operating manuals

The Importance of Systems | Blue Collar Titan Podcast Series

Have you heard of the Blue Collar Titan Podcast Series?

The mission of the Blue Collar Titan Podcast is to provide you with valuable insights and inspiration from 21 blue collar industry titans over 21 episodes.

In Episode 13, Al Levi shares with hosts Erik and Larry the whole story about how his family’s contracting business got systems into place. You’ll also hear about the difference these systems (operating manuals, etc.) have made in some of Al’s clients’ businesses, as well as why systems are such a critical aspect of your business — if you want to grow and prosper.

Register Here and Listen to Episode 13 of the Blue Collar Titan Podcast Series

How to Gain Control of Your Business | The Service Hub Podcast

Are you ready to gain control of your business?

On Episode 10 of The Service Hub podcast, Al Levi shares with hosts Parker Williams and Trevor Hanson powerful ways to gain back control in your business through more efficient planning and goal setting, the creation of roles and manuals, as well as a handful of other tips on how to gain control and grow your business when you feel like you are at capacity.

Listen to Episode 10 on Apple Podcasts here.

Listen to Episode 10 on Spotify here.

A Better Way to Say Goodbye to Low Performers

Years ago, when I first entered the family business as the last brother in to what was then a 3rd generation service contracting business—now a 4th generation plumbing, heating, cooling and now electrical contracting business—my dad said to me, “You can no longer hire anyone until you prove you can fire someone the right way. Face it. You like hiring people. And who doesn’t? But you need to do both.”

Well, I didn’t like that message much, but I knew he was right. As an empathetic person I am able to put myself in another person’s shoes and see things from their perspective. And I could only imagine how bad it felt to get fired!

Our service contracting company was and still is a NYC Union Shop. When it came to employee relations that was both good and bad news. The good: there was formal process for disciplining and terminating employment. The bad: we were not consistently following the steps. (In our defense, they were not all that clear!)

The first few times I fired a bad employee they were genuinely surprised. Naturally, they wanted to unload their frustrations but I just wanted to get it over with so usually I cut them off. It went so badly a few times I’m lucky I didn’t get shot!

Something had to change. We had to figure out a “right” way to say goodbye to a bad employee. The answer was to create our own formal process, which we called “The Steps of Discipline.”

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What to Do When Family is Fighting at Work

The first thing to remember is that all companies act like families whether or not the people working together are related.

Someone is playing the role of Dad, Mom, Big Brother, and probably the Big Sister.

And very commonly in the home service business and contracting world, our businesses tend to be multi-generational, so it could be quite literally a family business acting this way.

Here’s the thing… what do you do when people are not getting along? In other words, how do you clear the air, and how do you keep it from escalating or spreading like wildfire throughout the company?

Here are 10 great tips from my own business career working with my dad and two older brothers and from helping clients who are and are not related with these very real issues that can destroy the company if not addressed quickly and in the right way:

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How to Build a Business that Runs without You | The Site Shed Podcast

Ready for a business that can run without you? All businesses, no matter how big or small, need to create systems if they want to grow.

In The Site Shed’s podcast episode TSS210 named “How to Build a Business that Runs without You,” Al Levi joins host Matt Jones to discuss why operating manuals and organizational charts are fundamental to creating a business that runs without you.

You can check out the episode here!

90% Chance Nothing Bad Will Happen

There’s a 90% chance nothing really bad will happen at your company if you spend at least two hours a week disconnecting from your business to work on it. BUT, there’s a 100% chance that failure is imminent if you’re unwilling to do this.

Pretty dramatic? Nope!

What separates the most successful contractors I’ve worked with from the ones for whom success eludes them, has nothing to do with how smart they are or their being in the right marketplace or anything like that. It was their ability to focus on getting things implemented at their company.

I’ve had clients pay me a lot of money to come and work with them. I can tell you I don’t vary my approach all that much, but I don’t use a cookie-cutter approach. That’s because I do tweak it to fit the type of contracting business I’m working with and where the existing company is on the business spectrum when I first arrive.

The reason I’ve been hired over the years to help contractors is…the business has reached an impasse (otherwise I wouldn’t be there). The impasse is different for different owners. Either they’ve grown to a size where they’ve run out of hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a month and months in a year to get it all done. They can’t figure out how to clone themselves, so they are stuck. I also work with fast growing companies where they have grown chaotically, and they have tried to hire and throw people at the problems because they too realize they’re stuck. Both types of clients learn quickly that these issues will continue until they commit to work on changing how they run their business.

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Supercharging Your Processes with Operating Manuals | The Home Service Expert Podcast

Ready to supercharge the processes in your business? The foundation of streamlined processes is operating manuals. It’s a big task to create your operating manuals, but Al Levi can walk you through step-by-step.

On The Home Service Expert podcast, Al Levi joins host Tommy Mello to discuss the supercharging your processes through operating manuals. Ready to dive in?

You can check out the episode here. It’s now live!

It’s Not All About the Work

Your business is supposed to serve your life, not your life serving your business.

It’s easy to forget, but that is probably what you felt your business would be when you first got into business. And I know how easy it is to drift into a never-ending compromise in your personal life to serve your business.

That’s not to say I agree with the speakers who confess that they put hours upon hours into their business to become a success, but they sacrificed their personal lives in the process. You shouldn’t have to do the same.

Well, I feel you shouldn’t sacrifice your personal life forever but that you do have to do the work and invest the time to gain control of your business or it will always control you.

So, I do feel you have to spend your time, your effort and even some of your savings if you’re going to make your company a success.

What I also believe is you need to learn how to work smarter, not harder.

There’s a big difference.

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Police State or Permissive Where Anything Goes?

I was working with a client a number of years ago and he was a fantastic contractor, as were his partners. The majority of my work was with this one partner who was a smart, effective and knowledgeable leader of their fast growing plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical company.

He was the rare owner who not only knew the technical side of the business, but he and his partners knew what it took to grow a company, which meant learning and implanting the business side of things.

My reason for being called in to consult was that they had experienced explosive growth and they were suffering the ill effects that came with it. He and his partners were realizing that the way they answered their phones, to the way they dispatched, to the way they had their Techs run calls, had to be fixed.

They (not me) had said they had the worst group of Customer Service Representatives (aka CSRs) ever. And what made it worse is that they had eight of them. Sad truth is… they were bad. At least, they were when we first started.

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