Podcast for deck building companies

Jeff Mudd on Deck building and Recruitment

April Edwards 0:42 Hey, welcome back to we love deck builders, the podcast where decking professionals come to sharpen their skills and grow their business. I’m your host April Edwards, CEO and growth strategist at Deck builder marketers, and I’m dedicated to helping you craft the business you deserve. Today’s guest is Jeff Mudd. He’s an influential voice in the decking industry, and a host of his own podcast, the trades podcast so we’ve got a podcast within a podcast today. He has a rich, yeah, he has a rich background in home improvement and deep ties to NADRA. Jeff is here to discuss deck building intricacies and solutions to the labor shortage along with some other juicy gems. So Jeff, we’re really thrilled to have you on board. So I always like to start and just ask, you know, learn a little bit more about you for any of the listeners that may have not met you before. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey in the industry?

Jeff Mudd 1:42 Absolutely. Well, thank you for having me on April, it’s a pleasure to always to talk about the decking industry and the construction trades. I started out in my teens as a basically a handyman laborer. And by the time I was 30, I was working for a termite company, doing termite damage repairs. And here in California, when you sell a piece of real estate, you have a termite inspection. And that identifies usually a lot of damage on decks. So that sparked my interest in the deck building industry, you know, in my very early 30s. And I think I went to the first Deck Expo, probably 2005 and met Michael and Margie Beaudry of NADRA. So I think I’m joined shortly after that, but jumped back a little bit. In 911 Still working for the termite company, I was a termite inspector doing doing well. And started that 11 hit what do I do with my life? I got two kids when we’re doing our thing, you know, we we all had questions like that, I’m sure if some sort of another time. So basically gave notice and started my own home improvement company in 2002. So and I just sold that home improvement company into at the end of 2003. So that’s kind of the short version of the career in the home improvement. Wait

April Edwards 3:16 2023 Yeah,

Jeff Mudd 3:19 2023 just sold it

April Edwards 3:22 so awesome.

Jeff Mudd 3:23 So that’s kind of the short version of the all the home improvement maintenance, termite inspections, lots of wood repairs, things I’ve done, I’ve had my hands very dirty have still have lots of phone Nuit tools to do it. So I’ve seen lots of different aspects of how the decking industry work. So when I joined NADRA, one of the things that I really liked about NADRA was the safety aspect. And I took it upon myself to keep going go live the expos and learn more about how decks should be built as opposed to just rebuilding them back the same way to pass that escrow inspection. And as we develop through that, my company became known as a good quality carpentry company in here in San Diego. And we grew from there. So I guess a funny story for maybe some of your guests was at one of the Expos Simpson Strong-Tie built two decks in the middle of the showroom floor. One was very nice. All the right brackets, everything laid out proper connections. And then right next to it, they built one that was kind of not so good. And they would pull the pins so that the ledger board would disconnect from the structure and the deck would fall in collapse. So I thought that was pretty neat. We took some videos of it actually made a nice professional one of that happening to market my business. And then at a point I had a big flatbed trailer, I built even larger size deck doing the same thing and it gave several speeches and demonstrations of a deck. This is how it should work. This is the type of bracket means that you would use had a PA system. And we’d go to a couple of lumber yards and put on this demonstration to other contractors and then have the deck collapse in front of everybody. Ryan with Simpson Ryan Swinson Swint Simpson strong tie representative here in San Diego, did one speeches with me it was a good time. So a lot of different experiences in the decking industry. So

April Edwards 5:50 yeah. And for some of our listeners, you’d be surprised how many deck builders I talked to they don’t know about NADRA? Can you just kind of give your take on you know, the value that they bring to the industry?

Jeff Mudd 6:07 Absolutely. So one going to the deck expos, there’s lots of vendors so exposes you to new products that are out there not just deck boards, but railings, lighting, bracketing. But there’s also software, business management skills, financing, vendors. So there’s all kinds of things at the deck Expo that will help you run a better business. And lots of the classes were built around business skills also that NADRA help coordinate at the deck Expo. So I’ve been lucky enough to go to most of the deck expos little vacation traveling across country and bring back those skills or bring employees to the expos. in big numbers in NADRA, and specifically out in NADRA, they have the deck inspection class. So I’ve had multiple salespeople take the deck inspection class and become certified in that they would use those skills and inspection techniques to complement the termite inspection on a lot of rebuilds. So that helped educate homeowners, because NADRA us as builders or repair people. So that the business skills and the camaraderie that’s in NADRA is. I’ve been part of other organizations. And NADRA is by far, a very close knit set of quality builders that are always gracious to be able to help out with information and tips and things like that. So I’ve I’ve created for my years of a NADRA membership.

