You may know Andy Mulder. Owner of Mulder Maintenance and Services. Mulder is bringing much more to the trades than top notch hardscaping. Tune in to hear how he leveraged both his prior knowledge, available resources, and wealth of connections to build a lean business that is rapidly growing day by day.
Eric Girouard 0:00
Hey guys, this is Eric and you're listening to bucket talk powered by BRUNT for 13 years, Andy molder had been working in learning a variety of landscaping jobs. But at age 26, he set out to build a business around his love for hardscaping. Tune into here I took a leap and built a career for himself, all while acquiring zero debt along the way. This is bucket top weekly podcast where people who work in the trades and construction that aren't just trying to survive but have the ambition and desire to thrive. The opportunity to trades and construction is absolutely ridiculous right now. So if you're hungry, it's time to eat. We discussed what it takes to rise from the bottom to the top with people who are well on their way and roll up their sleeves every single day. I am here with Andy molder of molder maintenance and services. He is the owner operator and he's based out of Indiana. I'm super excited about today's show, because Andy's one of the first guys that I started following on Instagram, I don't know, three or four years ago, because I have a personal passion and hardscaping and landscaping. And his work is top notch. So Andy, just want to thank you one for taking time out of your day to talk to us, but also probably in like the busiest time of the year for business that you have.
Andy Mulder 1:14
And oh, thank you, Eric. I'm really looking forward to this. I didn't know you've been following me that long. That's cool.
Eric Girouard 1:19
Yeah. Yeah, I love it. I love it. A what you I tried to do and hack what you do at a professional level. And so I get it, I get inspiration from from the right way to do it. And then I figure it out on my on my end and it doesn't look quite as nice as your stuff. So before we get into all things molder maintenance and services, bring us back to who you are where you know, as far back as your as you want them, you know where you grew up, and then we'll translate translate that into how you got to where you are today.
Andy Mulder 1:49
All right, yeah. So I grew up in Cedar Lake, Indiana, graduated high school in oh five. I while I was in high school, I was working for a guy that went to our church. He asked me if I wanted to work on Saturdays and stuff. And he owned a landscape company. And so I started working for him when I was about 15. He'd picked me up on Saturdays, or in the summer, he picked me up and and I'd go and work with his crew or work on Saturdays around the shop and stuff and really started to love the industry and things like that. So so then fast forward, I graduated in oh five, I went full time for him. I school wasn't really my thing, I decided that, you know, I just didn't want to go to college, I wanted to get out of high school as soon as possible. And then, fast forward a few years I met and married my wife in Oh 808. And oh nine, we got married in oh nine. And then I was still working for that same guy. So I basically worked for him for about 13 years as pretty much the only job I had ever had, and decided that we really wanted to start our own business. Some of that started from my passion, our me and my wife's passion of debt free living. And we knew that the only way that we were going to be able to the original plan was to maybe stay in by that guy's company
Eric Girouard 3:15
over those 13 years. What we did, was it all the same worker didn't transition at all to different print avenues and things or was it all kind of steady stay the same? Yeah, so
Andy Mulder 3:22
it was mostly in the I would say in the prime of my career there. We were doing a lots of commercial work, lots of fast food restaurants, a lot of the same plant material over and over again. You know, we did a lot of different things, honestly. I mean, it was just all over the board, we did not do a lot of lawn maintenance. And then when the economy started going down our hours were getting cut back a little bit. We weren't working as much. And my last year working there, which would have been 2013. We started doing a little bit of hardscape work here and there. So I was learning starting to learn more about that. And we were still doing some commercial work, commercial work. But it was I was getting to the point where I really wanted to do more i wanted to i didn't just want to just do a cookie cutter landscaping or go out there and late, you know 20,000 rolls of erosion, Matt. Yeah, I just I wanted to do more. I knew I wanted to do more. I wanted to make more money. We mean my wife at the time decided okay, well the only the only way that we're going to be able to buy his business is to go into a bunch of debt. So and that's not something I'm willing, I was willing to do and we wanted to start our own company debt free and that was a huge instil is a huge passion of ours. And we knew that the only way to do that was to start from nothing. So that's what we did. So in 2013, we started the company, I was still I was doing side work. So the last year before I went full time I was doing side work. I had somebody that was doing some lawns for me while I was working my day job and then working nights and afternoons and weekends. And whenever I couldn't do jobs were doing that. My last winter would have been 2013 2014. And then I went full time, April 1 2014. And, yeah, so that was we had our first our first child in 2012. So the year before I started, we had our first son. And so there was a lot going on, at that time to start your own business from nothing and have a one year old. And you know, it was just a lot.
