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Dwayne Willard On Building An Exitable Business With Principles From His Grandfather

UREM 13 Dwayne | Business Principles

 

Exiting your business is just as crucial to your success as an entrepreneur as starting one. Take it from someone who has preeminently built three client-focused businesses and sold them. In this episode, Jason Williford is joined by Dwayne Willard, the CEO of Champion Services, who shares with us the importance of building an exitable business with the help of mentors. Bringing not only his own wisdom and experience, but Dwayne also shares the principles passed down from his grandfather. He talks about the value of having a mentor, especially with how they offer a shortcut to where you want to be, saving you from a lot of pain. Tune in to this conversation and gain great nuggets of wisdom about building and exiting a business while creating an impact in your industry.

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Dwayne Willard On Building An Exitable Business With Principles From His Grandfather

How Dwayne Willard Has Preeminently Built 3 Client-Focused Businesses & Sold

I have a gentleman named Dwayne Willard on, a wonderful gentleman. He’s a real estate and business investor. He built three companies and sold three companies. He’s a massive entrepreneur, an Author, and the Founder and CEO of Champion Services. Their primary products are HVAC, electrical, and plumbing. He’s Cofounder and COO of TenderHeart Realty. He’s been an entrepreneur for decades.

Dwayne and his wife have built three other businesses, and they’ve sold them successfully. He loves investing back in his team, watching them grow and accomplish things they had no idea they could possibly achieve. He’s obsessed with learning himself, all things that are business. He loves working with people. He’s continuously a lifetime learner and always looking to get better, personally and professionally.

He loves connecting with other people that do amazing things as well. He’s great at networking. That’s how I met Dwayne. In his free time, he loves spending time with his beautiful bride on the water, kicking back on the beach, like I like to do here in Miami Beach. Also, he loves Key West, which isn’t as very far away from me here in Miami Beach. Without further ado, I would like to welcome Mr. Dwayne Willard. How are you doing?

I am doing fantastic. I appreciate you having me here. I’m so grateful to be here.

I’m grateful to have you. Mr. Dwayne, would you mind telling us a little bit more about your business and yourself?

In Champion Services, we are the premier HVAC, plumbing, and electrical company in our area. We focus on residential work. We don’t do commercial. We focus on helping homeowners be safer and more comfortable in their homes.

What was amazing was learning more about you as we developed our friendship. You’ve already built three businesses and sold them. When do you think, looking back on your past, that entrepreneur blood got inside of you?

I was born with it. I always knew when I was working for other people that I could do this better. I’ll work for some other people for a few years and then one day decided to walk away from that, jump out, and start a business.

You’ve built three of them and sold them. You know more than the average bear does. I’m sure that you’ve been hit upside the head with the proverbial brig multiple times. A lot of hard lessons were learned, and that’s what the show is about. The Ultimate Real Estate Machine is about building a business that works harder and harder for you versus you having to work harder and harder for it. Are there some hard lessons learned and advice you could give the other entrepreneurs that are reading on things you’ve learned in the past?

I would say my number one thing is don’t think you have to reinvent the wheel. There are people out there who have done this already. Get in there in their world and let them help you.

Don't think you have to reinvent the wheel. There are people out there who have done this already. Get in their world and let them help you. Click To Tweet

Can you give me an example?

Mike Aguilera is one of those who built a $30 million service business and sold that not too long ago. He’s a big mentor of mine and having somebody like that’s been down that road before can save you a lot of pain. I try to be in everything I can be in and learn everything I can learn. Every little shortcut I get to take gets me where I want to be faster.

People don’t think there are shortcuts, and shortcuts aren’t bad. There is one shortcut to being an entrepreneur, and it’s called Mentorship. You have an amazing mentor, Mr. Mike Aguilera. I met Mike because he has consulted for four years with my number one greatest mentor, Mr. Jay Abraham. You are getting direct knowledge from one of the best that has ever walked the planet. How long have you been coaching with Mike?

Four years in 2022. I’ve had the great opportunity to sit in the same room with Jay Abraham in a small setting on a beach house for three days. What a smart guy. That guy is amazing.

What was the takeaway or two that you got from Mr. Abraham?

I can tell you probably three notebooks full in the three days that we were together. The knowledge of that guy is overwhelming. You got to take a lot of notes and then spend a few days going through those. I then called Mike on the phone, and I was like, “You got to help me weed through all this knowledge that he gave.” What an amazing business guy he is.

Was there something you learned there that you went and to backend implemented and executed upon, or maybe you got deeper clarity on marketing or strategy?

Marketing definitely was a big part of that, but more than anything, I understand that I’m not the only one that has struggled. Listening to Jay Abraham is amazing as he is, but he started where we all started. He’s done that. The energy that I took away from that class took me to a whole different level.

