More Leads Online Podcast Episode 009

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Mike Arnold

Nathan Young (00:00:00):

Hey everybody. This is Nathan from Home Service Leaders Podcast. The owner of More Leads Online. Uh, I’m back with Mike Arnold, owner of Creekside Landscaping. Mike, it’s great to have you back on, uh, I’ve been really looking forward to getting to chat with you because Austin was the guy who got to have the first conversation with you. And then I listened to that episode a few times. I was like, I need to hang out with this guy a few times. Oh yeah. Well, I listened to, yeah, that’s right. I’m a, you know, maybe three or four, it was a good episode. What are you? You know, but even though I know who you are, not everyone listening will necessarily send a bad episode or know who you are. So just one more time for everybody. Who are you, what do you do and how did you get here?

Mike Arnold (00:00:44):

Good question. Uh, well, I am Mike Arnold. I’m the president of Creekside outdoor living, uh, which is a full service, uh, design and install. Look basically high-end landscaping, um, from other to, you know, outdoor kitchens and full houses and fireplaces, all that kind of stuff. Um, and of course, throwing in some bushes here and there. Um, how I got started at was I was at Purdue university Calumet and having MBS studying architectural engineering. And I essentially dropped out of college, uh, to keep this rolling. I had started enough just to kind of pay my way through. It was a little long route, uh, nothing too huge, but it started blowing up. It was blowing up right around the same time that I was really hating school. And I’m like, it’s kind of a coincidence. Why don’t we see where this thing goes? If I ever need to, I can come back and finish my degree. And I never did it because I don’t need to offer myself a degree at this point. That’s basically it, man. It just kind of snowballed from there. It’s snowballed from clients having positive experiences and continually hiring on other people that are better than me at what I do. And that’s it. That’s and now we’re here.

Nathan Young (00:01:53):

That’s my favorite story. I think I’ve heard, I also started my degree. I have a saying that I use, I was like, I started consulting and my degree at the same time. And one of those things pays you. I did go back to get my bachelor’s degree almost just to like flick the chip off my shoulder, but I wasn’t quite as confident in that as you. So I’m a little jealous.

Mike Arnold (00:02:17):

I always thought that I might go back and do it. Um, I mean, there’s still a small part of me that is like, well, I, I didn’t finish something that I started. Yeah. But I just kind of have to remind myself, okay, what is, where is my time going to be best invested in my life at this point? Is it going to be, you know, am I going to really technically have a return? Um, other than my own emotional, my own inner pride. Am I going to have a return on this monetarily? No, I’m not. Um, so I better I’m best off doing what I’m doing.

Nathan Young (00:02:48):

Absolutely. Somebody told me once as I told them, I was going to back to get my degree. They were like, when I, when I started that journey, I was like 26 when I said, okay, I’m going to go back. I’m going to finish up my degree. Yeah. I was talking to a mentor of mine, Fred McNulty. I don’t actually know if you know him, but um Oh, okay. Yeah. And he kind of looked at me and he was like, I think it’s really important that you do this. I think it’s mostly important. You do this for yourself because once you get into your young thirties, it won’t matter anymore. What the degree it is that you have, it don’t matter what you’ve done. Yeah. And it sounds like, I mean, everything you’re saying, just kind of holds to that. Once you got to that point, you were like, it matters what I have done and what I continue to invest myself in. Like VAT thing is not going to produce what I can produce at this point with what I’ve done in my business.

Mike Arnold (00:03:38):

Right. Right. Well, I mean, it’s like, you have to outline your life. Like what, what am I going to be happiest doing? What’s going to do, what, how am I going to have the highest deliverable of joy in terms of my occupation or life or career or whatever. Um, you know, some people say, well, I want to go be a missionary overseas. Great. Well then you don’t need to go to college for that. So what you do now is just, that’s a lie. I mean, it’s a very bland thing to say, but what you do now has to line up with your long-term vision and goal for your life. So,

Nathan Young (00:04:06):

And if you don’t have one, then maybe going to college can help you get there maybe.

Mike Arnold (00:04:10):

Oh yeah. I know a lot of people that went in not having a clue and, and came out, knowing what they want to do. So totally cool. Too.

Nathan Young (00:04:17):

Last time we saw you last time I saw you, COVID lockdowns had not quite started yet. I think. And business was, uh, you were just launching into the year, which is far as I know, and correct me if I’m wrong, spring was springing and that’s a pretty busy time for you. How have things been going since?

Mike Arnold (00:04:43):

Yeah, I mean, I honestly, we had our best year ever in 2020, um, which is saying something because obviously a lot of industries did not have the best year of a lot of industries closed their doors, which is super sad. And my heart breaks for that. I mean, I remember seeing that with, with us. I know that there’s a lot of people that are suffering right now, blah, blah, blah. Um, and that obviously is still the case because we’re still, we’re not locked down per se, but you know, there, there’s still a lot of restrictions on businesses, uh, that are causing them to it’s restricting their cashflow flow, which is really unfortunate. Uh, they, they’re having a hard time getting the grant. So are we are in the home improvement, uh, business and any company, any industry that is involved, whether it be the construction or it’d be the sales, like Lowe’s or home Depot, anything that has to be with the home this year had a killer year.

Mike Arnold (00:05:38):

And that’s, again, everybody’s vacation budget went into the home because they want to go, Hey, if government tells me again that I need to stay home, I’m going to be like, sure, no problem. Because I like where I live. Right. So if I can’t go on vacation, I can’t go outside my house guests, I’m going to spend some on my house and make it my pap palace making like castle abs. So I mean, yeah, we had, we had a really good year and it’s shaping up to be really good, 20, 21, as well as we, you know, we’re starting to book out our spring.

Nathan Young (00:06:10):

That was going to be my next question is like, so, I mean, I’m obviously no stranger to the idea that I’ve been doing this podcast all throughout the summer and now into the fall. And now this started winter and going, Oh, home services. We basically just shifted the entirety of the travel budget of America into our houses. Oh, you were going to go abroad gets you have a patio now. And so,

Mike Arnold (00:06:40):

And it turns out it’s better for them anyway, because if you, I just actually got back from Florida and I spent some money on the ticket, a hotel rental car, a resort being a law. I’m not going to get all that back. That was, and I’m happy with it personally because I needed that. But if I were to have, say that into my home, obviously I have a return on that. So it’s a, win-win for homeowners right now to have, um, the, their home value increase by a decision that they’re making based on the government shutdowns and lockdown.