Eric Girouard 5:35
So it sounds like it was a good transition where you were still working there. You were getting your feet, you know, feet under you on and then you almost had like a two year transition where then you were able to kind of cut make the full time jump. It wasn't like an immediate Hey, let's, let's exactly jump in hope it works. Yeah, exactly. I knew it was gonna work.
Andy Mulder 5:54
Exactly. And at the time, I spent a lot of time listening to the Dave Ramsey show. And there was a guy that used to work for him called his name is john a cuff. And he had wrote a book around that time, I believe that talked about starting your own business. And I'll never forget things, he would always say you need to pull the boat as close to the dock as possible before you jump off. And so and that's what we tried to do. I knew if I wanted to be debt free, I needed to have a cushion in the bank. I knew what it what it took for us to live, you know, month, a month, and I had two jobs booked. I think I that spring, I had two jobs booked. We built the tree house, and we built a seeding yard and a drainage job. And then I had a complete new construction job that was booked. And then I had 10 million accounts. And otherwise, that's that's all I really had booked on the books. And I had 20k in the bank, and we said let's do it. Wow. And yeah, soEric Girouard 6:56
that's exciting. In a child at home. a one year old at home. Yes, exactly. Yeah.
Andy Mulder 7:03
Yeah. So you know, but my wife was working part time. She still works part time. But, um, so yeah, I mean, that's, I tell people that all the time, if you're going to start your own business, you need to have a plan. And don't just think it's just going to happen. I mean, you got to prepare, and you have to, you know, like I said, pull the boat close to the doc as possible, because you have a family that's relying on you. And I mean, a lot of people that not everybody does, but and that's what it takes, you gotta you can't just hope it's gonna work. You got to you got to think about it and make smart decisions. And, you know, that's what you got to do so,
Eric Girouard 7:40
so it sounds like you started off with a couple just, you know, a treehouse, such as of all things so it's just funny to think about. Now, you know, now what I see on all things social, you know, we got a big hardscaping business, you got your land, you know, core landscaping business, how did the business what was the plan to start it out? Which was a little bit of, hey, we're gonna figure this out to, to where it evolved to today. And do you are the things you turned down because like, hey, I need to focus on X, Y, and Z we're taking you know, or you don't turn things down, because we're like, hey, that's an opportunity.
