An open letter of phenomenal success

Blog Header Image
The new office building

If you’ve been following The Journey for a while you’ve probably already heard of Adam Bell. He was the guy who went from working long, long hours to becoming a triathlete in between fishing holidays. After a while he got bored of all the time off so he’s decided to get stuck back into work and put in at least 30 hours per week to grow the business. Adam's bought a new office space and big changes are ahead.

I asked him recently how adding simPRO to his business has changed things for him personally and professionally. This is his email to me in all its unedited glory.

Big savings in hours worked

Personally I’ve saved about 30 hours a week, even more if you take into account the days/weeks at a time I now don’t even come to work.

Before simPRO, I was working 10 hours a day. 5.00am till 4.30pm, 6 days a week. If I was lucky I could put more hours in during the week and get the weekend off.

This was mainly due to not being able to do something like invoices or quotes until the hard copy job card was returned to the office or the plumber returned to the office to fill it out.

Scheduling – no longer my responsibility

I was also required to be at the office at all times to schedule jobs as they came in. I had office staff manually fill out job cards and then drop them on my desk for scheduling. Now I have the same office staff input and schedule jobs in simPRO. I no longer have to do that job, negating the need for me to be at work all the time.

Even the fish got an upgrade in the new office.
Even the fish got an upgrade in the new office.

Quotes from 10 minutes to 2 minutes

We also had a quote template that would require all the customer details to be entered manually, the template was then saved as a PDF and emailed. As the details of the customer and all the information for the quote is now on the 1 screen I can do the quote in about 2 mins where before it was at about 10 mins.

New accurate invoicing process

With the invoices we were waiting for the job card to be returned to the office with a material list handwritten by the plumber, and if it was a large job, all the supplier invoices to assign to the job.

We now have a system where the supplier does not print the invoice and give it to the plumber. They simply email it at time of purchase, meaning we have the material list normally before the job is even completed or the plumber has even returned to site.

We have had instances where, while the plumber was off site getting materials, the customer has rung the office querying how much the job is likely to cost. Using the plumbers’ notes off simPRO and the suppliers’ invoices we already have we are able to give them an accurate cost over the phone. This was simply impossible previously.

Big, consistent revenue increases

On a dollar basis in regards to the business, our turnover for the past 12-13 years was just under $1.9m.

The year we implemented simPRO 2013-14, our turnover was just over $2.1m. An increase of $200,000 with a $10,000 investment in simPRO licences/fees.

The following year 2014-15 was just over $2.2m with the same investment.

This year 2016-17 we are looking at over $2.3m. As the ATO has now raised the small business threshold (with regards to claiming capital purchases and accounting methods) from 2 mil to 5 mil I have no fear in increasing the size of the business.

In all honesty when our turnover began to rise so dramatically I thought about the horror stories of getting too big too quick and losing the lot when the bubble burst. I actually picked and chose jobs in the 2015-16 financial year so the turnover remained basically the same. I was also happy with the stage the business was at, returning a healthy profit with me at work for only short periods of time.

Back in the saddle

Like with all things, you eventually get bored and need another challenge, so this year I have returned to work doing a 30 hour week to basically build on the business again. I still take days/weeks off at a time, just less frequently but this is now my choosing and not a necessity. I still like to ride my pushbike early in the morning so I do get here early but this is my choosing and again not a necessity.

On a dollar basis to me personally, I have been told that a good office manager can cost $120,000 annually. This equates to around $2800 a week based on a 42 week year if you take into account 4 weeks holidays, sick days public holidays etc, or $70 an hour based on a 40 hour week.

If I have decreased my hours by 30 each week this is a saving of $2100 a week which I would be paying to someone to do the job I had previously. Since implementing simPRO I have put on another person in the office. This was only due to requiring someone to answer phones as they ring too much for one person to handle and I do not like answering the phone when I am here. This only cost $800 a week.

New office, new equipment and new business

This year I have invested in more equipment to diversify a bit (and minimize tax). We now conduct drain camera inspections and a Hydro-jett drain cleaning service. We have also purchased a new office and put on 2 more plumbers.

The new Hydra Jett - 5000PSI !
The new Hydra Jett - 5000PSI !

I am also toying with the idea of starting an electrical side to the business based on the same structure we have with the plumbing, utilizing our existing customers. With our new premises I am also thinking of purchasing an excavator and employing a competent operator as this is something we currently sub-contract out.

With the drain camera we have seen a significant increase in the amount of drain repair jobs we are doing and subsequently spending on excavation costs. I will be able to use the driver as a Trades Assistant when not required.

These are all ideas I did not even have the time to think of let alone put in place. I would not have even had the time to write such a long-winded email prior to simPRO.

10x’ing the initial investment

In basic figures our investment of $10,000 a year is returning $100,000 extra in sales.

We have not increased our advertising budget in any way so this can only be put down to ‘word of mouth’ referrals as a result of our increase in service response and professionalism. And a time saving cost of about $100,000 based on the work I no longer do.