In the beginning. You're just happy. If someone hires you, you know, they're like, do you wanna change the mailbox outside? You're like, yes,
Welcome to builder nuggets hosted by Duane Johns and Dave young. Hey, our mission is simple. Build freedom, Where a couple of entrepreneurs turn business coaches who have dedicated ourselves to helping our builder remodel. Our clients create the most rewarding businesses in the industry. My co host Duane has been a successful builder and remodeler for over 30 years. He's seen the highs and the lows from the beginning though. Duane has been on a quest to find a better way to run a contracting business in 2016, he found that better way. That's how I met Dave, a lifelong entrepreneur and visionary who measures his success by the success of those around him. He reached out one day with a formula on how to transform my business. And the rest is history. Since then, we've teamed up to help hundreds of contractors like you build better businesses and better lives. And now we've decided to open up our network and share our secrets so we can start moving the needle with you. It's collaboration over competition. Each week we bring together industry peers and experts who share their stories so that we can all build freedom together.
(01:10): This married couple are social media influencers with an impressive following that helped score them their own home renovation, TV show. She received her real estate license at 23 and built her first home at 24 years old. When they met, he decided to join the fund and obtained his builder's license. Now they've built and renovated over a hundred homes together through their design build firm. They own a real estate brokerage, have four kids shooting a TV show on their own terms, and they've built their empire to where it is today through the social media age, they've capitalized on a unique and energetic content and have launched a nationwide app for their new Emmy nominated home renovation show a renovation rekindle. It's my pleasure to welcome Susan and Paul Cadillac of Cadillac homes in Massachusetts. Welcome guys. Thanks for having Us. Yes. Thank you for taking the time out to speak with us. And that was an incredible introduction. Can we fly again? bring me around with us. I did hear through the grapevine though, that Paul, you were kind of a firefighter for all this as well. You still are.
(02:04): I am. Yes. I'm a full time firefighter. So I work, um, 24 hour shifts. So I work, you know, two days a week, you know, covers my time that I need to be there. Um, so when I first met Susan, I was trying to get on the department. I was doing sales and that kinda, you know, she knew I was trying to get on. And then finally that kind of happened after me taking the test several times, uh, took me about 12 years to get on because you have to test every time they offer it or you fall off the list, so you gotta continually keep testing. So after I got on, I was like, all right, I'm gonna learn to golf. Like I was just thinking of all these hobbies that I can, I'm gonna whittle wood. I'm gonna think of all these like things that I'm gonna learn. She's like, no, you're gonna learn construction. I was like, oh, alright, I guess I'm gonna learn construction. So, you know, here we are 15 years later and uh, you know, she brought me into her love of homes and, you know, I fell in love with it too. And now we do it together.
(02:53): You know, people might assume that Paul brought you into the business, but it actually was the other way around. So I had, did that come to be, So I started in the business, my I'm from, uh, family of builders. My grandfather was a builder. Dad was a builder, kind of grew up, you know, on the job sites. I have an older brother. He's about a year and a half older than me and I wanted to do everything he would do. So they would let him go in the machines and they would let him do all this fun stuff. And they would say, well, you can't go in there because you're a girl. So I blame them. Um, for me getting into this business. And I, um, yeah, I just, I built my first house when I was in my twenties and I just, I just jumped right in. That's pretty interesting. I mean, give me a little bit of background on why you guys even did this. What got you into construction for the most part? I mean, did you realize, Hey, that's the career, that's what we're gonna, that's gonna be the path that we follow. I mean, what, I Mean, I'll start by saying, I, I never thought I would end up down this path. I mean, I'm happy that I did it, but I, I was always, my intention was the firefighting and then it just happened to be, I get to do both things that I love so that, you know, when I met Susan and her leading me down that path with her, I was fortunate to, you know, travel that road that I was, was unexpected from me. But I'll let you take the wheel.
(04:08): Yeah, I mean I started selling real estate. I was 20 years old when I got my license. Um, I think I was six. I was 16 when I was in high school and I worked at a bank. Um, and it was probably the most horrible experience I ever had. I knew when I was a teenager that I would have my own business. I, I knew as a kid, I, um, I would be, I would probably be fired if I tried to work for someone, they would be like, get her outta here. She's , she's too bossy, whatever. So I knew at that when I was young that I wanted to have my own business and work on my own. So I started in real estate and then having the construction background, you know, even though I was in real estate in the background, there was, you know, there was the construction business. I was doing estimates and doing things like that. And I always liked doing both. I liked the variety of both. I like the creative side of the construction of, you know, the design piece and the problem solving piece. So I've always enjoyed doing both. And then, you know, there was a point where I was like, I really just wanted to, to build a house. So, you know, I would say from the beginning I was involved in the real estate side, the renovation side and the building side, you know, mostly from growing up in that space, you know, when we were kids, we were always on job sites. We were always, you know, watching, you know, jobs come together and watching houses be built and being in that environment. So I, I feel like I just kinda, it's just what I gravitated towards.