Andy Mulder 8:12
Yeah, so I in the beginning, I would take anything Honestly, it didn't I, I hadn't done like I said the last year at my old at my company I worked for we did a little bit of hardscaping. But I knew we weren't doing it, how it should be done. And I knew that there was a lot of technology that I wanted to invest in for that. And so when we started I think the first year we definitely did. We did like one pay one or two paver patios, I think, and that was really the, you know, I learned a little bit. You know, I learned as I went, I went to different seminars and tried to, I don't I think I was on Instagram a little bit, but it wasn't really a big thing then and you know, I in the beginning, you got to take everything you can get right so i would do literally anything and then it's just kind of morphed into we're, I would say a high end hardscape contractor but I'm also you know, next week, I'm going to go do a culvert I have installed for somebody. So I'm still doing a lot of different things. And some of that has to do with the equipment we have and sometimes you get equipment and work finds that equipment but our bread and butter and what we're I would say we're the best that is high end. Residential hardscape work Yep. We don't have a lot of guys I have four guys that work for me two of them all grass full time. And then I have two guys that helped me with hardscaping. And that's that's pretty much I have one last guy than I did less than I did last year. Last year. I had the most guys I probably had six or six or seven last year on average, but it really six last year but I went down to four this year on average, because I the equipment we've invested in has allowed us to do that. And Yep, I have really come to love this size and people are are hiring US based on that kind of personal feel. And that's what I want to keep building on So,
Eric Girouard 10:08
and then so I've dabbled, personally, you know, I've done my backyard, I did, you know, paint my own circular paver patio with a fire pit in the back and then build some retaining walls with the 50 pound bricks. You know, two or three years ago for weeks, you know, my back was sore, all that stuff, you guys, it sounds like early on you were doing it that way. But you've got you've made the investments and a lot of a lot of equipment that it sounds like not only makes you guys more efficient, is better on your body, but allows you to get a lot more stuff done probably faster by by leaning out, you know, where people would say, Hey, I don't want to buy that that machine or that piece of equipment because it's expensive. But you It seems like you figured out, hey, you can make that investment, it'll actually pay back and relatively short
Andy Mulder 10:48
time. Exactly. The first let's see, I was three years ago, maybe four years ago, I borrowed a mini excavator from a buddy of mine. And we were doing this big pool hardscape job and I had a bunch of digging to do. And there was a bunch of retaining walls, and I borrowed his mini excavator for that job. And right away, I'm like this is, I mean, I don't know why I've landscaped so long, or hardscapes along or whatever. Without one of these. I mean, we only ever had track machines, or tire machines, or whatever. And anytime you build a retaining wall, you're using the shovel, and you know, whatever. And so that job, I'll never forget using that. And I just knew that I have got to get myself a mini excavator. That's why I started my business with a case 2000 or I mean a 1998 case 1845 C, which I still have today. But that's what we started with. I bought that machine this the winter before we started. And for like 11 grand. And that's kind of how we got started. I think that was huge in our kind of jumpstart. Yeah, because we were able to, we had a piece of equipment to do grading and do this and that it didn't cost a lot of money. And we were able to do a lot of work with that machine. And I still use it, you know, for a shot machine now. But anyways, so we got our track machine. Like I said, I've built the business being debt free, so I only buy equipment when I can pay for it. So it takes me a little bit longer in the beginning. But once you get those pieces of equipment, it's like a snowball. And if you're charging correctly for those pieces of equipment, once you get your first one, it just snowballs on itself because you start doing things faster, you're making more money, you're able to if you if it's paid for, you're able to keep more of the money you're making, and then buy the next piece of equipment. And that's how we've built the business. I think one year we bought the track machine. Next year, I bought a mini and then I then then Tom Gar dakki got his end con. And I saw that I saw that on YouTube. And I said I don't care what it takes. I have to have that. That's that's that piece of equipment as changed. completely changed our business. Really? Wow. Oh, yeah. It's, I've, like I said, I've been able to go down guys and do more. There's just so many things we use that thing for and do things so much faster than what it used to take. I mean, it's just mind blowing between that and our we have a canny calm, pivot Dum buggy, those two pieces of equipment are will change your business in my opinion and get rid of you can lose two guys by having those two pieces of equipment. Yeah, I mean it's a huge investment you know, so it took me a while but I tried it in my first mini after the first year I had it for a year and then I saw the tail rotator I'm like, this is what I need. And so I had to get a bigger a beggar mini with a I didn't want to put the tiller rotator on a machine without a cab. So I got one with a cab. I was the first one I'm pretty sure in the whole state of Indiana or Illinois, I think that had one. And so encom you know they send sent somebody to my dealer to put it on. You know, I still think people in our in my area think I'm crazy for you know, but anybody that looks up how much they are anybody know how much everybody wants to know how much something costs, and they don't see the opportunity cost? And they don't? all they see is the number they don't think about the possibilities. And I try to tell people that.
