Austin Clark is the Owner of Moxie Pest Control, a pest control company that provides customized service solutions that improve the quality of life for clients and communities. Moxie has locations across the continental US, including Phoenix, Denver, San Antonio, and more. Since joining Moxie in 2003, Austin has worked to expand the company, grow his team, and create leaders in the industry. Currently, Austin also is the host of the Multiply You Podcast.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Austin Clark discusses his business, Moxie Pest Control
- The systems and processes that Austin used to grow the Phoenix location of Moxie to unparalleled success
- Austin shares some details about the upcoming book that he is co-writing with Michael Gerber
- The importance of creating an effective system for client onboarding
- How Austin uses systems to boost productivity and create a sense of freedom for his team
- Austin’s advice to business owners on how to improve time management
- Austin explains the meaning behind his creative email signature: “Create a great day”
In this episode:
How can systems impact employee productivity and performance? What role does leadership play in scaling a business? As the Owner of a nationwide pest control company, Austin Clark knows the answers to these questions firsthand.
Using effective systems and processes, Austin scaled his business to unparalleled success. In just a few years, he turned one location into several and grew the company from $2 million in revenue into $26 million. Now, Austin is here to share his insights into how systems have impacted his growth and what they can do for your company.
On this episode of the Systems Simplified podcast, Adi Klevit talks with Austin Clark, the Owner of Moxie Pest Control, about the systems and processes he used to scale his business. Austin discusses how systems can positively impact employee productivity and what systems he leverages to help his business thrive. He also shares his tips on how to be a great leader. Stay tuned!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Adi Klevit on LinkedIn
- Business Success Consulting Group
- Austin Clark on LinkedIn
- Moxie Pest Control
- Multiply You Podcast
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
- 2 Second Lean: How to Grow People and Build a Fun Lean Culture by Paul Akers
- Paul Akers
Sponsor for this episode:
This episode is brought to you by Business Success Consulting Group.
At Business Success Consulting Group, we create custom processes and tailor-made management systems so businesses can thrive.
Businesses simply can’t survive without workable systems and well-documented processes. That’s why our team of experienced professionals takes care of it for you.
So, what are you waiting for? Do yourself a favor, and cut the chaos out of your business.
Adi: [00:00:00] So hello, Adi Klevit here with the system simplified podcast, where we feature top founders, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders about systematizing businesses. And today I have a very special guest Austin Clark. Hi Austin.
Austin: [00:00:17] Hey Adi
Adi: [00:00:17] How you doing? Good. Thank you for joining us. So first I want to let the listeners know that this podcast is being sponsored by Business Success Consulting Group, where we create custom processes and systems for businesses so they can grow and scale.
And also I’m sure you will agree that businesses cannot thrive without processes and procedures.
Austin: [00:00:44] Right. 100, 100%. You’re absolutely right. And that’s why you’re here.
Adi: [00:00:48] Cause we’re going to talk about that. So I would invite our listeners to go to bizsuccesscg.com and contact us. And now let’s start with the podcast.
So Austin, why don’t you introduce yourself? Let us know about your company, the name of your company and what do you do? And then let’s start talking.
Austin: [00:01:08] Yeah. Yeah, no, of course. And thank you Adi for having me on, I’m really happy to be here. Just, you know, exchanging the last couple of minutes before the show.
I think that we’ve got a lot in common. And I think that a lot of the same things in business principles as it relates to processes I think that, I think we value a lot of the same things, so this’ll be fun. But my name’s Austin Clark and I own a pest control company in Phoenix, Arizona.
It’s called Moxy pest control. Moxie is a joint venture type of company. And so what I mean by that is there’s about 25 locations nationally, and each location is individually owned and operated. And so all of the, the other partners, they have a principal partner or, or the founding partner. And then we have our physical locations or physical branches that we that we run and that we operate under a common website or a common brand.
And so. It’s it’s really been a neat humbling opportunity to be able to learn from such a great, capable, talented people. And then to really be struggling with a lot of the same sorts of things, whether it’s hypergrowth or employee types of challenges or talent development customers. I mean, you name it right.
If you have a business, then you have, then you have challenges and when it’s growing. You have even more challenges. And so it’s, it’s been, it’s been super rewarding and very, very fun. And I I started with the company back in, in 2003, the same year that I graduated high school and. Yeah,
Adi: [00:02:43] let’s, let’s talk about it before, when we talked before you, you told me this amazing number, so you started with a certain amount of customers, and now you grew and you not only your you’re helping with your location, you’re helping with all the other locations.
