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Inflation has swept through the global economy. The causes of inflation are multifaceted, interconnected, and it affects us all. The outcome? Our purchasing power has decreased.
In order to maintain a healthy, profitable business, it’s necessary to raise rates. This week, Wayne Bettess, business coach and founder of Off The Tools, illustrates how to raise rates and why it leads to a better business and happier customers.
In this episode we’ll discuss:
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Wayne's Guide on Raising Prices
Off The Tools Podcast
Consistency, out of everything you can do. Whatever it is, consistency is probably the one thing that no matter what, if you look at any one story, any famous YouTuber, any famous music artist, any famous businessman, what they did is show up every day.
This is Take Stock, presented by Commusoft, the podcast where we bring together experts and leaders to discuss the top trends, ideas, and strategies used in the field service industry and beyond. Let's dive in.
Hello listeners and welcome to Take Stock presented by Commusoft. I'm your host, Charles Kay and today I have the opportunity to speak with a leading trades business coach, the owner of two heating businesses, and the creator and host of the Off the Tools podcast. I'd like to welcome Wayne Bettess. Hello, welcome.
Thank you. Thank you for having me. It's very strange to be on this side of the fence for once. I'm normally the host. So it's gonna be interesting to be the guest.
Absolutely. We're switching roles here. How fun is that? I'm so glad you could come and I'd like to dive right in and just learn a little bit more about your background and how you got into the trade.
So, you know, you've probably heard this story. It's a very similar story that a lot of people do. I was a bit of a naughty boy at school to put it in a nice way. Right, and there was this lovely teacher that took me under her wing. She looked after me, her name was Colette. And she basically said, “Right, Wayne, you leave school in six months, I'm signing you up for a plumbing course.”
There was no choice. It was, that's what you're doing. I sort of like went home, told my parents, and he pulled a few favors with a few friends that he knew and got me an apprenticeship. I did a two-year apprenticeship and just learned the trade out there in the field.
That's a really fascinating story. It really goes to show the importance and the impact of teachers in primary school, middle school, and high school. I remember I had a really impactful teacher, an English teacher, in my junior year of high school. It was a similar kind of thing.
I think I was just bored and didn't really have an interest. He introduced me to a number of things. We had a love of music that we shared and we like swapped albums. He got me really interested in Mark Twain, the author, the impact of teachers can be massive. Amazingly about six months ago, she found me on Facebook and added me.
We're actually going to meet up in a couple of weeks for a coffee, which will be lovely to see her after what, nearly 20 years. So I can't wait. Right. How cool is that? We have all these tools in the digital world to constantly connect us, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, but hopefully, and in this instance, a good thing.
Yeah, definitely. So I know the three B’s are a core concept in your work and your life. Can you tell me first, what are the three Bs? So the three Bs stand for - body, business, and balance. It was really a life lesson that I built a business on in my early twenties. I went gungho I had no training, no knowledge apart from knowing the actual trade.
Obviously I knew that, but I didn't know anything about business. I thought I was doing really well because there were lots of zeros at the end of all the transactions and money was flowing in and flowing out. What happened? I had two young children, and I had two businesses at the time, and all my attention was on my business.
I used to get up at six in the morning, be out the house by half six. If I was home by eight o'clock at night, that was a good time to get home at. So obviously, as you can imagine that put strain on my relationship, it put a distance between me and my then two children. I've got four now. The short version is that I basically royally messed it up.
When they had to get liquidated, both companies went loaded with debt. For about a year, I called it licking my wounds. I sort of mustered by, made a living, and then I found a business coach over in the states actually, funny enough that was my first introduction to that sort of education.
I've never paid attention to learning at school. I just thought I knew it all. You know, as you do as a cocky 15, 16-year-old boy, right? but this guy, he swore, you know, he wore hats and shirts like us. He was rough and ready, he opened my eyes to the fact that I don't actually know anything really.
And really, you're never gonna know it. It's a constant, you know, there's always stuff to learn. He introduced me to a few of the philosophies that I've now turned into, what I call the three Bs. The core ethic of it is - I have an image. It's a triangle or a pyramid, but a triangle is the strongest structure in less one side is weak.
The analogy I always give is, we all know that guy that's got the ripped six pack body. You know, he lives in the gym, generally speaking, there are hybrids to this, obviously, but generally speaking, that's where his attention is. So he has a beautiful body but probably doesn't have a beautiful bank account or the lovely family or friends' side of life.
And that's what balance is, by the way, you can flip that in any equation. You can have a loving dad and husband. But then he probably isn't excelling in business and he is probably not looking after himself. I sort of sat back and thought, but without all three, what's the point.