Eric Girouard 14:32
Well, if you were if you were a cowboy, it'd be different. But since you build your business, so you know, you're debt free, it shows you and make a decision like that. And if it wasn't a smart decision, right, so if anyone can tell that story, I think you're the perfect person to tell it.
Andy Mulder 14:47
Every time I buy something, it's a risk because I'm throwing out all that money to buy it but with big risk comes big reward I think and it has been, like I said the best piece of equipment I've ever bought. And and what were able to do with it, I can plant trees by myself and never get out of the machine and something that used to. I mean, I think about every time I plant a tree with a mini, I think I can't believe all the trees I've planted without this by hand with a shovel, it's just so much faster, I'm putting a tree in the ground and 10 minutes or 15 minutes. And it used to take two hours, because you're digging it by hand or whatever. And I those kinds of things are game changers. If you want to make money in this business going forward, you have got to invest in things like that, because you will get left in the dust in my opinion. And I've heard Tom say the same thing. I can't understand why excavators in our area, even that are going to house foundations or whatever, like all this stuff, I just can't even wrap my mind around why they're not doing something like this. And it's just, it is what it is if that they there's they're stuck in their ways, or they don't see the opportunity. I don't know what I don't know what it is. But they just have their mind that they have to have somebody in the trench with that grade rod. And they're not investing in lasers for all this great, you know, grade control stuff. And that's my next thing is I want to get a grade control a Trimble system or something on my excavator and, and I'm not digging house foundations were digging, you know, stuff for retaining walls and all this drain, you know, we do some drainage work and things like that. But, you know, when I'm on the jobsite, I'm looking at, okay, I have a guy, I'm paying by the hour to sit in that trench, and hold the grade rod and keep track and grade. If I had a great control system, whatever it costs, that guy can be going to do something else. Right, you know, Ryan, or I don't need him there. Yeah, that's how I want to continue to build a business is by equipment, and things that help us do our job faster. And I'm not getting any younger. So whatever can lift something better, or faster. I mean, I'm, I'm all my guys love the equipment, because you don't feel like you're going to die at the end of the day, you know,
Eric Girouard 16:53
right, right. And long, the long term, you know, we're here in the body is now put on the machine instead of instead of you and your guys, a lot of people ask me how, you know, howAndy Mulder 17:01
are you doing this debt free. And, you know, there's so many things that lifestyle choices, and we started personally debt free. And you know, you live below your means, and you don't buy everything in sight. And, and but it's a snowball effect. You know, it's just, once you start, if when you start that way, you can continue to grow, and you make more money and keep the money that you're making, which allows you to invest more in equipment and things like that. And I'm not saying it works for everybody, because I know it doesn't, but that's how it works. That's how it's worked for me. And I know anybody can do it if they if they do those types of things. Yeah,
Eric Girouard 17:41
not to mention the, you know, my guess is you and your wife sleep pretty well at night, and you're no debt, no pressure, you can, you know, if you're if you're financed up to your gills and levered up, you have to run that equipment and you have to do something, you know, you're a That's right, you're, you're at Mercy to you're paying your bills. And so you can do what you want.
Andy Mulder 18:02
Exactly. And that's been a big motivator from when we started is I knew that I didn't want to own stuff that forced me to work, no one can take my equipment away from me and you know, come wintertime, if it doesn't snow or whatever, it doesn't really matter. Like I just don't, I want to be able to go out there and do what I love and not do it because I have to make the next payment. And that's just how I've, how we've decided to build the business and how we want to live and it's very, I have, I just don't i don't stress about I don't stress about the next job or I don't I'm not stressed because I have to get in if I don't get this next job, which you know, I'll do it a little cheaper because I have to have this next job. You know, right. It's, it all plays into that, you know?