(05:35): So you guys, in a, in a way, took a little less traditional path, I mean, on how you, how you built the business, what were the things in the early days? I mean, what, what did it look like? What were you doing? Who was doing what, Yeah. I mean, when Paul joined, it was, it was what, 2008. It was a very humbling time to join, learn. Oh yeah. Construction during that time period, you know? Yeah. Crash and everything else. Yeah. So It was the crash. Yeah. People not lined up to sign contracts, like they are, have, have been over the last couple years. So yeah, no That, and the, the work wasn't, you know, uh, social media's worthy, so to speak, it was like structural work, you know, things that were necessary, but weren't the pretty that everybody gets to look at. So, um, you know, digging holes in basements, changing LOI columns, you know, from a tree trunk footing to actual an actual LOI column with a footing things and Social media, social media was barely a thing itself then. Right. Really? Yeah. I mean, when I met Paul, I wasn't on any social Media. I was on my space. I mean, that's how I, you know, I showed him my still have A profile, You know, I probably do, but, but, um, but yeah, I mean, it's the, the cool thing about social media is how many interesting and, you know, creative people you get to meet, you know, that you probably would never cross paths with otherwise. Um, so, you know, I think naturally you could kind of see that progression from, you know, I don't know. Wouldn't we stop posting on social media? Probably. How About five years
(06:55): Ago? Right. I mean, but like I said, when I came into it 2008, it was, I, you know, I was, I was handy, but I was never in construction. There was a lot of knowledge to have within the construction fields itself, you know? So, um, it takes years to really learn that stuff, you know? And, uh, cause I remember Susan talking about things and I'm just like, mm-hmm and it be like, oh, oh my God, I have no idea what she's talking about. You know? And then eventually, you know, you work with so many people throughout the year, you take a little bit from every person, they all have tricks and tips and things that they've learned and teach you from the field and so forth. So I really tried to listen to the guys because they, you know, they're doing it every day, so they know what they're doing. So, um, that's the best part is I love guys with gray hair on the jobs, cuz they've been doing it for a long time and they know all the little tricks and tips that you can't find on social media necessarily.
(07:41): yeah. There's a ton of stuff. You, you just can't be taught, you know, there's some stuff where you just have to have the experience, you've gotta have that, that knowledge of being on the job site, being through it. And you know, you gain that. Everybody does as you, as you go through it. And um, I, I can imagine when you guys got started, there was, you know, right away when you, as you said, you were probably doing some stuff in the beginning, that's not glamorous. I mean, we've all been there. Um, but as you started to pick up some probably larger projects and projects that were a little more, maybe visually appealing, did you know, like no right away that we've gotta do something with this. When you, when you finished a job and had a happy client, was it a matter of whether it's even taking professional photography? What, how did you know that band we've got, we've gotta spread the word about this. We've gotta let other people know the type type
(08:22): We're doing. Well also in the beginning, you're just happy if someone hires you, you know, they're like, do you wanna change the mailbox outside? You're like, yes, yes I do. Yes. , you know, you're just happy that someone is willing to give you a chance, you know? So, you know, and then you wanna build from that. And you know, we've always talked about reputations when I was a kid, I always heard about builders from other people and that you just, you never heard anything positive. It'd always be like, oh, that guy's cheap. He does, you know, it's, that's always like a negative comment comes out right away. So it was like one of those things I think we always strive to, you know, um, change that for, for us and staying in our lane, so to speak and like focusing on we do in the work and not kinda what's this person doing, what's that person doing? What's this, you know, when you focus on the work, you know, the money follows, you know, cause you're, that's, your intention is to make something beautiful for your clients or, or what you're doing. So, you know, I think doing those things though was necessary for me because it's understanding what the guys have to do and what people do every day. You know, some people dig holes for 12 hours a day and that is not easy work. Um, so I really try to show the guys on the jobs that aren't working with us to my appreciation of how hard they work and what they do. And because it's important, you know, knowing what they have to do and telling 'em what to do is two different things. You know? So, um, you know, I am never afraid to like pick up a broom and sweep a job site.
(09:39): Like I, I gotta keep everybody moving at the end of the day. So, you know, I'm not better than them. Those guys know better than us. We rely heavily on them for their opinions, cuz they do a lot of things and they make really good suggestions to us too. So it's a collective, a team effort, you know, um, starting out the learning, those, you know, digging holes and things really, like I said, it, it humbles you. Um, and then as we started to get some more jobs and started doing more, you know, things that were prettier, so to speak that's when, you know, Susan always just did the design. She just thought it was part of the work. So to speak, you know, not knowing the, the, a little bit of a disconnect sometimes between, okay, there's a designer that wants one thing. Then there's the builder who has to execute that. But it can't always be executed what the designer wants to do depending on, you know, what's going on. So I think her knowledge of that is a huge asset in the sense of cuz she understands the whole process of, you know, how the guys have to do it. What's the challenges? It's not just like, can you move this over there? You know, it's, it's more, more involved.
(10:37): So she was designing projects and you were, I guess, were, were the one kinda responsible for getting, 'em done managing so to speak. She was designing and we were both, we were both running them, you know, um, I was working on them, but you know, she would go by a couple jobs. I'd go by just depending on what we had. You know, I mean at the very beginning when, you know, and you know, early on when I started, I mean, I was on the job sites all day long with the guys, you know, and, and you know, that's how you learn. That's how, how you learn, how things are done. That's how you learn. You know, I was the crazy girl who would go down to the, um, you know, to the place where they sell all the trim and put eight footers in my car they would all laugh. They'd be like, what are you doing? I'd be like these fit in my car. This is what I need I was still and very heavily involved in the day to day. So do you guys have, I mean today, is it, has it evolved into a full blown design build model? Yes. Okay. Like how does someone engage with you? You know, if they, if a client comes in, what, what, what does it look like from beginning to end?
(11:35): Yeah, so typically, so we've always done design build. Maybe didn't always call it that. Cause I, I think I just personally, always just thought that was how construction operated. So like when we have a client come in, you know, the, the first thing we wanna know is what are the issues? What are you trying to achieve? Um, and then budget, right? Budget's huge because it's like, if they describe a project that costs, you know, a hundred thousand dollars, but their budget is 50. Or if they're describing a project that costs 600,000 and the budget is 300, we have to have to talk about that. So it's, um, you know, so it's first assessing the needs. Why, you know, why are they calling us? What are they looking to achieve? And then, you know, how do we get from, you know, what we have to work with and what, what we wanna achieve?