What's the point of having a million quid in the bank? If your wife hates you and you've got no relationship with your kids. What's the point of being super fit and super healthy? If you can't provide for yourself and the family, and that's how I stumbled into what is now called the three Bs.
The idea is that you have to put your attention on all three areas at all times. Obviously naturally business might take precedent. Or if there's something happening at home that might take priority. But the idea is to constantly try and make sure that you are leveling up in all three of the areas.
So you're building this solid triangle structure in yourself, body doesn't just mean physicality. It means your mentality, your thoughts, your beliefs, all of that side of things, business obviously is just how you generate your income. And what confuses a lot of people is when I say balance, what I mean by that is your friends, family, your social side, and activities.
You know, that side of life. And really, I would say I probably got my timeline a bit wrong. COVID had sort of messed it up with all the years. I lose track a little bit, but I think liquidated the company in 2014. I spent a year in depression and just in a horrible place.
So it's probably around the end of 2016 or 2017 that the light bulb come on and I said. I'm not making these same mistakes. I forgot to mention in that time, I'd put on stupid amounts of weight and I was really fat obese, and just really unhealthy. I just kept looking and thinking, I need to find a structure that can elevate me in all of these areas. It was simply something I used to do. Now I've got journals and stuff that I do. But back then, it was literally just a notepad. In the morning, I would just write something down on the notepad that was gonna level me up in the body. That was gonna level me up in business.
And that was gonna level me up in balance. It could just be something mediocre, like making sure I was home for the school run, making sure I hydrate, making sure I did my accounts that night, or whatever it might be. Just something. Every day, because as you know, and as many of your listeners will know, you are the sum of what you've done every day up till now.
So my philosophy there was, well, if I just do one thing in the areas, I'm at least moving forward rather than backward. Then that developed, it's now a video-based. So to the guys that work with me as clients, they actually get a video of me every morning, declaring what I call my three Bs.
Yeah. So every day, pretty much without fail, I show up, and I preach it to my lads that I work with. I mainly work with men. It is open to everyone, but just naturally, it's just mainly men that I attract. There are about 30 of us every morning that set out our targets for the day.
Sometimes they're huge. Sometimes it could be to secure a massive contract or whatever it might be, but 99% of the time, it's just mediocre stuff. But by saying it, by writing it down, or by recording the video, you're putting it out to the universe that you want to achieve. I don't achieve everything every day.
Of course, I'm human. I set myself up to at least attempt to win every day. You had so much great stuff in there. I appreciate your vulnerability in sharing your story. There were so many good nuggets in there. First I want to hit on something you said, doing a little bit every day.
That's huge. it's like that concept of what you say, your words become your actions, which become your habits, which build your life. You're the sum of everything you do. As you have said and practice daily that consistency. Consistency is key. I feel that in my own practice, for example, people always ask for the secret sauce, don't they? They always say what's the secret to, you know, and success can mean anything to anyone.
At this moment in time, I feel successful because I'm not a millionaire, but I'm comfortable. I've got a beautiful, healthy family, and I have plenty of free time. So in my eyes, if I say success, that's what I'm referring to in my definition of success. I've lost the train of thought that I was going on there, but by setting yourself up to win every day, you just give yourself that extra half a yard above everybody else I believe.
Consistency out of everything you can do. Whatever it is. Consistency is probably the one thing that no matter what, if you look at any one story, you know, any famous YouTuber, any famous music artist, any famous businessman, what they did is show up every day, they might not have been good at the beginning, but they just showed up.
Time and time and time again, put your reps in. I think a lot of coaches call it, getting your reps in and life is that you have to put the reps in every day. Absolutely. Absolutely. One of my favorite stories of a musician who had a similar awakening with consistency is the saxophonist Charlie Parker.
I don't know if you're familiar. He was a huge person in jazz and created the language of Bebop, but essentially, long story short, he went to a jam session in Kansas City in the 1930s. Was so bad that a drummer, Joe Jones, threw a symbol at him or threw a symbol on the ground. He went back to his woodshed and practiced, the legend says, 13 hours a day, every single day.
That's a pretty extreme example, but I try to approach it in my own practices, work, and life if I can do something every day, even if it's a 15-minute block, a 20-minute, half-hour block. Getting outside, getting a walk in, getting a run, and getting a bike in, but doing it consistently and every day that's what makes the big difference.
Something you had said earlier really stuck out to me. You said you had, in your words, you were a naughty boy in school, which I can appreciate. I think I was, I know I was definitely lazier than I should have been in high school and junior high. I had some great coaches and teachers and professors in college, which really opened my eyes to some things.
