Legacy Decks Academy

April Edwards 0:47 All right, welcome to another episode of We love deck builders. I’m your host April Edwards. And we are so excited to bring you Chris and Amy Breen from Legacy Decks and Legacy Decks Academy, they have a ton of information to share with you, they’ve made a big impact on the community in the community. And they have been well recognized by the folks at NADRA for their efforts in this industry. So we are very excited to hear what they have to say, with their experience helping a lot of Deck Builders just like you listening. So Amy and Chris, thank you so much for being here today.

Chris 1:29 Yeah, we’re glad to be here. Thanks for having us.

Amy 1:31 Yeah. Thanks for having us. April.

April Edwards 1:33 Yeah. Always good to see you guys. It’s it’s the end of the year right now, as we’re recording. And I think we’re all getting excited for the holidays, and get to see everybody in person down in Clearwater for the deck awards. So.

Chris 1:51 Looking forward to that for sure.

April Edwards 1:52 For sure, a little bit of sunshine, crazy

Amy 1:54 End of the year, too, because you’re getting ready for next year. So you do know the end of the year planning on top of the holidays? And yeah, that’s right.

April Edwards 2:01 It is definitely a crazy time of year for entrepreneurs. Especially if you had really aggressive goals. You know, I think we’re all visionaries. And it could be disappointing sometimes if you don’t reach those, and then of course, it can be a time for celebration. So I think a lot of us we set those goals, and we don’t even take the time to celebrate those goals. We’re just moving on to the next thing. Right,

Amy 2:25 right, right year over next goals. What are we doing?

Chris 2:28 Yeah, I was just reviewing some of our Academy members targets for the year and kind of where they’re at. And, you know, some of them has surpassed them. Some of them are like this close. And so I’ve been kind of poking them just to see like, Hey, what are you gonna do we got, you know, we kind of have to wrap things up. So, but yeah, it’s good to get to be that close to the target.

April Edwards 2:46 And that’s a good segway, a little bit of accountability. And I think that’s something of pure value that you guys offer, apart from some other aspects. So i’m really interested to learn a little bit more about your journey. And what led you to start legacy Academy legacy Decks Academy.

Chris 3:08 Yeah, for sure. Amy and I have, we’ve told this story several times. And usually, if I’m telling the story, there’s one version of it if she’s, if she’s with me on stage, and inside of the conversation she’s like, but that’s not really and stuff. So it’s good that you have Amy here because she can fact check my stories, because she is a great storyteller has a great memory, and is able to clearly communicate what the truth is usually versus

Amy 3:37 not just you’re just missing pieces. Yeah.

Chris 3:42 That’s I don’t know if that’s a male thing or what, but anyways,

April Edwards 3:46 You complement each other very well.

Chris 3:50 Yeah, you know that being entrepreneurs is hard enough, being married entrepreneurs adds another layer to it. But you know, my plug for that. It’s just that the pros way outweigh the cons as far as it goes. In our case here. We complement each other great. And and we have fun in times like this, too. So well. Why don’t you share the story behind how Legacy Decks kind of came to be?

Amy 4:12 Yeah, so the academy was birthed because inside of Legacy Decks, we were very intentional how we built that business. We built a construction company many years ago. And it was the school of hard knocks, like we did everything wrong, in that we did a lot of good things too. But we did a lot of things wrong. And we learned a lot of lessons from it. And so when we were we’ve got the opportunity to sell that business. And we took it we it was a cash offer. And that was it. We were done and out and we were like Hallelujah. Thank you. Um, yeah, exactly. We were so happy to be out of that. And so we took a little sabbatical and we came back into business and in creating legacy decks. We really wanted to create something different. We didn’t want it to be that way where we felt like we built something that we wanted to run away from a prison a prison. Yeah, because we were stuck. We’re so stuck in the business, like doing everything, being responsible for everything and not making money. I think I’d be okay if I was making tons of money and how to be responsible for everything, but to be responsible for everything and not making money, not a great thing. So we didn’t want that. And so we were very intentional inside of building legacy decks and outdoor living, and how we did that, and the team we put together and the business coaches that we hired to come and teach us what we didn’t know. Because we knew that was the biggest thing. Like, yeah, we did a lot of things, right. But we did a lot of things wrong, because we didn’t know how to do them any way different. And so we we did that we built that we created that we created the teams like everything we set out to do we had accomplished in that. And we got to the end of it and kind of like well, not the end, but like got to that point of like, okay, what are we going to do now? And we talked about it, we talked about franchising, actually, we went through the whole process, we were going to turn it into a franchise, and our heart was really about small business owners like we were like, how do we help them to have a better business? Better systems process make money? And so that’s what we thought was the answer was franchising. When we started realizing in franchising, it’s not it’s very much about somebody who has the money, the capital will come in and buy a system, a process that’s already working, and they don’t touch it. And we’re like, that’s not where our heart is. I don’t I don’t want to do that. And so that’s where we really shifted our focus and said, Hey, how can we take the systems and processes and the things that we’ve learned and done and actually take them to small business owners? And so we started a conversation with Mike and Margie, and like, Hey, this is where our hearts at. And they’re like, Well, this is our heart. And this is what everything what they saw that the community needed. And we were like, Oh, my gosh, that’s, that’s what we see. And

April Edwards 6:49 So hold on. Let me let me stop for one second, because you would be surprised, but there are people that do not know who Pops and Margie are. Yeah. So NADRA is the North American Deck and Railing Association. And we’re going to be down there in Clearwater for the Deck Awards. So anybody listening, make sure that you contact somebody from NADRA and see what they’re up to. And definitely get to know Pops and Margie. They are an instrumental part of this community.

