Trying to Grow a Business? Let's talk about Employee's!!!
when it comes to trying to grow your business at some point you're not gonna be able to do everything yourself now i've had to learn this the hard way all right pretty much you think of the mistake and i've probably made it at least twice but that's just part of the journey that we're all on and at the same time i think it's also okay for us to talk about some of the struggles and the barriers and stuff that together we can overcome so recently i was invited to be the special guest on the locksmith united monthly zoom call with wayne winton now in this zoom call here we actually really deep dive into a lot of different areas and i think all in all there's some really good conversations that i've had and i'm really excited for you to listen to it now a lot of you have asked for more information kind of about clk and all of that kind of stuff and the good news is that i share a lot of insider baseball on this as well so for those of you who have been asking for more and are very curious about kind of the inner workings behind the scenes well guess what i actually talk a lot about what we do here behind the scenes the good news is that even just knowing this information hopefully it will just spark ideas of how you can run your current business even better so with that being said i hope you enjoy so we want to go ahead and discuss the topic of employees this is going to be something if your business is going to expand then you're going to want to have to address this issue and you're going to want to have a good plan for that so a good plan for that is knowing a lot of the things that you're going to in encounter and come across and i was having a really great conversation with pj um from lockboss so i don't know if you guys if you guys recognize pj from lockboss that's awesome he's got a really awesome youtube channel a really awesome social media following going on and um we've got a lot a lot of people here and if you're going to grow you're going to need employees i mean that's just all there is to it so with that i really take the initiative of employees i don't like that term anymore i really don't i like the term teammates and the term teammates is a whole lot friendlier and it says it it seems to me like we're trying to accomplish a goal here and if we're trying to accomplish a goal i want a strong team behind me to help accomplish that goal or a strong team with me okay i have pretty much eradicated the word employee from my vocabulary and that's the reason why i mean if if you put yourself in the position and you are looking for a job or you're looking for a situation uh for employment do you want to be if you apply to two different facilities and one of them says hey we want highly skilled highly motivated teammates to help our company accomplish set mission goals do you want to be a part of that where you're going to be recognized you're going to be rewarded for high performance and you're going to be part of a team or do you want to be another employee that just you know is out there and an employee's just an employee will tell you what to do you go do it and that's the job i mean obviously i would rather be part of a team and feel that accomplishment as we move forward and as we meet those goals so that's why i use the term teammates and that's that's what i really refer to the other thing that i want to go over is the leadership starts at the top if you're not willing to do the job that you're asking your employees to do why are you why are you even asking them to do it like i'm never going to tell my employee to get in a position where they're not going to be safe i'm never going to ask an employee to do something that i'm not personally willing to do or at least show them how to do properly and show them my expectations at least once yes i'm hiring them to do that job repetitively but there's no reason that i can't do it the first time to you know get them started and get things going and as far as what expectations are so a boss is somebody who's going to just direct orders and um you know shout orders and i'm really not a fan of that a leader is somebody that's going to lead the other people to want to go ahead and do what needs to be done uh pj do you have any uh information or do you have any comments on that oh yeah i mean i definitely completely agree first of all wayne thanks for having me uh really happy to be here and hi to everybody um that may not know um but uh yeah so uh yeah i mean i think the word employee today um has more of a negative uh connotation behind it and um it's not really you know sexy today to talk like that and people you know are kind of like ah like what does that mean right and that kind of stuff so i think using team member part of your staff whatever it might be uh you know can be helpful yes yep exactly uh so can you tell us a little bit about what you have set up like like you know clk supplies about how many employees do you have you know how many people how many worker bees do you have out in the shop and how many you know key members do you have like management staff uh you know things like that um yeah so uh i have a total of three businesses um the one that uh all of you would know me through or buy would be clk supplies right we saw lock in key supplies and between the three i have a little over 20 staff members the majority of them work here in our office um the remaining are remote on top of that we have about an extra five that are part-time wow so somewhere around 25-ish maybe 30 you know i always mean to count but i never do it actually as we get into it you'll you'll see it's really not incredibly um important to me like the number per se but um needless to say when i started so i've been doing this clk supplies now for 18 years which is essentially my entire adult life i started when i was 19 i'm 37 now and it's been quite the journey with staff members so unlike or probably like most of you when i started i was by myself right and at the time i had locksmithing experience my dad's a locksmith still is today and um i was talking on the phone then packing up the orders and shipping them out and doing all that stuff and all of a sudden you get too busy and you're like okay i'm working from as soon as i get up to when i'm just dog tired at the end of the day and i need help yes well the problem that i started to encounter when i started to hire a staff member or two was like i was in a place of overwhelm and i'm sure a lot of you can relate to that um that feeling that phase of life all of a sudden you know we just find ourselves in it and then it becomes really difficult to operate yes so when we're in overwhelm like we're not going to act our best towards others we're not going to do very good when we're trying to train someone we're not going to communicate well we have all of these things going on because we're stressed out and we're busy right we're really really