April Edwards 7:58 Yeah, very well.

Jeff Mudd 8:01 NADRA is North American deck and railing Association if nobody knows.

April Edwards 8:07 Yep. And we got to see you walk on stage this year down in Clearwater, right?

Jeff Mudd 8:12 Yes, that was very exciting. Again, I got a certificate for being a member for 15 years. I think it’s closer to 17. But they were doing it in chunks. And that really was in itself. Pretty neat. I mean, I’ve been married a little bit longer. And I’ve had a same cell phone number a little bit longer where that buck is by far, the longest membership and commitment to an organization I’ve ever had. So it was really cool to do that. And one of the other things why we were in Clearwater, Florida, was the award ceremony. I’ve been lucky enough to be a judge looking at all the different decks that have been built for last couple of years. And that is quite an experience. I mean, if you ever had a dream of building your own deck, and then being part of that process, seeing hundreds of quality elaborate in a well built text, then all over this country is absolutely amazing.

April Edwards 9:20 Yeah, it’s pretty, it’s pretty inspiring. I really hope the creative juices are flowing when you know the builders leave that event because it’s amazing. Just mean that the experiences they’re able to build I just love it. It’s you know, I went to art school, I’m a creative myself and I love to see the experiences that they build and the way they’re able to improve people’s lives and bring people together. It’s so amazing. And I love it’s been neat to see, you know how technology is kind of become a part of, you know, the projects and stuff too with like smart pergolas and you know all this. I, I just learned about what is it called? Glare like glass flooring? I don’t think I’m saying it correctly, do you know what I’m referring to? So it’s almost like a sunlight, like a skylight on a multilevel deck where there’s a glass floor. And then if there’s a room underneath you can, you know? Yeah. No, but I thought it was pretty cool. All kinds of new is the I guess what I’m trying to say?

Jeff Mudd 10:39 Absolutely. Technology is running rapid right now in multiple areas of our lives.

April Edwards 10:47 For sure, well, I’m so again, podcast within a podcast, we’re really interested to learn more about the trades podcast and what you’re up to over there. And, you know, kind of how, why why did you get started with that?

Jeff Mudd 11:01 Oh, great, great question. So as I was running my home improvement company, I was frustrated, like many of us are still if not more about not being able to find, help, you know, let alone quality help. And it was more of a, I knew there’s a problem, I can’t fix the problem. So I can either complain about it, or I can do my little part. And that’s really where the idea of talking about it came up. And talking. Podcasting can seem like a very easy entry for me. I have a co host, Danny, Tori’s, he’s a DJ. He’s half my age. And we were in a professional networking group together. And he just seemed like a right fit. I pitched it to him. And he’s been on board ever since. So well over two years now. Over 100 Something episodes. And we started off knowing we don’t know what we’re doing. And we’ve got a lot to learn. So hopefully, we’re a little better at it now. And we’ve grown from when we started, and we both are having fun. Danny’s gone to the Deck Expo with me a couple times in Vegas. And we’re looking forward to being in Houston, Texas coming up the end of this year. So

April Edwards 12:24 yeah. Yeah, I’m glad it’s back there. I can use a break from Vegas.

Jeff Mudd 12:32 Vegas. Oh, yeah. I

April Edwards 12:33 love. I love hearing the evolution of growth. And I think that a lot of us, if if you are in a growth mindset, you should be vulnerable in and modest about not knowing what you’re doing, because that’s how you’re able to like soak, soak it all up. And, you know, learn as much as you can and grow. So after 100 episodes. Wow, you’ve you’ve talked to so many people. Is there. I mean, I know that you, you know you You talk a lot about labor shortages. Do you want to just kind of tell our audience a little little bit about that, and some conversations you’ve had any takeaways that could be helpful for their own businesses?

