Our business is a residential custom home builder.
Before I started Alroe, I was a carpenter with my own business. I’m now 31 and I’ve been in business since I was 21; I brought on a business coach when I was 25 to learn mainly the basics of running a carpentry business.
The business coach helped me out a lot, but when I got to the end of the financial part of the course, I didn’t really think I was learning much more, so I stopped using him.
How I Found APB
About a year ago, I saw APB advertised on Facebook, and the ads kept on coming up. After probably six months of seeing the ads come through Facebook, I clicked on it, purely just to have a look in, and see if it was just one of those other programs that you spend a lot of money on and not get much out of.
I was quite surprised at the service straight off the bat.
Once I clicked on that link, everyone I’ve spoken to so far at APB has been second to none in service. In my business, I’m all about the service and the customer, and I felt like the service from APB was amazing from the start, which made me really have a good think about jumping on their program.
So, I jumped on the program, just the basic, normal membership, and there was a lot of good stuff in there.
When I first started with APB I was lacking a few things in my business:
- Tracking working in progress was one of the main things
- Cash flow was tight
- I felt like we weren’t marketing at all online.
From A Referral-Model To An Advertising Model
I’ve been referral-based for the last four years, and to be fair we’ve doubled our turnover each year, but I’ve got to the stage where we’re now up to that nine million turnover per year, and I can’t just keep relying on referrals. I have six or seven staff members in the office and on site now as supervisors, so now I guess I’m becoming a medium sized builder.
So, the marketing was a big thing for me. I needed to move from referrals to online marketing.
I Decided To Join The Builders Mentoring Program
And then, probably three months after I first started with APB, I signed up to do the Mentoring Program, and met Andy, my coach. Andy’s been really, really good, so far.
He’s been hard on me as well, which has been good, because I feel like I knew a lot of stuff that I thought was right, but he’s put another angle on it, and it’s made me look at things differently. For example, we’ve already set up a KPI spreadsheet to track the progress of leads, enquiries and preliminary contracts.
I’ve started charging for quotes now, as well, which has been a great thing, to get rid of those time wasters. So yeah, so far, so good, and I’m looking forward to the future.
One of the biggest issues that my business has had for the last four years has been cash flow. Obviously, growing at such a dramatic rate has meant that my cash flow’s been tight, especially the last 18 months.
I’d jumped from four and a half million up to nine million, with really no backing behind me. I’m one of those people who doesn’t have any rich parents, or anything like that, so no support.
Pricing for Profit
The biggest thing that’s opened my eyes with the Mentoring Program is actually the Pricing For Profit area of the program. We’ve been pricing jobs probably not as good as we should have, and really just putting a mark-up on our costs of sale.
That’s one of the biggest things, was the cash flow, and that is starting to turn around already, over the first three months.
Paying On Time
Another part of keeping up a good cash flow is getting the money in the door and not always being late. We’ve always had a big problem with people not paying us on time, so that’s another big thing, and Andy’s been good in helping me with that.
We’ve set up strategies around that now to reconcile that into better payment terms, getting the money in, putting our contractors and suppliers on different terms.
I had no marketing experience at all: a bit of Facebook, a bit of Instagram, but nothing really tracking those Instagram and Facebook posts or promoting them. I hadn’t been tracking the money spent on marketing to what actually comes in the door, if anything comes in the door. That’s important, to track the costs that you’re spending on marketing per lead.
These are the main three things that I’ve picked up off the Mentoring Program so far: tracking, cash flow and marketing. I feel like they’re definitely getting close to being under control.
Building Is Different
A lot of business coaches have a set strategy for business in general.
Building is completely different when it comes to actually knowing your business, so I think building’s one of the hardest businesses to have.
Andy just knows what he’s talking about; it’s awesome to be able to have him there and pick his brain.
The Most Valuable Part Of Working With APB
Most valuable for me, to be honest, is the Work In Progress spreadsheet.
To be fair, I didn’t think it was right at the start, but when I got used to it, and actually used it, and then had that time with Andy, it’s definitely a great spreadsheet.
The KPI spreadsheet as well is amazing.
The most valuable thing for me is to be able to track how the business is going, and also track our business before it gets in the door, which is a massive thing.
You want to know what you’ve got coming in, so you’re measuring that, and then you know it’s going to be in the KPI spreadsheet when it’s actually current work in the next 12 months.
You can focus on more parts of your business when you can actually see the real information coming through it. Two years ago, I had nothing like that and although my overheads weren’t as large, I was able to get away with it and do a lot myself.
I didn’t have access to this information when I was trying to grow.
Looking back, I really made no money in the first two years. If I had met you guys in my earlier days, like when I was 27or 28, then I reckon I’d be a lot further ahead than what I am now.
The Right Type Of Business Coach
It cost me fifty grand to pay my first business coach over those two years before I came to APB. I did get a lot of good information, but you guys are builders, you’re dealing with a building business, you’re not doing that with other businesses.
What I got from you guys at APB is a lot more than what I’ve spent in the last six months than I did with him for two years. I think you’ve just got a lot of good people in your business which makes that a good business, if that makes sense.
Everyone’s on the same page.
Another thing Andy’s taught me is how to mentor other people. If you want to grow your business, you’ve got to have everyone growing as well. That goes a long way to building a successful business.
The Importance Of Having Goals
Another good thing about being with APB is having goals. I’ve always had goals, but I’ve never had to follow goals, like quarterly goals and 12-month goals for the business.
In another 12 months, I’d like to see my net profit going from being 5-6%, up to about 10%, and I’d like to see my turnover being around about 12 million.
Without a mentor like Andy, I wouldn’t have woken up to the way we’ve been quoting jobs, and having that mindset where no one else puts on more than 20% mark-up, which only ends up being 5% net margin. I probably would have just kept going around in circles.
My overheads are 10% of our turnover, which is like eight, nine hundred grand, so I really need to be getting in six hundred grand a month of work to even pay for the business. So, I think I found you guys just at the right time, not saying I would’ve gone under, but I would’ve kept on fighting my way through it.
It’s been a big relief to find APB.
I Believe In Your Mission
Obviously, you guys have got a very good business here, and you’ve got good models inside the business, so giving those models to other builders would be affecting my competition, but I definitely would recommend you guys.
For the reasons why, I don’t know who the Director is out of the whole business, but Russ has been a builder with other companies, by the sounds of things, and everyone in general has their own thing to bring to the table.
And the vision of your company, you can see it as clear as day, you want to help other builders become successful. I’m a true believer in what you guys have, just in the normal Membership, and in the Mentoring Program.
And the support you guys give to us is pretty second to none.
I’ve been really, really impressed with the service to be honest, I even said to Sky the other day, if I do something online, she rings me in the next two minutes.
It’s just the processes and the procedures, and all the programs you guys use, are just second to none.
So, if someone can learn even just that from you guys, in your business, they’ll go a long way toward being successful.
I couldn’t be happier. I’d fully recommend APB, for sure.
Director, Alroe Constructions