”Stop discounting and start adding value.”
— Andy Humphrey
Listen to the complete episode here:
How To Win In The E-Commerce World
In a world that’s becoming dominated by e-commerce, YOU have the ability to find great success (and revenue) by learning how to market and grow your brand online.
Andy Humphrey, an irrigation technology expert, and Founder of Sprinkler Supply Store, is doing just that! As a multimillion-dollar e-commerce entrepreneur who’s a former contestant on the ABC hit television series Shark Tank, Andy has helped hundreds of Irrigation Contractors and Consultants learn how use technology to improve their business.
Join us as we talk with Andy about how to market your brand online to attract customers, the challenges of selling physical products online, and most importantly, the secrets to e-commerce success in this industry.“You don’t have to create something brand new that the world’s never seen, you just have to find something that’s working somewhere else and make it work somewhere new.” — Andy Humphrey Click To Tweet
In this episode, we discuss E-Commerce and more:
- Creating digital content so you can become an expert in your industry’s local community.
- The adoption of e-commerce business strategies in the irrigation and home service industries.
- How to build trust and improve engagement with customers as a service business.
Key Resources From The Show:
- Sprinkler Supply Store
- Sprinkler Nerd Podcast
- This episode is kindly sponsored by Sera and CompanyCam
- (visit www.companycam.com/SBM for 14-day trial and 50% off your first two months)
- To check out more fun and valuable video, do not forget to follow our YouTube Channel.
- Email us at Podcasts@ServiceBusinessMastery.com
- Learn all about the Hosts of Service Business Mastery!
- Join the Service Business Mastery Facebook group.
Listen to this podcast and get equipped with essential business advice from this impactful conversation. 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.
About The Guest:
For almost 20 years, Andy Humphrey has built, operated, and purchased e-commerce brands while bringing automation and control technology to the irrigation industry.
In 2004, he founded his first company with $100 out of pocket (SuperTwinkle.com). Today, he continues the entrepreneur’s journey as the Founder/President of SprinklerSupplyStore.com, Sales Consultant for Baseline Systems, Inc., and the owner of a portfolio of Amazon-exclusive brands. In between, he has appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank (ECOMOWER 2011), created a distribution network for Baseline Systems, and has helped hundreds of Irrigation Contractors & Consultants use technology to improve their business.
Andy is also the host of the Sprinkler Nerd podcast.
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For a complete transcription of the interview, Read More
22-07-20 Andy Humphrey – making sprinklers sexy
Tersh Blissett: [00:00:00] Hello, and out there in podcast world, hope you’re having a wonderful day. You’re listening to, or watching the service business mastery podcast myself TELI, one of the hosts sitting along virtually next to my co-host Joshua crouch.
Josh Crouch: And where now in Arizona? finally. Yes. I feel like I’ve been talking about it forever.
Tersh Blissett: yeah. And then I. Every time I talk to you. I was like, when is it that you’re gonna move again? You must
Josh Crouch: have asked me about 12 times.
Tersh Blissett: I was like, I promise one day I’ll remember the date and then you move now. You don’t have to
Josh Crouch: ask anymore. I’m here. No more ask.
Tersh Blissett: Yeah. It’s very early for Josh, so we’re probably gonna start changing our times a little bit.
Josh’s I didn’t realize that
Josh Crouch: it was Mon I think it was Monday this week and I texted to her and I. You realize this is like 6:30 AM O
Tersh Blissett: I just have to Julie and it’s four 30 in the morning, her time or three 30 in the morning, her time,
Josh Crouch: she was probably already awake and kicking ass.
Tersh Blissett: sure. She hadn’t gone bed yet. I don’t think she’s going to cuz she’s getting ready to fly out, so okay. Yeah, it’s the most ridiculous flight from
Hawaii to Savannah. It’s because of time differences, it takes a full day to fly. But yeah, that’s not why we’re here today. We’re here.
Andy Humphrey. He’s got his own podcast. We’re going to talk a little bit about Sprinklers and that side of things, we don’t talk about that on our show a whole lot, like the landscaping service world. And it’s one of [00:01:30] those things as little known fact. I don’t know if anybody here actually knows this.
My grandfather David BLIS, where I got. You may not even know this ter is short for tertiary, which is Latin for three, cuz I’m David bliss. I third long story short David bliss at senior had a landscape company, my entire life. Nurseries and everything else. My whole life. And that is pretty much the only person that was an entrepreneur other than my uncle who started his business about the same time I started my first one.
That are entrepreneurs in my family. And so I relied on my grandpa a lot about learning what to do and what not to do in business. And every single summer, as long as I can remember, I was out on a golf course laying so and digging trenches for a sprinkler system. And I hated it. But I love the money.
And honestly I loved spending time with my grandpa. And so it was really cool. I was able to operate heavy machinery as a 12 year old and it, I just really had a blast doing that. And it’s such an under glamorized career industry and business and. It’s wild to me and Andy and I haven’t spoken at all really.
And Josh we met at pod Fest, I believe it was. And in Orlando I’m trying to rack my brain, but it’s one of those things like just making. [00:03:00] Sprinklers making all that, not so icky, like the trades, like just in general, does that make sense, Josh?
Josh Crouch: It’s the same thing we talk about with heating and cooling and plumbing and all these things.
But Andy has the self dubbed sprinkler nerd. And he’s done a lot for the irrigation industry, including he’s even had some chance to get. ABC shark tank, which if you’re an entrepreneur in your listeners, you probably know shark tank. That’s why heard one of my favorite all time shows. But so we’re gonna have a fun conversation talking about little bit about e-commerce and the way things are going with that world, because I’m sure 10 years ago, even.
Irrigation companies are like, oh, this stuff’s never gonna go online. It’s never gonna happen to me. Same thing we’re dealing with H V a C and some of the other industries. So we’ll have a really good conversation and have a little different twist on it today. Coming from outside of our normal industries that we talk
Tersh Blissett: to.