Amy 7:18 Yeah, yes. 100%. They’ve been doing it what, like, 17 years, 18 years

Chris 7:22 crazy must be now.

Amy 7:25 Um, and yeah, so we had a conversation with them, as we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do what it was gonna look like, we didn’t even have a name at the time. And this event that’s coming up here in January, it was originally used to be in March. And so they were like, Hey, why don’t you guys, let’s do something there. And we were like, well, we’ll put on an educational and that kind of kicked off the academy was this awards event?.

Chris 7:46 Yeah, so we were on it, right? We essentially had, we literally have the the entire franchise manual for legacy decks built. And we basically scrapped the whole thing that scrapped it, like it’s still valuable. And so I built the academy. But yeah, we decided to take the playbooks that we built inside of that, and, and bring it to, you know, to the industry. And so yeah, essentially, NADRA asked us to be the I guess, educational arm or part of the educational arm of what they’re doing. And so I think it’s funny when Amy mentioned that, but like, literally, we didn’t even have a name for it, just over two years ago, and they asked us to come speak and teach. And we’re like, well, we probably should call it something and, and so that’s kind of the the short version of how the academy was, was born. So yeah,

Amy 8:36 and I do just want to stop on that for a second. Because I think that there’s really something to be said about having the passion before the product essentially, is even thought about. And that really speaks a lot of volume in terms of, you know, being successful and being able to do something that you could truly follow through with and be able to help people, you know, authentically.

Chris 9:03 Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, it’s been a lot of fun, because, you know, we’re still we’re still actively operating our deck business, right. But because we’ve got it to the place where it doesn’t require us here, like, I’m going to be I’m going to be a Florida for three weeks, right after Christmas, like my business is going to continue running, whether I’m here or not. And so that’s really kind of the the spirit and the hope behind what we’re doing with the academy is to get other people to that place where their business is tested to the point where they can leave town for a couple of weeks and days

Amy 9:35 or a couple of days, or small couple days and you’re not your phone’s phone’s not blowing up

Chris 9:39 and so not to say that you know

April Edwards 9:41 or just work eight hours a day

Chris 9:45 Exactly, put the phone down and be present at home. So for sure, yeah.

April Edwards 9:50 Um, so I went to art school and I can relate this a little bit to that where I think what’s really nice about you guys having your own company that you’re still doing is that you’re practicing what you preach. Of course, all of your experience comes from that. But things change all the time. And you have to have a nice pulse on the industry. So in art school, the instructors that professors that we had, they were active in the art world or commercial art world. And so it just provided a lot more value. Because the it’s more tangible. It’s not like, you’re just telling other people what to do without understanding what’s happening in real time. So super valuable.

Chris 10:32 Yeah, Yep, absolutely. Yeah. Valuable. For sure.

Amy 10:36 Yeah. And there’s times like, you know, the world’s not perfect. So there’s times for us even and that, you know, you’re like, okay, hey, sales team, what’s going on? Where’s the sales? You know? And for us, we have to say, Okay, what’s, what’s a new tactic that we can try? What’s something new that we can do? What’s a twist on words that we can say, and so like, we literally have our own testing ground, which is really fun. Because we can be like, Hey, okay, team, like, think of ideas? What can we tried differently? What can we say differently? And then they go and do it? And they’ll be like, Wow, that worked, or no, it didn’t. And that allows us to come back to the academy, and be like, Hey, guys, you know, our sales person just tried this. And like, he did it with five clients. And it was amazing and worked every time. So go try that. Versus Yeah, just coming up with ideas and throwing it out there. We literally get to test it, we get our like, our own little test kitchen here. And we go try this stuff, and then we can talk about it. So that way we aren’t theory, we actually do try it. And not only that, that I’m not talking about things I wouldn’t do in my own business, right, there’s stuff that we’re willing to do in our own business. And so that’s, that’s a huge bonus inside of that. And, you know, in the academy, when our clients work with us, they don’t just get us they get our team to so that sales guy may get on a weekly one of our weekly calls and tell them hey, this is what we did. This is what we tried, you know, and give him his his actual boots on the ground experience.

April Edwards 12:00 So yeah, so it’s similar with deck builder marketers, I mean, we cater the deck builders, and obviously do marketing for them. So we’re able to test certain things, and then roll it out with everybody else. So same with you guys, you could use your own business to kind of test things out and then advise for other people. But I do want to speak about, you know, just anybody, not just if you own a coaching company, but to actually reserve a little bit of your time or budget in what I call innovation, to stay up to date on things. And it sounds like that’s something that you know, obviously you guys are doing, do you advise some of your clients to do the same?

Amy 12:39 For sure. Everything we do around here is innovation. Like we’re constantly saying, What can we do better? What can we change? What can we use that’s out there, our company’s 100% Digital, so there’s no filing cabinets around here. It’s always funny if we hire someone new, who’s used to having like that notebook and pen and like printing stuff, I remember we had a guy one time hired, and he was printing off his receipts to turn in. And I said, Do you know what we do with those after he said, Yeah, you scan them in and put them into we use Dropbox? And I was like, okay, then why do you keep printing them? And he’s like, you’re right. I don’t know why I do that. And so just finding ways to simplify and use technology and automations to your best of your ability.