Nathan Young (00:07:17):

It’s like various spirally, right? Like, uh, or not spirally, but snowball is what I mean, because I, and I’ve heard you say this before, and I’ve seen this on your LinkedIn posts and stuff like that, which is that investing in your home. Isn’t just fun for you. It increases the value of your home overall. And then on top of everything else. So like, you’ve got a little bit of money. You were planning on traveling now. You’re not, you invested in your house. Now your house is worth a little bit more, but also with the situation last year, this year, probably still, we’re also looking at, and I just experienced this personally, the most insane housing market that I have ever seen in my life. Yeah. As down as 2008 was, and I, you know, like I, I was aware, but not, you know, I wasn’t involved in that now I’m aware and I’m going, Holy crap. As down as that was, that’s how up it is now. And so not only are you stuck at home, improving your house, increasing the prices of your house, but somebody is probably interested in buying it soon. That’s not like a future forward dot that’s like, that’ll be relevant in six months. If you decide

Mike Arnold (00:08:27):

That’d be relevant tomorrow, you want to list your house. It’ll be sold tomorrow. I mean, that’s, that’s the reality in a lot of areas right now

Nathan Young (00:08:33):

We’ve talked. I talk a lot about the resiliency of the type of work that you do. People always want new floors and driveways and water heaters and whatever. And it’s, it sounds like, you’re just saying that’s not only held true. It’s gone up over this year

Mike Arnold (00:08:47):

In terms of you were saying in terms of like the increase of clients, all that type of thing. Yeah. Most definitely. Yeah. How do you, I know you said

Nathan Young (00:08:56):

That it’s starting to feel like that for 20, 21 as well. Give us some indicators on, like, if other people are in either landscaping or some of these other home services similar to yours. Cause I’m sure that you work with other home service guys, like sort of neck and neck, you’ll be doing their patio and like pass the HVAC guy. Right. How are things shaping up for them to like, what’s your outlook that you tell someone in that circle?

Mike Arnold (00:09:17):

I mean, it depends on what industry you’re in. I’m not too, too incredibly familiar with. I mean, sure new homes are going up left and right. And especially in our area, I think it’s, I think it’s very regional because not only are there lockdowns, but the, the increase in, um, home purchasing their home improvement purchases is not necessarily true in every region of the country. We are looking at a lot of people that are moving out of Chicago. They’re moving out of California. They’re moving out of cities where government policies have essentially forced them up. They, they can’t work. Um, if they do work, they’re taxed to death. Uh, so they come and move into a, a business friendly and income friendly date. And so that’s not, I can’t say that that’s true or those particular regions, but for us, we can’t build homes fast enough, the home builders in my area, my region can’t build homes fast enough.

Mike Arnold (00:10:17):

Uh, people can’t, the sales, uh, people put their homes on the market. So, and I’m not even talking about new builds, but people put them coming to market. Like I just said, it’s gone in three, four days. Sometimes it’s incentive. And I don’t know what a new presidency is going to look like. I have no clue. I am based. I really don’t follow all that stuff too intently to know this policy is going to affect this. And this is going to affect this. I do know that obviously, you know, on the democratic side, there is a lot more regulation and a lot more tax heavy type things. So that, that might tend go, might kind of throttle our sales a little bit, but I mean, to be honest, most of our clientele are not going to feel it. Most of our clientele are, are really on a higher end spectrum of income and holdings.

Mike Arnold (00:11:04):

So based on what I have right now, we’re expecting it to be a good year because we are the actions that I’m taking right now are feeding into spring. So I I’d say that at least for now and in our region with those kinds of hobbyists, I would say that right now, the 20, 21 year is shaping up to be a pretty good barring, any kind of crazy other economic lockdown and people want to back out of contract or something like that. Barring any of that kind of stuff. It should be hopefully as good. If it’s three quarters as good as this past year, it wasn’t, I’ll be happy.

Nathan Young (00:11:39):

I appreciated the way that you like, sort of hedged your answer, but at the same time you were like, yeah, I think it’s going to be awesome. I tend to do that. Also, somebody asked me what seems like a direct question. And then I’m like, well, there are a lot of factors over that. Right. So, okay. You had this, you had the standard home services, 2020. It was very like very up for, uh, you very down for some other people sucks. Thankfully you were in this industry for you and your team last year, you talked about how important some of like culture and hiring from within and getting recommendations and things like that. So did you have to increase the size of your team and if you did have to increase or decrease, like how did you go about that?

Mike Arnold (00:12:31):

We are currently in the act of increasing our team. Okay. Yeah. We definitely had a higher demand last year. And we, we did increase our, our construction staff by a little bit. We had, there were some decreases that we have by force. We, there were, you know, some, some severances that we had to make. And so, you know, opened up voids that we got to fill. So not only did we have to fill voids, but also new voids were, were created because of the growth we all year we’re, we’re kind of just working like crazy, cause we couldn’t fill enough seats and we could have filled the seat with somebody who had worked out temporarily, but we’re really looking for people that can grow with us and be with us long-term. So our heads are really highlighting and hiring. We also invested in some, some equipment to try to take the place of, of certain, you know, spots, uh, at the, obviously that’s just on the, the field construction side, you know, for example, getting another bucket loading machine that’s, you know, three or four men with the wheelbarrow, right? If I can, if I can save that much labor there, that’s, that’s saving us on the amount of people that we have to have on the ground.

Nathan Young (00:13:41):

I have this quote it’s actually written on my whiteboard. This is from the book. Good To Great. And I don’t know if you’ve read it. This came from back when circuit city was in its heyday. Obviously that’s gone now at one point, basically the chief of staff looked at the CEO and he was like, we can’t keep up with how many people we have to hire. Uh, so what should we do at what point do we get to compromise on some of our standards? Because we can’t possibly hire as fast as we need to at this standard level. And basically the CEO’s answer was don’t ever compromise. Find some other way to get through until you have the right people. What’s your, just give me your gut reaction to that.

Mike Arnold (00:14:27):

I’ve got reaction to that. A )Circuit City is no longer in business. Uh, so that’s, that’s, that’s telling me one thing, but that’s not a bad quote that, I mean, you, you can’t compromise on your integrity. You can’t compromise on your quality. You have to have the same output across the board. And if you have to compromise on one of those things, it’s not worth the growth because that growth will end up hurting. You’re going to do something. That’s going to somebody off. And that man fire spreads, right? Negative experiences spread faster. One negative experience will spread faster than 10 positive experiences. So I want to fuel the right fire, right? I want to feel the fire positive experiences. I’m going to definitely lower the bar on what people feel as the output of Creekside. If we try to blast growth and don’t grow smart, right?

Mike Arnold (00:15:26):

So, you know, I think one thing is you have to throttle boats a little bit and if you, if you want to grow, that’s great. You have the right people in place and not just a body in a seat. No, no, no, no. You have to have you got to identify clearly what do I need and who is the right person, the exact right person, that team and keep your standards high. And you don’t grow where you think you’re going to grow without that person in the seat, because otherwise people are going to have, you know, negative experiences and spread that to somebody else down the line who would have otherwise said, maybe I’ll give Creekside a chance. I don’t want to do that. So, um, you know, for us, for example, you know, we’re kind of in that position right now, right? Our growth is outpacing our staffing abilities, just a little, just a little nuts.