You had a similar experience with that US-based coach. It's interesting how we can be taught these lessons by some teachers at some points in our life. But somebody else may say the same thing in a different way and it just blows our minds and opens up our minds to it. We get these lessons, but we're just maybe not ready to hear them.
Exactly. Yeah. I would a hundred percent agree with that. You know I put myself out there on social media and I know social media's a bit of an alien. It's not like real life, but I have people that three years ago, were following me, and messaging me, but the message wasn't resonating.
You know, they weren't understanding it. Whereas fast forward three years, they are now my clients are now working with me because it hit home. At some point, they needed that lesson to understand it and they did, and then it was right for them.
That's why I don't ever try and sell what I do because the person opposite has to need it. They have to need it. They need to need that in their life for them to sign up to me.
So, absolutely, you know, we're all students and teachers at different times every day in different scenarios, but you really need to, as a student, come with the questions to the teacher, you can't force something as the teacher.
No, definitely not. What drove you to begin a podcast? What was the inception of that journey? So I had no plan. I literally, you know, I could see… I sort of had this six sense and I could see it early on. I created a Facebook page and group and I grew it quite well and did a little business out of it.
Then I saw the shift between Facebook Like pages and groups. So I sort of thought, well I was a plumber back then and I thought, you know what? I'll set up a couple of plumbing groups because I could see that the Facebook algorithms were starting to try and encourage people into groups rather than follow like pages.
So I set up a couple of plumbing groups. They grew quite well. Obviously, I was putting myself out there a little bit, starting to, I believe the best way to learn is to teach, you know, it gets in properly. So at that time, I was going through my own personal development. I just started putting it out there, you know, putting random quotes out, putting a little video here and there.
I started getting loads of questions, you know, and not, I say loads. It was like a couple a day, you know, which isn't a lot, but when you're trying to run a business and a family, I started to think, well, there's gotta be a better way to answer these people. So I started doing videos on Facebook. Then I sort of saw the podcasting look like it was gonna become quite popular in the UK.
I don't know if you know, but we are generally like five years behind you guys, like as a generalization. Obviously, I could see that there were some moves happening in America. I've always kept an eye on America. It just fascinates me. I love your country. and I just thought you know what, there's no one really doing it that I knew at the time this was 2018.
I think I was one of the first in the UK to do a trade-based one. I just thought, you know, I liked the sound in my own voice. I was confident enough to put it out there and that was really it. And obviously, as you, as you all know, it's easy to do a podcast, but again, it's hard to get that consistency.
Get that and keep it going and keep the momentum going. So for the first six months to a year, I was very consistent. Then business took over and I had to sort of park it for a little while. But I've never looked back. I absolutely love the concept of podcasting because not everyone wants to be on camera, but most people want to have a chat, you know?
They wanna have a discussion and I learn so much, like from a selfish point of view, I learn so much from having the conversations with people that I interview that just on that note alone, it's worth it for me, you know, off the back of it. Obviously, I do get business and stuff, but that's not the purpose of it.
It never was. It was really just to save me time, rather than having to reply to 10 messages at the end of the week, I could say, go and watch episode 29. You know, I spoke exactly about what you were asking about, and that was really what I wanted to create was a sort of resource to point people to.
If they ask me a question or if they're struggling, they can just go and find that episode. I think I haven't released all of them, but I think I'm at a hundred now, but I've got more banked up. That's wonderful. Yeah. I should have had more, to be honest, but I got lazy for a little while as everyone does, you know, we have ups and downs and life throws curve balls here and there.
It's part of that ebb and flows with the triangle, the body, business, and balance. Because, I mean, the goal is the triangle and the balance, but life is gonna throw you some curveballs. Yeah, It's lucid. It moves around. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. That was another really important lesson to learn. I was very, very, what's the word?
Strict, I suppose, on myself for a while. I was like, no, I've got to achieve in all of these. Then I realize that's fine, but when there are down bits, just embrace it. I'm a firm believer that you fall to the level of your training. So what I mean by that is most people won't rise to the situation in front of them.
They will fall to that base level of training they have as a person. So I'm just on a continued journey to, you know, I read every night, I listen to podcasts and audiobooks every day, I'm just a seeker of knowledge. From a selfish point of view, but also, cause I love to share that knowledge with the next people.
Hopefully, my children pick up on that as I'm going through life as well. So absolutely. one of my favorite things about doing this podcast and talking to so many wonderful and interesting people and getting to know their backgrounds and why and how they ended up doing the things that they're currently doing is - it's so natural.
That seems to be the case with you starting your podcast. You were having these conversations on Facebook, you were putting out quotes and questions and there was a discussion happening. Now all of a sudden, there's this new and upcoming medium, where you could maybe extrapolate even deeper conversations and discussions in a slightly produced, but not too daunting way, the podcast, that's so cool.