(12:19): How do we, you know, how do we execute that? What's the best way to do that? Is it that we put an addition on, is it that we rebuild? Is it that you just renovate the footprint? Is it that like, you know what you want, you're, you're never gonna have here, maybe, you know, maybe you upgrade or, you know, sell. So we look at all of those options and is the house gonna hold the investment that you're putting into it? That's another piece that we look at is, you know, if the house is worth 500,000 and you spend another 500,000, is it worth a million plus? Or is it only worth 800,000? Right. Cause that's something else that another conversation that you wanna have so that they're not spending all this money and then they're over, over invested And you have a real estate background. That's gotta bring some confidence to the table. I would think with the client when you have those conversations. Yeah. So that's always part of our conversation, because I mean, we've had clients who have come to us and wanna do a really big scope of work and you know, and you know, and I'll tell them, look, we can do this. It's gonna cost you this much, but in the end, it's not gonna be worth the money, what it's worth today, plus your investment, you know, here's another, you know, another way you can invest this money so that the property will actually hold the, the money that you're putting into it.
(13:27): Yeah. And it's important to have those conversations with clients early on too many times. I mean, everybody's seen it, you know, where folks get led down that path, whether it's a builder architect or someone yep. You knew from the day one that this is, this is just not gonna happen for X amount of dollars, but the client gets led down that path anyway. And six months later there's, you know, completely plans and then pain budget that nobody can afford. And it, yeah. Doesn't help anyone. Yeah. Plans all the time because architects, I think, unfortunately don't always have a good pulse on cost. Especially these last two years worth the prices have gone. They've risen rapidly and by a big amount, in a short amount of time. So, I mean, I have, you know, we have people we'll meet them. They've spent thousands and thousands of dollars and you know, 8, 9, 10, 12 months on plans. And oh, my architect said this was gonna cost 300,000. Oh well it's, it's 600,000. And you know, and I had one woman, she said, every builder who comes in here says that these are 600,000, but my architects said three. And I said, that's because they're six . So it's, it's hard to have the disjointed team where, um, you know, I think a lot of homeowner don't know where to start. So they start with maybe design only, but you really need all the pieces in order to know that you're on the right path and you're not going down a path that you think is leading you one place, but it's really in a different direction. We
(14:48): Like, that's something we're big proponents of whether, whether you're a design build firm, whether you're a traditional firm, but I, I think the message is that it's the responsibility. And I feel it's the responsibility of the builder at the end of the day, to, to just instill in everybody that you've gotta bring the team together first. Totally. The very first thing you should do, um, you know, is find out, okay, identify the project, obviously identify maybe a budget at a high level, but then immediately let's start getting some of the key players involved to find out, um, you know, the, is this thing possible, the feasibility of this project that ensures a much better experience for everybody all around. And I think the value is, is higher than, than you'll get any doing it any other way.
(15:25): It's just transparency. That's what people want. They just, they don't know. They just wanna know the truth. They just, you know, sometimes they might say we have a one door kitchen, we have 30 grand and somebody might a builder might come in and say, yeah, we can do that. And then once they're into it, then like, oh, well this is extra. This is, you know, and it's just hard. People just don't know. We try to treat people how we would wanna be treated, you know, and people just want to know it. And it's hard to give an exact down to the penny number of what people will spend, which is hard to communicate. And people understand that, but we try to get as close as we can and say, look, there's a little bit of wiggle room here, but we wanna make sure it's good. So if their budget's a hundred thousand, we'll say let's scale back to 80 or 85 and give you a fluff of 15 so that, you know, it, it, it can work. So you're not at 115 or 130, you know, so right. Um, you know, and they seem to be happy with that, but it's just being honest with people. I think at the end of the day, they just, sometimes I feel like they lo they feel like they lost before they started. They don't know who to trust, you know? And yeah,
(16:19): There's a lot of noise in this, in this industry, you know? Right. It's difficult for clients to understand. That's, that's our biggest job, I think, as just to be educators, you know, educate Clients, we have friends, they were talking about doing a renovation and in addition, and they would just kept talking about it and talking about it. And they said, you know, what can we do? And we said, well, you know, before you even put a penny into plans or anything, you really need to get a survey. Well, they had an easement, they had a flood plane. They had all of these things that they weren't really aware of. And they said, just from spending, you know, a thousand bucks on a survey, they said, well, we decided we're gonna go buy a second home now. yeah. Let's so that, you know, they said, okay, the conversation became easy of, we're not gonna do this part, this, yeah. We can stop thinking about this project because what we're thinking can't happen on our property. Right. And, but a perfect example of not, you know, that client could have been in a different scenario that client could have gotten, could have, could have engaged with someone and been three months down and into, you know, tens of thousands of dollars in the design and for something that couldn't be built in the first place. So yeah, We see it all the time.
(17:16): I mean, our phone rings enough, so we always try to just tell them, you know, be very realistic with them and, and be very blunt and let them know what's going on. So they know. So, you know, cuz when you can effectively communicate it to the clients, they're comfortable, they're not worrying about it. They're not calling you all the time. You know, we are trying to get the job moving and run things, you know? So, you know, when we go meet with people, it's, you know, people are interviewing us and we're also somewhat interviewing them cuz we wanna make sure, you know, we, we're not everybody's contractor and they're not all our client and that's okay. You know? So it's just more of we a good fit for them. And if we're not, we, we would let, we will tell them in a nice way, you know, probably, you know, uh, you can probably find someone to do this for a little less money cuz we're a design build.
(17:55): So we have to certain things we have, you know, in our cost and so forth and people appreciate the honesty with that. I think, you know, overall. So yeah, for sure. The one thing about the social media that's done for us though is putting yourself out there. People watch, you know, it, it's funny cuz people will follow you. They may not like it. They may not comment, but they pay attention to what's going on. Cuz we've been out and people are like, oh Hey, I saw that day, da, da, da. That was great. You know, but they never comment or like, or anything else. So people see what's going on and people will watch us for a while before, maybe a year before they call. But that's like, they get to know you without you sitting in their living room talking, you know, they, they fall, you see who you are as a person, what you guys stand for so forth. So it's amazing to transform things for people in a way that you really, I don't know, never thought could happen cuz you know, you're just doing your job and then not realizing how big of an effect it can have for that family when they have a comfortable space to live in a place that they really love.
