Hey, you, in the scruffy duds and the startled look of a deer caught in the headlights. Are you scratchin' out a living like a chicken peckin' for a morsel, or are you living, really living and thriving? Here's what you must change to go from existing to really living: Somehow, someway you have to rise above the TV-deadened, Internet-numbed, fast-food anesthetized, spiritually-dead, chemically desensitized kind of life that much of our culture seems to embrace. I did it because I was forced to, but you can do it out of choice. Choice is better.
To help with your motivation, I invite you to visit your local hardware or big-box store to view one of your possible futures. While you're at it, you might find some great help! First, observe your possible future — ex-building-trade elders needing to supplement their Social Security because they failed. They're walking around on concrete with aching joints, throbbing feet, spasming muscles, and jumpin' to 25-year-old assistant managers tellin' 'em to hustle over to aisle nine and clean up a spill some little hooligan made while mommy was shopping for peuce paint.
Now that we've discussed a possibly horrible future if you won't change, what does the above have to do with hiring good help? Well, offer one of them old timers a job. We did and it turned out amazing! Yeah, they can't spend the day in an attic or under a house anymore, but they can run easier service jobs that are hugely profitable, plus they take the sting off your 24/7 work schedule. Also, they're probably good tech trainers.
He took the experienced folks and hired them as dispatchers.
I thought this was a novel idea, and was patting myself on the back for bein' such a great innovator when along comes Ben Stark at a Service Roundtable “Success For Profit” day we spoke at in Walnut Creek, California. Ben is a successful zillionaire HVAC owner who's turned to coaching because he wants to help others — most business coaches are teachers at heart and enjoy passing on their secrets of success. (See Ben Stark, "Thriving Outlook" Business Coach & Consultant in Southlake, Texas, e-mail: [email protected] or 817/822-5093). He took this hire “experienced” folks to a step I'd never thought of. He hired 'em for dispatchers! If I'd have thought of this I could have unglued my mobile phone from my ear and sold my company maybe 10 years earlier. It was a system in Ben's biz philosophy. Think about it.
How many times a day do you get a call from one of your techs asking questions about this capacitor, or that faucet repair, or this heat pump, or ... well, how many times? If you've hired one of these elders, then they can answer them questions while you're lazin' about on your floatation device in your swimmin' pool, sippin' mint juleps.
And Ben's whole philosophy is “entrepreneurial.” While I'm thinkin' pay these folks double their minimum wage, say up to 15 whole dollars an hour, Ben says pay 'em a percentage of the ticket they help with. Talk about incentive! Talk about giving back something that can't be bought — self esteem! (You'll have to contact Ben or join the Service Roundtable for exact info on exactly how his make-everyone-in-your-company-an-entrepreneur works, but you get the idea.) Wow, that's making business profitable and humanitarian.
These folks — Ben Stark, Kenny Chapman, Joe Cunningham, Charlie Greer, Vickie LaPlant, Robin Jones, Matt Michel, yours truly — make doing the business side of our trades easy, fun, and — best of all — exciting! Yeah, you do have to work intensely to start, but after a while your biz should cruise. They'll all be at Comfortech bye-the-bye.
Don't matter if you your goal's to be an entrepreneur wanting to grow and sell big outfits, or a tech, like me, who simply wanted to know better biz practices so I could continue fixin' things while my office did the stuff I had no interest in. Ally yourself with the best and you'll become the best.
Hope to see you next week in Nashville. Come hear me talk about how to get started on the road to a whole new life.
Ed O'Connell is the founder emeritus of O'Connell Plumbing Inc. He is the subcontracting business coach for smaller contractors and a Service Round Table Coach. He can be reached in Auburn, California, at home/office: 530/878-5273 or at [email protected].