busy right and by far when i was starting out for the first shoot um eight-ish years all i did was just like hit this thing where i'd have one or two staff members go down to one go back up to go back down to one and um it was just like incredibly stressful and at times i'm like is it honestly worth it um over the course of the 18 years right i've had my work my workman's comp sued um you know have all sorts of problems that maybe some of you have faced and you know you really feel like you're just pulling your hair out at least i did and um you know it's hard and then you know the relationship so i have three daughters 14 10 and five and for my two oldest my 14 and my 10 year old my wife was still in the hospital right after giving birth and i had to go um get orders out um i just had to i didn't really have a choice it's like listen no one's gonna order if they you know if i can't get the orders out you can't get it out yanking it out well i mean that creates its own problem right with my wife who's still in the hospital and unfortunately we didn't have a very smooth um child birthing experiences and so um you know i have pressure now at work i have pressure at home and it gets really tough and so i think really the first big hurdle a lot of times is just getting out of that trying to get out of that overwhelm phase when you're trying to add one or two and that that overwhelm can still hit yet 10 or 20 staff members as well but it's really critical at the um very beginning i i 100 agree with that and i think you know we we kind of chatted about this a little bit before the time to start hiring and tell me if you agree with this the time to start hiring is before you hit the overwhelm mode because then you're desperate you're like i just need somebody to take a small percentage of this load off of my shoulders because i can no longer do it i physically can't i mean we're you and i are both really high energy you know we'll do what it takes we'll put in the late nights you know highly motivated people that'll do all that stuff and it does take its toll and while we can do that a big question that we have to ask ourselves is how long can we maintain that and that started to be where yeah i can do this now but like you said when you know there's something going on at home or your wife's having a baby or you know something happens or your kid wrecks their car or you know something happens out there that is going to mandate your time and then you have to put this away yes you could handle that workload but as soon as a wrench gets thrown in there you can't handle it anymore so the time to really start thinking about hiring is before we get into that overwhelm mode that way you're hiring out of prosperity not desperation can you elaborate some of your experiences a little bit on that i definitely agree right that the hard part like where the rubber meets the road with that always is money now there's pretty much two ways you start and fund a business right you gain you get some investors or you have some sort of money that you've saved up and then you use that to fund your business and start it and do all that all that stuff that was definitely not me and i'm guessing a lot of us uh watching it's not you as well right you started out you figure out how to get by um with what you have and then you just start building and you know turning that into a snowball as you go and so what happens all of a sudden you need to hire someone even let's say it's part time and their salary is 15 000 a year or something let's say yeah part of you is like i got to make sure i can cover that 15 000 and then if i'm training them uh with me well they're not actually bringing any extra money so it might be a month might be two months before that money starts coming in and uh that can can kind of be a problem right and so i mean probably the best way i could put it was like when i found myself in overwhelm right if you're getting after it and you're going and you're going um i think you essentially have two options at that point um one to get yourself out of overwhelm and more of a healthy spot is you can a decide to work even more and i've been there i mean um when covid hit and all of a sudden we just saw sales they came back but at first you know you just see this and i burned through a lot of cash really quickly and i was like okay i need to move to seven days a week and i need to uh make sure i stay ahead of this curve right right so sometimes that's that's the answer um sometimes the other answer what i find a lot what i still do today is that you have to stop doing certain types of work and typically that's going to be the lowest profit work or it's work that you just can't train anybody to do right and um because you have to free up at some point you're gonna have to free up time right and the only way i've been able to ever free up time is to just stop doing certain type of work almost every year even last year in one of my uh um other businesses we went to a spot where we found that there was this one type of work that we did was just very very unprofitable and i could feel it i could see it you know everybody's busy and the money isn't what it should be right and so we just made the decision like you know what let's just go ahead and just cut that and let's just uh you know gently you have people either pay our normal prices or they're gonna have to you know find someone else we'll help off-ramp each one of them that we needed to and we did right and um it was scary a little bit i mean in that particular business i have six staff members and i was like you know let's see what happens but um all in all at the end of the day if you're in that overwhelm mode it's not going to get better getting more business right because that staff member is not going to be trained properly and you're just not going to be operating at a level um that's going to be helpful at all to anyone in your life your customers your team members and your own family you're just setting up warranty work you know you send somebody out to too quickly you know it's it's either a recall if you're trying to get product out or it's uh you know warranty work if you're doing service work and it's you know it's just crazy and you're exactly right you know um yeah getting that right person right where you need them and to take on that particular chunk of work and that's what a lot of people don't do either i don't think is they they think okay well i need an employee well they go out and hire somebody did you clearly lay out the expectations that you as an employer going to provide for that employee did you clearly lay this out and did you clearly state what you expect from that employee in return and people don't think about that they think oh i can i can come up with that later i just need help now no you're setting yourself up for failure if you're not going to go ahead and do that steve your hand is up go ahead sir yeah i'm just also wondering