To the Point Home Services Podcast

The Home Services Podcast That Gives Back

Episode 156:  Being Excellent to Others Creates Excellence

February 7, 2023

Episode 156: Being Excellent to Others Creates Excellence

Published: February 7, 2023
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What does being excellent to others have to do with success for contractors? More than you’d think! We welcome Founder and CEO of CopperPoint, Bobby Hamilton to To The Point!. Along with returning guest and this episode’s co-host Keith Mecurio, host Chris Yano and Bobby chat about his life journey and what he’s learned along the way.

Embarrassed to Be a Plumber

Bobby is a 3rd generation plumber out of Kansas City. He grew up in his dad’s plumbing shop, and his very first job was cutting copper. Plumbing was all around him, and follow that path to be a plumbing apprentice, then driving around in the trucks for his dad’s company. In high school, he watched as his friends had “cool” jobs like being lifeguards and out having fun. Meanwhile, Bobby was digging ditches, working lots of hours, and feeling like he was missing out. He hated plumbing.

The only upside was that Bobby was making pretty decent money…at least enough to pay for college. And college, to Bobby, was a chance to be anything other than a plumber. He was embarrassed. So much so that he’d park his company truck far away and change out of his uniform the second he could. Bobby didn’t want people to think of him as a plumber. So in college at the University of Kansas, he was just trying to get as far away from it as he could.

Bobby had been a competitive waterskier since he was a kid, so joining the waterski team was a no-brainer. He’d basically enroll in classes in the fall, ski through the season, and then drop his classes just in time to get most of his money back. The season started later during Spring semester, so he had to go back and work plumbing to make enough to pay for his Spring classes–which he couldn’t drop and stay on the team. After a while, he was ready to give up. A friend on the ski team convinced him to stay, and let Bobby live in his basement for free for a year. It was rough going, but Bobby pushed through and did eventually finished his stint at college.

Bob Hamilton Plumbing

Bobby’s dad ran Bob Hamilton Plumbing, Heating, AC, Rooter & Electrical – known back then as just Bob Hamilton Plumbing. It started like most other contractors in the 80s. Bob was a plumber and started his own thing. It was a small shop at first, literally run out of the garage. The few plumbers that worked for him would show up in the morning and have breakfast with Bobby, and Mrs. Hamilton would hand out the invoices and jobs for the day.

The business was struggling, but of course Bobby was too young to realize that. Bob decided to join Nexstar to try and move in the right direction. The result of that was Bobby being pulled out of the field to help generate revenue. He, in his own words, “failed his way into management”. Bobby was the manager, but he was not effective at all. Before long, Bob came into his office and told Bobby that Friday was their last day. They couldn’t make payroll and would be closing down.

In a last-ditch effort, they brought in one of Bobby’s sisters. They realized she knew what she was doing. Bobby was sent back out into the field, and she decided they were going to follow everything Nexstar was teaching to the letter. Bob became the mascot, Bobby was helping with sales, and she turned the business around. After applying Nexstar principles, they went from 3.5MM at -1% profit to 30MM at 25% profit. Bob Hamilton Plumbing had become a successful business!

Meeting Keith: A Turning Point

What you need to know about our co-host Keith and guest Bobby is that they are close friends that go back over a decade. Bobby first met Keith attending a Nexstar Super Meeting in 2008. At the time, Keith was a plumber working for a company in Boston. Bobby was still embarrassed to be a plumber at the time, and meeting Keith was a big moment. See, Kieth wasn’t embarrassed at all…he was proud of it.

Bobby and Keith went out to a nightclub together a few months after meeting, and were approached by a few attractive women. The women asked the two what they did for a living, and Kieth proudly announced that they were plumbers. Bobby was mortified. He told Keith “you can’t say that! You have to tell them we’re fighter pilots or something!”. Kieth assured him, no we don’t. Girls love plumbers! It turns out…Keith was right.

This was a turning point for Bobby. He realized he should be proud of his trade. He started feeling excited about his opportunity, and was motivated to improve and work on himself. Meeting Keith and getting more involved with Nexstar changed his life. Bobby credits Jack Tester specifically with changing his mind about everything. Jack taught a course on sewer sales that Bobby took back home and implemented with a lot of success. He then found out his buddy Keith was teaching a Nexstar course on sewer sales, so he naturally came out and took the class. He had some suggestions for Kieth, and so Keith told him to go ahead and write it! Before long, Bobby was doing his own trainings with Nexstar.

Nexstar Trainer

Bobby was juggling being a Nexstar Trainer and working with his dad’s business, and found himself not being able to do both. He decided to leave Nexstar to focus on Bob Hamilton Plumbing. When Bob found out, he encouraged Bobby to change course. He knew Bobby was passionate about Nexstar, and told him to go chase his dreams. That’s exactly what Bobby did. Keith and Bobby were both Nexstar members that become member-trainers.

After working full-time for Nexstar for several years, Bob Hamilton Plumbing sold. When that happened, Bobby was really interested in the process. At the time, he was getting tired of the road life. His second child was born, and he was getting ready to wind down a bit. He saw an opportunity there and realized that was something he wanted to be involved with! He thought he could do M&A in a really cool way that helped business owners do more with their businesses. While he loved his work with Nexstar, he was ready for his next chapter in life.

Founding CopperPoint

Everything up until this point led Bobby to creating CopperPoint. He knew he was good at understanding how a business operates and writing and training those practices. That was something he’d been great at during his time with Nexstar. The world of M&A and private equity had been trying to attract his talents for a while, but he was scared he wouldn’t be able to do it. He knew what he was good at, and there was a big piece missing. Fortunately, one of Bobby’s talents is knowing what he needs help with and finding the right person to fill that gap.

Bobby was put in touch with Wesley Brown, an experienced finance professional. Wes had all of the expertise Bobby knew he needed, and together the two founded CopperPoint, partnering with 1248 Holdings. They created CopperPoint to create a company that was both built by, and for, entrepreneurs.

Life of the Party

One of the biggest lessons Bobby has learned on his journey – and a major takeaway for our listeners – is that if you find what people are excited about and unlock that so they can spend most of their time and energy on it, they will thrive. You have to figure out what people are passionate about and support that! He points to his sister as an example of this. She was amazing at running their dad’s business, but if you had put her in charge of the technicians? She wouldn’t have done as well. Same with Bobby. He’s had to find what he was passionate about, and that’s where he’s been so successful.

According to Bobby, the meaning of life was summarized in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Be excellent to each other, and enjoy the time that we have. If everyone is having fun, then the party keeps on rolling.

Want to Connect with Bobby or learn more about CopperPoint? You can find him on LinkedIn, or shoot him a text at 913-208-6825.

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