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Quit Job - Local Business Journey Begins

A detailed account of a Fastlane process...

Runner21

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
13
24
Hey Everyone!

Quick Background

I have always been an entrepreneur and have done many side hussles and projects that have led to moderate success. I started like most of you, searching for a way out the rat race by watching informercials, business books and magazines, real estate investing, day trading, online marketing and anything else you can think of. After spending most of my late teens grasping at the next shiny opportunity, I began to fall in love with affiliate marketing and online marketing in general. For those who have been in the space for a long time, I was really intrigued by programs like rich jerk and others and started learning as much as I could about affiliate marketing.

I created sites in an effort to make affiliate money that failed and were of little interest to me personally. I had my first success with an affiliate site and making a few hundred dollars a month from a site without doing anything was the best feeling ever! I sold that site and felt on top of the world and my girlfriend finally understood I wasn't some mad man hammering away at the keyboard at 2am in the morning for nothing.

Any who, I have went on sell multiple sites and although they have given me great money, I never had quit my job money. At my day job, I work as a growth marketer and have been for 8 years. I have just sold my biggest site thus far and have decided to use those funds to start a local business and quit my day job. I have hated my job for some time due to the structure and we wanting to always be my own damn boss.

The sale will be enough to support my now wife and two kids and I for 2 years and allow me to invest in this new business. I also have income from other websites I still own but is very little to rely on.

The goal, is to start a local business I feel I can scale with my expertise in marketing and my new found skillset. Some may think I'm crazy but I realized I can always get anothre job worst case so with the wife's permission, I'm jumping!

I believe there is so much opportunity in local business opportunities and have found the industry I want to go after. I will be keeping the exact industry a secret for now, but will reveal it later down the road. The business services automobiles, residential and commercial clients and have great margins. Most local businesses operate as sole propiertors and the market is very segmented and ancient. I'll be looking to bringing the booking process and the service itself into the twentieth century.

I believe in moving fast, so I wont be getting a developer to waste my money and countless hours coding out the perfect booking experience, I'll be using tools I already know and launching as fast as I can.

The issue is the skillset to do the work was needed and Instead of hiring others, I have just finished two hands-on (week long) local courses that have taught me. I have practiced quite a bit and now I am confident I can do what I set out to do.

Today is my last day at having a job! I'm excited and scared at the same time but I am so ready for this journey and the challenges that come.

My goal is to update this thread weekly with my progress and updates and serve as a case study for not success or failure, but going through the process and sticking to it.

Business:
Local Biz

Commandments:
Time: Initial time will need to be invested to set up systems and standards, but the job tasks will be able to be handled my employees.
Scale: Service will be mobile based and will allow for scale to occur.
Need: This is a need based service that focuses on comfort, protection and health
Entry: Learning the skillset isn't the easiest, but can be learned within a month of consistent work
Control: The business is not a middle man and has full control

TASKS WORKING:
Getting website completed
Finalizing pricing model
Business formulation and permits. Bonded and insured.
Practice

Launch Date
October 28th
 
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MJ DeMarco

I followed the science; all I found was money.
Staff member
FASTLANE INSIDER
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Read Rat-Race Escape!
Read Fastlane!
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Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
35,620
142,139
Utah
Congrats on multiple sales and I like the strategy you outlined thus far, as vague as it might be.

Welcome to the forum, hope to see you update the thread.
 

Mhesh

Contributor
Read Rat-Race Escape!
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Sep 11, 2021
64
37
Seattle
Hey Everyone!

Quick Background

I have always been an entrepreneur and have done many side hussles and projects that have led to moderate success. I started like most of you, searching for a way out the rat race by watching informercials, business books and magazines, real estate investing, day trading, online marketing and anything else you can think of. After spending most of my late teens grasping at the next shiny opportunity, I began to fall in love with affiliate marketing and online marketing in general. For those who have been in the space for a long time, I was really intrigued by programs like rich jerk and others and started learning as much as I could about affiliate marketing.

I created sites in an effort to make affiliate money that failed and were of little interest to me personally. I had my first success with an affiliate site and making a few hundred dollars a month from a site without doing anything was the best feeling ever! I sold that site and felt on top of the world and my girlfriend finally understood I wasn't some mad man hammering away at the keyboard at 2am in the morning for nothing.

