Cracking the Code Podcast
Author: Thomas Christian | Digital Marketing Coordinator at EGIA & OPTIMUS | February 8th, 2024

Inspire Your Team & Grow Your Business with Tommy Mello

Do you feel like your business has hit a ceiling, no matter how hard work? Quality leadership that elevates others raises the ceiling of any company, generating buy-in from your employees that can make your business work for you, and not the other way around.

This week on the Cracking The Code podcast, Weldon Long sits down with Tommy Mello, who honed his inspirational leadership style from his first job at the age of 12. Going from humble beginnings to dominating his industry with over $200 million annually in sales, Mello preaches the idea that one must improve themselves in order to reach their true potential as business owners and leaders for everyone around them.

Audio Transcription (In Beta)

On today’s show, we got one of the hottest personalities in the residential sales industry, Mr. Tommy Miller.

Hello, my name is Colleen Keyworth and I’m with Women in HVACR. Many of you might not know that women HVACR is a strong partner with the EGIA foundation We actually do a lot to work together to encourage more people to join the trades One of the things that we have coming up if you’re already familiar with the epic show this coming March is we actually have a golf Tournament last year was our first ever golf tournament for Tia for the trades this year.

It’s back We’re gonna be in Anaheim, California at Coyote Hills Golf Resort We’re going to actually tee off on March 10th, the day before Epic. We really hope to see you there. All proceeds go between Women in HVACR and the EGA Foundation. You can learn more at golffortrades. org. Register today or even come to volunteer.

We would love to see you there. Thank you. So a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Tommy Mello. This guy came up from zero to millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars. In the residential sales industry, pay attention. You will learn a ton. Hey everybody. Weldon Long here.

One of the founding faculty members at EGIA contract university. And we have got our hands full today, folks with one of the biggest, the best, one of the brightest, one of the fastest growing speakers in the country and the residential services industry, Mr. Tommy Mello. How are you, Tommy? I’m doing great.

Glad to be here, man. I’m so excited to meet you. I’ve been watching you. I feel like I know you from watching you from social media. And I know you’re just killing it out there, but I want to make sure that we talk about what you’re doing at Epic this year. We’re all super excited about having you out there.

We’re going to have you, we’re going to have Primetime, Deon Sanders, a couple other great speakers who are really looking forward to that. But, uh, one of the things I want to start with today is kind of to give folks an idea of your background, right? You didn’t come to this world with a silver spoon. Uh, you really are kind of a self made man.

I’d like for you to talk about kind of some of the struggles coming up. And I think your company now is. doing something like 200 million and and then we’ll talk about some of the lessons we can all learn from you and we’ll talk about what you’re doing at Epic. So just give us a history, a quick history of your background and kind of kind of where you come from and how you got where you are.

Yeah, you bet. Um, I really was not born from a silver spoon. I will say the gold spoon was my parents loved me and they told me I could do anything I want in life. Um, we didn’t live in a big house. grew up sterling heights michigan, uh, our out of detroit What do most kids do in detroit, you know, you mow lawns and you shovel snow You try to earn a buck mom and dad got a divorce when I was seven mom worked three jobs Um hustled just worked from morning to night every night I used to massage her feet because she worked so hard and just blisters and She was a server a bartender and a real estate agent and when she was on her days off.

She’d knock on doors on for sale by owners and all my buddies had her magnet on the fridge and uh, my dad was my soccer, my baseball, just my, uh, my coach, uh, taught me how to be a man and, uh, life was difficult to say the least. I got a job washing dishes when I was 12, uh, 4. 05 per hour under the table because you can’t legally work at 12 years old.

So I was off the record. And, uh, yeah, I just learned to hustle when I was a kid and, uh, try to help mom out and kind of built a, a decent sized landscaping business in Michigan. But I moved to Arizona when I was 16. It wasn’t really a company. It was like 15 bucks a lawn. You know, that. And, uh, started out bussing tables, bartending, flipping cars and started a landscape company out in Phoenix where I did water conservation analysis for big companies and switch all their sprinklers over to drip systems.

I brought in about 30, 000 a month, not really a business. And then a buddy of mine said, Listen, man, I need some help painting garage doors. I manage a pretty big company. Um, would you know how to paint garage doors? I said, I have no idea. How much does it pay? He said about a hundred bucks a door. So a hundred bucks a door.