Yeah. And I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve been here. I was last week. I was actually gone. Yes. Been dude. Yeah. I was whitewater rafting, one of the 30 teenagers. Which was awesome.
Andy Humphrey: No, nobody died
Josh Crouch: on your watch. So that’s
Andy Humphrey: good.
Tersh Blissett: Yeah, thank you. God hurt. No, but my son on a self guided on a, so we get there, they have five boats and they only have three guides and they look at me and the youth minister and Hey guys we need you to guide two boats.
We’re like, oh really? Okay. And so Tyler and I were like, I hope we don’t kill any. But they didn’t, they all stopped. They all survived. [00:04:30] all right. Let’s get started with a show. First I wanna say thank you to the guys and gals at Sarah. Amazing sponsors and partners of the show. And if you don’t know anything about Sarah and you’ve ever listened to the show just listen to this intro every single week, but Sarah’s a great platform and we’re learning more and more about the things that they’re introducing.
They have a telecom portion of it. That’s. New and out and really interesting. We’re actually gonna do an episode with Billy on that. But if you ha, if you need a CRM, if you’re looking for a CRM for your service business I think Josh correct me if I’m wrong, they mainly focus on HVAC, plumbing, electrical.
Josh Crouch: that correct? I believe so for now.
Tersh Blissett: Yeah. So if you’re in those trades check out, Sarah you wanna talk about company cam?
Josh Crouch: Yeah, no another great sponsor of the show company cam. Helps in a lot of ways, honestly, it helps bridge the gap between a lot. CRMs are really good about collecting customer records and invoicing some of those things, but the gap of having photos for your business, and honestly, coming from the digital marketing side, we request photos from clients.
Literally every single week. I even have automations built to remind clients to get us photos because it is so important. So something like company cam can organize and structure those things where, you know exactly where it was taken. The metadata on the photos stays with the photo, which if we put that photo on your website, Google reads that all kinds of, we start getting in the weeds with that stuff, but it’s really good stuff.
I would definitely check them out and see [00:06:00] how that extension can work. Hand in hand with your CRM. They have a lot of integrations and stuff like that. I would definitely check
Tersh Blissett: that out. Yeah. And they, we have a code. We’ll put it in the show notes. Use that code and you get 14 days free. So yeah, with that being said, let’s get started.
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 insights about management, marketing, 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 hosts and Josh.
Hey, Andy, welcome to this show.
Andy Humphrey: What is up guys and the
Josh Crouch: world. All right, Andy, you got two minutes and then the show is
over. Cause we talk so long. So go
Andy Humphrey: okay. Ask me a question.
Tersh Blissett: Obviously I love your getup. If you’re listening to the show Andy is just like myself and it’s is that normal?
Let’s don’t do that one.
Josh Crouch: I’m assuming that’s you on the t-shirt there and.
Andy Humphrey: Maybe you got the phrase might have a [00:07:30] familiar,
Josh Crouch: It just looks like you . That’s awesome.
Tersh Blissett: So tell us your background, your history, and a little bit about, What you got going on and everything.
Andy Humphrey: Sometimes, honestly, I feel like I’m cursed because I’m way too curious. I ask way too many questions. It’s not that I can’t sit still. I can sit still. My brain can’t sit still. And so ever since I was a kid, I was that kid. Why mom, why do I have to do that? What happens if I push this? What happens if I do that?
And more recently, I’ve started to harness that curse and try to turn it into something. But when you are, curious, creative and you take some action, it’s pretty amazing what can happen. So that’s my story. So right when I got my first job outta college, I was a landscape architect.
I quickly realized that like sitting behind a desk wasn’t for me.
Tersh Blissett: Yeah, he gets old. He, you get fidgety. And my I’ll tell you my eight year old, 9, 9, 8 year old, eight or nine. They change birthdays every year. It’s hard to keep track, but he’s the same way, man. It’s like, All at Memphis stop. I just, I wanna say stop asking questions, but I don’t want him to ever stop asking questions.
Like I want him to keep asking questions.
Andy Humphrey: I’m like, yeah. And sometimes when you’re like that school is
more difficult. Yeah. I could sit still in school. I wasn’t, fidgety, but my mind was like all over the place and I’m only now realizing that’s why I wasn’t as good at taking tests and regurgitating information, but give me a project, [00:09:00] give me something to do.
Let me be creative. And I will get an a, every.
Tersh Blissett: That’s really cool. Yeah. You have very creative thought process. So you have obviously very professional setup here and you sound amazing. Would lead us to believe that you have some sort of podcast as well. I do.
Andy Humphrey: Yeah, it is called the sprinkler nerd show and that took a long time to.
I would say that there’s a lot of having an idea and the idea stirs, and then you’re like, all right, damnit, I gotta do something with this. Why didn’t I start
Josh Crouch: this six months ago?
Tersh Blissett: Yeah. Yeah. How long was it that you were thinking about doing it before you actually did
Andy Humphrey: it? Honestly, probably about five years, because as soon as I started listening to podcasts myself , I’m thinking, man, if and not.
Service podcast. I’m talking like digital marketing, eCommerce the other sort of skill sets that I was learning. I’m like, man, how come this doesn’t exist in, in my industry. Yeah.
Tersh Blissett: That’s exactly. Literally that’s exactly what tur did exact same thing. Like I was, so here’s what happened to me.
I had an hour. An hour to drive to my kids’ private school and then an hour from there to my office and then an hour back home. And so I drove that every single day and I was listening to Michael Gerber ETH and everything I could pick up Donald Miller’s. Books. And I was listening everything I could on, on the truck drive, but then I was like, man, this is getting expensive.