i mean you know when we run business at locksmith publishing back when we were in chicago we had you know 45 employees and stuff but with you folks you're running most of you're running smaller businesses i know we had opportunities go through and you vet people before you bring them in number one so are you you know do you have the opportunity pj to vet people you're bringing in and number two one of the issues we have and still have you know with the publishing company uh presently is you know do you take the gamble on bringing somebody in you know it's gonna be a short time or just because you need the help somebody's either looking to uh you know get short time experience so they can move on uh so you know that to me those are two big issues especially for small businesses vetting people to make sure they're worth the investment of your time and number two uh you know do you uh uh do you invest in somebody you have a gut feeling is going to be a short time and move on after you put in all this uh time and effort those are some great excellent points go ahead pj you do talk about yours and i'll let you know what i've come up with um yeah steve great great questions um so i think the like the biggest challenge we're up against the average uh person keeps employment at a job depending on their demographic their age 2.8 to 4.1 years and so the way i try to look at things is um like i just want to beat the odds if i can't i want to beat the stats and um how i try to do that is by stacking 5 to 10 improvements on top of each other right like there's no panacea that i've been able to find or hear in hiring or you know you know team member retention um to do a panacea but we can intentionally add five to ten percent stacks on top of each other and you know you get enough of those and you get a 30 50 70 improvement and so um how we do that is a variety of ways that i can definitely um get into but as far as like your short so like to answer the question about the short timers um if it's obvious now it kind of depends on the position okay uh when it comes to like our warehouse staff um that's a kind of a more difficult position um to hire for um long term and so we really just try to look at the look at the odds right what what the stats say and depending on their demographic if um you know if we if it looks like we can have around for 2.8 um or 4.1 years uh you know we're
gonna give it a go but i mean if some people are like yeah i'm gonna go to college in six months and i'm gonna quit or i'm moving to texas in three months obviously for those ones were just you know uh gently passing right um so yeah you asked that in your interview process do you do you press them on that a little bit where how how where do you see yourself do you give them a scale like where do you see yourself in two to five years is that something yes yeah yep yes so we have like a list of interview questions um that they um that we'll ask for sure um you know but we try to like reverse engineer the process which is like a lot of a lot of times our hardest problem is is like how do we attract people to even apply right right like and one i think one of the biggest like one of the things we don't talk about enough is trying to get the type of person that we want to work for us to actually apply right and how you do that is just kind of by answering what we found is a few basic type of questions or statements that you can make that you can hopefully start getting the right people in the door um one of those is like talking about everyone wants to talk about benefits right like what benefits do you offer and um i think you know of course like if you can like we you know we offer um health insurance 401k paid days off all of that other stuff but it's hard to start there per se and so the big question is is like what benefits can you actually um offer that are unique and might um want people to get that job just for you you know to come work for you and i'll give you a couple examples of what we use um that you might find um helpful okay so um the first one is is we do paid lunch breaks so when someone's here for eight hours but um they're only working for 7.5 hours there's a 30 minutes um they get to leave here they can go to the lunchroom they can do whatever they want but they get um that half hour is going to be paid right which equals up to about another two weeks of paid vacation right right so um we also will do um stuff with real flexible schedules so our kind of philosophy my philosophy is really like if you if you know hey we all have stuff that comes up all the time maybe opportunities to do something fun maybe unfortunate opportunities to you know go do something with the family that you wish you didn't have to do like maybe a funeral or something and uh maybe that doesn't fit in with the paid days off and all of that other stuff well we try to look at it as if um if we can if a if you can get the work done or b we can um get someone to cover that work well you can have that time off right we're not gonna hold it against you uh you know because all of us need some flexibility in our lives because well life's just not a straight path right life works like this it's ups and downs for sure and so people i mean there's i have some staff members that have said like i mean the paid lunch and the flexibility when their child um is sick and they need to stay home and knowing that they're not going to get a hard time for that um is a major major perk right and so depending on what your circumstances are and what you're able to potentially offer um being able to kind of think outside the the box a little bit and come up with um ideas and strategies of little perks that you can offer that really um people value wow okay that's good now you mentioned getting people in the door um you know we had some we have some powerpoint presentation things put up but that's apparently not going to work right now but uh two of the ideas that i that i had and then actually i'll give credit to chad lingafel uh came up with the the putting a application sticker or putting an application button on your website uh he said is just a game changer uh he said you would not believe how many people actually go to websites to look and see if they're hiring and being a locksmith this is just a crazy unique little trade that you know there's a lot of hobbyists that want to try and make that leap from hobbyist into professional and they're looking for places that are hiring and they're not necessarily looking on indeed they're looking at local locksmith shops so they're either going to do a search and check out a web page or google listing or they're just going to come right in the shop and maybe having my idea is would be to have like like a qr code or something they could scan that says apply here and then it takes them right to an application page that's going to get some more people rolling in the door and then that's going to get you it's almost