(18:52): Yeah. I'd love to. And that's where I'd love to dive in here a little more is, you know, I know anyone that has followed you guys listened to you, you know, you're very authentic around what you do and I'm sure there was a moment there, like you said, I, I think it was about five years ago. I show you really started with, with the social media. But what did that start to look like? I mean, how did walk us through, I guess the evolution of that, how you started to, uh, get the message out, how you, how you leveraged social media and take us all the way to where you are today with a, with a TV show. I mean we started, when we started really putting stuff out on social media, we started with video. I had for Real estate before I Had, it was supposed to be for real, for the real estate company. Um, and then, you know, I had someone who said, you guys need to, do you guys need to do video Paul? You know, I would be talked to her and Paul would always crash our call and she'd be like, you need to do something with him, put him on a video, go give him an activity. so we started, I said, okay, so she wanted us to make real estate videos, but she didn't, well, she didn't really say what kind of video. So I said, why don't we practice on the construction company? We'll
(19:52): Just, she said, you gotta make videos cuz that's the way things are going. You Gotta do us. Right. He's like the world is going that way. It's just it's happening. Just, you know, just do it. And it, we were just like, what are we gonna do? We, you know, we had no idea. Um, so we just started really, we didn't really have a plan. Um, we would just, it Wasn't really, we just didn't have a, we Had no plan. Yeah. No Plans. Why not Have a plan period? It was no. The only plan was that we were putting out what was it? One or two videos a week then? I don't remember. It was like either one or two, whatever it was, it was like, the consistency was the only part of the plan was that we were gonna put something out every single week. And I mean, what did those look like? Was that just walking the job site with your, with your phone? You know, It looks horrible. They were terrible. Yeah. The first ones are horrible.
(20:32): They're terrible. Yeah. I mean, when you start out your craft, we Would get 400 views. And we were like, yes, We get 10 and, and nine were me probably watching it going, oh my gosh, this is terrible. but you know, it's um, you know, when you start building, for example, when you started your career, I'm sure those things you look back at and you're like, oh, you know, you evolve and try to change and be better and do better. And it's the same thing it's like practicing, right? It's like getting reps in like doing the video. Like a lot of people say to us, oh, I can't do the video, but you know, you, you, you can, that's the thing. It's like, you know, people get to know you you're you're organic self and you will get better at it. Cuz at first we were like, this is a kitchen, you know, awkwardly pointing behind us. You know? So our first video, we only had one microphone that we shared. Right. Because we were like, oh, maybe we need to, maybe we need to, yeah,
(21:19): We might need to. So like passing one, like I'm talking and like this into her, you know? So it's, it's uh, you said you learn and listen to the people that work with you and take their advice and opinion too. And, and try to collectively, you know, make everything better for everybody. But um, you know, the, the funny thing that I find interesting about video overall is how, you know, people, you, you get to learn by yourself quickly, if that makes any sense, you know, there might be moments where you're, you know, upset or something and you think it's nothing and you know, she might be like, you were a little spicy that day and I'm like, no, I wasn't. And then I watch it back and I'm like, oh yeah, I guess I was a little spicy that day. So, you know, you kind of studying yourself, looking at like things and how you react to things and then make adjustments to try to change that to be better overall. Right? Yeah. Just helping your game for sure. So what was, you know, once you got a couple of years into that, what, what were the results of it? I guess the impact you were having, were you finding it obviously attracting other more clients, an audience, um, were, were you getting benefits of better opportunities? Things like that? I mean, what,
(22:25): Yeah, totally. I mean, so it was, you know, it was, it was a combination of things. I mean the first, you know, the first year immediately we saw, you know, an increase in our business. It was about a 60% increase, 60 that's. Right. And I, I can't remember that. That's Pretty strong That first year I was like, oh my God. I was like that this year was really busy. This, we can't possibly have another crazy busy year like that. And I think each year has been, worse and more busy since then. But you know, as far as the clients that are coming to us, it really changes, you know, even the inquiries you're getting because we're putting all of our work out there, people know what they're getting and who they're calling before they call. So they're seeing us, they know who they're gonna meet. They're seeing the work that we do. They're seeing the style and they're, you know, if they look at us and or they look at our work and they say, oh, that, you know, that's not a good fit for me. They just won, ever call us and we'll never get that call.
(23:16): So it is a much better fit because you're building a relationship with your clients before you ever even meet them. Right. So they know, you know, they're calling us because they see what we do and that's, you know, that's what they want for their home. So that has been a huge thing, I think, because you know, it's really, when you, when you go in some, you know, they'll have pictures or stuff from our social media and they'll say like, this is, you know, I like this, this is the kinda look I'm looking for. So it does help that they know what they're getting, you know, know. So they, I, I feel like it's, they feel more comfortable because it's construction and doing renovations in general, in general, you're spending a ton of money and you're like, oh my goodness, I'm spending all this money. And I hope that when it's done, I'm gonna get what I'm, I'm thinking I'm gonna get. So in this case, Well, in your case, I think, I think they also knew who they were getting. Exactly. You Know? Cause you guys were being so personal about it, you know, again and so authentic. Yeah.