Jeff Mudd 13:20 Well, two different things. And yes, so labor shortage really is multiple reasons happening all on the same timeframe. Baby boomers are retiring. Baby Boomers haven’t had as many babies as it takes to replace the labor force. So I think it takes 2.1. And we’re currently in the US about 1.7. And then, for last 20 years or so, what is everybody has a cell phone and technology and computers. And that’s created hundreds of new opportunities for young adults. As opposed to the traditional, go to college, there’s so many other other opportunities that the construction industry is competing against. And we are not very good marketers. So those I think are the two big things. A lot of baby boomers are retiring. And as they pass, there’s a huge wealth transfer that’s happening to young adults. So that’s creating other opportunities and things for young adults to get into. So that’s kind of the short why what’d you do about it? I talked about in the podcast, and what we try to do is interview business owners what their culture is like with the opportunity in that particular industry. And we don’t just talk decks, but I do like the decking industry. So we went to a plumbing Expo a few weeks back that Um, one of the best things was I’m sitting there and a mother comes walking around with her high school son. What do I want to do is his big question. So I got to talk to him for a short time. And it was really rewarding to see, you know, intelligence, ambition, and inquisitiveness about what his future could be not just deciding one thing or another, he’s out checking, looking at different possibilities. So that was that was really neat to see out of all the hundreds of people that were plumbers walking by and talking about, you know, their career in the plumbing industry.

April Edwards 15:40 Like, pre pre pre life optimization. Absolutely. Yeah. Figure out how to optimize your life ahead of time.

Jeff Mudd 15:51 Yeah, I mean, a lot of people, I mean, we definitely need people that go to college that are going to be scientist and, you know, AI, computer people and medical professions and all that kind of stuff. We need that as a country, and, but we also need people that are going to build our buildings and bridges and fix things that break and, you know, have greater homes. Well, that too, it takes a balance of people promoting what I know. Yeah.

April Edwards 16:21 So what tips do you have with the labor shortage?

Jeff Mudd 16:27 Well, I think you can always start with ADR always be recruiting. Even if you don’t have

April Edwards 16:35 pretty jet free chat. Even if you even

Jeff Mudd 16:39 if you don’t have an opening right now, if your culture is open to bringing in somebody that you can teach, that has good soft skills, as opposed to learn skills that’s going to help you if you use your marketing dollars, while you’re advertising to get more jobs, if you talk about the opportunities so that you only hire the best people, you know, you treat people well. Those are some of the basics of that. I’ve got a big list if you want.

April Edwards 17:15 Yeah, sounds like

Jeff Mudd 17:18 yeah, you want me to write down a list?

April Edwards 17:20 Sounds like we need to create a guide for everybody.

Jeff Mudd 17:24 I would be happy to do that. Yeah, a lot of things that we’ve talked about in the podcast with different employers is if you hire somebody, or somebody’s interested in working for you, what’s their career? Like? Are they just going to be somebody that’s, you know, there for a couple years? Or do they have a career path? What will they learn? Where will they be at two years? Will they be at four? You know, how do I progress as an employee in your company, so having a career path or skills ladder, or both, you know, will really help having a conversation with a potential employee. If you’re a smaller company, and you do two or three interviews a year, your interviewing skills will probably show to that prospective employee. So practicing those or getting help learning how to do a good quality interview. Being prepared for that, you know, it’s not just use the employer and have openings, and you got a bunch of people wanting to come to you right now you’re getting ghosted, and more than you have people showing up. You know, you’re marketing to the labor force now. So be prepared, be ready to engage, ready to sell your business and the opportunity of your business to that prospective employee.

April Edwards 18:52 Yeah, and know what your vision is right, so that they can buy into the vision as well.

Jeff Mudd 18:58 Absolutely, really good point. If if you are running a business, and your goal is just to make a living, and you haven’t thought the process through where the company’s going, what’s your exit plan? What’s the growth potential to your management team? What’s the growth potential to people that work there? If you can articulate that to everybody in the company? You know, new employees can certainly see that also. So they’re taking a gamble. And so if you’re wanting to eliminate a part of the gambling, you know, the chance taken, be able to articulate that ABA, a printout or you know, some graphics or I don’t know if there’s different ways of doing it, but at least you need to be able to talk about it to a potential person you’re interviewing. Yeah. Yeah, for sure.