I’m buying a new book every day. And then that’s when I picked up podcast. And [00:10:30] then I was like, all right, Michael, Stelsner all those good things,
just like you mentioned. And then I found Brian ORs. H V a C school podcast. And I was like, oh, this is cool. It’s in our industry. He’s talking technical.
And I was like, I reached out to him just randomly. I was like, Hey man, do you know of any business podcast in the HVAC world? And he was like, no, I actually don’t know of any business podcast. Why don’t you come on the show and we’ll talk business. I was like, Let’s do it. And then that turned into this snowball of a thing that we got here in 2017 is when we started it.
So yeah, same thing.
Andy Humphrey: And it’s a good reminder that it, you don’t have to create something brand new that the world’s never seen. You just have to find something that’s working somewhere else and make it work somewhere new, right? Yeah, exactly. You didn’t invent podcasting had an invent podcasting. I just saw it working somewhere else and was like, oh, I think I could do that.
Tersh Blissett: how long and this is not our topic here, but I want people to really pay attention to this because there’s so many people who listen to the show and they’re talking about starting a local podcast. Josh and I have talked about this before, about starting local podcast to really become the expert in your community.
And then you get this well, one, you get it a little imposter syndrome, but then you get a little bit of a everybody’s doing that. In reality, that’s something I learned at podcast Fest. There’s, I don’t wanna tell the numbers wrong, but there’s a ridiculous amount of people that are doing blogs, written blogs on their website and YouTube videos.
But that compared to the amount of podcasts is podcasts are tiny, [00:12:00] even though it feels like there’s so many people that are doing it How long did you feel like there was a saturation once you actually pulled the trigger and did it, or,
Andy Humphrey: So here’s the thing that I try to remind myself. My audience is still not yet listening to podcasts, not every landscaper and irrigation contractor.
It’s listening to a frigging podcast. We’re talking about early adopters are listening. Yeah. Early adopters are a small percentage of any. Right technology. Doesn’t just run rampant in the service businesses. They’re not lining up for the latest and greatest tech widget. That’s gonna help their business.
And so the audience is probably still three years out before it really starts to take off. Cuz they’re just not sitting there lining up to listen to podcasts yet. Yeah, I
Tersh Blissett: would imagine thinking back to my landscaping. The guys I ran with, if we listen to anything, it was gonna be something like Joe Rogan.
That’s the only, some podcast like that. Not necessarily thinking about the business side of things, some entertain
Andy Humphrey: you during the day. Yeah. And that’s still true, man. Nobody wants to listen to like how to put pipe together better. it’s dude, they know that. Yeah. They wanna be, they want some information and they wanna be entertained.
They want both of those together and probably entertainment. Is more important sometimes than the information, because in order to be engaged in the information, you have to be engaged first.
Tersh Blissett: Yeah. A hundred percent. Yeah,
Josh Crouch: no. It’s to, to hammer ter. Just looking up on, on Google, there’s more than 500 million.
And I think that number was back in 2019 500 million blogs. And I think there’s two and a half million podcasts or [00:13:30] something like that. Yeah. Yep. So in, if you put it in perspective of those two things, we have a long ways to go before, before we get to that point. But, and again, there’s so many people that start podcasts in, as Andy.
Keeping this going. Yeah, it can be a, it can be a grind at times, especially when your business is busy or you got other things going on, then you know, this is like the last thing you’re preparing for the day. Yeah,
Andy Humphrey: for me, what’s difficult is talking blindly into the microphone.
I can do interview chats all day long.
That’s comfortable. It’s easy. Cause you can see people, you, but for me to talk to my. Self is freaking hard.
Tersh Blissett: It’s I will be honest with you. There’s 17 of me. So it is a different person I can talk to. We can just, we can have conversations all day long. So yeah.
Andy Humphrey: You mean in your head there’s 17 of you?
Tersh Blissett: no, I’m kidding. But
Andy Humphrey: that
Josh Crouch: sounds like a
Andy Humphrey: great podcast episode. But I think that, so to me, the podcast is all about C. So I think and content, so it’s partially content, also community building. And so for me, when I look at the world of. Of either service or commerce, you have commerce content and community.
When you put all those three things together, you really have like media company. And I feel like where the world’s coming together is if you are a product only company. Now you’re bolting on like some YouTube and some podcast and some like private Facebook groups. And everybody’s just becoming their own little media companies that are made up of commerce content and C.
Tersh Blissett: That’s a really good point [00:15:00] because that’s the identity that I cha I struggled with for years with the podcast when started it. And I just, I’m just thinking in my head 2017 is when I started the podcast. I don’t know how that I don’t know for one how I’ve continued to do it. This is probably the only thing that in my life that I didn’t go, oh, shiny object.
I’m going over there. But it’s. Once Josh came on board and we could wrap our heads around like, all right, this makes sense. This makes sense. That community and everything that you just mentioned right there is really when
you see a brand, a good brand, like I’m thinking like black rifle, coffee company, or something like that, like they, they have a great product, Aline clothing apparels here in, in Savannah.
They have black rifle, coffee there as well, but it’s It’s a really it’s a product, but then they build a community around that product. I got pain color over my hand. But adds kicking in over here, but it’s really true though. What you said, building that community. And then the podcast, then the media comes belong.
It’s like there, those places are nine lines, a t-shirt company. That’s what they do as t-shirts, but they’re more of a media. Mobile now, almost because of all of the influencers and everything
Andy Humphrey: that they have. Yeah. Cause you might only need to buy something maybe once a year, maybe once a month on an interval, but how can you stay engaged and entertained?
Where you’re you also feel like you believe what they believe? Yeah. So you’re on the same sort of. Wavelength. How do you,
Tersh Blissett: so e-commerce let’s talk a little bit about e-commerce. How do you keep [00:16:30] that engagement without becoming spammy in your opinion,
Andy Humphrey: add value, not coupons.
