The Immigration Guy

Entrepreneurial Operating Systems Ft. Greg Schonefeld

May 31, 2023 Kyle Farmer Season 2 Episode 12
Entrepreneurial Operating Systems Ft. Greg Schonefeld
The Immigration Guy
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The Immigration Guy
Entrepreneurial Operating Systems Ft. Greg Schonefeld
May 31, 2023 Season 2 Episode 12
Kyle Farmer

Join Kyle this week as he sits down with CEO of Ag Installers, Greg Schonefeld! They talk about using core values, entrepreneurial operating systems, and foreign labor to grow your business.

If you're interested in talking with one of our Business Relationship Developers about solving your business labor needs, click the link and fill out your contact information. We will get back to you shortly!

Sign up for our free webinars using the links below:

Send an email to if you'd like to be featured in an episode, if you have a question Kyle can answer, or if you'd like to purchase an advertisement on the podcast.

Follow Kyle Farmer on LinkedIn, here.
Subscribe to our monthly Immigration Insider Newsletter, here.

**The information provided on this podcast does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available are for general informational purposes only. Listeners of this podcast should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.  No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.  Use of, and access to, this podcast or any of the links or resources contained within the description do not create an attorney-client relationship between the listener and Kyle Farmer. **

Produced & Edited By: Drew Tattam

Show Notes Transcript

Join Kyle this week as he sits down with CEO of Ag Installers, Greg Schonefeld! They talk about using core values, entrepreneurial operating systems, and foreign labor to grow your business.

If you're interested in talking with one of our Business Relationship Developers about solving your business labor needs, click the link and fill out your contact information. We will get back to you shortly!

Sign up for our free webinars using the links below:

Send an email to if you'd like to be featured in an episode, if you have a question Kyle can answer, or if you'd like to purchase an advertisement on the podcast.

Follow Kyle Farmer on LinkedIn, here.
Subscribe to our monthly Immigration Insider Newsletter, here.

**The information provided on this podcast does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available are for general informational purposes only. Listeners of this podcast should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.  No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.  Use of, and access to, this podcast or any of the links or resources contained within the description do not create an attorney-client relationship between the listener and Kyle Farmer. **

Produced & Edited By: Drew Tattam

[00:00:00] Welcome back to the immigration guy. Today we're sitting down with Greg Schonfeld. He's the CEO of AG installers. Greg graduated from the best university in the entire country, which is obviously Texas A&M. He had an an undergrad degree in accounting and a master's in finance. Afterwards. He had two years in public accounting.

He followed his dream to own his own business that aligned with his core values. Greg drives the vision of Ag installers to to cultivate installation professionals. Welcome Greg, and thank you for making time to join the show today. Thanks for having me. It's an honor. Oh, yes, yes. 

First ever podcast. First ever podcast.

I've been told I have a face for radio and I thought I'd give podcasting a try. The same thing. Yeah. And then I, yeah, hopefully we can get a, a nice picture of you up too. Oh, good. Hey, y'all all, this is the immigration guy with Kyle Farmer.[00:01:00] 

We tell the listeners about AG installers. 

Yes. Ag installers. We, uh, we install cage-free egg farming equipment, so that's been our specialty from the beginning. So, uh, you know, someone comes in, puts in a building, and we come in and install all the equipment inside the water lines, feed lines, manure, egg collection, and we're, we're labor only.

Yeah. So basically if a listener consumes eggs in any way, they owe you a debt of gratitude. Yes. Yes, that's right. Personally, you, you personally, no matter if you did the cage installation or not. Yeah. You, you're involved in the vertical. It's all that matters. Exactly. So why'd you start, what, what made you wanna start a business?

For some reason it's always been a dream. I'd say, you know, just in inside me or whatever, there's always been a, a dream to own my own business. And, uh, so I think I just, I had an idea of, um, [00:02:00] you know, that we could make something cool. Yeah. And, and wanting to go see it become a reality. Yeah. 

It's funny because one thing that I've recognized, because I, I think both of us, we both started businesses young. Mm-hmm. And one thing that I recognize is I'm really glad we were young because I. Otherwise you might recognize how terrible of an idea it could be like, but that's true. I think when you're young, you're like, you're just like, okay, well, you know, it's time to, to take a risk.

You don't really necessarily appreciate the risk, but Yeah, no, 

the don't, the don't know what you don't know is actually helpful. Oh, it's so helpful because if you really knew every moment, you probably wouldn't do 

it. Yeah, exactly. No, I, I, this is, it's something that I thought about whenever we first started our law firm, where I was thinking, Man, why are all these people trying to go be partners in a big law firm?