I can paint a couple on a weekend. Sounded great. Learn how to paint garage doors about a magnified from Home Depot. Got to the point of my G 2096 infinity where I could paint 10 doors a day. And one week I decided to call every garage door company in Phoenix and become their painter. So few days a week, I paint 10 doors a day.

And I was very good at it. And I meet with these technicians and they say, Now mind you, 2005, 2006, Phoenix was blowing up. It was like everybody was making money. Real estate was shooting through the roof. So these guys were making six figures. I said, maybe I should look into this garage store stuff. So 2007, me and a buddy started a one garage door specialists.

And that’s when the housing market completely crashed. And, um, people were giving back their houses to the banks telling me, listen, man, I just want to get my kids furniture out of here. Their beds. Can you just get the garage door bandaid fixed? So kind of learned the hard knocks. I mean, I had three, four jobs the first five years.

My mom and stepdad moved out in 2010. I separated from my partner, my best friend, my roommate, uh, my buddy that would go out and party and it was just, wasn’t working out between us. He’s still my best friend. Mom and stepdad moved out in 2010. Um, and we made a lot of mistakes. I mean, I was the business. I was the sales guy.

I was the call booking. I was the inventory, you name it. And Lo and behold, I mean, you talk about the struggles of business. If anybody thinks that they look at my life now, 20 years later, and they’re like, man, I want what you have. I’m like, relationships get burned. The people that you think are your best friends turn on you.

Uh, people steal. Uh, I’ve had a couple technicians, uh, pass away. That’s been difficult. Not on the job. Um, it’s not easy. Murphy’s law. Hit me every day. Uh, Girlfriends broke up with me because I worked all the time, seven days a week. Uh, walking out of movie theaters to go run a call. Getting up at midnight to go run a call.

Always had a truck to run calls till 2014, hired a really good guy, met a guy named Al Levy in 2017, got on the Service Titan, started a podcast, Al Levy, he’s the seven power contractor, taught me how to do manuals, standard operating procedures, checklists, set up a really good CRM, the fifth CRM, Service Titan, and uh, lo and behold, now we’re over 200 million, 23 and a half percent, bottom line, revenue is for vanity, profit is for sanity, but uh, I’m just a normal dude.

Nothing too special. I’m humble. We’re doing great, but I got a lot of work to do. I’m a work in progress. I’m a student for life. And, uh, the, the one thing I’ll say is if I could do it, so can you, yeah, you know, I, I kind of come from the streets myself. I was a ninth grade high school dropout, did some prison time and, uh, was living in a homeless shelter when I first got my first job in the HVAC business, built my own company, sold it, uh, written several books and so on.

And, and I, I really agree with that philosophy because I got 103 IQ. Thank you. And there’s nothing special going on here. It’s just, it’s just hard work, focus and execution. So, so Tommy, uh, I know we jumped from, you know, cutting lawns and painting garage doors to 200 million, but I’m really curious, like when, when did the, the entrepreneurial, uh, spirit hit you in terms of, okay, I’m not going to just create a job for myself anymore.

I’m going to create the systems and processes and be a bona fide entrepreneur. Uh, when did that shift kind of happen for you? So 2017 really sitting down with Al, I really think of Al as like the godfather, probably the best mentor I’ve ever had. He said, man, you’re doing 17 million. He goes, you must be bringing home millions of dollars.

I go, no, I’m growing, I’m putting it all back in. And we looked at my financials and he said, no, you’re not making a profit. You’re you say you’re putting it back into the company. And I realized it was a full time job. I, when I went on vacations, the company suffered when I wasn’t answering all the questions, the company suffered.

If I wasn’t there to keep an eye on the trucks, the cleanliness, the inventory of the company suffered. So there needed to be structure. And, uh, I just, I, I lied to myself for a long time. I kept saying, you know, I’m just going to grow. I’m going to grow. I’m going to grow. But if you’re not making at least 10 percent profit, you should just stop and focus on profitability.

That’s the facts. I mean, we’re, we’re headed towards 30 percent in a growth mindset, in a bad economy. So I got very, very serious about profitability. When I learned what arbitrage is and EBITDA. And these fancy words that were way over my scope at the time. That’s when I started to really think this could be a business worth hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars.