Mike Arnold (00:16:12):

That’s why it’s comfortable. I liked that, right? Because now we have the capacity for organic growth that way. But I have to throttle, uh, the incoming just a little bit to make sure that, you know, number one, the right people are coming in our door, right. In terms of clients. So one thing that I have done in the last year is I’ve charged for consultations. Some people will go, hold on a second. Are you telling me that to come out to my house, you’re going to make me pay you like, yeah, that’s yes. My time, my expertise is worth something, frankly, that is a way to weed out people who otherwise might just be window shopping. I don’t want people who are window shopping. I don’t want people who just want landscape job. I want people who want to Creekside job. We’ve done that. We’ve also increased what we charge for our designs by just a little bit so that we’re not overburdening my, my design staff for no apparent reason. I want people who are very committed to the design, committed to working with us in our, in our, uh, window of people that are on our list.

Nathan Young (00:17:15):

How do you, I’ve talked a lot with guys this year and sort of historically this has happened. It seems like when you, and this might be the natural order of things, I don’t know. But when you move up and hold to a higher standard, like you are right now, inevitably, it means that you’re turning away a decent amount of customers and therefore revenue that someone is going to get at some point as a digital marketing agency, I talk all the time about how there’s, especially in the home services. There’s no such thing as underserved clients. Someone’s going to get that job, whether it’s neighbor, gym, or whether it’s like a real, you know, landscaping company or for HVAC guys or plumbers or whatever. But like, if your water heater’s broken, someone is going to get the job. There’s no such thing as I need my water heater fixed.

Nathan Young (00:18:08):

And Oh, I’m just waiting for someone to start a new business so that I can get my water heater fixed, like that doesn’t exist. So it’s technically, always about winning market share from someone else in the home service. Now I’m not saying there’s any lack of market share. Like we can’t keep up. Right. But you’re technically, always taking a job from somebody somewhere and your expertise and the quality of what you do is how you get the jobs that you get. How do you refer? Or do you, do you just say no, like when someone says, you know what, nevermind, um, or they pay you that you come out, you do the consultation and then you give a general estimate. And then they’re like, whew, that’s a, uh, more than I was thinking, can you refer me to someone else? Do you handle referrals? Do you refer quote down?

Mike Arnold (00:19:05):

Well, let me answer with the question. Do you think people that walk into Fogo de Chao in Chicago and see their menu, do you think their waiters say, well, you know, McDonald’s is five bucks. No, no. And obviously those are kind of two extremes. Um, but I mean, no, I mean, it’s not my responsibility for, for them to, I mean, to a certain extent, I do care about my client and I do want to have a positive experience, but I am quite young because I have the conviction that I’m going to be the best contractor for them. And I think that for them to choose somebody else, it’s a mistake. And if I don’t approach them with that confidence, um, I’m not going to gain the trust of my clients. They’re not going to see, you know, excitement in my voice and in my face, I’m going to cause I’m going to go in there thinking, ah, I mean, you know, the guy down the street can probably do with five grand gloves, but we’re kind of charging here.

Mike Arnold (00:20:01):

No, I’m charging this because I have the right people for the job. I’ve got the right equipment for the job. You know, my, my designer has the dumbest creativity out of that guys down the street. And it would be a mistake for this client to go with somebody else. And frankly, I tell people that, I mean, I, there, there is definitely such a thing as people who call us to come back and repair a job that I bid and I hate the word bid because it places an auction mentality on something that is not an item, but a custom crafted service. But I digress. We do repair jobs that we quoted and somebody went with somebody cheaper and it sucked. And I don’t mean just sucked. Cosmetically it’s sucked structurally. We had its fair major pieces out and they ended up spending double double when they could have just spent what they’re going to spend with us. So long story short. No, I do not refer down. If it’s a service we don’t provide, you know, people will call us for residential snowballing after their drivers. Okay. If I got a guy I’ll send them their way outside of that. No, because I do believe they’d be making a mistake.

Nathan Young (00:21:11):

I love that answer. That’s my favorite answer. And so then my question would be, cause I have to, I have to answer the exact same thing, right? I I’m running more of these online, I’m running this digital marketing agency. What do we do? We specialize in getting more leads online for home services companies. And if somebody comes to me and goes, are you going to be better than a, let’s pick a player in the, in the industry, right. Are you going to be better than Dex media and I’m going to go, well, I really like, but I can’t just say yes. And I can’t guess either I know that I’m better or I don’t. Right. And so my question back to you a little deeper on this would be because maybe I’m not, maybe I, you know, like maybe I don’t know, or maybe I’ve looked at their stuff and gone.

Nathan Young (00:22:05):

I, yeah. Okay. It’s pretty trash, but like I don’t actually have the expertise. And so would you recommend to people who aren’t quite at the level that you’re at right now to say, Hey man, or woman, if you’re right, pick the things that you are confident in and get confident in a few things and bid those things like your approa, even if it’s not at the level that Creekside is like, if it’s just mowing a lawn, like be the best looking lawn mower and bid it that way. So you’re not going to get somebody better than me walking with that level of confidence. Even if that’s the level you’re at right now. Would you recommend that

 

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Mike Arnold (00:22:48):

For people who are kind of starting out, you’re saying,

Nathan Young (00:22:51):

Yeah, well, I mean, I would consider you sort of a leader, at least in our local industry at the very least, but I think in general, like the way that you conduct your team, the way that you’re working with clients, sort of the level of clientele that you’re working at, a lot of us would look up to you. And so I’m asking you, like, as we’re working towards your show, we ask the part. Yeah.

Mike Arnold (00:23:13):

Pretty much act apart, even, you know, fake it til you make it type of thing. Um, so long as it doesn’t cross a immoral or, you know, some type of wrong category, like if you are not going to do this, right, you aren’t a hundred percent sure that you can do this then no, like then you are doing your client a disservice because you might be the one that is screwing somebody that they’re going to have a horror story about later. Like if you don’t have certifications and I don’t know certain retaining wall and you don’t, you know, you can’t say with confidence, ma’am this retaining wall that I’m building, that’s holding up, your driveway is not going to collapse and your SUV, isn’t going to roll and kill your kid. If you can’t confidently say that, then you should pass it on to somebody else. Um, but other things that are no-brainers. Yeah. I mean, definitely, definitely. I mean, I don’t want to say fake it. So you make me, cause I’m not a fan of faking anything, but

Nathan Young (00:24:11):

Actually asking you the opposite of that. It seemed like what you were saying is don’t fake it, be honest and the way, the best way to be honest is not fake it till you make it. Don’t do that. Instead find the three things that, you know, you’re incredible at or get incredible at those three things. Even if they’re quote, lower level or whatever and bid those things because you’re awesome at them rather than faking it. Don’t do that. Be honest and get awesome.

