and that’s kind of what happened. I started a second truck. That was early days of cell phones. I could forward the landline to my cell phone. So I was answering the phone in the in the second truck. And I just have one guy with me and I would drop them off at a job site and go do a bid. When I was in the area, I just pretty much grew the company by answering the phone all the time, and advertising the phone book and in the newspaper, if you can imagine that back in those days, and I just grew it, and I knew I could once I got to three trucks I wouldn’t have to be I wouldn’t have to push them hour after that. Yeah, so it sounds like it’s a lot of I mean, one is the advertising piece, but two is just identifying process, documenting them and have a process that just kind of runs the business itself, especially as you start to scale. You realize, you know, you can’t copy and paste and in scale up without some sort of system in place tracking everything. And I learned that later on as I grew that you know, when you’re no longer on a truck, you have to watch efficiency. And if you’re not careful if you don’t know what it takes to do a certain size property at a certain cost. What your hourly rates are. So I would start tracking. I didn’t know it at the time that it was my labor efficiency ratio. I track it now as an L er, but back then I was just like, I can only spend so much on labor for every dollar that I make, which is basically labor efficiency. How do you figure that out? I just you know, you know, if my crew mate, if I crew earned $600 in a day, this was back in the day when 600 actually was decent income from a crew. I didn’t want it and this is when my overhead was nothing. I could not spend more than half of that on labor. But I could get it I could make a good living even spending half of that on labor back in those days. I ran the business out of my house. Had no I was all the overhead. So every dollar I spent in labor, it brought me $1 in return at least so I always did well with it. And of course as I grew and my overhead got larger, so did so did my my le er.

06:55

So I definitely track a different car today, but it’s that’s kind of how I I look Learn early on, you know, you always get bit, right you always get stung. When something happens, you learn from it, I always tell people when you touch a hot pan on a stove, you know never to touch it again, in business. It’s all it’s happening all the time with just different aspects in business.

07:13

So what was the process that you took to get all these processes documented? Are you at a point to where someone can just pick up, you know, document, whatever it is and know exactly how to do it? Because we’re kind of running through that now. And that’s something we’re putting a lot of focus on is somewhat, what does the onboarding process look like? How often do we have meetings, all that type of stuff so that it’s like, if I were to get hit by a bus, the company could still operate and right now it wouldn’t be able to but so we’re kind of trying to figure it out. How were you able to we definitely have systems in place I in different places, I record loom videos for certain, certain roles, and I’m still working on this too. It’s so it’s a journey. It’s always a work in progress. I tell people, if you think everything’s got to be perfect all the time, you’re never going to get any thing done and forever I, I wouldn’t do training because I was just like, oh, the thought of all the things that I have to write down for training seems so overwhelming.

08:08

But when I finally just kicked myself in the butt and did it, I realized, you know, you only really need to start with the things like I, I painted a picture of my busiest day. And I thought, okay, I’m super busy, and I lose my office person. What, like, I don’t have time to train them. What do I want to say in a loom video, you know, describing kind of what the roles are on how to answer a phone. And it started there. And I realized quickly, because we had all these different verticals of how we made money. Yeah. And I realized, Oh, my gosh, this is gonna be awful. Like if they want sprinkler repair, go down this path, if they wanted installation, go down this path, but there’s like 10 forks down that road. And so I realized I’m like, you know, if I’m busy, I’m not going to take on anything other Then what we’re really good at. And I started my training around that. And so 99% of what we do is landscape cleanups and landscape maintenance. So if we’re busy, if I get, you know, if I lose my head girl in the middle of season, I am not going to take on any sprinkler repair. If that’s all it is enough, you call and you’re like, I got to clean up and I want some maintenance, and I have a broken sprinkler. All day long, we can take care of that. But if you’re like just calling for sprinkler repair, here’s a referral. If you’re calling you need pavers or something of this other stuff, where maybe there’s times of the seasons will we get slow, we’ll take on stuff that we don’t normally take on. But all our training and processes are around peak season, we’re absolutely the busiest cuz that’s what matters. And that’s what’s scalable, you know, the other stuff you chase too many rabbits you don’t you know, you don’t get any of them right you choose to. So that’s been our philosophy with training and it’s been really, really impactful for us.