pre uh preemptive uh you know steps to say all right well now i have a database a pool to go ahead and dip from and i'm not in an emergency overload mode going on indeed slapping up ads everywhere to try and get somebody to take this position look we lost somebody we need to replace that position here's my pool are you guys still interested and they had enough initiative to come to you in the first place through those channels and i find that's a huge huge asset absolutely yeah i mean i think uh you know with so my dad you know he owns and operates uh uh he has three stores i think he has about 15 ish locksmiths who work for him and uh back you know i grew up with him and uh i got to experience him hiring and um when i turned 18 17 18 i started doing some of the hiring i like to mess with him because i out of his long time staff two of the three long timers i hired right so i like to give him a hard time for that but uh you stole his employees but i you know i think the i think one of the biggest things any of us can do is when you're in business is from time to time when you least expect it someone's going to show interest uh maybe it's on a job and they're interested maybe they call and say they're looking for a job it's really making sure that you collect that information say oh we're not hiring right now sorry come back later don't don't say that like hey hey going to bring drop us off your application we'd love to take a look at it and if something comes up in the future i'll definitely let you know and i think by doing that i think it's one of the biggest lost opportunities to keep those um around is is to do that um in the locksmithing world i mean there's a lot of uh people that seem to come from some sort of auto mechanic or even lock sport you know one of the things i've been most surprised about um over the past couple years of doing all of our youtube stuff is being able to talk to people and see like what industries they're coming from and the number one industry that we've found which blows my mind is actually computers i.t right the amount of people that have went from it to locksmithing it i mean i wouldn't believe it to this day if i didn't actually get it from you know myself but um yeah i think you know indeed i think all of those things uh i don't think there's like a magic bullet you know i don't think there's a panacea button that we could push i think we have to try to stack five to ten percent you know hacks on top of each other right right yeah no and i really i really like that uh that kind of metaphor that you use about the the stacking just trying to get increase you're not i'm not trying to turn a an average employee that's coming in for the average of 2.8 years or whatever it is into a four-year employee
but if you use the stacking compound interest mindset and you're like well if we get ten percent more this year and ten percent out of the next one at ten percent and it adds up and pretty soon you have a pretty uh a pretty crazy you know outcome after that's all said and done so i really like that thought process as well um one of one of the things that i've really been uh looking towards or you know entertaining is a lot of times somebody that's looking for a job might be looking for a job for a reason uh whereas somebody that's currently employed they have already got the skills that say they can show up on time they can perform the job they're already currently there maybe they're just not happy in that particular situation and that was one of the things that happened uh with the with the last gentleman that we hired up i didn't even pick up on it but the guy that i do electronic access with just started kind of talking with one of the security guards and um josh is actually in in this meeting here so he's he gets to kind of hear the back backstory and everything on it but you know john's talking to him back and forth and he just kind of picked up he's like man i think this guy's a really really good employee and has some potential here and uh you know he was talking about times that he was getting up and all these things and um you know he's he's turned out to be great you know he'd actually just went through training and he's just been turned loose and you know he's out there running calls right now but that was one of those examples where maybe you should be looking in more than just uh you know application centers maybe look for people that you encounter throughout the day to see how that's to see how that's going on uh we got a question down here let's see what the chat box says uh be a team member let's see do you normally interview potential team members employees online or in person um i mean we'll we'll take i do both i mean i'll then that's another that's another great thing to kind of dive into and i'm kind of curious to hear how you do it pj um i'll usually get a candidate and then i will have my office manager uh hannah in interview them first and this is like a pre-screening uh so it does two things it frees up more of my time to if she says no then it's an automatic no i don't want anybody on my team after myself uh you know hannah is pretty much number two you got to be able to work with her and and get along with her and we all have to be on that same page and so if she says no right away that already clears a bunch of people out and it sifts it down to the to the gold and then um she also has a completely different perspective of what to look for in quality assets than i do um and then so after she does the interview and they pass with flying colors there and i mean flying flying colors then i'll go ahead and and uh do a phone interview as well and then usually day one is going to be like a working interview and what i'll do is i'll i'll give them a lock and i'll show them how to re-key it'll be like look here's the truck here's the job here's reking a simple lock and then i'll hand it to them can you do this and if they can do it right away hey we've got potential here if they can't you know it doesn't mean that they're a bad employee or not mechanically sound or anything like that it just means that i just showed you how to do something and you can't pick it up that quickly you're going to struggle i'm doing you a favor by telling you you're going to struggle in this business and it's probably not going to be in your best interest it's not going to be in either either of ours best interest yeah i mean you know i think uh so i haven't actually like so my managers will do the hiring based on the department that they're in and they'll typically like all know when they're very serious um about a candidate because they will bring them to me if i'm if i'm there and introduce me if possible but um you know at this point in the game we have everything documented like exactly what we expect out of them and um my management team knows that they their job is you know like they're accountable for the depart the performance of their department