And now that some of 'em are partners in big law firms, I'm thinking, oh, this makes sense. They just have to do law all the time. That, that makes sense. No, you, you [00:03:00] kind of get forced into doing a lot of things that you don't predict or that you're not good at, but it just has to get done. And especially in the early years, you have to figure it out.

Yeah. And so yeah, if you're a lawyer wanting to practice law, Owning your own business, you may have periods of time where you're doing very little of that. Yes, exactly. Exactly. And you might be starving. Yeah. So a few, few issues or No, and I mean when it comes to me, I honestly, personally can't go install the things that we install.

Yeah. But I found myself in the early years, um, just walking up and down the aisles. Yeah. Checking to see if people were working, cuz I didn't know what the heck else to do and I couldn't tell 'em how to do it. Couldn't tell 'em how to do it better. You know, that was my, you know, just desperation attempt for a period of time.

I like to picture you walking up and down aisles and then someone drops something and you go, Hey, that's not right. 

Or I just go pick it up for, yeah. Yeah. You go pick it up or be like, I don't know how to do this, but No, you're not supposed to drop that piece. No, that's [00:04:00] exactly right. 

I know that's wrong, but I can't tell you what's right.

Yes, exactly. Much how it's, yeah. Hey, you come, come tell 'em how to stop dropping this. Yeah. Yeah, that's, well, 

thankfully, eventually some people came along that did know how to, you know, correct some of those things, and I was smart enough to push me out of there. What is it? You know that that's a, that's kind of an interesting thing, and it's cool for you because at this point you've got a lot of people that know what they're doing.

Yes. I mean, that's, that's, yeah. That's basically everyone in that, in your workforce. Yeah. But early on, what was that feeling like having just a few people to rely on like that? Did you recognize it? 

It didn't feel so good at times because, well, when, when you. You know, there were certain periods where we had people we were depending on that really couldn't, couldn't do it.

Yeah. And that's kind of what maybe forced me into that once, once we, you know, had people step up, uh, it became really obvious and that was a great feeling and [00:05:00] that was really maybe a few years into it that we really had people set up, step up at a site level. And then I think at that point there were actually some advantages to me.

You know, there was a 0.3 years in, I was like, Why am I doing this? I'm gonna count it, I dunno anything about it. No wonder I'm failing, blah, blah, blah. And then, uh, you know, a certain point other people stepped up and then I was able to get in a little more of the areas that I was good at. Yeah. And then there were advantages.

There were some advantages to me not knowing how to do the install, because I think it forced some of the people to figure out some things on, on their own and take maybe more ownership at a site level versus say I was a crew leader. You know, leading, like really, you know, step by step, Hey, this is how you lay it out.

This is how you, you know, this is the sequence all that, you know, they, they'd have been more dependent on me. Yeah. And yeah, at a certain point that got me out of it faster once we had some of the right people. Yeah. No, that definitely makes sense. Mm-hmm. That's, [00:06:00] that's a funny, it's a funny thing to think about cause I totally relate to that. Yeah. Like whenever I started it was just me doing all of the things. Mm-hmm. And what the, the funny thing is, is that the things that you wanna replace yourself in first are the things that you're bad at. Yep. And. But then it's also nice for those people that are assuming that role because your bar is lower.

Yeah. Because it is, you've gotta be better than me and I'm not very good. Yeah. Like Adam coming in and who was on the last podcast, Adam coming in and helping me from an uh, uh, accounting perspective. Yeah. The bar was low. Yeah. But he, he still does a really remarkable job. Even if the bar was high. I know that he just kills it.

But it is just funny cuz it's like, The bar was low. Yeah. And of course you jumped way over the bar, but still, well, for us it's kind of weird that it's like right there in our core operations. Yeah. And uh, you know, but I, I think for them it's like, oh man, I've got this great hands off boss [00:07:00] that lets me go do my job.

And I'm like, well be hands on if I wanted to be. And you know, which is funny cuz. I mean, I think my personality is a little bit like that, but then you start to get in these ar other areas where I do know more about and yes, it's like harder to let go. So, yep. I think there were, uh, there are actually some advantages, you know, to me not being an expert in some of those areas.

Yeah. Yeah. And, and you know, the, the thing is, is whenever you have people that are, that are good, And that that care, like you care to get the job done. Mm-hmm. Yeah. You also don't need to be there. Yeah. To, to interfere with it. And that's the other thing is like at any point in that journey, I was not gonna fail.

Yeah. I mean, that was, yeah. You know, there were points where, well, I felt like I was gonna fail, but my mentality was I wasn't going, wasn't gonna let it happen. And Yeah, no, it took some luck too, but fortunately we got ourselves outta some holes. Yeah. Got better on the other side. Was there ever a point where you were [00:08:00] like, Oh, I don't know if I, you, you mentioned a second ago where you were thinking like, I'm an accountant.