I appreciate you sharing your story. It's a great journey. Anyone that's sitting on the fence about doing something like that, just do it.. What's the worst that can happen? Right. Just try it. I'm aware in addition to your podcasting, you do one on one coaching and group coaching.
Now, what started this part of your journey? Again, there was no real plan to monetize the platform that I'd sort of created. Cause the Facebook groups are like the community, the podcast was the first offshoot of that. Again, it was just starting to take a lot of time up.
People would reach out. People would ring me up and talk and I'd be on my phone for hours with people throughout the day. So I just sort of thought - how can I help them? Honestly, people question me on this, but one thing I've always been is authentic. If I've had a shit day, I'll tell you. If I've had a great day, if I'm doing well, I'll tell you if I'm doing bad, I'll tell you.
So it never set out to be a fully-fledged business, which it is now, and it was always driven by my wanting to help one person avoid some of the stuff that I went through. That was the driving force. It just got to the point where it was just taking up too much of my time, that if I could find a way to coach for free, if I could get support from a big company or something like that. I would love to do it and not have to charge the guys that work with me because some of them do - they genuinely need that support. I'd say 60% of the sessions I do, most of what we end up talking about is non-business related stuff, because those are the problems that they're actually facing.
Because it's mainly men, they seem to feel well. It is a safe place that they can come in and if they're having problems at home, if they're having problems themselves with like any sort of addictions or depression and stuff like that. It's just a small, tight-knit group of men on a mission basically, all just trying to help each other and just support and move forward.
Absolutely. It's so interesting how different issues can manifest in life. You know, some issue that might have a symptom - let's say in business, going back to your three Bs - can actually be a root problem in the balance portion of your life. That's super interesting.
Yeah. Whenever they tell me what's happening, I always step back and then I ask a couple of questions about the other areas of life, and nine times out of 10, that's where the actual problem is. I think you use the word manifest and that's where it's manifested itself.
Again, you can work in any angle if you're having problems in your mindset. It could be, cause you're struggling in the business area and it's making you feel down. They're all just so interconnected that it's silly to ignore them. Absolutely, you mentioned, out of a place of genuine authenticity, you wanted to help others avoid the challenges that you faced along the way, which is amazing.
So what are some of the challenges you faced as a tradesman, having a heating business? What are the pitfalls you've seen? In the early days it was getting work, that was always a battle. Because when you're starting out, especially at the time, I think I was 20. So, I look old now, but in my early twenties, I looked like I was like 17.
I had no facial hair. I just looked like I was quite puny. So getting work for me was one of the first challenges.Then I quickly sort of understood a little bit about marketing and sort of how to, well, basically just be yourself. If people like you they'll buy from you, and realize that it wasn't so much about the products, it was about how you presented what you offer and what you do.
Then that problem for most people, they solve that, at the early stage, cause you have to, when you go out on business on your own, you have to crack on. Then the real challenges come - managing cash flow, keeping stock of your equipment and your materials, keeping all the customers happy, keeping your family happy, cause again, everyone gets so lasered in on - I've gotta make this business a success.
They forget about their wife or partner or whatever. and then that creates a load of problems. For most, I would say this again, this is a generalization and just based on my own personal experience. Is that most have never learned one thing about business because it's not taught. We learn from, in the UK, we have something called apprenticeships, right?
Where basically you get in a van, typically an older guy that, 25 years before got in a van with another older guy. And that's how you're taught. You're taught the basic skills of the job, obviously, that's important, and you're not really taught much about the business apart from maybe the odd bit here and there, you might pick up.
So the fundamentals of managing your cash. Sending invoices, keeping on top of accounts, how to market yourself, how to sell, because a lot of tradesmen don't think that they're salesmen or saleswomen. Right. We are in business to sell. There's different techniques to sell. I'm not saying be a car salesman where you're trying to twist their arm and get 'em over the line, but we still have to make sales.
Cause if we don't make sales we're not making money. So from a business perspective, they're like the main things that I work on, just the basics, I call it the foundations. So it's the first three months of the courses that I do, where we cover time management, money management, accounting, everything that I classify as the basics of business.
As they grow as a person and as they grow as a business, they've got some solid sort of fundamentals in place, ready to take the weight of what they're gonna try and create. Then when they do start to do well, then you're talking leadership - managing people again, these are skills that you're generally not taught.
Some people are naturally a leader and they get on fine with managing teams. But a lot of people aren't, a lot of people are quite happy. Just sort of like, yeah, I'll follow you. You know, they just follow the crowd. So again we work on leadership and sort of taking charge of situations.