April Edwards 19:52 We do. We do several things here. I mean, I have a whole process that I’m constantly I’m refining for recruitment, and some tips on my end would be throwing throwing some sort of a curveball in the application process where they have to do something that if they didn’t thoroughly look through the application, you would know. So, you know, have them email you back and put like something silly in the subject line, you know, little things like that, to see if they pay attention to details, you know, and can follow.

Jeff Mudd 20:31 Absolutely, in your business details, being able to communicate a lot more details to clients or, you know, follow the instructions that you need to know, having somebody that, you know, can read direction, follow directions, that’s a great way of testing it.

April Edwards 20:50 Yeah, and then, you know, really understand what your ideal candidate is, and mapped down those those qualities just like a persona profile, you know, do they need to have a license like that? Should you should be asking that in your application? You know, things like that are pretty important. So we also have our I mean, we’re digital. So we always have people do it’s a piece of software called Video ask. And so we just asked them a couple of questions about, like, why they’re, you know, want to work with us. And it gets gives us a sense of what they’re like, and if they’re passionate, and really, you know, want it and get it isn’t us thing, don’t want to get it, I have the capacity for it. Yeah, we found that to be pretty helpful as well. It sounds like you and I should do a webinar, we should do a webinar and like outline all of this.

Jeff Mudd 21:43 I’ve learned from all the mistakes I’ve made in the past. Yeah. If you’re a deck builder out there, and you’re a family organization, you should get two or three people, you’re going to have a completely different business model, that than somebody that’s running 75 or 100 employees and knocking out 2000 decks a year, and a completely different business model, completely different type of culture, and completely different opportunities within your own organization. So knowing where you’re at, and where you want to be, I think is really key to be able to come back and find the right person for your company.

April Edwards 22:22 Yep, yep. Now, from a marketing perspective, of course, I’ve got to throw in my juicy nuggets. When we build our clients websites, we always have a careers page on the site with the general application. And it’s got a nice auto responder, you know, to kind of give them what I call the warm and fuzzies is one of our core values, and a text message to so that, you know, they can engage and I mean, I do certain things with my application process where I, you know, I asked them to follow me on LinkedIn, things like that, of course, that’s not going to apply for deck builders, but the idea is that they have to take the extra step, and then I can vet the candidates better, based off of whether or not they followed those instructions and really showed me that they want this, you know, and that they’re not just out there throwing applications out everywhere and seeing what you know, hits.

Jeff Mudd 23:14 That’s a fabulous protocol to have in April. And most deck builders, in my opinion, should have a LinkedIn profile, who’s who’s spending, you know, 20,000 100,000 $200,000 on a deck at that level, and doesn’t have a LinkedIn account, you know, I’m not gonna go research my deck builder on Facebook. I’m looking at his professional profile on LinkedIn, that’s my go to thing. I think a lot of the deck builders customers are at that level also.

April Edwards 23:51 And I love I love that you brought this up because I just get to reinforce it a little bit more but really leveraging your ongoing marketing efforts to always promote your culture is so so so important because always be recruiting and so you want to get people excited to not only want to have you build them their outdoor living space, but you want to get people excited to want to work with you too you want just as many people lining up at the door that already know like and trust you and want to work with you. And so a great way to do that is to really show how you you know what your culture is how you do things different you know, do you guys have like, you know, regular lunches are you celebrating people’s birthdays like these are really small things that you can do on your social media and things like that, that just help paint that picture for potential candidates. And then we even have video testimonials on our career page of the the employees and then definitely have your core values. It’s so important and And that’s one thing that we ask, you know, our candidates to do is, you know, make sure you check out our core values. And, you know, because it’s important that we find the right people that are going to, you know, fit our culture.

Jeff Mudd 25:14 Absolutely, I mean, just look at it again, from the customer’s point of view. I mean, that’s why you’re spending marketing dollars is to get more customers. So from the customer’s point of view, if you have a well run business, everybody that works there, you know, is happy, there’s a good culture that they can see on different platforms, they can see the education that you put into the employees that they’re always learning. And it’s not just deck building skills, or the new product skills, which you can definitely and should be highlighting. But what else helps an employee you show you care about him, you bring in the financial advisor, once a quarter or twice a year or something, to give financial advice to somebody that’s in their early 20s. If you do X, Y, and Z, you’re gonna get to, you know, save up enough money and you can buy a house or you can plan for your retirement on top of the, you know, retirement plan that we have our company, your customers can see that as a whole part of your culture, that adds to the value of you as a deck builder that you care, you’re responsible in taking advantage of people, you’ve got the better quality people showing up to work on their house, their project. So it’s, it’s a win win, when you do all these different things that bring the whole package together.

