We Can’t Find Skilled Labor Solving the Problem Shawn Van Dyke 266

January 22, 2018

We can’t find any skilled labor, does this problem resonate with your trade? Shawn Van Dyke has come up with a solution to this ongoing problem. As we talk about the solutions and the change of mindset you will come to the conclusion that for this  will actually work.

. I have a real and fun and exciting guest with Sean Van Dyke and Sean is a construction industry consultant business coach and mentor. He’s the author of the paperwork punch list 28 days to streamline your construction business and find the home building brand administrator. Shawn is the keynote speaker and travels the US working with and training construction business owners on how to streamline their businesses. That’s a fun thing. No one likes to work hard.


Yeah. Before becoming a business coach Shawn owned a Construction Management Consulting Firm and General Contracting Company. He also served as an Executive at the Specialty Contracting Company and enjoys living life in East Tennessee where it’s nice and warm this time of year and happily married with five kids.


So, Shawn, I’m just excited that you are with us today. And, you want to share some valuable information farm with Dave. I’m excited to be here. Thanks for inviting me on. I’m looking forward to chatting with you. Yes. Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you got from here to there to where you are today.


Yeah, it’s got an issue with it. When I hear my own bio read off I kind of hear my wife you know in the back of my head just saying you know to some people all that stuff sounds impressive to her and be married to an entrepreneur. It sounds like, man, you can’t keep you can’t keep down a job dude, you know.


Well, I as I say as I started out my career I guess by getting a couple of degrees in engineering and I got a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in structural engineering. Spent a few years doing that and then realized I don’t think I want to be an engineer. And so, I transition to commercial construction doing some project management for some commercial contractors and then kind of bounced around as we do in construction sometimes from company to company and ended up doing some real estate development working and as a construction manager for a real estate developer. Traveling all around the Midwest and the Southeast building large commercial developments.


And by then we had number two on the way and I was on I was on the road three days a week and my wife were kind of like yeah this isn’t going to work out so well for being a dad. So, I started my own construction management company and real estate company that transitioned during the downturn into the general contracting company.


And let’s see what happened after that. Yeah, I went to work as a Chief Operating Officer for a trim and millwork company and spent several years there. And I guess that was the last job that real job that I had and left there about a little over a year and a half ago and went into what I’m doing now doing construction consulting and coaching and mentoring.


So, I travel all over the place and teach construction business owners you know how to streamline their business how to run a better business. And I’m just I’m really enjoying you know what I’m doing now before I was working for one company doing these things and now I get to work with literally dozens of companies all over the U.S. and Canada. Even have one client in Sweden.


So yeah if you’re listening to this and you’ve got issues and problems it doesn’t matter where you are in the world. Contractors we all have the same you know the same issues when it comes to the business side and the paperwork and the people. So, don’t feel like you’re alone out there. You’re not you’re not alone.


Everybody’s struggling with the same thing and it’s kind of funny everyone and you know you thought some might say well my business is different. Yeah right. Yeah. So saying we’ve got people you’ve got the paperwork you know the regular business and I’m dealing with people and it’s all people. And so, I’ll bet your wife’s a lot happier too now.


Well yeah, it depends on where you are. You know when I started this I didn’t think I was going to be traveling so much and now I’m doing different training. I travel to my client’s locations and do executive training or employee training. But then also doing keynote speaking at trade events and that kind of stuff so I sold my wife on the whole deal.


Hey, you know as you know as I travel around then you know we find somebody to watch the kids and then you come out we can have a long weekend and some of these nice places. But you know when you when you have a speaking gig in I don’t know. In Detroit in February or something like that. It’s not exactly. You know what I sold her on Detroit in February is not exactly you know the long weekend. You know that I kind of promised her or whatever so are booking some.


Some stuff like Hawaii and Miami and LA in the summer when it’s when it’s nice and yeah what I’ve got I’ve got an I’ve got one client in Hawaii I have another one in Key West Florida. So those aren’t the those are the worst places in the world that have to travel any time of the year so we’ll see if that happens. Now you said you had five kids out with your oldest and you’re young. You can’t ask me those questions that they keep changing ages. I can’t remember them. I got grandkids. I’ve got them from 15 to 1 Yeah. So that’s all I know. Yeah.


