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Remaking yourself-example in Washington Post

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  • Remaking yourself-example in Washington Post

    Interesting story in The Washington Post about a Toll Brothers executive remaking himself as a painting franchisee, after he was laid off.

    It is a good example of thinking outside the box.

    You don't have to continue in the future just as you have been in all your experience in the past.

    But, also, how the heck could he have had built up to less than a million dollars net worth, if he had been making that kind of money?


  • #2
    Re: Remaking yourself-example in Washington Post

    Ha. Looks like we were at Oregon State at the same time. Knew lots of engineers.

    I'm more a fan of growing a biz organically instead of using a franchise to jumpstart growth. But whatever. Different strokes


    • #3
      Re: Remaking yourself-example in Washington Post

      That actually a pretty cool article. He seems like kind of a modest guy, something I would have not expected coming from Toll Brothers.
      "First we finish the game, then we’ll deal with the Armada!"

      Sir Frances Drake


      • #4
        Re: Remaking yourself-example in Washington Post

        Good article.

        He increased sales 180% ($1M to $1.8M) in the first year, that's pretty impressive if it's true.

        Originally posted by Scrapr View Post
        I'm more a fan of growing a biz organically instead of using a franchise to jumpstart growth. But whatever. Different strokes
        Scrapr, wondering why you are not a fan of franchises? I've been growing my business organically for 22 years now. But if I could go back to square one and have someone set me up with a successful business model, the framework of what to do and not do, systems in place for every phase of my business---my success would be exponentially better.

        The franchise model may not be for everybody, but selecting a good franchise is a business decision as well. Just wondering what the downside is?
        Last edited by DWBuilder; 04-24-2012, 10:29 AM.


        • #5
          Re: Remaking yourself-example in Washington Post

          My guess is that the sales increase that he claimed to the Washington Post reporter is likely true ---because of all the marketing activity he did: direct marketing flyers and college kids, etc.

          But look at the fact that he also had to take out a loan to make it all go. He had to have enough cash and credit worthiness to pull off this new venture. Without that he would have had to restart differently--maybe buy only one franchise area and his wife does the office and he paints?

          Or-- even though this guy has a degree in construction management and lots of higher up office experience-- he may not have much jobsite experience: superintending or carpentering, etc. So he picked a route to restart that would work for him.

          For guys who had jobsite kind of experience, then to start over by "growing intrinsically," maybe as a one man show, would be a good route.

          What is impressive to me is that he was able to think outside the box of his past experience when he started over.

          In my area, it does not appear to me that we are at the bottom yet, so the idea of starting over may be still relevant. Here the realtors say that while a few entry level homes are selling -slowly, but selling- there is a real glut of homes between $300,000 and $750,000. And the scuttlebut among homeowners at that level is that a lot more will dump their homes on the market the moment that houses like theirs start selling faster. My guess is that the glut of those homes is still going to take a couple more years to get worked out in my area.

          Meaning ---that even some of the builders who are still left may need to rethink their businesses.

          There is another thread going over in Trade Talk -Hanley Wood on Colorado Homebuilders- that could be discussing this, but that thread has degenerated into worthless prattle.

          Since the article referenced there is relevant to this, I will repost the link here:

          I worked in Colorado for 15 years once. It sounds like eveyone I knew back then is out of business.

          I know several people on these forums have said they are getting plenty of business now, but construction is all local, and for those not seeing a turnaround yet, thinking outside the box on starting over, as this guy did, might work out.
          Last edited by squarelev; 04-24-2012, 12:09 PM. Reason: redo link


          • #6
            Re: Remaking yourself-example in Washington Post


            I agree with what you are saying about the guy remaking himself. Looks like he rolled up his sleeves and got to work--I admire that.

            I don't have any predisposition to call BS on the numbers, I was honestly saying it is impressive if true. Guess I have to add "if true" because I am naturally skeptical--doesn't mean it isn't true though. I would have to see the numbers to say "I believe". :-)

            I don't know the painting business or the market he is working in. But from my experience a trades-type business needs to spend AT LEAST 10% of sales on marketing just to maintain sales levels (or at least grow enough to keep up with inflation). To create an advertising "blitz" to generate that kind of growth takes more than 10% of sales. Probably 20% or 30% or more.

            10% of $1.8M = $180,000, 20% = $360,000 The article mentions $30,000 for direct mail, $8,400 for SEO and $15 a lead from the college kids. That's more like 2% or 3% of sales.

            I would love to generate $1.8M in revenue by spending only 2% on advertising.

            It's possible the entire $1M before he got there was referral and existing contracts, but he says the majority of the work is residential, so I doubt it.

            Just observing, generating a discussion that we can all learn from.....


            • #7
              Re: Remaking yourself-example in Washington Post

              "The company underestimated the cost of one job by $8,000, costing a salesperson a commission."

              This pissed me off. Perhaps they should not have paid the painters either. Why, when there is a screw-up, is a salesperson's pay suddenly available to help make up the difference?

              "I want no heaven for which I must give my reason; no happiness in exchange for my liberty, and no immortality that demands the surrender of my individuality. Better rot in the windowless tomb, to which there is no door but the red mouth of the pallid worm, than wear the jeweled collar of a god."

              Robert G. Ingersoll, "Individuality", 1873


              • #8
                Re: Remaking yourself-example in Washington Post

                Quote from Kowboy: "The company underestimated the cost of one job by $8,000, costing a salesperson a commission." This pissed me off."

                Kowboy: You may not be alone in having that response.

                A construction person starting over will probably kick himself on some things and say, "I should have anticipated that." (Maybe this person did --and decided to make the salesperson's commission contingent on the salesperson getting the estimate right?)

                Starting over likely means not starting as an apprentice--without an apprentices training. So you're going to make mistakes --because you don't know any better.

                I personally would say to start small, so your mistakes are small enough to be absorbed.

                If this Toll Brothers exec used up all his liquidity restarting, and then gets something wrong, like antagonize his salespeople and they all leave, he could be up a serious creek.

                The guys who are really desperate will say to heck with liquidity--they have nothing to lose anyway. They won't even try to think about what they don't know.

                People who managed to save some assets, will spend a LOT of time thinking over what could go wrong and how much liquidity to keep to cover troubles.

                Another thread here, in the Finish Carpentry forum, "Off to a new Path...," shows a different way of restarting ---where financial liquidity would not be as much a concern. There, Jesse (Archmolding) is leveraging his architectural millwork knowledge to restart differently.

                My point is: Both the Toll Brothers executive and Jesse are restarting in ways that I would not have thought of for myself.

                Thinking outside the box, when it comes to yourself, may not be that easy.