April Edwards 26:33 And it’s so simple to and I think it’s overlooked, because it doesn’t seem needed to have your story on your website. But it is, though, it’s those little things that make such a difference, and instill in trust in, you know, employees, customers, all of that. And at the end of the day, you know, people are buying from people. So they want to feel comfortable, and especially, you know, a local business, I mean, I would much rather give my money to a vet, or, you know, like a family run business. And I’m not going to know that about you if you’re not telling me on your website and stuff. So

Jeff Mudd 27:15 we’re on the same page here. Let’s find something, are you?

April Edwards 27:20 Well, I’ve got a fun story to share it, I hope that my client doesn’t, doesn’t mind. But I it almost kind of makes me tear up. And I think that it did him too. So Pat O’Keefe, from O’keefe in Colorado, they sent just the cutest Christmas card. And it was a picture, I’m looking at it right now. It’s a picture of all of them with like, you know, ugly sweaters on and stuff. And so I, you know, I received the card, and I was like, Oh, it’s just so cute, you know, and I just said, Thank you so much. And I shared it with my team so they can see and that my old account strategist Kassaundra said, See, I always told Pat, that he he built a family, not a team. And I mean, how powerful is that. And as a business owner, that is just so nice to hear. Because we spend so much time together, that it has to be more than just making money. You know, we have to build life long friendships and a family just like Pat O’Keefe did. And I’m gonna tell you in everything that they do, the way that they outline expectations on their site, their sales process reinforces what I just said. And people can see that and it’s a subconscious decision that people make, as long as you’re, you know, you’re conscious about it and trying to, you know, promote it in some way, shape, or form and your process or your content or website or whatnot.

Jeff Mudd 28:52 So I hope everyone enjoyed that. Absolutely. Those little stories that we can relate to as people helped build the reputation for your company. Yeah,

April Edwards 29:04 yeah. So the takeaway is, build a family and not a team. And hire slow, fire fast. You know, like, you need to make sure you have the right people because it can be really toxic, toxic, if you don’t, so really take the time to make sure that they are the ideal fit, and that they share your vision. Chris Breen, he you know, from Legacy Academy, and I’ve probably said this multiple times on the podcast, but I just think it’s so brilliant. You know, he wants to have a vision for his business that is so big, that his team members, goals and ambitions fit under that. And I just think that’s so beautiful. You know, I just it’s like, why would you not want to work for somebody like that?

Jeff Mudd 29:54 Absolutely. I know, Chris and Amy and they’re great people. They Got the drive and the talent that they’re going to build something great in the tech industry, and I wish I was a little younger to go through some of the programs he’s got, he’s got going right now. But I guess your point is something that, I guess, see, I’m gonna disagree with the old saying that you just brought up the way to hire slow and fire fast. Today’s market for the applicants out there, we don’t have that luxury of multiple, you got to come in three times. So I’m going to interview you, then, you know, the field supervisors gonna talk to you, and then you get to talk to the CEO on the third trip. And so we don’t get that luxury anymore with applicants coming in. So you have to, in my opinion, streamline that a lot faster. So get all the same things in there, spend 15 minutes going over, you know, the top points about the company, almost make it a sales pitch, test them on a few things, bring somebody else in to sit down, introduce them, walk them around the office or the shop, you need to do it much quicker now as an employer. We don’t we don’t have that luxury. So you have to really refine that process, because you have to do it faster now. But if they don’t work out, don’t drag it along, either. Get that toxic employee out of your company Yeah, sometimes it’s hard.

April Edwards 31:35 It is hard. It’s very hard. Well, I think even just spending a little bit of time to, you know, not just ask the generic interview questions. But, you know, how have you helped, like, what was a challenge? You, you know, experienced with something specific, Or how did you help, you know, grow the business or just something very, very specific to where you can see, you know, how devoted they would be, I think is, you know, pretty important. Do you have anything to add to that?

Jeff Mudd 32:06 Yeah, you know, what’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made at work? And how did you handle that?