Chris 13:24 because, we’re actively doing it. there’s constantly new technologies, new systems, new protocols that that come out. And we we’re not stuck in just one way of doing things. I mean, as hard as change can be for people to make. Sometimes it’s the best thing to do. And you know, we adopted a new software this this year, and it was painful, for a time. But the outcome that we were looking for was was the result was a lot greater than the pain that we had to go through. So anyway, so yes, we’re constantly, we’re constantly innovating and our team is constantly challenging us on the way that we think about things. And I think that’s a neat thing about you know, scaling a team is we’re constantly looking for a players, talented people that are smarter than us. Because I think and this is this is kind of a trap that entrepreneurs fall into is, you know, because most of us I know, for me, we were wearing multiple hats in the business. So instead of being like 100%, Project Manager or 100% salesperson, I found myself you know, I was 15% of the time I was in sales, 15% and project management, maybe I was doing some marketing and finance stuff. I’ve got Amy, so I wasn’t doing that. But you understand, I’m saying and so for a lot of entrepreneurs, they can’t even understand that it’s possible that someone can do their job better than them. So my operations manager is better than me at operations. My salespeople are better than me at sales because they’re just 100% that role. And so inside of the academy, that’s one of the things we try to help our members do is like get super clear about what’s the right structure for your company where you’re not sitting in all the seats, and then we start to slowly peck away at adding those people onto the team. So they You can step into just one role, which maybe its owner, maybe it’s salesperson. Some of our guys really love building like NADRA, award winning decks. So they want to be out there bending the boards and putting the stuff up. That’s great. build a team around you that can do all of the business stuff, because this is a business right? And so that’s a, I think that’s worth pointing out is like, we’re constantly looking for talented people that are better than us, that can help us scale the business. So

April Edwards 15:26 yeah, that’s good. And leave you guys to your creative genius, and more. So, like, find out what your brilliance is. That’s what I’m always saying, What is your brilliance? What is it that you can do that nobody else can do? And typically, as the, you know, entrepreneur, you’re the visionary, you know, for me, I’ve got an operations manager, and I’m the one with all the crazy ideas, and she has to make it all happen, you know, because we’re kind of dreamers and creative in that way. Yeah. So I think that’s a good segway. I think we’re all really interested to learn more about your approach. So this is going to be a two fold question. First, I know that you guys focus a lot, Chris, I hope I say it right, on the businessman before the business plan. And so really interested to dive a little bit deeper in your approach from the personal component of consulting versus the business side. And then just in general, when you get started with your clients, what what does that look like?

Chris 16:26 Yeah, so one of the very first things you did say it right, the businessman or businesswoman before the business plan. And I only know that because I did it wrong for so many years, like I was constantly focused on just like this idea of someday, someday I’ll have the time and money from the business plan to be the man that I want to be. And the problem was, I was just constantly chasing some day. And so it wasn’t until I stopped and started to work on me. And what does that look like for our members is we literally give them access to the habits, routines, skill sets, mindset pieces that we’ve adopted into our life, and of course, right so one of the very first programs that we give them access to is a 30 day challenge, where we challenge them to just commit to a discipline daily of investing in yourself, right. And for me, that looks like getting up in the morning, moving in some fashion, working out walking, whatever that may be meditation, reading about something like learning. So I’ve got a I’ve got a very specific like, one hour morning routine that I go through, doesn’t have to be morning, but that’s what works for me. And what it does is it puts me into a place of power before I even leave the door to go out. And when I say go to war, right, and that’s essentially what it is like before I before I leave the door, I’m ready for war. And so the, that’s the very first thing that we do with our members, and it’s hard for them to really see the value of it until they actually do it for themselves. But if you imagine a guy that just or gal that leaves the house, you know hits the Starbucks gets the coffee goes to the meeting. And you know, they’re rushing around everywhere, the the level of power that they lack compared to someone who has gotten up in the morning, and meditated read something maybe did some journaling worked out a little bit got their blood moving, like the level of power that the business person has, when they do that when they show up for that meeting. Like, they’ll eat everybody’s lunch all day long, that doesn’t go through that process. And so it’s hard to explain to people that, hey, I want you to work on your marriage, and your body and your mindset. And I promise your bank account is gonna go up until they actually experience it. And so it’s just like the athlete who trains like, they’re not gonna just show up and, you know, be be world class at their, at their skill. And so, you know, they’ve got to train constantly. And so that’s, that’s really what it is. For me. It’s like working on the business person first before the business plan. And we do that through a very specific course and a 30 day challenge and accountability. Like I think it’s super important to point out like our Academy members, most of them will figure out a lot of the things that we’re going to teach them, it might take them longer, but the reason that they come into the academy is number one they’re looking for, you know, somebody who’s maybe already overcome the challenges that they have. But number two, the big one is accountability. Like I don’t know about you April, but like I will do more when I tell someone else that I’m going to do it and have than if I just say, Hey, I’m gonna go do this thing and nobody knows about it. I will publicly display I will publicly post on social media, like I’m going to do this challenge this. I’ve done 75 hard a couple times. And I usually posted on social media now for any kind of accolades.

April Edwards 19:43 By the way, Amy, and I think Chris is crazy. There’s 7500 If you’ve never heard of it, it is intense. And yeah, screw up. You got to start all over again.

Chris 19:54 Exactly, but I put it out there for the accountability piece. Not because I want people like oh, look at you you’re doing 75 How Alright, it’s more because I want you to hold me accountable like, Hey, you didn’t post today, did you do what you said you were going to do? So that’s, you know, the reason I think a lot of the Academy members that we have participate with us is because they’re looking for a clear plan, a custom plan, really, there’s no one size fits all, and the accountability to actually go do the things that they say that they’re going to do, because life is gonna get in the way, as soon as you set a target and decide you’re going to do something, the world is going to test you life is gonna test you and say, Oh, you said, you’re gonna do that? Well, here, here’s this, you know, you get sick, and you know, your sales are down and your marketing is not working, right, like the world is going to test you when you when you set out to do something of importance.