Any who, I have went on sell multiple sites and although they have given me great money, I never had quit my job money. At my day job, I work as a growth marketer and have been for 8 years. I have just sold my biggest site thus far and have decided to use those funds to start a local business and quit my day job. I have hated my job for some time due to the structure and we wanting to always be my own damn boss.

The sale will be enough to support my now wife and two kids and I for 2 years and allow me to invest in this new business. I also have income from other websites I still own but is very little to rely on.

The goal, is to start a local business I feel I can scale with my expertise in marketing and my new found skillset. Some may think I'm crazy but I realized I can always get anothre job worst case so with the wife's permission, I'm jumping!

I believe there is so much opportunity in local business opportunities and have found the industry I want to go after. I will be keeping the exact industry a secret for now, but will reveal it later down the road. The business services automobiles, residential and commercial clients and have great margins. Most local businesses operate as sole propiertors and the market is very segmented and ancient. I'll be looking to bringing the booking process and the service itself into the twentieth century.

I believe in moving fast, so I wont be getting a developer to waste my money and countless hours coding out the perfect booking experience, I'll be using tools I already know and launching as fast as I can.

The issue is the skillset to do the work was needed and Instead of hiring others, I have just finished two hands-on (week long) local courses that have taught me. I have practiced quite a bit and now I am confident I can do what I set out to do.

Today is my last day at having a job! I'm excited and scared at the same time but I am so ready for this journey and the challenges that come.

My goal is to update this thread weekly with my progress and updates and serve as a case study for not success or failure, but going through the process and sticking to it.

Business:
Local Biz

Commandments:
Time: Initial time will need to be invested to set up systems and standards, but the job tasks will be able to be handled my employees.
Scale: Service will be mobile based and will allow for scale to occur.
Need: This is a need based service that focuses on comfort, protection and health
Entry: Learning the skillset isn't the easiest, but can be learned within a month of consistent work
Control: The business is not a middle man and has full control

TASKS WORKING:
Getting website completed
Finalizing pricing model
Business formulation and permits. Bonded and insured.
Practice

Launch Date
October 28th
@Runner21
Congratulations seems you have figured out the system. You shouldn’t be scared you have the control and believe in yourself, you can do it. You will do it. Good luck
 

Runner21

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
13
24
Congrats on multiple sales and I like the strategy you outlined thus far, as vague as it might be.

Welcome to the forum, hope to see you update the thread.
Thanks so much! I am seriously thankful for coming across your book a few years ago and have read them all! Loved the story with the couple in your latest! Well done!
 
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Rockeez

New Contributor
Apr 9, 2021
17
19
Hey Everyone!

Quick Background

I have always been an entrepreneur and have done many side hussles and projects that have led to moderate success. I started like most of you, searching for a way out the rat race by watching informercials, business books and magazines, real estate investing, day trading, online marketing and anything else you can think of. After spending most of my late teens grasping at the next shiny opportunity, I began to fall in love with affiliate marketing and online marketing in general. For those who have been in the space for a long time, I was really intrigued by programs like rich jerk and others and started learning as much as I could about affiliate marketing.

I created sites in an effort to make affiliate money that failed and were of little interest to me personally. I had my first success with an affiliate site and making a few hundred dollars a month from a site without doing anything was the best feeling ever! I sold that site and felt on top of the world and my girlfriend finally understood I wasn't some mad man hammering away at the keyboard at 2am in the morning for nothing.

Any who, I have went on sell multiple sites and although they have given me great money, I never had quit my job money. At my day job, I work as a growth marketer and have been for 8 years. I have just sold my biggest site thus far and have decided to use those funds to start a local business and quit my day job. I have hated my job for some time due to the structure and we wanting to always be my own damn boss.

The sale will be enough to support my now wife and two kids and I for 2 years and allow me to invest in this new business. I also have income from other websites I still own but is very little to rely on.

The goal, is to start a local business I feel I can scale with my expertise in marketing and my new found skillset. Some may think I'm crazy but I realized I can always get anothre job worst case so with the wife's permission, I'm jumping!

I believe there is so much opportunity in local business opportunities and have found the industry I want to go after. I will be keeping the exact industry a secret for now, but will reveal it later down the road. The business services automobiles, residential and commercial clients and have great margins. Most local businesses operate as sole propiertors and the market is very segmented and ancient. I'll be looking to bringing the booking process and the service itself into the twentieth century.

