From working on highway construction projects to high rise condominiums, Ryan Hay @oakmanbuildingco is a dynamic Protractor with a dynamic skill set. In this episode he discusses what it took to scale his contracting business in the heart of Austin, TX.
Ryan went to university and got a business degree, but at first didn’t know for sure what to do with it.
Went on to work for a track home building company and learned many important lessons that he carries with him today. Such lessons as:
- Take care of your employees.
- How to schedule multiple jobs and multiple trades.
- Make sure everyone gets paid on time.
- Solve issues in a timely manner.
He worked for another company for a few years managing the work being done in a high-rise luxury condominium.
Then he went to work for a large road building company and helped build a $200,000,000 road.
All of these experiences in his life led up to starting his own residential construction business, Oakman Building Company.
When you are deciding whether to start your own business or not, you are no doubt going to face lots of fears. When facing those fears, Ryan’s advice is to:
- Understand the risks involved.
- Investigate and identify those risks.
- Mitigate the risks as best you can.
- Ask yourself, “If something goes wrong, what is the the backup plan?”
As Ryan looks back, something he wishes he would have known when he started his own company is the Value of himself.
Meaning, the value that he brings to each homeowner that hires him. It was easy to underprice his work at the beginning, or say yes
To jobs that really weren’t a good fit for him.
Ryan says, “That a good quality service deserves a good quality profit.”
Even though it may be difficult to do in the beginning, it’s very important that you know the value you bring to your customers, and charge accordingly.
Ryan goes on to advice contractors to realize where you want to go, and ultimately what type of contractor you want to be. Then, you can work towards arriving there. If you don’t know who you are, or where you want to go, then you will struggle to charge what you should be to run a profitable company.
Over time Ryan has learned how to say no. He admits that he took on a few jobs that he probably shouldn’t have, but in the end it has helped know when to say no.
As an entrepreneur you have to learn the importance of and how to say “no.”
The best advice Ryan ever received was from his dad who told him, “Son, always do your best.”
Even though Ryan admits he is a “horrible carpenter,” he still strives to do his very best in all the aspects of his business that he is good at. And then he surrounds himself with people who compensate for his weakness.
For instance, he hired an exceptional carpenter to compensate for his weakness in that area. That frees him up to do his very best at the other aspects of running his company that he is quite good at.
When paying subs, he keeps it to a two week turnaround.
When asked what he would say to a general contractor who is not paying his subs, his advice goes like this. “If you’re not taking care of your subs and paying your invoices on time, then I don’t see how you will be in business much longer. Figure out what is causing your cash flow shortage and get it fixed. You have to take care of those who are working for you.”
As far as technology goes, Ryan uses:
- Google drive
He is shying away from Builder Trend, and has found other ways to schedule jobs and share digital files.
Ryan has a website and is very active on Instagram.
He is part of the local AIA, and HBA Chapter.
As far as his favorite book goes, he recommends Profit First For Contractors By Shawn Van Dyke.
Here is Ryan’s advice for a young contractor who is just getting started:
- Put out good work.
- Take care of your clients.
- Value yourself and understand your role and priorities.
- Understand the value you bring to your clients.
- Charge a fair price and then exceed your client’s expectations.
This was an awesome conversation! Listen all the way through and be inspired!
Today’s #ProtractorTip is given by Wade Paquin from @wkp_construction
In this tip he tells the story of how he used to give away free estimates and it cost him way too much. So, now he no longer does that. Instead he charges for his proposals. It’s great tip. I know you’ll love it!
Also mentioned in this episode:
Toby Cornell From Cornell Custom Construction
Shawn Van Dyke
Protractors – Making A Difference!