09:53

So is that a lot of loom videos like you just have a library of different videos or

09:57

like scripts started there and And it was really with the urge and stuff, the loom video I did for onboarding lane, you know, our landscaper team role for if you’re just a regular labor on the landscaping crew, which is really the foreman role and just elaborated for the foreman, but we actually have everyone go through it because you know, the whole goal is to get everyone to a upgraded position where they’re moving up in the company anyway. So but we want everyone on the same page when they’re on the truck, and it starts there. And then we have I use Google Drive like crazy. I have everything on the cloud. I can’t stress that enough. So we have a lot of the processes documented there. What I like about loom though, is you can send that link to somebody and it tells you you get an email that they see that they viewed it. And then we have some qualifying questions we asked make sure that they’ve seen it. We you know, we have qualifying questions when we’re interviewing people, so make sure that they really know what they’re they’re saying that they really worked in the industry, that sort of thing? Yeah. So that’s kind of how we track it. We put in different place and we have a credible CRM to for running our business.

11:10

And what’s the CRM that you guys use?

11:11

Yeah, so it’s called service autopilot. And I cannot say enough about this software. It’s all cloud based. I originally for years was using a software called clip and it was all you had to have access to my desktop computer to access it. And we printed route sheets, we had it, we did it in 10 years, it was a great system. But like the crew would write down their arrival time, their departure time, and then they would turn in the route sheets and a day that was their timecard. And we would enter all this data, we had all this data entry. And now with service autopilot, they just use their you know, their smartphone, and they check in at a job checkout and all the notes are there. explaining what’s you know, included in the service and if there’s extras if somebody calls us, like calls the office right now and the crews scheduled to be there in a couple hours. They say, you know, there’s this bush on the left side of the driveway I really want trimmed, we can literally add the note in real Time and it’ll show up on the route sheets. When that crew arrives later that day,

12:04

once you brought in the CRM, I mean, get the data and analytics in a second. I love that. But once it started introducing more technology, were able to see that there was a little bit of a learning curve, but it started creating more efficiencies, maybe crews were able to get one extra yard done a day or two, whatever it may be, it enables you to scale. But really, even more importantly, uh, I mean, we were pretty efficient before. But yeah, it’s still no, it’s definitely exponentially efficient. Because, you know, if you’d called and we were scheduling a couple out, we would have to notify you. Yeah, we’d have to get all unique. They have these printed route sheets, like, hey, when you get to that guy’s

12:39

house, you know, it was very paper trail ish before and yeah, the technology makes it so much easier in that aspect. But it also what I like about it is it puts all the data in one place. So if I send you an estimate through our portal, and then you call the office, the the office person knows nothing about your property, but all the data is In the CRM and the estimates, they’re all my notes, you know, if I was at the property, and so she can answer every question like she was there, you know, there’s pictures of the property, we always take pictures when we first You know, there’s, there’s almost, we’re all on the same page. And that’s where that’s where really helped us scale, right, you know, is where we’re at today.

13:18

And one thing that gets me excited, I mean, you keep track of conversion rates by week by channel, all that. I mean, you’re very data driven or appreciate data, which I appreciate quite a bit. I mean, how much has data been part of growing and scaling the business? I mean, is it something that can burden you or has it been helpful in some of the decision making that you do?

13:39

What doesn’t get measured does not get improved? And that’s just a fact. And I’ve changed KPIs over the years key performance indicators and what it means and I’ve, you know, I’ve got a new I have actually a KPI sheet. I got to fill it out today, actually, every week I have this things that I measure, and part of that is marketing, but also we track our sales in a week. basis that it would upset me that I would get a p&l at the end of the month. And it would say you did bad. Like, okay, now what? Yeah, what do you do with a monthly result. And so I need to track this more in real time. So we track ourselves weekly. And this CRM allows us to do that, which is just awesome. I get a report emailed to me weekly. But even before that, I can pull up all the jobs in the dispatch for the entire week and see what kind of money we brought in for sales. And if we’re trending on up note, then I know we’re good and for trending down, if we had a bad week, I’ll have to wait to the end of the month to find this out. I’m like, Hey, what’s going on? What you know, what is a capacity issue? Is it a we just not getting enough leads? Do I need to funnel more leads, I’m very in touch with that. very cautious about what my cost per lead is what it’s costing me and I’m very conscious of what our conversion in house conversion is, as far as when elite comes to us how many you know, right now we’re about like 35% conversion and so I like I measure that number weekly because I want to see the difference from week to week because if something’s changing red flag, you know, you need always be. You can’t it isn’t about KPIs. I just don’t know how else you would do it. Yeah, things could be happening. And you wouldn’t even know it’d be right underneath your nose. Yeah.

