”If you’re gonna tell me that I already have great people, you are wrong my friend, ‘cause staffing is a train, a moving train. People hop on, people hop off. You kick them off, they jump. Some go to the end of the ride, depending on what you’ve got to do.”
— Al Levi
Listen to the complete episode here:
For your service business to be profitable and highly rated, you need to have great technicians… But to have great technicians who will leave a legacy for generations to come, you need to put some systems into place!
Meet Al Levi (LinkedIn), a Business Consultant (website), Contracting Business Expert, and Author of The 7-Power Contractor (buy the book). With over 25 years of experience as a contractor and business owner, Al was able to implement systems in his business that enabled him to sell his share of the family business and retire before 50.
Join us as we talk with Al about how to create and implement systems in your business so you can finally have all the great technicians you’ve ever wanted!
In this episode we discuss:
- Strategies for hiring and training apprentices into skilled technicians
- The true power of implementing systems in your contracting business
- Lessons learned from 25+ years as a contractor
- To check out this fun and amazing recorded video on our Youtube Channel click here.
- Email us at Podcasts@ServiceBusinessMastery.com
- Learn all about the Hosts of Service Business Mastery here!
- Buy The 7-Power Contractor
- Learn more about Al’s Signature Staffing System
- Join the Service Business Mastery Facebook group
About The Guests:
Al Levi is president of The 7-Power Contractor® (formerly Appleseed Business), a business consulting and training firm that has helped hundreds of service and installation-based contracting businesses run better since 2002. He also is a columnist for Plumbing & Mechanical (PM) magazine and Reeves Journal and the author of “The 7-Power Contractor®: Run Your Contracting Business With Less Stress and More Success,” which lays out seven simple business powers that hundreds of owners have implemented successfully, often transforming their businesses.
A former contractor who worked for 25 years in every aspect of his family’s HVAC/plumbing business, Al put systems into place which enabled him to sell his share of the business to his brothers and retire from his family’s business before he was 50. Al now helps other contractors learn to run their businesses with less stress and more success through consultations, workshops, webinars, his long-running column in PM magazine, and his new book, The 7-Power Contractor®.
Meet the Hosts:
Tersh Blissett is a serial entrepreneur who has created and scaled multiple profitable home service businesses in his small-town market. He’s dedicated to giving back to the industry that has provided so much for him and his family. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
Joshua Crouch has been in the home services industry, specifically HVAC, for 8+ years as an Operations Manager, Branch Manager, Territory Sales Manager, and Director of Marketing. He’s also the Founder of Relentless Digital, where his focus is on dominating your local market online. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
Listen to this podcast and get inspired, and become a better brand strategist. Learn how to solve bigger problems. So, what’re you waiting for? Tune into this episode right away and get one step closer to becoming the successful owner of your dreams.
Subscribe to Service Business Mastery on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or wherever you get podcasts to hear more such fascinating and insightful stories.
For a complete transcription of the interview, Read More
Josh Crouch: [00:00:00] Welcome back. Happy Wednesday afternoon. If you’re watching us live, we are here today. We are bringing back a show. Favorite Al Levi, who is the founder of seven power contractor. And we’re gonna be getting into just one of those systems today. But this is a topic that while everybody thinks it’s new, it’s not new.
It’s been around for a long time, especially. The industry has shifted where it’s not as popular. There’s not as much things in school to talk. Contracting trades, woodworking automotive, stuff like that. But we’re gonna talk about finally having all of the great technicians you ever wanted. So it’s definitely something that I think is gonna be very valuable and Al always brings some really great information to both our Facebook group and also to the podcast episodes.
He’s been a part
Tersh Blissett: of. Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s one of those things where. We always are saying, yeah, we need more people. We need more technicians. We need more qualified people. But then do we do the, what we need to do to make sure that happens. And most of the times the answer is no, but now with today’s episode, you can say without a shadow of a doubt, You’ll know whether or not you’re doing what you need to be doing because there’s no questions with Al he comes to you flat out and doesn’t sugar coat it, which is what we need honestly but
Josh Crouch: my favorite is when you see these posts now I don’t know if it’s been the last, like six months, everybody just keeps offering a bigger sign on bonus.
Like I see it constant. Oh, I’m just, I’m offering like 5,000 here and 10,000 here. And I’m like, man, you’re [00:01:30] gonna go broke. that’s a lot of money. It’s tough to try to like when you’re trying to essentially bribing people to come work for
Tersh Blissett: you. And my thing is what happens when the market shifts when everything’s not throwing money at these industries, then all of a sudden
you’re like, oh it’s
Josh Crouch: not the, it’s not the only driver of bringing people into your business.
Like money’s important. It’s one of the things, but it’s not the, especially today, like it’s not the most important thing, flexibility, some of these other things in which I’m sure Al will get into a little bit there’s so many other important factors that we’re not looking at. We think, oh, we just throw more money people.
They’ll come our way. Or any other problem? I need one more experienced guy and then I can get out of a truck but we can get into it and have Al give us some insights today.
Tersh Blissett: Yeah, absolutely.
Al Levi: Are you looking for valuable business advice to reach that seven figure revenue, mark, do you want actionable tips to properly navigate through every business challenge you encounter along the way? Let tur BLI and Josh crouch, be your guide in getting you to the top here at service business mastery tune in, as they sit down with world renowned authors in business leadership and personal growth who share valuable
Josh Crouch: insights about management, marketing,
Al Levi: pricing, human resources, and so much more.
Let their nuggets of wisdom, gold guide you in owning a thriving profitable, and ever growing business. Cure your. Tur and Josh.[00:03:00]
Josh Crouch: Hey Al welcome. Hey,
Al Levi: I was just popping to the music. Sorry. We,
Josh Crouch: we try to do that when we need a little pick me up.