What am I doing? What, what at that point were you ever even considering this isn't 

for me? Yeah. Honestly. Yeah. I did reach that point at a certain point and, you know, and kind of thought, you know, that maybe the skills I do have could, could fit a lot of different things and maybe there could be a better fit.

But I'm so glad I just. Doubled down. Yeah. And because that I was kind of at a crossroads mm-hmm. And decided the road to, to double down, not run away. Yeah. From the problems and, and double down and, uh, Yeah. I don't know that it was ever seriously considered, but there was definitely like a, it crossed your mind of doubt.

Yep. Yeah. Well, you, I, I think something you just said is exactly right too, and one reason I would e encourage people if they're gonna go to college to actually get a degree that matters from a [00:09:00] prestigious institution like Texas A&M University. Oh, yeah. But it you, you definitely inspired me to make sure that my kids get a real degree because my political science degree.

If this didn't work, what was I gonna do? Yeah, your yours works in anything like you can, accounting and finance. I would encourage you to try to research a company. That doesn't need good accounting and finance and they're not a company that is, that's true. They're probably a white collar criminal institution and they probably still have really good finance.

That's true. Yeah. No, in, in, in some ways it's good to have no options because you just, I guess a phrase I've been hear hearing a bunch is burn the boats, and I think that's what eventually decide to do. What does that mean? So like the, like the Spanish conquistadors mm-hmm. They would get here in burn boats when we got here.

Yeah. They, they arrived and I mean, you're facing like this jungle and you know, inhabitants that you don't know much about. So [00:10:00] they arrive on the beach. Captain Burns the ship, like there's no turning back dude. Dude. Bosses used to be so hardcore. Yeah. Oh my gosh. People are so soft. Yeah. We're not over there burning people's cars, so they can't get home and they have to stay here and work.

That's unbelievable. That's actually a hilarious thing to think about. Yeah. They would get here and they, the captain would be like, Hey guys. Go out and get some firewood. There's the, maybe collect some seashells. 

You know, maybe make a nice little, you know, find some string little necklace. Yes, those native people seem nice.

Go meet them real quick. Don't mind me. I'll just see back here, uh, gathering a few things on the boats. 

Well, what are you doing with the torch? Oh, I'm just afraid it's gonna get dark. I slipped and fell. Yeah. And I lit all the boats on fire and then Yep. They see those boats go up in flames and they're like, Ugh, I've made a huge mistake.

Yes. But they've got no choice. 

And now here we are. Yeah. Doing a [00:11:00] podcast. 

Yep. Because we burned our own boats, because we bo burned our own boats. Now we're, now we're over here. Grateful that those boats were burnt because we're producing all the eggs for the world. That's right. I would imagine the US is the largest egg producer of the world.

I think so. I can't Ima Well, they have to be. Yeah. I think just the. The kind of the organization of it. Like I think Mexico has a few big producers, but yeah, a lot of it's people in their, their backyards and those kind of things. Like America's really professionalized the egg industry and I don't think a lot of countries have done it.

Yeah, and, and some of 'em probably, I'm sure Europe has too, but none of 'em are. You know, of the scale of the us. Yeah. I, I, I, yeah. And that's kind of, it's cool that you've got to, to play a role in that too. What would you say are the y'all's core values and why is that important to your business? Our core values are team first, work hard and continuous improvement in, holy crap, that was fast.

Yeah. Don't ask me to rec reside [00:12:00] ours that fast. I can, I can spell 'em out though. Well helps. There's only three, so that helps a lot. Alright. What were they again? Team first work hard and continuous improvement. 

Feels good. 

Core values. Appreciate it. Yeah. I think, uh, you know, that that was something I always knew was important to me from the beginning.

And actually you asked me in the beginning why I started a business and I, I do think that I just had certain beliefs. Yeah. And it's like, this is one way that I can bring some of those beliefs to life. And Yeah. And, uh, yeah, even, even like the culture aspect of it and, and you know, I didn't like go down that road thinking I'm going to, you know, change the world or something like that, but it's like the world I live in.

Yeah. You know, I have, you know, some ability to influence that. And it's kind of amazing actually. You know, I look back at something I wrote when I first started it. Like I, I wrote just a two page thing of did you type it or hand write it? I typed it. They did have computers [00:13:00] back then. The business just started eight years ago.

Well, I, I know, but I don't know. I feel like you probably have, you seem like the kind of guy that would have the organization to have access to handwritten notes with, you know what, you're right about that. I, I have eight of these real notebooks. I save 'em all. And they're dated. I guarantee it. They are.