Congratulations. You have been seen on major networks like NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox. You’re also going to be on the TV show Beyond The Close, which is all about preeminence. It is a contestant-style reality show with eight real estate agents competing and for a real estate agent to be preeminent. One thing that a real estate agent does not have to know and does not want to know is everything about HVAC, electrical, or plumbing. The more they know, it does make them better about being the number one preeminent expert.

That is why we reached out to you after speaking with Mike Aguilera. He said that you were one of his two experts on HVAC, plumbing, and electrical. That’s why we wanted to bring you on to educate not only the cast members but also the audience. Imagine buying a home and the job wasn’t done right with HVAC. The next thing you know, you’re in there six months later, it’s the middle of summer, and automatically, your dang AC condensing unit goes out, and you’re like, “What in the world happened?”

UREM 13 Dwayne | Business Principles

Business Principles: Having somebody down the road can save you a lot of pain.

 

What really happens after a true professional comes out there like yourself and says, “This thing was installed all wrong, and it’s blown up. It’s no good anymore. The company, unfortunately, you used is no longer in business.” I’ve been around the remodeling industry, and usually, they are still in business. They took on another name and fly-by-night type companies. My question is, what made you decide to do the show and be our preeminent expert in your field?

To start, when I met you during the training that we were having, I felt like you were somebody I wanted to get to know and knowing Kevin Harrington, what he’s done on Shark Tank, and with info commercials. For me, it’s being able to get to know new people and understand them. You have to spend time with great people.

Thank you. I feel the same way. You seem like PLU. Do you know what PLU is?

No.

People Like Us. You’re good people is what I’m saying without a doubt. I try to be as well. Sometimes I make mistakes like everyone else. Even in a business setting, I try to do things like my grandfather did. My grandfather was a business owner. One thing that’s lacking in nowadays’ time is those old-school morals and ethics. The world is different than it was 60 or 70 years ago. My number one model is my grandfather. What are your thoughts on that?

That’s interesting because mine, too, is my grandfather. He was also a business owner. When I was young, I got to go to work with him every day. He was a mason, which is not easy work. He taught me a great work ethic and that nothing is impossible. A lot of where I’m at now, I give credit to him. What he taught me during those days, mixing concrete and carrying brick, is probably the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life.

I’m going to say a quick story. When my first job ever was framing houses during the summertime. I was fourteen years old the first summer that I started and I did it for three summers. I remember it was hot outside. Framing houses isn’t easy either, but in the house next to us, they were doing brickwork. Seeing all of them throw it old school before all the new mechanisms now, throwing the bricks up, I was like, “That looks a little bit harder. I’ll stick to what I’m doing over here.” That’s tough work, and I’m sure that your grandfather worked very hard. He was a hard-working man for a long time. Do you get to work directly with him?

I did. I was his helper and he wanted me to continue what he did. I’m like, “There’s maybe something that I don’t have to work this hard.”

What is a life lesson that you learned from him about business? Is it how you treat people or anything?

He was a very particular guy in everything he did. It had to be perfect. This has been said before, and he probably learned it from somebody else too, but he used to tell me all the time, “If we shoot to be good, we’ll be average. If we shoot to be exceptional, we’ll be good. If we shoot to be a perfectionist, our work will turn out really good.” He used to say that to me a lot.

Learn everything you can learn; every little shortcut you could take could get you where you want to be faster. Click To Tweet

That’s so crazy you say that because I thought that came from Tony Robbins. Evidently, it did not because your grandfather was around way before Tony Robbins was.

Probably so. I don’t know where he learned it from, but he used to tell me that a lot.

It stuck with you.

It did. I tell my team that all the time. I know what they’re thinking, “Don’t tell me that again,” but it’s true.

It’s instilled in them. You internalized them. They represent your company. What made you decide to get started in the home improvement industry?

My background is when I was young, I went from the understanding I didn’t want to be a bricklayer to becoming an electrician, and that was my trade for a while there. Getting into commercial work first, I didn’t enjoy it because commercial work is a whole different animal. You don’t work with the people who own this stuff. As things changed back in 2008, a little bit is when I got the opportunity to come into this world.

I get to work. I get to go to somebody’s home, which is like your castle. That’s where anything that means anything to you is. That attracted me to that, helping people that are homeowners be safe and comfortable in their homes. A lot of them don’t know the things that are out there now can make their lives so much more comfortable. I love that one-on-one interaction with homeowners and being able to meet again. It’s a beer to meet people all the time.

You aren’t the average construction guy “remodeler” a home improvement guy because that industry has a bad reputation. You’ve done a lot to set yourself apart from others. What are some of those things that set you apart from some of the fly-by-night guys? They may use inferior products, inferior installers, not do what they say they’re going to do, and not back what they say. A warranty is only as strong as a company that’s standing behind it. Someone that offers a strong warranty and they’ve been in business for three months isn’t too strong of a warranty. What are your thoughts on that? What makes you stand out?