And I think that will tie into our. Shall we, I mean, I think, you know, both you and I are very obsessed with systems, right? We are, we are believers in systems and that’s what we want to talk about. So let’s talk first of all, about the results that you got, and then let’s talk about how systems helped you get to those results.
Austin: [00:03:15] Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and you’re right about that. We the, the Phoenix location started in 2011 and we started with no employees, no customers no vehicles that, you know, nothing just like every business starts. And as we grew it and scaled it for a couple of years, we, we kind of grew too.
Quickly and too messily. And we decided to kind of cool off the growth for a little while and focus more on the things that we’re passionate about ADI and the systems and the processes. And as, and as we did that in, in Phoenix we have internal scoreboards that help us to measure the health of a branch or the health of a company as it relates to either retention or growth or profitability.
And we started to climb to the top of those scoreboards. And what ended up happening is we had different partners that were really growing their locations and branches, and they said, Hey, you seem to, you know, have, have a knack for this. Do you think that while we scale and grow our companies, you could run them for us.
And we said, sure, we’d love. We love to be able to do that. And so, you know, back in 20 and this isn’t a long time ago, so it’s easy to remember. But back in 2016, 2017 we were about a $2 million company just in Phoenix, Arizona, as far as the one that I was managing a dozen or so vehicles on the road, five or six office staff you know, 3,500 or 4,000 customers.
And if you fast forward to today we manage 40,000 plus customers over 50,000 or 54,000 subscriptions. Probably about 75 office staff and our operation center. And probably about 200 or so plus surface people in, in seven different markets. So in either San Diego, orange County, Riverside County, Tucson, Phoenix, Cincinnati, and Columbus.
And so, and we’re managing about 25, $26 million in. In in business and we’ve learned a lot, we’ve grown a lot. We’ve broken some of the processes that we’ve put in place. And so we’re having to redevelop some of those. But it’s been a, it’s been a wonderful learning experience. And so that’s kind of where we were, where we are now and that growth should trajectory.
It’s not slowing down much over the next three or four years.
Adi: [00:05:32] So exciting. So it’s basically 12 X in three years of what you were before is this is unbelievable. And. Tell us also, you told me about this exciting book you’re working on. So tell me about that one.
Austin: [00:05:46] Yeah. Thank you for asking, you know, I have the opportunity one of my, I have a lot of favorite books, but one of my very favorites that was just so impactful and influential in the way that it’s just it’s shaped the way I think it’s shaped a lot of my behavior regarding.
Business and, and, and, and how to approach it. But it it’s Michael Lee Gerber’s book. The E-Myth and I’ve got the opportunity to be able to work probably about 25 to 30% of the way through it right now. But he and I together are co-authoring the E-Myth pest control contractor together. And so that’ll be available more towards the end of this year.
And that has been I think it’s probably a once in a lifetime opportunity, but that has been a lot of fun. Being able to work directly with Michael and to you know, really tout or bring to life. Some of the systems and processes that we feel have made us successful. I mean, he, he didn’t invent them, but he.
Put them into a format or a book or a story that made them come to life, not just for me, but for hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs so that they could you know, see some of the light at the end of the tunnel or sleep a little bit better at night and to have their businesses do what they were designed to do, which is to serve.
Their customer to serve the employees inside of them, the shareholders. And so, yeah, that’s, that’s been an exciting project
Adi: [00:07:10] that is so great. That is incredible. So when do you think the book will go? It will come out then
Austin: [00:07:15] we’ll probably wrap it up in the fall. I’d like to be able to have it done and out by this year, the goal is to have it out by the end of 2021.
But we’ll, we’ll see how quickly I can, I can ride in and work, but it’s coming together nicely.
Adi: [00:07:28] That’s great. That’s fantastic. So tell us a little bit about what your systems, what is your favorite system, or what are some systems that work for you?
Austin: [00:07:37] Oh gosh. I don’t know if anyone’s ever asked me what my favorite system is.
They’re all really, really good. I think that there’s I mean, quite literally hundreds of really unique things that we do. At Moxie that, you know, if you will, are our secret sauce, the, the real secret is that there is no secret sauce. It’s just doing all of the right things all of the time, over a long period of time.
I think that that’s how people become successful.