April Edwards 20:36 So my, my husband always says, everyone’s got a plan until you get punched? Through. Yeah, yeah, exactly. There’s really setting your mentality up for success. I kind of think about what it’s like to be like a movie, or like a rock star, pop star, whatever I mean, they, they really have to get themselves in a good mental space in order to perform and be on for everybody. And just because we’re not making millions and millions of dollars, and in magazines, and all this stuff, we still have to have the same level of being on and being prepared in order to be there for the people that are depending on us. So both of us in our businesses, it’s very similar. I mean, we have our clients, and we have our team. And all of these people are looking up to us to make the right decisions quickly. And to be supportive, and coach them through what they need. And if you’re not feeling good, and you’re not spending time for yourself, in order to you know, to get yourself in the mental space that you need to be, you’re not going to be able to show up for anybody else. So I just love, love talking about that with you.

Chris 21:52 Yeah, and another kind of intangible thing I think is worth pointing out that we try to communicate to our people is, if you want to build a team to be able to run the business, when you’re not there, you’re going to attract people to your world that wants something that you have, right? So Do do you do you model to your team, what it looks like to have a healthy relationship with your spouse, what it looks like to be a good husband, a good father, you know, to be healthy in your body, like we attract the top players to our to our team, because we’re constantly performing at a high level. And so they want to be a part of that. So we hear people having trouble trying to, you know, find talent in their organization, you got to look at yourself first like look in the mirror, like, Are you someone that’s worth following or not? And so a lot of what I do, yes, I do it for myself. But the intangible benefit is I’ve got a I’ve got a team of just absolute killers that that are chasing me down, that want to have the life and the lifestyle that that we that we’re creating. So that’s, that’s important. I think when it comes to building a team is like, be who you want to attract. So yeah,

April Edwards 22:56 I think another good segway to the word that is coming to mind as you talk is just having an intention and being intentional with everything that you do. And one of the first things I believe that, you know, apart from helping people establish really good habits personally to build them own their own selves up, is having a really clear vision for their business. So do you want to speak to that a little bit?

Amy 23:23 Yeah, that’s the that’s the first time. So when we work with our inner circle members, they come into the academy for a kickoff with us in person. And that’s where we start with all the stuff that business owners seem to never want to get to or not do, because it’s kind of like the pie in the sky. mushy stuff, but it is it’s their core values, their vision, like who are they like, what’s the purpose? A lot of times people are like, Oh, my purpose is to make money. And I’m like, Are you making money? They’re like, No, and I’m like, then why do you go to work tomorrow? But you have more purpose than that, right? Like, your purpose isn’t money. There’s something more inside of there, like you’re creating something for what? And so that’s what we work with the very first thing inside of their business is what’s your core values? What’s your purpose? What is your what we call B hag, which is this big, hairy, audacious goal. So like, if I can take all time money constraints away in 10 years? What do you want that business to look like? And it’s got to be something that nobody can tell you. You can’t do. But everybody thinks you’re crazy if you did do it. And that’s just to get your mind thinking bigger than the moment that you’re in right now, to give you that vision, and it gives you something to run after that. If you just kept something small, you’d run small, so run after something massive and miss because you’re going to end up way farther than if you would have just set that small goal. And so we do that we do that and then we come back, we’re gonna set three years. We’re gonna set one year, we’re gonna set 90 days and then we talk about what are you doing next week. And it’s all those increments because vision isn’t just about your future vision. Your vision is that path all the way along. And when you can see not only where you’re going, but With all the little steps to get you that is true vision that’s really being able to see what you can accomplish. And of course, everything doesn’t go to plan. And that’s okay. Because if you know what the next step is you can course correct and shoot towards the next step. So that’s a huge part of what we do. And like I said, some people think of it as like the mushy stuff, but it’s the everything, it’s the reason to get up in the morning and push forward. And when you have that down, and you tell your team about it, and you tell your spouse about it, and you tell everyone around you about it. Like, it’s amazing what a purpose and a vision can do for a team puts everybody on the same page, and everybody’s rolling, same direction. Gosh, you get there so much faster. Yep,

April Edwards 25:41 yeah, and everybody, so everybody working towards the same thing, and then really sharing those core values, I think is so so so important to even attract the right people that, you know, fit into the vision and in, you know, the entire culture there.

Amy 25:58 Yeah. Who’s our whole hiring process that we do, and that we actually teach in the academy is built around our core values of a company. So the questions we ask, the way we ask them the way we look for the people when they come in, and we’ve built with our team at Legacy decks, they’re super protective of our culture, our team, our core values, because they want to protect that they want to make sure that like one of ours is lifelong learners. And if I brought somebody in who I asked a question, what’s the last book podcasts or class you took in the last year, and they were like, oh, gosh, I haven’t read a book in 20 years. But listen to podcasts, I don’t do classes. And they came into our environment, and our people are talking about the podcasts they listen to, and hey, there’s this book, and, hey, we’re gonna go do this class over here, we’re going to this conference, like that person is going to feel like that, what is it a round peg in a square hole, or square peg, round hole, whatever, that there’s not going to feel like they fit and our team is going to feel awkward to them. So those core values are super important. So in our people aren’t all the same. So that doesn’t mean that you’re hiring people who are all the same. It just means that the core of who our people are, they’re the same. Yeah,

Chris 27:12 One of the obstacles like with, with entrepreneurs, and the people we work with is getting them to understand that the vision matters, not just for like to have a clear target on where you’re going. But like you got us both said, it’s like, you’re gonna attract people to your vision, if they’re not attracted to your to your vision to your path, then you probably don’t want to hire them, right. And so there’s so many intangible benefits to things like that, like creating a team, you’ve got to have a place that they want to go, if people don’t see a future inside of your future they’re not their own.