I also get a lot of guest speakers in as well, because of the listeners there. I'm not trying to sit here. Like I'm some guru here. Right. I'm a work in progress. I'm learning just as much as everybody else. The only real difference is that I put my head above the pit and talk about it.
I get guest speakers in. So like last month we had a sales coach come in that delivered a sales coaching. We had a marketing guy come in, so it's not just the Wayne show. It's not just me sitting there trying to preach to everybody. Sometimes I learn just as much from the guys working with me because, some of them are older, some of them are younger, and that naivety can bring in new ideas and stuff.
So it's just a fascinating little environment. Really. It really is. Absolutely. What you said was so important, you can be the young man in the van learning how to install a boiler. Which is obviously the essential role and the essential task ahead. But let's say, as a marketer myself, we say you could write the best copy.
You could write the best content, but if it's not promoted and if it's not out there, who's there to read it? So that's an essential part of the business, cooking the books, making sure everything's in order, you have to market yourself and get yourself out there as a business owner.
Yeah. One thing I totally missed there as well, which is a really big part of it is time management. Everybody, the vast majority of people let the customer fill their day up, which, at first you have to, when you're building a business, you have to suck lemons, I call it, you have to just get on with it.
But as you get a bit more established, you have to start taking back that control because otherwise, you are just at the mercy of everybody. So we do something in my training called a non-negotiable diary, and it's basically just a Google calendar, where you set in all the key things. I don't know if you've ever seen that video.
Getting all the rocks into a glass. If you've put the small ones in first, you'll never get the big ones in. Right. So it's all about putting the most important things in the diary first. Then you can put all the smaller stuff at the end of the day.
Because although they're the lifeblood of your business, you wouldn't have, why would you want the business if you're not looking after yourself and if you're not looking after your family and friends. Right. Time management, for a lot of them, is a big obstacle. It's one of the biggest challenges I have as a coach is to get them to actually act.
They love the lesson. They love the sessions to know they buy into it. But then the action part, getting that action on time management is very difficult for me. One of the banes of my coaching career is getting them to absorb the information and then take the next step. But that's my job as a coach is what is one of the things I always say to people is it's like going to the gym.
If you go to the gym, you might do eight reps. Right. But if you've got the personal trainer behind you. You're gonna get 10 or 12 because he's not gonna let you, he's gonna just usher them last few up. That's effectively what I do in business. So. Absolutely. That support is extremely important for sure.
All right, Wayne, that sound means it's time for our rapid-fire segment. Part of the show where we get to know you on a more personal level, the time is short and the stakes are high, and we need to get to know you fast. Are you ready? Let's go. All right here we go. Wayne, what is your favorite UK food? It's gotta be a roast dinner, roast, or roast beef.
Oh, love it. Perfect. What is the country you want to visit the most? Your land. United States of America. Can't wait to come over. Love that. What is your favorite outdoor activity? Running. And lastly, what is your favorite podcast right now? Joe Rogan, I could listen to him all day.
It's awesome. Awesome. That did it, you know, that was really interesting. The roast dinner, is the roast beef that is a staple in the UK. Tell me what is the ideal roast beef dinner in all the fixing? So it's gotta be crispy, like burnt, like not burnt, but like dark on the outside. Yeah. Like with a nice little crisp to it, red and juicy on the inside.
And then all the trimmings, you've gotta have horseradish. You've gotta have rice potatoes parsnips, broccoli. Yes. Cheesy cauliflower, loads of gravy, loads of salt, and a nice red wine to go with it, and away you go. Well, you got me extremely hungry right there. Oh my goodness. That sounds wonderful.
Let's head back into our interview. You mentioned sales before, I know in field service, in the trades, in the past, I think it was thought of one-dimensionally as just you do the job. But I think there's a growing trend that, trades companies and field service companies are considering sales as an integral part of their business.
So what do you see as far as trends go in terms of sales in field service? So again, I'm gonna refer back to you guys over in the states. It's something that I noticed early on. It was like 2016, or 2017. So as I was starting to explore how I could improve, I noticed that over in America, they were a lot more sales driven and that intrigued me.
I was just like, Hmm. Okay. They were using CRM systems, which we have, obviously, Commusoft is one. But again, we were behind you. So for the vast majority of people in 2015 and 2016, the vast majority of the smaller companies weren't even using a job management system, let alone any sort of sales, CRM system.
I would say that the trend is definitely catching up with America. So a lot more people are understanding the importance of just the word lead. Five years ago, if you used the word lead, you'd get a funny look. What do you mean by a lead? When it's just a customer, like what's the lead?