So, at one time at one time we have four boys and then the baby is a girl. So, four boys and then we had a girl. I think my oldest is he’s in sixth grade so I think he’s about to turn 11. I think he’s going on 12 or maybe he’s 10 going on 11. See this is very embarrassing. And you know I don’t care about that sound to sound the same way. I know that the oldest is 15 and I said the baby just turned 1 a couple months ago. And there’s a, let’s see, that’s there four others in between.


Yeah. So, I think I’ve got an almost 12-year-old a 10-year-old probably and 9-year-old a 6-year-old that gets the four boys and then the baby girl is easy because she was born on my birthday. So as if she wasn’t spoiled enough already She’ll be sorry she’ll be 3 on March 5th.


So, my oldest and one of my older ones were born both on November 6th. So, Abby goes when her brother was born. Oh, that is awesome and she had a birthday party with him. Yeah. Yeah well, my wife told me I don’t have any more birthdays. They’re all hers which is fine with me because I’m just you know I’m just getting older so they can all be hers anyway so yeah. So.


So, as you travel with here you’re your clients. What are some of the biggest challenges that they’re having to overcome in the marketplace right now? Yeah, right now it really you know it really comes down to and I hear this with every client especially with me. Construction is back. Things are booming. If 2018 doesn’t isn’t your best year in construction than you, you’re doing something wrong because there’s just so much work out there and from the downturn and this is kind of gets into the issue we’re going to talk about you know we lost two million plus jobs 10 years ago.


And, it’s not like those people were waiting around till it picked back up because like they left they’re gone. They left the industry they left the country. They’re just not there. So, demand is huge for construction and there are not enough people to fill those the available spots for Labor, skilled labor and then so I hear that all the time from my clients


 Shawn, I just can’t find the skilled labor that I need for you know for my business. If we had more people than we could do more work or are we just you know we’re delaying projects because we just can’t get to you know everything.


And so, I hear that a lot we can’t find the skilled lay. You know we can’t find it. And I say you’re exactly right. You can’t find it because it doesn’t exist. Right. So that kind of hits I’m like will get hired you to help me solve the problem. Right. And the thing is the problem is they’re just not making plumbers, electricians, carpenters, welders you know like they used two generations ago where that was a viable option now. And there’s nothing. Well, give me all my soapbox here.


No there’s nothing wrong with a college education. But I might get in trouble by saying this but the value of that college education with technology and all that is just not as high as it used to be. And so, there is this you know there’s this there’s this labor gap and it’s huge right now. And so, to solve it the problem the problem is that you know that these people don’t exist.


 I say what you’re doing is you’re hunting for unicorns you’re looking for this mythical creature that’s supposed to you know mythology the unicorn I guess if you capture it you know the horn of the Unicorn had special healing properties and all of these other things. Right. That’s what you’re looking for you’re looking for this-this guy or gal with five or 10 years’ experience that can just jump in on the crew lead the crew to you know a successful project. You’re just looking for a unicorn. It’s a mythical creature that doesn’t exist.


Not too long ago I was in an education class and the teacher was going through said Okay so I went there was like 50 people in a classroom and I watch it and it was all for construction because I want everyone to look around the room and he goes How many people. And he goes how far under 40. Nobody resigned. He said how many people are under 50.


And there was a couple but most of them are 50. But they said here’s the problem. He said there are no new contractors taking getting their licenses to fill the gap of what you guys are moving out of and he says that’s creating a big problem in the marketplace. And I go Yeah and I said Here’s a stupid thing guys if you don’t realize that or not you are competing on price when you have you are no longer a commodity. But I need you and you’re fighting against each other on price. Stop it yeah.


Yeah and that and that the solution to the problem is to say OK you know if we if we can’t find it because it doesn’t exist then what are we supposed to do. Well, you have to create it. And they’re both hard problems to solve. I think that finding something that doesn’t exist is a lot harder than creating something that you that doesn’t exist. Meaning we stop hiring for skill, we stop hiring for technical expertise. Those are things you can teach somebody.


But what you need to hire like most other successful businesses and we need to take a note from you know the big Fortune 500 companies. And the other things like that. They hire a lot of cases. They will be hiring for competency and culture and fit. And you say you know things like culture to a construction other like What are you talking about. We just get the work done. And you know you know we’re just the nose of the grindstone knock it outright. But every company has a culture and the culture of your company is what your employees think about working there. Right.