I know your grandpa and I know he taught you that. 

Yep. One day I want to go back and read it, but I just never, I never do it really. But I did come across this document and it was kind of, because it was kind of crazy looking back on it. Cuz if, if I were to tell you when I first started, I'd say I know nothing.

I knew nothing. Yeah. But then I went and read that and I was like, actually we're doing a lot of the things that wrote there and the core values being one of 'em. And So you had those from the beginning? The exact same words? No. Okay. I have all the exact same words, but I'm like, The, I should pull up what they actually were, but the way it was written was [00:14:00] just very similar to, to, uh, kind of what, what we stand for.

But, but ours like to find the actual words. I, I couldn't have ever found those in the beginning. It really came from, you know, I think a culture was built kind of on instinct and not my, you know, not only my own, because a lot of our people decisions we made. I didn't make myself. Yeah. But then when we a, when we put words to it and we did it, I mean, this is our third try, but third time's a charm.

That's right. We're sticking that's right now. And uh, but we went and analyzed, you know, some of the decisions we made, you know, getting this person out or moving this person up. And, uh, you know, one exercise we did was to identify, you know, Three to five people that, okay. If we could duplicate them over and over and over again.

Mm-hmm. Um, and is that person like a production level? Uh, yeah. 

Yeah. I mean, it could be anyone in the world actually or, or anyone in the organization, but [00:15:00] when I, when I, you know, thought of people that we want to duplicate, my mind went there, like yeah. The people in the field and that's how scale, and we've got certain people, even like, you know, leaders in our organization, but they're so, they're so adaptable.

Yeah. Like if I, with their attitude. With their attitude that, that like, you know, because if you just think of your leaders and you're gonna have a hundred of those guys and they're all leaders. Yeah. Are you getting any work done? It's true, but some of the people that came to my mind, you know, what if I, if I had a hundred of 'em, they find a way to work together.

Yeah. And they would. You know, if, if they were working, you know, some days, you know, themselves or whatever, they'd find a way to work together. And, and that actually, I mean, so the, that helped us imagine like the team first mm-hmm. Value right there. That, that, uh, you know, cause some people have an attitude.

No, this is, yeah. Me and, and, uh, this is my position. I don't do that. Yeah. Um, and, and so that's where that one came from. And [00:16:00] then, and then, I mean, the work hard, uh, That's something looking back to, I mean like in the H-2A, our wage rates are regulated and if you've got someone giving it, they're 50%.

Yeah. And someone else given it, they're a hundred, but everyone's making the same. It just drags everybody down and that's where work hard to value that we expect from everybody. And what's funny that you, that you can see too that okay, everyone can give their a hundred and some people are just more talented.

Sure. And, and do more, but like, No one feels bad. Like that guy that's more talented when he feels that other person's given hundred, even it's though it's not as fast. Yeah. They still like, there's no bad feelings. Um, and, and you know, I think that explains well our work hard that you're just, I. You know, you're out there putting in, you're putting your talents forth, your head is in the game.

You're, you're focused on work on outcomes and you're, you're kind of just, you're giving it all while [00:17:00] you're there. Yeah. And then the continuous improvement, I mean, is just, uh, you know, one huge advantage again with H-2A is you're getting the same people back Yeah. Every year. Yeah. 

And, uh, you know, versus, You know, in similar kind of trades to what we do, you know, it's probably not uncommon to see 30, 40% turnover.

Well, we're getting the same people back and we're practicing that value of continuous improvement. It's kind of, you know, amazing to see the progressions. I 

mean, yeah. One thing, one thing that I love about your core values is both your customers and your bene in your, uh, Employees benefit from the same core values.

Yeah. Like your, your, your customers would feel a benefit from a team-oriented approach. Mm-hmm. Your, your customers would feel it from your working hard. Your customers would feel it from continuous improvement. Yeah. And of course, your people would too. Like there's, and that's a, i I think [00:18:00] that's a, that's a cool thing that is both sides.

Sometimes you see core values that are one too ambiguous, like, Mm-hmm. My, my core values is integrity. Well, if you don't have integrity, you probably shouldn't have a business. Yeah. Like it, it's these like things that aren't just, uh, that, that aren't just like intuitive. Yeah. Which, which I really like.

Yeah. I think, and, and I at one point tried to get too fancy with it, like curiosity and, and like things like that. And it's like, you know, things maybe that I need to have or that are still important. Yeah. 

Yeah. They're important, but like, You know, when, I mean really when we went through EOS is when I really understood well that everyone, these are values expected of everybody.