and so because i they're accountable to that i allow them to choose the staff members that get to be on their team right and and so they'll do the hiring um and they have full reign without my permission right so they can hire who they want they can also let go who they want and they'll definitely talk to me about you know someone they're going to let go before they do sure um but yeah that's kind of how we do it but there's a couple interesting points if i could bring up um that i think is like very very beneficial so talking about like those five to ten percent hacks that you kind of stack on each other and get somewhere right there's um a few of them that i think that are like so powerful that um like i highly suggest that that be adapting these to fit like your own business and how you function you don't have to do exactly the way we do um you can do it but i do this in three different businesses and it works exactly the same way and it is absolutely um great the outcome and that is um one is setting up a incentive program so um and a little quick backstory on this so i have a um a friend who has 23 domino's pizza locations um about 300 staff members and they're almost all part-time um and uh i was you know we were sitting down for a pizza at one of his restaurants and uh i was like man if you don't mind me asking like how in the world could you keep people showing up here and doing their jobs when well i don't really know anyone who wants to sign up to work at domino's right and um he said oh very simple he points to this thing on the wall and he says we have this incentive program i was like oh man you got to tell me more and so he explained it to me i ended up over over the course of a few months adopting it um to ourselves to our own my own businesses and it's been absolutely phenomenal and it's really simple too um so we have it set up to where like all for in our example okay so like we all know if you were to take your last year's revenue divided by 12 you know what your rev your at your revenue um average revenue each month was last year right because what i do is i set it up at a 10 and a 20 growth okay that that's about i mean in a perfect world we want to grow about 20 not much more um it gets sloppy in my if from my perspective after that point right it's a way that set up on those two numbers now if we hit those if we hit that 10 percent or over that 10 or over that 20 percent all of a sudden we kick out percentages and maybe it's uh six percent so let's say you do a hundred thousand a year a month in revenue and the incentive program would be uh three percent if you did over um that hundred or a hundred and ten thousand for that ten percent growth and then for the twenty percent growth let's say it was six percent and so that kitty now has three thousand dollars or six thousand dollars in at that point you pretty much just set it up for contribution margin so to speak um essentially whatever that person does or whatever type of stuff that person is accountable for well you incentivize that good behavior um for example maybe you have someone that is uh you know they're great but they show up jobs late all the time and you know you're getting calls with customers being like hey it's 1004 why is it your guy here and it's like well he left with plenty of time like what would he take the long route or you know how do what happened well you can just set up a matrix for um listen if you're late more than if you're on time 90 or more you get 10 if you're 95 or more on time you get x amount percent and then you just stack up as many as it goes and then you change them based on what's going on so i'll give you an example for us okay i'll give you a couple examples um so shipping error rates are obviously a big deal like not only do they irritate customers when you get the order is wrong but it's also very costly to a company to ship the wrong stuff have to quickly reship the new stuff out get the old the stuff all the pockets all the profits gone by the time you deal with that it's all gone it's it's a loss right yeah it is and so like we want to avoid that at all cost if possible and so we sent up a tier right and so it's like zero percent a month point four percent a month you know whatever that percentage is yeah and then you incentivize people to do it okay well what happened is we did that we got it down really low we did a great job with that but then all of a sudden i noticed that our overtime hours are crazy right we're talking like 30 40 hours every pay period of overtime being paid because they're making sure that like they hit this other one right and so guess what i open up a new i create a new window and now we have a overtime uh box based on how many hours total per the department um does and then it's scaled on that incentive program so it's a living and breathing document they know it's based on that peak performance and is what happens is it allows you as the business owner to be like hey i know when we operate this way and we grow we're going to make enough money to where we can share that money with the staff with the team that actually accomplish those goals um and it also allows you to keep working on existing issues as they come up and and the goal of it is by the way is like we don't want like a person on their on their check to get like an extra twenty dollars right we want them to get an extra 500 or thousand dollars in that month if they hit their incentive program right because because this is set up the business is set up to do that right um the other one i want to bring up which is probably even more powerful is what we call edn okay and they're essentially development meetings and every two weeks we get together um so i get together with my managers and then the managers all get together with their staff now it's a time investment they're typically about 30 minutes and it's just a time to sit down and talk and it's and it's time for them to um have time to talk to you to ask questions and to resolve sort of issues right now they may know that they're underperforming in an area because well we've already talked to them about that or maybe there's a problem with a other team member and we already know about it but sitting down and allowing them just to talk with their manager or sometimes they'll pull me in they want to talk to me and we'll do that as well and just giving them an opportunity to voice their opinion to feel like they're being heard like what they say matters um goes so far because um for example i a few years ago i missed 2015. i had a one of my long time staff members she can't she comes to me and she's like hey pj um i don't want to be rude but you have i haven't gotten a pay increase in two years and i was like are you joking and she's like no she's like the reason i'm bringing it up is because i know you're not thinking about it right and i'm like oh my gosh i mean it's it's embarrassing for me to even talk about it now you know and