max mills

Max Mills

Why We Joined APB

One reason we decided to join APB Builders was we got a constant email feed of good content.

They were just good tidbits; I guess tricks just kind of help, and I was really intrigued.

The one thing I noticed for our business was, right now in the States, and especially in Utah, building’s booming, but I can see problems.

 

I can see I’m a good builder but I’m not a good businessman, and I needed to learn more about the business side of things.

Like having goals, for instance.

I just learned from my dad, who was a technician, not so much oriented on how to run the business. I was worried so I wanted to reach out to someone, and found Andy, who is my coach. When I first spoke to Andy it was a really frank and good conversation.

How I Got Started

My dad got his licence in 1994; he’s been doing it ever since he was about 20.

He’s about 63 now. We were framers and finish carpenters and as my dad was famous as being one of the greatest finish carpenters in Utah because his detail is just immaculate, it was hard for me growing up to live with that because I am not my father.

He’s always had a quiet, reserved personality and I’m a little more loudly spoken. I’m not crazy, but ever since I’ve been doing the finish work and stuff, it just felt like we needed something more, and I said we need to build more homes, we can do this.

So we moved up to this; we were in a smaller community in Utah, in the northern part, and that was probably one of the best things we did. For the last two years, we’ve mainly built homes; we started out with one home, and then we got to two, and now currently we have about seven homes going on.

Understanding Goal Setting

We can build whatever home, but I could see problems because my goal before I met you guys was “I just want to make money.”

I wanted to provide; it was so vague. It wasn’t, how are you going to get there? You guys asked the right questions to get us there, and I’m not saying we’re perfect or getting there. I’m slow, but it’s step-by-step, and you’re always saying this, Alex: when you want to eat an elephant, it’s one bite at a time.

And I eat the bite very slowly but I’m getting there, and so that was the biggest thing.

You guys really helped me say, okay, hey, Max, you want to make more money, well, what do you need to do to get there? What is the number? You’ve got to put a number to it. As finish carpenters we would make $100,000 in revenue, now we’ll be ending this year with about $2.2 million in revenue.

So a huge difference compared to what we were, but it’s not enough. We need to keep going.

I’ve Stopped Thinking ‘Money Is Evil’ & ‘I Can’t Do That’

I was stupid at school, according to the school.

I got Ds and Fs and my sisters were brilliant, and I was just an F student.

So in this program you guys really helped give us the self-confidence that we can do this.

And the reason we can do this is by following a system, so I think firstly it is the mindset of really helping me believe that we can do this, and the second is developing it: how are you going to do this? You’re going to create the systems of implementing certain things; for instance, Andy, in one of our very first meetings, said, “Max, you need to hire somebody right now.” And I at the time said I can’t afford that, I can’t do that.

That was three months ago; I was, like, there’s no way in hell, but he helped me realise, and he helped me say, okay, did you do this? Took the fear away from that, so I feel that’s a huge step for our business to do that and to grow our business.

So what Andy did is, he said, “Okay, Max, so how much are you going to pay this guy?” For whatever amount it was, he said, “Okay, look at your previous contracts, what can you use to help pay for that, for the next six months or a year?”

We estimated about the next nine months and I said, yeah, I can afford this. So then it gave me the confidence to say we can hire this guy because we saw the numbers, so I guess there was the developing mindset that we can do this.

Finding What Makes Us Truly Unique

Understanding the numbers, that whole KPI, he would say, Max, what is in this quarter, what happened here? My mind was just opened up to accounting, of getting to know my numbers. One thing that you guys have helped us do is identify who we are; the first thing I remember when meeting

Andy was he asked, what makes you unique, what’s your USP? I didn’t even know what that meant.

I’m, like, well, we’re good people.

So is the next guy down the street, and I’m, like, well, we can build you good quality homes; so can the next guy.

So you had to really dig deep and that’s the thing about Andy and me, we always talk about how I have it in my head, but to get it out in words was hard for me.

And so with marketing, I didn’t know right then that month, I didn’t know two months ago, but maybe I see the vision now.

For instance, what are some of the biggest fears our clients had? It’s money and time.

Is it a fixed contract? I got so many responses of, hey, we were worried that we were going to be over budget, and so, one, we’re still working on this, but it is, I can say honestly, and I want to be able to tell people, you are going to get the price, a fixed price, and it is going to be a promise that you will get it by this date, because those are the two biggest fears.

Now I would’ve never known that if you guys hadn’t said, Max, go investigate, the tidbits and pointing me in the right direction, and so that’s opened up a whole new world.

