Stephen Vantassel here wildlife control consultant talking. Give me another episode of The Wildlife wanted to talk today about preparing for downtime. I know it’s on a very wildlife-related topic but the real but the fact of the matter is is that there are going to be as busy as people are. Life happens when you find yourself in a situation where you’re not out making money but you have been. Sometimes it’s things outside of your control. But you sit stuck somewhere and you can’t turn that into cash because something happened.
Help I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up
Let me give you some illustrations for example. What are you prepared for when your. Vehicle goes down. You may be on the road. And all of a sudden the transmission blows. That’s not something you’re just going to pull out of screwdriver. or a lug ranch and fix you’re gonna be stuck there for a little bit. And as these things often happen. you can’t just simply the you know the triple A or whatever organization you’re using to take pick up your vehicle. They’re not going to be just waiting for your particular call. They’re doing other things. All of a sudden you may be waiting half an hour. 40 minutes two hours waiting for that vehicle to come out and tow you back to the repair shop.
What about other issues such as when you’re bringing in the vehicle in for service. When I was running my business I was putting on about 3000 miles a month and so I followed the policy of getting oil changes every. Basically every month because I was putting on 3000 miles and. What are you doing during that time. Now if you are in a situation where you need to sort of mentally decompress then you would want to use that time to mentally decompress.
But I’m going to suggest for you that you should be thinking about using that time to improve yourself. If you’re on the clock and I would encourage people to think about their if they’re self-employed.
Guard your time.
Make sure that when you’re on the job you’re on the job and when you’re off the job you try to get off the job. I know that’s easier said than done and I certainly am no.
Great example of how to accomplish that. When I was starting my business. but you need to do it. Learn from my mistake. Make sure that you. Work hard during the period of time that you’re working and when the end of the work day is done you transition and be husband wife spouse father friend. and have a life. Don’t. Live to work. Work to live in so I’ll leave that as it is.
So if you’re during working the job and you have to take part of your job part of what you need to be charging for is these periods of downtime when you’re not able to make money because you have to do maintenance right. This is what a lot of people don’t understand when they hear about that two hundred and fifty dollars setup fee or consultation fear whatever the case may be. they’re paying for your time when you’re sitting in a building getting the oil change for your truck. Or when you’re getting it cleaned or you’re getting a detailed or you’re pulling traps out and you’re getting equipment and you’re filling out paperwork that’s what they’re paying for. But when you’re in situations where you’re not where you can’t be actively busy on your vehicle or making money you’re sitting in a waiting room. lounge waiting for your vehicle to be done what are you doing to to maximize that time.
It’s those little periods of dead space in your life. And so. we basically have two different types of downtime. What I would call.
Small periods of time micro times in the sense where you’re you know maybe only spending 15 20 minutes waiting for your vehicle to be taken care of.
And then we have longer periods of time such as let’s say you’re injured. God forbid. and let’s say you sprained your ankle really really bad. and all of a sudden you can’t go out in the field and do the work. What do you have planned. For your life what are you going to do to fill that time. And so I’m wanting you to take take a few moments and contemplate for yourself. Are you prepared for when downtime comes because it will come it’s on a question of if it will come. It’s a question of when will it come and are you prepared for it. So I’m suggesting you plan in two different ways. Number one you make sure there is always something available for you in your truck then your person that you can then turn around or if you are finding your your agenda has been disrupted and you are basically have downtime that you’re able to transition and use that downtime to productive use. For me I’m a reader I’m almost always carrying a book with me. There is something that I can do now a lot of people have smartphones so they’re checking email but a lot of times when I’m you know looking at what people are doing they’re really not really doing anything productive.
They’re just playing.
Whether it be something silly at Facebook or they’re looking at images or listening to music and if that’s what you want to do. Oh that’s fine. But understand that that’s ultimately costing you money if you’re not continually trying to learn and trying to grow in trying to X stress yourself a little bit to reach out of your comfort zone and learn something that you’re not fully comfortable with you are ultimately costing your money. And that’s a difficult thing for a lot of people to understand because you’re like oh wildlife control.