Mike Arnold (00:24:43):

Sure. Yeah. And that I, an advocate for that. And while you’re doing that, go to seminars, get your, didn’t do these things to where, you know, you can say next year, I’m going to start bidding acts. I’m going to start advertising for this stuff. We can do this, find an aunt or an uncle that you can do a test on and you know, make, make some mistakes and failure yourself forward. So when you go to do it on a customer site and you’re not going to screw it up. So

Nathan Young (00:25:09):

We did this year, just over the last three or four months, something that we worked really hard on, but we just basically didn’t tell anyone. We were like, Hey yeah, this is what we specialize in. But one of the hardest things about getting more leads online for home service companies, frankly, aside from the, all of the shady, whatever, right. It’s sort of like the fact that everybody’s been through the Dex media ring or the yellow pages ring or the Hibu ring or like, well, I’ve been screwed four times. Why would I go with you guys? So one of the things we worked on that we were like, Hey, this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to manually quality check every single lead we get, we’re going to answer these three questions. What did you get? Where did it come from? And what did it cost? And until we were like absolutely confident that we could do that with a pretty high degree of accuracy to the point where like my, uh, Mason and I are sitting on like listening to calls like hundreds and hundreds, like we just didn’t say we could do it, but now we know we can.

Nathan Young (00:26:20):

And at the end of a month we do, and we have listened to all the calls we have manually tagged them. And so now we’re saying, Oh, you want to know those three questions from your marketing agency. We can answer those three questions. Yeah. But we didn’t say that until like four months after. So I, I love your answer. Um, I’m really glad that you would encourage people that way. Lots and lots of people would say, and I, and I’ve worked with guys like this who are like, okay, we’re doing this now, marketing and sales, go tell people we do that now. And the ops team is like, how do we do that though?

Mike Arnold (00:26:53):

Yeah. Yeah. You gotta be fully prepared for that phone call. I was going to call you and be like, all right. So what would you do in this scenario? How would you charge for this? I don’t know. That’s a, that’s an embarrassing, uh, place to be.

Nathan Young (00:27:06):

Right. So anyway, switching gears just a little bit, but you work mostly outside. Uh, not all trades are quite as lucky, right? Or unlucky, depending on the time of year, are you providing PPE or anything like that for your teams? Now

Mike Arnold (00:27:23):

That’s a great question. We have things provided. Should they want it? I mean, I’m a big advocate for, Hey, you go to certain weddings now. And when you walk in, there’s a band that says like green means you’re comfortable with thugs. Yellow means high-five red means stay away and you put that on. And everybody just kind of now can commingle knowing what everybody wants to, uh, how they want to approach it. So we’re kind of in the same boat. Like if you, you know, feel like you need this here it is. However, for the most part, like you said, we are working outside. Uh, we are out in the open air, open elements. None of my guys are ever really too terribly close to each other. I mean, you want to talk about six feet and that’s, you know, everybody throws that, that number around these days, nobody’s ever closer to them.

Mike Arnold (00:28:10):

They’re always in separate works knowns nobody’s ever in direct contact with the clients. Um, usually that’s just me or my project manager on site, or they can decline new, same thing. They can come out at their own discretion. I’ve had clients that I went for a consultation and they wanted to stay in their home and you know, me walk around their property with them on the phone. Okay. I mean, if that’s what makes you feel safe, you know, we can accommodate that. It’s not a problem. So I mean, same thing with onsite on construction sites, they don’t have to go outside. A lot of them prefer to, I’d say, I mean, 99 out of a hundred of them are going outside and they’re not really too terribly worried about any of this stuff. So yeah, I’d say, I mean, if they need it, if they want it or they’re provided, however, the need is not really there. It’s kind of like throwing somebody a life preserver, but when they’re not going to be in the water at, you know what I mean, we’re outside the air is refreshed 5,000 times every second, right.

Nathan Young (00:29:06):

On some level you’ve been able to mostly just sort of defacto deal with it because you’re like, Whoa, we’re always meeting the guidelines we always were. Yeah. Yeah. No, that, that makes sense. I know that, um, we work with several plumbers and basically day one, it was like, they were already doing things like disposable pajamas or whatever, and like the booties and stuff like that. And so then we just, sometimes we were already wearing face masks. Like I remember even just grinding floors, you know, I’m working a side-by-side and for years, every time we were on a job, especially if we were on a job, a new municipal building, cause we did like a lot of courthouses and hospitals and stuff. I mean, didn’t matter you wear your hard hat, you had your face mask, you know, like, so some of this stuff was there already, but we’re seeing a lot of this now it’s basically required. But I was wondering how it had affected you in the answer. Sounds like mostly not.

Mike Arnold (00:30:08):

Yeah, mostly not. Um, if anything it’s, you know, in our office and, you know, making sure that everybody gets in close quarters is, uh, has the accommodations that they need or wants. And likewise with our clients, you know, I’m, I’m right now at my desk and I’m not wearing a mask by myself. Um, but there will be clients that walk in and they walk over to the mascot and I’ll reach in here and throw this bad boy out. Uh, it’s just as simple as that,

Nathan Young (00:30:34):

Basically what you’re telling me is accommodate your customers and accommodate your people.

Mike Arnold (00:30:39):

That’s it? I mean, everybody’s feeling different about it. And so, I mean, my, my, my church at crown point, um, felt, you know, everybody feels so differently by the have actually made some services. One for people that are really intense about everything, be in, you know, kid gloves and masks, no matter what, and people who want a little bit more laxed. I mean, it’s, it’s that polarizing right now that the church is separating the services subordinates, um, Mike Wise, I mean, we kind of have to adapt to do the same thing too.

Nathan Young (00:31:09):

No, it makes sense. I’m going to shift again, some of the, these are all like basically business policy, you know, how are you leading your business right now? We’re moving towards another round of PPP funding. I’m not going to ask about the overarching opinion on w PPP as a good or bad thing. But just generally my question is, cause we, we can believe it’s a terrible thing and still apply for it as business owners. We know how to utilize resources and know that there is a need to sometimes even if, whether we think it’s a good idea or not. So my question to you is, frankly, will you try to apply for the second one?

Mike Arnold (00:31:41):

You know, I’m a little undecided on it. Um, it’s been something that I talk with my financial people about, um, and try to see, you know, do we qualify for this? Do we even need this? Because again, I want to make sure that everything that we do, um, falls on, on moral high ground, right. Um, if I absolutely do not need it, I don’t have a deficiency based on, you know, COVID strongholds. And my, my inflow with clients is, and being flattered. I don’t know if I will. That’s kind of the, the long and the short of it.