I believe in moving fast, so I wont be getting a developer to waste my money and countless hours coding out the perfect booking experience, I'll be using tools I already know and launching as fast as I can.

The issue is the skillset to do the work was needed and Instead of hiring others, I have just finished two hands-on (week long) local courses that have taught me. I have practiced quite a bit and now I am confident I can do what I set out to do.

Today is my last day at having a job! I'm excited and scared at the same time but I am so ready for this journey and the challenges that come.

My goal is to update this thread weekly with my progress and updates and serve as a case study for not success or failure, but going through the process and sticking to it.

Business:
Local Biz

Commandments:
Time: Initial time will need to be invested to set up systems and standards, but the job tasks will be able to be handled my employees.
Scale: Service will be mobile based and will allow for scale to occur.
Need: This is a need based service that focuses on comfort, protection and health
Entry: Learning the skillset isn't the easiest, but can be learned within a month of consistent work
Control: The business is not a middle man and has full control

TASKS WORKING:
Getting website completed
Finalizing pricing model
Business formulation and permits. Bonded and insured.
Practice

Launch Date
October 28th
Congratulations fellow fastlaner. You will surely do well
 
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WJK

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Speedway Pass
Oct 9, 2017
2,556
5,905
Alaska
Being self-employed can be scary. Now that you don't have a job and that regular pay check, you must put on your big boy pants and hit it with all the guts you've got!

I know what it takes. I haven't had a "real job" in the last 45 years...
 

jazzdorf

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Mar 7, 2021
8
6
Munich - Germany
Impressive! Congratulations for the past sales and your success!
I like your courage. Go for it! I'll read along out of curiosity and inspiration!

Thanks and success!
 

Runner21

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
13
24
Update # 2

Worked on:
Set Up LLC (tin)- sundocfiling
Books are set up - quickbooks
Finalizing Insurance
Setup business phone line through openphone
Pricing - 90 percent complete


To seperate myself from the competition, customer will be able to book online instantly and see pricing online rather than them having to request a qoute online, me having to reply
to an email or call them with a quote. For the booking option, I will not be getting this developed but using a booking form platform called booking koala. I will be able to
accept credit cards, manage bookings, and send emails to customer from the platform.


Completed 2 jobs that brought in $425 by advertising on Craigslist. I have no website right now but wanted to get some jobs while
I worked on the site. Charged 175 for the first job and $250 for the second job. The customers both loved my work and it took 2.5 hours on the first
and about 3 on the second one.

I have been practicing a minimum of 3 hours a day on the trade and as much as 8 hours all day in my garage. I'm getting better and faster and my goal is
to be able to complete a full vehicle in 1.5 hours.

Things that are slowing me down:
- Finding a vehicle I can put a magnet sign on as a work van. Looking to purchase a Ford connect to keep it simple. Trying to avoid
spending too much time on things that wont matter to much or things that I can upgrade in the future.
- Getting just enough content on the site that doesnt look bare bones. I am believer of not reinventing the wheel, so I went to over 20 websites in the space
and picked what I like and didn't like. About 80 percent done on the content and the website!

Still set to launch on the 28th!


Next up:

Although I'm relatively new to the space, I have interned and have notice a few issues with a lack of systems being set up for businesses in the space. Customer onboarding
is cluttered and not easy for new customers, products are not explained in a basic manner during sales, and theres no followup with customers after the job has been done.

I know I can't forsee all issues but this is a good starting point and I'll be working to making sure from onboarding, customer service, and after the work is done process are
set up. So sales processes, paperwork, invoices, emails, text messages and phone call followup protocols will be the the focus. Want to make sure that our brand is setting the standard
that we are with you from the first time you contact us till after the job is performed.

Improving the installation process and time - Focused on quality above all but want to make sure that I'm effiecient in what I'm doing. I know this will come with time and more practice, so I'm not going to be to hard on myself. I'll be recording myself to see where I'm slow at and where I need to improve.

So far... Still scared but pushing forward!
Thanks everyone for the encouraging comments. It means so much : )
 
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Runner21

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
13
24
Being self-employed can be scary. Now that you don't have a job and that regular pay check, you must put on your big boy pants and hit it with all the guts you've got!

I know what it takes. I haven't had a "real job" in the last 45 years...
Thanks for this! Funny thing is when I saw I have to pay 1000 in healthcare for me and my family, I realized it was getting real lol! It definitely reinforces that Im responsible for everything and it's kind of liberating!
 

