Secrets to Building a Landscape Dream Team with Chase Coates

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Attention all landscape business owners! Are you tired of struggling to find the right people, stay on top of finances, and grow your brand? In this episode of Roots of Success, we sit down with Chase Coates, the man behind Outback Landscape. We explore groundbreaking strategies and proven tactics that will guide you towards running the successful landscape company of your dreams. Chase spills his secrets on hiring stellar team members, automating sales processes, and creating a stand-out brand.


A Strong Team is Your Top Priority for Growth

Key Moments:

[01:41] Hiring The Right People

[04:42] How Hiring the Right People Can Help You Grow

[07:32] We Work for Our Money 3 times

[10:40] Delegating Key Accounts

[14:23] Getting to 8 Figures

[17:44] More Money, Less Problems

[18:28] The Next 5 Years

[19:47] Consistent Branding

[23:35] Using Travel to Expand Your Thinking


    1. What are the key factors for profitable landscaping projects? 
    2. Why is hiring the right people crucial for the growth of a landscaping company? 
    3. How can technology improve efficiency in landscaping operations? 
    4. What is the role of peer groups in the landscaping industry? 
    5. How can automation streamline sales processes in the landscaping industry? 
    6. What are the benefits of consistent branding for landscaping companies?
Episode Transcript
Tommy Cole: Welcome Tommy with McFarlin Stanford, the Roots of Success podcast. I've got an awesome guest, Mr. Chase Coates from Outback Landscape in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Chase is basically proof that, you know, when you start pushing a mower, all of a sudden you can grow a multimillion dollar business and who knew, right? so let's just get right down into it. this is, this is going to be a great one. Getting started, what is Outback? Tell me a little bit about the company. Chase Coates: We do design build, we're 40 [00:01:00] percent maintenance, 60 percent construction, started out as a maintenance company only. Once you get into design, build, and construction, you end up getting sucked into the beast a little bit. Our favorite projects are those a $100,000 to $400,000 high end residential paid commercial jobs. stuff with more detail. We like fire pits, patios, pergolas, actually named the company out back because it's We wanted to focus on outdoor living spaces, like creating backyard rooms, outdoor rooms. Tommy Cole: yeah, Chase Coates: So we want to create that experience and something that we can design. Our ideal client is someone that comes to us and we get to design it, work with them through the concept, produce it, value engineer things. Pick materials with them, those are the projects that we really like, you Hiring the Right People Tommy Cole: I've been to your place a few years ago, incredible place, but more importantly, outside it being an incredible facility is the incredible people that you've hired to run the team. That's not always been the case. but it is the case now. What's that meant for you and your team? Chase Coates: Man, you know, there's like a point in [00:02:00] business where you can muscle through stuff and you can just get things done, right? You can step in for people. You can come. This guy's not good at that. There's a certain size that you get to where like all of those flaws and imperfections and not the right people just show up. And so obviously when you're small, you can't afford to go hire the best all the time and recruit the best person in your area and do all those things, right? It's all stepping stones. But especially when you're small and working your way out of the field that's how most of usget into this and switching that mindset from bonds Switching that mindset to thinking of it as a business, right? And so you're constantly trading people and you know, I used to have employees and I'm like, you wrapped your head around that employee and you go, man, if that guy ever left, I'd be, you know, I'm, I'd be done or if this guy ever left and it's like every year it's a different guy. Right. And I'm like, that guy leaves and nothing happens. And then you rotate those people out. what you find is you can't, wrap your head around that being a person. You have to think of that as a position, [00:03:00] right? that's a sales manager or that's an account manager or that's a sales person or a landscape designer. Not that it doesn't hurt to lose good people and you never want to, but some people have a shelf life and you've got to look out for everyone else that works for you, right? And you got to zoom out and see that. Like, Hey, this guy didn't come in every Friday. He just ignores me. And then he shows up on Monday. Well, he's a good guy and he helps me the other four days. For some people that takes a few years to kind of work out in their head. Right. and kind of work through. And once you get some self confidence in what you're doing, and you really know what you stand for, what your brand is, and who your ideal people are. It makes it really clear who comes and goes real quick. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Chase Coates: Not that me or anyone else is guilty of hanging on to people for longer than they should, but we all do it sometimes. And then you're like, never again! And then it happens again. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Yeah. I get it. You know, and young in our careers we say yes to everything. Yes, yes, yes. And we're almost scared to of hold [00:04:00] someone accountable or how come you didn't show up on Friday like what happened? We're kind of like scared to say that because we're scared that the person could walk away. And then I got no install person or no maintenance person. and now you're at the point where. We can hold people accountable and it's it's completely okay in your business, right? Chase Coates: yeah, and actually it's healthier for everyone that way, right? the other thing that's nice is when you hire the right people, they start to hold each other accountable. We have true leaders that will come home and be like, Hey,I fired this guy. You're welcome to move to another crew, but I told him not to come back and you're like, okay, thanks for working out. But, but it's actually pretty cool when people start to think that way, right? They're like, Hey, I don't, I don't want this guy on my crew. He's not a good fit. How Hiring the Right People Can Help You Grow Tommy Cole: Yeah. Yeah, I get it You've got a guy on your team that I know a pretty well that I helped Recruit for you back in the day He's your he's your director of finance. I believe right How value is it to have someone watching your finances daily?[00:05:00] Chase Coates: I think it's super important. there's even still things today that I wish I watched even better, but, up until I hired him and I was running the P& L, I was managing vendor payments, everything. Having someone watch your financials daily though, knowing cashflow forecasting out further than a day or two. You can run your business in a way that, you anticipate things before they happen and then you can make corrections. you don't get to payroll and just decide you have no money the day before, right? Like that never happens. it's pretty easy to, to track and you've got someone who just owns that and someone you trust. you helped recruit Drew, like you said, he's been here four years now. and that's another good example of when you hire someone who's the right person, they pay for themselves. They don't end up with any expense, right? It freed me up to go spend more time building the business. There's no way we could do what we're doing right now without a position. For me, in the design build, you have a little bit more, a little bit more touches in the office, right? And commercial maintenance or something like that. And you're managing, [00:06:00] pay schedules, you're managing. Contracts, things like that with, with the payment dates. And so having someone who stays on top of that is super key. I think for me, we were about 3 million, 3. 3 when I hired Drew. Man, I couldn't have gone much past that with our business model without that person. Unless I had like a real heavy controller or something, there's just no way. it was instrumental in finding the right person. Tommy Cole: You know, honestly, most business owners don't have that finance experience, And that's anywhere from AR AP, cashflow, management, asset, balance sheet, billing, invoicing, all of that stuff is being owned by Drew and his team. And, and he provides you data and reports. You guys probably study all that, you know, on a monthly basis to see how the previous month went. You forecast for future months. All of that is a huge asset to Outback. you also made another hire recently, an operations person. tell me what [00:07:00] does that position mean to Outback? Chase Coates: We hired Brandon. he's been here, oh, 6 months now. Started recruiting him several months before that. you know, Brandon owns everything production and operations, his official title is general manager, and we've got some really key people in some positions, you know, maintenance. I have one manager who runs all of our chemical, we have a separate lawn care company. I really liked that being very walled off. so we've got one guy that owns all the chemical applications, all the plant healthcare. but Brandon. Makes all the trains run on time. We Work for Our Money 3 times Chase Coates: That position is super important because in our field, I always say we kind of work for our money three times, right? We gotta go market, sell the work, we gotta go find customers. Then we gotta actually go do the work. But just because we do the work doesn't mean we make money. You gotta go perform it right. And you can go sell a million dollar job and spend 1. 