Eric Girouard 18:49
Yep, yep. Awesome. So this has been, it sounds like an incredible kind of journey you've had so if you could pinpoint and I use probably a lot but what's the most pivotal, pivotal moment in your career of building a molder maintenance and services if you can, if you can put your finger on it.
Andy Mulder 19:09
So yeah, I three years ago, there's a landscaper around us. I put up post on Facebook that I was looking for a enclosed trailer and I want to know what kind of brands you know, I'm looking what kind of brand to buy for an enclosed trailer because I wanted to get one for our hardscaping crew. And so this guy, he has one of the I would say one of the biggest landscape companies in our area. I knew of him I had never met him. I knew of him just from you know, talking, seeing him around and seeing his trucks around and talking to dealers about you know, different things and you get to know people and so he messaged me and said that, you know, you're welcome to come over and look at our trailers. You know, he had like seven mowing crews and six hardscape crews, they have a huge company and so I went over there on a Saturday and met him and We looked at the trailer for 10 minutes, and we sat in his office for three hours. And he pretty much that day changed my company. We started talking about numbers and bidding and how to price correctly and my mind was just completely open to how to run a business, how to bid correctly, and how to account for all your costs and so many things. You know, I didn't go to college. So I missed out on a lot of business classes, and things like that. Because of that, I completely changed. I mean, this was the second year into my company. Yeah. Second year. Yeah. So the only thing I had known before is where I had worked before. And the little bit, I had learned from different pricing things I saw or heard of, otherwise, I really didn't have much to base off of, and I didn't know a lot about that stuff. And so after that, we continue to have meat for lunches. And we still, I mean, we still meet for lunch, at least, you know, four or five, six times a year. And he's been one of my great friends. And he's a huge mentor for me. And I always tell him if I you know, it's the best trailer I ever went looked at because he changed my business. I mean, it's Right, right. And he's literally I mean, we can we've competed against each other on jobs before he just, he has decided he likes to mentor people that like to learn and don't think they know everything. And I, you know, I told him, You know, I like to, you know, if you go to the gym, you don't want to have your trainer be you know, overweight and you know, 600 pounds, you know, you want to train, you want to train for the the leanest, meanest guy in the gym. Right? Right. Right. You know, if I'm gonna listen to someone and and take their advice I want to learn from someone that's killing it in the game, and has built a successful business from nothing. And, you know, he's probably one of the most expensive landscapers in the area, but they do high end work. And he's learned how to scale it. And yeah, continue that quality. And that's those are the guys I want to listen to. So when I when I sit down and talk to him, I shut my mouth and just listen. You know? What, I don't know as much as him.
Eric Girouard 22:14
Yeah, so it sounds like it could have been, you know, it was unusual circumstances. Because, you know, the best the people that are the best in the industry aren't afraid of competition, because it makes you know, competition breeds excellence. And it makes makes it you coming up from behind makes him push and push. But you ran the you ran the risk of him saying, hey, you're gonna be my direct competitor, get the hell out of here or giving you information but right, but I think it's interesting, you ended up finding a mentor and someone and, and my guess is based on how good it was for you, as you continue to become, you know, a titan in your, in your industry in area. You might send that elevator back down to the next, you know, the young up and coming. Andy molder, you know, kind of right now.
Andy Mulder 22:55
Right? And yeah, and I just, I've learned so much from him and think about him doing that. And it, it's honestly, that's true, we're going to look at that trailer, change my business. And I just, I'm always learning from something from him, it's nice to be able to call somebody local, and ask different questions and bounce ideas off of each other. Whatever, you know, that that that is was a very pivotal moment in my business. And I would not be where I'm at today. Without him. I think I would, you know, I want to grow the business debt free. But if you don't charge correctly, and account for everything and have good numbers and job costs, you won't, you won't be able to continue to build your business, you know, yep, you'll always be always be working for a paycheck, not your business.So
Eric Girouard 23:42
yeah. So awesome. So you built one of you, it sounds like you've built one of the most stable businesses that I've I've known, you know, get free you control yourself, you're not super concerned about next job. But you know, running and owning and operating your own business always comes with its challenges. So what's the biggest thing that keeps you up at night that you're trying to solve right now whether it's you know, new equipment or problems with employees, or you know, what someone like you who's in your chair? What are you facing right now, that's, that's the biggest thing on your mind.