So I would say if you remember that and I didn’t. Coin that term. My mentor, George Bryant coined that term, but it applies to service businesses also because in service business, there’s often either a race to the bottom or a void feeling where you’re like, oh, let me just get a coupons, give them a discount.
So they’ll sign this agreement and it’s dude. Stop discounting and start adding value yes,
Josh Crouch: I think that’s the way I think that’s the way a lot of coaches and a lot of even marketing companies and stuff are like, Hey, what promos do you have that we can run this month to try to get those conversions for a certain percentage of the population, but in reality, nurturing your own customers.
Cause everybody’s got a list. If you’ve done one service call, you got a list,
right? You got a list so you can start to nurture and you can start to give education and. From our, my own company. I have not done any advertising in the two and a half years. We’ve had a business. It’s all been educational content.
That’s how we built it. And that’s all we’ve done at some point. We’ll probably have to, step on the accelerator a little bit, but it’s been. It’s been really good. And I know ter has done some of that stuff too. And I’m, I’ve saw just looking on your website, you have a lot of YouTube videos, which I’m assuming go over the products and how to use them and things like that, depending on who your target audience
Andy Humphrey: is.
Yeah. And that YouTube is new. And let me, I just wanna step back for a moment because in. In a service business, you don’t need to, send all these discounts and coupons and all that, but you can communicate with your [00:18:00] customers. And the idea is really to, how can you build the best relationships with your customers?
How can you out care your competition? And I believe by Being more vulnerable and letting them in letting them know who you are because people don’t buy companies. They buy the people in the company. And sometimes we all hide behind this veil of man I’ve been in business 25 years, blah, blah, blah, blah.
And they’re like, who fucking cares? Who are you? Exactly. I trust you. Tell me why I should trust you.
Tersh Blissett: yeah. That’s yeah. Whenever we, I looked at, I was looking at KPIs a couple weeks ago and the. When we had dips in our average it was definitely when we were less engaged with our our audience.
And it was definitely whenever it was, we were grinding. So internally in the business, in, in our HVAC company, we felt like we like, let’s go. Let’s like, we’re really. Hustling and we’re grinding internally, but we weren’t sharing with our clients like how much we cared. Like we one dropped down and because we thought we’re gonna put more emphasis in the grind and make sure, like double checking all the guys numbers, their KPIs, like what are you offering?
And all this other stuff. and then we really lost focus on making sure we’re clearly communicating with a client and having that relationship building, building more and more relationships with the clients [00:19:30] and our revenue numbers were tanking and then make the switch and then the numbers.
Go right back up. And it’s crazy how that works, in my business and I know that I’m the only one that’s never happens to anybody else, but since it’s working, we’re probably gonna stop doing it. So that’s just how I do things which makes a hundred percent sense. But just showing that.
You care to the clients and communicate with that with the clients. What you said is spot
Andy Humphrey: on. Yeah, it’s so caring and in a digital world, we are, we’re losing the human side of things. And so whatever you can do to be more human matters more than ever. So there’s like this dehumanization of the world right now.
So anything you can do to show that. You know what, sometimes you make mistakes and sometimes you’re afraid and sometimes like those sorts of things matter more than ever. Cuz that’s really believable. So like when I’m making a YouTube video, I don’t edit anything other than adding like some B-roll and overlay.
But like I don’t, if I say something wrong, it’s just
Josh Crouch: oops. You’re not scripting it out. No,
Andy Humphrey: there’s no lot of time. Every one of them is a total. Just me speaking a. Yeah.
Tersh Blissett: Yeah. And it’s not overproduced, that’s the thing, right? Yeah. Because like, when you see, I’ve even seen some people who have a production company, but they’re still.
The camera’s moving. Like it’s, somebody’s holding a cell phone. Like they do that on purpose to make it look less overproduced. And more authentic. Not saying do that,
Andy Humphrey: [00:21:00] but no, but that keyword authenticity is what matters right now. How can you be authentic?
Josh Crouch: Yeah. I can tell you from experience, the couple contractors that I work with that have allowed us to give them ideas for videos and have actually taken action on this.
Cuz I tell a lot of people that they should be shooting videos and this is how you can look for certain thing, topics that people are searching for. They get really good feedback through social media and stuff like that when they actually post those videos and make themselves vulnerable or teach their local community, why it’s so important that this needs to get done in a certain interval of time.
Landscaping’s a great example. Why should you have a pro. Do these things, what kind of problems happen if you do? Not? What kind of common issues arise? I know for one, like my last house, I cut the grass myself and I didn’t take didn’t do anything else to the lawn. And we had dead spots.
We had dandelions all over the place, like all kinds of issues. And I wish I would’ve hired a pro cuz it looked like ass , but I don’t have to worry about that anymore. Arizona everything’s and the grass is dead anyways, so it doesn’t matter.
Andy Humphrey: yeah. Plus they’re pretty good with the green spray paint down there.
Josh Crouch: So Andy, you mentioned like the irrigation industry, Felix, from really getting into like the podcast and stuff might be a few years away, but you are in the eCommerce side of things now. Oh, my furry friends are coming to say hi to us this morning. But what do you feel because e-commerce in heating air conditioning, which is the industry church and I are.
Originally from it is a, it is. Big [00:22:30] topic right now. And it’s a, it’s like a Republican Democrat split. it’s
Tersh Blissett: It’s a 50, 50, very polarized you’re
Josh Crouch: one or the other.
Andy Humphrey: And you mean like you support it or you don’t, or you believe in it, or you don’t.
Josh Crouch: It’s very any conversations we’ve had through social media, a ton of engagement and it’s either I’m four or
Andy Humphrey: against, so everybody’s. Because everybody has a lens, so well,
Josh Crouch: and that’s, I guess my yeah. My question to you is what are you seeing in the irrigation industry? Both from the contractor and maybe the homeowners side with the adoption of e-commerce
Andy Humphrey: it’s. So people adopt it from where they sit right from their lands and their shoes and their business.