(24:08): A lot of the videos we put out weren't even project videos. They were just mid job. Like they were just us talking and walking the job site. So it wasn't really about, um, so they, they knew, you know, they knew that Paul might come to their house and, you know, have Fun, that fun have fun you know, and that, that was probably gonna end up, you know, on, on the internet for everyone to say, Paul, It's stressful. It's a stressful Process. Yeah. Everything's stressful. So Paul's like, he makes these, he kind of takes that out of it, which is good because I can be very, um, you know, Susan's in business, you know, she's business. She's like, we gotta execute Business all about The business. It's the business. And I like to I'm the boring one, You know, my perspective. It's not, it's not boring. It's like, you know, you can have the fun, but you gotta have the execution or else people Aren gonna hire you, you know? Right. You need both pieces, but No, it's good balance. You guys obviously, you know, kept complimented each other for sure. Yeah.
(24:59): I think I look at things a little different from my job at the fire station. Just, you know, sometimes when people are, you know, freaking out on a job, I'm like, listen, nobody's dying here. Everything can get fixed, you know? And then they kind of go, okay, you know, so it's, it's um, I just have a different perspective, you know, overall, which I think again helps us balance. Well, and I think Susan, I really do want people to love their house cuz we, you know, we love our house. We don't, we don't go out much. Not cuz we're afraid of going out. And I think we just really love being home. You know, we really do love our house. So yeah. You know, we talk about that all the time. If people don't have a space, they love, they don't care about coming home from work after a bad day, cuz they're just had a bad day, then they're going home two house it's falling apart and it just frustrates them and yeah. You know, so it's like, but when you have a place where you can go, you know, relax and you have a place of like SOCE, that's really, it can be very impactful. Wanna level up, connect with us to share your stories, ideas, challenges, and successes.
(25:52): The builder nuggets community is built on your experiences. It takes less than a minute to connect with firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook or Instagram want Access to the resources that can take you and your team to the next level. One call could change everything. Yeah. And if there's one positive thing, you know, that came out of the whole COVID experience, it was just that it was that I think that reimagination of the home for people, they, they were, you know, when they got cooped up and spent so much time in their home and especially a lot more remote working, they realized, wow, there's, you know, I need to focus on my home a little more. Yeah. To your point. I wanna make it livable. Cuz for years, a lot of people were building. I think they're doing a lot of building remodeling for the sake of it. You know, whether it was what maybe sometimes it was simply just out of what they saw on Instagram or YouTube, you know, or what the neighbors were doing. And didn't really take time to think about how do I wanna live in this house. Yeah. You know, it's hugely important I think. Uh, and you guys do a great, great job of that for sure. We,
(26:49): We, some people all the time, you gotta learn the house, you know, you gotta learn what you gotta learn. The like about the house, you can make those adjustments. Cuz like Susan said, when people call us, you know, they indefinitely know what they like besides my kitchen's ugly, you know, we, she really digs into those lays with them. It's like, we know something's ugly. They don't like it. That's why they're calling us. That's the first tiny problem. But what is the deeper problem of that? You know? So she'll say, you know what else? I can't be in the husband and I can't be in the husband. I can't be in the kitchen and cook with my husband at the same time. They'll say something like that. She's like, okay, where do you keep you SP you know, she keeps asking these questions that dig into these things that they don't, um, maybe necessarily think about during a renovation other than my kitchen's ugly.
(27:29): And it's a very hard thing to visualize what your space is gonna look like. A lot of people have problems with that. So it's trying to execute that vision for them and make it all work. And um, I think that's where Susan's experience with the design, the real estate, the construction really comes into play. Cuz a lot of people like we need an addition. It's like a fire drill. Like we're having another baby. We need more space. My parents moving in, we need more space, you know, um, the house skin cramp, we just need more space and they throw these additions on and then they're not thought out with the rest of the house and the design and how they're gonna function in that house. So then they get these weird additions. We have like a ranch of those three bedrooms and then they put a second floor on. Then there's three bedrooms upstairs, three bedrooms downstairs. And it's just a weird, now it's a weird house. yeah. Well I heard you say it. I think it was on, maybe it was Brad Leo's podcast, but it was, you know, we have to understand that some of these folks really do have a tough time visualizing, you know, it's like you said, the Gable what's the G it's it's the a it's the big a on the phone. Yeah.
(28:22): I mean that's how I learned by association, um, with things like that. So like when Susan would be talking to clients, she's just so fluent in it knows it so well. Um, and when you know your language so well and speak it and people don't know it, they just kinda, they they're afraid to ask questions cuz they don't wanna feel stupid, but you know, they don't know the language so to speak. So it's okay for them to ask questions. So it's our job to communicate that effectively so that they really understand what we're doing and what's going on with that. Right. So you're growing your business, you know, you're doing well on social media. Uh it's apparent you like the video thing. Um, so how did this, I still don't like it. How did this morph into a, you know, a TV show? I mean, and kind of give us that where, how you got into doing that and where you are today with it.
(29:08): Yeah. So that was kind of, I would say it was an evolution of the social media, because like I said, as we started where, you know, we're just kind of walking the job sites and then, you know, and then we were making the videos a little bit different, adding a little bit more and people saying, well, you know, they were looking for like a whole project. Could you post something through the whole, you know, before and after project. So then we started posting those and then we'd have people say, Hey, do you know, can you involve your clients? Um, and we, you know, we had had just from the social media bunch of, you know, producers had reached out to us and we, you know, at one point I consider doing something with a network, but you know, ultimately we were working with a local producer and it, it was just kind of a natural evolution of what we were already doing. We were, we were showing the projects and it was just another level of, okay, now let's show our clients, let's show, what is this? What is this doing for them? Because all, all the clients that you see on the show, they're all our real clients. Um, that Paul says that I strong, armed into agreeing cause they want science. Do you wanna be on the show? And they're like, uh, sure.