Al Levi: yeah, no, I love it. And of course at the end I saw my best friend Ellen RO the setting there. So yeah. Shout out to you guys. Hey
guys. Thanks for having me on I really appreciate the, this second opportunity to share with the audience cause. I’m gonna catch my breath here. I hate that you keep complaining about you. Can’t find all the texts you need. Yeah. I’m gonna try and keep it clean for a New York arm. Go. no freaking kidding.
Cause my brother Richie and I tried for years to do that and what we did instead was. What you do, we pirated your staff. Yeah. We would actually go to training, not just for the training. We would try to steal your text that you sent to the training and hang out the
Josh Crouch: supply house
Al Levi: and try to in the supply house, we used to pay off the people.
Excuse me, people who look like us used to pay off those people to give us the leads about the unhappy text. So I know what it’s like. I know why you do. It seems like an easier route, but I’m gonna tell you if it worked my brother Richie and my brother, Marty, and the rest of we would never have stopped.
It was one day. I will share a very turning point moment. So don’t look at the screen for a second. Cuz I was [00:04:30] about 25 30 me and Richie sitting in an audience and there’s a speaker on the stage and he says the average age of the tech is gonna be 50 years old, five. And me and him look at each other and we’d go, are you kidding me?
I said, 50 years old, what? So we just freaked out and it was, we went home and we built our first hands on training center. We were so proud of it. I trained my own guys and, got them up on it and it was great until one year later. And Richie’s out in the field and he’d be calling me up and go didn’t you show these guys motor rotation.
I go, I did. Then he called me up and go, didn’t you show ’em how to check polarity and stuff like that. I go Richie. I did, but they’ve been out in the field for a year and they’re disconnected. So that’s what caused this to go back to what you guys already know, the operating manuals . And so we created the operating manual, so they had something to hang onto.
Here’s the horrible thing we got done, looking at the operating mags. We were looking at our training center and. Oh, my Lord, we built it all wrong. oh, no, because within the manuals tells you what they need to learn in the training
center. The tasks are all listed that they have to be able to be taught, trained, and then be able to sell.
So they do sales operation technical that they’re a service tech and communication operation technical, if they’re an installer. And if they do both to train both of those things, [00:06:00] so we had to redo. So then we’re thinking, okay we missed the third piece is you need training curriculum and you need to become your own best trainer to be able to take them to these things.
Here’s the jolly good news is that once we mastered this, we were able to take on more trades. So we originally started in heating, but then we could add a module for plumbing, for gas heating, which was not what we were doing. Air condition. And then finally electrical and master those trades and take willing apprentices with no skills to willing great techs with great skills.
Tersh Blissett: up time process did that take?
Al Levi: So once it was all done, everything that I described here, and once we became great all the rest of it, we. And this is what I’ve taught clients from coast to coast Canada. And so this is not oh, I don’t want to be the Guinea pig. Yeah. Or you are not, and I’ve been outta my own business for 20 years and they’re still kicking butt.
Yeah. I cleaned it up for you guys island. And so yeah, what it is we take a willing P we’re very, there’s a bigger, much bigger pool. Of young willing apprentices with no skills. Yeah. Then there is of the magic one. We always looked, we used to Richie and I used to nickname it. Unicorn, no lightning in a bottle is what we call, but unicorn works today.
Yeah. Oh yeah. Trying to staff yourself up by catching these great willing people that have great skills [00:07:30] in a bottle. Tried doing that all day, which is what we tried to do.
Tersh Blissett: Yeah. Good luck with.
Josh Crouch: That’s ideal, but that is
Al Levi: ideal it’s it’s in possible. And so the point that I’m getting back to is a good, great question, which is we did the five steps of staffing power, which I’ll come back to is we could take a willing young apprentice and we were selected because there was a bigger pool as to who we wanted.
And have them spend 60 to 90 days with us because anybody can fool anyone for 30 days. Sure. After 30 days they will show you who they are now. I, my training was very valuable. They had a sign off to come to it, volunteer. And so cause they were moving up that org chart, as you guys remember, last time I was talking about there’s an org chart so they wanted to come to that training because they don’t want to be an apprentice for life.
And I won’t let them, I don’t care how good an apprentice you are cuz you’re blocking the gateway in our company. Yeah. You gotta become an apprentice to a junior tech to a senior tech. And then you could earn that last phase three, which is senior tech to field supervisor. And then I had got more boxes than that.
We had one hub and three spokes. And that was just on long island. So 60 to 90 days, you earn your way to class. You got great marks from everybody else that we worked on. Cause I rotated you around. They taught you some basic skills, cuz I don’t have the time you go to class. Typically Tuesday, Thursday, five to seven at night.
Some guys like to do it on [00:09:00] Saturday in a four hour block. Don’t don’t don’t. Make your training longer than four hours, you are absolutely wasting your time. You mean all
Josh Crouch: day trainings
Al Levi: don’t work? How about my father loved what I was able to do? And he goes, why don’t we just put him in a classroom for two weeks?
I go dad, I would, if they could learn that way, they don’t, it’s just like taking a plate of spaghetti and thrown it against the wall and seeing what sticks. So I tried to do four hours of training, a. It would be about four to five months. Sometimes I’ll use the Saturday as a catch up session for more training.
I had no makeup classes. You had to have your own car and make sure you get yourself back here for these classes. And so we would do this training. It depends now again, remember we’re not taking you from an apprentice to a senior tech and one giant swoop. And especially because we had multiple trade.
So we’re trying to give you enough tasks that you won’t hurt yourself or our customers, but enough that it’s worthwhile. I’ll give you a great truck and train you how to do our sales systems. Follow the manuals for the operational system. Follow the manuals for the technical and also the hands on training we do here.
So first we start nice. And then we get a whole lot rougher to imitate what goes on in real life. Oh and you can get you out into a truck. and be better frankly, than most of our techs that we had pulled from other companies that told us what they would and wouldn’t do and so that’s bad enough, but I’m gonna get to it.