WJK

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Speedway Pass
Oct 9, 2017
2,556
5,905
Alaska
Thanks for this! Funny thing is when I saw I have to pay 1000 in healthcare for me and my family, I realized it was getting real lol! It definitely reinforces that Im responsible for everything and it's kind of liberating!
Reality strikes. My husband's major medical coverage is over $1,000 per month.

It sounds like you are doing well in your start-up phase. There's no easy way to do it other than keep on keeping on...
 

Runner21

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
13
24
UPDATE 3

Had to travel with the family to paticipate in the LA marathon! Didn't hit my goal 3:30 but manage to get 4:07. Not too bad considering I had a blister that was
kicking my a$$. Looking forward to my next one in March! This took a little time away from the business but nothing crazy. Even took a business call during the marathon lol

Back to business...

I was able to get insured.
Didn't have too much time to work on the site initially and I did not want to waste to much time, so I mocked up a draft and hosted a design contest on 99designs.
Just finialized the designs and the site design is being added to my wordpress now. Should be up in a couple of days. Hired someone over fiverr who I have used for
website designs on wordpress.

Added business google listing and added some information posts on there.
Added the businss to thumbstack (Willing to give it a try)
Created 4 different craigslist post templates (Getting ready to post them this week)
Yelp... I'm afraid to list on that damn site. Had successes in the past but just hate how people try to tear a good company down just because. I'll be adding it eventually.
Online booking process is completed and customer will be able to book the exact service they will want.
Finalized deal with Materials company and tried out there products and loved them.


6 jobs since I launched and that brought in $1,169 in revenue
- This has been all cash transactions that have happened through craigslist and 1 referral from one of my first customers through cragislist.

Also, finalizing a new for transit or dodge pro master vehicle. Looking in the ball park of 12 -20k. Will get a loan on it to reserve more cash on the front end.

Random thoughts:

I super super hard on myself and know I could have done more but just reminding myself to enjoy the process and learn. This has not been easy by any means. Son classmate had
covid and I had to spend time homeschooling.

Still trying to perfect in my installation process. Making a shit ton of mistakes, having to redo a lot, wasting material, but how the hell else am I going become good at this.
Definitely feel the pressure of taking care of the family but my wife understands the entrepreneurship journey and I am blessed to have her. Also she read the millionaire fastlane
and that helped lol



6 month Goal
- Looking to understand the business by doing everything and systematizing the process from A-Z
- Hit a Revenue goal of atleast 40k
- Bring on another installer (My dad or brother)

1 Year Goal
- Revenue Goal: 120k

1.5 Year Goal
- Bring on 2 additonal installers and buy another vehicle
 
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Daniel.

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
Sep 27, 2017
49
89
Long Beach, California
Awesome! Definitely looking forward to your updates

Generally speaking for local businesses, you can differentiate yourself very easily by simply picking up the phone with professionalism - which I'm sure you're great at.

What definitely helped me was reaching out to successful people in the industry for advice. Local competitors or others out of your service area as well. You'd be surprised at who is willing to help for free, all the top guys talk to each other - they don't have a scarcity mindset.

I'm now subcontracting work to one of the top guys in my industry and it started with being transparent and seeking help.
 

Runner21

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
13
24
UPDATE #4
Long time no see!

I've been on my journey and nothing has changed.
I took some time off from not accepting to many appointments and have made enough each month (around $3400)
to not have to dig in the savings account.

A few things I have learned over the few months that differ from my original thinking

1. Hard but not easy.
- Let me explain this further. I knew this would not be an easy experience and I know I can grow it, but the
trade is not as easy as I thought. Its takes time to become proficient. Learning techniques to install on
any type of vehicle is a damn headache! Each vehicle has a different layout, and it can be quite frustrating.

2. Training others
- I haven't started training another yet but by doing the work and speaking to shop owners and my mentor (30+years) in the space, the key to success will be on training and keeping employees. Like in mechanic shops, mechanics are always leaving and most don't provide any notice. This has me thinking about the idea of using contractors instead of employees. There are pros and cons to both, but I think the biggest issue is ensuring quality with a contractor. I've been thinking about processes in the mean time.

