McDonaldizing vs Militarizing

Starting over, and how a system skyrocketed a Veteran's chimney sweep business

With these success stories, we personalize a Kickserv business, and spotlight the person behind the business. First, we ask about the pain point that led them to search for a solution. Then we talk about the resolution of their search, and finally the fix for their business pain.

It takes a system to create a growing business

Kickserv got its start running Chet Eccles’ nationwide system of emergency plumbing and sewer shops. Mr. Eccles studied and implemented systems. He put them into every aspect of his business. Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited, describes this as “McDonaldizing” the business. Chet Eccles, Michael Gerber, and Chad Murray all figured out that if they took each critical task in their business, wrote it up, and systematized it, it would free them from that day-to-day business task.

These leaders worked on their business, rather than in their business.

We met with Chad Murray of Outside the Business Box Consulting. He's also the founder of Masters Services Chimney Cleaning. We discussed how he got into the chimney business and how came to start his fast-growing consulting operation.

Chad is a husband, father of 5 daughters, successful business leader, and avid hunter.

Service is in Chad’s blood. He is an Army National Guardsman and Marine. Thank you, Chad!

Chad started as a restaurant manager, but escaped into the Marines. In the late '90s, after finishing his military service, he began washing windows. One day it started raining on him in the middle of a job. His business partner happened to mention that, if they wanted to make money while it was raining, they should fix leaking chimneys--and Masters Services was born.

Back then, Chad explained, all you needed to start cleaning chimneys was a couple of ladders, a Shop-Vac, some poles, and some brushes. Chad and his wife, along with Chad’s semi-retired mom, started there and grew the business until they had more than 5 trucks.

Kickserv’s steps for growing your business

  1. Identify the pain points in the business
  2. Write down and describe the pain points
  3. Design a system to overcome the pain point
  4. Implement the system
  5. Designate a person to own the system
  6. Measure the results

The Pain

The pain happened to be real. Ms. Murray went into early labor and was rushed to the hospital. Their baby daughter was delivered 3 months early. Mom and daughter were fine--but just 2 weeks later, Chad's appendix ruptured. Without either Chad or his wife at the helm, the business came to a halt.

These back-to-back events forced the Murrays into bankruptcy. Chad learned immediately that the business needed to keep running--with or without him. He knew he needed to systematize – or "McDonaldize"--his chimney repair business.

The Fix

Chad wanted an online system that he and his crew could all use to book, dispatch, and recall service history. He wanted it to be web-based so his team in the field could use tablets to manage their service calls--and he wanted it to implement and enforce his policies.

The Resolution

After vetting many online Field Service Management products, Chad was sold on Kickserv. Chad saw quickly how he could follow the proven customer flow lines built into Kickserv, and he put trained and trusted people in positions to run those lines. Once Masters Services was on board with Kickserv, Chad could see how he could escape working in the business; he would soon be able to just work on his business.

A year and a half after restarting in 2008, Masters Services was doing $1.4 million in sales.

Chad attributes this success to the simple workflows in Kickserv, and to building a culture of empowerment for his team.

Chad’s fix for keeping the business running--with or without him:

  • Store customer and job records in one place, online
  • Use Kickserv's sales abilities to follow up and follow through with his customers
  • Schedule multiple events in Kickserv for all the different stages of his jobs
  • Use Kickserv's messaging to keep customers and techs coordinated

“What's the difference between a $5 million company and a $10 million company? Culture."

--Chad Murray, Masters Services

Chad defines his success culture as:

  • Proper treatment of his employees
  • The "feeling" (sentiment or mood) of the company

Chad shared that he originally ran his company with a hard-nosed style he learned in the military. He knew that this won him both lovers and haters--but that was the culture he knew and was used to. Eventually, through reading and mentors, he discovered an alternative to fear-based culture: creating and empowering leaders.

Trusted leaders allow the business owner to take a step back from day-to-day operations. This is a more powerful position; the owner can turn their attention to the strategy of the business.

This new outlook on business systems and management allowed Chad to create a new consulting business. Chad now teaches other business owners how to do the same thing, so the business does not have to rely on them showing up to work every day.

Chad has referred many of his clients to Kickserv.

KS: What is your favorite business book?

CM: Back to Bulletproof: A Warrior’s Tactical Guide to Success by Darin Bibeau and Robert Conlin

KS: What are you doing outside of consulting?

CM: Spending a lot of time with the wife and daughters. They very much enjoy spending time at the 80-acre cabin property and hunting.

KS: What are you focused on in your business today?

CM: Scaling the consulting business. Bringing the business technology to many other small business owners. “We have the easiest BIG business out there”.

He believes that his chimney business is among the top 20 chimney cleaning and repair business in the nation. They are now growing the business to incorporate installation and servicing of gas fireplaces.

KS: What is the best way for potential clients to reach you?

CM: Call or email me. Contact details are at https://outsidethebusinessbox.com