(30:09): We did have someone ask. They were like, if we don't do the show, will you still do our project? And I was like, yeah. And then they still agree, Paul. Right. So Sports about it, but we're lucky we have good clients. We do, we have awesome clients. Yeah. Um, so it's, you know, just kind of, and, and you know, and then they, they have that kind of documenting the journey of, you know, of, of a whole project front to back and then being able to see like the client reaction and seeing, you know, just kind of them walking into that space for the first time. So it's just kind of been a natural evolution. I think of what we were already doing. Um, you know, and just kind of adding on to, to what we'd already had. It's very impactful being in aroma people when they've always envisioned their house a certain way, they couldn't articulate it. They weren't sure they spent all this money and then, you know, they pull the blindfolds off and you're standing next to 'em and they just are in disbelief. It, this is my house. Like they can't, they can't believe it. And it's really powerful to be in that moment with them and humbling, cuz you're like, you know, the whole time we're like, we're stressed out trying to get it done for them. They wanna move, you know, they're stressed out cuz they're out of their house, they're displaced, you know, it's, can't See anything. Right.
(31:15): Paul's locking them out and taping up the windows with brown paper. That's True. I want to be a surprise. You know, it's Gotta be, and those are the real moments. I mean you, those are the things, those are those feelings, those emotions that these clients have on, on every project, good or bad. Yeah. Right. I have to think that's what really resonates with your, with your listeners, you know, and your viewers and that's why you're getting so much engagement. I guess that's one thing I would say is there's a lot of folks that think that have that try this stuff. You know, they, they do some video, they post a few things and then they get frustrated because I think it's the engagement thing that people really struggle with. You know? That's why I'm not getting engagement. I don't get people I'm getting, yeah, I'm getting a few likes, but I'm not really getting comments. I mean, what kind of things do you think it takes for, for people to see, to really start to get that engagement?
(31:58): I mean, I think it's a few things. I think one it's consistency over time. You just have to keep, you just have to keep putting content out there. I also think it's important for people to remember, especially on video. Um, when you think about, you know, TV, think about TV. When people watch TV, what do you do when you like something on TV? You don't comment. You don't like it, you just watch it. And I think that's something to remember of people's of just people's behavior in general, that it's normal for people to watch something and then move on. So just because they're not commenting or liking or engaging, I wouldn't really, you know, take too much, too much stock on that. I mean, it takes time to, to build that up. And you know, there are some of, some of our videos that have, you know, a, a ton of views that might not have a ton of comments or we'll get maybe more, you know, private messages than comments on the video itself.
(32:50): And you know, most, most videos you see don't have a ton of comments. I think just because people naturally don't comment on, on video, they watch it and you know, and they move on. And I think if you're putting content out there, like the comments that you, that you do get always remember, you know, for every person who did take the time to comment is probably more people who are thinking the same thing. So really, you know, really look at your comments and really, you know, think about what people are, you know, what people are saying and what you can do to do, to change, to improve it. Yeah. But I would say more than anything, consistency is probably the most important thing because 10 bad videos are better than one amazing one. Not that you wanna put out 10 bad videos, but like 10, okay. Videos are better than one amazing video.
(33:36): Yeah. I think, I think it's just, people are afraid to get outta the gate cuz you're, you're putting yourself out there essentially. Right. So you're people are worried about what are they gonna say about me, the negative comments about the work or us or whatever. And there's always gonna be people that don't, you know, don't align with you like the stuff that you do and that's okay. It's their, that's their opinion. You know, you're people are entitled to that. So I think it's, um, I think, but when you focus on the work, like I said, that we do, that's why we have a positive following I belief cuz the, you know, that's the main, the main focus. Isn't the social media, it's the work at the end of the day. And we just are documenting our work and putting it on social media. So, um, you know, and then, you know, people ask go what's that pink color and stuff and you know, Susan will reply and tell them, you know, cuz it's, um, you know, that open source kind of sharing is what people want and they want to come back and see what you're doing, you know?
(34:27): So it's, they're supporting you by doing that and you're helping them. If they see something like, I mean, even not that long ago, maybe a month ago we met someone who they like, you know, they wanted us to come see their house and uh, you know, it, it happened to be a, my glass guy. Actually. He wanted us to see some show us his house and his wife says I was watching a lot of Susan's videos and she inspired me to, you know, to do this stuff in here. So, you know, we had no idea that that was the case, you know, when we, when we went in and looked at it. So, you know, you don't know your impact could go further than you, you think, or a moment that you, you know, say that. So it's, it's, it's just, um, you know, don't worry so much about the negative, you know, worry, you know, focus on what you're doing.
(35:07): And we heavily also rely on our client's feedback. You know, when we build things and do things, we do it to what they think they need. Even we'll do spec houses, we will tear us down, you know, rebuild it and sell it. And we build those to how we think people will use them. Um, and we've had good feedback from people on things and we incorporate that going forward into our, into our new builds, you know? So, um, I think it's important cuz that's, that's how you can only get better. Right? You, you could sit here and keep doing the same thing. Like this is great numbers. Like why does he keep doing that? You know? So, so it's always evolving and that's another thing it forces you to do is putting yourself out there is, you know, Susan strives to change. You know, every design is different, everything is special for that client. You know, we've had one client say, oh I love that towel used on that project. Can we use that? And she's like, no. And they're like, what do you, why? You know, she's like, cuz that was picked for them. It's special for them. We'll get find. So I'm find something special for you. You know? So, and I think people really, you know, they take to that.
(36:03): So this TV show that you're doing now, I mean, dive into that a little bit more around what, what is that taking for you? What kind, there's gotta be a ton of effort behind that. How frequently is it? Where is it? When could people see it? So we finished our season one, so that was 10 episodes. Um, and all the episodes are on the app renovation, rekindle. And that can be downloaded from any app store on apple TV, Amazon fire, Roku, or even on your phone or iPad Android. Yeah. So season one has 10 episodes and season two is coming out in October And their full, full episodes, like what it looked like before, you know, what, what we did to it and then revealing it to the clients, you know? So it has the full scope of the project in it. And then there's other smaller videos we have on the app that if people wanna From social media. Yeah. A ton of those.