And. Everybody says, don’t talk about EBITDA, don’t talk about arbitrage, and I’m like, man, I was small, I was sub a million of profit when I learned about it, and it turned every light on in my head. I go, wow, wait a minute, there’s a multiple of EBITDA? And what is this Adback stuff? So I started studying and learning and getting on podcasts, reading books, and all of a sudden I’m like, wait a minute, I can get this business to 200 million of EBITDA and I’m not there yet, but it’s, it’s a plan.

So I said, here’s how we get to a billion of revenue. We need 900 technicians. We need recruiting. We need training. We need the best of the best. We need winners. And they can be busboys. They can be bartenders. They can be Amazon delivery guys. I just hire for personality, big smile, tells a great story. A guy you go have a beer with and you get to know them.

And they got a great, but they want more out of life. They dream bigger, they’re, they’re calculated and they hustle and they’re like D one athletes. And when you get these people, I give everything I have. I take a bullet for my people. I give my blood, sweat and tears. I show up as a leader. They need me.

And I had to shut off everything. Stop bartending, stop flipping cars, put the blinders on and focus. No side hustle. The hustler had to die. And that changed everything. Focus, focus, focus, consistency, discipline. That’s what makes a great business. Hi, I’m Darrell Yeshensky. Hey, I’m Bob Larkin. Many of our contractors meet with us monthly and you chances are have met with us monthly.

We found that members have deeper and greater needs. So we came up with next level coaching. Which is, we meet a lot more often, and there is accountability to deal with some of the issues of money, growth, finding employees, having an exit strategy to get off this roller coaster. These are the issues that contractors want answers to, and we can provide those answers in Next Level Coaching.

When you join Next Level Coaching, you’re going to find solutions that are Easy to implement and logical. Most importantly, we hold you accountable to specifics. We’re going to meet twice a month and have specific to do’s. And with those specific to do’s, we’re going to discuss and dive into your financials in a very granular way.

You’re going to have a clear budget. We’ll be able to establish pricing. We’re going to help you create leadership programs that. build your people. We’re going to help you find people. You may think of differing ways to engage employees that will keep them more involved by joining next level coaching.

So if you’re interested in making more money, growing your company, finding good employees. And developing an exit strategy. Give Dell an hour call. We’ll be happy to talk to you about next level coaching, and we’re going to see you on the next level. Yeah, no, I’m a, I’m a big believer in that one of my books has called the power of consistency.

The other one is consistency selling. So I’m a big believer in doing the little things. over and over. Obviously it’s really served you well. So you’re pretty well known, uh, for a couple of reasons, but one of those is really this inspirational electric leadership kind of thing you have going on. Talk to me about how important that was to this incredible story that you have, the leader in you and the way you do it and how important it is to your company and your growth.

Yeah, so I wrote this book, and I’m not self promoting, but the theory was, build a business where everybody wins. And I was reading a Darren Hardy book, and he explains when he was looking to find a woman that he wanted for his wife and the mother of his children, and the dream woman. He wrote down a hundred things he wanted in this woman.

And he put the way she smelled, her motherly features, the way she communicated, everything about her. And he reads this list out loud, and he says There’s no way I can pull a chick like this. She’s, she’s way beyond my level. So he had to write down a hundred things he would need to become. He would need to become a great communicator, an inspiring leader, a man of God.

He, you know, he figured out he’d have to love animals and he wrote down a hundred things to even be worthy of that. So I read that and I wrote down about 40 things I would need to become to be worthy of the people I wanted to have on my team. And I wasn’t there, so I worked every day on becoming a better leader.

Leading from up front. Leaders eat last these little things. And so when I wrote the book, I said, What does it mean to elevate everybody around you build a business where everybody wins the customer wins the vendors win I win the client wins the employee wins And I said my dream’s got to be so big That every one of their dreams of owning three cars and three houses and going first class to disney world Their dreams got to fit inside of my dream So when I start out a conversation, I say, what are your dreams?

What are your goals? What are your aspirations? What do you want out of life? Think about you’re 70 years old. You’re looking back. Where is the house going to be? How many bedrooms, how many Airbnbs are you going to have? Where do you want to go? Take your dad fishing or golfing where you want to spend time with your kids.

Let’s design the life you want. And then I’m going to show you what you need to do to hit those goals very, very quickly, KPI driven goals. And every time I’m dealing with these people that I call my family, my coworkers, I remind them, this is what you wanted. And sometimes I got to peel the onion back a lot.