It is what my grandpa taught me. We’re going to shoot for perfection. I understand we can’t be perfect, but we’re always going to do that. When we do make that mistake, we’re going to be the first ones to raise up and say, “We made a mistake and we’re going to make it right for you.” I think it’s being honest with people. We work in a rural area where if you don’t have that mentality, you definitely won’t be around very long.

You also wrote a book. You were telling me about it earlier but we didn’t get time to dig into it. What’s your book about? What’s the name of your book?

UREM 13 Dwayne | Business Principles

Business Principles: “If we shoot to be good, we’ll be average. If we shoot to be exceptional, we’ll be good. If we shoot to be a perfectionist, our work will turn out really good.”

 

Your Family’s Home Safety and Comfort, and this book covers everything about a home, a lot more things than what I do. It talks about a homeowner, what they should be doing at every part of the year, and how to look at their roof, siding, and brick. It covers everything A to Z in your home. We offer one of these books to every customer we go to.

I love giving them out to new homeowners that are young because there’s a lot of good information in this book to help them through some of that where they don’t know about the water heater going out, this going out, or whatever it may be. That’s what this book is all about. It’s helping a homeowner have a reference manual and know simple things. When winter comes, connect your water hose. If you don’t, it’s going to flood your house.

It’s a variable, but if you didn’t know even that one little thing, it’s a little thing until it becomes a big thing. Roughly, how much would it cost someone if they didn’t know how to winterize a home, the pipe bus, and it floods out a house? It can be tens of thousands. For a big enough home, it could be over $100,000. You get enough flood, insurance claims, and all that stuff. That’s powerful that you do that. Going back to preeminence, the strategy, and you being the preeminent expert in your field, how do you become the trusted expert? People overcomplicate it, but it’s simple. You educate people.

You educate them, you give them options, and you do what you say you’re going to do. That’s it. End of story.

You have a ton of experience not only in your industry because you’re a master electrician, a master in HVAC, and a master plumber also. You have a lot of experience that I’m sure is very uncommon in your market, which is in Wyoming. You’re also spreading out to Utah, right?

Yes. That experience helps now, as you probably know. A lot of times, for what I would consider an expert in plumbing, heating, and electricity, going to a business owner can create its own challenges. My mentors have helped me out on that. As a tradesman, we don’t want to get out of that van because that’s our comfort zone. I love to learn. I don’t know it all now. I strive to keep learning and getting certifications. I finished getting a certification for fireplace installations because we’re going into that with Napoleon fireplaces. I’m always striving to learn more and more.

That’s funny you say that. A lot of times, things can be omens. There’s a book called The Alchemist, and it talks about omens. I’ve read that book several times. It’s a wonderful book. I highly recommend it, but I notice omens all the time. I don’t think they just started happening. I think I started noticing them more. Here’s an omen that happened not long ago.

I spoke to one of my martial artist’s masters. This gentleman is 72 years young. He still trains about 12 hours a day, training others. He’s a 12-time world champion. He was a celebrity bodyguard for people like Brad Pitt, Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, Robert de Niro, and Al Pacino. I could go on and on and on, but I don’t want to bore people or take up all your time.

He’s an amazing guy, but I also help him out with his business. He’s got students all over America. He opened his first dojo in Jamaica, Queens, New York. It’s been there for many years. He and I were talking about it. He is a master of martial arts. He’s trained with Chinese mobs and stuff. We’re talking about marketing and business. He and I had that conversation that you and I are now having. He said, “I’m great at martial arts, but this is your thing right here.” I was like, “That’s how I give back to you.” There are things that I help him out with. I see things in his business all the time that he doesn’t see.

I’m not being braggadocious. I think I have been blessed by God with that talent. It’s a skill that I’ve acquired over time. I can’t remember the name of the magazine, but it’s supposed to be the number one martial arts magazine in North America. He was on the cover of it. That was pretty cool of him. He’s a guy full of wisdom as well. He’s one of those guys like your grandfather who speak to you forever. For a long time, I keep on getting those golden nuggets of wisdom about life, but you hit the head on the nail.

You educate people, give them options, and do what you say you're going to do. That's it—end of the story. Click To Tweet

That’s another huge thing that separates you from everyone else. You’re a true entrepreneur, not just another electrician, plumber, or HVAC guy, and that’s a huge skill set that you have to acquire through experience, those hard knocks, and hard lessons learned where I bet you have lost. You’ve had some losing moments, financially, mindset, all that stuff. It looks like you have one thing on your mind that may stick out of an experience where it knocked you down, but you got back up.

