Leah Coss



Business SYSTEMS for Remodelers, Home Builders, and Trades... Lessons we can LEARN from the franchising world with Leah Coss

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Business SYSTEMS for Remodelers, Home Builders, and Trades... Lessons we can LEARN from the franchising world with Leah Coss

Do you ever wonder why some contractors struggle with predictable revenue - while others start home improvement franchises that pop up all over the place?

Now before you click away because you’re NOT trying to be the next McDonald’s  - there are plenty of systems you can borrow from franchises to boost profits and get off of the dreaded revenue rollercoaster.

So, to find out how do franchisees manage to open up new locations nationwide, pay the franchise fee, AND keep a hefty profit I invited Leah Coss to The Profit Toolbelt podcast.

Fresh out of college, Leah landed a gig with the famous “1-800-GOT-JUNK” as a franchise development manager.  

She’s also been a part of spin-off organizations like “You Move Me” and various handyman services.

And here are the top 3 lessons Leah shared from the franchising world…

How do franchisers make their companies attractive to talented workers

The way people decide where to work has really changed.

Back in 80s, and 90s, it was all about “the big boss” calling the shots.

If you wanted to put food on the table you did what the boss said.

And you never thought about it twice.

That mindset still hangs around, in trades where the employees are expected to be tough.

But, when it comes to today's workforce, savvy employers have changed their approach.

It's not about just barking orders anymore.

Building an attractive workplace starts by asking yourself a tough question:

“Would I want to work for me?”

And if the answer's no, well, you’ve got some serious soul-searching to do.

The next wave of workers are not all about the paycheck anymore.

They want something deeper – fulfillment, connection, a sense of purpose.

And if they're not finding that at work, they're not sticking around.

Just think about it – they're not even rushing to get their own cars or move out of Mom and Dad's place.

They're content with transit and saving on rent.

So, it's time for a reality check.

Are we creating an environment where people want to show up every day?

Are we fostering a culture of growth and fulfillment?

Because if not, we're missing the mark, big time.

But it’s not about coddling your workers with constant praise and rewards either.

People just want to know where they stand.

They want honest feedback, both when they're knocking it out of the park and when they're not quite hitting the mark.

So, when you see an employee making your life easier, don't hold back – let them know right away.

No games, no strings attached.

And it's not just up to the boss to dish out praise or constructive criticism.

As the business owner, you've gotta create an environment where your team lifts each other up and gives honest feedback.

Because let's face it, you can't be everywhere at once, especially if you've got multiple jobs running simultaneously.

Your team needs to feel like leaders in their own right, capable of making decisions and evaluating their performance.

So, it's all about communication and empowerment - all of which can be (and need to be) systemized, so let’s see how big franchises do it.

Why Huddles Are A Simple System For Fostering Employee Loyalty

Let's talk about the power of huddles.

These are quick team meetings where everyone gathers together to touch base, share updates, and tackle any issues or challenges.

They make it easy for your team to share their wins, losses, and suggestions for improvement.

Now, at 1-800-GOT-JUNK, they're known for their in-person huddles.

But even if your team is spread out, you can still make it work.

Whether it's a conference call or a quick Zoom meeting, the goal is the same – to check in, share updates, and lend support where needed.

But here's the thing:

Your team needs to know that you genuinely care about their input and that you're not just going through the motions.

So, whether you're a fence contractor or a Fortune 500 company, the principles remain the same.

How to take control of your “employee supply chain”

How much time do you spend stressing over not having enough team members, losing jobs because of it, or dealing with projects gone sideways?

For most contractors, it’s more than they would like to admit.

But what if you could always have a roster of reliable candidates ready to go?

And no, I'm not talking about fishing in the same old job pools as everyone else.

It's time to get creative, to think outside the box.

Leah calls it ‘’taking control of your employee supply chain."

Now, this isn't a one-size-fits-all approach – it's about tailoring your strategy to fit your specific needs.

So, let's break it down.

First off, let's talk about certifications.

If you need folks with specific qualifications you can't just pluck someone off the street and expect them to jump into the role.

