What I Learned Growing A $30 Million Home Service Business

You can’t buy it. You can’t sell it. But without it, you will fail. In all my years of schooling and business, I can tell you it’s the...

Photo: Tommy Mello is the owner of A1 Garage Door Service; Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Tommy Mello is the owner of A1 Garage Door Service; Source: Courtesy Photo

In 2006, when I first opened my two-man garage door business, I never imagined I would have over 80 employees and expand our business across the United States. Over the last 10 years, people have asked me: What is the number one thing that has made my business so successful? My answer is simple: passion.

Passion keeps me at work late, wakes me up in the middle of the night, and propels me to show up at a customer’s house if we did a poor job. There is no greater gift in business.

Passion drives your talent to the next level, sells the customer, encourages investors, and motivates employees. When I look back at successful CSRs, field technicians and great dispatchers, one thing comes to mind: they all use passion to overcome their obstacles.

Over 90% of my phone calls all end with the same question: “Are you the owner?” By taking ownership, using a specific tone of voice and expressing my passion, the customer can see that my responses are not typical. It’s this type of passion that has taken my business to the next level. Here’s how you too can cultivate that mentality within your business.

 

Prepare to win

First, business owners must possess the willpower to be the best. I always tell my employees that there are two types of people in the world: those who hate to be last, and those who need to be first. I am a need-to-be-first owner and I bring this perspective to the culture of my business.

We have sales meetings every Thursday morning where technicians write their name and sales averages on the white board. They write it in red on the left side if it is lower than the minimum goal and black on the right side if it is above the goal. Every week, we give out awards to the sales staff on the right side.

 

Growing a service-based business
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People on the left side of the board explain what they will do in the next week to perform better and are given a performance improvement plan. We also purchase every study related to the garage door industry and set our goals at least 30% above the industry’s top performers.

You and you alone have to build your own key performance indicators. I would strongly recommend building them on several factors: how much you help those around you, monetary goals and growth rates of expansion.

 

Communicate with people who fuel your passion

If I dedicated five minutes to every employee every day, it would be seven hours before I could actually start my day. Every person at the company should feel they have a voice, especially with the owner or CEO.

Establish this communication through a job performance calendar: First, make sure that your employees are rated on a standard grading system (you should be able to look at your CRM and know their performance). Then, set time in the week to meet with a handful of employees about performance, personal goals and upcoming events.

 

Build Service-Based Business
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In a short amount of time, the workplace will improve dramatically and recruitment will seem simple. Happy employees are the best recruiters: I would rather take a strong referral over a resume any day of the week.

I like to make time for people who motivate me, inspire passion, and keep me focused on the game plan. I make at least one 15-minute phone call a day to one of three people who do so, as this helps me stay on target and feel revived. We bounce ideas back and forth until I feel inspired.

Make a list of questions about what can drive your business forward the fastest, and then write down names of the folks who can best give you insight into these questions. People love to give advice and usually are more than happy to help.

 

Reflect on how far you’ve come

Self-reflection is the last step to true passion. Make a list of everything you have accomplished, both in work and in your personal life. I suggest writing them down on yellow sticky notes, placing them on your mirror and reading them daily. Record your short and long-term goals on your phone and listen to them every night before bed.

 

Branding tips for small business
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Once a week, take time to go through pictures and call old friends. Think about the beginning of the company, and how much you worked in the business instead of on the business. Nowadays, I may even look at my company’s Facebook timeline to remember where I came from, and where I am going. Express that passion to every person you encounter the next day.

 

Passion is not about having a fancy degree or making a ton of money: Passion comes from within. You can’t buy it. You can’t sell it. But without it, you will fail. In all my years of schooling and business, I can tell you it’s the most crucial key to any business.

 

This article has been edited.

Tommy Mello is the owner of A1 Garage Door Service, a thirty-million-dollar company. He is also a partner of Highest Cash Offer. Follow him @A1GarageDoors.

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