Nathan Young (00:32:11):

That’s a great answer. It feels everyone I talked to says, it feels like a catch 22 where they’re like, I feel terrible for even talking about it on the flip side, I’m a business owner. And if this thing gets made available to me, I’m not retarded. I’m going to go use my resources, any that are available. So,

Mike Arnold (00:32:29):

Right. I mean, I’d say, you know, five out of 10 people that got the stimulus check, uh, at the, at the very onset may or may not have needed it. And obviously that has purposes. That’s for Neo stimulating the economy. It’s not necessarily, I mean, there’s this second round here at, go on and on. I mean, they’re calling it, they’re calling it a stimulus check. Uh, but they’re also at the same time saying, well, it’s for people that are desperately in need, which is it isn’t that stimulate the economy or help the people that are in need. I mean, you go off on a tangent. So yeah, again, at the end of the day, we go to the, the extent of, we don’t do tasks, jobs where we take home cash and don’t report it. Like there’s a lot of contractors that do that. And that’s why people always say, Oh, what’s a discount of cash to cash greenbacks.

Mike Arnold (00:33:18):

Mike, it’s going to go to the same place. Sorry, Mr. Client are used to having to commit tax fraud. Uh, no. So no. I want to make sure that everything we do is done with integrity and honesty, um, whether or not it’s honesty that is seen or behind the scenes. Right? Because in the same thing for, you know, my, my office team that is making financial decisions daily, I need to make sure that I can say that we’re standing on moral high ground because what kind of example am I setting for everybody else in the office or out in the field? Hey guys, I don’t want you to miss hours on the clock, which they don’t like when teams are very, very good, but how can I tell them to be honest if I’m a thing? So I don’t know. I, I’m not saying that I’m, we’re not going to apply for it because the thing is our circumstances that we’ve witnessed this.

Mike Arnold (00:34:07):

So, so frequently in the last, you know, number of, uh, of months circumstances change on a dime, I could be, we could be flourishing one year and then the next year desolate and desperate, you know, 2019, we were okay. We had an okay year. And then we went, you know, entering into 2020 and locked down, started happening at a lot of clients that were like, Hey Mike, uh, that down payment, I was about to bring in tomorrow and sign that contract. Uh COVID I’m like, I get it, I get it. And that happened a lot. And so our circumstances, our outlook and our perspectives and like, what are we going to do? And then all of a sudden it took off. So it’s, it’s so here in this, um, so I’m not going to say we’re going to close off the option to it because if it’s there as readily available, then why not? Um, if we actually need it,

Nathan Young (00:35:01):

Let me ask you about technology. First of all, you have an awesome website. Second, you post up on LinkedIn all the time. You and I were chatting about this before the podcast that I’m like, I’m always like, Oh yeah, here’s another post from my Instagram, LinkedIn, your website are, what other tools would you say? And you talked about like getting a backhoe earlier, what other tools, but technology specifically are critical for your business. So I guess I’m focused a little bit in house, like in office, but at the same time, like not necessarily like just generally technology, what are the tools that are critical for

Mike Arnold (00:35:38):

You? Well, some of it, I’m not going to share it as a, my competitors are going to listen to get the leading edge on me. Uh, but the, the first thing that comes to mind and it’s, it’s pretty, self-explanatory uh, is a cloud-based file system to eliminate paper as the possible. Um, because there there’s too often that there’s one thing I need and I can’t find it in the file cabinet. And this person’s office is locked. Even if it wasn’t locked, I wouldn’t be able to find it. Uh, if it’s a well-organized cloud-based file system, I can be anywhere on any device and locate the piece of information that I need. And I know that it’s not going to get lost and I’m saving myself office space. I’m not cluttering up cubic feet that I don’t need to. So I’d say that the most critical thing for us has been trying to every step of the way. And there’s still, we still have some file cabinets. I’m ashamed to say, uh, but trying to eliminate paper as much as humanly possible that’s that is like my, the thing that’s like steering, um, like, like wearing that question.

Nathan Young (00:36:38):

Yeah. That’s awesome. I did some consulting. I still am doing consulting for another company called peer-driven, which is also a marketing agency, but a different than MLO because they are very specifically focused in the franchise space. So we actually just so you know, uh, so I actually did encourage them to take PPP funding for that company because in 48 hours they lost 90% of their committed revenue. Yeah. It was like, things are going fine. Things are going fine, company. Hasn’t been doing that. Well, maybe we can talk about, you know, like what are the things that we could adjust? And then in literally two days, two business days, it was like, the company was just gone. And so I was like, Whoa, that’s like, literally the week that I walked in, it was like, I walked in and then they were like, Hey, so let’s get you signed up for like your email account, by the way company decimated.

Nathan Young (00:37:31):

I was like, Oh, neat. But one of the things that we had to tackle was like that file storage system. And I had, I was asking for things in rapid, you know, like I need this piece of information and this piece of information right now about getting this stuff or that, and I’m remote. I literally just had a guy constantly via text at first or call him or text him. And he was just running to a filing cabinet and like looking for things within one week, it was like, I don’t, you just put four people on it. I don’t care what we do. The most important thing we can do is get all of our paper is gone. Now, what is one thing that you’ve done? That’s a little bit like that this year where you went, ah, we’re going to make this decision and historically, maybe you would have gotten some pushback and then you just said, well, COVID,

Mike Arnold (00:38:25):

I haven’t too deep for that one. What is something that we did that was in light of COVID and it was otherwise something that we may not have done. You know, man, I got nothing because so much of what we have always done is what we’re doing now. I mean, the file thing is not something, I mean, yes, we had to have some people work for moat. Right? Well, there’s some people that are, have always been kind of semi remote then being remote forces us to have a cloud basis. Well, we’ve kind of always done a cloud-based system. You know what I mean? So I feel like for the most part we entered, COVID semi comfortable in terms of how we do things and how we run things, because we are already doing the things that would have been required. Had we not been doing them at every step of the way?

Mike Arnold (00:39:12):

I’m trying to think of how do we make this thing more efficient? How do we make it more bomb proof? I mean, what is the building is not tomorrow. What happens all were contracts and documents. Was it stored in a fire safe file cabinet? Hopefully, no, I would rather it be already in the cloud and it’s safe. You know what I’m saying? So we’re, we’re already taking those stuffs at every step. That is my biggest energy driver is, is like, how do we make this thing more efficient? Efficiency is like, I’ll tell you what I brushed my teeth while I shower I’m yeah, I’m trying to be as efficient. I eat breakfast standing up so I can take a bite and go do my hair. I mean, it’s, it’s a little excessive, but like, that’s just what I enjoy. I don’t want to waste a single minute. So I’m already doing those things ahead of time that I would have done had I not been doing them. So that’s fast.

Nathan Young (00:40:05):

Well, thanks for spending an hour with me on this podcast. You’ve been answering emails this entire time. I know one of the things that we did was we got a lot of paper checks from clients and we basically said, Hey, ACH, only from now on. And we had some clients be like, what? But I’ve always paid with a check. And we went COVID and like, that was the end of the conversation. We were like, well, you know, get on the phone with you and walk you through it. If you need to we’ll we made training videos, but we were like, don’t send us a check. Don’t send us paper, check, click the button, run the payment like that.