And so early adopters, all. Laggards are more I don’t know. I just like to go to the supply house on my way to the job, but in the same, at the same moment, they complain that they have to wait for an hour when they’re there. So it’s okay, you have a choice. You can continue to wait, or you could buy online, pick up in the store, which is referred to as bounus.
and the, if you’re doing that, the website doesn’t have to be super great. As long as you can find the parts that you need. And if you’re a pro typically, the part numbers you use them every day or a lot of them. And I would, that would be my recommendation for a supplier is just nail buy online to come in the store because it’s a convenience.
It saves time. . And from there, you can go scale all the way up to, DIY, which we have a lot of DIY and they really want the item within two. Shipped and delivered within two days. How do [00:24:00] you
Tersh Blissett: combat your Amazons and stuff like.
Andy Humphrey: So you can’t combat Amazon you have to chew
Josh Crouch: shift the way I figured you had
Andy Humphrey: the golden ticket there.
You can either choose to do business with Amazon and figure out where it fits or how it fits or say, you know what? It doesn’t really fit. So I’m not going to let it occupy space in my mind. Cuz if you’re not careful, you could see it like an enemy instead of just choosing. Yeah. I’m not even going to look anymore because I’m done looking in the rear view mirror.
I’m only gonna look ahead and Amazon’s not in. Future path. So I’m putting it aside. There is a ton of opportunity on Amazon, especially with non-sex items, for someone who is in the industry and wants to source some particular repair part and put it for sale on Amazon or some kind of a kit to I’ll tell you consumer tons of opportunity.
Tersh Blissett: Landscape in general is a love, hate relationship for me. We have 250 acres and I. Cutting grass. I’ll do it. It’s not something I love doing. Because every time I do something, I break it. When it comes to landscaping. We have a zero turn that I bought two years ago. Now, I think I don’t know what I hit.
I hit something, somebody hit something, my son hit something. I don’t know. But,
Andy Humphrey: It’s probably a sprinkler
Tersh Blissett: yeah, no, we don’t wanna have many sprinklers where else? It probably definitely would be. It definitely, they don’t need any
Josh Crouch: help growing the grass in Georgia. Oh my gosh.
Tersh Blissett: It was probably a root is probably what it was, but anyways, broke, seized up a bearing, broke a blade, [00:25:30] and man, it took forever to find these parts.
Founded on Amazon and got it shipped here. And they actually the store at Amazon. On Amazon actually had the right size blades and everything. And so it’s like, all right, so now I’m not even gonna go to Lowe’s anymore and purchase these blades. I’m gonna only shop from this store that is on Amazon.
And so I’m like if that person would’ve been like, I’m only gonna sell local and I’m never gonna sell online, I’m never gonna sell on Amazon. Cuz this particular store is the only store that had the three bearings that for the deck and the blades. I wouldn’t have been able to purchase it and I wouldn’t be able to
purchase it, repeatedly, whenever I need blades replaced.
So what you said makes perfect sense there. We could definitely, if you be, if it becomes an enemy, then that’s all you’re gonna think about is how Amazon’s stealing all your customers and all this other stuff. Whereas you can just honestly, just team up and work with.
Andy Humphrey: Yeah. Or stop worrying about ’em yeah.
Tersh Blissett: just take it right out your mind.
Andy Humphrey: Here’s what we have on, in our store. If you’re a physical store, The problem is that shelf space is limited. Yeah. So that must have been rare Partish that you were looking for. So people local didn’t have it, cuz they only have so much shelf space and they gotta maximize turns and all that so that’s what they should focus on and not be worried that man, one customer in two years came looking for that and they couldn’t find it.
So they went to Amazon. exactly. yeah. [00:27:00] That’s a great point. Yeah. And so as it relates to me in my e-commerce, what I built and how I describe it is a digital layer on top of wholesale distribution. So I’m tapped into eight different wholesale suppliers around the country so that I can have a broad Inventory base Uhhuh and have it regional.
So if you order some parts and you live in California, I can ship from California. And the parts that people buy in California are slightly different, let’s say than New York or Florida. And you couldn’t really take that breadth of product and put it under one warehouse. You could, but financially it just wouldn’t make any sense.
And I believe that the parts are already on the shelf somewhere. And so sprinkler supply store.com is what I might refer to as like ship from the. Okay. Ordered online. And then there’s a wholesale distributor that takes it off. Their shelf, puts it in a box and ships it.
Tersh Blissett: So how often do you have a problem with stuff not getting shipped when it’s supposed to be?
Andy Humphrey: Not anymore. Yeah. 10 years of this, we built pretty good systems. It
Tersh Blissett: times that it’s one of my vendors will say, oh yeah, the other store that’s in Bluffton. They forgot to ship it out yesterday. I’m like, are you serious? Cause I already told my customer that it’s gonna be here. Yeah.
Andy Humphrey: So one thing that really changed that helped us was we started to every day we send out a report to all the shipping locations.
Did they ship a hundred percent? Was it 90%? And everyone’s on this email. So there’s a little bit of accountability. No one wants to look to their peers. Like they didn’t meet their [00:28:30] SLA that day. Yep.
Josh Crouch: that makes sense. Yeah, absolutely. Now could. So when it comes to. eCommerce and contractors, do you see contractors like irrigation companies, landscape companies start to offer.
Products or services online and then fulfill those things and maybe just provide the labor or anything like that. Are you seeing any sort of shift that way?
Andy Humphrey: Sometimes? What we are seeing is that the largest B2B, traditional service companies, the largest irrigation companies, let’s say.
Really have the best relationships with the wholesale suppliers because that account manager right, has a book of business. He’s Hey man, this guy’s worth a hundred thousand. They focus on contractors that are worth, let’s say 50,000 and up, but likely more like a hundred thousand and up. But you have these, what I think are like a tier two business.