Adi: [00:08:03] Absolutely. You know, we work with a lot of contractors in, on one of the things that I find successful, like for successful companies is developing the system of customer onboarding, right? I mean, when a customer calls you, they want to be heard and they want to be serviced fast.
Right. And if you don’t, from my experience, if you don’t have a good predictable system to onboard to welcome a new customer or to take. Their information and getting to serve to service them fast, that can definitely reflect on the company. So I’m sure you have a very good customer onboarding or customer intake survey system, right?
Austin: [00:08:41] Yeah. I feel that we do, we have an entire team that does just that. And you know, here’s a, I think a real good real life example of that. And, and so I’m, I’m, I’m a customer of many people, you know, are, you know, subscribed to a lot of different things. And I want to say it’s a consulting group that we used to work with, but I subscribed to their monthly newsletters.
My name’s Austin, A U S T I N. It’s spelled on this newsletter. They forgot the you. And so it’s like A S T I N. And that’s not really that big of a deal. But I noticed, and I see that every time, because I, I know how to spell my name and it’s not the way that they’ve got it. And so perhaps there was a, you know, a fat finger as they say, or just an error, but, but it’s in incorrect.
And so, and that’s, that’s just my name, but what about the address? It’s problematic if you miss a digit on a, on an address. Or what about a digit on a credit card? How do you process payments? Or what about attention to detail? Right. As far as like customer preferences in their notes. And so yeah, customer onboarding is in parative that that will make or break possibly the entire customer journey about how people are, are, are, are onboarded.
Adi: [00:09:58] Absolutely. So, yeah, that’s the system like the intake system, you know, the dispatch system, right? I mean, the, and you also work on subscription, right? Because you have the customers that are subscribing on a yeah. That’s right. So the subscription app to be, you know, make sure that nobody, you know, that all being taken care of, et cetera.
So those are systems, you know, I just like to give example of systems, so our listeners are wondering what’s. The system that we’re talk about computer systems. Are we talking about systems in the business? And I always like to say, you know, it’s, it’s a combination, you know, you have to have a system and methodical way of how you do things.
So you have a methodical way of how you take client, like client intake, a methodical way of how you take care of your customers that are maintenance, right. And methodical way of how you take care of your accounts, receivables and methodical way of doing different things. Those are the systems. And then you can take it and you can automate it.
So it makes sense. And it is predictable, right?
Austin: [00:10:58] That’s right. Yeah. That’s exactly.
Adi: [00:11:00] So, so tell me about how do, how do you stop react to systems? Do they like it? Do they, do they feel more? How did it feel about it?
Austin: [00:11:11] You know, that’s a great question. I think that the answer of, you know, to that would vary depending on who you ask.
One of the conversation I, I was having with one of our managers just as early as today, just this morning is that, you know, we, we have a lot of systems or protocols in place that measure productivity. We want everyone here to be very productive. And so a few of my favorite systems. That revolve around people and productivity are our monthly scorecard reviews or our weekly feedback, board reviews and, and, and different things, or our daily training.
And, you know, it’s interesting to me people, at least in my organization, That are poor performers or C level type performers. I think all the organizations out there want a players and B players, and they want their B players to become a players and their C players. They either need to get out or get up to a B they feel.
And it’s probably true, but they feel more micromanaged. And so the, the system will actually set you free rules can free you. And so if you’re a poor performer, then you’re usually hearing a lot more either about your call points or production or whatever it might be. But if you are serious about results and developing your people and teaching them to be able to perform better or to be able to improve.
Then they don’t, they don’t feel micromanaged at all. In fact, they’re, they have a lot of autonomy. They have a lot of freedom and they feel good about themselves because everyone wants to do a good job at work. They want to, you know, employees, they really want just a couple of things. One. They want to have a great relationship with the person that’s directly supervising them so that if there are issues, they can communicate with that person.
And then eight players. They want to know every single day, week, month, quarter, year, where they stand as far as how they’re performing. Am I doing well? Am I not doing well? Am I ahead of pace? Am I behind? Am I. And so it’s, I feel our obligation and duty as either owners of companies or managers to be approachable, but then to allow our people to know where they are, even without us being there.
So that, so that they know, so that there’s no, no guests.
Adi: [00:13:30] Absolutely. It’s the predictability, it’s the consistency. And, you know, it’s a very good point that you brought up in terms of the systems helping people to have to be predicted, to have predictability, right. So it does not, it doesn’t block your creativity.