5 doing it. And that's where the rubber meets the road for me. Like you bid it for 400 hours. You got to get it done in 400 or less, right? If you're not making money in [00:08:00] production, you're not making anything. You got to stay on top of the schedules and count receivable and things like that. So that position is super important. I think of it kind of like the quarterback, of the company pulling myself out of operations. Can I do it? Yes. I've been doing it for 19 years, you know, 15 years, whatever that number is, is that really where I want to live to grow the business? That's the next bottleneck, right? That was the next problem I needed to solve. Tommy Cole: I've said that a hundred times. we typically will sort of just pull someone up and say, he's been here for 12 years. He's now the ops manager. that's a little bit too big of a step. Ops manager is everything, you know, fleet, safety, facility, production, cruise management, everything and anything outside of sales and finance. So basically most people need just someone in production, Production is rubber meets the road, man. That is, that's, that's a quote I use all, all the time. And, you know, and Grunder does this all the time, you know, I spoke to Vinny just the [00:09:00] other day and he says, you know, production is all about the number one job is beating man hours. That's it. That's the name of the game is beating hours, right? Chase Coates: Go, go deliver what the customer signed off on. Do it within scope, do it on time, beat your hours. If you do that, your price, your pricing is correct. You've just got to do enough of that work. You'll always make money, but that that's where it hits the road. Tommy Cole: Yeah, it'll work itself out right there at the day. But oftentimes, us small business owners, you know, we go do the work, and we produce, reproduce and reproduce and then all of a sudden there's nothing left, right? We're in the red and we're wondering what's going on. It's because of all the go backs. It's because not the handoff from sales production. It's because not the planning way ahead. It's not executing on time. It's not ordering early enough, all those types of things. So that's why I love the ops part of it. You know, that, You and I are on the same page. You also can't [00:10:00] have Chase Coates selling and operating, right? I'm not a micro manager, but I love reviewing bids. I love looking at projects and figuring out how to faster things like that. But yeah, I mean, that's how I started knocking doors and figuring out how to sell to people. And the biggest thing that I learned is like, we're just there to solve problems, right? They've got a problem. We're here to fix it. And we want to solve that as efficiently as we can. And help our customers out. Chase Coates: And I think that's the best way to get the best customers. Tommy Cole: Yeah, but are you still doing business development? It's kind of like you got some key relationships probably with some builders and things of that Where you kind of dabble in a little bit here and there. Delegating Key Accounts Chase Coates: Yeah. So what I do, I've got some key customers that I still sell to and like Kim has been with me for. She's fantastic. She's great. Great salesperson. great designer. I've started just what I did to finally start delegating that because that's a hard one to delegate if that's what you like. I started looping her into those meetings and I would just pass [00:11:00] things off to her and say, Hey, sounds great. Here's Kim. She's going to handle it. Unless it's something I really want to be involved in. that's becoming less and less though, right? The coolest thing is. When you get a salesperson that with you for a few years and they get some customers and they do projects for them. And then when they start to come back for like phase two or, Hey, we built another house. We want you to come do the new house. That's really cool to see them do and watch them build those relationships. And that's what you really want. You don't want to be the bottleneck in sales either. We've tried really hard on our sales process, like with lawn buddies, with the lawn care, we're measuring everything online or credit card only in that business. No contract. we essentially have zero AR in us to be a lot more efficient. We're not paying someone to sit in the office and call to collect 40 bucks from someone, right? That's, that's annoying. So we try to be as efficient as we can leverage technology, as much as we can, but, Sales is fun. Figuring out better, faster ways to do it. It's fun too.