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EP 7: Become A Master Implementer, Step Out Of The Day-To-Day – Jason Hoke

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30-SECOND SUMMARY
By adopting systems, technology, and procedures, Jason turned a one-man mowing company into a multi-million dollar landscaping company (and cut his hours in half).
The 4 steps to becoming a master implementer.
Fully developed management systems to remove yourself from the day-to-day of running a business.
Effective meeting rhythms that set you free.
Employment agreements that clearly identify the goals and accountabilities of each individual.
Training and sales programs to maximize the potential of a high-performance team.

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Read a Summary of Episode 7

Jason Hoke turned a one-man mowing company into a multi-million dollar landscaping company servicing more than 10,000 jobs a year.

One of the greatest fears a contractor has is that you work your ass off for 25 years and end up with a business that is worth, well, nothing. What was it all for? More grey hairs. No thanks!

How do you avoid falling into this pit? Adopt the mindset of an implementer.

Say what now?

Let’s break it down. An implementer is someone who adopts systems, technology, and procedures to end up with a highly valuable asset they can sell, if they want to. Plus, the journey is way more fun.

It’s a technique adopted by many industries. Contracting, however, is on the whole stuck in traditions that no longer serve us.

On this episode of Contractor Evolution we are joined by Jason Hoke, owner of A Cut Above Landscaping in Denver, Colorado. He has thrown the 1960s Contractor Rulebook out the window and adopted a new way that ensures long-term success, without breaking your back.  

He learned quickly. 

Jason invested everything he had into the landscaping business, leaving no cash to spare. (He was sleeping on a friend’s sofa for the first few months and working 24/7).

Fast forward five years and his business model has done a 180. He has tripled his number of employees and is servicing more than 10,000 jobs a year. Plus, he works 40 hours a week, instead of 84.

“I started as an employee with the business at 15, and bought the business five years ago. The first year or two in business I was in the grind. That wasn’t what I wanted. My deeper motivation was to get out of the day to day running of the business. I wanted more freedom. The old way wasn’t really manageable anymore. It was clear I needed to do something,” says Jason.

And today? He has achieved the freedom many contractors dream of.

How? He became a Master Implementer of structures and systems. (Yes, he’s the guy who won the 2020 BTA Implementer of The Year Award.)

He’s got it to the point where he could sell the business, and retire…if he wanted to.

Turning the business around, that was the tricky part. For Jason, step 1 was identifying the areas that will have the biggest impact for him and that would align with his greater WHY: To improve the human experience (both clients and internally).

These are the four areas he identified as High Impact:

1. ADJUST YOUR MEETING RHYTHM

“As the company grew we had a tendency to just hop into super long meetings where we felt like we needed to get everything on the table and cover everything in that moment. It was death by meeting. It was important to hone that in and figure out exactly what the objective was.”

What Jason realized was that he and his team could have a standard meeting once a day for 10 – 15 minutes. Now he has three meetings a week: A goal setting meeting; a daily stand up meeting for each division which is a key performance indicator check in; and a retro meeting at the end of the week to discuss what went well, what didn’t, what do we want to keep doing and what do we want to change.

2. EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENTS & ACCOUNTABILITY

This is the strategy that stopped Jason from wearing every single hat in the business. A contractors’ dream (and biggest hurdle).

The employment agreements weren’t just the legal ones we know, but ones that clearly identified the goals and accountabilities of each individual.

“We look at each agreement as a road map for each role. What are the key deliverables and what is that role responsible for? Then we break it down into accountabilities. We revisit these employment agreements regularly.”

“I looked at what was going to have the biggest impact for me. I listed out all the things that take up my time. In contracting, there are so many things to improve, so I focussed on those that would make the biggest impact.”

3. TRAINING PROGRAMS (FOR EXISTING AND NEW HIRES)

After doing a deep dive into his company, Jason realized that he had a lot of good guys who had been with the business for 11 years, but their potential wasn’t being maximized.

Jason also found new hires were taking a full season to get up and running . . . that’s a long time in the landscaping realm. That was a pain point! It impacted productivity and caused frustrations in the team.

The solution? He created a more formalized training program. Well, we say he, but in fact Jason took a hands-off approach. He drafted the help of his entire team who assisted with the build out of the SOPs. Their feedback? They loved it! They felt empowered.

Did it work? Let’s just say the duration of time to get a new technician 80% signed off went from being one season to two to three weeks!

 

4. ALL NEW SALES PROCESS

We’ve all been there. Standing on driveways, giving quotes, trying to do deals. Jason, in all his brilliance, has implemented a kick-ass system that cleans up the bidding process and reduces time.

“I was spending 80% of my time selling 20% of my revenue. So we automated our à la carte services, which is maybe $100 for a service. The client selects their zip code, their service, and the system only shows them availability for their zipcode. No-one has to touch the sales process.”

They also created a bucket system based on per square footage of turf which  is priced in tiers. There was mass time savings as a result of this system. Plus, it built his brand reputation. Yes, those rinky-dink projects not only add up, but word of mouth is invaluable.

Implementing systems like Jason has done allows businesses to get more done, in less time. But, it will always be a work in progress for any leader.

Being nimble, and working towards your lofty WHY will make you a master implementer. The key is actually implementing these systems. Remember, an idea is only as good as the implementation.

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Benji Carlson

Benji Carlson

As the son of two proven entrepreneurs, Benji’s spirit for self-starting business runs deep. Since he was a young teen, Benji has been starting and running profitable small businesses; most recently culminating in a highly successful 4-year career as a franchisee with College Pro Painters. Benji’s enormous heart and passion for people is what drove him to produce over $1,000,000 in revenue while taking the highest quality care of his employees and customers. He was consistently acknowledged for having the most productive staff in the company, while leading more junior franchisees to fulfill their potential. Benji’s uncanny ability to find the right people and put them in the right place make him a natural fit for Breakthrough Academy’s Assessment Team.

Upon finishing up his career with College Pro, Benji set out on the ultimate victory lap: a nine-month transcontinental motorcycle trip from Canada to Peru.

Benji lives in beautiful Kelowna BC. During the summer you’ll usually find him on two wheels: either bombing down a trail on his mountain bike or cruising the pavement on his motorcycle. When the snow falls, he escapes to the mountains for steep and deep powder.

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Welcome to Contractor Evolution, a show created for high-performing contractors that are focused on scaling up, working less and increasing profitability.

While a lot of other shows focus on early stage growth challenges, we focus on real life scenarios faced by contractors that are scaling at a rapid rate, and how they keep everything dialed in without losing sight of work/life balance.

If you’re ready to evolve from a contractor into a better business owner, you’re in the right place.

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