It doesn’t block your ability to operate the opposite. Right. It allows you to operate better within the company because you know the rules because we can all think about a game. If you don’t have rules, that game is really not fun. Right? Yeah. So that’s what you’re doing. You’re giving them the rules of the game, how to do it.
They don’t have to reinvent the game every single time. But they don’t also, but they also can express themselves and be creative and be themselves and be productive and come up with how to do things better and how to communicate all the soft skills that are basically being built on that framework are very much easier to do when you actually have structure.
So, yeah, I agree. 100%. So we talked about the E-Myth. I love that book as well. Any other books that you would recommend to business owners?
Austin: [00:14:41] You know, one of, one of the thoughts that I had as we were speaking, and I was listening to you there there’s another really, maybe you’ve picked it up or not, but anything that Paul Akers puts out there.
Is incredible. Paul is he subscribes to the lean and Kaizen type models of continuous improvement? He is a phenomenal speaker and author to two seconds. Lean is one of his books. You can find them all over YouTube. He does. Lean missions to Japan and you know, kind of, kind of takes things all the way back to the basics where you’ll go into our elementary schools and you’ll see these lean processes in place.
And so Paul Akers and anything that he puts out there is totally incredible. Have you, have you listened to any of his things or have you read any of his books?
Adi: [00:15:35] I haven’t been, I’m going now.
Austin: [00:15:37] Check it out. You’ll you, you might not sleep this weekend, so I hope you didn’t have plans. You’ll You’ll you’ll really enjoy it.
A lot of his things are, are, are just phenomenal. And it has to do with, it has to do with waste. And so I think at the end of the day on top of the predictability processes are designed. For us to be more productive and, and, and, and in turn less wasteful. And so if, if we look inside of any organization, physical or virtual or otherwise we can always be doing more with less.
We can always be you know, work either a little bit quicker or be a little bit more productive. And so you know, Paul has certainly influenced a lot of the way that I think regarding waste and you know, doing with the resources that we’ve got and doing and doing well.
Adi: [00:16:25] Sure, definitely.
That’s such a great point in terms of being more. Efficient and less waste. That is definitely being accomplished by having those processes in place by having those systems. I agree with you. So Austin, in terms of an advice, I always like to give some advice to our listeners in terms of, from your experience, you grew the company from five to six, from six staff to 75, you know, 12 X the revenue.
Now what let’s say, we have an entrepreneur, a business owner. That are basically are doing well, their produce they’re producing, but they feel like they’re spinning the wheels because they’re all the time constantly coping, you know, they don’t, they have no organization or they have little organization, but they feel like they can’t.
Take the break in order to organize. Right. Because that’s what you said, you said. Okay. So we decided, okay, we’re not, we are going to now organize because if you can’t organize, we can grow. So what advice would you give to that business owner? Like how, how would they start, you know, just think about you when you just started.
And it’s probably was like, okay. Phone call after phone call and customer of the customer and, you know, and chasing the next job, et cetera. But then, okay. Now, four years later with this organization, What would you tell that business owner? What should I do?
Austin: [00:17:46] Yeah. Great question. The, the, the first thing I would say is, is you’re not alone.
Lots of business owners have been there are there and, and that you can do it and take comfort in knowing that I’ve probably made every single mistake that you could possibly make. And, and that there is light at the end of that tunnel. I would really look at your time and how, and this is a simple exercise that I do probably twice a year or more often if I’m feeling overwhelmed.
So one of the things that I do not like to hear is when people tell me, Oh, I’m sorry, I just don’t have the time. If you think about that, that doesn’t make any sense at all because you don’t have, or time or, or not have time. Everyone has 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, seven days, we all have, we all have the same amount of time.
And so don’t, don’t buy into, you. Don’t have time. We all have time and it’s whether we’ve created the time or allow the time to be able to work on our business rather than in it. And so the exercise that I do is for three days from whenever I wake up 5:00 AM to when I go to bed 10:00 PM or whenever it might be, I write down every hour on the hour, what I’ve done in that hour.
And every single time I’ve done that, I have found that there’s things that I’m doing that could be delegated, that I shouldn’t be doing at all. That aren’t really important. And I find a couple of hours a day, every single time I do that. And so I would become very conscientious and protective of your time.