There’s definitely a shift in perception. I think the rise of Facebook, Instagram, and all of that with obviously a lot more discussions around this sort of thing compared to 10 years ago. So I definitely see it see it being a huge growth. There's gonna be a huge uptake in people wanting to actually sort of become more, not ‘salesy’, but using sales systems and sales techniques to improve their business. I actually had an interview with your founder, Jason, where we spoke about sales and he picked up on a word. We used the word quote, or estimate, whereas I think Jason uses the word proposal.
Doesn't he? In the software. Yeah. I adopted that the minute we had that conversation, Yeah, man, that just makes so much sense. I adopted, and I swapped the word. In my head and with the guys that I work with and with him. Cause I forgot to say I still run two heating businesses. Right. So I'm still connected to the industry in that I'm not on the tools.
My hands are nice and soft. You can't see cause you are listening, but I did just wave my hands to the camera. Yeah, so I'm not speaking from a third-party experience. I live and breathe this every day and the sooner any business embraces to build a proper business, you have to manage the sales process, the customer journey, I call it, you know?
Yeah. From the minute they contact you, you need to have the ability to know that they're in the system and things are happening .Because for a lot of people, they still work out a paper diary or a back of a packet or whatever it might be. Right. So yeah, the next generation of tradespeople in the UK.
They will be using these systems. It's just getting the more senior members of the community to change their sort of 20-year life habit, which is quite difficult, but a lot of making that turn. That's kind of an ongoing issue. new technology is introduced. To any industry. Sales into the field service industry and we have to change and adapt and make sure we're staying modern.
That's super interesting as an American myself. That's interesting to get your perspective as, as someone in the UK, looking at our culture as more sales-driven using CRM systems. That's interesting to see that the UK is now seeing this shift in the culture, the sales culture. In perception.
And as you mentioned in the language, using something like lead, it'll be very interesting to see how this shift plays out in the next coming years. Definitely. I definitely classify myself as an early adopter. So in whatever it is I'm always one of the first in to have a little see and I've been using Commusoft since back in 2011.
I think the company was only a couple of years old then it was very, very different from what it is now. So I've been using a sales system for the last two or three years. I think we are now hitting that place where it's coming out of the earlier adopter stage and moving into a sort of more of the mass market.
I think there's gonna be a huge uptake and I'm quite excited for it because what that means for me and my trade businesses is that, when everyone else catches up, I've lost my advantage, so to speak. But what that means is I've gotta innovate and that's what I love. I love to find the new angles, the next new bit that I can add to my business, test it, see if it works, and then pass that on to the guys that I work with.
And yeah, it's like a symbiotic sort of relationship. Absolutely. In a similar vein to sales, let's talk about prices. Supposing I own a heating business. How do I go about and why should I go about raising my price? You know, I might be hesitant, suppose a customer is a loyal customer who is complaining and saying, Hey, I've been around for years, or perhaps you might fear losing customers.
How and why do I go about that? So, firstly, I'm not plugging people to go here, but on my website, I've got a report that I actually write a five-page document that I've spent a lot of time creating. So go over to the website and download it because it goes into a lot more detail.
You’ll see there's like charts and stuff in into it all. But in essence, most tradespeople right now are losing money compared to two years ago. Right. Just on inflation alone, even if you use the government, which I don't believe their figures are anywhere near reality. Just on that alone.
In the last couple of years. If you were charging 80 quid an hour, then two, three years ago, You're now losing money. This means you are going to work every day for less money and who in their right mind wants to do that? Right. So just that one reason alone inflation. So in the report, it uses 2002 as the example, because that was 20 years, it was just as I left school and started my apprenticeship, and in the report, I go.
The pricing that the company I worked for then was charging. It wasn't far off what most are charging now. And then I factored in just the UK's base rate of inflation. And it meant that if you were charging a hundred pounds, for a job then just to have kept up with inflation. So that's not improving your skills becoming better and wanting to earn more.
You'd have to be charging over 180. I think the report, the report says it exactly. I think it was a hundred 81 pounds. Wow. It's nearly an 81% increase if you had raised with just inflation. And I can guarantee you, there's no one listening here right now that is charging anywhere near that sort of price per, per hour.
Right. But technically they should be, which means that if you were in business in 2002, and you're still in business now, you are actually, if you're not charging that per hour, you're actually losing money. You are worse off than you used to be back then. So. It's crazy. I know it's scary. I know customers put pressure on us and I get a lot of people that come to me and say, oh, but if I raise my price, I'll lose my customers.
Okay. Yeah, hand's up. You might, right? I can't sit here and say, you're gonna raise your prices and no one's gonna leave you. And everything's gonna be hunkydory, but. Park that for one second and you're in business - business isn't meant to be safe and secure. The whole point of business is it's risky.
