Surviving a Recession as a Home Service Business Leader With Ken Goodrich | Coronavirus Update April 29

Surviving a Recession as a Home Service Business Leader With Ken Goodrich | Coronavirus Update April 29

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Posted by Ian H., President

April 30, 2020

April 29, 2020 quick update


Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard

is reporting 1.03 million US cases and 60,846 deaths with 120,433 recovered as of 3:32pm on April 29.

Globally we are at almost 3.2 million cases and over 225K deaths with almost a million recovered.



As part of the White House’s roadmap to relax social distancing measures, President Donald Trump

unveiled a “Testing Blueprint”

to further scale up testing nationwide, with the stated goal of performing

2 million tests per week

by the end of May.

Health experts have provided a range of predictions and estimates regarding the number of tests that states and the country will need to perform in order to adequately monitor for SARS-CoV-2 in the community, particularly as states begin to relax social distancing measures. These

estimates range

from 500,000 to millions of tests per day nationwide. 


The US Department of Commerce published “advance estimates” for the

US economy in the first quarter of 2020

. The preliminary data indicate that the US gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 4.8% over the first 3 months of 2020, ending the

longest period of economic expansion in US history

. This quarter’s decrease was also the largest since 2008, at the height of the Great Recession. A significant decrease in consumer spending during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the economic contraction. 


There is hopeful news out of the

National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

'Dr. Anthony Fauci says that there is

‘Clear-cut' evidence that the experimental drug remdesivir has a proven benefit

"The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery," Fauci said at the White House today. Fauci said the remdesivir study group was able to be discharged from the hospital within 11 days, on average, compared to 15 days in the placebo group. "What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus," Fauci said. 

April 29 Topic: Becoming an industry powerhouse with Ken Goodrich

Special Guest: Ken Goodrich


CEO of Goettl Air Conditioning & Plumbing, author and business builder, is here to share his strategies on surviving a recession while building the foundation for an indestructible business.

Interview with Ken

What’s your story?

I started out working with my dad, enslaved by the family business and I was holding the flashlight for my identity at age 10. By the time I was 16, I was a service tech. The day I got my driver's license, he gave me three calls to run and I ran the calls. 

I went to college and got a finance degree, getting job offers, but they were less than what I was making in air conditioning. Unfortunately, my dad passed away around this time and bought the business from my mom at age 25. 

I started upgrading the business and got to a point where I hit the wall, I wasn't making any money. The IRS came after me for payroll taxes and such. I just didn't know how to run a business. 

Fortunately a friend of mine had given me a book,

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

. It really spoke to me and I started to carry the book in my back pocket for several years. Every time I got stuck, I would refer back to the book and start to work based on the teachings of Michael Gerber, the E-Myth.

Michael Gerber’s Principles

  • Seven Centers of Management Attention

    • Leadership- you as the business leader, are you setting the direction for the company?

    • Marketing - This is not advertising, this is your brand

    • Money - Managing your company financials

    • Management - People side of things

    • Lead generation - I need to generate a lead

    • Lead conversion - I need to sell to that lead

    • Client Fulfillment - I need to do the work for that customer

Client Fulfillment is a System

  • I started to build systems in our warehouse exactly the way I wanted them installed. Then I took pictures of them, every key component, the way I wanted it done. And I had every different configuration of air conditioner and we took the pictures, we made copies and created a checklist for how the air conditioner is going to go in.

  • We also practiced drills, rehearsed with our people on how to put in an air conditioner.

Lead Conversion or Sales as a System

  • You need to package up your sales strategy as a system and you train your people on how they sell your services. Every single time, your employees need to say the same thing. 

  • Practice drills and rehearse with them so I'm going to say it to you. You say it back just like I said it, so that they sell it the same way every time.


The One Thing You Need To Know About Lead Generation

  • You’ve got to have leads every single day. It's a 365 day a year job.

    You got to fill the pipeline, you have to keep filling the pipeline. 

Putting it All Together and Acquisition

  • I ran across a company that a guy wanted to retire. We figured out a deal and we bought the business. I went and put the three legs of the stool installed in that business lead generation, lead conversion, client fulfillment. All of a sudden that business started to grow. And I had two businesses in Las Vegas where I started. 

  • Then there was a company that was in bankruptcy. I went to a lawyer and said, how do I get this company? He says, well, that would be called a white night. You'll have to go petition the bankruptcy court and say why you can better handle the creditors and take care of the creditors. I went to the judge and told him I'm going to generate a lead, I'm going to convert the lead to the sale, and I'm going to have a system to put the systems in. This is why the previous owner failed.

  • I had three broken businesses in Las Vegas competing against each other. That turned into very successful operations because we just followed the systems and created systems for the business in every single thing. 

How did you get to the point where you weren't just the one creating the checklists? 

  • Start with the simple checklist of how to open the shop each morning. I got some interns and created a small intern team and we just started identifying the key frustration points of the business. Where are we having problems? And we would rank those by priority and then we would attack the problems and we would make the checklist. Now I have three full time, highly paid individuals that work on my innovations team.

  • We refined our systems, put our people in place, everybody's trained and everybody's choreographed.

    You need to be able to have your business run when you're not even there.

What is the actual money that's retained by the company? Walk us through what drove you there and why it's important.

  • It's really about keeping your mind straight on what the mission is, to create profits.

  • I kinda got things together, got my system strategy together, and then I read this book by Tom Monaghan who created Domino's Pizza. He said to hire three times more accountants than you think you need, because he didn't understand how to run the business until he got a hold of the numbers.

  • For anyone getting started or if you're in a stuck place or even if you want to grow, you've got to have high fidelity on your numbers. You have to have daily views on the numbers and guide the business by these numbers.

How do you build an enterprise business?