I knew I was gonna get to it anyway, cuz I really can’t shut up [00:10:30] about this. I hate that all of a sudden our industry. Oh, we don’t do like after five o’clock service. Oh, we don’t do any weekend service. I heard,
Josh Crouch: I heard air conditioning systems. Don’t break after five.
Al Levi: I, I believe their program.
They’re programmed that way, Josh. Yeah. Their program. Not to
Josh Crouch: break on Saturday, the
Al Levi: program, not to break after five. I get why you do it. You stole these two guys in the corner here and tur you had to pay more money. You had to put up with whatever they said, because you are what I was. You are a hostage, just take a giant paint roller on a wall and write down hostage cuz that’s what you are.
Josh Crouch: We’ve seen that play out in real time recently in a couple of these groups with, I mean we say recently, the last couple months I’ve seen guys like literally they went from having a staff to no staff because the whole staff held them hostage and they said, see you later. So now they’re back in a truck by
themselves or with one person in the office because they didn’t build the right culture.
They. Build their team the right way. And they just, Hey, I’ll take this guy and that and they all come with their different priorities and the priorities don’t match what the company’s trying to do. So what I think, what you’re saying is just by not, you have a larger pool cuz you’re willing to train, but then you also, you don’t have.
Per what’s the word I’m looking for? The bad habits, for, he has ego that they learn from other companies and they learn from other senior techs at other places like, oh, you gotta do this. Or you can do [00:12:00] this to get your way. Yeah. All that, like secret parking lot
Al Levi: type stuff that happens. I know.
Yeah. My, my good friend Peter Malta, who was a great plumber, said something to me in Italian one day and I go, Dino, I don’t speak Italian. I go, what was that? He. Oh, it’s the definition of a secret would you like to know? And I go, I absolutely would. He goes, the secret is what you tell one person at a time until everybody knows it
So I to have the same parking lot meetings with, I inherited from my dad and my uncle, cuz they were second generation. Our company saw it in 36, my brothers and I, my two older brothers and I we arrived as the third generation and now it’s off to my middle brother is still there and my nephew fourth generation.
We had all these different pay. We had everybody had a deal and it was just, and not as bad as it is today, but getting back to this 24 hour, whatever, what I was gonna say is just stop for a second. And this is how I grew up. My father believed that we are servants. When you say you’re a contractor, you are a servant.
The best of us are servants. Yes, we get paid. We should get a great living. We sacrifice our bodies. I got a million reasons why we should get paid, but we go when they need us. There’s 2000 companies they could have called. They chose us today. , we’ve earned that now. Would it be okay for the two of you?
If your mom’s house, she’s a customer of. I do plumbing on the third floor of
our colonial. The toilet just exploded and water is gushing all over the place [00:13:30] and it’s six o’clock or seven o’clock and I go, yeah, great. We’ll be there on Monday. You okay with that? Cause I’m not I’m not. And so we had shifts and we had, I explained, I did all the recruiting, hiring, orienting training, retaining the five steps of staffing power.
Can I ask you about shifts
Josh Crouch: quick? So yes, absolutely. Because obviously we have a wide range of people listening to this show. Is there a certain point in a company’s growth pattern that they should start considering this as far as like maybe a staggered shift or is it, is there not really like a time when to start figuring it out
Al Levi: as soon as, if you have any thoughts on that?
Yeah, I do. Absolutely. Once you pass owner operator, which means you are want, and only tech, as soon as you start putting people on the very first shift is to try to cover from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, which we call normal. I brought it to existing companies and I brought it to brand new companies is the idea is the first one, seven to four.
And the next one’s 10 to seven. If any company bothers to watch the productivity of their eight to five guy at the end of the afternoon at three o’clock, they already know how much they’ve made. They already know what they’ve done, and they’re already dialing out. You just watch those tickets. So if you’re at 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, which is the first and most important shift, Josh, that is when people in these days, when you used to go to work, instead of being in front of our camera, although we were starting to return to that’s when they’re first getting home, there are two of them.
They went off to work. Who is better [00:15:00] more our customer than them who values their time, as much as their money them. Yeah. My ability to serve them on their schedule as if it was normal service was a big deal. Everyone that I’ve ever gone to when they get the shift in the right way and there’s the right way to do it, they refer to it as the gravy shift, the gravy, not graveyard gravy shift.
And it’s actually a great shift in that. Why does it, why will they accept this?
Because. You know how you never guys can never take your kids to the bus stop and get ’em off to school in the morning. Now you can, you know how you never get to have breakfast with them. Now you can, you know how you can never take your car in for service.
Now you can, you know how you can’t go to a dentist appointment. Now you can. And the 10 to seven guy takes away two of those extra hours that you need for oncall that massive on. So it really helps. And Alice, yeah. North shop, New York city unions shop. If you were the on call tech on a freezing cold night or a really super hot night or whatever, it’s busy at seven o’clock and you go, okay, I’m outta here and you stick the other guy, wait till LA turn comes around.
Cuz we would all bury you.
Josh Crouch: I was gonna add to that. So because I have a history. Answering the phone all day, night weekends. And I’ve always noticed that first thing, excuse me, first thing in the morning when people wake up and then after they get home from work, which is like that three to six to seven, we’re always like.
Regardless of the weather. Those are always the busy times when people would call. It’s [00:16:30] Hey, I gotta get up and something’s broken or I get home from work and something’s broken. And those were the times when we needed coverage. But the problem was at the time the companies we had, I tried implementing something like this when I had three guys at.
The company before the last one I worked at and right. I didn’t structure it. And I didn’t keep to it with the schedule. Like I ended up scheduling them outside of their their hours, cuz I didn’t really know what I was doing. But I lo I always loved the concept. Of staggering shifts, but being able to sell it in a way, and I shouldn’t even say sell, just communicate like the benefits of someone taking a second shift and not having to come in at 7:00 AM and the things that they’re able to do for their life, I think could really make it.
Oh yeah, you’re right. I can actually do those things now. So that’s a great, I’ll take that shift and they’ll volunteer
Al Levi: for it. Yeah. It’s a rotating shift by the way. My father’s cautioned me about, there’s gonna be somebody coming along that said, I’ll take you night calls, night shift.