Amy 27:42 They’re not their own. So you will hear a lot of guys say like, oh, I don’t want to bring someone on and teach them because then they’re just gonna go start their own company. Well, yeah, because you don’t have a vision big enough for them to fit in. So because what you’re creating doesn’t create what the future they want, they’re willing to go start and do this on their own, because that would be better than seeing and working for you. So without that vision, they’ll go on to start their own thing.

April Edwards 28:05 I think that’s one of for me, personally, that’s one of the best things about what I do is being able to nurture other people and support other people in their dreams and coach them to be the best that they can, you know, I think it’s so rewarding, more so than money or anything like that is, you know, and especially if you have people on your team that have been with you for a while I just got done talking to my SEO guy, you know, I got to see him have his first baby, and they’re gonna have their, you know, their next baby. And that’s just amazing to see that you can support somebody through building their own families and lives together, you know?

Amy 28:45 Yeah. For us, one of the things too, is not always about, sometimes their vision doesn’t fit inside of your business. And it’s okay, we had one of our guys who was with us forever. He had a true heart for addiction. It was something he had battled.

Chris 29:03 And recover, recovery, maybe you say, recovery, yeah, okay.

Amy 29:06 But, and for those who want recovery, and want the freedom from it, and to just not even be a part of their lives, and so he has a heart for that. And inside of what we were creating and doing in fires, like development, and in really building into him as a person. Like it gave him the courage to step out and begin that. And it was the best day when we had to fire him. We literally had to fire him. We had to say you’re fired, because you need to go do this. Like this is your calling. This is where you need to be. He had gone down to part time and we were like, No, you’re done. Go on, get out of here, go do what you’re called to do. And so you know, even though that was sad for us to lose him, we were still super excited for it because he is doing exactly what he should be doing with his organization. So it’s cool. Watch that happen. Very cool.

April Edwards 29:55 Well, I think we’re all curious just to learn a little bit more about legacy Academy um, I’m interested to know if you see, I mean, I assume with all of your clients, you know, what you’re doing for them is in a different order. Like, you’re probably focusing on what they need the most first, and it’s probably I assume pretty custom in terms of your coaching for most of your clients. Do you? Do you want to speak to that? And then if there are any kind of red flags that you see come up a lot with your clients, maybe that would be really interesting to dive into?

Chris 30:31 Yeah, so yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s every plan is definitely custom. But there’s a path that we know, we’ve got to help fill in some blanks along the way that they haven’t figured out, right. And so we’ve got an assessment that we do with people, that gives us a really clear picture of where they are inside of their financials, their sales, their production, their marketing, their internal back office stuff, like very specific, and it basically kind of gives them a heat map of their business. If it’s red, it’s bad. If it’s green, it’s good. And so that was between the yellow area, and then good, that gives us a really clear picture based on what we know it takes to have a successful Deck Business operating. And then we just kind of attack it. There’s not a specific, there’s an ideal order that we’d like to go in. But sometimes there’s a fire over here that has to be dealt with. And so we might have to pop over there and do that. But as far as the model goes itself, like there’s no there’s no secret, there’s no like silver bullet. And there’s that I heard it said recently, it’s you know, there’s no silver bullet, but it’s just 100 Golden babies, right. And for us, the golden babies are like our we start with that plan, the vision that you that you talked about earlier, we’ve got to know where we’re going, or else we can’t help you get there. And then the next place we go to is we’ve got it, we’ve all got to know our numbers at a really high level. So what it costs to run the business what it cost to build a job, there’s what you should charge your markup, your margin, once we have the plan and the numbers, then we go in and say, Okay, let’s look, let’s look at what systems you either have or don’t have in place for sales for marketing for production. And then we attack some of those things. And then from there, we look at okay, now that we’ve got the plan, the numbers and the system, now let’s go ahead and look at recruiting some people hiring a team, but a lot of people just they start with no plan, they sell a bunch of work, or hopefully a bunch of work. And then they’re like, Oh, crap, I gotta hire a bunch of people. So they go, no plan, work, they, they hire, they hire people to do the work they’ve got to do and so you’re just bringing people into a very chaotic system. And so when you when you have a clear plan, you know your numbers, and you have systems in place, and then you bring people into it, you have a very stable foundation. And that’s kind of like what we consider to be the foundation, you know, deck builders understand, you know, footings and foundations, that’s the foundation, you’ve got to have a plan, you’ve got to know your numbers, then you attack the systems and then hire the team around it. And that’s that’s essentially the model that we do with with each member. There’s slight variations and customizations that we go into. And Amy has different skills than I have. She She kind of attacks the finance and the marketing in the back office, I help with some of the day to day, the production, the sales, things like that. But then also, again, like Amy mentioned before, we’ve got our entire team that kind of jump in, and and give specific support where they need to. So So yeah, as far as like how we go about doing what we do. Yeah, it’s not magic, it’s the basics of business. The thing that we have, like, one thing that I talked to people about all the time is that most of our members, they’re going to figure this these things out at some point, the reason that they come into our world is because they want to do it quicker. And they want as many cheat codes as possible, right, like in the video game cheat codes. And for us cheat codes are well, we can share with you what we currently know works inside of our pricing model inside of this software inside of marketing, like these are the scorecards that matter to us. And so you know, when we’re able to share that with people, you know, then it’s just a decision for them on whether or not they want to go alone or go faster with with some support and help.

