Luke – Door Tech
I was 27 making six figures running my own garage door business. Things were great! So why did I sell?
How I Started
I started in the garage door business in 2002 when I was 20 years old. At the time I was bar-tending at night and going to college during the day. My best friends brother owned a garage door company in Peoria, AZ and offered me a job. He said you can make more money doing this that going to college. Let’s just say he had my attention. I made the switch later that year. I continued to go to college two days a week and worked the other 5. When I started at Door Doctor, they had two employees. The owner and one technician, I made number 3. My training consisted of riding along with the technician for 30 days. In those 30 days we did everything from sales, service and installs of residential garage doors. After that I was given a truck, a Nextel walkie-talkie phone, and was sent out to my very first job. Day 1 I had a door install. Nothing crazy an 18×7 pan door. After 7 hours, 30 phone calls, and 136 bad words whispered under my breath I completed the job. With time I was able to hone my technical skills. My technical skills and more importantly my sales skills, or what I simply call people skills.
My Continued Success with Door Doctor
Over the next 6 years we grew that company from 3 techs working out of a shed in the owners back yard to 7 techs with a warehouse and the best-looking fleet on the road at the time. I learned to answer incoming phone calls, how to route multiple technicians, and a little bit about marketing a service business. All while running service calls myself. In 2009 the owner of Door Doctor decided to sell the business. The company was bought by a computer consultant who had big dreams to grow the company and franchise it. Well needless to say I lasted about 6 months there and decided I could do better on my own.
My Next Challenge
I made the jump and in November of 2009 and started Door Tech Garage Doors. I quickly learned that running your own garage door business was quite a bit more work than I anticipated. Not only was I the sole technician but I was the CSR, dispatcher, sales rep, accountant, web designer, installer, and every other role it takes to run a successful business. From the beginning I had vision and dreams of building a garage door empire. I would work 10-12 hours a day in the field and then come home and do paperwork, work on my website, post ads seeking experienced technicians, and many other tasks that needed to be completed. I struggled to find good experienced techs that would do it my way. So, I decided to train one from scratch. After burning through 3 trainees I quickly gave up on that idea.
A New Focus With Same Challenges
About 2 years into my venture I decided to pivot my sole focus in the garage door industry to custom built doors. I learned to build wood doors, copper doors, and rusted steel doors. Anything I could sell for a much higher dollar amount and take away some of the urgency of needing it done now. I built a team of skilled tradesman that would build the doors and had a team of 1099 contractors to install them. For the first time I was feeling some relief of having to do it all myself. I was able to now focus on the business instead of drowning in it. At least I thought, my time was now spent as CSR, dispatcher, babysitter of high maintenance techs, sales rep, and building relationships with custom home builders, re-modelers, and anyone working on high end homes. I was now 5 years in to having my own business, doing over $1,000,000 revenue, and growing every year. Things seemed to develop into a vicious cycle. I would hire a new tech, he would be great for a period, and then of course true colors came out. Thieves, drug addicts, and liars seemed to be all I could find. Don’t get me wrong over the years had my fair share of great techs but far more horrible ones.
Health Toll Downwards
This started taking its toll on me and my health. In 2016 I was under so much stress that my cardiologist was debating putting a pacemaker in to monitor my heart. Not to mention at age 35 I had more grey hair than most 50-year old men. The final straw for me, and remember this very vividly, I was on a family vacation with my wife and four kids in California. We went to Disneyland and the whole time I was answering calls and dispatching techs. I realized I had not had a real vacation away from my business in years. The vacation made me more stressed and was not enjoyable for anyone.
That is when I decided I would start looking at selling my business. I had no idea where to start so of course I talked to a broker to start. After talking to several different brokers, I decided that was not the route for me. I was not going to give a percentage of my business to someone who simply marketed my business. So, I did some more homework and came across WeBuyYourCompany.com. A very competitive garage door company with extensive markets. I was able to track down the owner’s email address and sent him an email. He was starting in the custom door business and I had a great thing going on that side.
Tommy the owner of WeBuyYourCompany.com quickly called me to discuss. We had several phone conversations to discuss different aspects of my business. I remember the first time I walked into Tommy’s place of business; I was blown away. Things I had never even though of he was doing. A call center full of CSR’s answering calls and dispatchers sending jobs to technicians. A massive warehouse full of materials. He talked about things like booking rate, close rate, average ticket, and a million other stats that I had never measured. I knew my business numbers from a profit and loss but that was about it. I knew from that moment that I wanted, no I needed to be a part of this. Tommy and I came to a quick and very reasonable deal for him to purchase my company. He paid a portion up front and the rest was paid monthly over a couple of years. He offered me a position as a door sales rep with a nice salary and lucrative commission package. It was a relief to see my company fall into such capable hands. We were able to execute everything I had dreamed of for my company in a fraction of the time. Fast forward 3 years and I am still employed and have made my way on to the executive team. I have to say I have never been happier to wake up each morning and go to work. We are blazing a new trail in the industry and doing what others said could not be done in the garage door space. Since that day I have no regrets or feelings of what if I didn’t sell. I know I sold my business to the right person, and I know I am right where I should be. I now finally get that treasured time with my family and was able to get that long overdue vacation to recharge.