(36:47): Yeah. Right. So, um, yeah, so it's yeah, it's, it's, it's even wild to us. Uh, just cuz it's the whole, thing's kind of crazy cause you don't ever anticipating being in this type of position. But fortunately from people watching us, we've had clients call and say, uh, we have one girl call and say, I've seen everything you do, Susan. I love it. Here are my keys. Call me when it's done. She moved out and Susan's like, do you wanna pick the tile? Or like, she's like, Nope, Nope. This literally didn't pick a thing and gave No pressure at all.
But yeah. I mean it's, you know, it's incredible to even have that kind of leeway with clients. Right. Because a lot of 'em just get so nervous about, you know, how it's gonna look, cuz they, again, it's emotional, it's, it's financial it's you know, a lot of things. So yeah. Um, Having that well, I mean, you know, the vast majority of our listeners are builders, remodelers folks in the, in the industry. Um, and they've gotta be thinking, you know, how do you pull this off? I mean, how do you have time for this? How do you make that happen? We don't know. And still run, you know, and still run a construction business and a real state brokerage. I mean, I think, I think it's like when you, when you, when you have time to stop and think, how am I gonna do this? You don't do it. You don't execute it when you just jump into it. You're gonna be a little Rocky first, but then you figure it out.
(37:57): Yeah. I would say like just every day, like, you know, day to day we're looking at okay, like what what's, you know, we've got kids too. So it's like, what's the priority who has what, you know, what hockey, Baseball, golf School. And there's a ton of preplanning too, for these projects. Like I will spend like tonight we're meeting with the client, we've been meeting with them since I think since last it's been nine months, we've been meeting with them, but we haven't started a project yet because we, before we start their project, we will have every CA you know, every cabinet ordered and chosen every plumbing, fixture chosen that, you know, the tiles. So a lot of preplanning as well, so that when the job is, you know, is going all, all that stuff is taken care of. It's not a 9 1, 1. It's not, you know, it's not an emergency that, you know, we know what we're getting. We know what we're ordering and that we have found has helped. Once we do start a project, it does help things move along, faster. Things go smoother when the time before the project starts, you know, depending on the client, sometimes the selection design process is faster than others, but that time is very important to keeping things running smoothly because you're not actively in the project. So it's not as high stress for the client. They're able to really think through what they want. And, um, you know, in, in the execution phase, when it comes time to do the project and get the work done, it's just that much easier for everyone.
(39:18): Well, I've gotta ask you guys is something, we ask everybody on the show here, you've got the TV show, you've got a successful business. Obviously things are growing. You're expanding. What's next for you guys? I mean, what excites you going forward? I'm hoping my hand modeling Chris starts to take off soon um, but being in construction and firefighting, you know, it's, it's kind of helped me back a Little bit. It's not looking good. It's not looking for that good right now. So yeah. Um, yeah. So where, so we have season two coming out in the fall of, uh, renovation with Kindle will have new episodes. And then we're, you know, we also just open up a small little shop and we're just, you know, looking at, you know, just keeping the business growing and, you know, keep continuing to have fun. And I know Paul will ensure that that continues. I mean, you know, like I said, life's short, you know, that's what I've learned. Life's short. You gotta, you gotta enjoy it. You know? Well, Obviously you're having fun doing it. There's no doubt about it. What El, what else do you guys do for fun? I mean, what, what do you guys like to do outside of TV Shows go to the tile store? I really enjoy gonna the tile store on beautiful Saturday morning. right.
(40:18): I mean, you know, she's, she's a hundred percent Italian, so we have to go pick out lions for the front of my house shortly. You know, she's from a long line of, um, masons, you know, you know, in, in the family. So, um, No, but I mean, we have two young boys, so, you know, I would say most, any, you know, time, we have a free weekend day, you know, whatever. We're always doing stuff with with them. Um, you know, we were out with them all day on Sunday and planning stuff with them. So, you know, so right now when they're in that age, it's really, you know, all the free time I would say is really all about them with their sports and their activities and their, you know, all their stuff right now. It's, you know, school starting back soon. So finishing their summer reading projects and you know, all that stuff. It's A, it's a, when it's a passion, I think, you know, like, you know, it could be 10 o'clock at night and we're laying in bench. She's like, oh, look at this light picture. I'm picking for the thing. And I'm like, oh, that thing's awesome. You know? So it's like, we enjoy doing it. You know, when you don't love what you do, you don't wanna talk about it, you know, but you know, right. When you love what you do, it's not really, it is cliches. It sounds, it doesn't feel like work, you know? And, um, even all the stress you go through with clients when they're frustrated and so forth at the end of the day, when they get their house back or they see it, it's like it's all worth it. When you get to see their face and see how much you can change things for them, right.
(41:27): In a positive manner. And they give 'em a comfortable place to grow up and have good memories and, and every and comfortable space. And, you know, to your point earlier about, you know, some positive things about COVID is we've also had to shift gears and look at other products that we may necessarily haven't used, cuz you kind of get into a good rhythm of stuff that you use and you're comfortable and you knows a good product. So it's forced us to look at other options and there's a lot of great companies out there with products. So it just opens up the gate a little bit more, you know? And evolve, you know, just keep trying to do better. I think at the end of the day, you know, we don't like to cookie cut and build the same thing over and over just cuz you know, financially it would be helpful, but overall it doesn't help you with, you know, being creative and, and having that, you know, creative style, you know? So, um, you know, it's important to really listen to what people need. Cause I think sometimes builders think they know what people need and they're not exactly hearing what they're saying. Yeah.