[00:12:00] Tommy Cole: Yeah Yeah, that's where you start to figure out as a business owner is is what sort of navigation do you take in the company, right? There's a little more sales is a little more operations, and I feel like most business owners start to pick a side and then they marry up with someone on the opposite end of the spectrum, right? So if Chase goes more sales, which that's what you like, you need someone strong in the ops and even the third wheel of finance, right? Because between those three, Chase Coates: Yep. Tommy Cole: you've got to figure it out. And then Chase. Takes with sales and runs with it, but then he's grabbing people along the way to to shadow and Moonlight along the way to train those people. So now that you've got One to two three people doing sales the way that you've learned over You know 15 20 years, right? Chase Coates: Yep. Yeah. I'm just teaching them how to sell, right? I mean, there's always ways to dissect a job. There's always smart [00:13:00] ways to split something up if you're going to do it in phases. Not everyone has an unlimited budget and there's just smart ways to work with people to make it efficient for them. And I think they appreciate that too. That takes a little bit of time to teach, but my big thing now is, you know, director of finance, director of operations. Director of sales, my next big hire, whenever that is, would be a sales manager. Sales manager, would be the next role that I would fill so that I could step back out of that. I love doing business development. I love working on what we're doing now. I'm not in the weeds as much as I used to be and I didn't realize how far out of the weeds I'd got, but it's a weird feeling to not do all the hiring anymore. That's probably the biggest one. I don't micromanage, I'm a, I'm a big fan of hire the right people and let them do their job, I I don't need to be in the middle of every meeting. I don't need to be in the middle of every situation, every email thread. I'll come to rollouts once in a while. took a little bit of time off the last couple months, so I haven't been here as much. But, and rollout is so [00:14:00] it's operations focused. I like stopping by job sites, seeing stuff, checking projects out. I, I like being a rollout. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Chase Coates: I love all my guys, they're great. I've got, we've got some foremen that have been here, in 11 years, 9 years, 12 years. and, and that's pretty cool. So I, I really liked that part of it and talking to them, but I don't see their job sites near as much as I used to Getting to 8 Figures Chase Coates: So, talk real quick about going from 1 million to 10 million to 12 million. you've been involved in a peer group for, for quite some time Tommy Cole: I was just with several peer group members last week. That are, you know, in that one to four million dollar range and they're like, how do I get to the double digits? What's something that you can hand off to these people that are listening? Chase Coates: It's a lot of work. It takes a long time. it always takes longer than you think, And you're always not moving fast enough or as fast as we think you should, and that's okay. One of the best things I ever did was get, start to get hooked up with industry consultants. Right. So those guys go and they [00:15:00] see other businesses. They see 50 or a hundred companies a year, right? But what that does is it gives them a benchmark or a floor of, okay, here's kind of a standard and you're kind of operating down here, right? So let's dive into that. But at least that gives you some bandwidth or a little bit of a vision of where we stand with what the industry is, right? And getting into peer groups, I mean, I've probably seen 150. Landscape companies, I've probably seen that many rollouts and offices and met their people and one, it's always easier to solve someone else's problems than your own, but you know, I can go to someone's facility and I'm like, yeah, you know, this is what I would do, but I come to my own and I do the same The biggest advantage is you gain friendships. I always say most of my best friends live all over the country. They don't live here where I live, those guys become your best friends and you can talk to them. You can bounce things off of them, bounce ideas off each other. Getting outside your bubble and working with some of those guys, is huge. and [00:16:00] that was instrumental in, you know, pushing us through, but then also you get a little bit of accountability. You know, your buddy is beating you or he's pulling ahead of where you are. that makes you want to excel or, or grow a little quicker as well. Tommy Cole: You went from 1 million to 10 million and you joined a peer groups and were able to sort of navigate, but what was the benefit of being in those groups? Chase Coates: I'd say the biggest benefit to being in a peer group is, one meeting good facilitators, people who know what they're doing, people who bring good companies together and then kind of help curate those groups. Right. Cause nothing is worse than getting in a peer group, that group, not jiving. I've never had that happen. And so everyone who's always put those together, we've worked with it. They've always been great, but those people are becoming your best friends. Right. There's a little competition involved, right? You don't want your buddy passing you up or going quicker than you. But then also they just become your best friends. Like you're in a room of 12 like minded people. And you end up traveling together, you end up doing fun stuff together. they kind of [00:17:00] become part of your family, right? Those things combined with, you