Mike Arnold (00:40:44):

I’m glad that you say that because that’s something that I have been really trying to push forward on coming up. I wouldn’t say I’m coming up against a resistance with my team because they agree that it’s a necessary thing, but it’s just the timing and all that kind of thing. So that’s, that is one thing that I have really tried to push it on time, you know, letting them time it out, as best as they think that needs to be time. You know, we do have a lot of elderly people that are maintenance clients, fertilizer clients, and we run the risk of losing them. If we say, Hey, ACH only, but I do have on the other extreme, um, clients that are like, what’s a chap. I can’t, I couldn’t even find a checkbook if I, if I looked super hard and my house ACH is definitely the way of the future. Um, or I mean obviously taking credit card payments, but ha having everything be online’s definitely. And that’s, that’s something that we’re, we’re trying to push toward as well.

Nathan Young (00:41:37):

We did a few of those, but I mean, I basically got to yank a little company that company that lost almost all of its revenue. It is doing much better now. It’s still in business that was partially due to the PPP funding, frankly. So I mean like, no matter how, what other opinions I might have on it, it, it basically saved several jobs there. So I am appreciative. So on your website, speaking of technology, one of the things that I talk about, uh, for business strategy is that I’m like, and I stole this from a guy named Scott Galloway, but basically his quote on strategy is business strategy at the top level is your answer to the question, what can we do that is super hard. That’s top level business strategy. You have this 3d model for landscaping and turf products on your website. Tell me about it. Like, how did you approach incorporating?

Mike Arnold (00:42:28):

And that the, the 3d technology is something that has been really, um, nowadays is very commonplace amongst most landscape contractors in fact, if you’re not using it some shape or form, um, you are, you’re losing clientele because you are drowned out by the other 95% of contractors that are using that and helping clients visualize, instead of just words on paper, what is this going to look like? So, yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s something that we’ve been using for so many years. And it was something that we were forced into because we had to kind of join in with a lot of other people that were doing it. I’d say we were one of the, one of the first to start using that, but we saw people starting to use it. Like, we, we really need to incorporate this as well. What we are doing with it is gosh, on such a grander scale, um, than anybody else in our area.

Mike Arnold (00:43:19):

Um, and I, I say that with complete confidence, because too frequently, we get people sending us designs that somebody else has done. And we’re like, what? They’re like, what do you think about this? What would you do differently about this? And I’m like, everything. It all sucks. I I’m like I can’t, I, I can’t begin to tell you the amount of things are cosmetically and functionally wrong with this design. Um, you should really entertain the thought of scrapping your company and hiring us to do this from scratch. We can’t even use this design. Yeah. I mean, what we’re doing is on a much grander scale and you were, I know for a fact that we’re spending at least four times the amount of time per project, on average than anybody else in that area. And that’s why we charge, we have to charge. I mean, I cannot do that stuff for free.

Mike Arnold (00:44:03):

That’s that’s very much a service. It’s not so much just it’s part of the bid. People will say, well, you want to quote me for something. If you want the business, you’ll do it. I’m like, no, if you want the service of a 3d design, you’re going to have to pay for it because this is a service. This isn’t even something that I like to credit back to people, uh, in the course of, you know, Hey, if you do the project with credit back to you, well, why it was literally a service that we, a high-paid person in a high-paid, uh, computer, uh, uh, software did and constructed for you. Why is that something that needs to be refined? You know what I mean? So that’s a whole thing and it’s, it’s something that’s extremely critical. It’s like the backbone of our business, honestly.

Nathan Young (00:44:44):

Well, and it sounds like what you just said to me is that part of the reason that it’s a service is because as opposed to other companies who are doing there’s a little old more, let’s call it old school, or maybe like, not as thoroughly as you are, you can’t send a crew out to do the job that comes from that. Whereas most other companies could probably take yours and go do the job because it’s so thorough. So you’re actually, you’re not doing like, this is part of our estimate. You’re like, this is a plan. That’s a product, go get somebody to do it. But the best person you’re going to find to do it is me.

Mike Arnold (00:45:25):

I mean, you’re not going to hear those words come out of my mouth, go find somebody to do it. It’s a presentation that we have, uh, with the costs. I mean, in that same meeting, I, I, we would not be in the design service if we were not also in the construction service. Sure, sure. Yeah. But it is, it is, it is absolutely 100% just as much of a service as installing it because we are helping you figure out the, I, I paid somebody, I just moved to Chicago recently and I got an apartment in my move in. It was just a big box. Um, yes, I had some of my [inaudible] stuff, but I paid a service. It was called Haven week. It’s an online thing where you submit all of your, your pictures of your apartment and the dimensions and all that kind of stuff. And they tell you what they think would look best. That’s a service. I need somebody to help me visualize what I want before I could figure out how to implement what I want to know and doing it and screwing it up and needing to redo it later. So it’s, it’s a service through and through

Nathan Young (00:46:26):

Havenly’s process, did they deliver you the thing and then also showcase their price for all, for buying all of it for you and getting it shipped?

Mike Arnold (00:46:35):

Yeah. I’m not mad at, you know, they, they are crucially, they are strictly a design service. And if you happen to buy it through them, then they’re happy to, Oh, we are. We’re like the other way around my business model is not, there are contractors out there that are just design only and there’s landscape architect firms out there. I mean, I have a whole warehouse full of trucks and equipment that, I mean, we are geared for the construction part of it. Um, and it’s personally because I built a company to do that because I wanted to do that. That’s I, I’m not interested in just, you know, show up for work every day and the suit and tie. Um, I, I want to show up to work in, um, you know, nice pair of boots and jeans and a polo because I want to go out to sites and I want to walk sites and talk to my crew. And that’s what, that’s why we do what we did and the trajectory that we’re on.

 

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Mike Arnold (00:46:35):

Yeah. I’m not mad at, you know, they, they are crucially, they are strictly a design service. And if you happen to buy it through them, then they’re happy to, Oh, we are. We’re like the other way around my business model is not, there are contractors out there that are just design only and there’s landscape architect firms out there. I mean, I have a whole warehouse full of trucks and equipment that, I mean, we are geared for the construction part of it. Um, and it’s personally because I built a company to do that because I wanted to do that. That’s I, I’m not interested in just, you know, show up for work every day and the suit and tie. Um, I, I want to show up to work in, um, you know, nice pair of boots and jeans and a polo because I want to go out to sites and I want to walk sites and talk to my crew. And that’s what, that’s why we do what we did and the trajectory that we’re on.