Amy 34:05 So yeah, and there’s another piece to that. So that’s all your you know, the the business system. So from there as the the path and the accountability, so that they’re going to come in every quarter. And we’re going to say, Okay, you set out to do this last quarter, how do we do? We’re not looking for perfection, but goodness, we should have made some progress. And then we say, okay, great, that quarter is over. We can’t go back. What are we doing next quarter? What’s the numbers? We’re heading next quarter? What are the goals that we need to accomplish inside of those, all those different areas? Whether it’s, you know, having your budget or creating the sales process or hiring a new person, like what do we need to do next quarter? Okay, great, who’s doing it? And what does it look like to do that? What’s the steps? So finding those little paths, we can do that big vision in 90 days, but what’s all those steps to get there? And then they go and attack it and then we’re there to support them through that if they run into a roadblock, issue, whatever conversation that’s you know, we support them in that And then we get back together again in 90 days. And what do we do? Okay, let’s look back 90 days. How’d you do? Okay, great. Moving on, set the next 90. So our world all revolves around 90 day increments, to say, okay, what are we gonna accomplish in this next 90 days run after it, reset? Do it again. And then every year coming back to say, Okay, have you do this year? Where did we end up? This is where we said, we were gonna go, were we good predictors? Or not? And then okay, let’s predict the next year, where are we going this year? What do we need to accomplish this time. And then there’s not only just accountability inside of us, they do that as a group, they all come together as owners, and their leadership teams, and they get that camaraderie of other people in the same struggles or that are like to struggles ahead of them. And they’re like, oh, man, I had that same thing. Here’s what worked for me, I tried this, you should try that. What worked. And so they’re not just even hearing us. They’re hearing other builders of what’s working in different parts of the country, you’d be amazed at different things work in different areas. You know, we talked to a guy who is out in San Diego, and like Yelp, he kills it there for marketing like that. I mean, he gets all of his work from there. And some of us on East Coast, we’re like, why you get. And so of course, our company had to go and try it, we were like, we’re gonna put some money in Yelp and see how it goes. didn’t go so well, for us, apparently, don’t search for deckbuilder in Yelp, where he’s at San Diego, though, like, that’s all they do. But it was good for other people to hear that and say, Hey, I’m going to try my area, maybe there’s market there that I didn’t know. And then a couple 100 bucks and see what happens. And so it’s just innovation testing. Yeah. And it’s not just on us. It’s other builders who are at different levels in their business, that are able to hear how other people are doing things, too.

Chris 36:44 So again, there’s no one size fits all we have guys that have, you know, service divisions to their company. We have guys that do sales, with with canvassing, right, like door to door canvassing, like, there’s so many variations. And so I like to say like, none of us is as smart as all of us, right? as smart as me. And I think we are when we get a whole room. Yeah, we get a whole room of entrepreneurs together that are doing different things. Like that’s a very smart room. And I like being in rooms like that. So,

April Edwards 37:11 so I’m hearing, I’m hearing accountability, for sure. I mean, it’s a lonely place at the top, you guys sometimes it’s hard. I mean, your team, you know, they probably like, sometimes I wonder if my team just wanders, you know, oh, she’s going on vacation, like all this stuff, you know, but it’s, it’s a lot, it’s a lot of pressure, it’s a lot of work. And it’s a lonely place, you know, like you don’t have people to vent to, you know, because you always have to be on and you know, showing up at your best. And so I have to imagine that your clients appreciate the camaraderie with you. And just sometimes maybe even having a sounding board for problems that they’re experiencing, and just knowing that they’re not alone, and they have all the support and, and resources and cheat sheets and all of this to you know, go about it a lot quicker to Yeah, so it sounds amazing. So I’m really interested. Oh, actually, before I ask that question. I know from talking with you guys before one of the the top problems that you guys see and a lot of deck builders and asked to do with the numbers, if I’m correct. So do you guys want to speak to you know, the the top problem that you are consulting on that you find?

Amy 38:32 Yeah, they don’t charge they’re worth? No, they don’t know what they should be charging?

Chris 38:39 Ah Yeah, I just I was just talking to a new member today that just joined and, you know, a lot of guys are fishing for what’s the what’s the cheat code on pricing, there is no cheat code. Everybody’s everybody’s overhead is different. Everybody’s desired profit is different. And so you know, I hear guys asking like, Hey, what are you charging markup wise? Or what are you charging per square foot. And it really like there is no two businesses that should be charging the same period. Because your overhead is different. Your desired profit is different, what you pay yourself is different. And so one of the hardest things we have that we have to overcome with people is like to get them to a point where they they have a good functioning budget, which is one of the first things Amy does with them, get a budget, determine how much you want to pay yourself how much you want to have profit leftover in the end of the year, like because that’s why we’re in business. Everyone, if you’re listening to this like is profit. And it’s like a foreign word. And most people that I talked to, I don’t know if I’m profitable, like I hope so. And most of that means you just basically have a job for yourself. And so yeah, that’s that’s the hardest thing. worst boss. Happy. Exactly. Most of the guys that I talked to, they could go work for someone else, maybe even me and make two to three times what they pay themselves and work half is less with half the stress. But that’s just not how we’re wired. Right. And so anyways, but the biggest thing that we run So yeah, is that it’s just knowing your numbers and specifically knowing what to charge. So my goal is to get guys to a point where they can confidently walk into a customer’s home, and give them a price and know that if they charge that price, they will make X amount of profit. If they make the choice to cut price, then they’re eating right into their profit. And so it’s the biggest, like light bulb moment when I when I talk to someone about this and like, oh, just I just have to charge this, you know, one point, whatever, whatever. And, and then I know I’m good to go. Yes. And that’s, you just you don’t have to question it. As long as you you have all your numbers in there, right, we’re good to go. So that’s, that’s one of the biggest struggles that we overcome with people’s numbers.