April Edwards 32:13 Yeah, for sure. It’s good. We do a little bit. We do, I mean, our business is different. And so we do what are called Kolbe assessments, and it helps to figure out kind of what their working style is. So a lot of entrepreneurs like myself, we have a high quick start, which means we got a ton of ideas, but our follow through is terrible. So that’s why you need a good Operations Manager. But, um, so we do that to really gauge, you know, how well they would be, and depending on the position, we’re going to be looking for different scores. And, you know, we, within those we do DISC personality tests to just see what people’s personalities are like, and how we can accommodate their communication style and work better together. And then we do test projects. So everything can look amazing. On paper, I’ll tell you, I mean, I’m a designer, I’m a super picky designer, I’ve recruited different designers in the past, and you, you would think it would be really easy to just look at their portfolios and see their amazing work. But you’d never even know in that case until you see what they do. And so that’s been really helpful to make sure that people aren’t bloating things actually are, you know, able to follow through with how they’re presenting themselves and selling themselves.

Jeff Mudd 33:42 Absolutely. Your business here are results driven, I believe. How you get theirs is a different process than building a deck. But those results you need to be able to clarify and track. So no one person got there makes a difference.

April Edwards 34:02 So I’m, um, we didn’t talk about this before, but I’m really interested to know if you have any thoughts or recommendations to try and recruit, you know, some of these kiddos that are just getting out of high school and trying to figure out how to pre optimize, optimize, optimize their life.

Jeff Mudd 34:22 Yeah, well, I think us as an industry needs to start at the schools at a much younger age. With building birdhouses, I mean shot classes out of junior high in high school now, for most people. So exposing the kids to different things at younger ages, I think is a start as a contractor in general, there’s not a lot of wasted doing that other than putting in the effort to find those job fairs. Be a guest speaker. Spend a little bit of money for your your tabletop and get out there and promote your company. I’ve seen a few fairs here in San Diego that I’ve got to go to. And, you know, it seems like there’s a wide variety of companies out there from the big Hawthorne truck company, you know, construction trucks and stuff to different electricians and plumbers that are trying to promote their businesses. So if you’re the little guy, don’t be afraid to get out there and promote your company. And the opportunities, you know, the high schools, I think, are turning the corner in the sense of, they’re allowing a lot more people to come out there and speak to the kids, expose them to the different industries that are out there. And it’s not just construction, I mean, the one of the last job fairs I went to, it had several large construction companies, but it also had the police and the sheriff’s were there, the Border Patrol was there, and the veterinarian was there, and the medical offices were there. So there’s all kinds of different career paths being exposed to the kids. So you as a deck builder, take the time to find some of those opportunities and go out and do it once in a while. You might not find an employee that time, but you’re certainly planting the seeds in different people in other counterparts in the hiring world, that you are available to hire people. So sometimes you gotta get before you get.

April Edwards 36:38 That’s right. And I think that as you evolve in your career, and just your life in general, you know, you, I would hope that we all get to a point where we want to give back, you know, and that’s such a great way of doing it and helping the industry too. And, you know, just putting some time in?

Jeff Mudd 36:57 Absolutely. I mean, if there’s a training center, that’s, you know, in your your city, golf volunteer to give that half hour speech to talk about the industry in general. Never know, you might get lucky with a graduating high school student coming out and wanting to go work for you. But you’re planting the seeds and lots of kids at the construction industry, maybe not your particular deck building company, is an option for them, and they don’t have to go to college.

April Edwards 37:34 Yeah, I think it’s so great as, as a business owner to have the opportunity to help build somebody’s life. I mean, that’s pretty amazing, you know?

Jeff Mudd 37:43 Absolutely. And sometimes they, you know, they’re gonna look at y’all funny. And in that give a lot of input. I mean, I’ve done a couple where I’ve stood up, all the kids have been in a circle, and I start off, you know, this is cell phone, greatest tool in the world. But yeah, it’s not part of your requirement to have to do your work at a job site, you know, leave it in the car, no, girlfriend will wait until lunchtime or being able to respond back. And always get to giggle at the kids and instructors like that too. But just talking about your career path and the opportunities. Being a manager, a business owner, and when you’re the lights gonna go off in the kitchen, you’re never gonna see, they’re gonna go home. It’s gonna happen later. But you got to get out there first.

April Edwards 38:34 That’s what parenting feels like for me right now. I’m like, hopefully this will pay off and everything that I’m saying they will remember it will be applied at one point.