Andy Mulder 24:13
The biggest thing that I'm struggling with lately is deciding to grow or not more than we are. I have a part time office person now and I have a part time. You know what we call it a finance manager. She does all my billing and Job Costing and then my no buy part time office manager does answers phones and things like that. And that was a big thing to add on this year with someone that was answering the phone every day and take up that took a huge load off my plate. But going forward, I need to decide. I've always deciding or trying to decide, you know, what do I want it to be? How big do I want it to be? And what is it going to take to do that and I'm always struggling with that. You know, if I want to grow more from here, I need Double of everything I have right now. And that costs a lot of money. And I'm not going to do that. So if I want to do that I basically need to recreate what I did when I started. And, you know, I, the I think the workload is there, and the calls that are there, the calls are coming in, I think, to do that to add another crew or something. But I don't know if I'm built for that. And my family is built for that. And if I really want that, so that's what I'm struggling with.
Eric Girouard 25:29
Yeah, no, no, I think that's a good, that's a good battle to be, you know, a lot of people get the call, and they'll just, they'll just chase the growth. But I think thinking about it the way you are, is, if it's gonna happen, you're gonna make you're gonna decide to make that leap. And you might also say, Hey, listen, I like I got a great company, it's stabilized, I control my own destiny have a great family life balance, like, why would I screw this up? Right.
Andy Mulder 25:52
And I think I don't want to just grow the business, just to grow it. I just, I am happy with what we're doing. But I also don't want to be, you know, I I've heard people say, if you're not growing, you're dying, you know, and I think just be, you know, I think you can be growing in other ways than just the size of the company. And I think that's what I need to I want to do for a while. But I just, I don't want to, you know, get to the end of my career. And, you know, wish that I spent more time with my family, or, you know, I'm never going to say, oh, man, I wish the company would have been bigger, you know, like, right, just what, you know, the main reason I do this is to better my family life and to let's because I love it, you know, and I don't I don't want the company to run me, I want to be able to take off when I want to do or whatever. I just, I have often seen guys that have larger companies. And to me, it looks like it runs them. And I don't want that.
Eric Girouard 26:58
Yep. Yeah, no, that's good. That's a good piece of advice. I, it takes a lot of humility, to have that thought that that, you know, strong perspective on something like that. So I think that's great. Obviously, finances have been critical to your entire, you know, almost my entire career from how you started the business. finances are the usually the least amount of fun for anyone that started their own business and any kind of skilled trades or construction business, it sounds like you are unusually have a good grasp on that. Even though you know, like you said you didn't go to college, you learn this purely just by experimenting and following. But what's your advice? You know, your personal advice was, hey, live well below your means, which is just, you know, always the smartest piece of advice, but people have, what's some advice on business finances and managing that process that helped you grow your business for some of these folks that, you know, when they look at starting a business like I can do, I can do all the work but finances and that's, that's, that's the hard part. That's the reason I can't make the jump? How did you conquer that part of the business?