And when they leave everybody else at the company is trained that we don’t take the night shift. So all our shifts were rotated. How often do you rotate
Josh Crouch: it? Or how
Al Levi: often, how many people you have how many people you have at the company as far as your rotation? So three people, seven people, it depends on how much you’re first thing is.
Of course your call count being measure. Which is easier today because of software. Second thing is to make sure that when is there somebody on cuz you really have to mirror having somebody who answers the phone, not the tech answering the call because you wanna [00:18:00] screen those calls. You don’t want them on while goose chases one and two is you wanna make sure that when you take the call that they go out, cuz I’ll tell you right now.
And I was the boss’s kid. If I’m sitting on. Favorite chair Sunday afternoon. And I’m the on call tech and the giants are on and I’m drinking a beer and a lady calls up and says that she’s got a drip for a water fee water heater. I would probably be tempted to go. I could come out today, but it’s gonna be 350 bucks.
But if you wait till tomorrow, we don’t even charge that.
Josh Crouch: Yeah, this must have been back in the day when the giants were actually.
Al Levi: It, it probably was 2011. 2011. It’s only three years ago. It wasn’t that long ago. It’s very long ago. No, actually I agree with Josh very long. That’s
Tersh Blissett: hilarious.
Josh Crouch: No, that’s so true though. Cuz I, I realize that cuz there’d be weekends. I’m like it’s warm and I see all these calls and I’m like, nobody did anything this weekend, but the text had the. And they were taking the calls and I’m like, it’s interesting. And all of a sudden Monday morning, I’m like, I got all these calls to schedule.
Yes. I gotta call back. That’s right. We, and then, oh yeah, I got it done. Oh yeah. I got it done. I got it done by somebody else. And I’m like, okay. So we just
totally screwed up here.
Al Levi: It was a great Frank bla. He and I were at a next star meeting. And of course all the great learning takes place at 11 o’clock at night at a bar.
Oh yeah, absolutely. So he turns to me and he goes, Al 40% of my profit comes from my ability to handle the after hour calls. Like normal go, what he goes. Yeah. [00:19:30] Most people just take it and they do it. They have run it, we run it like a real call. And that made me go back and study the way that we were approaching our calls as well.
And so we really were set up on the shift. So let’s why aren’t you doing this? I’m gonna back up a little. You haven’t committed yet. And my question to you out there is how many times do you have to fall in the hole? Finally crawl yourself out and go. I’m not falling back in that hole. And what is the hole is you think the shortcut is to steal other people’s texts, higher experienced people, instead of being willing to do what I’ve said.
Which is take willing apprentices with no skills to willing great techs with great skills. Cause that is the way to get out of this. Now it takes systems. Yeah. It takes the five steps of staffing. It takes you think that’s
Josh Crouch: when people don’t get there because they don’t want to put in the work to have the systems.
Oh, yeah. Those things in place. And it’s in, in the mind, it’s if I grab a guy that’s got experience, I can throw him in a truck tomorrow and he can make money for me. Yeah. It’s just that commitment level that they’re not willing to go
Al Levi: get. Yes. And the other silly notion that bounces around in your head and have a little quick story about that is and it’s been around forever is if I train ’em they’ll leave.
And of course the answer is if you don’t train ’em they’ll. But that’s not really it. So the story that I will share with you is when I finally committed to [00:21:00] this and I tried to go to class with five really good apprentices, and I had five install crews, so I could bounce ’em around. And I had texts. I wanted cuz they had to come to class with certain specific skills.
I didn’t have time to show you how to cut pipe or use a pro press or sweat
pipe. Things that I just don’t know that in the time that I’ve gotta train you on other. I had manual to train you. I had to train you on the sales system. I had to train you on the test that in the trade manual that you were approved to do.
For example, for plumber, you’re just coming outta class. You’re not doing a shower body. You’re not breaking a tile wall in your first go, but I have you, no problem with kitchen faucet, changing the toilet. So I’ve gotta have that balance. And the same thing goes for H V a C calls. Or every trade that I’ve done, every trade that I’ve done is we take that trade manual and we just mark senior tech only, but we can’t go crazy on that.
Cause we gotta give ’em a big enough briefcase. Imagine a briefcase that there’s enough of them to sell and do and master with me in their training. You got it. Yeah. So that it’s worthwhile for me to put him on. So I’m gonna get to the money end cuz that’s your with them. Plus the headache of what you’re going through today.
I can put a junior tech on. In, I would say six months. And usually they’ll run circles around everybody that you got.
Tersh Blissett: Would that person be focused on the technical side of things or converting or cuz that’s where I feel like there’s a huge split in our industry where like people [00:22:30] say I’m a sales tech or I’m a technician like a technical tech I hate right?
Al Levi: No hate it. My guys were primarily technical. but they were, what I trained them was to get your head up shoulders back and think to yourself, but don’t ever say it out loud. When they came to a door, they thought to themselves, it’s a good thing that these people called us instead of the 2000 other idiots that are out there.
Cause no one is better trained than we are based on our manuals, based on the training curriculum based on. Hands on stuff that I’ve done in my body. And we used to do ride alongs with them. We used to do mystery shoppers to make sure that our standards were being kept and nobody’s gonna warranty better than we do, because we know we don’t sell bad repairs.
Even if customers ask for ’em, we won’t do it. And so I don’t believe in that. And by the way, I don’t believe in born salesman either. I was awful as a salesperson when I first started. And my dad was phenomenal as a salesperson,
but part of it Durst was we were totally different people. He was very quiet and when he would talk to customers, I would sit there and watch people lean in as he would talk.
And actually he was always had a smile on his face, not forced. He was ask great questions, proved to the people that he was listening. And he really thought of himself as a. I tried to do it. And I was awful. I had to learn how to be me and I [00:24:00] had to go to a lot of sales training. My people go you couldn’t have been that bad or that shy.