Jeff Mudd 38:44 Absolutely. Sometimes it takes a little longer than we thought but

April Edwards 38:50 Well, I always like to ask a couple of questions. What, what to you since you’ve talked to so many businesses, and obviously you’ve been in this field for a long time? Do you have any thoughts are Ford forecast for the industry this year?

Jeff Mudd 39:07 I don’t know about this year, but I have to I’m gonna give a shout out to Philip Purdy. He’s a deck builder in Colorado Springs, went up and did an interview on one of his projects with Pikes Peak in the background. So a great opportunity to interview a nice professional deck builder. And we went to lunch afterwards. And he got me started on robotics and AI. So I am doing a lot of research and following a lot of different people or companies that robotics is the way of the future we’re doing. Just watched one last night where a robot was painting. Yeah, save a lot of moments is your arm up and down the wall you know and second coat crossways you know people will be replaced by robots how long it will take, and how far across the scale. So as an example, if you have a high rise being built, there’s robots, kind of the size of the vacuum cleaner in our house that are marking out, the concrete floors are where the stud framing supposed to go. They’re doing it perfectly and faster than a guy with a tape measure with a grease pencil or chalk, that would build the floors, the stead, floors, walls inside the high rises, not gonna take that guy and send them over to do a room or that robot to send them over to do a room addition on a plywood floor. It’s not cost effective, maybe not so much for the small robot, but for the technology that’s takes to run that blueprints breaking it down to the movement to the robot. But the technology that we’re experienced right now, drones are pressure washing sides of buildings, and doing video and picture inspection on high rise wells that are out there. There’s just example after example, of companies that are adopting robotic technology that you can look at it is taking away jobs, or it’s supplementing the lack of workforce that we have so that companies are working more efficiently and cost effectively and safer. And what’s it take for a guy to go up 50 stories on a high rise to inspect the building, you know, long time lots of safety procedures, you know, it doesn’t eliminate all the safety hazards. When a robot, you know, yeah, you might be out a chunk of money because the robot malfunctioned and fell. But that’s somebody’s life. So having the younger workforce coming in, to be able to intuitively be able to operate a robot to do a job, because they’ve had a cell phone in their hand since every one or tablet, I think is one of the changes that we will see quite rapidly over the next decade.

April Edwards 42:12 Yeah, yeah, I like to say, Yes, I agree. And I think that we’re going to have pilots roles are going to be pilots pilots controlling these machines. But I do want to give one, I do want to give one piece of advice. I mean, I leveraged chat GPT for so much. I haven’t I haven’t helped me come up with math formulas. I recently I’ve started using it to help flush out our SOPs. So I know that a lot of builders are just, you know, it’s it’s hard once you get to that spot where like, Okay, I need to let go of the vine and I want to grow. But man, is it a pain in the ass to train people, you know? And that fear of like, oh, how am I going to find somebody that could do it as good as me? Well, if you document your procedures, makes it a lot easier. And then you constantly refine those as you go. So leveraging chat GPT to speed up that process for you, you know, could really help. And that’s just such a small way to leverage technology to really indirectly grow your business.

Jeff Mudd 43:25 Absolutely. I’ll be honest, I’ve had a series of interviews, and it’s trade school. And it got into some of the trades that I didn’t know a whole lot about automotive HVAC. So I went to check up team, give me 80 questions, I can ask the instructor, and then I printed them all out and with their own hand by hand is like, Oh, that’s a great question. I never would have thought of that without the help of chat. So it made for great interviews, because I had some good quality questions. Just a simple thing there and

April Edwards 44:00 use it to use it to figure out interview questions for your candidates to you know,

Jeff Mudd 44:08 absolutely. I mean, you even in your sales process, you know, tell Chat Chat GPT, this is where we’re at, we do this, this and this, how do we document our sales process, so that to the benefit of the customer, for a better so they have a better understanding of what we do to help them through the construction process after it’s sold? Yeah, it’s a communication tool.

April Edwards 44:38 It’s a tool, and that’s why I’m like the pilots because even robots are going to be tools, right, and somebody still has to drive the bus and think creatively and how you’re going to use the tool, you know?

Jeff Mudd 44:53 Absolutely. I mean, you said pilot, my first reaction was autonomous planes. That’s been tested. Scary, have been tested? I know.