Right. And we don't need curiosity out of everybody. So, and, and they need to be real. Yeah. Not like, A dream. Yeah. Um, and then, like you said, the, it, it does work great with the customers too because, uh, you know, like one thing we have identified is [00:19:00] that team orientation on the customer side too, because we're so dependent on them, they can really help us, help them.

I mean, if, you know, if we don't have, you know, say, You know, building ready or materials or you know, anything that we need to deliver our service. A lot of times it's our customer, you know? Yeah. They're the ones of their other contracts providing that to us so we can go do our work. Um, and, and so when they kind of, you know, we have that good communication and teamwork, uh, you know, and then we can also work through things.

Maybe we don't get things exactly how it was drawn up, but we can adjust our plan. That's kind of how the teamwork looks between us and our customer. Yeah. 

Yeah. I, I love that. One thing you just mentioned is e o s, so I don't, most people aren't gonna know what that is, but it's Oh yeah. Entrepreneurial operating system.

It's a system basically that you go through that. It helps you drive, I guess, the important things of your business. But can you explain, how would you explain what [00:20:00] EOS is? You're more of an e os fanboy than I am. Yeah, I am, 

uh, I'm a huge fanboy and I give them free marketing all the time, but I think it, like I can't stop talking about it cuz it has had such a big impact on us and, um, you know, and, and so how I would describe it, I mean it all started for me, I read this book, rocket Fuel, that talks about like a.

You know, visionary, integrator kind of relationship. And then he wrote another book called, UH, traction. Mm-hmm. Which really is a. That lays out the entrepreneurial operating system. So it is an operating system for how to run your business. And the tra, the book Traction explains it all. EOS is their program, uh, or sorry, is the name of the opposite operating system that Traction prescribes, and then we use an implementer who helps us implement that operating system.

And some of the key components of it are, You know, the accountability chart, having, having your positions really well defined, having people who can [00:21:00] really take ownership of those positions. Mm-hmm. Like really take ownership Yeah. On their own. Yeah. And that's a big thing. That's a huge thing for us because I was always picking up that little bit or someone's always picking up that little bit from somebody else's position.

So that's something we're really working hard at. Um, we had a lot of executive, we, we hadn't really built an executive team. Um, with, with all the positions that prescribes how your executive teams should be laid out. Yes. And then there's things like weekly meetings. Quarterly meetings, uh, really making it clear the importance of values and your mission.

Uh, those are some of the key components of it. Yeah. And on a, on a like super specific level. So EEO s is something that we do also. Uhhuh actually thanks to you. Uh, so yeah, your, your, your fanboy worked out for is working out for e os cause it's got him at least one other client. Yeah. Uh, But one thing that I really like about it from a meeting perspective is it forces you to stay focused.

Yep. And it's, and I I love that. The, the other thing [00:22:00] is, is I think that it provides for a platform for your people to speak candidly to you, but for you to then carry a unified message what you, I mean, y'all, you can. So the, the weekly meetings are called L 10 meetings, and you can duke it out during those Yeah.

You can say whatever you want. Yep. It's encouraged. Yeah. Yeah. But then whenever you leave, you leave with the same mentality. Yep. And I love that. Yeah. Like it is, that's no like, yeah. He says You should leave those meetings. You know, kind of exhausted, but energized. Yeah. And yeah, you cut. I even want to drink.

I leave most meetings that way. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I go into most meetings that way. We're gonna have to do another podcast on, on the drinking. Another thing I love is same starts the same time every week. Ends the same time. Yep. Like I can't, Ima, I can't stand like the meetings that kind of drag on or mm-hmm.

Man, I don't even want to go. Cuz what if it runs two hours today? Yes. 

Or you cut off at this time, you're done. I don't even need to show up. Like last week [00:23:00] was 15 minutes and we talked about nothing. Do I even need to show up? Yes. And then one person doesn't show up and then, The whole thing's wrecked.

Well, this, everyone's gotta be there unless you're on vacation. You're there starts the same time, ends the same time and you're, you know, there's some, a few things to go through on the front end. And then after that it's like, take tackling the biggest issues facing your business that week. Yep. Uh, with the people who can make things move in your organization and, uh, it's great.

Yeah. You make decisions and you create action. Yeah. 

Yeah. I agree. And it's funny cuz I, I remember when we were first talking about it. I think when you and I had first talked about it, you didn't have an integrator yet and Yep. But then you got an integrator and I was like, I'm gonna let him spend money on integrator and see if that's worth it.

Uhhuh. But then you were like, yeah, it is. And then we got an integrator and it's totally worth it. Oh, implementer. They implementer implement. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. An implementer. Sorry, again, not as, not as big of a fanboy. Don't know all the terminology. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But yeah, no, the implementer. [00:24:00] Yep.