So, you know you may not have spent any time developing your culture but I guarantee you if I go in and start asking your employees you know what. What are some struggles they have working here or what you do have a culture you may just not be aware of exactly what it is? So, if you can if you can improve or you can enhance or you can just talk about what your culture is or what you want it to be then that’s going to attract people that are competent and that have the right chemistry for your culture and are a good fit and you just have to say listen you know we can’t find these people because they don’t exist.


We’re going to have to create them. So, what does that mean? Well, we better have a training program that we can take somebody that does. We’re going to hire for a good work ethic and passion. Maybe it’s not passion towards carpentry or painting or electrical work or you know whatever the trade is but you can probably help somebody to develop a passion because everybody in the trades that are working right now at some point you know no one was born with it. I don’t even care if you’ve been wearing the tools since you were you know since you were a little kid on your grandfather’s side and helping to build stuff in the shop.


You developed a passion for the time because you saw what that passion you know what it lived out what it what it created. Well just because somebody is 22 years old and they got a college degree in history, no offense to the history majors out there. But that doesn’t mean that that that guy or gal can’t develop a passion very quickly in six months and eight months and heck four months with the right company that shows this is what we do we create and build this stuff with our hands at the end of a day.


At the end of the day at the end of a week at the end of a project. We can walk away and point at something and say we built that. It wasn’t here before and now it is. And the right people for your company they can develop a passion for whatever the craft is whatever the trade is but you got to train them to do it.


And I think that you could you can easily spend 18 months looking for this unicorn right and you’ll probably go through a couple of people. The other thing that I say is if you hire somebody or somebody has the skills that you’re looking for on paper anyway or they say they do. You got to ask why are they available. It’s probably because no one wants to work with them right so oh this guy got 10 years of experience. He’s been a lead carpenter now you know he’s looking for a job. Right. You need to make sure that you’re interviewing process kind of weeds out the psychopaths right. Because you know you bring somebody in like that. Yeah, they’re technically very competent.


They can do a lot of work but nobody wants to work around them. They won’t listen. They won’t get on board with the way your company does stuff so that can be dangerous too as when you do find somebody with the technical skills you’ve got to make sure that you’re you know back to the culture thing. You’ve got to hire for that first and you get the right training program in place in six months, 12 months 18 months.


You can probably get somebody to where they need to be where they’re very productive and very profitable for your business. And there are people out there that are the look they are realizing that they were lied to about college. Now if we go 100 grand in debt and get an education then somebody is just going to pay me 50 or 60 thousand dollars just because I went to college and they’re working at Starbucks or at the movie theater or in and I’ve met them I’ve talked to them they’re driven Uber right.


Trying to figure out what the next best thing is. And you find these people that are looking to put their passion towards something maybe it does haven’t been carpentry or something like that in the past and you just say hey, come work for us. We’ve got a training program and we have a path in two years you could move up from this level to that level. You could you can do whatever you want within our company. But you got to have that structure you’ve got to have something you know you’ve got to have something in place and it’s a lot easier if you focus and do that.


Put those systems and that training in place. You’ll be able to take somebody that’s pretty green and get them being very productive in a small amount of time because you’ll go through the next 12, 18 months trying to hire the skilled guy and having to fire them every time you hire somebody and they come in and work for a little while and you got to let them go then. You know I think there are statistics that say you know when you fire somebody you have to let them go. It costs you 30-40% of whatever their yearly salary would have been.


So, I mean I work for a company like years ago it was co you can’t train and fire, and I was like you don’t understand. No, we do understand. I said, “No, you don’t understand the cost involved in training them. Would it take a toll on me? Would it take a toll on you in dollars and cents?” “Well, we don’t care about that.  We just want somebody to do the job. Well, we got to train them. No, if they can’t do the job just fire them.” “Well, that doesn’t make sense”. You know and again you know it’s like going back to like you said it goes back to leadership and culture.


And the nice part about what you’re talking about from what I’m saying is that now you’re a construction company. You should strategically grow your company along with a path because you’re bringing people on board. That you can train. I think that’s awesome because, now you’re, instead of planning for tomorrow because I need help tomorrow you’re planning for the future which if any anybody in the construction industry would hope that their business would last for the future instead of short-term.