15:16

And it could be three weeks where it’s like, man, if I were to just change that one thing that negative could have been in the blackout. And that’s the difference between owing money and actually having money in the bank account.

15:25

Yeah, I mean, we’ve been speaking weekly now with as far as regarding marketing, and just being able to just tweak little things at a time and knowing where we stand we tweak has been so impactful. I mean, I’m so grateful for that. Yeah. It’s not perfect. But we’re there. You know, I gotta tell you that that means so much. You can’t measure what you’re not reviewing. And here we are reviewing it every week going, Okay, what let’s tweak this, let’s play with that. Let’s try this. Let’s do that. And you know, anybody in any good communication, we can be in any business communication. Holy cow. I mean, I’ve grown my whole business on communication. Yeah, contractors in all industries pretty much have a bad rap about not answering the phone that you know. And we try to break all those, all those whatever you people would call them just the things that have been conditioned in people’s mind like, Oh, you got to leave a voicemail get out No, we you know, we can’t answer our phone we have an answering service that picks up during business hours, I do not want to go into voicemail. I’m paying for a lead on AdWords or Facebook and it goes to voicemail. It’s you might as well throw in the trash conversion rate on

16:27

that it goes way down. Yes, yeah, garbage.

16:29

And you see that stuff as you’re more out of the weeds, you know, so that’s where the KPIs really come in handy. And you’re not in the day to day dealing with putting out fires here and there. You know, back to systems and, you know, we have systems that how we handle complaints. I don’t even hear about complaints anymore. It’s all managed. There’s a system that yeah, I mean, we, we automate everything and it’ll get to me if it gets bad or mean, hey, at the end of the day, if it gets really bad, you know, I’ll do whatever it takes, you know, our reputation is worth more than any Any dollar amount, you know, I mean, that’s what insurance is for somebody has some really bad costly issue that something happened that, you know, was submitted insurance, you know, I, you know, I, I would rather be in business if I can’t, if I can’t provide a valuable service, I can be helpful and valuable to people. I don’t want to be in the marketplace. Yeah, you know why, yeah, there’s the last thing you want is a bad reputation. And that’s the only thing I’ll get you through anything.

17:26

And that’s, I think what got me excited when we first met at the Starbucks was I mean, I could hear that it’s like your that are in business to make money or bring value, and then the money will come. But definitely have that passion for bringing value to the marketplace. And I mean, how has that open communication done in terms of just repeat business reviews? I mean, you have tons of tons of five star reviews. I mean, it seems like people are more willing to share the good experience because it’s like a known thing that like, I try and reach out. I’m just gonna get nowhere.

17:54

It was a battle I dealt with early. Well, not early early. I was really good at it. I mean, I answered every call, you know, You couldn’t put anything over me I could take care of anybody, you know, I mean, uh, right. And I The buck stops with me. But you can’t scale that way you can’t grow and, and I had definitely had some, some bumpy, bumpy bumpy dirt roads we went down, because bad hires and bad situations, you know, I can’t always be on every job site and now I can’t answer the phone. If I answer the phone, I wouldn’t be able to be here, I wouldn’t be able to look at Big Picture things and, you know, decide where to spend marketing where to you know, do this or that. And if you’re in the weeds of things, it’s, it’s you, it ain’t you. So I understand there’s a control aspect of it because I talk to a lot entrepreneurs about this, they just have trouble letting go of certain things, you know, especially Yelp, Yelp is got this, you know, you get you get addicted to it, and I you know, I am addicted to Yelp where I just want to respond immediately, you know, like, yeah, I want to earn those five star reviews and I’ve earned so many of them, and I would let go and then I would get stung, right because somebody else didn’t have the heart. I had when they We’re handling it and you get a better view or two and you’re like, just so you know, and but until you learn from those lessons, you won’t be able to grow and you have to be able to grow. You can’t answer the phone all the time, if you’re gonna, you know, scale, you know, you can’t be you know, in and out burgers great. But if there was only one location, we wouldn’t know about it, right? Like it, you know,