know, hard work pushing, just trying to get stuff done and grow the business, right? Being around good people, that's hard to do, especially if you live in a small market, right? Most of my best friends are all scattered across the country that I've met through business peer groups, right? But I can talk to two or three of them a day about whatever, shoot them a text. And it's those relationships that you build, and that trust that you build with those people that really helps, push through some of that stuff. But then also you realize that everyone else has the exact same problems you do. Tommy Cole: yeah, Chase Coates: different zeros behind it, right? So you, everyone has issues like nothing's ever great. Nothing's great at 20 million or 10. The problems become different, right? Morre Money, Less Problems Chase Coates: I'm a big proponent of the bigger the business is, the easier it is to run. I mean, proof of that is, you know, we had a baby a couple of months ago I took quite a bit of time off. I didn't really plan on doing it. It was our first one and being able to have a team,[00:18:00] he was in the NICU for four days. I got six phone calls in a week. That was it. I mean, so to have a team who can just handle stuff, right? That's why I think running a bigger business is easier. Something happens to you, you get sick or your right hand guy, like you can fill people in, you can shuffle things around. You know, it's a smaller business. It's just a lot harder. It's a lot leaner. so that's why I think the bigger the business, the easier it is to run. There's different problems, but I would rather have those problems than the other problems, right? The Next 5 Years Tommy Cole: Yeah. I love it. I love it. So what's the future of Outback? Like what you, you, you hinted a little bit that possible sales manager thing, but like big picture. What do you think in five years from now? I know you're a visionary and you can see down the road. What, what's, what's big in your wheelhouse. Chase Coates: a lot. I don't know. There's a couple I can't talk about right now, stuff we're working on. we would love to get into some other markets. we're in a small market. We've done a lot in this market. we're not perfect. We're going to solve every problem. You know, we make mistakes too. but [00:19:00] we would really like to get into some other markets and kind of take our brand and the way that we do things, to some other areas we really want to, we worked hard on operations this year, just fine tuning machine a little bit. I would want to keep growing because if you're not growing one, I get, I would just get super bored. I would be completely bored. but, being able to keep building the team and hiring good people, really now I'm kind of motivated to keep growing so that I can. Solve another problem with someone who's way better at Tommy Cole: Yeah. Chase Coates: that. That's what I like doing. So good sustainable growth. I mean, we've grown pretty quick, I think at least for our marketer or size. And, we don't want to grow too fast, but we want to keep outpacing other people, right? At the end of the day, we want to win. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Makes sense. Makes sense. Branding Tommy Cole: So one of the things I still wanted to cover, we got a, we got a few more things here, but your branding is unbelievable. The logo, the brand, the trucks. That's one of the things I noticed even, [00:20:00] I don't even know if you still have those, the Connex boxes Chase Coates: Oh, yeah. Tommy Cole: explain. We did a presentation. actually one of our, our, our marketing guy for our company did a presentation last week. I was very impressed with it, but branding is a massive thing. The simplicity of it. Explain to our listeners what that means to Outback. I mean, it is, you, you've got this logo, and, and it's impressive because it's everywhere. It's all over every, anything you touch, it's got Outback on it. Chase Coates: Yeah. Well, one, we want consistency in everything that we do, right? Because you build trust with clients, you build trust with customers, vendors, people that see you. And so we want everything to always be consistent. So, and it's hard, like, especially when you're growing a business to get a fleet consistent. To get to the point where we don't have a red truck, a blue truck and a green truck. Like, you kind of buy what you can when you can and make it work, right? That's a hard part to, that's a hard point to get to. But, all of our, [00:21:00] we branded our divisions. So all of our maintenance division is green, outback green. All of our construction trucks are black. Notoriously hard to keep clean, but it looks cool. But we wanted to set ourselves apart, right? We didn't want white fleet trucks. So all of our trucks are black cabin chassis. They're F 450s. the logo is big on the side of them, but, I want people to know what we do and I don't need to really give them much more than that. We don't put phone numbers on any of our trailers or trucks. They know where to find