You have to take a few risks and they won't always pay off. But if you sit there and argue with me about, oh, I can't raise my prices. Right. Unless you've tried and you can come back to me and say, I gave the next 10 customers these prices and, and I lost this amount of jobs. It's not worth it.
Okay. Then I'll put my hands up and say, fair enough. It didn't work. 99% of people that argue with me about this subject haven't bothered or not bothered. That's the wrong word. let me rephrase that. Cause that sounded a bit aggressive. So it's not that they haven't bothered. they haven't taken that step to try it.
In the fear that they’ll lose the work. Right. But unless you try it, you won't know. Right. and again, prime example after writing that. So I rewrote the report originally in 2018, and then I rewrote it three months ago with everything that's gone on and it changed the figures dramatically.
So I rewrote it, it made me look at my business. Naturally. Obviously, I'm talking about prior. So I started looking at my own. I thought, whoa, okay. I need to do mine. I haven't done mine for a couple of years. Right. I banged my prices up. And guess what, Not one customer, not one customer complained. Not one customer canceled a job that was already booked in.
Cause we rang them and said, look with everything that's gone on with the inflation and the way that everything is, we've got to, we basically blame the government and there's no better person to blame because you know, you can sit there and say, look, I've raised my prices because the government has done X, Y, Z.
There you go. You've got your excuse. I don't like excuses, but if you want an excuse, that's what you can use. Again, I put that in the report. Now's the timing, you know, if you're gonna raise your prices. Well, you're not even doing it out of greed. You're doing it out of necessity. Your fuels got gone.
Yes. That's the difference. Yeah. Your materials, your consumables, in the UK, we do something called soldering. Right. Which is like, I dunno if they, I think you do braising, which is slightly different, but basically we melt a bit of metal onto the copper and that's how it joins.
And I think it was about 10 years ago, a roller sold was about 10 pounds. Okay. That same roller sold now is nearly 35 pounds in some places. Wow. And we use that. That's consumable, if that makes sense. So you don't really, it's not like if you quote for a boiler, you price up for the boiler, the flu and you sort of put a little bit on the top for the consumables. If that's just one consumable has gone up that much. So are screws. So is flux. So are all these little things have gone up exponentially. Even if the customer comes back and says, look, that's not fair.
You know, it's life right. You can justify it. I believe that if you can justify it, then you're doing nothing wrong. I'm not saying you should do it. Like in the middle of winter and just charge 200 quid because it's freezing outside, that's called extortion. Which I'm not saying to do that.
I'm saying to take a look at your finances, see what you are charging, see when the last time you raised your price was, and then make a decision. If you raised your prices six months ago. Yeah. Okay. Maybe you can't jump it too soon, but for most people, they probably haven't raised their prices in five years.
Right. So you can easily put on an extra 20 or 30 quid. A job or whatever it is, if you're charging hours or days, whatever it is. But that's the difference between sort of getting by and actually having a successful business. If you can make that little bit more money, that means that you can either enjoy that more, which is gonna make you come to work better.
Cause if you've had another lovely holiday, guess what? When you come back, you're energized, you're refreshed, you're ready to hit the ground and your customers are gonna get the better version of you. Right. Whereas if you are just making ends me, guess what? You're gonna be a bit more miserable.
The whole customer journey is affected if you are not getting the right reward for that work. So right. If you're listening, go over to my website, and download the report. But more importantly, in there, I actually give a few strategies on ways that you can increase it.
There are three different ways that I recommend that you do it, but ultimately try it. Then if it doesn't work, you can say, at least I tried it, but don't sit there and tell me it can't happen until you've tried it. Absolutely. Sorry, I get very passionate about this subject. Oh, no apology needed.
For our listeners, we're gonna go ahead and link Wayne's page for our listeners, to have that resource available and that's so true, it may, in the short term, it might sting the customer a little bit, but really both for the business and the customer it's mutually beneficial in the long term.
You, as a business owner, get to… I mean with inflation it's not even a matter of... I mean, of course, we all want to thrive, but it's a matter of survival. You want to make money to continue your business. So that's the first reason, but it'll help you thrive in the long term and provide better quality service to the customer in the short and the long term.
So can I give one more example here so people can get a bit more reassurance? So based on raising my base prices, those that know me already know that I do care plans, which are like monthly subs. I've got over 200 customers on them. Again, I looked at the figures and I thought, if I'm gonna raise the prices, now's the time, I've got a good person to point the finger at and get the blame.