3. Quitting
- I have had a number of days when I screamed out load out of frustration when installing. I have had to tell customers
I could not do it. I have wasted full days on one install when I should be able to complete it in 2 1/2 hours. These
moments have fueled a lot of doubt and have made me want to quit. I feel like I should be better, faster, and just overall,
further along on being comfortable on a install. I have a lot of anxiety when I start a job. But with all of that being said,
I'm pressing on.

4. Hang-ups
- I have not officially launched my site yet because I can't seem to push the button on the last bit of
content I want on it. But I know what is truly the hangup... I don't want to be publicly dragged by customers If something
goes wrong. The root is me just being able to improve my skills to build my confidence. Looking into working for someone
to get better faster. But if I don't, I know I just need to be F*cking patient.

5. Industry
- After building a network and speaking with people in the industry, I have started to see that there is more business then there are available contractors who perform the work. Most of the industry installers are older and are aging out. There are hands on training programs (The way I learned) at shops that are available for people to learn. This goes back to my 2nd point on this list, figuring out a way to best solve this issue.

Options:

Contractors:

Thinking about If I go with a contractor business model, I would be able to scale at a very fast rate. But quality
will not be able to be fully managed but I will make sure that after every appointment that they are rated. Additionally, The onboarding
process will involve me having them perform an install in person on via them recording themselves.
- Margins are smaller at 20% (avg booking is 200, avg net $40)
- Market for vehicles is large: Early on I wanted to test how many possible bookings I could get daily, ran a test that resulted in over 70 calls via adwords - 80% were ready to book within a week)
- Less control on when it comes to uniforms and such
- Max amount of bookings: Limited only to the number of shops and mobile providers in a city
- Revenue: Limited to only the availability of shops and mobile providers in a city.
- Costs: Will need to develop an addon technology to do this.
- Getting Contractors: Market to shops and installers, Charge for training ($1500) to fill the funnel of contractors.
- Commercial and residential: I could be a refferal fee to providers, or a percentage of the job 10-15%

Employees:
- Payroll Taxes
- Management
- California lol
- Margins are 70%+
- Control every aspect from dress
- Scale is much slower due to the number of hours in a day and will be more costly in spreading to new cities.
- Max Amount of bookings: Two proficient employees can peform 7 jobs with travel and breaks per day.
- Revenue: $200(avg booking)*7 = $1400 gross a day
- Cost: I would need to emploees per vehicle for this to work at minimum.
- Commercial and Residential: Will be the best route to go because the income is much higher (Min job $1200) but the same scale issues are involved, And require many more employees to do successfully.


As you can see, I have a lot to choose from and it holding me up!!! HELP!!! If anyone has anything, Let me know what your thoughts are. Thanks!


@MJ DeMarco
 

Runner21

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
13
24
Awesome! Definitely looking forward to your updates

Generally speaking for local businesses, you can differentiate yourself very easily by simply picking up the phone with professionalism - which I'm sure you're great at.

What definitely helped me was reaching out to successful people in the industry for advice. Local competitors or others out of your service area as well. You'd be surprised at who is willing to help for free, all the top guys talk to each other - they don't have a scarcity mindset.

I'm now subcontracting work to one of the top guys in my industry and it started with being transparent and seeking help.
Speaking and referring business to competition has lead to great relationships! I have learned so much from local business and contractors during this process. I appreciate the reply and advice!! You're absolutely right.
 
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Runner21

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
13
24
So where the hell have I been? WORKING!!!

Revenue goal for first 6 months is 40k
- On Track to hit it. Currently, at 35k

1 Year Goal
- Revenue Goal: 120k


Revenue Update First:
April - $4,448.83 (Recieved $400 in tips!)
May - $8,284.11 (Not including tips, axporx $300extra)
June - $9,248.65 (Moved platforms from Honey book to Jobber)
July - $14,168.97 (About $460 in tips extra)
Aug - so far: $1,700 booked first week

1659400265655.png
1659400119173.png


******** Key Updates and Learnings ********

Which Industry:

It started off where I wanted to focus on cars and then do some small residential and commercial jobs. But, I switched to 100% Residential and Commercial. If you remember my numbers on one of my previous updates, the typical installation for a vehicle was: About $300 at about 70+% profit margins for about 5 hours of work. And a residential/commercial install ranges on avg to about $800 at 80% profit margins and takes me about 3 1/2 hours to complete. As you can see from the time it takes to install, avg price tag, and the profit margins beat auto. I am glad I chose this route instead for sure.