Maybe every business owner has experienced this, but I remember the days when I was pacing my living room floor at 2:00 in the morning trying to figure out how I was going to make payroll tomorrow. Those times teach you a lot. I take a lot of pride in the fact that the people that work for me depend on me. Those days I still think about them, more often than not in a negative way, but the lessons that I’ve learned through those things. When you got fifteen families out there that are waiting on that check tomorrow, it’s pressure. I never forget to deliver to the families. These are little kids that are going to school every day. That taught me the seriousness of the whole thing.

I have a feeling you don’t have to worry if you can make payroll or not anymore.

No. We’re past that stage.

I pretty much assume that is a sign of doing business with a strong company. One that’s not living paycheck to paycheck. I’ve been in over 12,000 face-to-face presentations, with probably about 10,000 of those being in the remodeling industry. I’ve heard so many horror stories from people that I’ve spoken with about things that have happened to them on other projects that made them skeptical of whoever they do business with. I don’t blame them whatsoever. They took the money and ran off with it. They didn’t have the money to come back out and fix something that they were supposed to.

Our industry has a horrible following for that thing. I also believe that it creates great opportunities for those that want to step up and do things right. The old plumber coming in with no shirt on and the overalls is not the way our world is now. Our plumbers and HVAC guys are very well dressed and wholly different, but we’re ten years behind everybody else.

Do you mean your industry is behind? What makes you in this time where they still are behind?

That’s learning from other industries that we don’t have to be that way. We can change this industry and the people that work in it. A lot of people in the past looked down on tradespeople. Now they’re becoming more professional. If I look back, I can see why people thought that, but at least my group is all out professional. We come into the home and protect the home. Doing the work is the easy part. It’s all the other things that are difficult.

It’s the compound effect of little things that ends up being a big thing with the compound effect.

Your home is your castle. That’s where everything that means anything to you. We get to go into those every single day. People let us come into their castles. Respecting that and being very professional, we’re going to keep changing and making our industry a whole different thing from what it used to be.

UREM 13 Dwayne | Business Principles

Your Family’s Home Safety and Comfort

It sounds like you are not only on a mission to deliver exceptional service and value to HVAC, electrical, and plumbing consumers in Wyoming and the Salt Lake City market. Also, you’re looking to make a big impact on the industry overall. That’s amazing because everyone in your niche within the industry isn’t like you. I love what you’re doing. As we wrap up, what do your business and your life look like to you in the next 2 or 3 years?

I see tremendous growth for us in our business. I have an exceptional team. They’re the ones that do all the hard work. We’re growing. We don’t do all the work in Wyoming, but we’ve got a great part of that market share. Moving down into Utah is going to create a lot more opportunities for us. I see nothing but good things there. Personally, my future is bright. Again, I love learning and going to new things like this new show coming out. It’s good. I love life and people who love life.

I am blessed to have met you. It’s another omen for me in my life. I know we’ll have a long-term relationship and friendship. In closing thoughts, what are you looking for as you scale out, and where can people find you? You’re looking for more residential HVAC, electrical, and plumbing clients. I’m sure there’ll be some agents reading that is probably looking for a preferred vendor in that niche that they can refer to their clients. Is there anything else that you’re looking for, servicemen or agents in different markets?

We’re always looking for great people. I can train anybody to do plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. I’m finding the right type of people, the right mindset, and then training them. We’re reaching the point now where we’re looking for some management people. I almost prefer them not to be in the trades because a lot of people that’s been in the trades as long as I have been set in their ways. I probably have my people take that. We’re always hiring, looking for great people, and then training them to do what we do.

Where should they go to find you?

The easiest way would be ChampionServicesToday.com. That is our website for our company. They could reach out to me through that.

Dwayne, it has been awesome. I can’t wait for the readers to read this episode. They will take a lot away from it. Thanks for being on, Dwayne.

I appreciate it. It’s a great pleasure being here. I’m very thankful for it.

I’m thankful for it as well. Have a wonderful day.

 

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About Dwayne Willard

UREM 13 Dwayne | Business PrinciplesDwayne Willard is a Real Estate & Business Investor / Entrepreneur / Author. He’s Founder & CEO of Champion Service

Co Founder & COO of TenderHeart Realty. Willard comes highly recommended by many clients, Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington and Jason Williford.

He has been an entrepreneur for a little over two decades. Dwayne & his wife have built three other businesses and sold them successfully. He loves watching his team grow and accomplish things they had no idea they could accomplish.

Willard is obsessed with learning all things business, energy work, people and continuously widening his knowledge. As well as connecting with people that do amazing things.

Dwayne loves spending time with his beautiful bride on the water boating and kicking back on the beach. Key West is his favorite hideout. HeLove life and connecting with people.

 

Jason Williford

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