WHERE IT ALL BEGAN...
July 5, 2011: After a long trip, half-way across the USA, I stopped for a late lunch with my childhood pal. We met at Steak ‘n Shake, and got started with the usual pleasantries. Soon, the topic shifted to his business.
He started Provident Development Group, a business doing rehab work for both home sellers and home buyers. Sellers could get top-dollar for their houses while selling, and home buyers could pick up a real steal and have the house completely upgraded and customized before moving in. To hear him tell it, he loved the work, but the business side of the business was a real challenge for him. It was time for me to ask him some hard questions. I started with a poorly worded question:
“What is the hardest part of your business?” I asked. He responded with something to the effect of juggling all the current projects and potential new projects, while keeping the sub-contractors, clients and other interested parties engaged in the process and happy with the results. I had certainly bitten off more than I could chew and it was clear he was totally overwhelmed.
“Wow,” I responded, “let me ask you a better question. What one thing, that if you could change it right now, would make your business more successful?”
“Well, I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe if I had a way to better way to create new bids.”
Now we’re getting somewhere! As we continued the conversation I learned that, like most contractors, he was spending many hours visiting with potential clients, excited at the prospect of what he could do for each one of them, but the process he was using to create each personalized bid for them was taking upwards of 20-25 hours FOR EVERY BID!!!
I thought he has to be kidding, right? I did some quick math… if that’s all he did with his time, at best he was writing 2 bids a week and only 8 bids a month. He confirmed this was correct, and that he was not able to even do that many as he was spending significant time on current projects.
“So, let me get this straight… You’re only writing 4 or 5 new bids every month?”
“About that, yes.”
“And how many of those 4 or 5 are you awarded each month?”
“I’m lucky if I get one new project each month, but in reality, it’s probably half of that.”
“So, how many new projects do you want to have each month?”
“Well, I could handle 2 new projects a month right now if I didn’t spend time writing bids, and I’d like to hire some more staff so I could handle even more than that.”
This is getting exciting, right? Well, I’ve never been a math whiz, but I’ve always been good at small numbers. If he has to write 10 bids in order to be awarded 1, and he wants to get 2 new projects each month, he needs to write 20 new bids every month, right? As he’s currently doing it, writing 20 new bids in a month would take about 450 hours. The bad news is, he doesn’t have 450 working hours in a month… this just isn’t going to add up.
“Alright man, good news and bad news; the bad news is, you’re not going to even get close to your goals doing what you’re doing right now, but the good news is that with a little (or a lot of) help, you CAN make this happen. Do you want to know how???”
“Well, as you know I have a background in software development and I own a small business that writes custom software for unique purposes. However, you have better options than me for getting this done for you. I know a lot of programmers and I’d be happy to get you in touch with someone who can streamline your bidding process for you. If you could get the required bid time from 20 hours down to 5 hours, that’s the first goal and you’ll see a significant change in your bottom line because of it. Want me to put you in touch with someone?”
“Nope, you’re hired.”
Well, to make a really long story just a little shorter, he twisted my arm and convinced me to have my company write a custom software application for him. Six months later, we gave it to him and within 8 weeks he had more than doubled his business. Not only was he able to write more bids, he increased the rate at which he was getting those bids awarded. Instead of getting one out of 10, he was getting one out of 5, then one out of 4, and even more.
The crazy day came when out of the blue he got a call from potential client who asked if he was the one who had the system that would generate the paperwork that the bank had already pre-approved. “What?” Apparently, one of the banks that one of his clients was working with liked his clear, system-ready paperwork so much that they were sending their customers to him to do business, because it made it easier for them.
Then it happened…He literally could not keep up with the business. He had so many projects and so many people sending him leads and such a high success rate with getting his bids awarded and his projects funded, that he couldn’t possibly handle it all himself. So what did he do? He picked up his phone and he called me. I answered.
“Awesome, but I’m getting more business than I can handle.”
“Isn’t that good?”
“Yes, of course, but your app is too good. I have other contractors asking me how they can use it too. I can’t let them use it too, can I?”
“Oh boy. No, not really, if they start entering bids it could ruin the system for you.”
“How do we fix it?”
“We would need to start over and re-write it from scratch to make it work like that. And no, you can’t afford that and I’m not willing to do it.”
Well, after a few months of pestering and continued growth, he finally convinced me to do it. And now, almost a year and a half after the original conversation, I sit here testing the finishing touches the programmers have just coded into BidRazor.
It’s now ready for you.
If you’re sitting there wondering “if I had to double the number of projects I was awarded next month, how would I do it?” I’m happy to tell you that we’ve already created the system. It’s ready for you right now, and with a little bit of luck, you won’t just double your awarded projects, you’ll triple them.
We’ve already seen it happen with BidRazor.