April Edwards 45:02 I know, I know. Um, well, I’d love to just learn more about the podcast, and you know what you’re up to, you want to just kind of tell the audience a little bit more about what you’re up to there.

Jeff Mudd 45:16 Sure. So on the trade podcast, we, we try to interview home improvement contractors, whether you’re a deck builder, electrician, a plumber. Because that’s the industry. I know, there’s unions and bridge builders and high rise builders and things like that. But the home improvement industry, I’ve had a really good exposure, and I feel like I can talk to people on a one on one level in that area. So that’s really our forte is doing that we also like to bring in different types of educators or other people that are, have the same goal of us as promoting the construction trades in different ways. So there’s some great nonprofits out there that we’ve been able to talk to that are making, you know, huge impacts in the construction world and creating opportunities and awareness for young adults getting into the construction trades. So we’re gonna continue to do that. The podcast itself, you can find this on almost any platform, we use a hosting platform that pushes it to 20 plus platforms out there. We also have a website that you can go to the tradespodcast.com, for finding any episode and listening to it that way. And we’re starting to grow our social media presence, I could use some really good coaching from you on that, I’m sure. Well, we’re learning that’s part of the process of being a business owner, you have to learn the different steps as you go. I feel very blessed that I’m at the point in my life where I can go to the international builders Show in Las Vegas, or, you know, got to go to Florida for that spend a whole day up in the fairgrounds for the plumbing Expo are a while back. There’s a fence and automation Expo coming up in Vegas in September. I’m signed up for that. That’s kind of a new area for me, but I’ve put in a few fence posts in my life. So yeah, it’ll be interesting to see the equipment and some of the resources that fencing builders are using. Continue to go out there and interview and highlight different companies and what they’re doing out there. I’m not the innovator anymore. Documentary. You know, this. Yeah, you’re

April Edwards 47:47 right, the documentary The matchmaker.

Jeff Mudd 47:52 And we have a YouTube channel that that’s probably one of our next big Adventures is putting a lot of the content out there are different aspects that we’ve been able to collect. We just haven’t posted it very much.

April Edwards 48:08 Yeah, I bet you you have so much content, you could repurpose everywhere

Jeff Mudd 48:12 100%.

April Edwards 48:16 Well, do you have any words of wisdom or advice for any newcomers in the scene?

Jeff Mudd 48:28 Absolutely. Be open to learning. Because if you’re young, and you’re getting into the construction trades, you need to learn your craft, whatever you’re going to do next, if your goal is to be a business owner, or you’re a new business owner, that’s a whole different set of skills and rules to play by, you have to learn that take the time to get educated. And there’s lots of resources out there in this country to do that. But it’s a whole different set of skills, those are more important. But don’t forget where you came from, you know, the people that treated you good people that helped you along the way. So what we talked about earlier, is get to the point in the life where you give back. You can do that your first day in business by just treating people with respect and being gracious and have an open mind and open heart to be able to learn and grow from other people’s experiences. Nobody knows at all.

April Edwards 49:34 That’s right. That’s right. Well, my motto is always, you know, keep moving forward. And that means don’t overthink it. Just keep moving forward and you’ll learn along the way and you’ll grow and get better and better and better. But you’ve got to move forward.

Jeff Mudd 49:49 Absolutely. Yeah. Done is better than perfect. Yes.

April Edwards 49:55 It’s been a lot of years of training for me. They’re still a work in progress. If, if anybody is interested in being on your podcast, how would they approach that?

Jeff Mudd 50:12 Well, I, my email address is info at the tradespodcast.com or response to emails all the time and my cell phone if you want to call me directly 619-850-0887 And leave a message if I don’t answer.

April Edwards 50:33 Pretty cool, man. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the podcast, I think we had a lot of juicy nuggets and tips that are really going to help our listeners and I do think that you and I should probably get together and we should do a webinar or something that goes into more detail about recruitment and culture and that type of stuff. So for anybody listening, always, you can always ping me directly on any social media and provide your feedback on the podcast and what you would like to see and you know, how people like you know, Jeff and myself and, you know, help you in your journey. And, again, Jeff, really good to have you. Thank you so much for the opportunity. Awesome. Until next time, guys, keep moving forward.


April Edwards

Owner & Lead Marketing Strategist
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