19:22

the owner was the one flipping the burgers taking the

19:24

taking the fries, but it’s great,

19:25

and you can go anywhere and it’s great, right? You know, it’s great, you know, and that’s kind of what I tell people I get you in and out might not make the absolute best hamburger but they make a darn good hamburger and it’s reliable and it’s consistent. It’s fast, and it’s reasonable. And, you know, I I don’t necessarily think we’re the best landscaper but I want to be the best business owner that can handle that can deal with a client and make them 100% happy. At the end of the day, you know, our mission is to make yards enjoyable. You know, I I I tell my team. I want our clients to have a cup of coffee in their backyard on Saturday. Morning and just breathe and watch the for and yeah, I don’t want them thinking about I’ve got to deal with this or something’s wrong with the yard or is there a sprinkler? I don’t, you know, I want them to enjoy their yard, especially now during this time where we’re kind of stuck at home, you know,

20:18

that’s really what what we’re trying to we’re trying to accomplish, you know,

20:21

there’s always that, I mean, someone doing it themselves, they can grow it, but it gets to a certain point where it plateaus. And you either have to, like I said, delegate kind of let go a little bit. So, I mean, were there any things that you kind of stumbled on getting to that point getting over that hurdle? I mean, what was the biggest thing that was the hardest in terms of getting to that scaling point where it’s kind of you had to delegate let go, is it just the trust thing? Yeah, there’s been a

20:47

lot of us. I’ll tell you a recent one.

20:51

up just to a couple years ago, I was still doing majority of our estimates, and I realized it was a job I still have had in my business and You know, it’s just one of those things that was hard for me to let go and actually enjoyed it. You know, it gets me I like to be outside. I don’t want to be cooped up in the office, I actually like getting out there meeting customers. I’m a, I’m a connector, like I speak, I like to connect with people. And I love giving value. I love the appreciation when I show up and I deliver, you know, great service or offer help, or even if it’s just advice, you know, I love doing that stuff. And letting go of that role was difficult. But once again, it I ran it, I kept running into this Roadblock, it kept running into this roadblock where I would grow and then I would die. Like I couldn’t get over this. It was I call it the glassy I can never hit and I’m still on this trajectory to hit 500 residual maintenance clients. We’re at 383 this morning, you know, so I, you know, track that and some of them like KPIs. But there’s a lot of things I learned in the last couple years but one of the things I realize is we’re just like, we can only I can only do like about 10 estimates in a day, so that’s great. But if I’m ever going to hit 1000 customers, there’s just no way like as soon as, like, what ends up happening is I can do only so many estimates I can do bring into so many leads. And we’re very, very stuck in this bottleneck. And what I realized is we’re never going to get past that a certain level if I can’t somehow automate or systemize the bid process either I got to build a system and hire people to do it. Or I got to simplify it and automate it to a way so we don’t have to be on site and that’s really what’s paid off and what we did as we went through all our existing client base and we pulled up all the lot sizes on Zillow and we started realizing okay this lot size, we charge this this lobster it’s like why are we going out to these properties? Let’s just give them the price over the phone, you know, call us. We’ll give you a price over the phone you email us we’ll send you a bid right away. We even had like ballpark prices for what cleanups if you have a 9000 square foot lot we had a ballpark price of What the average cost was for a lot that size, you know, in, you know, instead of us like getting to your property and going, it’s going to be this much and like, Oh my gosh, you know, like, I can at least let them know, listen, our average cleaner for this size is maybe $600. You know, ever like, oh, that doesn’t sound so bad. I, you know, I need this place cleaned up, I actually thought maybe it might have been more, you know, oh, that was close to what I was gonna spend. Awesome. We’ll go out there confirm the price. We’re not we’re on site and just do the work. You know, if we’re in that realm, we’ll just get it done. And if it’s more, we’ll call you and get approval at that point. And what we found is a lot of people were good with that. But more so more people are like, can you know, I really like more accurate price, like, send us pictures, send us current pictures. And so they sent it started sending we get a lot of just people go out with their cell phones, snap some pictures and send it back and we give them a confirm price. And it’s it’s been great. And and what I realized is we can do more than 10 bids today. So what does that mean? Now? We were you know, I was bringing in probably about 100 leads on average a month. Just between myself and we had a couple crews that could do estimates too. So if you know Chris was on this side of town already, like go look at this house for me you’re you’re in the area, this you know, she wants to clean up whatever and he would do the estimate save me a little bit of time. But now it’s all all through email or through phone calls that we’re not spending any money on on site estimates at all. There’s no it’s just literally office personnel handling it. There’s a calculator right in our, our CRM that just spits out a price based off the lot size. And so it’s it’s been helpful, it’s helped us scale in now My goal is to get 200 leads down the funnel, and that’s what I’m working with you on, which we’ve actually in March we had 205 with 205 leads come through. We had about 186 I think in April, and we laid off the gas a little bit in in May. A lot of reasons but one of them was capacity. We lost a crew foreman. So we we needed to ramp that capacity back up before we really cranked up the ads and we’re really trying to fine tune the cost For conversion, right? So I can just hit the gas and then I can make my goal 300 leads down the funnel, right? Because now that the estimates are pretty much infinite, we can just get more office personnel to help us do those estimates. Help us on the office