So yeah everyone has to look differently at it but I think it’s you know what you’re talking about is so awesome because it is. It’s long-term. And it’s scheduled for long-term growth, but not only that but you’ve got long-term profits. And then if you’ve got you know the culture that you’ve got a good culture or you don’t have a good culture but you know that you need to be the leader you need to change then that makes all the difference in the world and you can become you know a force to reckon with in your marketplace.


Yeah. There are companies out there that when they get this. So, here’s what I see. I think that the trend is shifting. I think that there are more people getting into the trades. They’re dabbling in it a little bit, but society still looks down on construction. Meaning they say oh you couldn’t you know you’re doing construction because you couldn’t have done anything else. And I think that’s starting to change a little bit. You know just because of just exposure to it you know things like Instagram and Facebook and YouTube.


They’re saying you know that this is this is a viable career to work in the trades. So, it is starting to shift. But I think that the companies that are going to when demand is when the supply does change. And I think it will change. I think eventually the gap will get so big that the government will step in and start throwing a lot of money at trade back at trade schools and putting vote tech back into education


When that happens, the supply is going to jump up. It’s the companies that have spent the last ten years previous to that time whenever that is building a training program building a recruiting process. They’re going to be able to pick the cream of the crop and then those business owners are finally going to be able to ride off into retirement because now the supply they’re going to get the best people and their companies are going to be are going to be set right.


Everybody else is going to be scrambling for the supply and now they’re going to say yeah, they’ve got some technical training. Right. So, there are some more welders, there are some more plumbers there. Great. Now you got a people problem. You know they still don’t you know your company isn’t set up to work in a team atmosphere and how do we communicate and how do we you know how do we grow because sometimes growing, just for the sake of growing, can put you out of business quicker than anything else.


So, it’s those companies that right now when this gap is huge and the work is really hard and they change their mindset from hiring as their first step to recruiting as their first step. They’re going to win when the supply does change. When you when there are more skilled technically skilled people. But again, the technical skills part that just gets your foot in the door.


What gets you the job, what makes you the money, and what gives you-you know a huge opportunity with construction companies is your character and in the end, combine that with the culture of the company so that’s why I think that’s the long game is put do the hard work. Now get your culture and get your training procedures in place so that you can get people good people and train them and then that’s a system that you know for success right there.


And if you have a company that’s doing this progressively and growing and training and recruiting, then people are going to come to you for. You’re going to be able to. I mean you’re going to be running the profit margins you should be running to run a very successful business anyways. So, you can you’ll be able to afford people who have the right mindset, who have the right culture into your culture and grow within the company. You’ll be able to pay them more than the average contracting company.


Yeah, and that’s part of the recruiting mindset. Like, listen supply is down demand is high. Guess what you’re going to pay more. From the very beginning. But just get over it. That’s part of recruit. Like when you know when the Yankees go out and recruit somebody like they just pay the bill whatever the guy needs for his contract right because he’s an all-star player and we need him to win the World Series or whatever. Like the money just you know like let’s get that out. Let’s get that out of the way so yeah you know you are going to pay a little bit more but you know we’re playing a long game. What’s the payoff in the end right? That that that A player is really going to produce you know produce for me and I hear that a lot to say you know maybe list and they said ok Shawn, I get it.


Dave, I get it you know but I don’t know. This is another issue I hear a lot from my clients. I don’t know if I can afford to hire somebody. Right. Or when is the right time to hire somebody? And it’s this mindset of like oh you know OK let’s just look at the numbers and say OK if this is, what I hear a lot is OK we’re going to pay somebody 25 bucks an hour. That’s $50,000 a year. I don’t you know I don’t have that kind of cash out, or I don’t have that much money or what I don’t like.


Whoa. Listen if you’re if you’re hiring right and you’re hired the right person may be there and you’ve got and what I call an onboarding process right. Maybe it takes somebody a couple of weeks to get into your system, to get in your company. Kind of learn the ropes or whatever. After that, they should be making you money right. It’s not a cost any more. Right.


They should be making you mine. So yeah maybe you got to. You should have a cash reserve for a couple of weeks a payroll for that person. But after that, they should be making you money if they’re not you hired the wrong person or you’re not you’re not training them right so it’s not really. Shawn, I don’t think I can afford to hire somebody. Most of the time it’s you can’t afford to hire somebody.