They stopped dreaming a long time ago. So I’m figuring out what their goals, their dreams, everything they want out of life. And I dare them to dream bigger. They deserve more. Look at the mirror and say you’re worth more than you say today. You’re worth everything. They said you couldn’t have. And when we do that, The meetings are not what’s in it for me.

It’s what’s in it for you instead of putting them on a performance improvement plan. We’re talking about changing their life, designing the life they’ve always deserved. And not everybody’s a fit for me. I want people that want more, that are gonna show up at their best every day. We gotta have less alcohol.

We gotta eat better. We gotta take care of ourselves. We gotta get healthy. We gotta be focused. And if we do that, the guys, I’ve got a lot of guys that make well over 200 grand. We pay for their insurance. If you make it on the Pinnacle trip, we’re going next month, you get equity in the company. For my technicians, for my frontline, for my CSRs, for my dispatchers, it’s a special award to go to Pinnacle.

And when you make that, I want you to sit down and tell clients, I’m the owner now too. And this is a great company. So I don’t look at marketing as getting new clients. I look at it as how do I get the best of the best talent? Because when the talent comes and works for me, they get great reviews. They work weekends.

They’re networking for me. They’re recruiting other members. It comes easy. They’re, they’re, they’re high conversion rate, high average ticket, five star reviews. And that’s how I think a good leader should be thinking about business. Awesome. Well, and that’s part of the reason we’re so excited to have you out at EPIC this year.

And, uh, so talk to the folks about, uh, obviously you’ll be talking about your story and how you’ve done what you’ve accomplished. You’ll be talking about leadership. What are some of the other things you’ll be talking about EPIC? Because I, I, we’ve got people out there and they’re out there on the East Coast.

And it’s like, uh, do I want to travel all the way across the country to Disneyland and bring my family? Like, you know, what am I going to get out of this deal? Uh, I think they would get a great deal. I think anybody that gets 30 minutes, uh, in front of you is going to walk away a better person, a more enriched person, a smarter person, uh, talk to us, uh, in addition to leadership, what are some of the key things you’re going to talk about that the guy out there with the one and two and three million company needs to know to get to that next level, not even thinking to 200 million, but maybe even 10.

What are some of the things that he or she needs to do? Well, a lot of people, they don’t have, if I go to a lawyer, one guy, Is like charging 1, 500 an hour and he’s got jeans on, uh, literally not want a case. It’s in a shopping mall. I’m not going to pay him 1, 500, right? I got another guy I walk in, his assistant walks out.

They talk about their, their everything. They’re, they’re dressed in a three piece suit. They know every lawyer and every judge out there. Glad to pay. You show up with a brand that says Discount City. And if you don’t look the part, your ticket average is going to suffer. People are not branded correctly.

They don’t look the part. They don’t look like somebody I’m going to spend money. They look like somebody I’m going to get a coupon from. So you got to brand yourself correctly. Number two is track what matters. Most people aren’t looking at the right numbers. Their CRMs are not set up right. They don’t have any idea to do on Monday what they should be doing.

Most companies are losing their ass in their call center. They’re not answering form fills, Angie, Home Advisor, Thumbtack, they can’t make it work. They see none of this stuff works, they don’t understand the four algorithms on Google. I talk a lot about marketing and lead capture, and booking the phone calls.

I’ll show you, everybody says they need more leads. I’m gonna show you how to triple the money you have with the current leads you’re getting. And how to bring on a players, higher conversion rate, selling financing, which we call promotions. Did you want to use your money? Or did you want to use our money today?

We’ll show you guys how to do that. The technology I’m using this software called Sherp literally bringing me millions of dollars a month. The automations I’ve set up, the rehash campaigns, the calls we didn’t book that are calling back to book, the accounts receivable, the service agreements, the time it saves, the technology suite I’m using.

No one can keep up. So I’m going to share all this stuff. At your meeting and convention, like I just want to tell people if you don’t feel comfortable looking in the mirror, you keep saying you’re going to get in shape. You’re going to become a better dad or a better mother. You’re going to be more faithful to your significant other.

We’re going to talk about personal development and what you need to do. You need to be comfortable when you look in the mirror. When you walk in a room, people need to look at you and respect you. You need to be able to smile and have energy and become that leader you’ve always wanted to be. We’re going to talk a lot about that.