(42:19): We all, we all need to always think about being better listeners. There's no doubt about that. And yeah, it's one of the Paul Marks of what we do here on the show is, is, is getting folks like you on to, to talk and share stuff. I mean, you know, we're, we're big on collaboration and that was something else I wanted to just ask you guys real quick too. Was what, what do you guys do? We'll call it a mastermind or a peer group. What do you guys who's in your mastermind? Do you guys collaborate at a high level with other builders folks in the industry, whether it's for personal professional growth, do you do anything like that? I would say we, we just started it's it's funny cuz when our kids were we're young, we really were not too involved in, in the builder community, but we, we joined our builders association literally right before COVID so yeah, they, it was like February of 2020, and they were like, we have all these awesome events. It's gonna be great and they only shut down then everything are closed. So we, you know, so we're pretty heavily involved in that, but we, you know, our, our kids Were, and there's nothing more awkward than a builder or remodeler virtual meeting. Right. Yeah. We went to a few of those.
(43:26): Yeah. I mean the, you know, there's not a lot of females in that industry that have kind of the credential of Susan has. So being in that position, um, you know, they were like, wait a minute, you're a female, you have your builder's license. They're like, we're putting you're going on the board, you're getting a board seat. She's like, uh, okay. So they put her on the board, you know? Um, so you know, it's great for things like that, cuz you know, coming into the industry from her, we'll see what clients and sometimes the wife will be like, you know what? We had four contractors in here. Not one of them looked at me or asked me a question. And I'm like, well that's dumb because the other one that's probably driving this project, you know, mm-hmm, at the end of the day, most of the guys, like I just want a big garage and a TV or you know, you know, and as long as the wife's happy, they're happy.
(44:08): So driving those projects, it's like, why wouldn't you talk to the, the wife. So, and I also think they, the guys take a different tone on the job with her than they do with me. I'm like, Hey, we gotta move the, oh, come on, man. You know, sometimes, but with her she's like, can we okay. You know, so it's, it's, it's good. It's a good balance, you know? So, um, you know, it's, it's important though that, you know, in obviously the wives and the females feel more comfortable with having another female involved, you know, in a very dominant industry. So yeah, it's cool that they gave her a board seat and put her on there and so forth. And you know, we've been getting invited to more events so that, you know, the female voice can be heard more in that industry
(44:44): oh, sure. And they we're big proponents of diversity in, in the industry. I mean more and we all have to be open to that. I mean, we know that the struggles we're all gonna have with the workforce and labor and we just need to be way more open to, you know, providing opportunities for everybody into this industry. Totally. It's a great industry to your point. You know, when you're passionate about it, if you love what you do, it can be a very good way to, to make a living a very good career, but it's up to us to get that message out, especially to the younger folks, you know, that it is, it can be passionate. It can be exciting. Totally.
(45:14): Our painter has a couple females on the crew and they're like some of the best painters he has. I mean, they're incredible, you know, the spraying is incredible, like really detailed. They're really, really good. So it's, you know, it, it, it's good. It's a good thing. It's a good direction to go in. And yesterday we just had three teenagers from a local like youth build program, walk through some of our job sites and I could see, you know, all their eyes popping out of their heads at, you know, at the projects, you know, walking them through these big houses. And I was like, look guys, and I stopped them. I was like, this is where we started. This is, you know, you don't start. And they were just kind looking around like, you know, like how do you do this? And The why I think that's what people always wanna know is the, yeah.
(45:51): I mean, they were, they were young, you know, they were like, you know, 16, 17, 18 thinking about getting into the trade. So, you know, so we try to bring, you know, as much of that community into it as well, because we do need more, you know, more young people to, you know, to go into these types of careers. Yeah. The whole build this. Institute's trying to develop some schools and stuff for different parts of the country to help draw more people into the trades. And we're very proponent, big proponent of that. Cuz it's, it's a needed thing. There's a very shortage in the trades now and more work than people and you know, robots can't do everything. So yeah. And It's just, like I said, it's a great opportunity if it's presented. Right. And that's, I think that's the job of us is to present it to, to the next generation around, you know, how cool it can be. So yeah, I think we, I'm not sure if we originally met or were you guys at the international builder show last year? We were in Orlando. Orlando. Yes, yes.
(46:42): Yeah. Yes. So I'm not that's I think how we originally, and I don't know if it was one of you or one of your team, but builder nuggets. We had a booth on the show floor. Oh, okay. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Cause met Brad Out there too. Which who doesn't love Brad. Brad's a great guy. You know, Brad's A great guy. Yeah. Great guy. Um, I say Paul has a man crush on Brad. I mean, come on, everybody loves Brad. He's like, you know, Fred, he's just like the, a genuinely nice guy and He genuinely nice guy, Instagram superstar. I mean Positive. Yeah. He go handsome me is I wish I great project . He's got, he's got it all He does. So I tell him all the time, I'm like, Brad, look at that jawline. You're so lucky. And he just laughs. He's like, yeah, he's a very humble guy too. He's He's yeah. He's very humble. That's for sure. You guys going out to, uh, Vegas this year for the show we are. Yep. We will be there. So we'll have to open Forward. We'll have to, we'll have to connect. I'm gonna be there. Not sure what, you know, we may have, have a booth or we might do a different type of event. We're not sure, but in one way or the other we're gonna be out there.
(47:34): Oh yeah. Let's get Brad over there and have a conversation. Definitely connect There. Go. Absolutely. On kissing booth someone. Sure. Well, Susan Paul, thanks for taking some time. It's been a lot of fun. Um, what you guys are doing are great. Congratulations on everything and best of luck moving forward and uh, hope talk in soon.
Thank you. Yes. And we, we always encourage people stalking us on all our social media channels and, and uh, and hopefully they'll download renovation, rekindle and watch some, some silliness and see some projects. You got it, man. It'll be in the show links as well. So thanks again. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Hey, thanks for listening, Duane and I love hearing from you. Your stories are inspiring and your challenges can be overcome. Got a cool tip idea for a show problem that you haven't been able to solve, or maybe just struggling to figure out what you need next and where to get it. We can help hit us email@example.com and start building freedom.