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Key Metrics
Use this calculator to See Your Three Year Growth Prospects

How to Work Smarter... Not Harder.

"I have increased my revenue considerably while not increasing the number of projects very much, however, I have made some pretty major staff changes in the last year which has resulted in an increase in productivity and company morale.

"I have never been good with this in the past but after seeing how little changes can make a big difference, I have become more comfortable making tough decisions that I believe make good sense."
Guy Wood, Ft. Worth TX, '03 Grad

You will need to gather this information for the previous year.
- number of prospects you (or your team) saw during the year.
- number of jobs you sold from those leads (must be smaller than Leads).
Total Revenue- the total dollar amount of all Sales.
Gross Profit
- the total dollars remaining after subtracting direct job costs only (Must be less than Total Revenue).
- business expenses that are not directly related to a job (This number subtracted from your Gross Profit yields your Net Profit.)
- percent growth you want to achieve on all of the key metrics.

When ready, enter your numbers in the form at the right. See for yourself the difference between controlling key metrics and trying to control the bottom line.

What is this calculator about?
This calculator will help you see how little effort it will take to increase your net profit significantly by focusing those efforts in the right areas.

growth chart

Key Metrics Calculator

Whole numbers only, no commas
Total Revenue
Gross Profit

Use the form below to receive free information on how to increase your key metrics.


The biggest mistake
Earning a million dollars a year as a contractor is possible without becoming an encumbered, multi-layered business. For some reason, most high-quality builders find themselves hitting a plateau at about $2 million per year in revenues with a net profit of $300K or less. The primary reason builders hit this plateau, in my opinion, is by focusing their attention on metrics they cannot control while ignoring the metrics they can.

What you must measure
There are ten business metrics, or operating measurements, a builder must track to measure performance: leads, close rate, sales, average sale, gross revenue, margin, gross profit, overhead, net profit and growth. Most builders begin to fail by not tracking these metrics. I am shocked by the number of builders who do not know how many leads they had in a given year. If business is declining, they won't know whether it is their sales or marketing that is failing. That knowledge is every bit as important as revenue and net profit, in fact more so, and here is why.

What really counts
Of the ten metrics you must track, only five of them are what we could call, key metrics, those are: leads, close rate, average sale, margin and overhead. Why are these key and the ones you have been paying most of your attention to like gross revenue and net profit and growth, not key? Because the key metrics are the only ones you can do anything about. You have absolutely no control over the others, they are simply the mathematical results of the key metrics. You do have control over key metrics and, by exercising that control, you can become a very successful business.

Here is an example
Take, for instance, a builder seeing 150 prospects or leads per year who installs 50 jobs at an average cost of $40,000 each. If he holds a 27.5% margin on his pricing and keeps overhead to 12.5% of revenue, he will net $300,000 per year or $25,000 per month. A good living, but not Gold Medal status. Most business owners understand that the only alternative to growth is decline and they arbitrarily pull 10% out of thin air as an objective. With 10% yearly growth on net profit, our fictitious builder will be making about $400,000 in another three years. The irony is, he has no control over net profit or its growth! He can only control those things whose mathematical result yields net profit, not the profit itself.

Current Numbers
150 Leads
50 Sales @ $40,000 Average
$2,000,000 Total Revenue
$550,000 (27.5%)Gross Profit
- $250,000 (12.5%)Overhead
= $300,000 Net Profit
@ 10% Growth
Yr 1 $330,000 Yr 2 $363,000 Yr 3 $399,000

What is the real potential?
What if he were to increase those things he can control by 10%, what would be the result? Let's do the math. Ten percent more leads (165) at a 10% better close rate (36%) would yield 60 sales. Raising the average sale to $44,000 and increasing the margin to 30% would increase his gross to nearly $800,000. By reducing overhead another 10%, which will occur by default as a percent of revenue (unless he finds a way to spend a lot of money to achieve the gains), he will net over a half million. Getting 67% growth, in one year, from a 10% increase in effort, by focusing on the things you can control, is the path to Gold Medal status.

New Numbers
165 Leads @ 36% Close Rate
60 Sales @ $44,000 Average
$2,640,000 Total Revenue
$799,000 (30%)Gross Profit
- $297,000 (11.3%)Overhead
@ 10% Increase Per Key Metric
= $502,000 Net Profit

What about the long term?
Typically, the largest gains come earliest and easiest, so let's reduce our three year growth objectives to the 3-10% range. Couldn't we always find ways to get more leads, get better at closing, increase our average sale and hold a little more profit? If so, and we don't spend a lot of money doing it, our overhead will go down and our net profit will grow even more.

Figure 1. represents the three year results of our fictitious contractor increasing his key metrics a mere 7%. You can see that in three years, he will be making over $850,000! Well on his way to success.

How can this be real?
This is the result of what the Japanese call kaizen; steady, regular, incremental, unrelenting growth. More leads, higher close rates, bigger sales and fatter margins, this is how you get triple digit gains from single digit improvements. Easier said than done, you are thinking, and I will agree, but well worth doing nonetheless.

figure 1

How will you get there?
The starting point is to build and use a "system" for marketing and selling your work. Using a system will get better leads. Using a system will help you learn what your buyers really want. Using a system will make your presentation better and increase your close rate. Using a system will make your pricing more accurate. Using a system will allow you to understand your errors and learn from your mistakes. Using a system will allow you to train others. In other words, I think you should use a system.

What is a selling system?
It is a step-by-step set of procedures, and the tools to support them, that has been proven to result in a profitable, buildable sale. Selling, particularly high-ticket selling, is not just "talking them into it." Professional selling is a carefully orchestrated and executed set of procedures, supported by tools such as forms, documents, photos and samples that create desire and urgency without using manipulation or pressure. The creation of a selling system for your company should be your first priority but in the hustle of getting jobs built, it often falls victim to time limits. This explains why most builders end up on the typical earnings plateau.

Where do you get a selling system?
It takes time to work out all of the details and assemble the presentation tools and materials needed for a complete professional selling system. This Selling System is a complete, finished package and is unique to the solar industry. Each element of our system will help you increase one or more of the key metrics with a minimal impact on the expenses.

Are you ready to earn a million a year?
Until you make the commitment, nothing will change. Start now by using the online calculator below to see for yourself, with your own numbers, what you could be earning with a systematic approach to continuous, steady improvement in your key metrics.

We invite you to begin the journey
Complete the enrollment form and join Solar Business Development Group so you can achieve your four key objectives: more leads, higher close rates, bigger sales and fatter margins. Fulfilling these goals will lead you to the Holy Grail of Success, Gold Medal status.