And, but then whenever you were talking about your implementer, I was like, Okay. Yeah, like that's, yeah, that's definitely worth it. Well, it took me a year of doing it the wrong way to figure that out. I mean, well thanks for the shortcut, bud. Appreciate it. 

Kyle, you've given me plenty of those too. Um, that's, yeah.

Cause we tried to, I tried to self implement for a year and, and just, yeah. Didn't really move the needle. And then once we got someone, so speaking of the term integrator, that's kind of like your. Your right hand, I guess you could call it in the organization if you're the owner. Yeah. And, uh, in, in our first meeting, our implementer re recognized that, that's Anna for us.

Mm-hmm. And that alone was a huge move because you don't, you can, you know, you can have doubts like you hear the description, but it's really helpful for someone who's sat in a thousand meetings with different companies and they've seen different time team dynamics. And he's like, yeah. It's clear we've got this and, and, and that was lucky for me too.

Yeah, [00:25:00] I have, yeah. I think it's great to have someone point that out for you. Yeah. Because especially, you know, Whenever you're talking about your implementer, that person actually has a lot of say so. Yeah. And your wait implementer, integrator implementer, like the outside person? No, in no inside person integrator.

Oh, integrator. Got it. Is the inside. Yep. Yeah. There we go. And they've got so many terms. Dude, sometimes I, sometimes I'm like laughing when I'm in these meetings hearing 'em talk about. Cascade that to the team. I'm like, shut up. We need to drop it down. I'm like, I'm the one to slap you guys. Yeah. So half our L 10 meetings are me threatening them about using language.

I still don't understand, but anyways, having someone recognize that is really helpful. Yeah, that's right. 

That's my new, uh, barometer for whether you have a good business or not, is if you've created your own language like EOS has. I like that. Enforce because like Starbucks dude. You should be an art, uh, [00:26:00] meeting with our law firm Uhhuh.

You would understand like, well, you would understand more than most people cuz you uhhuh deal with these programs. Uh, but to someone that just comes in and sits in and they hear us talk about, uh, sos and l OJ and I, you know, like all these different acronyms we have for everything. Yeah. They're just like, what is this?

Cause We'll, we'll say a sentence and say four of 'em, and then someone's like, Like a new person's, like, I have no idea what to do with what you just said. 

That means you have a great business then. Thank you. Yeah, that's what I've been trying to say. But all these other jack asses are confused. Yeah. Well, you know, they're on the ins, you're on the inside.

They're on the outside. Exactly. So you're, you're a big user of foreign labor. Uh, What's, what's the biggest challenge that you've had with that 

biggest challenge? Well, first of all, oh, one thing I want to say about foreign, foreign labor and back to the question about, uh, like why [00:27:00] I started a business Yeah.

Too, or maybe why I'm doing what I'm doing. It was knowing, you know, kind of knowing H-2A, knowing what great people Yeah. You get through it and then a belief that, hey, I don't know how to install these systems, but we're gonna get great people and we're gonna figure it out. Yep. And then we're gonna have years and years of.

Um, of gaining experience throughout our ranks. And what's the biggest challenge? I mean, you know, the, the regulations can change. I mean, the, you know, the, there, there's a seasonality aspect that can be kind of difficult to manage. Um, the, uh, you know, the wage rates you don't have control over. Um, uh, those are some of the challenges, but, I mean, I guess, yeah, it's kind of easily overcomeable.

Easily worth it. Yeah. That, you know, if I were running an H-2A company, which I'm not, I'm running a [00:28:00] company that. Brings, that helps a lot of h a companies. But I would think that one of the hard things would be the constant moving goal post on wage rates. Yep. And on regulations. Yep. Not some of those regulations stuff y'all don't have to deal with as much, but with.

The wage rates in particular, like changing the wage rate methodology this year, depending on where you're working, could have been catastrophic. I mean, like if you were, yeah, if you were, if let's say your whole business was in Illinois. Yeah. And you are. Uh, your, all your guys are construction laborers, and so now they're getting their wage rate based off of, uh, construction labor statewide average, as opposed to what it used to be, which just a statewide average of all agricultural workers.

Mm-hmm. Your wage rate would have jumped from 17 something to over 31 bucks an hour. Mm-hmm. How would, how would you expect your customers to absorb that? It just, it doesn't make any sense. [00:29:00] But no, that's, that's a, that would be a tough thing, I think. No, they really, 

yeah, really can't, and no, that's tough to overcome.