You as the business owner have got to concentrate on business development and sales and marketing and now training. You can’t worry about wearing the tools every day. You got to hire somebody to do that. And in fact, that’s why you’re not making the profits you need to make right now is because of your high-value work. The sales, the marketing, the business development stuff that generates hundreds if not thousands of dollars an hour when you can put the time in there. You’re trapped doing 30 40 50 dollars an hour of work. Right. I know I run into this with so many people. It’s mind-boggling that they can’t get past the 12 hours an hour 20 hour an hour even 30 hours an hour mindset. And it’s because they are so used to doing it. Stop it.


You know and this is not I don’t say it’s not easy it’s not easy but you’ve got you’ve got to start. You know you got to start somewhere. Yeah. And it’s and it’s I’ve had conversations with guys while I can’t do this because I’ve got something to do and I’m going you know it’s very. It’s very challenging in the beginning to do stuff that you just need to make an appointment with yourself.


I mean it takes two hours to this day to do this. And it could be you know like going out and I need to go market. I need to go you know to call at this time. He was looking at a property manager say you need the schedule for two hours. Two hours on Wednesday, and that two hours I said you make your phone calls, make your appointments a week before. And I said if somebody calls in sick, you don’t jump out and drop because if you put that off, you call the customer and say listen we’re running a little behind.


We aren’t going to make it this afternoon. We’re going to reschedule you tomorrow. Because you’re talking about making a thousand dollars on a job to maybe get a contract for five ten fifteen twenty thousand dollars. You have to really get to the point of what’s the most important. It’s not dollars today it’s for the owner. It’s dollars tomorrow.


Yeah. Yeah absolutely. It’s like it’s you know. Stephen Covey writes about in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People it’s urgent versus the important right. Right we got to and it’s hard. The urgent stuff is urgent. Right. But the important stuff doesn’t take as much time as the urgent stuff but the urgent always bleeds into the important time so if we can get that focus time, focus on the important stuff you know and what we were talking about before that you know.


OK, what’s the first step in our recruiting process like let’s just spend some time this 15 minutes 30 minutes this week thinking about recruiting instead of hiring. Right. That that will generate some ideas. Now go do that. Now to deal with the urgent stuff fight the fires and all that kind of stuff.


But then like you said to meet with yourself again that next week. Another 30 minutes what’s the next step. And then if you do that for any period of time that creates a habit and gets into discipline then you’re at least you know you’ve got this focused time where you’re working on important stuff and then that’s what creates momentum and movement towards you know towards having a better year than you did you know then when you had the year before


And I’ve even had a conversation with people so, well you don’t understand. I said, “Dude, I do understand. I understand everything you’re going and I’ve been through it and I still go through at certain times. But here’s the thing if you’re going to make an appointment to do something. If you’re going to schedule time with yourself to do this or that task you know to create something new.


I said to schedule it and I want you to write it down over there. What’s the worst-case scenario? What would it cost you? A time worth is it worth a thousand dollars? Is it worth ten thousand dollars? or is it worth $12? You have to value yet put the value of your time in there otherwise you’re not going to you’re not going to force yourself to go through the steps you need.


Like you said this to start to recruit process or even write down what you’re even thinking about hiring and I knew I was listening until one guy and he was saying you know he says all of my all the people that worked for me are assets. I think of them as assets. We work altogether. So, once they are no longer an asset then we part company.


But that was a beautiful way to look at it because what’s an asset? An asset is something that works for you in conjunction with your goals and everything. It brings you in money. So as an asset can be an expenditure. Right. Yeah, it adds value it adds value to the company. Yeah


So, it’s you know it’s like you know that rental property is an asset as long as it’s paying you. And you ain’t going to get rid of it until it stops. You know. That’s right. You need to think about your employees like that.


So, you say you’ve got the recruitment process and I your client they are finding it, course, I know it’s hard to work through but I know a lot of them seen a long-term plan. A long-term thing yeah I mean they’re starting they’re starting to you know they’re starting to see that recruitment mentality you know. The other thing too is just like look everywhere for your next employee.


Talk to the guys at the. You know there’s a there’s a kid that’s working at the loading docks of the building supply company. Right now. He’s not necessarily “in construction or has school” but he’s there. He’s close to it. Right. He’s you know he’s doing work. He’s yeah, he’s working with people but he’s around it a little bit. Right. So that’s a great place to start in a company that I used to use to work with.