Amy 40:38 Yeah. And it gives them a confidence, because one of the things that we find inside of them not knowing their numbers, is that when they go on the job site, because they don’t quite know why they need to charge that they’re willing to cut that price, because they don’t understand what it does to the bottom line. So when we set that number, I’m very, I’m very strong inside of this, because I’m not in business to be broke that that’s just ridiculous, right? And I’m not going to do all this work to not make any money. And so I tell them, Okay, this is your number like this, this is it. Like you can’t go below here, you need to you want to, you want to charge more, that’s you can do that, right. But this is your number to pay your bills to feed your family to take care of the people who work for you. And so at the moment that you choose to cut that price, you understand that you’re cutting into your family, you’re cutting into your employees, and you’re cutting into your business future. And when they have that realization of what that means to them. They don’t cut their price anymore. They’re like, Oh, no. And they also stand in competence of that. So when a homeowner is like, oh my gosh, that’s how much you’re going to charge. And they’re like, yes, that’s how much I have to charge to run my business, feed my family and take care my people. And there’s just a competence that comes from that. And then homeowners like, oh, okay,

Chris 41:52 but most of them are gonna find a cheaper price are usually just finding a worse estimator, right? So like, I tell people, I’m like, do you want do you want it the best contractor or the worst estimator. And so we really try to get guys to be really good inside of their estimating. So they’re not forgetting anything. So that my goal is for you to charge as little as possible to make as much profit as possible, right. And so, you know, I’m not trying to gouge people, I just want, I want to make an honest living and make a good profit. And so that’s my goal is to is to get you to a point where you know what your bottom line markup number needs to be your bottom line margin, and, and then be able to charge that. So.

April Edwards 42:30 In pricing is definitely an art. And I think that we all have run into that scenario of well, this number looks good. And that’s not how to run a profitable business, as you said, so. And I think that there’s, of course, I’m going to be biased in this. I think that if you’re marketing your business the right way, you could demand the price that that you deserve, because you’re showing off your amazingness. You know, you’re letting people know you’re pro, you’re out there and you’re representing and you know, you’re basically demanding your worth.

Chris 43:07 Absolutely. If you provide a better experience, a better product, have a better reputation, you absolutely can get a higher price people will want to go we have customers sometimes that don’t go with us that wants to go with us, like I absolutely wants to go with you. I just can’t afford to. Yeah, okay, fine. And we have people that come back over time and buy from us at some point, the price usually goes up, the longer they wait, I mean, it just does. You know, 4% for inflation, but But anyways, yeah. So that’s, that’s, it’s very common for us to have that happen, where, you know, we just, people can’t afford us, but because we know the value we have, because we know our overhead because we know our numbers. We know the experience that we can provide the people that we have, like we choice but to demand the best possible price.

Amy 43:51 Because on the flip side of that we have customers who come to us and say I don’t need to have any other quotes. Yeah, yeah. I mean, no, you’re the best. So just what was it gonna cost me? So

April Edwards 44:00 And that is that makes your job easier and more rewarding. And, of course, it feels good, right? To have people waiting in line. I think that’s what all of us want. And just because people aren’t ready now, I mean, they will be ready later. And if they only want to work with you, they’ll do what they got to do in order to make that happen.

Chris 44:18 Right, right, exactly.

April Edwards 44:22 Can you tell us maybe about one or two scenarios where, you know, you’ve made a pretty big impact on some of your clients businesses?

Chris 44:33 Yeah, sure. So we’ve got we’ve got a whole wide range of people that are part of the Academy right now, not to say that we’re we’re for everybody. But I know specifically we had one member come in early this year, and his business last year just to get like clear about numbers like it because that’s what kind of measures it right. He did about $400,000 in revenue last year and was full time on the job site. Ah, and it was basically just him and a helper, right. And so not a very big business. And those are harder for us to work with. Because if we’ve got an entrepreneur that still has bags on is swinging a hammer, it’s hard for them to work on the business because any business however it can be overcome. So this particular member, I just was looking at his numbers this week, and is just a thing. He’s just over $800,000 in revenue, so doubled his revenue this year, which is great in its own right. But on top of that, he has been out of the field for at least six months now. Out of the field completely, has a three to four man crew right now has a outsourced bookkeeper that’s doing all his data entry for bookkeeping, and has a part time administrative assistant in the office. And so like, I’m excited to see him,

April Edwards 45:52 guys can’t see the look on my face. But I am really impressed. That’s

Chris 45:56 right. I mean, to be able to do that is fantastic. And so, you know, but we also have guys on the other, we have people that are already doing multiple millions of dollars of business. Another example comes up for me, this is a five to $6 million business. And he the markup that they had for charging the margin they had been charging was was not scientific, and I’m very scientific about the numbers. And so we literally moved his markup by 20%, which to the bottom line for him just in one month was like $50,000 to the bottom line. And he didn’t change anything except what he was charging to make sure it was covering his overhead. So you know that that was huge impact as well. Who else would have mentioned? Yeah,

Amy 46:39 we have a client that we’ve worked with, and been in business for years, you know, and built a good sized business, but never seem to make money. And when they actually joined with us, they were like, we can’t afford you. But we can’t afford not to hire you did like a wing and a prayer. And this year, when we had our third quarter, I had to sit down with them. And I was like, Okay, listen, I need you to hire a tax strategist, because you’ve missed much money this year is I need you to figure out how to not pay taxes on this, you know, and they had tears in their eyes, because they’re like, we’ve never made money, we don’t even know what it feels like. And, you know, the husband was like, I kind of like wake up and pinch myself because he’s like, Is this even real? And here’s the thing that Chris talked about earlier about us about, like, you know, it’s no silver bullet or magic, you know, like, these people have done that not because of us. And when I tell when we work with clients, when they come in the very first thing I say is I am not I am 100% not responsible for your success, okay, because I will be there to hold you accountable, I will direct you, I will give you cheat codes. But at the end of the day, like they have to do the work. And these are people who did the work like they put in the time. They the one that I was just talking about. They are disciplined, man, they are the ones who are like, Okay, what do we do next? Okay, great, we’re gonna do this. And they execute, they do it and they come back and they say, Okay, what do I do now.