The second thing that I would say is you have to start somewhere and so think about the either question or. From employees or inquiry from customers and start with the lowest hanging fruit first and then design a process around that. Or a resource where people can self-serve themselves so that you don’t have to answer that question ever again.
You can do that with incredible professional help with people and firms and organizations at East, such as you, and what, and the work that you do, which is so important. You can do that. I mean, everyone has a smartphone, so if, if, if your organization is more. Visual, just buy yourself a selfie stick and start walking around and making processes out of a smartphone that you have and put it into Google drive or onto the cloud so everyone can have access to it or make a physical pro, you know, write it out on a piece of paper or put it in, you know, Google drive or wherever your learning management system or where wherever your knowledge base is.
Start somewhere, start with the things that are taking the most amount of time. If you need to hire someone to do it. Do that, if you don’t have the money to do that, find the money to do it and hire that person. And, and, and, and delegate and work work on the things that would provide the biggest return on your time.
And then go to the next one and then go to the gym and you do that for a decade. And all of a sudden, you’ve got. The whole library and things are humming along and, and and life is good.
Adi: [00:20:48] No, I can’t, I couldn’t agree with you more. First of all, that exercise on the time management, I do it and it is incredible.
It’s so eye opening, I tell my clients to do it as well. And after you make the list, you have to write next to it. I also like to have, like, you can even do a dollar value next week, like, okay. So that task, I just did. How much would you pay somebody to do it? That’s the dollar value of it. And you will find yourself doing tasks that you could easily delegate to somebody else.
And there are some of tasks that are basically you’re paying, you know, it’s kind of like it’s in the negative in terms of like actually gaining it, right. Because. If you are the Rainmaker, if you’re the business owner that actually are also is also the salesperson. It’s not only the amount of time that it takes you to do that task, but it’s also the lost income that you could have earned by doing something else that is more productive.
So I agree with you on that exercise. It’s tremendous. And I also agree with you on where to start. You have to start somewhere. So even if you take your phone, I love that advice. You take your phone, you start recording a certain process that you do. Or even use a tool like loom LOOM.com. Right? So you can just have it on your computer that you can record your screen.
So let’s say you are a bookkeeper and you need to Document your processes start recording. How you process payroll every week, start recording how you create an invoice, start recording those things. You will accumulate a library before you know it, right? And then it’s like five years later, you have it as opposed to having no time, no time, no time.
And you don’t have anything. So I think your advice is spot on and people can start doing it right away. And in closing, I would like to ask you one more question about your email signature, which I totally love, and I totally share that concept as well. So tell us how you sign your emails.
Austin: [00:22:37] My, my emails, they say create a great day and then signed me.
Adi: [00:22:43] Right. So tell us about, create a, get a great day as opposed to have a great day. What’s the difference?
Austin: [00:22:49] Yeah. Ha have a great day. I mean, that’s kind of like the time management piece. It doesn’t really make any sense. How, how can you have a great day? And so I think that when people wake up in the morning, we’ve got.
One of two choices we can allow ourselves to be acted upon or we can choose to have the day that we deserve or, or want to have, and so create it. And it’s you know, we, we, there, there is a gap between stimulus and response. And so while we might not be able to you know decide what happens to us, you know what I mean?
We can choose how we react to that. And so everyone inside of them has got the power to be able to create the day that they, that they want rather than have the day that they want. So everyone needs to be out there creating great days or creating the business that they want or create in the systems that they want that will lead to the business that they want or creating the relationships that they want.
And so that’s, that’s kinda where that. I didn’t know that you’d picked up on that. And that’s kind of where that comes from.
Adi: [00:23:50] I love it. That’s great. Absolutely. Very inspiring. So hope our listeners or viewers are going to create a fantastic day, a fantastic career, fantastic processes. And if they want to get a hold of you, what is the best way the website is right here below us, but any other contact information that you would like to add?
Austin: [00:24:12] Yeah. Yeah. They could reach out to me directly if they’d like my direct email is firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s probably the best way I’m on LinkedIn. You can find me there. Don’t go onto our national site and submit a form. I’ll never see it. But yeah, we’d love to be able to talk to anybody about anything that they’d that they’d like, or that they found that they found interesting.
Adi: [00:24:35] Fantastic. All right, Austin with thank you so much for being a guest on the podcast and our listeners listeners. Thank you for listening and we’ll see you next time.
Austin: [00:24:47] Thank you Adi.