Andy Mulder 28:00
Job Costing is huge job costing and having an accountant or whoever does your books or whatever, doing what's called like a job, a cash projection. That's not something I have every week from my finance manager is a cash projection that shows deposits that are in AR, where the where every account is shows money that you have in, you know, reserves, here and there for different things, shows what you what do you have coming in and what you have bills that are going to have to be paid, and basically an overview, a snapshot of where your company is that week, and then Job Costing. And those two things have been huge for me, knowing where we're at, so that I can make informed decisions on what I want to buy, or if I can buy it or, you know, have, you know, you know, do we have the money reserved for taxes coming up for the next quarterly? different things like that? Yes. Always, always knowing where you're at, and not just getting to the end of the quarter or the end of the year and saying, oh, how do we do? Yeah. And I think Job Costing is he is so important. Because if you don't know how your how you did on a job throughout the year, I don't care if it's a job that took you two days or a day, you should job costs it because you're going through the year, you think you're doing great. And if you don't job cost right away, you could put out 15 more estimates the same way you are estimating and you can't fix the problem until those jobs are done because you already got the job. Right. And so it's so important to be Job Costing job to job the job and reviewing those because you don't want to get down the line and have the rest of the year you're booked based on what you Were bidding and you didn't notice a problem and it's too late you just your whole year is done and you didn't fix the problem that you didn't know you had got. And so I think that's so, so important. Is Job Costing and making sure you're making money. And if there's a problem, figure out the problem and fix it before you send out your next bit.
Eric Girouard 30:20
Yeah, and the high level high level on Job Costing That is right, hey, here's obviously what the client is paying us. But here's all the labor that's gone into this my team and my employees, my myself, the materials, the subs or anything, it's based, exactly loading it, and seeing how much you made on that to determine exactly.
Andy Mulder 30:38
And if you know, and if you know, your overhead costs, you can figure that in based on the amount of days or hours the job took. And so yeah, your overhead and you can find out your exact net profit. And if it's where you want to be, you can easily take your taxes out of that, and on a rough estimate, and you can find out exactly what money you're making on every single job. And if it's not where you want to be, well, shoot, we better fix it. Because I already have I already have five jobs booked for the year at that pricing. I don't want anymore. Because we didn't make enough or, or or whatever, you know, so yeah. You know, I I've said, I've said this before, I'm not I don't do this for exercise, you know, we're in business to make money. Yes, we love what we do. But you don't want to do you don't want to own your own business and work this hard and not make money because it's just not worth it.
Eric Girouard 31:30
So this has been incredible. I feel like I got the full picture of the man behind the scenes that I've been following on it, you know, from a social perspective, which is incredible. And I said, you know, you've got one of the most sound business heads in your shoulders for the way for the type of business you're building and how you want to build it and how you manage it on a daily basis.
Andy Mulder 31:48
Yeah, and you know, it's not. And I didn't do this by myself, I mean, my finance manager, who actually is my sister in law, she's taught me a lot and showed me a lot. And the guy that has mentored me and showed me a lot. And I wouldn't be where I'm at without the people that are in my life. And that's just huge. You can't do this stuff by yourself.
Eric Girouard 32:11
Yep, no, I love that. Yeah, totally. Like, I just got my, my college degree and I'm older maintenance and services. But so let's lighten it up a little bit and get to know Andy a little bit better. So one question we always ask everyone is if you could spend 30 minutes with anyone in the world, living deceased, past present, Celebrity, whatever, who would it be and why?
Andy Mulder 32:38
The first thing that came to my mind is I'd love to sit down with Dave Ramsey for 30 minutes and talk to him about how he's running his bat business with his family. And how he has done that I and seems to do it very successfully. I look up to him a lot, and how he's built his business. And I think that there's just personal things that you know, I'm sure he writes books about everything, but I would just love to hear some of that stuff straight from him and bad, or I'd love to sit down with a previous president or something and just understand this year about the stress and what it feels like to have that weight on your shoulders.
Eric Girouard 33:16
I had a feeling you were gonna say Dave Ramsey
Andy Mulder 33:19
cliche, it's cliche, it's cliche of course. But you know, it's no he's changed guys done something. He's done something incredible. And I want to learn from people that are doing it better than me.