You know how quickly there’s a change and it doesn’t change that fast. That’s true. But the business climate does. and I’m always amazed. At people that I meet and where there’s really no interest in them to improve their skill set because as more and more people are getting into this field it puts pressure on those that have been the field for a very long time and they have to stay on their toes because. the new guys coming into the industry are taking the low hanging fruit. So you have to ask yourself if you’re in this business for the long haul. what are you doing to be sure that your business has continued viability.
As the Indies as the market changes as we have a lot of PE young guys coming in and they’re doing that squirrel job or they’re doing that mole job or they’re doing a woodchuck job all of the easy work. And making money and thuds bleeding you what are you doing to ensure that your company has a big enough moat to protect itself from the competition. What are you doing to improve yourself. If you’re not thinking about efficiencies and how to improve the efficiency of your company the customer service of your company the quality of your service and how to get into niche markets where you can have higher profit margins you are setting yourself up for failure because sooner or later if you’re just getting you know comfy and what you’re doing someone’s who’s hungrier than you is going to come up behind you and take away market share.
Now granted you may say all I’ve seen that all happen they all they’re all out of business now. And that’s probably true a lot of these new guys come in. They don’t understand how much work they burn themselves out.
Something happens and their businesses go away. But that doesn’t detract from the damage that occurred during in your business during those few years where they were stealing market share. and are you prepared for that. So I’m encouraging you you need to maximize the downtime to at least turn it into something productive. So let me give you some illustrations. Number one you need to be looking at how are you using downtime to improve yourself.
A lot of ways to improve yourself.
You can learn you can read a book about salesmanship. One of the books that really impressed me was selling the invisible. And that was a that’s that’s a book that I would certainly suggest because what pest control ultimately is as you’re selling a service you’re not selling a tangible product that people can touch and hold and feel and put on a shelf. You’re selling a quality of life basically. So how do you communicate that to your client. So you could improve your sales. You can also look at personal self improvement do you need to lose weight. Do you need to try to get healthier.
Do you need to work on how you communicate with your spouse or your children or friends and neighbors. Those are self-improvement type things. You can look at how do things to improve your issues to improve your business. You need to be looking at legal issues. Do you need to be a better member of any associations that you’re involved in. Do you need to study more about some of the technical aspects of your trade. You know when was the last time you read the label of a product you use a lot a lot of. Now some people get in the habit of every season they’ll read it but you. But what did you do that this year.
Do you need to kind of review those labels. Sometimes you know you read it those labels are complicated. The move when you read them the second time is like oh I didn’t notice that the first time because you’re overwhelmed so much data. You need to read it sometimes again. Are you taking notes on your material. Are you catching up with people that maybe you forgot.
They make some phone calls use your cell phone make some phone calls with some people you’re talking to clients setting up new possibilities maybe talking to a business partner or are you talking to a competitor or if you looked about ways that you can maybe work together in a big bird job that you want to bid together on. Those are a lot of can you clean your truck. Can you organize your paperwork. Can you.
Think about how you’re going to grow your business and just sit down as you’re waiting in that waiting room. Say are there different places I need to work my marketing.
Those are a lot of things that you can do. Those are some ideas and I’m sure as you’re listening to this you can think of others that you can think about that you can do during those short down periods.
Again I like to carry a book with me. I encourage people to download. There’s a lot of articles online and just reading it was how I know everything there is about raccoons with the fact that matters is you can sometimes read something from a different perspective and pick up a different nuance. And oftentimes just simply rereading other mature that you may know you may know intimately helps reinforce. what you know and so you can. give that information to your clients or to other people at a more professional polished level.
What about long term disability or long term downtime.
Let’s say that you hurt your ankle are you prepared for that. Do you have. things that you can do that are still going to help move your business forward. Granted not at the same pace as you being fully healthy but are you prepared for that. Have you thought about maybe working on your marketing materials are you able to do some additional reading.
Are you able to do some additional studying are you able to maybe do pile in all of your continuing ed credits while you’re while you’re off while you’re injured just to have that off. So when you get healthy again you don’t have to worry about it for that particular licensing season. Ah do you need the right look at your contracts again. Can you call your customers and say hey our things are doing so you’re you starting to get some informed better feedback. Because sometimes when you’re in the midst of doing all this business work you lose track of the customers that you already have your your hot market where maybe you need to reach out to them again. Do you. Can you write to put together a newsletter. Can you write an article for your trade magazine trade association.