I, I don't know how, like a 31, we couldn't overcome that. Yeah. I mean, uh, not in the market that we're in, but No. So that's the, you know, fortunately doesn't look like that's gonna happen to us. Yeah. But that's, that's the kind of difficult thing. And the, and the, and the fact that, you know, we are so reliant on it.

And that can change. Uh, yeah. The wage trades can change, other things can change, um, that we can't control. And, and, and our whole business is kind, you know, is pretty dependent on it Yeah. At this point. But, you know, feeling better about that right now, the reliability and, and kind of knowing, at least having an idea where the wages are going.

It's helpful. Yeah. And then, and then also having that change, you know, a really written kind of, Specifically for construction. [00:30:00] Yeah. Allowing, you know, yes, requiring a higher wage rate, but also kind of really giving us a stronger footing inside of H-2A, which, that's the positive side. I completely agree with that.

Because the alternative would be H-2B, which would make it less predictable, less reliable. Yeah. And it, it, whereas the, the thing is, is all these things are easy are. Capable of being navigated so long as you have your people. Mm-hmm. But if you don't have your people, you can't navigate anything. And so the, the access to the people I do think is definitely the, an important part.

Yeah. Well, and some of the challenges of the program are challenges if you're not using it too. Yeah, that's true. Like finding people in the first place too. 

But yeah, I think that's fair. Mm-hmm. Cool. Well, so what advice or closing thoughts would you give to other construction companies thinking about hiring foreign in labor?

Construction companies? Like specifically agricultural or any of 'em? Any of 'em? [00:31:00] Well, I think, I mean, I mean, I have a lot to say I guess, but No. Well, yeah, you've got time. You're, if you're gonna say, uh, I mean, you know, if I, I, I don't know that I would, it's hard to think about doing it any other way at this point, I guess, right.

Is what, what I would think about in, in the, I mean, you know, like one thing that really struck me through. You know, cause I already had an idea from, from past experience, uh, working at Cignet, um, you know, that you get great people through the program. Mm-hmm. But even, even once we started, I even learned, I learned more about that.

Yeah. I mean, cuz on our initial crew, we had a couple people that signed up to work H-2A that were engineers, but they came here. Not even, not with that on the table at all. Yeah. I mean, even we had a, we had a doctor. Yeah. Like working on our crew. Um, just working for, which was great for osha. Exactly. [00:32:00] At, at like, like, you know, at the time it was like 12 bucks an hour in Arizona.

Um, you know, but they were just working like everybody else. But that just kind of speaks to the level of, in intelligence, the level of kind of, of ability. They're working and, and, uh, so even, you know, those are just examples of how I'm really kind of blown away at the level of talent. Yeah. Um, that like really, you know, able to track some of the best of, of the best to do, to do this work.

And then, you know, a lot of the things we've figured out. The, the guys kind of figured it out on their own. Yeah. 

Um, they, they definitely learn like handy skills and then they come over here and they apply and you're like, holy crap. Yeah. Well, and that's the thing too, like, you know, even though my dad did construction, I guess I avoided a lot of that, you know, manual labor kind of stuff, as much as I could grow.

You were too busy getting good grades. Yeah, exactly. You're, yep. And, [00:33:00] uh, but, but you know, I guess also, you know, most of these people, Most of these guys have exposure to that at an, you know, working with their hands at an early age and have like a Yeah. Do an intelligence associated with that. Right. So I, I think, um, you know what advice, I mean, you know, I think it is if you've got an opportunity, I mean, if.

Like make a phone call. Yeah. To, to you. That works. I'm fine with that. Like you and nah, there's no one like us. Come on, Greg. Well, I'm trying to pretend to be partial here. 

Impartial. Yeah. Um, you're like, no, don't, don't call you, you got work to do. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. You gotta, um, be working on it. Um, no, but, but go down, you know, if, if you, if you, uh, if, if your, you know, kind of circumstances.

Fit, you know, fit a case to be like, where you can access people, you know, go do it. And I, I think probably some people are [00:34:00] scared of language barrier, scared of, you know, just of the unknown. Yeah. And, uh, I mean, I think it's good idea. You know, give it a try. I mean, I've seen some of your posts that once people try it, they don't go back and they don't.

I think that would be my observation as well. Yeah. 

I think, and you know, part of that, which is another thing that I would encourage people to do, uh, is if they're talking to someone and that person's not actively going through a process of evaluating if it's right for them, then they're not talking to the right person because.

Part of, at least part of my process, and I think that it's one reason why people tend to be successful with it, is I don't advise everyone that owns a construction company to file. Visas for it. Mm-hmm. Yep. I actually go through a process to see, okay, are they gonna get a good return on their investment?