And I go, listen to me. I used to sell by looking at my shoes and I would look at my shoes and go, you don’t really want a new heating system. Do you guilty? Every you can possibly met, but I was blessed to have great sales men. I have a lot of men, the list of mentors in my life is just enormous.
Which is why I still do to this day, free 30 minutes. I don’t care. Any contractor can reach out to me by email and I will do a free 30 minute as a give back, not to them, to my mentors. So I believe first of all, I hate the name sales when I was doing sales power, which so as planning, power operating power staffing power, then typically sales power, which is a five step process.
But. I knew they, these guys who were the existing people, I usually did it with, they had, they were sales phobic. So the first thing I would do is close your eyes. I promise not to steal your wallet, even though I am from New York and then I go close your eyes. I’m gonna say a word and you open ’em up. I go salesperson.
They open their eyes up and I go, how many of you by a show of hands, thought of a guy in a PLA suit, trying to sell me a used. Hey, I’m in a plaid suit. You’re in a plaid best . So the point of this though, is they have an awful perception. Yeah. You are like a great waiter and a great restaurant. Your job is to make great suggestions.
Look at everything and protect [00:25:30] them against themselves from not making great decision. That is what I consider great sales training. So when I tell ’em I call it client satisfaction training, that leads to great sales.
Tersh Blissett: Okay. On that entire note can you. So there’s a couple of people I’ve read books and everything, and I’m a reader, but they’ve said that you can’t experience, or you can’t share an experience that you haven’t experienced
So like for me to tell my team that, Hey, we want to treat our clients like the Ritz Carleton, give them the Ritz Carlton experience, but they’ve never experienced Ritz Carlton. You just mentioned a fine dining. Waiter sharing if you’ve ever experienced that instantly, when you said that you could relate that conversation, but a lot of my team.
Probably haven’t experienced going and spending, 500 or a thousand dollars for no,
Al Levi: no. If they’ve gone to a great wedding or a great celebration, I guarantee you cuz every time I’ve ever asked this in the middle of a te they all go, oh yeah, I remember. I remember that place was really nice and the napkins and the.
Things they’ve experienced,
Josh Crouch: not like that level to not likely, even if they found like a local place, that’s probably
Al Levi: I Goand, we’re not going to McDonald’s today. We’re going to a restaurant. I agree with you. Yeah. There’s some crazy restaurants out there, which I dunno how much, but the thing,
Tersh Blissett: the thing about it is even if you go somewhere like Ruth, Chris, it’s not.
Yeah. It’s not Longhorns, but it’s a it’s. An experience where it’s okay, [00:27:00] this isn’t the norm. Like you walk in there and you’re wearing a ball cap, and they’re gonna ask you to take it off. And it’s okay. This is very different than what I’m used to. And if you’re thinking like Longhorns is a good fancy meal, like I get it.
That’s I grew up thinking like Western sizzling was pretty good.
Al Levi: So I spent a lot of time in McDonald’s. There was a reason I was 246 pounds instead of a 92 Turk. I totally get it. I guarantee you somewhere along your life, you’ve had a better experience than. Drive through window.
I just wonder if you could even go to Chick-fil-A and have a great experience, right? Yeah. We do not have a great experience at Chick-fil-A,
Tersh Blissett: but if you brought in a, if you took these people to that, these individuals and you took ’em to that, and then they were like, oh wow. I love that this is another level that like, I couldn’t even imagine this level.
And then that’d be a great team building
Al Levi: event that, that is a great team. I love, I really love that. That’s a great team building thing. No question
Tersh Blissett: it. I think okay, now that’s what I want you to do for our clients, because our clients have never experienced Ruth Chris before And so let’s do that for them versus saying we’re not bad. We’re better than their last experience, but I don’t wanna be better than their last experience. I wanna be a gazillion times better than they ever expected. And I wonder if you’ve ever seen anybody else try that before?
Al Levi: I don’t know.
That’s a great one. I’ve not heard that before because I’m in class and, most of them are nodding to the experience that they’ve had, what I’ve been talking about. And usually I also use Starbucks [00:28:30] as a good example and go makes sense. I travel this great country and I’m also in Canada and I’m looking for a Starbucks and why, no matter whether I’m Aton or Wisconsin or I’m down here in Arizona, or if I’m in Florida, Here’s what I can tell you.
I don’t think this is the best cup of coffee I ever had, but I guarantee you, it tastes like every other one that I’ve ever been. And the people behind the counter are really good and they’re very friendly and it doesn’t act like I’m interrupting their day or they shovel the coffee at me. They have good customer service training.
And so that’s pretty good. And out here, when I was talking to Tommy news crew, I said, anywhere you have great customer service. Is where you want to recruit from. And so that’s really, here QT is here. Circle K is I can’t put it low enough that you’ll see it on the screen. thank you for letting me know.
yeah. QT. Oh yeah. When you get out here, it’s not as good as what I heard buckys is the most phenomenal thing in Texas, but here QT is way up here, way up. In terms of a convenience store and what you breaks your mindset about, just like Chick-fil-A breaks your mindset about what could be. But the point of this whole thing is that we teach those experiences that you talk about.
I’ve got first, we play nice. So I’ll do it. You watch, you read the manual, you do it. Somebody else reads the manual. I’ll watch. Then we’re gonna play call, which is, I don’t let you do anything until you come and explain and sell it. So the more my there’s [00:30:00] tips to how to build the training center, there’s tips how to build the training room.
And it’s how to get this training curriculum. There’s a be, there’s a lot of pieces. We are way at 30,000 feet, but the first is mastering recruit. Always recruiting, always hiring, always orienting, always training, always retaining. And if you’re gonna tell me that I already have great people, you are wrong.
My. Because staffing is a train, a moving train. People hop on, people hop off, you kick them off. They jump some, go to the end of the ride, depending on what you got to do. That goes back to
Tersh Blissett: Like our last episode, not our last episode, but I think one before that, where we were talking with Josh, what’s her.