she's still with me to this day but uh probably because you gave her an open mic to bring it up yes yep gave the open mic and then i'm like okay let's solve this problem and so like for us june so next month every year we do our pay increases and we i even have a documented process that everyone knows exactly how they're based on how they're going to um how we evaluate for pay increases and what that looks like and so it's not like you know i never want to put a team member especially a loyal one that's been with me to be like hey pj should i really like are you ever gonna pay me more like you know what's the deal and um so yeah so there's a couple things i have for you there those are that those are all awesome awesome suggestions and thank you so much for sharing that with us it's it's kind of it for for some of the newer guys here that's that's some real secret sauce stuff that you're that you're allowing us to you know hear from you right there so i really appreciate that um bill did have a question here he had his hand up so i want to go ahead and give him just a second here and then we'll elaborate a little bit more go ahead i just want to go back on to kelvin's question about in person i always do all interviews in person basically because i have to have people fill out a application online you can't do do this in person you can do it can they follow simple instructions is their handwriting readable i mean you may have a great technician if this is not read reasonable you're going to go fits trying to fill out the invoice in the day to put them in your programs you've got to be able to read your handwriting those are some good points yeah that's that's a good that's some that's some good information too uh yeah i definitely we have to have a face to face before you come aboard that's definitely mandatory i just try and aggregate it and screen it down to the gems before it gets to that point so that way i'm not wasting my time too but that's that's a really good point you can tell a lot about how somebody's going to interact how they're going to treat your van how they're going to treat your tools uh just by you know legible handwriting i mean everything's pretty much online and on the phone with invoices now but i can definitely see where you're coming from with that thanks bill go ahead dylan um so something came up recently when i tried to apply for a job here in charlottetown um one of the guys he didn't want to hire me because he had a problem before where he hired somebody and then that person started his own business and then took business away from him yep so i mean he didn't hire me so i just started my own business anyway so i'm not sure he probably would have done better if he hired me but would be making money right now with me but um i'm just wondering has anyone had any experience with that or is there something you can do to stop people from doing that um and it's it's pretty difficult and that's a that's a great point and thank you for bringing that up i do appreciate that i had that happen to me uh and i had i had my attorney you know i was scared to death of this happening and so i i had my attorney drop this huge you know long contract and there was uh you know non-disclosure agreements about trade secrets and there was um non-compete agreements and you know i paid an attorney a lot of money to make a really iron-clad contract and when that contract needed to be enforced um it depends on the state that you're in in my state it didn't do what it was supposed to do it really didn't it didn't do very well at all i hired a guy i was in desperation mode one of my employees was leaving and it was due to circumstances out of there or my control they had family members that were needed medical care 24-hour medical care and it was not in the same town so they just they couldn't it wasn't bad they didn't do a bad job and i didn't treat them bad they just had family circumstances take them out of the equation and i needed somebody now i i saw the pain on the wall and i was like look we got to get somebody now so i had this other guy approach me and uh he seemed kind of willing and eager to learn and you know i usually have a pretty good gut feel that something just told me that this you know this guy might be a little snaky and i didn't listen to it stupid me but this is how we learn and sure enough he worked for me for you know six seven months or whatever and then he he went ahead and started his own thing went as far as to use covid as an excuse to no longer work for me and then was working for his own company in business all while drawing my unemployment so yeah i got burned pretty i got burned pretty good by that exact scenario and you know here's where i was really really aggravated with that whole scenario i was extremely hurt i was extremely frustrated with it i spent all this time to train my competitor and um boy i wanted that contract to come through for me but it sure didn't and that's when i started to shift my whole focus i want to focus on do i want i started to really ask myself do i want to be tethered to somebody who doesn't want to work for me do i want to be tethered to somebody who's not going to be giving me a hundred percent who wants to go do their own thing do i want any of this headache and more and more the answer really became clear so instead of focusing my energy on building an ironclad forceful contract to bend a teammate into submission i went along a different path and said i'm just going to make my work environment so good and irresistible that they don't think about starting their own business because it would be too much of a pain and too hectic to go ahead and do so that's how i combated that particular scenario i just want to make my work environment so great so nice so easy and mellow and everything so accessible that i've provided a great work environment where i don't have to go to those measures and if you don't want to work for me anymore hey you know what you're always you're always going to come across a couple snakes in the grass so hopefully that answers some of your question there trevor has his hand up and then i'll let pj go ahead and talk about the subject as well go ahead trevor i just wanted to comment a bit on on what you were saying there and i totally agree if you make the environment something that the you know employer team member wants to stay you know they don't feel like well i can do better on my own or i'm not making enough money if they're paid well enough and there's incentives of you know wayne i think you do uh some commission incentives on uh selling lots of product you get bonuses i think i've seen a video of you saying that i could be wrong but if people feel like they can always move ahead and always get ahead in the business that they're in then they have no reason to compete and um in british columbia where i am in canada uh it takes two years to get your locksmith license so you know that's another