It could be the grounds manager at a park district. It could be the maintenance manager at a large corporate complex. They’re not installing sprinklers for a living, but they’re an advanced DIYer. They can go fix that sprinkler. And they’re small enough where a wholesale distributor’s account manager.
It doesn’t wanna spend their time on that guy. Yeah. But that guy doesn’t need to go to a branch to pick something up. He can just order it. It’s like a tier two business to business. And those are the guys that. Ignored right now.
Tersh Blissett: And
Andy Humphrey: so do you kinda like MRO business a little bit, but there really isn’t MRO [00:30:00] business for irrigation supplies.
, if you have a maintenance manager at a Hilton hotel, maybe they can buy the repair part for the furnace and put it in themselves without calling, their H V a C service
Tersh Blissett: tech. Yeah. Totally. Now, as far as consumers, instead of B2B, I think Josh was asking do you see any of your contractors that, that are purchasing from your side or anything like that?
Do you see any of them building out their own. ECommerce on their website for their consumers have
Andy Humphrey: not seen that. I do think there is an opportunity for that. It’s something that I’ve thought about just leveraging like digitally. I could leverage my inventory for them. They could resell our inventory on their website.
But again, they’re not out here all screaming for new technology. That’s pretty far advanced for them. A lot of them don’t have a. They don’t even know. Yeah. Their own email is just like Joe’s lawn email@example.com. We’re talking like, yeah. A lot of these guys don’t have any of that. Sure.
Tersh Blissett: How long do you think before, or, I don’t know, just your projection cuz you’re in this industry and Josh and I aren’t necessarily do you think it will ever come to the point to where that’s going to really.
You’re gonna have to be, you’re gonna have to be online. You’re gonna have to have a website. You’re gonna have to have an email or is it gonna stay forever? Look up on Craigslist and get the guy that’s down, down the street to come cut the grass. No, I
Andy Humphrey: think you’re right. It’s [00:31:30] saying, do you think credit cards will every ever be everywhere?
like seriously, 20 years ago was probably people were thinking. Do you think we’ll be able to buy everything with a credit card? And now it’s do you think we’ll be able to buy everything with our phone or with Venmo or whatever? Yeah. You can still use cash, but how often. Do you really see a cash only place, maybe ice cream or something like that?
yeah, so I avoid
Josh Crouch: And all I wanna do when I see that is be like, you guys need a card reader. Because I don’t cash,
Andy Humphrey: dude. I’m gonna tell you hid, are you not?
Tersh Blissett: I get it. Exactly. We have a chicken place right down the street. Like it is good fried chicken, but it’s only cash. And they’re only open for three hours a day, but it’s packed for that three hours and everybody comes in and pays.
Pay cash. And I’m like, wait a minute. Something’s not up. Something’s not on up and up right here. Yeah. I don’t
Andy Humphrey: believe, but, and if I had to predict, I think what we’re seeing is technology coming from the bottom up, meaning consumers will demand it. And that’s when the change happens. It’s not that the it’s not top down where the contractors roll it out.
It’s they’re only doing it because they’re reinforcing, they’re coming from the bottom up. And that. I think a shift we’re seeing it on wifi timers and things like that. The contractors aren’t the ones out there convincing they’re homeowners of it. The homeowners are actually the ones convincing the contractors.
Hey man, they’ve done their research. I want that nest thermostat and the contract dude, that’s a consumer product. We don’t install nest. Like where does that all the time? It happens a lot. Believe me, I built my. And the guy’s we don’t do that stuff.
Josh Crouch: do you know how [00:33:00] many service calls contractors loveness because they get service calls and new customers very easily because a lot of people install those wrong.
Tersh Blissett: know what you’re doing which Josh is making an amazing point there. And I feel like Andy, you’re touching on this, if you are connected with the nest world. So like we’re a nest pro partner service emperor. My business is a nest pro partner. If you look on any of our vehicles you can pull all 12 of ’em
to the side and you will not find one nest product on any of those vehicles because we don’t.
We don’t sell nest products because they’re our consumer. You like, they purchase it from wherever they wanna purchase it from. They can, we can’t get it any cheaper than they can. So we get the phone calls. Hey, I put my thermostat on wrong. Now my, my whole thing, I didn’t work, not working or it’s, I’ve fried something and it’s cool.
Instead of being mad at Google and nest, we’ve taken that and said, all right, so let’s make lemon outta limit or lemonades outta limit, and let’s win this faulty thing happens. Now we can go and we can inspect their entire air conditioning unit and make sure that this system’s working properly.
Andy Humphrey: them
Josh Crouch: a maintenance customer. So you can come back again,
Tersh Blissett: something like that. Yeah. And I feel like that’s where I don’t know that’s the consumer. What you’re saying is exactly right. Because whenever I go to, to purchase something, if I can’t purchase it online, I’m lazy. If I have to do too much, then it’s like, all right, there’s another person selling the same exact product.
That’s gonna do this [00:34:30] for me. And I wonder. I wonder how many landscapers realize the loss of revenue, because they’re not doing whatever card services or they’re not online and have a, because for me I don’t really trust Craigslist a whole lot. So when I’m looking up something it’s not typically Facebook marketplace, I know some people like that’s where they live and die is that world.
For me I’m a Google person. I’m just gonna Google it. Look at your reviews, read. Most of them, read how you responded to the bad reviews and then pick from there. And if so, if you’re not on Google, you’re probably not gonna get my business. Yeah. Or
Andy Humphrey: from a friend. I think a lot of it’s referrals.
Yeah. That too, that as well. And who
Josh Crouch: do you use? I do. I do think. I do think contractors, especially in the landscaping, cuz we, so we just moved. So we don’t, we didn’t have a landscaper. And we do have some grass, so I shouldn’t say we don’t have any grass. We do. But we went with the local recommendation.