us. They know where Google is. We're easy to find online. And then we built a facility we moved into in 2019. And it's black. So when someone gets a postcard from us, or they see a Google ad for a design build something, and they follow that link, they go to a landing page, they see an image, that image is the same thing we're using on a postcard that we're sending out. So when they see the postcard, it looks the same, the other website, it looks the same. It's familiar. They drive by and they see the building. They know that's our brand. And then they [00:22:00] see our truck pull into the driveway. It all feels comfortable, right? Because it's the same. On the flip side of that, operations wise, we want everything, we take that same thing, same idea into operations. We want the trailers to be the same, I want the trucks to be the same. If someone's got to fill in for someone on another crew, that same philosophy we use for equipment. I mean. All of our equipment's branded, but also all of our equipment's the same brand, same controls. It's not a bobcat from an auction, a Kubota and whatever. And sometimes that's what happens, but I just, I don't think people are efficient when they're constantly learning in a new environment or running a piece of machinery they've never ran before. And then they got to move to another one and the controls are totally different. It's the same thing with the brand. You just want a simple, one of the same. And I want it to feel familiar for the employees too, right? Tommy Cole: yeah, yeah. Love it. No, it's, it's the, it's the FedEx truck that drives by, right? It's the same truck everywhere you go. Amazon's doing it too. I mean, UPS, the same [00:23:00] thing is that, you know, like I've always learned is when the truck goes by, you open your eyes and close your eyes. That's the test. If you can remember that brand, right? And, and Outback has done it. I, I love it. So, so, maybe you should just get a black, you know, instead of the plane you have now, get a black plane with the Outback logo. Chase Coates: It would be sweet. It would look cool. One day I'm gonna, I'm gonna mow more lawns for the, for that one. That's Oh, that, that would be the next step for Outback is to get a black plane with a green logo. would literally never be at Tommy Cole: actually on one side, Chase Coates: I would be gone all the time. I would never be here. I'd just be traveling all the time. Using Travel to Expand Your Thinking Tommy Cole: Yeah, yeah, that's good. No, I love to watch your stories as you travel though as you travel the globe, baby You know, I know you love to fly you you and your peer group buddies. Chase Coates: Yeah, there's a few. Yeah, there's a few of them. Tommy Cole: Yeah, Chase Coates: It's just fun. I, I got my license in 20. And I kind of just decided like in 2014 or 2015, like [00:24:00] every year I'm just going to pick a thing. And that's what I'm going to go do like, Tommy Cole: do Chase Coates: yeah, I'm like, I don't know. I kind of got frustrated because there was things I wanted to do and you get to the end of the year and you never do it. And so I was Tommy Cole: yeah Chase Coates: like, I'm just going to pick one thing. I'm going to work on it and so that year it was my pilot's license and I will say like for business owners, man, even just like go learn in a 172, 182. The thing I like about flying is it's like scuba diving. You can't think about anything else when you're doing it, you're all in and you're totally focused on that. You're not thinking about projects. You're not thinking about anything else going on. You're just focused on that one thing. So Tommy Cole: Wow. Chase Coates: for guys like being able to find a hobby or something where they can go do that and for an hour or two hours or whatever it is, they just can block everything out. cause I was trying to multitask and was doing like six things at once. Right. Sending emails from places I shouldn't and whatever, but Tommy Cole: Yeah, Chase Coates: fun to get into things like that. So anyway, that's where that came from I'd always wanted to learn how to fly[00:25:00] Tommy Cole: that's, that's great. I love the fact, I mean, you know, business owners, you know, we can get caught in the weeds and you can work, you know, 70, 80 hours a week all of a sudden and not have time for yourself. I love the fact that you just said, I'm going to focus on this one thing this year and get really good at and have fun with it. I, I think that's a lesson for all of us, right, is, is to work on other things besides the business to sort of sharpen your mind on other things. and it gives you a new perspective in your business, almost got to step away from it and then come back to it and start to see different things, right? Chase Coates: You know, that's one of like my favorite things about being in peer groups and traveling because people would say oh man You travel a lot. You're never here right never at work or what it is. you are people just don't see it They don't see you there on Saturday or Sunday or