Nathan Young (00:47:25):

That’s awesome. I have a couple of marketing specific questions for you. And then my last section is quick fire questions. How would you say that you’ve, you’re already growing your, you happened to be one of the companies that seen a boom. We expect this to continue into 2021. What are some of the tactics that you’ll be focusing on? Cause we you’ve told me that your strategy in 2021 is to grow, but try to do so mostly organically, right? Probably a continuation of what you were doing previously, but what are some of the tactics that you’ll be focusing on to try to continue that as you go through 2021 in terms of marketing? Yeah, I guess I should. Um, just for anyone listening, the way I would phrase, uh, the way I would phrase strategy and tactics strategy would be like, Hey, we want to accomplish these primary goals.

Nathan Young (00:48:12):

You know, we want to grow revenue by 20%. If it’s possible, we want to make these two new partnerships. And then tactically, you might say, we’re going to do cold LinkedIn outreach and you know, do a seven point up process or we’re going to run Facebook, display ads. You know, those are tactics. Facebook is not a strategy. Um, and Facebook is not a tactic, either doing a specific thing right. With the tool. That’s a tactic. So my question to you is what are some of the, and don’t give me all of them, you know? Um, but what’s a tactic or two that you would go, this is what we think that we’re going to try out this year.

Mike Arnold (00:48:53):

One thing that I have, you know, we really need to grow our fertilizer clients. Uh, we have, um, my, my COO, uh, happens to be extremely knowledgeable, uh, with fertilizer products and we have created our own program. So we do all that in house. We mix our own products in house. So because we have that expertise and that knowledge base and wisdom under our roof, uh, we need to take better and for advantage. And so we need to therefore grow our clientele. One thing that I have, I haven’t done door hangers since three, 10, 12 years ago. Uh, but I mean, we, we are, I think we are going to do that a little bit, um, and target the areas that there’s already a client. So we can say, Hey, you’re your neighbor down. The street has a Creek site flag and it go take a look at it and look at their yard.

Mike Arnold (00:49:44):

So I think that may have a better effect than what I was just kind of blankets, blanketing the whole subdivision with, with door hangers. Like you see every spring 10 of them on everybody’s door, I show the consultations and there’s like six of them on a door. And I’m like, yep. And be like in your group. And he goes for it. So I think that targeting, um, our, our existing client base and saying, Hey, you have a flag, uh, and your neighbor’s yard, which we’ll take a look at it and see, you know, like what you see, give us a holler that I think should prove to have some positive results. So that’s, that’s one thing that we’re going to be doing to expand our client base with fertilizer. Okay.

Nathan Young (00:50:22):

One of your strategies for the company expand fertilizer, client base, one of the tactics that you’ll be focusing on is papering around areas where you already have clients.

Mike Arnold (00:50:35):

Yeah. Yeah. I know. I just got done talking about eliminating paper and here we are and we’re going to go,

Nathan Young (00:50:42):

Well, good luck finding a direct mail agency. That’s not out of business. Oh, wait. I shouldn’t say that. Uh, don’t even get me started. What could we, here’s my last question before I go to, sorry, here’s my last general question. Before I go to quick fire, what could we do? You and I chatted about this a little bit and I’ve brought it up once or twice throughout this conversation, but more leads online is a company I own it’s me and some other guys, right? We were a small agency. We have experience in the, in the home services. And in the trades, I personally worked in construction for like five years. I was in the BC local for in Indiana. You know, like I grew up in small business. I care about, I know having a marketing agency or having a marketing arm of your company is critical.

Nathan Young (00:51:28):

You can’t not right. So you’re going to use paper flyers. That means you’re not going to have your dudes go hang them themselves. I mean, I don’t think maybe, maybe it’s just when you’re out at that client’s house, like paper, a hundred of these guys, um, maybe we’ll see, maybe. So my question is having been through the ringer in the industry and I did, I, you know, I caught the first hybrid rep when I was like 14 years old, walked into my parents’ furniture and appliance store and they were trying to sell my dad and my dad was like, talk to the kid, you know, like we’ve all been through the ringer on that. I’ve got this agency, how do I win the trust of business leaders like you, or that, you know, in your circle, what is your network looking for now from an agency that you would actually trust?

Mike Arnold (00:52:17):

I think it’s, it’s no different than any other industry. That’s trying to win the trust of the touch, a client base. I think it’s putting out content that is educational and not so self promoting. Um, you have to have a little bit of self in it, but I think that you put out content that shows, I know what I’m talking about. And, and you, you create it with the perspective and bring the thought that I am not looking to gain something out of this piece of content, except to just educate my following. I think that that is extremely winsome. Um, it may not feel like it right then and there because you’re like, well, where’s my call to action. We’re all concerned about the call to action. Yeah. I mean, there there’s a place for that, but you have to put out things that people will, will be attracted to you because they saw something, um, that showed them.

Mike Arnold (00:53:10):

He knows what he’s talking about and Nope, everybody is going call me, call me. We’ll do it for half. We’ll do it for less call. The experts will show me that you’re the expert. I mean, so I want to go, I mean, honestly I do this all the time. If I want a professional, I don’t know if it’s an electrician or if it’s a home builder where I want to go find their social media, I want to go see, do they know specifically what they’re talking about? Do they know how to install this stuff? So I think that that’s, that is something that is, is massive, is to on the forefront, just to be the person that somebody is looking forward so that when they go looking for it, they see your stuff that it’s not all big words on a, uh, you know, a feed. It’s all, I don’t know. It’s some sort of educational content

Nathan Young (00:53:58):

Makes sense to me. Maybe I’m shirking my duty by having you do all my educating for me and making, I’m making Mike available to the world, home service leaders. No, that’s awesome. That’s fantastic advice. I will take that and embody it. Continue to try to push that forward. I have this other section, I call it quick fire questions. I’m just going to ask you questions. You get answers, you know, just like straight off the top of your head, we’re going to go through really quick. And then, uh, and then we’ll close out. So favorite Creekside project?

Mike Arnold (00:54:28):

I’d say the favorite project that we did, um, was in linear line scene. It was in crown point. I’m not going to call up the customer’s name, but it had everything, a little bit of everything. It had multiple pergolas, they had several living paver types. It had a putting green, it had artificial turf had lighting, had plants. Um, and that one, I mean, we went through several design hour, several hours with the client to get it, to be exactly what they want it to be. But, uh, Oh, in a Waterford, I mean, literally a walkway walk into the backyard through the fence water feature on your left plants and lighting on your right dining section little, there was a swing that was hanging from pergola. I mean, I, that, that place was dreaming. That’s my favorite project.

Nathan Young (00:55:12):

What features would you put in your own dream backyard?

Mike Arnold (00:55:15):

Fire is such an attractive thing to sit around and it’s a, it’s a conversation starting site. The biggest thing, I mean, I like to grill, but an outdoor kitchen is not like my top thing. I think that a really well-crafted gas fire feature linear a little bit longer. It’s not square. It’s not round. It’s kind of longer. It’s like what? You’d see on a Chicago rooftop bar that really keep a Frederick. Now, would you take a pool or a hot tub pool? Heck yeah, absolutely. How about a patio or a deck? A patio patio is going to have much higher return on your investment as so much more aesthetic value than a deck. And you’ve got so much more customizable options. It’s going to be more structurally sound than a deck. Yeah. Patio or deck 10 out of 10 times

Nathan Young (00:56:03):

Outdoor kitchen or outdoor entertainment center.