Now I Have A Sales Process

Now I know exactly when we meet with this client that this is our sales process.

Heck, we didn’t even have a sales process. It was just, “Hey, you want to build a home? Let’s do it!”

And we’re nowhere near where we should be but, okay, what’s our next goal? We do have a good marketing plan but it’s ongoing; you’ve opened our eyes, like I said before, we’re catching the vision of what it needs to be.

I want a business that gives back to the community, but gives people a good quality home, but at a reasonable price and not be, oh, this guy’s super expensive, you can’t use him.

I don’t ever want to hear that.

I want to hear, if you want to build a home, go to RM Mills Construction, because they’ll give you a good home and they are good people.

I didn’t even have a mission statement, before I met you guys.

And now I know our mission statement is to build good quality homes for good, down-to-earth people to put down roots.

Because a home is so personal.

I want to take over Utah.

I want to be the builder that, and maybe we’ll see, but I want to be nationally known, be known as a good company, and the reason why is because of our values, we’re good people.

I don’t want to be that slick builder that pulls up in the nicest new truck. I want to be known more as good, honest people.

There’s A Lot Inside The Mentoring Program

Is the program clear? Yes, but it depends on us as an individual, I think, because we can be overwhelmed; it’s big, but yes, it is very clear.

If you didn’t have a coach I’d say good luck with your life because there’s so much information; you can work a little bit here, a little bit there, but if you didn’t have that coach directing you, you could feel overwhelmed.

But because we have Andy to say, Max, this is what you need to work on, and I say, well, I haven’t finished step one first or step two and he goes, that doesn’t matter, this is what your business needs right now, so then we work on that and then go back to the other if need be.

The outline is very clear but if you didn’t have a coach you would be like the squirrel looking around: there are shiny objects, you can’t focus!

I feel very accountable because at first I looked at it as schoolwork, and number one, I didn’t want to let Andy down, because I built such a relationship with him.

And I remember Andy said, Max, you know what you have, a life and you have a business, you need to take care of that.

You should never look at this like schoolwork.

And so, yes, very accountable because I don’t want to let him down, but that’s just my personality.

I love it all.

It’s all good because I’m just soaking everything up.

My Favourite Topic? Pricing

I think my favourite thing and the one thing that I’ve been searching for a lot, is giving the individual the right price, the right contract price.

Because sometimes I did a job when I’ve thought, we made way too much or did we make enough? So I guess what I really do like right now, ask me in a week, maybe it’ll be different, but right now is taking the numbers, having the targets, knowing what our past financials were, understanding what our targets are, and then pricing for profit.

What is the right price? I really like that because I feel very confident in saying, no, I cannot be less than this. This is my target, this is my target net.

In one of the lectures, I was completely blown away; you showed the graph of when a builder makes more money or when he brings in work, and he’s thinking oh, I’m doing good.

I want to make more money, I need to bring in more work, so I double the work, and you showed the graph; if you don’t change your net profit you’re going to start losing money.

That’s so true because in my mind that’s what I’m thinking: oh well, we need business, I need more money.

Let’s go out and go get it.

Pricing For Profit is huge because no matter how many more jobs that guy brought in he was still losing money, and he’d be in the hole, and it clicked right then and I’m like, that’s it, that’s what our problem is. So then you had the forms, we filled out the numbers, it did all the work for us; I mean, I don’t know how you guys came up with that.

Whoever did needs to be patted on the back because that’s awesome.

It just makes it so simple and you just put your figures in and I can go into my sales meeting confident and be like, you know what guys, we have to be here.

You know, there are other factors that come into it, but they make sure you’re estimating correctly, but anyway, that one was huge.

I Don’t Want Other Builders Knowing About This

I don’t want other builders knowing about this, this is my competition.

Now if you’re in Australia, go ahead!

Let me be completely honest, there is so much crap out there, they say, “Oh, we’re professional builders, we’ll help you.”

I did look quite a bit, and there are so many scams out there.

I was very leery and even when I joined, I thought, is this for real? If people honestly want to change their business, and let’s be honest, we’re not a Hallmark movie where the individual’s a terrible person, and then they change overnight. Here, if you want change it’ll come, if your eyes are open, and you understand it.

For me, I’m absolutely grateful that we did this because it has changed how I see things, how we run our business.

We build the same great home, but now I understand the processes.

So, yes, I will say it: If anyone joins from Utah, I’m going to be p*ssed!

-Max Mills
Owner, RM Mills Construction