doing whatever you need to do. Right. But what they don't see is if you're traveling and you're in a conference room, or you've got an extra couple hours in the hotel room, or you're in between flights or whatever it is. I get [00:26:00] more done on those days when I don't have any distractions other than. Sitting, you know, here in this lounge or this chair or whatever at the airport for two hours and I'm have nothing to do but focus on these things I've been putting off for a week or two. I get so much done that way. Tommy Cole: Yeah. Chase Coates: Actually, I think if you, I think I heard Gary Vaynerchuk say this too, like a Tommy Cole: Oh, my favorite. Who's my favorite? Chase Coates: Maybe it was Gary. I don't remember. Anyway, I thought it was Gary. Anyway, basically said something to the effect of if you want to make a lot of money in life, you need to be traveling at least once a month somewhere because it's the perspective. It's. I thought I was having this problem and then I went and saw this company and it's not really a problem. Sometimes you come away and you're like, man, we're actually doing a lot better than I thought we were. I need to be hard on myself. There's all these different things you come back with and then you're flying or traveling or doing whatever. But, it gives you time to focus on those things because if I'm at work, I'm sucked into everything. [00:27:00] I have a hard, and I think that's part of why I like to travel is because I have a hard time. separating that out of my life. Sometimes, like if I'm in the office and I'm working, it's really hard for me to put a sign on my door and just sit down for two hours and focus, you know, it's always like an email or a call about something. So then you go talk to so and so about it and then you get like riled up and now you're driving to the job site yourself and like nonsense. But traveling forces you to figure out how to work remote. I've got a good friend, Chester, he just recently joined a peer group. Tommy Cole: He did. Chase Coates: He started his business, he was a crane operator, he was making good money, but he said it on his podcast. I listened to it the other day. It forced him to build the team instead of trying to build the team around himself. It forced him to go hire the right people from the start. That's a big deal. That's an advantage from people who start out in the field, mowing lawns or building decks or whatever it is, right? So that's pretty cool. I think sometimes those people get an advantage. [00:28:00] Over those that actually just start as a technician in the business, doing the work. Tommy Cole: Yeah, totally agree. Well, that's what's happening, you know, nowadays. These young, these young people are, they're jumping into peer groups quick at an early age. We're talking 20 year olds joining in peer groups, Chase Coates: awesome. Tommy Cole: which is great because you, you, I mean, you and I are old enough. We're like, we just figured it out on our own, right? We're hard headed. We're like, I, I, I'm going to do this myself. I don't need anyone with me, right? And then the young generation is like, wait, hold on. I'm going to go partner up with some peer group members that know way more than me. And I can share ideas, I can learn from them at 28, 7 years old, right? That's impressive. Chase Coates: Super impressive. And they gained so much speed that way, right? Like you think about, I don't know, like when I was in high school or graduating high school, like there's people, but there wasn't like, there wasn't the content that's out there or the [00:29:00] availability you didn't have. I mean, You had like Tim Ferriss and a few of those people, right? For our work, we've been like some of those things. There was nothing near the content that's out there that you can just go find, right? I mean, you can, you can almost solve any problem with your phone, right? And at least like, even when this makes me sound super old too, but like when I got started, I didn't, you didn't have email on your phone. You didn't have like, you didn't have any of that stuff, right? I can run my business from my phone. I've got an iPad. I hardly ever use it. I've got a laptop. Rarely use it. If I'm in the office reviewing bids and stuff, I use my desktop. I pretty much run everything from my phone. And, yeah, that wasn't the case before, but Tommy Cole: Very Chase Coates: the advantage of starting early. Tommy Cole: Very good. Very good. Man, there's a lot, there's a ton to learn from you, Chase. you know, I would say here, just to wrap up a few things is, I took, I'm going to keep all these notes, all these notes here. but [00:30:00] a few of the things that, that, that I loved was hire for the position, not for the person. That's a lot of the things that I coached you all the time is hire the account managers that fit the account manager role, but don't fit it for the Bob and the Sally. Cause when Bob or Sally leaves, then you're stuck. I love that. you know, anticipate before what happens in the finance