25:13

and have people appreciated that process a bit more, because then it’s not like, oh, and I gotta wait a couple hours come out. I mean, has it been a rocky process, trying to figure it out?

25:21

You know, it was nerve racking in the beginning for us because it was new to us. I think customers, I just think they just, oh, this is the way you do it. You know, like before, when you took a cab, you didn’t think that you would ever pull up a smartphone. You know, we didn’t know what Uber was till we had it. And then we had it like, why would we do it any other way? Right. So I feel like yeah, I’m shot. So I was probably converting closer to 50 to 40 to 50% on site estimates, because you know, you’re a person Yeah, you know, you’re presentable, that there’s obviously value in that and so we’re closing it a lower, you know, 30 to 35%. But I can fill the funnel.

25:59

You don’t have The gas costs, you know, on the human cost you don’t I mean, sure the conversion is lower, but there’s not as much cost to actually close the deal. And so overall, the margins I’d assume have gotten a little bit better the margins actually,

26:09

ironically, the margins are all better. Yeah. Because what we found when we did, we went through our all history of all our old clients and realized, wait a minute, some of these people are underpaying us. And then you go look at our budget times, like oh my gosh, we’re literally we’re spending an hour at this property and she’s only paying us for a half hour like yeah, it’s not right, you know, so we definitely would, would would would work it out so that our it was fair all the way across the board. So people you know, apples or apples so if I was doing your yard and the neighbor’s like Hey, I heard you’re doing it for you know, Dustin’s for this amount, I probably can honor that price because I had nothing to do with me and everything to do with your lot size. So made it really convenient for us efficient for us. And yeah, I was pretty surprised we didn’t lose a lot of clients, even increasing the ones that were a little you know, we usually give them 30 to 60 days window to be able to figure out what They want to do, yes, obviously, we’ve been doing it for years and maybe and we had to do the interest. But what we found is we became more profitable than that. Imagine that. Yeah,

27:08

no, I, that’s exciting for me to hear, because that’s literally what we were talking about an hour before you came in is, I mean, when it comes to digital marketing, it’s just like, I mean, you got SEO you got, it’s just like, having to come up with a custom proposal every time it’s just, it’s tough. I mean, you can only do one or two as you’re trying to talk to clients. And so it’s only we’re trying to really work on is Seo here’s the four different price points. Here’s what you get here the deliverables for each one, trying to make it more productize that way we spend less time actually trying to figure out a customer proposal more time just showing the value of what we can actually bring and so after hearing that I’m pumped because it’s it’s it’s tough.

27:43

Listen for you. Without a doubt you should have packages online with a little click by me button. That’s an auto pay setting. Man What would I do with the money what I know now about it, I’ve been doing business running a business for over 20 years. And man, I have another entrepreneur friend he goes you should Have these things that are just the, the term you use. So they’re just like, they’re not non negotiables I will never take a client on without a credit card up front. It’s just a non negotiable, like it’s like it, you know, it’s gonna be an auto pay type situation. And if I can build a system where it’s everything simple, and there’s package pricing, and there’s, there’s, you know, you go to the carwash and you get you have four packages to choose from, right, you get the basic wash the megawatt like that everything should be that simple. Yeah. And it’s great for the client because they know what they get for their money. And it’s great for your team because they know what to deliver for what you’ve been what they’ve been promised. So it’s really it’s a win win all the way around.

28:38

That’s what we’re trying to focus on because that’s, you have different conversations like oh, well, this we agreed on and it’s just like there’s nothing set in stone on on if they get this, this is what they get. And everyone’s on the same page. And so, I, I we’re trying to get to the point where it’s just that where it’s just like, we offer SEO content creation. Here’s page one, two or three hit by now. Boom. It puts you on reoccurring payments and your month to month. But let’s let’s go. And then it just takes so much less time. I mean, it used to take a week to get a proposal out and stuff like that. Because it’s always like, well, there’s this and it’s Yeah. And then you get to know it’s like, man, how am I? What could I have done?