And I just want to inspire people. to leave a lasting impression with their family and remember why they started. So many people, I’ll tell you where you’re spending your time. I’m gonna look at your calendar and your credit card bills. You say you started because you wanted to give your kids a better life and give your wife or your husband a better life.

But then you look You forgot why you started. You say it to everybody. I’m doing this for my family, but I doesn’t show that you, you deserve to give your family everything you’re here for them and your family, hopefully is the people you work around as well. We’re going to talk about becoming healthy because listen, I used to say money, time, health.

And that was backwards. I used to abuse my body, burn the candle on both heads. It doesn’t need to be that way. And I’m going to share my story. Some people hopefully will take it and take action. Cause a lot of people go to these meetings. They got a lot of great notes. They get excited. They go back home and life slaps them in the face.

I’m going to give you guys a few things you can do today. to make a huge difference in impact in your business because you deserve to make a ton of profit. You deserve to make more money than you ever thought possible and help everybody’s dreams come true. That works for you. That’s great stuff, Tommy.

It reminds me of that old Ralph Waldo Emerson. Your actions speak so loudly. I can’t hear what you say and Um, a man, you are the personification of that. You’re not just talking the talk, you’re walking the walk. And I’m super excited for the EPIC attendees to get a chance to, to meet you and to hear from you and to learn from some of these lessons.

Before I let you go, Tommy, uh, what’s the one question that I didn’t ask that I should have asked you that people are, are, are going to want to learn from you and understand about you, uh, in Anaheim at EPIC. Oh, that’s a loaded question, man. I, the, the deal is for me is I’ve been very successful, but I’m super humble.

I’m still the same old guy you met 10 years ago. I just learned a lot since then. I think the fact is when I start a goal, I start with the end in mind and I reverse engineer it. Everything in my life is a math equation. Every single thing I look at, and I used to be afraid to go to the doctor. I really did.

I just didn’t want to hear about the bad news. And you know, I’m fairly healthy. I haven’t had much complications whatsoever, but I just didn’t like going to the doctor. And most people don’t like going to the doctor. Well, the financials, the balance sheet, the income statement, the P and L, the KPIs coming out of the system, those are the doctor.

Those are going to tell you where you need to be focused. And you know, if you catch cancer early, you got a 70 percent chance of beating it. My goal is to get people to love, and I know it sounds crazy, but start to love these reports. To start look, where’s the math? Where should I be focusing on the business?

I look at business like i’ve got a massive boat and I need to make it from point a to point b There’s a lot of holes in the boat. Where’s the biggest one where i’m just it’s flooding We’re going to focus on that. And so i’m just going to show you guys. Listen, I never liked Financial statements. I never really knew how to start with the end in mind and just reverse engineer But I want to show you guys how to do that because literally You don’t need to be a 200, 000, 000 company.

You could be, I’ll show you guys how to build a 20, 000, 000 company overnight. Overnight. It’s so simple. In any industry. Like, I get excited because everybody deserves this. We’re in the best time ever. 10, 000 baby boomers are retiring each day. For the next 5 years. 12 percent of them own a business. This is the golden era.

You guys should make it to this. This is gonna be an epic event. It’s the epic event. This stuff I’m gonna explain. It’s not complicated. I’m gonna dumb it down. So a fifth grader could understand it. And if you just take one thing and you apply it, your life will change forever. And it’s worth the travel.

It’s worth it to make it this event. I’m not going to BS. I’m going to be excited. I’m going to bring the heat. I’m going to be passionate and I’m going to share with you everything I know. There’s no questions off limits. So just show up, have an open mind and be ready to execute and we’ll get her done.

Mr. Tommy Mello. Successful author, successful entrepreneur, extremely powerful and dynamic speaker. Uh, we’re so grateful you’re coming out to epic and just want to encourage everybody to get out and see Tommy, learn from Tommy. Uh, you may not be Tommy, but you can be like Tommy, Tommy. So good to meet you and chat with you.

We look forward to seeing you Nana. Hi, my friend. Thanks. Well, then looking forward to seeing you as well. Awesome. Awesome content right there as always. Now, if you like this content, please share it with your friends on Facebook. And if you’re not a member, go ahead and click the button below to get a free 30 day trial of our entire contractor university platform.

We’ll see you next week until then, my friends, bye bye for now.

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