world. Right. Chase Coates: Not that I've ever been perfect at it, I didn't have that figured out for Tommy Cole: that is just greatness. Another, another one that I caught on was automate sales. You know, automate systematic. I use a lot word where it's just like it's, it's a system that rolls around all the time. You've got the stuff that you're designing, then bidding. And then you've, you've proposed, you've signed the contract as goes to production. Like all those reports of automating the sales. process, you know, [00:31:00] standardized templates in your software so you're not having to reinvent the wheel on Outlook or, or Microsoft Excel and start typing things in. I mean, we've learned all that over all the years, you know, peer groups, whereas where you meet all your best friends and your best, you know, your competition across the country, right? So you learn from them, you ask them questions. They try stuff, they screw it up, you try it, you screw it up and you share ideas and you, you put the next foot forward. So, good stuff. Chase, anything else that we might have left that you would love to leave to our audience from yourself and Outback saying, Man, this is, this is what I've learned along the years, of doing it. anything to provide? Chase Coates: don't know. and I would say you just got to keep showing up, right? Tommy Cole: Yeah, Chase Coates: If someone's got a business and they hit 500 grand or a million bucks and they just get stuck there, it's usually you. It's not a [00:32:00] bad thing, but there's a way to get past it. It's just usually you. You got to figure it out and you got to figure out a way to get past it. But you've just got to always show up, right? I see so many people start things. And then it gets hard and then they just stop and you just got to show up like in this industry. I always say like 90 percent of 90 percent of this industry is just showing up to show up and do what you're supposed to. And. Tommy Cole: I totally agree. Chase Coates: that right there builds a lot of trust. Tommy Cole: You know, I, I, I have this term called hammer down. And you just got to keep hammering, you know, and, keep grinding it out. be disciplined about, about your business and your, and, in your team and, and things start to produce. A lot of times we quit and we were almost to the, we were almost to the point of break blowing this thing up in a good way. Right. just keep, keep working hard and keep, networking with, people that have been through it and then you'll be fine. Chase Coates: I've got one more good one. This would [00:33:00] be my, my top one. Tommy Cole: top one. Chase Coates: Get with someone. It doesn't matter who it is, a coach, peer group, whatever it is, learn your numbers early on, learn how to read a P and L, learn how to read a balance sheet, learn what your expenses are, learn how to calculate cost to get sold, learn those benchmarks, and then just go pump work through it this is a hard industry. Sometimes it's hard industry to make money in for sure. And we all work too hard to not make money. We all deserve to make money in this industry. And there's nothing wrong with that. But don't go work for 3, 4, 5 years trying to reinvent the wheel with all of these tools that are out there, right? There's just no reason for it. yeah, just go for it, but learn, learn your finances. Sit down with your accountant. Get a really good accountant and learn your finances. And just learn how to read those things. Tommy Cole: Yes. 100 percent agree. looking back on that, you know, I think [00:34:00] all of us would agree we should have started there. and, and Chase Coates: look there when we have a problem. Tommy Cole: yeah, once you know your numbers, now you know what you need to hit and, and then it produces profit and then you're good. So, I totally, totally agree. I think we get in this business because we're good with our hands. Chase Coates: We build cool projects and, and maintain awesome properties, but the numbers is something that we sort of, Kind of look away a little bit, right? part, right? For most of us. Tommy Cole: It's not the fun part. Well, Chase, once again, this has been an awesome session. And thank you for taking the time in your busy schedule. Chase Coates: Congratulations on the, on the new addition to the family. I've seen some pictures that already looks like you for some reason. I don't know. You're coming in nice. I Tommy Cole: yeah, the, the, the, the hair, the beard is coming in nice. Anyways, thank you so much. we'll see you soon, buddy John: Awesome. Thanks, Tommy. Ready to take the next step? Download our free Profitability Scorecard to quickly create your own baseline financial assessment and [00:35:00] uncover the fastest ways to improve your business. Just go to McFarlinStanford.com/scorecard to get yours today To learn more about McFarlin Stanford our best in class peer groups and other services go to our website at McFarlinStanford.com And don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. See you next time on the Roots of Success.