Mike Arnold (00:56:06):

What do you mean by outdoor entertainment time? Because now it’s our kitchen it’d be entertaining. Right.

Nathan Young (00:56:10):

I guess, uh, one of the things that you said was like, Oh, more of like a fire feature. Um, not necessarily just for grilling, but like to sit around so more like that. And then you mentioned the other in the other backyard, not so much an outdoor, but they have like pergolas and light features and, um, like garden stuff. And maybe like that, like, would you rather have a big patio set up for an outdoor kitchen or all the sort of all the other features you could have? Yeah,

Mike Arnold (00:56:35):

I, I would probably first go for, I want it all, don’t get me wrong. Uh, but if I was placed into a position where I had to choose between the two, I would certainly go for, um, something that is much more multi functional, um, than a kitchen. And that’s just me because there’s some people that will still blow 30, $40,000 on their kitchen alone because they want a free, you know, they want the green egg cooker and the hibachi grill. They want all that stuff in there. I’m more on the other end where I’m like, I’m going to door dash and sit around a fire.

Nathan Young (00:57:06):

Is your favorite and least favorite trend in landscape?

Mike Arnold (00:57:10):

I would say my most favorite trend in landscape design right now is where we are using more linear pavers and, uh, you know, basket weave or herringbone patterns. Um, I, I really liked that a lot in larger slabs, not so much like these, you know, the old style, you know, four by eight favors, super, super small. Um, but I think I have a picture laying around somewhere. No, I don’t think I do, but it’s a much simpler layout and it just, it looks so, so clean using larger slabs of paver in one color and doing it in a basket and woven or, uh, you know, that’s my pet, I’d say my, my least favorite. I mean, it’s still a trend it’s still around and it’s, you wouldn’t understand it unless you knew pavers. Um, but I mean, there’s still certain pavers that are offered by a company called Unilock that people still, uh, go for. And it’s, you know, it’s a paper called Brussels and it’s a very old, it’s been around since like the inception of paper companies. It doesn’t have any color guards in it. Uh, but it’s just like this, it’s an old paver that people still go for because it just gets a little bit on the cheaper end and I wish they would just be completely eradicated, but that’s, that’s not something the general public would even know what I’m talking about. Unless they looked up Unilock brushes

Nathan Young (00:58:29):

Clients is a landscaping supply in Chicago. If I had a dollar for every time, they gave about a customer who put an order. Uh, uh, how often do you check Creekside Google reviews?

Mike Arnold (00:58:46):

Um, not too often because I get an email every time we get a review. Um, but I mean maybe once a year, I’ll, I’ll take a peek at it. You know, it’s nothing that I’m overly concerned about. Do you

Nathan Young (00:58:58):

Text customers? Yes or no?

Mike Arnold (00:59:00):

Yes. It feels like they’re the type of client that would appreciate.

Nathan Young (00:59:04):

Do you ask every client for an honest review?

Mike Arnold (00:59:07):

No. I mean, I feel like that kind of gets burdensome. Um, I, if, if my client had a good experience, they’ll naturally go to my website. Um, there’ll be, you know, every once in a while where I’m like, Hey, I think this person had a good, I might ask them, but it’s not like a systemic, systemic, systematic, a systematic, you know what I mean?

Nathan Young (00:59:28):

You love to hear answer some of these questions, basically. Who should we interview next?

Mike Arnold (00:59:34):

You know, I’d say one of, one of our suppliers, actually, I would say either, uh, Niemeyer and white, um, or, uh, rich Chris Gates from, uh, Elsa.

Nathan Young (00:59:43):

I have heard of Niemeyer a couple of times before. Um, those are both fantastic recommendations. Yeah. I wasn’t necessarily saying like, who’s the biggest hot shot, whatever I was just like, Hey, somebody else who does fantastic work that, you know?

Mike Arnold (00:59:56):

Yeah. Um, well some, we, you, some radical different answers than I would because I’m kind of a completely different industry. It’s going from installer to supplier. So right.

Nathan Young (01:00:04):

I’m hoping to have our landscaping supplier client on the podcast in the next month or two and well, wow, whatever. Uh, I think we have it on our profile. It’s Minoni and McCone in Chicago.

Mike Arnold (01:00:19):

They’re in like

Nathan Young (01:00:19):

Arlington Heights in the Northern section. They’ve been around for like a hundred years. Wow. Okay. We love those guys. Their yard is huge. I love spending time with them. Awesome. A bunch of fun. Okay. I’m done. I’ve put you through the ringer. We might have to split this episode into two, the amount of like golden nuggets you dropped during this conversation. Normally we try to tease out a couple of those pieces. Like you said, the sort of educational, useful things to sort of post on LinkedIn or Instagram. Yeah. Normally we do like five, six, seven with you. We’re going to have to do like 15, 16, 17,

Nathan Young (01:00:59):

Absolutely awesome. And so cool to get the different perspective between like early in the year and then early this year. Just like what a freaking insane before and after right over the last 12 months. Yeah. If people want to follow Creekside or they want to find you correct me if I’m wrong, Creekside on Facebook and Instagram at Creekside in WWI and you on LinkedIn, just Mike Arnold on LinkedIn, but you can also follow Creekside on LinkedIn as well.

Mike Arnold (01:01:33):

Yeah, you can’t. I mean, my, my personal Instagram is just Mike Arnold and then, you know, the Facebook and Instagram is going to be at freak site NWI like Northwest Indiana. And those are prominent places that you’re going to find our concepts.

Nathan Young (01:01:46):

Awesome. And I can confirm to anyone who might be curious, it is some of the most bad-ass looking outdoor living space content. I love seeing it pop up on my feed. I’m kind of a nerd for that stuff anyway, but fantastic photos, the coolest outdoor scapes, just enjoy nerding out on it. So it’s a bunch of fun to have that scroll through your feed. Mike, thank you so much again for being on the show has been absolutely fantastic.

Mike Arnold (01:02:13):

Yeah, let’s do it. It’s a lot of fun with you guys.

Nathan Young (01:02:17):

Awesome, man. We’ll see you again in the next five or six or seven months.

Mike Arnold (01:02:22):

Something like that. Yeah. Update on the industry. Stay in that state of the economy.

Nathan Young (01:02:27):

Exactly, exactly. Boom. Okay. I’m done.

 

Mike Arnold

Mike Arnold

Owner Creekside Outdoor Living

Creekside Outdoor Living is a comprehensive landscape company serving families and businesses by designing and creating stunning outdoor living spaces, landscape enhancements and providing superior outdoor services throughout Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland For over 15 years.

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