Chris 48:06 And they started out by going through our personal development program. And I gave them there’s three specific books that get people to start right out of the gate. And I tell him 10 pages a day report back to me that you’re doing this. And they would go through book after book after books. And they were just executors at a high level, they doubled their they doubled their personal income, the have multiple six figures of profit in the bank right now, which is why Tammy was telling them to get the tax strategist, they have a showroom, which they’ve never had before, never had a showroom in their life and their business opened up a showroom. And their team is exponentially to where they’re, they’re sitting in very few seats inside of the business. So that’s a member that’s been with us for, you know, from the beginning and just executed really well. So I mean, everybody’s story slightly different. But at the end of the day, like it’s just we set a target, we map out what to do to get there, and then we attack it. And, you know, we may not always get to where we want it to get to but we get further than we would have if we didn’t have a target and we didn’t have the accountability and we didn’t have the resources that we offer. So

April Edwards 49:11 yeah, my business coach always says Be fast to implement. So yeah, it sounds like they needed that. That’s good to hear. Well, um, so if any of our listeners want to get started working with you guys, what would be the best way to reach out? And how would that look?

Chris 49:29 Yeah, so first thing to do. Legacy decks academy.com is the website. We’re also on Instagram and legacy decks Academy and both places there you we’ve got the map out the programs that we have, but essentially, it’s just a phone call a conversation. So through either of those ways you can book a call to come in and we just kind of we do a quick 2030 minute call to see if we can help you number one, like maybe you’re not ready or maybe we’re not the right fit. And if we can then we do a longer form call where we really roll up our sleeves and say okay, this is the custom plan that I think makes the most sense based on where you’re at right now. So we just kind of, you know, assess the situation and then go from there. So, zero pressure, like we’re really looking for people that are looking to get results, looking to take action, looking to execute, you know, humble teachable, like, these are the people that we’re working with, we’re really just trying to help some people get free from from the day to day in their business.

April Edwards 50:22 Sounds good. Any, anything on the horizon? Now that we’re going into 2024 for legacy Academy?

Chris 50:32 Let’s see anything on the horizon for us?

Amy 50:34 No, no, right now

Chris 50:37 more and more of the same really, we had a lot of opportunities to, to be on some stages and do some teaching. And so we’re really trying to just deliver what the industry is needing from US education wise, and so and packaging that up in a way and getting it out there and more ways for people to have access to it. So if I could say anything, probably, we’re going to be more intentional about delivering as much free value as we can inside of our social media channels, and things like that, just so we can, you know, help as many people as possible. So that’s my commitment anyways,

Amy 51:08 yeah. And one of the other things that we talked about is, you know, there’s a big thing about meeting people where they’re at. And sometimes they’re not at the point where they can afford time or money in the inner circle. And so how can we help them without them having that huge commitment of both those things to inner circle. So being able to have some, take some of the pieces and create courses, so people can have some of it to do themselves? It’s just not something because it’s so accountability based right now, we haven’t broken that up to say, okay, how can we have the accountability base, but like, let them do it on their own too. So having balance and so that’s, that’s one of the things we’d like to figure out how to accomplish this year is just to be able to meet people where they’re at. Because if we didn’t come in, and just help them dig, do a couple of tweaks to start with, like, the finances, right, we just get up charging the right amount with all of our Academy members, we include in their budget, the, you know, their membership into Academy. So that way, it’s it’s just part of the budget, they don’t think about it. And so having that and creating the right markup that they’re supposed to be charging, like that, that can be the switch in the side of their business. So just just some some of that stuff to meet them or where they’re at.

April Edwards 52:24 And I want to plug you guys, I mean, it’s kind of, you know, it’s after the fact and I don’t know if you’re planning to do it, this coming year, but thanks to Chris and Amy and, you know, pops from everybody at NADRA. They put on a brilliant educational program, I guess you can call it for Deck Expo was called the Deck X talks. I had the the honor of speaking with Amy there. And I mean, I the turnout was amazing at every session I went to and just full of knowledge bombs, as I say, So are you guys planning to do anything like that again this year?

Chris 53:05 I mean, there may be a road tour coming up? I don’t know for sure. But it’s definitely something I have purchased the deck X talks URL. So something happening there but But right now our focus is, is you know, getting all the educational pieces in place that we need so that that shiny object may set have something come out of it.

Amy 53:27 Yeah. Those will have the deck stocks to available pretty soon here. Yeah, yeah, for sure. People can catch the replays on because they were they were great. I think they were one of the top performing sessions in deck Expo. So yes, across the board, pool and spa and and deck. So we were glad to hear that we were, you know, came up with a concept with the Deck X Talks, and I think it went off really well off the good stuff.

April Edwards 53:55 You know, a real example of your guys’s commitment to the industry like continued and, you know, Amy, Amy and Chris, they, they got the recognition award with NADRA last year at the Deck Awards. And it was you know, it was very well deserved. So lots of applause for you guys. And excited to see, you know what you guys have in store for the future and just love to continue to hear those success stories. I know you’ve made a really big impact on a lot of people. So props to you, guys. And thank you so much for being on the podcast today. And do you guys want to end with any closing remarks? Any words of wisdom for audience?

Chris 54:39 Wisdom? Take action. Yeah. So I guess my the thing I tell my members is like, always be committed to results action and asking for help. Right. And so that would be the biggest thing I would tell people so

April Edwards 54:52 sounds good. And I always say just keep moving forward. Don’t overthink it. Just do it. Uh, yeah, great. Awesome. Well, thanks again guys. It was so good to see you. Thanks.

Chris 55:05 Appreciate it. Okay, bye.


April Edwards

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