We have a little subdivision type community here and we went on that page and asked and everybody recommended this guy named Diego. So Diego got our business because they’re like this guy’s amazing. He does a great job. He’s on time all the time. You all this stuff. I do. There’s a lot of that community stuff.
And that’s where you were talking about like building that community and building that educational content, especially through Facebook. I think Facebook’s a big one for like landscaping because people don’t they’re like, cuz they, they realize they go to Google and everybody’s got three reviews.
They’re like, okay, they’re not really taking their time here, but they’re on Facebook. They got hundreds of [00:36:00] recommendations. because that industry that’s where people find landscapers , they don’t necessarily go to Google for that. And I think it’s knowing your industry too, and, but that.
Educational content that I know I’ve seen on your website and stuff. That stuff goes, we did.
Tersh Blissett: It’s a piece of mind thing too, because for real, like if you’re gonna educate everybody, then I know that you know what you’re talking about. And
Josh Crouch: so you’re the teacher in front of
Andy Humphrey: that classroom. And like I said, that’s where that’s the value, right?
If you can, the more you can. Talk with your customer, not over them. Don’t talk about stuff that is just making you sound. Try to sound smart, make the complicated, easy with them. That’s building trust. And then they may not go with the lowest person anymore because they trust you and that’s worth something that’s value.
Tersh Blissett: me ask you this, Andy really fast, the, for those who are listening to their contractors, and it’s one of those things where you’re like I’ve been in the industry for 17 years. I don’t know what to I don’t know what people want to know about, I don’t know what to make of content video about what do you say?
How do you say to answer that
Andy Humphrey: question? I would say okay, if you’ve been in the industry in 17 years, what have you learned that is value like, and be in the customer’s shoes? What do they wanna know? Can you walk them around the house and show them exactly what you’re gonna do? Show them what?
So when I worked for a landscape company in Maryland my first job was at chapel valley landscape company. And when I first got into irrigation, it was from the design side. [00:37:30] So I was doing CAD drawings of irrigation systems. And then I got into sales. And what was working is we would draw up the irrigation system right on CAD and then show it to the homeowner.
this is where we’re putting your sprinklers. Here’s where the pipe is going. And we, like our close rate was like as close to a hundred percent as you could get, because no one else was doing it. They were using carbon copy. This was 20 years ago and holy shit, like we looked like we knew what we were doing and we did, but there was real value there and it
Tersh Blissett: took the questioning out of it.
I think for contractors, we have this this, I don’t know. CLA this black clot off above our head of just really either gonna get one over on you, or they’re not gonna complete the job or not complete. Like you had in your mind, so for you to draw out that CAD drawing and then you’re like, oh yeah this is exactly what I had envisioned in my mind.
Or actually, no, I’m glad you wrote that out because I was thinking we could put this over here, the sprinkler head over here, and then you’re like, no, I can’t put that sprinkler head that close to whatever the electrical panel or whatever the case is. So then they’re like, oh, okay. So there’s less frustration you have that clear communication, clear path of communication.
Yeah. And it’s just a win-win for everybody.
Andy Humphrey: And that’s all trust when we built our house four years ago and in the it’s a walk in on the ground level. So the ground low was our basement. And when they were putting in the H V a C in the air duct returned, it went across the. [00:39:00] The ceiling on the basement level.
Yeah. And it had to drop it on one section by two feet and, they’re walking me through here’s where we’re gonna put that. And I’m like, what? yes. Why didn’t you show this before? Like, why are we doing this now? Just should have happened like long time ago then I would’ve known that right there.
There was gonna be, the ceiling was gonna be lower.
Tersh Blissett: Yeah. That clear communication. That’s a tough one. Over communicating because. As a service technician or what, or whatever, whenever you’re talking to a homeowner or consumer in general, it’s a fine line. Like Donald Miller, he talks about building your story brand and making sure your communica, your platform’s not overly complicated, but then you, so if you are talking on a level between one and 10, you’re at a 10 you’re, Number 10 is that’s your intelligence level, but your consumer is like a two when we dumb things down, quote, unquote dumb things down, we typically dumb ’em down to a six, maybe a five, but we really need to be dumbing it down to a two so that we can they can really consume.
Andy Humphrey: You’re talking to grandma. Remember? So yeah, exactly. Explain it. Like grandma can understand it. yeah.
Tersh Blissett: And so it’s as a technician, you don’t want to be like what’s the best way to say this. You don’t want to talk down to people, like you said before, like you, but you
Andy Humphrey: don’t. Yeah. You wanna talk to them, find out what they’re interested in. Walk ’em
Josh Crouch: through, find something relatable that they can understand. Yeah,
Tersh Blissett: [00:40:30] no, I like it. That’s good stuff, man.
Josh Crouch: But yeah. So Andy, where’s the best place people, if they have questions or anything, cuz I, like you said even creating YouTube videos for you is new. If they want to just check out what that looks like. Yeah.
Andy Humphrey: The YouTube channels where should they go? His sprinkler supply store.
So I’m trying to bolt on everything I do. My character persona is sprinkler nerd. Andy in the show is a sprinkler. Nerd show the website is sprinkler supply store. YouTube channel is sprinkler supply store. They can reach out to me, Andy humphrey.com or Andy sprinkler supply store.com. Happy to connect share stories, share ideas.
And I really connecting with folks in the service business. Absolutely. Cause I can learn a ton.
Josh Crouch: Yeah, I think we all can we, and that’s it’s great that we had someone from a different industry on cuz sometimes we, we get so like even ourselves, we get blinders on oh, we gotta have this person in the H V C world or this person in the plumbing world.