Hannah talking about gen
Josh Crouch: Z. That’s Hannah. Yeah.
Tersh Blissett: Yeah. Hannah about gen Z hiring gen Z and the mindset of they’re not going to be there forever. They’re not gonna be there at the end of the train ride. And if you’re expecting that, then you’re gonna be heartbroken. And to know that ahead of time and have that conversation is gonna help out in the long run.
Al Levi: I, I would say that’s true. And I think my experience more was in the one to one was millennials. And people, would tell me I hate millennials and they weren’t really much older than millennials. Yeah. People that were telling me there’s contractors. And I go all I can tell you is I love millennials.
Yeah. They go. Why? Because I know how they work. They wanna know the
why the importance of their work as much as anything else. Yeah. They wanna see that org chart. They wanna know where they are. They wanna know where they’re gonna go and they wanna know what you. Are gonna do [00:31:30] to help them climb those boxes.
So that’s what staffing power is really attaching itself to is your ability to make that a reality, because if you can provide a career, you become the employer of choice. And so that’s really, in my opinion, now they were millennials when they started, I don’t know what they already more, but all across this country.
The companies I’ve worked with are loaded with millennials and I guaranteed gen Zs, and everybody else is there. And if the game is interesting enough, it’ll happen. So the quick story I forgot to mention is a friend was out who works for a big giant tech company. And I’m explaining about what I’m gonna talk and share with you about, which is staffing.
And he goes, aren’t they afraid that if you train ’em they’ll leave, cuz you made ’em too valuable. And I start to. I said, so you want your guys doing all your coding and programming to not be trained by you. I said you have to offer a career. You have to offer a great job opportunities to keep on moving or their right to jump ship.
When things come on.
Josh Crouch: People like that. Just in my experience, like talking to my team I had them give me a list, every single person of what they want to be trained on. So I can start coming up with my own curriculum, cuz I’m still new to this digital market thing. I don’t know what they wanna be trained on.
Like I know a lot of stuff, but I don’t know what they don’t know. And I they want like the feedback we got from doing a couple one on ones. Training those like the common theme we want training. We [00:33:00] want more because even if it’s not with us, they do want to further their career somewhere.
But if we can, if they can further their career here and help the business in the meantime, then either way, it’s a win-win and everybody wins, but we can’t look at it like. You’re not shackling these people up. Like they’re gonna, they’re gonna leave at some point. It’s the defect of life, unless they’re like a key person somewhere they’re probably gonna leave.
Cuz they want to be that key person somewhere else.
Al Levi: In the tech. Particular world’s apprentice, junior tech, senior tech, and then field supervisor, where, you know, by the time you get to 40, as a tech, I can promise you, you don’t see as well. You don’t hear as well. Your knees don’t talk to you in the way they did.
when you were young. And if you worked in the field, I actually do this in the sales thing. I go, you think we charged too much. I come on just you and me and we laugh. And I go, so tell me, put your hands up. How many guys have been in the field? 10 years or more? Put your hands down, if your knees and back and your everything else feels exact, like it did 10 years ago and every hand is still off.
Yeah, no, everybody’s feeling like they’re a wreck. And so we don’t see it, but this senior tech to field supervisor feels supervisor is a bad name in that they don’t ride around all day . They help their team. They’re the first line of support so that the service manager doesn’t become a choke point.
And the install manager doesn’t become a choke point on the install. And that yes, if you do all this training ahead of time, you have less calls. If you have the manuals in place and the training curriculum, all the rest and the hands on training center, they don’t need as much babysitting in the field, which is [00:34:30] very hard to do, but there’s still stuff comes up.
Their first call or text or whatever is to their field supervisor. If they get stuck, they get freed up to go. So people love this idea from me, but they do it all. They go, Josh is a good tech. Let’s make him a field supervisor. Now, all of a sudden he is a boss. And the only judge that he has a boss is he once watched the movie horrible bosses.
great movie, by the way. Yes. It’s a great movie. You’re the most miserable sob or you watch something else where you wanna be everybody’s buddy and neither one of them are right. Appointing somebody is really awful bringing somebody from outside your company and bypassing everybody is the second giant sin.
Oh yeah. So the goal is to move them up and let them, here’s the three steps, which is part of the staffing program. So there’s the five steps of staffing. There’s apprentice to junior tech and junior tech to senior tech phase two. And
phase three is when you get to eight to 12 service techs running every day or three to five install crews, you’ve earned the right to have field supervisors and they have to qualify, compete, and then you train them.
None of them just like me. I was not a born salesman. I certainly was not a born field supervisor or manager for that matter. They have to be trained up and that takes resources. [00:36:00] So that is part of this signature staffing systems that builds on the back of the manuals. That make sense.
Josh Crouch: Yeah. Tur and I have talked about the cuz a lot of times, and I’ve had this happen at companies I’ve been at I’m sure.
Tur can relate to this too, is we have the top sales tech, right? The top revenue producer becomes the service manager and they are so unqualified for that position. They think they’re gonna make more money and life’s gonna be easier. And they have no idea what the hell
Tersh Blissett: they’re. Okay. It’s horrible because it’s, they’re underqualified now.
They’re not a revenue generator anymore. Yeah. Now they become an overhead expense
Josh Crouch: They actually hurt the business
Al Levi: doing that more. That’s the Peter principle. But also even if they were quote unquote qualified yeah. Perception is reality. So they picked Josh instead of me and tur.
The two of us go, of course you pick Josh, they bowl together. They go fishing together. I never had a shot, whether it’s true or not, which is why qualify, compete, and train. And yes, it’s what I’ve been doing for years and years is, but would that my opinion, the only fair way and the right way that they win the people they support, win, and you win.
And the last I’m gonna leave on this is it is a rented. Position. It says it right there in the field supervisor manual. So in other words, you own that position for a quarter at a time when you come through the training. Oh, okay. The reason why you own it for a quarter at a time is you can’t fail here and sabotage your team.