But here's the thing – whether you're hiring for specialized roles or more entry-level positions, you can still systematize your approach.

Rope Access Window Washing Company Case Study

I had the pleasure of working with this rope access window washing company.

Now, these guys aren't your average window washers – they're the ones dangling off skyscrapers, 30 stories up, wielding squeegees like acrobats.

Finding employees for a job like that isn't exactly a walk in the park.

So, how did they do it?

Well, they got creative.

Instead of waiting for applicants to come knocking, the owner decided to go where the climbers are.

They started sponsoring climbing events, setting up a table, and chatting with folks who shared their passion for scaling heights.

They found a steady stream of interested climbers who were intrigued by the idea of turning their hobby into a job.

And here's the kicker – those climbers often brought their friends along, spreading the word and helping to build a team of like-minded individuals.

So it's all about thinking outside the box, finding creative ways to connect with potential employees, and tapping into communities where your ideal candidates might be hiding.

What if you don’t need candidates with certifications?

And now let's talk about how 1-800-GOT-JUNK found employees because junk removal isn't exactly a job you need a degree for.

What sets apart a great junk hauler is their customer service skills, their presentation, and their reliability.

So, how did they find hidden-gem workers?

It was all about recognizing the potential in everyday interactions.

Like when you're at a restaurant and the server goes above and beyond - or when you're at McDonald's and the cashier handles a difficult customer with ease – those were the moments they looked for.

If the candidate’s attitude is good, you can mold them into the perfect fit for your team.

Sure, it might take a bit of time and investment, but the payoff is huge.

You get to teach them your way of doing things, without having to undo any bad habits they might have picked up elsewhere.

And here’s the inner “tool” you can use to find solid workers - your Reticular Activating System.

You were born with something called the reticular activating system, or RAS for short.

It's that part of your brain that tunes into what you're looking for.

Like when you decide you want a red Honda Civic, and suddenly, all you see on the road are red Honda Civics.

So, if you're on the hunt for great hires, you've got to get your RAS aligned with what you need.

Whether it's customer service skills, focus, or just awareness, once you start looking, you'll start noticing those qualities everywhere.

It takes a bit of practice to approach them, sure, but hey, Rome wasn't built in a day.

The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

To make this work your goal should always be to keep hiring.

You want to have a backlog of potential hires at all times, ready to jump on board when you need them.

It's all about running your business proactively and removing unpredictability by having systems in place.

So, don't just think about hiring for today – think about building a pipeline of talent for the future.

The key to solve high turnover rates, without hand-holding

Consistency is key when it comes to retaining employees.

You can't be all sunshine and rainbows during the hiring process and then switch gears once they're on board.

That's bait and switch, and it's not a good look.

Imagine you're pitching your company to someone at that shoe store, talking about all the growth opportunities, the good wages, the predictability of the job, and what a fantastic boss you are.

But then, when they join, it's a different story.

They're left in the dark, feeling intimidated, unsure of your expectations, and wondering when they'll even get their next raise.

If you're not following through on your promises, you're gonna lose their trust faster than you can say "employee turnover."

And if they feel like you're not holding up your end of the bargain, they'll be out the door and onto your competitor's doorstep in no time.

So, here's the golden rule - mean what you say and say what you mean.

Make promises to yourself about how you'll treat your employees and stick to them.

And let your team know what to expect and follow through on those expectations consistently.

That's how you build trust, loyalty, and a team that's in it for the long haul.

So, here's the bottom line: running your business like a franchise just makes sense.

It makes things smoother, more enjoyable, and brings in more cash. Sure, franchises usually take a cut of your profits, but you don’t have to start or join a franchise. Just run your business like one, you get to keep all that extra money for yourself.

It's like having all the benefits of a franchise without giving up your independence. So why not give it a shot?

For a more in-depth conversation on the business lessons that remodelers, home builders, and trades can LEARN from the franchising world make sure to tune in for the full Profit Toolbelt podcast episode with Leah Coss.

Show Notes:

  • How do franchisers make their companies attractive to talented workers
  • How to take control of your “employee supply chain”
  • The key to solving high turnover rates without hand-holding

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