And we sorry about that. But we have we put blinders on it. We forget there’s so many different hosts,
Andy Humphrey: even. I love the fact that you mentioned company cam, because I shouldn’t say no one, someone is likely using it in my industry, but I’ve never come across. I’m usually the one recommending people use company cam and some of this sophisticated web-based controller platform software.
They say, oh man, could you add this feature where we could take a picture? And I’m like, dude, it already exists. Just go use company cam. You don’t need to like reinvent company cam in someone else’s software. Exactly. Yeah.
Josh Crouch: And one more point about that. So our landscaper his name is Diego.
He, every single time he comes out, he takes pictures of what was done. and also pictures of like the windows. Cause we have a lot of windows in the backyard [00:42:00] just to make sure we have a lot of rocks so he wants to, so
it’s proof, but it’s smart because if we’re not home and he comes out and does his thing and something, we come back, something’s broken, he can take pictures and he can, he has proof for his own business.
He’s CYA himself. , but it’s so true that, doing those types of things and leveraging the technology that already exists. There’s technology for literally just about anything you could possibly imagine. Yeah.
Andy Humphrey: And I think you had on a woman named Hannah, she was like talking about gen Z yeah.
In the workplace. . And I think that everything we talked about is going to be true once the gen Z is in the business and the business is run by gen Z. Everything that we talked about just makes sense. It’s yeah.
Tersh Blissett: A hundred percent. Yeah. Just, we gotta make it. So that’s coming
Josh Crouch: fast. Yeah. It’s coming real fast.
Andy Humphrey: and gen zer should look into non-sex BI service businesses because there’s nothing wrong. This is where the world I think gets it wrong. And they, you should not feel shame if you are a plumber. Yes. Plumbers make a lot of fucking money. Exactly what we do, dude, stop. We gotta stop talking down to service businesses.
Tersh Blissett: I’m looking at my payroll every week and I’m like, these jokers are making double what I made when I was in that. Yeah. I was doing that. Or
Andy Humphrey: you could sit at a desk somewhere and hate your job and hate life and wanna get out. And you’re like in
Josh Crouch: a, there’s also a lot, a lot of these guys and the technicians that I’ve managed previously.
That feeling of helping someone one on one really making someone’s day and a personal touch to that because they were in the home, they had to fix a problem that was really causing a lot of [00:43:30] stress for a homeowner. That stuff is can’t that with anything? Yeah. You can’t replace that feeling. It’s almost you’re you feel like you’re, weren’t a superhero Cape.
Like you save the day for one person today or four people or how many jobs you do. Yeah. But you’re really helping someone. and making their life better.
Andy Humphrey: Yep. And if someone has a college fund and it’s enough to pay for college in 2022, it’s enough to buy a service business also. Oh yeah.
Josh Crouch: Oh yeah. Amen
Tersh Blissett: to that.
Yep. Hundred percent. Hundred percent cool. Andy, man, we really appreciate hanging out with us and chatting. Yeah, my pleasure. Make sure you check out the sprinkler nerd show podcast and and follow Andy and connect. And if you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to Andy. Yeah.
Josh, you want anything?
Josh Crouch: No, this was great. I think I think we need to do, try to find some more people in different issues. This is fun. It’s always fun to connect with people that have different industry, different insight, different experiences, because. And I challenge landscape is a great example for H V C cuz landscape is a repetitive business, right?
Usually it’s like once a week, once every other week and our service businesses that are like maybe once a year, we try to make it that maybe we can learn something of how these landscapers are doing those types of things. No, that
Andy Humphrey: I have to always remind myself the differences that you don’t need.
There’s no barrier to entry to L. None. Like you don’t need a certification. You don’t really don’t need, you need a push mower. You need a little anything . Yeah. So it’s very entrepreneurial. Yeah. The thing
Tersh Blissett: that I love about the sprinkler industry and everything is, there’s a lot of [00:45:00] it that I grew up doing it on the land, on the golf courses.
I was, we were half a golf course. I remember just being there for years. Placing greens and everything else and landscape and sprinkler systems and everything like that, man. I remember we had pipe trailers and, oh my gosh. I, they were
not, I had nightmares about those PVC pipes and slamming lids down with all these fittings and stuff, man, I.
I still have some of those fittings from my grandpa back, like in my shop, but just the, everything that I learned as a kid. And like you said, there’s no bare entry, so you don’t have to be in the industry for 15 years. And to prove that you, in order to get a license, to be able to do that kind of thing, which is probably good and bad because you could have bad installs of
Andy Humphrey: sprinkler systems that are, it’s another reason people in the landscape industry don’t value themselves.
Oftentimes because they’re like, I. How can I charge $150 an hour? I didn’t go to college. They devalue themselves so true where they, if they had an actual license, a certification, then that can feel like there’s something else. But really you just gotta value yourself. That’s
Tersh Blissett: it? Honestly, yeah.
Provide the value cuz it’s so true. You could hire, I could hire the teenager down the street for 20 bucks to come cut my grass or I could pay $150 for this other company. Why would I pay $150 versus $20? There’s value in the $150. There’s consistency. I know that they’re gonna come back
Andy Humphrey: and if there isn’t, they won’t hire.
So it just, they always have to remind yourself, am I adding more value than this? [00:46:30] $150? If you are adding more value than you are proposing, they’ll go with your proposal.
Josh Crouch: Absolutely. Or do a case study, hire the $20 an hour. Kid first, then hire the 150. See the difference. Yeah. It’s wild. Most likely there is a difference.
Tersh Blissett: Hopefully, yeah, or that kid that’s million an hour is value him. So there’s keep the kid
Josh Crouch: and they’ll find a place for him in your business.
Tersh Blissett: Cool, Andy, again, we really appreciate hanging out with appreciate you guys as well. Keep up the good work. Absolutely. Absolutely.
We’ll see you guys later.
Andy Humphrey: see you.
Thank you for
Tersh Blissett: 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.