The owner was excellent recruiter and he would go in and if he found somebody at Lowe’s or Home Depot working the cash register and they were smiling and he was treated with respect, he gave that guy a business card and said if you’re thinking about being a trim carpenter you ought to give us a call even if you’ve never thought about it for come by our office see what we’re doing.


You’re already working at Lowe’s your home depot. You’re on the outskirts of this thing. We want to show you what we, what somebody like you can do at a company like ours. And we’ve got, we’ve hired guys and gals from that you know. So, it starts with just you’ve got to look everywhere. Everybody’s a potential employee.


My roofer friend, his last three salesmen that he picked up they know nothing about sales, nothing about the roofing industry, nothing about nothing. They were all his waiters at his favorite restaurant. Yeah. Waiters are really good. Yeah because they knew how to interact with people, you know they know how to think on their feet. They’ve got to solve a lot of problems very quickly for very impatient and its people that with five kids waiting on the chicken fingers. Yeah, you know. You know.


Yes. I like you. And so that’s so cool for you know a lot of guys that are to listen and you know you’ve got to think outside the box you’ve got to be constantly looking for friendly people that you know that are friendly, that is interactive. And the funny thing is that you know we were talking about earlier, you know you look so long for the technical side of it. And I learned a long time ago you know you hire for attitude. You can always teach technical. Because you have 98% of the time you’re going to fire for attitude.


That’s right to start with the good stuff first man. Yeah. I mean we’re all gonna make mistakes technically right. But that’s usually not a fireable offense that you know if you if you keep making the same technical mistakes it’s probably because you have an attitude problem that you’re not learning or you’re not listening or whatever but it’s really not because of the technical mistakes like you said it’s an attitude mistake.


I was a guy I know he was. He put a Facebook post on he goes you know it’s I get tired of all you guys in a particular industry complaining that you can’t keep good health. He goes I want you to understand what the problem is. It is not your help, it is you. Yeah. Yeah.


And part of that you know part of that recruiting mentality means that the hiring process is longer. It means you need to have three or four interviews. You need probably have other people within your organization interview them. So, what does that mean? Well, we need to train some of our lead technicians or some of our project managers to how to interview. Right. They need to know that skill. That’s another business skill that they need to learn because that’s going to help you run the business.


You as the owner doing all of the interviews is not going to be as helpful as if you get these other guys. I’ve seen that before too, where we pulled lead carpenters and said hey we’ve got this potential guy he’s going to be working with you on your team. I want you to have a chance to vote on this because he’s not going to be working. Yes, working for me but he’s going to be working with you and the insights that the guys on that you know boots on the ground kind of guys that are in the trenches they’ll pick up on stuff and not necessarily bad stuff. They’ll pick up on other things where they’ll say yeah, this person is really good. I can tell their character because we had a conversation totally unrelated to something else but they’re a good fit for us. Their attitude and because everybody looks good on a resume and everybody’s going to say try and say the right things in front of the owner or the manager or whatever but get them get them with some of their peers and let them just have a conversation. And so, but that takes more time.


That costs a little bit more money. You mean Sean I’m going to pay my lead carpenter to come into the office for 45 minutes in the middle of the day and interview somebody. Yeah, it’s going to cost you a couple of hundred bucks but if you make the wrong hire it’s going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars. So yes, spend a couple hundred bucks and train your leaders. Carpenter how to do some job interviews.


So, it boils down to you’re not hiring for today because you need employees today; you’re hiring for tomorrow because you want to grow your company and you want your people to grow with you. It basically what it is. Yes, it is. Because it’s going to cost you a fortune or the wrong. Like you said hiring the wrong people in a few. You’re hiring because I’m busy and I need to hire people. Then it would be you. I know you guys are going to hate me for saying this but it would be smarter to turn the work away and lose the money.


Yeah, you can. You can always tell this to my clients when they say oh you know we’re really busy. OK. You’re making the money. No. All right. Well, you can just sit at home and go out of business. You don’t need to go and work your butt off for it. Right.


