This month marks my seven-year anniversary with BNP Media, and seven years writing about the trades. When I first started, I knew next to nothing about HVAC and plumbing, not to mention I didn’t have any contacts or friends within the industry. That didn’t last long, though. Let me just say right now, my favorite thing about this industry is the people. I was welcomed with open arms, like I had always been here. And to a newcomer, that feeling is priceless!

I was recently able to chat with one of my good industry friends, Danielle Putnam, president of The New Flat Rate, a menu pricing system for contractors, about a topic she has presented at numerous industry conferences — how to work on your business and not in it.

Click below to listen to my discussion with Danielle Putnam, president of The New Flat Rate.


For access to more podcast episodes, click here.


As Danielle says, every contracting business owner knows he/she is supposed to work on the business instead of in it, but it’s not always easy to do. Every day, employees come to the owner with questions about how to handle certain situations. The problem with that is the owner then becomes reactionary, putting out fires instead of strategizing and planning. So the key to this is, of course, implementing processes and procedures.

“Having processes established in your business takes the emotion out of it,” she says. “Instead, it allows your team to have accountability and responsibility in their daily role and what they can do to help move the company forward, so they don’t have to always ask you, the owner.” 

This discussion got me thinking about work-life balance. Summer is here, the weather is beautiful and people want to enjoy it. However, some contracting business owners find it difficult to delegate and “step away” from the business to enjoy some much-needed time off. The same goes for company employees. “Burnout” is real, and is actually classified as an occupational phenomenon by the World Health Organization. Thankfully, establishing processes in your company can not only help with time management and scalability, but it can also help manage a better work-life balance.

“As an owner or manager, it’s so easy to become the bottleneck,” Danielle explains. “Sometimes, we feel like, ‘I can do it better, so I’m going to go ahead and do it myself.’ And by doing that, we only become the bottleneck when we pile everything on top of us. We don’t have time to work on our business because we’re always working in it with all of these to-do items piled on top of us. When we have so many things, if we can right then and there, write out the to-do list of the day and circle the items that can be created into a process and owned by somebody else on the team, then that’s going to create more freedom in your life.”

Freedom is always a good thing, in my opinion. There is no perfect work-life balance, but you must take care of yourself in order to take care of your company and your employees. Establishing these types of processes allow you as an owner to step back and look at the big-picture items, such as your financial outlook, succession planning, marketing strategies, etc. They also allow you to unplug to finally take that vacation or spend some much-needed, quality time with family members. Either way, it’s a win-win for you and your business. 

Listen to my discussion with Danielle in the latest episode of our And So It Flows podcast series.