Employees:

I have done all the work myself. There are some jobs that I need help with: prepping, ladder support, and installing help. I tend to call a friend or my brother for help on those days. It's not often that I need help, but I have noticed the speed of the installation increases with help. I'm now looking to hire an employee to help with installs and soon install on their own. This will free up so much time and allow me to double revenue and service area.

Phone support:
I noticed that I was missing calls one the job because I left my phone on silence, or I would have to answer it and stop installing. This was a problem, so I have started to use an answering service, smith.io, and they are help me out a bunch! They answer the phone nice and book installations for me for about $280 a month. Don't want to pay it, but it improves the customer experience and customers are able to book right away instead of waiting on me to call back when I'm free.

Professional Abilities:
I have improved so much and my time for an install has been cut to about 4 hours instead of 8! My finish product is pretty good, and I have had other installers think I have been doing it for years. I feel much more confident in selling different products and explaining the differences. Also, customers choose me over competition because of my ability to explain the product and not just sell an expensive option they really don't need. I give them a few options and give them my recommendation based on their needs, and let them choose.

Quoting on-site:
I have been trying something different, and it has been working, but my mentor has advised against it. I tend to grab necessary measurements to determine sq ft of the project, and let them know that we will email them over the proposal within an hour for them to approve. I would give them a range on the price but would not give them the price on site. With this method, I was able to close about 75 percent of customers. For some reason I was initially afraid to ask for money. I'm sure I'm not the only one lol

I was okay with this conversion rate but soon was baffled when I talked to my mentor on his business. His sells guys close about 98% of their sell on the spot by providing the price onsite! I get why it's successful and how you can immediately overcome objections, but... I just need to get used to it. I do it sometime and close about 100% of the jobs, but boy is it high pressure lol Working on doing it more often.


Asking for Reviews:
I have a total of about 4 online reviews. 2 on yelp and 2 on a platform I use to capture reviews and give customers the option to post it on Google or Yelp. I have been so busy that I forget to ask for them to leave a review! Although I am now getting a steady stream of business, this is hurting me for sure. Need to work on asking for the review, and sending email and text to customers to ask.

Competition:
I have never understood the obsession people have with the competition. After understanding who's out there and what they offer, I don't think you need to focus on them at all. I have sent a lot of business to my competition because I have been too busy, and they have done the same. We have never spoken to one another over the phone but just recommend good companies in the space when we can perform the install.

Contractors vs employees:
Still on the fence with this but I think I will go with employees first and see how that goes and then add a few contractors here and there for the additional support. If I develop a great system, and It works for me and contractors, I'll definitely expand!

New service offering:
Some customers have an issue where their turf/artificial grass is getting burnt up by the reflection of the glass. I had no clue there was a product to stop this and many customers have called in about it. In my area, I am the only one who has this on my website! I reached out to the manufacturer, became a dealer, and added to their site for customers to reach out. These jobs avg about $20 a sqft instead of the $9-$12 I typically get. Also reached out to a few installers of artifical turf and they have referred me quite a few installs!

******* PROBLEM AREAS ********

Tech stack:
Need to stop using multiple forms to intake customers. Making my life a lot harder for verifying bookings. I use a form for my site for online bookings, Calendly for bookings through smith.io, and another for my contact us page. This is an issue and has led to 1 or two leads falling through the cracks.

TIME: Some installs can take up my whole day, or at minimum, half of the day. This hurts me because of how damn tired I am to do anything else on the admin or growing side. I know for sure I don't want to be in the technician role (e-myth) forever, and I knew this, but damn is it hard to start making that transition. But if I am to grow this company, I must spend more nights up for sure and get some damn help!

Pricing:
I wasn't the lowest price option in my area, just about the mid-area because I thought that was the safest bet. I have increased my pricing up to $9 - $11 per sqft in July. This helped me reach the 14k revenue mark but also allowed me to do less jobs and earn more. I didn't want to ask for a lot initially because I was brand new to the trade, but now I'm okay with being paid more lol. I think I will eventually end up to about $10-$12 per sqft for installation I have a minimum of $450 per job too!

Availability:
I have broken my install days and my quote days up to reduce the headache. I was initially allowing customers to book anytime Monday through Friday, and it was making things more difficult with scheduling. I would get a quote at noon and immediately that day was not good for an install because of the time it took. So I set my quting days to M,W, and sometimes Fridays and my installs for T, Thr and sometimes Friday and Saturday. This has worked out great and is less stressful.