Other people that you called maybe you just need to have some downtime to say you know I’m injured. It’s a vacation I wasn’t planning on let me spend some more time with my family.
I had a friend of mine who whose vehicle blew up not literally but it basically got so damaged that he wasn’t able to really use it and the repair process was a little bit longer because he got he. He broke down fairly far away from his home base and so it was quite difficult challenging. He had a lot of downtime.
These things happen. in wildlife control. We can have some fairly large driving areas. I know that some pest control companies certainly out here in the far west can have some pretty far up. We have a guy. The service is my town. He drives about two hours to get here. So it’s that’s a pretty big pretty big service area right. But for a lot of wildlife control operators most pest control companies there their service area is nowhere near as that large they may be spending two hours but that’s because of all the traffic and the traffic lights and the stoppages.
Right. So it’s not because they had to travel a hundred and 15 20 miles just to get to the location to service the job. Here’s some other ideas for you. I know many people in this industry are not. They don’t like to necessarily read but there’s a ton of podcasts you’re listening to one right now. Are there others out there. There’s a ton of podcasts on Apple i tunes you can listen to even if you’re not wanting to listen. Watch the video there’s people talking on various YouTube videos but there’s a lot of information out there that doesn’t require your eyes to learn from but they’ll be challenging for you and they will help stretch you and sometimes all it takes is one idea.
I tell people when they go to a training event ask them. Ask yourself this question Is there one idea. That justified the cost of the trip and I argue. That for many trainings that people go to. Certainly some of the ones that I’ve been involved in. the people that leave they have at least one piece of information that will pay for the cost of that training in the coming year. We’ve had people in you know attend some of our NewCo events and we do a little ad here for NewCo Of course.
Who have gone to our association meeting our annual meeting made a connection. because of. Because the connection they got a job that paid for the entire event. for them in the event is expensive. I mean you’re paying several hundred dollars just to attend. Then you have to think about the hotel room and the food and the transportation and the lost business work.
The one contact paid for the entire event. We’ve had another individual who made it who because of something that he learned was able to convince a client to hire him and that paid for his entire trip. An interesting book I learned about because I I I listened to a particular podcast. It’s quasi video as well and what it does what they do is they actually summarize various types of business related books and personal development and mentoring and that sort of thing. And this guy his argument was he called it the 1 percent principle.
Try to be 1 percent better all the time.
And that’s just a small point. Think about that. Give me 1 percent better.
How can you make your business 1 percent better. That is the kind of a goal that you want to have when you’re trying to use this downtime. Yeah.
There could be times when you’re using the downtime just to clean up the busy work of business right filling out that paperwork. Returning phone calls the daily drudgery of your job. I get it. But sometimes you’re going to have that time. To work on. Are you going to be able to improve yourself. One percent. And that’s what I want you to think about using that downtime for doing something that improves yourself and improves the quality of your service.
The nature of your business improves that bottom line or improves your quality of life. That’s what I want you to focus on. Take advantage of those downtime to prepare for them because they often come when you’re not expecting it. And then of course I’ve already mentioned a number of things. Where you should expect it when you’re going to the doctor’s office for that appointment. You’re waiting in their waiting room. Don’t let that time slip away. The one thing we don’t can’t create more of his time and I’m encouraging you here. Take control of your time and always put it to some sort of good use. For the improvement of your business and the improvement of yourself and your relationships in your life.
I’m Steven Van Tassel a wildlife control consultant. Hey I’d love to hear from you if you have ideas and topics that you’d want to learn about. Do drop me a line Stephen Vantassel at hotmail dot com or I have my address of course my Web site wildlife control consultant dot com. Love to hear from you. Love to get some ideas get some feedback. Yeah. Even the negative stuff out. I’ll take that too. Of course it’s not as fun as the compliments but. I’m hoping this is going to be helpful for you and improvement of your business.
I’m out. Back to you Frank.