29:10

You’re reinventing the wheel for every client. That’s what you’re doing. And that’s and that’s, that’s not scalable. Yeah, that’s it. That’s it. It’s just not scalable. Yeah. So if you if you can build these wheels that find your customers that will fit in, you know, the package that they need, and your in your packages can change, like, you’re like, Okay, this isn’t working like this SEO package, we need to change it or whatever it is, you know, like, I always tell people, nothing’s set in stone, you know, you anything can be changed

29:38

and not assume that once you got your pricing going and all that, as you started seeing things come back in real time. I’m sure you adjusted pricing and all that. I mean, oh, so is that an ongoing process?

29:50

Yeah. Now we, you know, we look at that, at least, at least once a year we try to go through our client lists and just we try to see the jobs that we’re not as efficient at or there were not as profitable at you know, you know those the, you know, if you’re if you’re doing pretty well as a business, and you don’t want to just I don’t in there’s two mindsets of this but I, my thought is if we’re going to increase a segment of our client base, why don’t we increase the ones that are paying us the least for the year what we’re providing? Because if we’re going to lose one, yeah, rather lose one of them when this we’re profitable with So, but I have a, a mentor of mine that ran a really large alarm alarm system got like, you know, like an ADP type, but it was different. And he sold it five, six years ago, and he said every 18 months, just across the board, he did a really, you know, it went from 2152 to 2205. You know, it was it was insane. It was it’s insignificant, but across the board, and he had thousands of customers. I mean, you just do the math. Yeah. So, if people kind of get used to that, you know if you’re not, it’s fair. I mean, price gas prices go up sometimes. I mean, cost of goods. Yeah, I mean, restaurant prices are going up. I just got to a restaurant the other day. Oh my gosh, the prices are just like flying off the handle. Yeah. So I mean, it happens. It’s normal. And it’s not like, you know, if you’re gluttonous with your, your price increases, it can be an issue. But, you know, we found a client that went from every two weeks to every four weeks, and then went back to every two weeks and we kept billing them for every four weeks. And so we didn’t catch it for like a year. And so I’m like, Oh, my gosh, you’re paying like the wrong rate. So I you know, I just didn’t she was upset. Normally, you know, I’m like, I’m sorry, but I’m not gonna, you know, basically it was doing her yard for half price. Yeah, I’m like, I’m not gonna take food out of my kid’s mouth to do your yard. You know, it’s kind of I mean, I don’t say that. But yeah, I feel well, at the end of the day, we got it. I love doing what we do. But We got to eat, we gotta pay our bills and, and we need a strong team man, you cannot scale without a strong team and you need to be able to compensate your team and you want to make your team enjoy coming in. That’s another thing. I hear so many stories about people that just have challenges with like building their team and, and I’ve had mine, you know, and I still do we still run into our challenges, but there’s just so much so much opportunity there.

32:25

And one thing that I love I mean, watching you on social and stuff like that, I mean, you go hiking, you’re out and doing a lot as you mentioned, you’re just a people person. How much does networking played in growing your business?

32:36

So I did a lot of being eyes and tips in that type of, you know, chamber. I’m just an outgoing person naturally. I it’s, it’s been helpful in the early days. But as you start to scale, you just find that marketing’s really where the growth is. I mean, you you don’t get 10 next growth going to be an eye meeting. Yeah, you know, maybe, maybe if you just start out Get 10 x growth but not if you’re at, you know, half million million $2 million in sales, you’re not going to get 10 times growth Don’t be in a meeting. So you really have to look at other avenues. You know, I’ve got a friend of mine that just signed a deal with I Heart Radio, you know, they’re gonna be running ads with john Jane rich on one or 4.7, which is awesome, you know, but he’s next level, he he gets 200 300 leads a month now, you know, and he needs to go to that next level. So, and ironically, I’ve met him in a B and I, you know, so he was at the NIH, but you know, he he’s not gonna get the growth he wants from from that type of networking. Although you make great connections. You know, connections are more than just about getting leads, I think, building relationships you and I met and a connection there’s so much more. For me, networking is so much connecting is so much more than just in fact now I am actually in a networking meeting now and I literally, I tell them what I do but my usually my ask as usual. Let’s do a video. I need I need some content this month on something related to landscaping and your industry. Let’s do that, you know, because actually, I enjoy making the videos. It’s fun. I find it enjoyable. It’s, you know, it’s great about owning a business you get to pick the things that you want to do that you can do it like if I love still doing bids, I would do them. Yeah, I mean, I didn’t for a long time, I really did enjoy them. But I realized I was getting in my own way. But you get to pick the things that you’re good at that are fun. And if you’re smart, you’re you know, the things that you don’t like you write down and hire somebody to do them. Yeah, like if there’s funds there. You should be spent on things that you’re that are draining, right. You’re gonna be a better employer. If you’re if you’re happy. And most people are pretty happy if they’ve just got a job and they know what success looks like. They know what their tasks are, and they know what it looks like to get their job done. And people just want to feel fulfilled it like they’re they’re part of something right. And they they have to feed their family they have bills to pay, but at the end of the day, if they don’t Feel if they don’t feel fulfilled,