So I have [00:37:30] every incentive as a service manager, install manager, owner, to get you good or get you back to the box you came from and people think they’ll quit. And they do not. If you do it right, because they’re actually the next time and we’re always gonna do this as we go and grow and open up, I used to send my field supervisors off to run my spoke shops.
Because who else is better qualified, right? To take the systems. Sorry, go ahead. Te
Tersh Blissett: No. I agree with you a hundred percent. So if you’re considering. Offering or opening up shops in other areas, then it sounds like this is the solution for you not having to be the person that goes there and does all this manually,
Al Levi: You should still stop in and visit, but yes, that’s who I would export to these places.
And again, they have they’ve come up with, hopefully they’ve come up the ranks so they know you’re and again, I call it sales training, but it’s really client satisfaction training the manuals operational and the technical training. So that they can go there and replicate it. And they’ve already moved up that they can sell more than a tech, but less than a system advisor.
And then some of these guys who move up there can move over to that wing and become your next best system advisor. My guys system advisors, we used to pride ourselves. We weren’t selling Buicks yesterday and now we sell boilers. These guys actually knew it. And when they sat in front of customers, they didn’t have to hammer on it.
You. Any other people that had been in front of them, our guys were here and everybody else they experienced was [00:39:00] here.
Josh Crouch: So there, there a difference when they actually know you can, people can tell, oh, when somebody knows their shit versus somebody who’s like trying to memorize something.
Al Levi: Yeah. Yeah. I got my speech up.
Hold on a second. Let me, you’re all script for a second. Hang on. Oh, yeah, here it is.
Tersh Blissett: yeah, it’s it is. It’s obvious when you do that and I’ve practiced on people before, like I’ve gone into the conversation and said, Hey, let me look, let me practice on you. I’m gonna go ahead and let you know that I’m gonna take care of you, but I’m gonna practice on you.
Like they were close friends and stuff,
Al Levi: and they’re like, yes, friends and my wife. My wife was my best customer.
Tersh Blissett: Yeah. They were like, give me this option, but you did that horribly
Al Levi: okay. Thanks. Did you bring a bottle of bourbon with you?
Tersh Blissett: By the way? Here you go. Here’s your bottle of bourbon.
Al Levi: Yeah, I actually have the management team do practicing, like what you talked about, but I always advocate to these guys about if you wanna get better at sales training.
I would tell you that what I did is I used to practice with Natalie telling her to be, the tough customer, Natalie being my wife. Yeah. And she was happy to play tough customer trust me. Oh, I’m sure she enjoyed it. Oh, she enjoyed it. And but she represented it. A lot of what my ideal customers were.
And it was really great training, but as I mentioned it, like in the training center, we did a lot of that terms. Yeah. So even the system advisors are [00:40:30] trained up on the same kind of five step sales process, just tilted a little bit to fit system advisor, bigger tickets, but they need to come into the training center and sell me this.
Tersh Blissett: So let me ask you about this. Golly, what’s, there’s a sales process out there that is Sandler Sandler sales process. And that is the more technical knowledge you gain, the worse you become at sales. Have you ever heard of that?
Al Levi: I have heard of it. And looking at my face, you can tell how much I love that.
I only say that I won’t share, I will share. Okay. I created a lot of callbacks. Cause when I first came out as a tech. I once I learned the lingo, I love showing you how smart I was and how stupid you are. Yeah. And magically, I didn’t do very well at sales. Go figure, right? Yeah. Until I learned and not to dumb it down, but I had to build a bridge from what they knew to what I was trying to share.
So when I would talk about outdoor weather reset controls, and I could tell you about the homes and how it measures the outside temperature and controls the boiler. You lost yet. So I would go, Hey, like when you’re in your car and you set the cruise control, how it knows to go up high, faster when it’s going up a hill, then it backs off when it’s going down.
That’s exactly what the outdoor reset control does. So now I took something that, to help explain something that’s technical. I don’t sell on that. The smarter I got on technical, I totally don’t [00:42:00] believe in that. As a long term strategy. Now, if you’re successful with it, I never argue with success, but I do care about the myths you may be teaching.
I have taught some really great technical people. Already typically good. How to be much better at sales and client satisfaction. And what I keep on saying that is because I’m not interested in sales at the sacrifice of client satisfaction, and I’m not interested in client satisfaction with lousy sales.
They are together every time I ever did my sales system, not that mine was so much better than anybody else, but they bought into it and they believed it cuz it was authentic. And so both of them rise.
Tersh Blissett: Yeah, no, I agree with that. I was, I’ve read, I read the Sandler’s book and I had what you call it.
Oh man, I’m having a brain fight right now. The Confirmation bias. I had confirmation bias in the fact that this book was telling me something that I could see it happening in the field. Like I was trying, it was more of instead of me trying to find a solution, I was trying to find. Something that matched what I’m seeing in the field.
Al Levi: You, you had a hammer and you were just looking for a nail.
Tersh Blissett: That’s exactly right. That’s
Al Levi: exactly right. Yeah. And and that, and it, again, there’s a spectrum and a good way that we’re not real. I, my systems are not designed to turn people into robot. Believe it or not that they’re designed to give freedom and there’s freedom when you don’t give them a thousand steps to remember.
Yeah. When you know these main steps and we had made an acronym up for it. So there was, five steps. [00:43:30] That’s it, anything more than that, it was lost. Most of that came intuitively but really staffing your best chance to have great techs, which means for service tech have great sales, operation, technical skills, and for an installer, greater communication operation technical, which you’ve heard a thousand times from me.
This is where it really comes to life. And that’s where they climb in a truck. Go serve customers better than anybody you got they get better reviews than anybody you got. They will do what you want. They are neat and clean. Their truck is neat and clean their job. Site’s neat and clean. And they’re gonna bring you 300 to 500,000, depending on what you do.