Right. I know. So, the other thing the other thing about what we’re talking about you know in recruiting and playing the long game here too as I hear this a lot is. Well, I want to give this person an opportunity. And again, it’s just a slight little mind shift change or language change saying don’t give anybody an opportunity. What you want, what your what your people actually want is they want a path. Give them a path. Show them where they can go. But they earn the opportunity.


We don’t give opportunities to this company. What we give is a path. What we give is training. What we give is you know a path to go from here to here to eventually to a project manager to estimator to a general manager heck you can become the CEO of some companies the owners are they can’t wait to not have to run the company of somebody you know.


So, don’t give them an opportunity. Let them earn the opportunity but you got to show them a path because people see the path that they’re on then they’ll earn their way along that path and that path may take a couple of different rabbit trails that you otherwise were trying to force them in. But given someone’s strengths and their abilities then your company will be better off.


But what does that look like? Well, that means you have an employee handbook that has job description and job titles and responsibilities and there’s an organizational chart and have a communication system and you have a meeting schedule. All of that takes time and planning and thinking just like we were talking about before. That’s important stuff the stuff that we got to stop doing the urgent stuff to get those things in place.


Yeah, I talked to so many so many business owners and when I go in to train their employees one thing that we work on I say What’s your job title? Well, I’m a lead Carpenter would mean well yeah okay. Are you sure because it sounds like you said I’m a lead Carpenter? Well, sometimes I’m a Lead Carpenter. I think you know it’s just like I talked to enough employees and I asked them what their job title is and what that means what are their responsibilities. They don’t know.


So, no wonder you’re having people problems. No wonder you know the business is kind of even though you’re super, super busy and people are really frustrated you don’t understand because your people don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. They don’t know what you want them to be doing because a lot of times people will, business owners will hire to fill a gap you know and they’ll hire for a person instead of hiring for a job.


Because when Joe leaves this position we’re going to hire for that position. We can’t possibly hire another Joe because Joe is Joe.  Yeah. Timing me crazy just I know it’s good for you. I know it’s true. Wow, this is really awesome. Well, we’re getting close to end this time. Is there anything in the back of your mind that you just wanted to have a thought about that you wanted to bring up to the front. Before we close out in the next few minutes or so.


Oh yeah. I always try to end on this just because somebody once asked me if you could only teach one thing to construction business owners or contractors. What would it be? And it’s very simplistic but you got to understand the difference between margin and markup.


Like I’d be happy to teach it because when contractors get that and they understand and we don’t have enough time to go into all that but when they realize how the math works on that and what the difference between those two terms are and what it means for their business then it totally changes the way they operate.


At least you know as far as knowing what you know when your costs are, what your markup needs to be to produce a certain margin so I’ll leave it with that. Just saying if you don’t know the difference between margin or markup or you think you do, you probably don’t and that’s okay. Again, like we said the beginning you’re not alone. No one no one gets this until they really you know studied or whatever. Learn the difference between margin and markup.


Yeah maybe with in the future will do a full podcast about that will drive anybody nuts. Yeah. Doing Numbers doing numbers and math on a podcast is really uncommon. Yeah. You got to picture this that would do well do it. Yeah, ducks and birds you know. Yeah, that’s right.


Shawn, it’s really been awesome. How do our listeners get in touch with you if they want to find out more about you? What you do and your whole organization.


Yep. The easiest way is just Google me and I should pop up all over the place it’s ShawnVanDyke.com is the Web site and that’s S-H-A-W-N. But if your if your listeners want to you know get some you know to start making some taking some actions and getting some results. I’ve got a book called the Paperwork Punch List: 28 Days to Streamline your Construction Business.


FREE e-book on my Web site just goes to ShawnVanDyke.com /the paperwork punch list. Give me your email address and you’ll get the book download for FREE. It’s about 70 some pages and it just kind of walks us through step by step. Some stuff that you can do over the next 28 days over the next four weeks to start getting some of the paperwork stuff out of the way some of the systems in place.


Well, make sure all that goes on our show. Yeah. When we do that so everyone will be able to do that. Awesome. This is really cool and I really appreciate you talking about this. Really. Something an industry that’s driving everybody nuts. Well, man, thanks for Dave thanks for having me on this has been this has been a blast. I think we could probably talk for two hours on different stuff. So, anytime and anytime. Thanks.


You can visit this websites for more details about Shawn Van Dyke:




EMAIL: connect@shawnvandyke.com




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