Looking Outward: Finding New Perspectives in Other Home Service Industries


I have been very fortunate over the last few years to meet many amazing people in the home services industry. When I started the Blue Collar Nation podcast I never dreamed I would get to meet and interview so many highly intelligent and uber-successful people. I feel it is important to always be learning, so podcasting has been a labor of love for me. I have made it a practice of mine to always be on the lookout for new ideas and best practices from people with different experiences than my own. On the podcast I have learned so much from outside of our industry. I think all of us must get outside of our restoration bubble from time to time and find out what is working in similar industries. Therefore, I decided to dedicate this article to introducing all of you to some of the best minds in the trades whom you may not know about. My hope is I can turn you on to new names, new ideas, new platforms, and new ways of thinking which you can tweak and use in our industry. So, please let me introduce you to some of my friends outside of the restoration industry. Read their books, listen to their podcasts, and watch their YouTube channels. You just might get the golden idea to take your business to the next level.

Ellen Rohr, President of Zoom Drain franchise

I had the honor to have Ellen as my financial coach years ago. Ellen is a force of nature, and she has the resume to prove it. Ellen transformed her own Utah plumbing company from financial ruin to success, then went on to build the Benjamin Franklin plumbing franchise, and now runs Zoom Drain corporate. Ellen has written several books on home service finance. She has several great books: Where Did the Money Go?, Bare Bones Biz Plan, and How Much Should I Charge? Ellen’s down-to-earth style and non-judgemental attitude about getting your financial house in order is a must for any small business owners with fears and hang-ups about money.

Tommy Mello, Founder A1 Garage

Tommy is widely known in the home services space. He took his garage door business from 0 to $200 million in revenue. With locations in 19 states, Tommy has transformed the garage door industry. He is a frequent guest on many home services podcasts and the author of The Home Service Millionaire and Elevate. Tommy’s no-nonsense style and commitment to training and culture as growth tools are a breath of fresh air in the trades. Tommy also is the host of the Home Service Millionaire podcast.

Josh Zolin, Author of Blue is the New White

Former Hollywood stuntman turned restaurant equipment impresario, Josh Zolin has lived a varied life. Josh left Hollywood to work with his Dad in the restaurant equipment repair business. Having grown Windy City Equipment into a multi-state operation; Josh has dedicated himself to growing the trades. He is on a mission to get young people into the blue collar workforce. It is my opinion that Josh’s book, Blue is the New White should be required reading for every high school student in America. The book is a treatise on the true value of a career in the trades. Josh also is the host of the Blue is the New White podcast.

Al Levi, The 7 Power Contractor

Al Levi has forgotten more about the trades than most of us will ever know. His operating systems courses for trades businesses and the book The 7 Power Contractor have changed lives and revolutionized how many people run and grow their businesses. Tommy Mello hired Al to help him create the operating systems which helped him scale A1 Garage to $200 million a year. Al also has a podcast, The 7 Power Contractor Radio, in which he gives sage advice in every episode.

Ken Goodrich, Goettl and The E-Myth for HVAC Contractors

Ken Goodrich is a major player in the HVAC world. He has been building scalable home service businesses for decades. His most recent project has been the purchase and repurposing of Goettl, a former air conditioning manufacturer, and turning it into a home services juggernaut. Ken also is the co-author (with Michael Gerber) of the book, The E-Myth HVAC Contractor. The book serves as a de facto textbook for home service providers to learn how to build systems to scale and create turn-key businesses.

Chris Yano, To the Point Home Services Podcast

Chris is the owner of RYNO Marketing, a large-scale marketing firm that specializes in the home service industry. Chris is also the host of the To the Point podcast, which is my favorite podcast in the home services space.

Chris has great energy, has a list of guests that are the envy of most podcasters, and has the life experiences and down-to-earth style to make even the most complex topics available to all listeners.

Shawn Van Dyke, Profit First for Contractors

Lots of people are familiar with Mike Michalowicz’s best selling Profit First book. Did you know there is a companion book for contractors? Construction industry trainer Shawn Van Dyke teamed up with Michalowicz to write Profit First for Contractors. This book is a targeted deep dive into the topic of money management when running a contracting company. In addition to the book, Van Dyke also is the lead coach at Built to Build Academy.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and Your Industry to Grow

This is not a complete list of all the people I would love to tell you about as there are just too many bright minds to mention everyone. However, I think by engaging with the people on this list you can access many of the best minds in home service. We all owe ourselves the chance to step outside our area of expertise, set aside preconceived notions, learn from other industries, push ourselves beyond our comfort zone, and learn to question how we do everything so we can be the best we can be. Our world in restoration can be all encompassing. We all get stuck in ruts and thought patterns for months and, sometimes, years. Broaden your horizon with the amazing group of people listed above.

Ready, set, grow.

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Eric Sprague

Eric Sprague is a long time cleaning and restoration business owner. Having sold his service business in 2018, Eric is now Director of Education at Super Tech University and Co-Host of the Blue Collar Nation Podcast. Eric’s passion is help­ing service business owners and their field technicians be the best they can be and grow as people and service business professionals.

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