thing is if you um hire somebody you can certainly you know if you hire them right from not being a locksmith and train them yourselves you know you got at least two years for them to you know really dig their heels in and get comfortable wow yeah that would be a brutal process if i had to wait two years to get a trained employee rolling and making money that seems very counterproductive by the the state's point of view they can work for you for that two years it's it's locksmith under supervision for the first two years and then after that two years they're fully licensed and that's when they could go okay yeah that's okay thank you for clearing that up okay thank you trevor those are those are all really good points um yeah and that's i mean that's it that system seems to be working for me much better now um bj what what do you have to say about that i i think um your dad's side is more of the the locksmiths in the shops you know and the vans rolling around out in the field that probably has a little bit more uh to pertain to this particular meeting what what kind of stuff does does he do or do you know that they do um to combat that or to you know just kind of lessen the blow and has that happened to you guys um yeah so i mean it definitely has happened to him i would like almost i think all but one of the local locksmiths now in town um are ex-staff members right and i mean i remember one when i was a kid i was probably 10-ish years old at the time it was my dad's right hand guy he ended up buying another locksmithing business in town um took his biggest client and i mean my dad was sweating bullets on this one i mean he wasn't sure if he was gonna make it it was bad and uh i mean i i remember you know where we were driving at the time when he was trying to explain it to me and how bad it was um you know as times went on he's had to happen a few more times he does have a non-compete in place which i mean i think for the most part uh is more of just like a sign of intent uh more than anything um although i would say like i think there's two um parts of it though that we don't really talk enough and i really try to encourage uh my dad a lot on in that area and it kind of hits it what um dylan was saying here uh kind of towards the beginning and so he went um to uh you know get a job with a couple locksmiths both of them said no but then he also knows that soon uh it sounds like both of them are probably going to retire at some point right and so i think a lot of times like when you go to someone and you're looking for a job a lot of it's about like um they're wondering what you can do for them and how you're going to harm how you could potentially harm them instead of just getting really really really honest about it and talking about the future be like yes i do want to become a locksmith maybe owning a company would be something that i do it is one of my goals or dreams in life is there a possibility at some point maybe you would want to sell the business to me or maybe help me get started in a a city over like what does that look like like how can we work together yeah and having those really frank and honest conversations um i think is it should be had because i think at the end of the day like it's better to live with a little class right and to operate that way and my personal belief in my staff members that are with us now like i always go back to that 2.8 to 4.1 years okay we want to extend that everything i've talked about is trying to extend that out as far as possible for many reasons but what's important to always remember is that people like we're all only you know alive once here on this earth and um we should want everybody to reach their goals and their dreams and their ambitions that they have in their life and whatever part that we can play in that for whatever um length of time um they're in our lives um we just want to take advantage of that and try to have the most best memorable experience that we can um and and i and i know that kind of sound a little maybe romantic when it comes to this topic but i think that if we can really get to the core of um the experience of it all um we can hopefully get there and we can try to operate that way i i agree with that a thousand percent um you know and that's that's all on the same topic of employees you know i tell my people you know if you have a problem and it's a big problem i have that same problem if you have a problem i have a problem so allow me to help fix that if you want me to if you want if you want to help that problem is always you know what i mean you can the door is always open you can always bring that problem and i try and you know see things ahead of time like i can tell hey if somebody calls and they they need a couple days off they got a family emergency they got a you know they gotta fly out of state they gotta go back to you know wherever it is or they gotta go do something i'll just preemptively i'll just say hey you know call up the account and hey cut them an extra check cut them they're payable payroll right now you know put some cash in their pocket right now they've got they're going through something they don't ask they don't ask for anything but i just go ahead and do that as a step ahead i want to help you get your goals and i'm not just going to talk about it i'm actually going to put my money right where my mouth is and put it right directly into your pocket you know and what somebody else was saying about you know incentivized uh projects and and things like that is um you know uh right now the first when we first bring people on i like to keep them commissioned and they kind of like to be commissioned or i'm sorry um no monthly payments not commission they want they want a standard paycheck they want to know they can count on a certain amount salary each week or each month or whatever it is and uh that seems to be working better at the beginning to get them introduced to that specific uh you know new job new everything else that's going to get them make them feel comfortable with that now as far as the after hours calls that i do split up you know we'll do like a 60 40 split on that with the 40 going to them and that incen incentivizes them hey maybe i do want to pick up that phone maybe i do want to go run that call for 150 or 200 if if it's going to put some serious cash on my paycheck now all of a sudden it's worth it instead of me just expecting it them hating it and planting those seeds of resentment right in there you know that's that's some of the main things that that we've you know gone over and yeah if somebody came to me and they're like hey you know uh we've been working for you for five ten years or whatever it is and and it's my long-term goal to to get my shop going and you know do something like that i would definitely entertain you know like a franchise franchising option a new location you know or maybe make them you know like a training manager or something like that or