Eric Girouard 33:29
So yep, yep. When you're not working, you know, crazy hours bidding and even going home and then do it and you know, even landscape work on the computer when you're finally able to unwind and unplug and spend some time with your family or yourself. what's what's the big thing you like to do?Andy Mulder 33:48
What's your release, me and my family we try and go on one or two vacations a year we take our boys with I have an eight year old and a almost four year old boy. And we've been going on vacations you know, like I said twice here we go into like an all inclusive and that's been amazing. I know that's not day to day, but those times have been huge for me because I can really shut off my phone and close my mind and just be with them with honor. With no interruptions. That's huge. And then lately my boys have been really into riding four wheelers and playing outside and just different things like that. And I've just really enjoyed those times we've
Eric Girouard 34:26
been having and yeah, even I even followed your how to mod your kid trying to mod my son Power Wheels based on what you did, and I ended up buying that was one of the things that got me excited.
Andy Mulder 34:41
Yeah, and they just love that stuff and just spending time with family. I just, I probably don't have enough hobbies are I work a lot? And this question really brings you back home and thinks Okay, well. I need to remember that life's not all about work.
Eric Girouard 34:57
I appreciate you taking time out of the middle of your workday with is busy, especially this time of year. And I think this has been incredibly eye opening for not only how you build your business and what molder maintenance services become, but your approach to it is somewhat unique and sounds good on paper and when you read, but a lot of very few people can actually pull it off and execute it and live by it. And it seems like you do that on a very strict basis. And it's allowed you to, to live the life life you want on your own terms with with your wife, and your family. Thanks, man. I really appreciate being on here. And I hope it's helpful for somebody. Absolutely. And we'll, we'll be you know, all week we'll be we'll be tagging you and all this stuff. So for any of the listeners out there that want to reach out to Andy himself, you know, feel free to find his his site, his social accounts and all that stuff. Hopefully. We'll talk soon and definitely we'll be staying in touch awesome.
As odd as it sounds, Church was what launched Andy’s career in landscaping. At 15, the owner of a landscaping business and fellow perish member offered Andy a saturday gig working some landscaping jobs.
Based in Crown Point, Indiana, Andy continued his career in the trades post-high school, and a few years later he and his wife were at a crossroads. They could either try to buy the landscaping business he had worked at for years or start their own. To acquire the current business, it would require Andy to go into debt. While some take that risk, Andy wasn’t about to take that step.
Learning personal finance from the likes of Dave Ramsey, Andy took on the challenge of building his business debt-free. A slow transition, it wasn’t another two years until Andy finally launched Mulder Maintenance and Services. His next challenge growing and scaling his business in a lean and efficient manner, a constant challenge in any industry let alone hardscaping.
“I wanna go out there and do what I love, and do it not just to make the next payment….I’m not stressed to do the next job, I’m not going to do a cheaper job because I am too stressed to do the next job..”
To do this, Andy leverages heavy equipment. Close with the likes of Tom Gardocki, Andy has acquired a range of heavy equipment apt to carry the weight of his business.
“It's a high risk..high reward, but it pays off...” Where human power can’t do the job, Andy’s carefully curated machinery can. This allows him to complete jobs efficiently without added manpower and apply the man power in the areas needed most.
Andy’s success hasn’t been completely self-guided, however. After reaching out to a competing landscaping company in hopes of attaining a trailer, he met with the owner and took a younger Andy under his wing.
“I didn't have much to base off of..I didn’t know about that stuff...I never went to college so I never really took those business courses…I started talking to this guy about numbers and bidding, and how to price correctly...so many things I missed out on….because of that I completely changed my business..”
It’s this experience that makes Andy much more than just any old business owner. Andy first caught the attention of Bucket Talk via instagram. There he’s collected a hefty following, indoctering anyone willing to learn with the knowledge they need to go out and do what they love each and every day.
Tune in to learn more about Andy, the insights he brings to the table, and everything he is learning along the way.