So if you graduate with five techs, I would shoot for three. I could bring as much as a million to a million and a half to your company in a year. Now, if you do it twice in a. Then the money gets really stupid. Good. Would you agree? Yeah, I agree. And by the way, believe it or not, their callbacks go down.
Cause you think experienced guys aren’t gonna generate callbacks, but what you’re missing is in staffing power. The whole idea is to follow the manuals, to minimize callbacks, follow the exit checklist, to minimize callbacks. And if you can’t do it here in me with me, I guarantee you’re not doing it in the field.
No matter how much you try to BS you.
Tersh Blissett: Okay. So let me ask you this in concluding the, where do we find the perfect apprentice [00:45:00] for this program?
Al Levi: Yeah. So anywhere you experience great service now, nowadays it’s different. So you gotta go fishing where the fish are in my personal opinion and what I’ve done with companies today by the.
Social media is one of the best places for you to be recruiting these young people 21 and a little bit up from that young willing apprentices with no skills, anywhere you experience. Like I mentioned to you, Josh QT, anywhere you go
to a convenience store anywhere you go to restaurant, any customer service face, face front is good, but if you have a young willing tech that you built yourself, you shoot up as many videos as you can get ’em out on TikTok and every other social media platform.
And I cover some of this in the program. That is the best way for you to go fishing and every way that you can, but like you guys know marketing takes a budget, so there’s gotta be a budget for always recruiting, always hiring, always orienting, always training. And the last button which we missed here is always retaining.
Here’s the piece that I will share with you TA if I do those first four steps, they pretty much never left. They pretty, I never pretty much lost. And guy, my guys were being pied away in the.com era. I pretty much lost no one because when you guys hit on before Josh, when you were mentioning, they love great training, they love seeing themselves get better.
They love filling this love, knowing the path. Yes, there is a path for them in their future, and they love knowing the [00:46:30] why you cannot share the why too often both the why of what we do and how that benefits.
Tersh Blissett: That’s
Josh Crouch: good. No, that’s a great point to end on there. So I know you have a, I know you have a page.
Do you wanna share the page to go find more information about the signature staffing system? Yes.
Al Levi: And it’s flashing across the screen here. The number seven power contractor.com/s is in Sam three. And then you can spend some time on that page. Cause I’ve pretty much put everything in here. It’s very intensive.
It’s three phase. I really unpack the five steps of staffing power, then what you really want, which is how do I take these young apprentices and get ’em to be good junior techs? How do I get junior techs to be senior techs and phase three when you graduate? Like I was saying, and now you’re ready for service field supervisor or install, field supervisor.
How do I do it the right way out? Like the way you told.
Tersh Blissett: Love it. Good.
Josh Crouch: That’s great stuff. Awesome. Is there anything else that we didn’t get to that you wanted to
Al Levi: Al? No I just, I’m so passionate about this and I will share to you guys is had no idea. Yeah, no idea that I’m passionate. Yeah.
Josh actually said to me, be on fire today. How did I do? You did pretty good.
Josh Crouch: You opened the window and it’s 110 in there.
Al Levi: Yeah, I’m hot. the There are six testimonials from six of my clients who went through the staffing power system. And the reason there are only six is cuz I only called six of [00:48:00] them.
They have all the great texts that they ever needed right now. So don’t tell me about yes to year or that’s not working anymore. Anything else you wanna do? You can deny all you want my friends, but this is the path. Yeah. This is what I believe will change
Josh Crouch: your life. And those testimonials and these Al’s got a bunch of stuff on there.
So those testimonials are on that, the
Al Levi: link, right on that, to that. Yep. Spend your time on the page. You’ll see what I’m speaking to. Yeah, it’s good
Tersh Blissett: stuff, Al. We appreciate it, man. As always, you’ll always add a ton of value. Thank you. If you are not in our Facebook group join our Facebook group, the service business mastery Facebook group, and Al’s in there always dropping tons of value.
Al Levi: I’m always stalking. Always fucking .
Tersh Blissett: We welcome it, honestly. We’d end to show a creepy note. Yeah. No,
Al Levi: it’s it. No creepy photos or anything please.
Tersh Blissett: No it’s good because when we start on a topic and then all of a sudden ALS here’s my take on that. And I love the fact that it’s not a bunch of yes, man.
You know what I mean? It’s not a bunch of oh yeah. Yep. Yep. It’s well, I see under, I understand how that works, but this is my take on how it would work and then it becomes a conversation and it’s amazing what comes out of that. If you’re not in and we do keep the
Josh Crouch: PS away in the group, like honestly,
Al Levi: conversation, I know you guys work hard and this is not a plug for you guys, but I love what you do in the Facebook group, because.
We should be the last people attacking each other. There’s plenty of people out [00:49:30] there who have catch a contractor or anything else of that nature. Yep. We should be supportive. And I’m not just saying that. I think we should be supportive. We can ly disagree. Sandler may call me up and just yell at me for what I just said.
And I’ll take it. I’m not saying if it’s working, if the Sandler system’s working for you. Please keep doing it. Yeah, but if it doesn’t sit with your soul right after what I’ve shared, there are other great sales training systems out. Yep.
Tersh Blissett: A hundred percent cool, man. We appreciate it. If anybody has any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Also, if you’re listening to this tons of value if you would not mind leaving a review on the apple, it’s not always easy to leave an apple review, but. Apple any of the podcast catchers leave us a five star review if you’re not gonna leave five stars, eh, don’t worry about it.
Al Levi: I have left the five
Tersh Blissett: stars and we do appreciate that out. with that being said, I hope you have a wonderful and safe week until we talk again. Next time on the service business mastery podcast. We’ll see. Y’all later.
Al Levi: Thank you for listening to this episode of service business mastery. Now that you are equipped with essential business advice from this impactful conversation, you are one step closer to becoming the successful owner of your. If this episode has been helpful to your business journey, don’t forget to subscribe to the show, leave a rating and share it with other owners as well.
Visit service [00:51:00] business mastery.com to learn more.