But I needed to, cause I looked at the figures and I was like, yeah, okay. Like the fuel costs and all of that. So I can't remember the exact figures, but it's over 200 people that I sent out to. Explaining, look, I know it's tough. I know that obviously, all your bills are going up right now. It's the last thing I wanted to do, but I have to because I need to be there for you when you need us.
I gave a nice bit of copywriting that I put together. Out of over 200 people, I had two cancel. One actually was just telling me that they were moving and they were gonna cancel anyway. And one, she had decided to get a boiler done by British gas in the summer.
So she said she was gonna be canceling, but she'll just cancel it now. So, in essence, I classified that as I didn't lose a single customer of over 200 customers when I raised my prices across the board. Just on my care plans alone. So, customers one last thing on this, I always try to give real examples.
And the best real example is to ask yourself the question - when you get that letter from the Sky, or email from Netflix, or whatever sign we're sticking out the quid for. What do you do? You grumble you F and Jeff. Then you turn the Sky on, sit back, relax, and just get on with it. Cause unfortunately it's life and your customer's no different from you.
You're a customer of that company and you just suck it up and get on with it nine times out of 10. So what makes you think that your customers won't just suck it up there? Everyone's gonna moan no one wants to hand more money over, of course not, but the vast majority, All of the ones actually value you as a person and as a business owner will just accept it. You know, how many emails I've got back to me like saying Wayne, we love you. You know, we love your company. We've been with you for 10 years. You know, we totally understand it's life, you know? So that reassured me as well. Cause I got lots of like positive energy coming back from it, which was lovely.
Like the relationship doesn't need to be antagonistic. It can be a cooperative, wonderful experience, even when raising prices. Well, we appreciate you sharing your anecdotes and all of that wisdom. As we close. I have two final questions for you. One, what are your future plans?
Two, if you had one piece of advice for those trying to grow and scale their businesses, what would it be? So my future plans are from the coaching side of things. So from off the tools academy, point of view, is to help as many people as I possibly can. So I'm just trying to find ways to serve more people and get my message out to them. because I live in this little cocoon of the communities that I've built. I understand that they're small in comparison to the UK and the world, you know, America, I'd love to start offering some services over in America because I just love America.
To work with people over there would be amazing. So yeah, really it's about finding the best way that I can help as many more people as I possibly can. What was the second question? If you had one piece of advice that you could give, to help those grow and scale your business, what would it be?
Setting out every day, a few things that you need to achieve. At the very minimum, if you can get a couple of them done every day, you're winning. It would be to actually take that step of taking it out of your head, and writing it down just on a pad or can be on a sticky, you know I love my sticky notes.
Right. I have sticky notes everywhere. Yes. So even if it's just writing it on a sticky note and you stick it on your visor and your van, just a few things, obviously, ideally following the three Bs, something in body, business, and balance, but forget all of that. Even if it's just a few things in your business that needs to be done, just get it written down
Consistently hit these little singles. I call it. So over in the UK, we have a game called cricket, right? It’s a bit like baseball, really slow, you can hit a six, right? Which is like swinging the bat, hitting it as hard as you can to hit it out the stand. But the risks of that are obviously you missed the ball, you hit the stamps, or you get caught out.
Yeah. And everyone seems to want to swing that back to hit the six cause it's the glory shot. Yeah. I wanna go from A, to B as quickly as possible. It's the home run. Yeah, yeah, yeah. The home run. Yeah. Exactly. Whereas my philosophy is first of all, stay at the crease, which is what it's called. Right. So even if you have to be defensive sometimes and just block the ball, just stay at the crease.
When you can hit a single, which is where you just knock it a little bit and you run to the other side. Just one little thing. Just hit them singles every day. Before you know it your score just keeps tallying up and up and up, and then I'll tally that with. Look back often.
Okay. I know that sounds weird. You just look forward, but we forget to see how far we've come. So as humans, we adapt to our environment. So when you are used to somewhere something, if you are used to having a certain amount of money every week or whatever, you get used to that very quickly.
You forget what it was like when you had half that and you were getting alright. So I always say every now and then, I do it every quarter with the lads that I work with. Take a look over that shoulder and see how far you've come. You might not have got all the way to the target, but you will have certainly got a little bit further away from where you were, and that's where the confidence builds.
But no one really ever looks back, and no one really tells you to, because it's all about moving forward, climbing that ladder getting higher, but don't forget to just look over. See how far you're coming. I love that serving folks, serving people, and serving the community.
Celebrating your past successes and looking toward the future.
There you have it, folks. Before we go, I'd like to thank our featured guest business coach, owner, and podcast host Wayne Bettes. Thank you so much, Wayne, for coming by. Thank you for having me.
This has been Take Stock presented by Commusoft. We hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe, leave a review and check out more content on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and our website - commusoft.com.