Fear:
I have worked with many contractors over the internet but hiring an employee is scary as hell for some reason!
Well a few:
* I fear they will not work to my standards.
* I can't offer them 100% steady work
* I can't offer benefits
* They will harm my company brand
* So on and so on!!!

I know these excuses are BS, and it hurts to type them, but it's still scary! I'll push through it like everything else I have done thus far.

************ What's coming up? ****************


* I have provided my biggest quote yet at over 150k, and I'm hoping I get it approved! I will definitely use contractors if I get this, but it will be just a good testimonial to have and add a lot of experience under my belt.

* Still have not purchased my worker vehicle, been using my Land Rover discovery to get the job done, but I will be looking for a Ford Transit vehicle.

* Finding a part-time helper on a per-job basis who I can transition into an employee role as an installer.

I still get nervous on certain jobs, but I remind myself its all new in the first place! Get over it.
Overall I am really proud of myself and the progress I have made!

KEEP FIGHTING EVERYONE!
 

Runner21

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
13
24
Forgot to mention advertising:

1659404433155.png


Oh and I teamed up with the wife, who makes candles, to send special thank you candles to our customers!
 

Feliponius

New Contributor
Jul 31, 2022
10
11
This is pretty cool to watch. Thanks for the detailed breakdown. Really helps to see what you're going through. I can relate to quite a bit of this although I'm on the employee side of things currently. I think it's great how well you've done in selecting the field you're getting started in! What spurred you onto this in the first place? Contacts or just market research?
 
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Runner21

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
13
24
This is pretty cool to watch. Thanks for the detailed breakdown. Really helps to see what you're going through. I can relate to quite a bit of this although I'm on the employee side of things currently. I think it's great how well you've done in selecting the field you're getting started in! What spurred you onto this in the first place? Contacts or just market research?
The main thing I saw in the industry was how fragmented it was and how many 1 man operations were in the space. I saw that if you can build a great reputation in the space, you will do pretty well. After I looked at the margins of the space, old competition, the fragmentation, and went and took a training that introduced me to industry experts, this allowed me to really dive in. Most of this was by chance of coming across a YouTube video by chance, and then I took the dive in to researching the space and the companies in my area specifically. This showed me that anyone can compete but for someone who has branding and marketing experience, they would be able to dominate an area without an issue.
 

Runner21

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
13
24
NEW YEAR STILL GOING

The end of March would officially be my first year in business and I have to say that this has been a journey of high's and lows! BUT well worth every bit of it.

Right Now, I have 2 1/2 months left in my first year of business and current revenue for the first year of business is at: $67,2158.75.

I know my goal was to hit 120k for the first year, I think I may be falling about 20k short, and I'm totally okay with that. Learned to not stress things like this but to be happy with my constant improvement and continued pursuit of turning this company into something successful.

My learning towards the end of the year:

- Seasonality:

Did not account for this much but I knew it was going to be a slow period for the business. Although it was my slower, I was happy to be able to still pay bills and not have to dig in my now smaller savings.
* October: I hit $6,077.98 (Margins - 60-75%)
* November: $7,551.23 (Margins - 60-75%)
* December: $1,549.13 (Margins - 60-75%)

I got a little worried but realized that this is just part of the holiday season for service businesses. More commercial clients are out of the office, and more home owners are looking to get ready for the holidays. Totally understand this dynamic and have no worries even this year for us to double those numbers due to reputation and referrals.

- Reviews
Currently I'm at about 26 reviews across Yelp and Google. I should have more but forget to simply send an email and sms invite to leave us a review. Otherwise, the reviews are helping me rank better in local search box and I'll be doing more seo to create local city service pages for complete domination. The competition is not to great at this and I have put it off to long.

- Returning commercial clients
Nothing feels better when a past client needs you for another project at a different franchise location. I have created relationships with a large storage facility that has many locations throughout SoCal and I have now did multiple projects for them. Avg booking is about $2,500 for about 6 hours of work. I have a few others commercial and large apartment buildings also I have joined their vendors list.

- Advertising
* I have tried some facebook ads with very generic images and good copy but they are not performing as well as Google Ads. I understand why (google users are searching for a service now unlike facebook), but I'll be playing around with more video creatives instead of images. The engagement on the FB ads is high, just leads to a few leads. Avg facebook lead cost is about $45, while google is about $25 - $30 a lead.