give them give them that room to grow if you're going to grow and you're not going to outgrow me but you want to grow as fast as we can grow i'm happy to grow with you you know i would rather do that and support it rather than not and then make another competitor again you're just you're cutting your own throat when you do that especially if they came to you with that first you know when you know something something i i think we should probably talk about for a minute uh for uh fun a little bit is um when you know if any of you out there you know you have your and i've experienced this so much um growing up and that is when you are looking at like let's say your outfit you're hiring another person you're going to get them a van you're going to put them in there you're going to have them start you know doing jobs tendency a lot of times because you know expansion costs a lot right the vehicle the equipment i've seen so many times and we've helped set up so many different locksmithing operations and that is you tend to go we tend to go sometimes really cheap on what the new team member actually gets right we get all the stuff that makes it easy and they get all the stuff that formerly made us irritated and um you know it's one of those things that like you're new you're trying to learn and you have like the worst equipment to do it for and you know no way seeing the van and you're you know you're on a job together and you're in there all happy and they're sitting in theirs all miserable and um i think it's something always uh is worth bringing up and you know i i've done that myself like warehouse computers for the longest time we're like hunka junk they're like the leftover office computers yeah you click and like you sit there and you wait and it finally works you know and you're like oh my gosh we gotta do something about this and so i think one of the keys to having a good healthy relationship is making sure you're equipping them to win you're getting them you're getting them the same tools that you're using yeah the same van type that you would use and really setting them up making them feel like they're valued you know there's a negative um uh narrative that goes around in people who own businesses right and that is people are dumb employees don't care they're stupid they you know they come late they leave early and they steal right and all of this other stuff and if if you have that type of energy going out towards someone when you hire them um you're just setting yourself up to to fail no one wants the van without ac right no one wants the key machine that you know if you use the shoulder stop gauge you need to back it off well just enough to put a couple pieces of paper in to get it to work right or the cutter wheels loose um and so you only can like the bearings shot so you only can duplicate the keys one way if you go back the other way it's going to mess them up you want to eliminate all of that stuff so that people can really be set up to win and enjoy their job right yeah no i 100 agree and that was some of the things that you know when i was talking to uh josh the last guy that we hired i told him i was like you know the the trucks are a little older but by the same token i take really really good care of them i'm not i i drove them i started them i built every single one of them so i started out in them i built them the way that i wanted them and then they get passed down you know what i mean so when i get a new toy uh or a new tool or new something like that um you know i make sure i i don't want to spoil anybody but i also don't want to hold on to it so like you know that that uh what is that lock tech device that um reads the smart keys that little fancy gadget tool you know that's a great piece of equipment and that's in my employees truck i don't even have it i have tryout keys i actually have the crappier version of all that stuff you know we got blue punches and a right hand machine well the right hand machine takes a little longer you got to switch the thing back and forth the employee has the blue punches they have the best equipment they have the better equipment in their uh their rides because they're going to be using it more than i will be you know they're the ones that are running that call all the time i'm just kind of i'm in that phase i'm stuck in that two employee uh unicorn nightmare that you were referring to that's where i am right now it's like every time i get somebody trained you know two months later something happens and i'm either back to none or one uh so i i'm really trying to get past that and i'll do it it's just a matter of time it's just it's difficult getting there right now but a lot of the things that i told him was hey you tell me that there's a problem with the truck it goes straight to the shop and it goes and gets fixed i'm back to i if i wouldn't run it if i wouldn't trust it to be safe or if i wouldn't ride around without ac you know for a couple days i'm not gonna make you do that either you know i'm gonna go ahead and get that fixed the truck needs tires and it's snow season go get new snow tires on it that is just mandatory on all my vehicles tires and maintenance and safety things are never ever ever put on the back burner and they're never overlooked if you bring a problem to me it will get fixed or will shut the truck down and you can ride with me or you can take another truck for the day i'm just not going to put my employees in that kind of situation and they really they know that it costs a ludicrous amount of money i just spent two thousand dollars getting a seal put on a fuel tank you know and and another reading unit so that the fuel gauge would actually read properly because it was going empty at about a quarter of a tank we take it there we get it fixed and and those are all the little things that really start to show hey you know this guy actually puts his money where his mouth is he's not all talk when we have a problem we bring it up it gets fixed immediately not in a few weeks when it's convenient even if the bank account is a little low it's a whole lot more important for me to make sure that my employees are comfortable and that they're doing the right things and that they get those toys but i also do go back and i show them how to do it the hard way you know what i mean okay cool here's this new smart key decoder this thing is awesome it's going to make your life easy or leashy tools so i'd have my employee do it the hard way all right well we got a lockout and we got to make a key to this lock so now we're going to go out and i'm going to make him pick the lock the hard way and then we'll take the lock apart decode it make a key for it and you know do this half an hour long process and put everything back together and now there's a chance that one thing didn't get tightened properly and now we've got a callback for it and all these other things that can happen and we show them that long way and then we say h