35:04

you know, they’re, they’re not always happy.

35:06

You’re only as strong as your locker or your locker room. And it’s just like, to your point, it’s like, if everyone feels like part of a team, you go out there and execute a lot better, you just win more games. And it’s it. Yeah, it’s such a huge part of, of what we’re trying to figure out how to grow and stuff like that. And so being together as a team is a huge aspect of it. And as we kind of just wrap things up, I mean, you’ve done a lot from I mean, you started early on I mean, you’ve grown it from just yourself to having teams creating process I mean, you’ve done a lot what what is one piece of advice you have for maybe new entrepreneurs or people that are just starting off trying to try to figure it out

35:39

new entrepreneurs, probably different level just start tracking early. I meet one guy operations all the time and I asked him what what are your daily sales? Like daily sales? I’m like, well track what do you make daily? That number is so important. You know, if you know what you make on a daily on a good day, you know what a good day looks like? You start getting better at saying No, and it’s hard to say no. So my early entrepreneurs I you know, get a pad of paper and just write down your job and how much you made the next job how much you made extra you know in so you know, Penny some guys are I have a handyman I help out, you know, he might do two three jobs in a day and you know, if he knows a good day makes $1,000 it’s hard to look at somebody that’s like, I want this new door install. It’s gonna take you half a day, but they only want to pay you 200 you’re like, me, I just made $1,000 yesterday, why would I spend half my day for 200? Here, you start to it. We get as entrepreneurs, we just we stick our nose down or we just work right even like we can work our way through this. But you could really just get to work smarter, too. So from early early adopters, I would tell somebody starting off track your daily sales, it’s so impactful. And then as you grow, you know, you keep tracking but you track weekly, monthly, obviously. And when you’re when you’ve got more of a business, you know somebody when you got a team and you’re doing pretty well. I cannot recommend enough this this organizations changed my life. It’s entrepreneurs or organization, entrepreneurs, organization. eo is what we call it. And to be in the cloud, it’s like basically a kind of a club where you’re just you’re around your peers, you experience share. It’s we’re all type A, we’re all successful businesses. So you have to make a million dollars in seller sales or more. And so you’re around your peers, people that are dealing with similar problems that you’re dealing with. You have employees, you have payroll, you have issues, and we’re all we’re all type A so we’re very, you know, nobody’s there going like you should do this. It’s more like, Oh, I experienced that where I couldn’t make payroll and I didn’t know what to do. And well, this is what happened with me and you tell your story and everyone gets value out of it. You’re like, wow, like holy cow. You know, the some of the crazy stories you hear is amazing. And they got a program that really changed my life before I was able to reach that milestone was the accelerator program. So if you’re making a quarter of a million in sales from or more You can go into it’s kind of like a school to get you into the larger level. And it’s based around Rockefeller habits. The Vern harnish, his second book, scaling up, and they basically teach people day execution day sales and strategy. So those are the four subject matters you deal with on a quarterly basis, you spend all day on a quarterly with 50 or 60 of entrepreneur peers at your level. And then you meet monthly with a accountability coach and basically just hold your feet to your fire, you’re around four or five of your peers that are at your level. And there’s one guy, one entrepreneur from eo that’s doing above a million in sales. And basically, he’s been through all the experiences, right? So when everyone’s telling their experience, share and saying this is where I’m challenged is what I’m dealing with. We’re able, you know, the entrepreneurs, you know, the head guys usually share a lot but it’s impactful what goes on in that just peer to peer like there’s so much value and in fact, sometimes the younger entrepreneurs that are getting started are trying things that we You know, tic tocs big right now, like, I don’t know anyone doing it right now that’s in this group. But you know, you’ll be surprised, like, you’ll find somebody that’s just using a new app or a new using something new that you like, what? And it’s helping you with your business, how you, and it’s always some young guy coming out of nowhere, he’s making a ton of money and you’re like, how are