Yep. Is this, is this something that's worth it for them? Yep. Uh, what are their priorities? What are their goals? Like? Are, are you trying to scale up your business? Are you trying to maintain reputation to make sure you have [00:35:00] a reliable labor? Are you trying to just, uh, get through the contracts that you have now?

Or are you okay with shrinking your business and working with this core group of people that you have here? Mm-hmm. Totally fine too. Yeah. Like people have different outlooks and. I think that one thing that might make people fail is they don't go through that proper process at the beginning. Yep. But then if you go through it and it's like, no, you're, you're a good candidate for it.

It works for you. No one ever stops. Yeah. Like, it's, it's just too good. Well, yeah. I think if you, it's worth it to go through the process if you're on Yeah. If you're on the. You know, on the fence or you've considered it, you know, if, if they were to give you a call, it's not gonna hurt anything. Yeah, exactly.

And, and then from there, like you said, it, everything's very upfront. Yeah. I mean, like the, the costs of it are all spelled out. Uh, you know, what you're gonna get is all spelled out and whether they, you know, are eligible for this or that, that's all gonna be [00:36:00] spelled out by the time that they're. Actually making that decision, it's gonna be very clear.

Yeah. And if it, if they go through that and it doesn't work well then you walk away. Yeah, exactly. If it does, then you've got a plan. Yeah. Then you just move forward. One of my favorite things that I've done, like I, like I nerded out on this mm-hmm. So hard. Mm-hmm. I went through this process, uh, with several clients that were, uh, they were, they were larger, they were pretty large.

Entities. And so basically they had to convince their CFO that this was the right move. Mm-hmm. Because COOs are like, I've got a freaking job to get done. These people can help me get it done. Pay for it so I can get my job done. Yep. But CFOs are like, I need to make sure that it's actually worth the money.

And I've, I've gone through this process with them where we look at like fully loaded labor costs. You look at the actual, uh, cost of the person, you look at the cost of housing and transportation, if it's required. You look at the cost of all the immigration expenses that go into it. Yep. And then [00:37:00] you simply put their revenue number against it, and then you see what the margin is.

Yep. And it's, it's fun like that, that exercise has been so fun for me. Yep. Ugh. I remember the day I made that spreadsheet, it took me like four hours. Yeah. But it was the best day of my life. Yeah. I, it was, it was so much fun. 

Yeah. Well, the other part of the equation too, like you can't just. It's not gonna all, you know, this is coming from a numbers guy.

Yeah. Uh, yeah. You're not gonna see it all on the piece of paper either when you're just spelling out your costs. So That's true. Part of it you will just like you said. Yeah. Um, and, and, and a lot of people maybe look at it the wrong way at first. Yeah. And, but the other part of it is, What, you know, the impact that, that they can have once they're here, because that's great because there's the productivity part of it that you can't predict and you can't imagine if you haven't seen it before.

Yes. And, and so there's that piece of the equation and, and then also the, you know, the. The motivation, and I mean, it kind of spreads throughout your organization too, because it can set, set a certain bar. 

[00:38:00] Yeah. Yeah. That's a great point. Which is a variable that I can't put in a spreadsheet. Yeah. And so I don't even try.

Yeah. Because otherwise if you're a business owner, you're looking at that, you're like, look at that fluff. Yep. Whereas if I could say, no baseline, you're making money. Yep. Your worst case scenario, you're making money. Exactly. And then they get here and they're like, whoa, this is way better than I expected.

Yep. Next year they're, they're going more and more in, I mean, that's just how it goes, but 

Exactly. Cool. Probably just try a little seed. 

A li that's all it takes. Yep. That's, that's, that's how all crops are ground. It's a little experiment. Yep. Mm-hmm. So what's the best way for listeners to contact you?

Best way to contact me. You can, uh, I've got a LinkedIn page that I started posting on pretty regular regularly. You can find me there. Um, we've got our website, ag, So we've got a Let's Talk button. That's a great button. Click, click there and find us. Or, uh, um, I can, uh, give out my email and phone number [00:39:00] as well.


I don't recommend that. Use the website. I know. Listen, use, use the website. Do not text 

Greg. And I think, uh, the organization would appreciate that too, because maybe I don't need to be getting our phone calls either. Yeah, you'd be like, who is this? Yeah. Exactly. Awesome. All right, well thanks for, uh, participating and I know we'll be doing this again soon, so we appreciate it.

Thank y'all for listening to the Immigration Guy Podcast. We really appreciate it. You can find us on our website, go to You can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter. Just search at Kyle Farmer, FLPC. Uh, you can find our law firm on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. All you have to do is search for at Farmer Law PC.

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Thank you.