- Partnerships
With the droughts in California, many people are looking to removing their lawns and replacing it with artificial turf. The sun melts the turf when reflecting off glass and we install a product to stop it. This has allowed me to offer my services to contractors and make at minimum $550 per booking for about 1-2 hours. Customers are willing to pay for it without fuss in order to preserve their investment. I have been cold emailing and calling more companies and introducing myself and have even sent leads to them! Win-Win!

- Large projects
This is the area I need nail before this summer's busy season. When I add up all of the large projects that I lost this past year, it would be over 400k in possible revenue! This hurts lol but I know why I lost these projects and it was because of a few things.
* Not having a detailed proposal that listed all of the project scope of work
* Only offering a Manufacturers warranty and not a labor warranty
* Not clearly stating what was all included on the project
* Having to revise my quote multiple times after miss calculating (charging far less in most cases)
* Time frame on the projects was for two long of a period for the installation.
* Not providing enough datasheets and materials handouts.
* Needing to increase my insurance to a higher amount
* Overall, the sales process was rough with a lot of back and forth because I did not understand what questions I should be asking and what I should be looking out for initially.

I know, that sounds like a lot right?! But After doing some consulting with my mentor and a few facebook groups in the industry, I'm feeling more confident then ever to create a new sales process that will give them every bit of information they need to make a quick decision while reducing back and forth communication.

- Ads
* On a monthly basis, I'm advertising about about 10% of my gross monthly revenue. I'm okay with this and will go up to 20% closer to the summer.

- Sales Process
Current process:
Customer books a free estimate by phone or through our site --> I call to confirm and answer any upfront questions and to verify if we should come out --> Show up for the free estimate, measure, show product, --> Tell customer the price upfront before I leave -- If they say yes, we schedule the appointment and take 50% deposit, if they say no or need some time, I address any concerns, if they are still on the fence, I tell them I'll send them the quote by email --> I follow up to get an answer on whether they would like to move forward or not.

Service area
- Currently, I have limited my service area quite a bit and this is due to not wanting to spread myself to thin between installs and estimate. This has worked out for me for this first year in business but I know I will have to increase my service area a bit more to insure growth.

Employees vs Contractors
I have mentioned this a few times on past post but I have made up my mind and will be going the contractor route. My fear initially was that I would not be able to manage quality but if I hire great contractors in the space, I don't need to worry. There are a lot of mom and pop contracting services in this space that have great online reviews and do great work. So my exact plan will be to use these contractors for most future installs this summer.

Why I like this model, after doing the math, most contractors in this space are paid about 42% and below when this skill is subcontracted. Some are even at 10%-25% after talking to some guys. I think this is way to low and when I was asked to work for that by other companies I immediately said no. Contractors that work with me will be paid 60% during trial period and 70% after(STILL WORKING ON).

Example:
- Existing pay structure in the space:
Job Total: $3,150
Contractor gets: $1,350
We get: $1,800

- My way to pay contractors:
Job Total: $3,150
Contractor gets: $1,890
We get: $1,260

On average with us expanding to more cities, adding on another sales guy to help with quoting, I think this should put us over 30 bookings a month. I was able to do at least 15 by myself in a smaller city.

So my pitch to these contractors is that they don't have to worry about marketing, finding new customer, going out on quotes, customer service, and so on. Most importantly, we are certified and know the products in and out.

Still working on this but will be looking to set my exact numbers within a months time.

Strategic Strategy Moving Forward

- Get Sales materials and customer demonstrations process settled
- Get company fliers created to head to customers after the quote that includes warranty information, product information and guarantee information.
- Expand to larger nearby cities
- I will be trying to fall back by the summer and focus on quoting only and contracting out the work. At this time I have not hired anyone. Will be aiming to get 5-10 teams setup to do installs.
- Set up local city service area pages (20+)
- Set up recruiting page and application process.
- Look into a customer service person to train on products (phillipines).
- Look for a sales / quoting guy to drive to appointments with me.


Final Thoughts

It's interesting how many of my initial thoughts were right and how many were wrong. I am constantly learning and I feel that I have finally got a great grasp on this industry. I know I have a lot to learn still, but I see the problems that contractors are having and the problems customers are having. I'm glad I kept my mind open to all the possibilities and not jump into the same box as the industry. I'm looking forward to this journey ahead!
 

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