39:18

you like, Okay, I gotta try that. So some

39:21

of the guys that have been entrepreneurs, in entrepreneurs organization for a while, they get a lot of value, you know, coaching, the accelerators because they’re coming out and they seem like, you know, that’s going to disrupt my business if I don’t get in on that and see, so it’s, it’s a great organization. Check it out. It’s so awesome. Like, I can’t say enough about he I joined about five, six years ago. And it’s, it’s, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t be here where I’m at today. Without it. I was. My big thing was I couldn’t get out of the office. I was really good at managing my team, and I was good at being the overhead but I couldn’t get away. I couldn’t hike in the mornings. You know, I had to be at the office. is ahead of me with every form before the left, because there was always scenes go over from the day before, or there’s things that came up that are gonna happen the next day that we need to talk about. And I always had to be a part of that. And I could never hire my role. I can never copy myself. And so it was a really challenge. It was a big challenge for me. But, man, I definitely I made a lot of mistakes getting to where I’m at right now. I’m not gonna lie just in the last five years, I made a lot of mistakes. But man have I come out a better a better person better human better husband. Like, I it’s amazing what it’s done for me and my family, entire family. So I can’t say enough about

40:37

there’s just so much to be said about just passing knowledge. I mean, that’s learned from others, others experiences I mean, that’s part of the reason I started all this was just to highlight what other people have done, what they’ve gone through and just pass the knowledge. I mean, that’s more knowledge you can suck up the better decisions you can make and

40:53

hopefully less winded up Why make a mistake some sub 10 other people have made already when they could be like stop. Wait a minute, we did This it didn’t work.

41:02

We did this and it did work. Oh, welcome we’ll go this way. Right so that’s all it is. And oh my It feels so good to be able to help somebody It feels good for the entrepreneur you’re obviously an entrepreneur that feels great. And then what gives nothing but desire to give back the other way like oh, what are you doing with your marketing all of that, you know, I can

41:23

help there

41:24

so it’s amazing how we’re just there for one another and how it’s it’s like it’s turned into this family for me it’s definitely I hang out with different people that didn’t hang out with before so

41:36

I mean, that’s where the stress or the process dogs all come in is trying to try and take a step back and and not be the one that has to be the main focus of decision making, communicating and all that it’s tough, but a big goal and then that way I can do some more. I mean, I I need to get back in the gym and I need to do a lot more stuff. I mean, I am there for during the morning to 10 at night on that computer. Just I know. I know

41:57

you answer my email. So dollar weekend. I think it’s crazy. But I was there so I get it. Like, I’m, I’m being empathetic when I’m answering you that way, like stop answering my emails, it’s out of empathy because I know I was there and I’m like, I just like, I want I just want the best for people. Cool. So have you heard a train? You’ll have you heard of that sir? So train Yule is a huge company out to show it explains but it’s basically a you can build your whole training process on this online platform. And the guy is

42:26

grew his business right out of entrepreneurs organization. Brilliant. Yeah,

42:29

the guys alone I want

42:31

to tell you all about it and a lot

42:32

of the stuff that I’m talking about the loom videos, that’s a lot of it’s on the back end, but it’s all very systemized. Well,

42:37

I really appreciate the time, Eli, how can people find out if they need to get their yard done or or? Yeah, want to connect? How do they find you in the business? Yeah,

42:44

just go to our website. Easy lawns calm. I love it. If people could follow me online on Facebook at Ms. landscaping our YouTube page is huge. I love posting content there. That’s also DMS, landscaping. We do a lot of stuff on Instagram, my Instagram handles AC lawns. But yeah, it we love giving DIY tips. You know Do It Yourself stuff and just being helpful for people and when they’re ready if they need some help, even if it’s a one time deal, we’d love to be able to help them out.

43:15

Yeah, no, that’s something I love about what you’re posting as well. It’s none of it is salesy. It’s all do it yourself. And it’s it’s it’s giving value and you know that that’s just gonna bring business your way for the people that you know, it sounds good. Thanks for Give me the keys. I just don’t want to drive.

43:27

Yes, yeah, that’s exactly right.

43:29

Yeah, really cool. Well, I really appreciate the time. Thanks, man. Thank you.

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