  • I consider enterprise is a business that is run by a management team, not the owners or key shareholders. An enterprise can be scalable and it can be duplicatable. You should create a business where you have hired the positions and those people operate the systems and create revenues and profits without you. 

  • If everybody that uses your software will just use the metrics that are already built into that, they would have a fantastic company if they would just use those ones. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. You just have to get to the daily disciplines of measuring everything inside your business.

How do you run your enterprise business?

  • We've only bought 20% of our total revenue. So the rest of it just comes from operational excellence and applying these systems. 

  • I have managers, which I make partners in each one of my businesses.

    I have 12 locations and each of those guys have a great salary, great bonus, and they have some equity incentive to drive the business and lead like they were owners as well.

  • If you want to know what the key elements of this enterprise that I'm building is, it's a metrics driven business. Everyone in the business knows the metrics.

    We report the metrics twice a week. We have conference calls. Key managers run the calls and we go over the metrics, we share best practices, we hold each other accountable and we continue to grow. We have built a Southwest region company with over 600 employees in seven years using this approach. 

When you first look at a business and when you first purchased the business, what is the first system that you put in place? 

  • The first thing we always do is we put in the client fulfillment system because there's nothing worse. The first thing you do is build up everything we do or use technology, use pictures or whatever and say I want it to look like this every single time.

    Just like Ray Crock says. And he said, I want a big Mac to look like this and taste this every single time.

What's the most complex system that you put into place or the most advanced one? 

  • We're now installing systems that actually are electronically diagnosing air conditioners. So they get multi-dimensional and involve so many different pieces and parts of the business.

When you're thinking about some advice that you're giving to some of the area managers , what are some things that you're telling them when it comes to lowering some costs, lowering some expenditures, to keep that net profit at that same kind of level, regardless of Coronavirus or whatever the environment kind of throws at them?

  • Urge you to not worry as much because people are interested in improving their home. In some markets I know you have to scale back and you do have to cut expenses because you can’t go to people’s homes. 

  • You just can't stop generating leads, converting leads and fulfilling the orders. Right. You just have to keep pressure on that. 

  • You're the leader, you own the company, you're building your company.

    You have to be the leader. So be the leader.

What would you say are some of the key things that you're doing that's leading to success? What advice would you give the small starting out business that is still trying to figure it out and hire the first few techs?

  • I got a guy who knew how to manage people better than I did.

    He clearly understood that everybody has their own language and you have to talk to them differently. And I only had one language. I could then focus on building the systems and charting the direction of the company.

  • Get the guys in between you and the field so that the day to day operations can move on and give you time to think and develop the systems and implement the systems. S

    hare your vision and have clear communication and transparency in your company.

  • Set goals and hold each other accountable on these goals.

Book Recommendations?

Right now in your current role when you wake up everyday, what is the absolute favorite part of your role as CEO? 

  • I like to innovate

  • You got to get to the place where you're innovating.

  • I ask advice

Questions from Audience

How do you handle negativity written about you and your team?

  • We always use it as what it really is. It's a metric of how you're performing your work.

    How are you performing your leadership with your employees, how you're performing to work with your customers. We try to change how we do business or with our employees for instance, to take away some of that negativity

  • Even when I first started, my dad taught me that you have to make a good profit on every single job to survive 

  • I could share the value better than anyone else and get the premium price for the job

We've been in business for five years now. I handle all the admin and sales and still work in the field. I have three employees. We are profitable, but I'd like to take that to the next step. What's your advice to reach the next level?

    • If you don't have a client fulfillment system and a quality assurance system, stop everything you're doing and go build that.

    • Create a system for your big ticket items so that you can go in with confidence that those will be performed or installed how you want them

    • Eliminate mercenaries in your system by making your selling and installing system the only way and then you quantify the results to know if they're actually doing that. You quantify various touch points in the sale to know that they're actually using the system that you set up. 

How do you value a business if you're looking to buy it? What are the metrics that you're looking at in order to place a value on a business?

    • Traditionally a businesses is bought by multiple of earnings and so, you know, somewhere between one and 10 times earnings

    • In many cases there's no profits, right? There's not a lot of profitable businesses in the home services. And so, you know, you kind of have to look at the potential of the business, what you think you can do with it.

    • You can extract somewhere a number that makes sense from I can pay for this, I can tweak this, I can raise the prices, I can do this and this. That will change my multiple of earnings down to a reasonable level after the first six months.

    • So for this conversation you say, okay, I believe that with your customer count that I think is going to move forward with me cause you don't get them all right. So I look at it like we're going to lose at least half of them in an acquisition. So I have half, half the customer count or call count that I once had, but I impute my average tickets and my margins on it and then I'll have what I deem to be the revenue of that acquisition

What is one actionable item that you want to leave with our audience here before we sign off tonight?

    • One of my partners and senior VP, Landon Brewer, runs a Facebook group called

      Service Einsteins

      and it's a great place where we share ideas and a lot of this stuff we're talking about  you can have access to myself, Landon and a lot of great operators around the country by joining that group.

    • Don't give up guys. You just go, go get the help and implement. 

Don’t Forget to Join Us Online

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Network with other professionals in your area and receive a $15 Grub Hub gift card, just for participating. Register today! 

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Legal disclaimer

Housecall Pro is offering the Coronavirus Evening Update for Home Service Businesses for informational purposes only and to foster thoughtful communication and discussion regarding the COVID-19 pandemic; Housecall Pro is not offering advisory services or otherwise advising or representing any members of the group invited to participate.  Housecall Pro is not offering legal, medical or other professional advice in the Coronavirus Evening Update and makes no representations or warranties regarding the content of the Coronavirus Evening Update.  Participants should obtain independent advice relating to their businesses and their particular circumstances.


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