2:51– My background and Testimony
5:48– A little about Mister Quick Home Services
11:51– A word of advice for business starters
15:17– How do you try to intentionally live out your christian faith in your business?
18:01– Take us to your hardest moment of business ownership and how your faith helped you work through that.
22:21– What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? And how does it still affect you today?
23:26– When is your faith tested in business?
24:51– What advice would you give to the twenty-year-old you?
27:53– The 4:23 Question
Brad Huff is the Owner and President of Mister Quik Home Services, a home service company that provides plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical, and drain service to the surrounding state. Brad’s entrepreneurial drive and spirit led him to open the company’s doors in 2000, focusing on new construction. In 2005, the company redirected its focus to residential services. At the time, Brad solely ran the business–including running service calls with the help of his one other electrician.
Mister Quik has since grown from 2 employees to more than 85 team members. The company’s culture of service and motto of exceeding the industry standards have led to multiple recognitions and awards including the Inc 5000 award and Top Workplaces award in 2016 and 2017. Brad is married to the love of his life Cathy, who shares the same passions to serve, work hard, and to continuously grow and invest in their business. Cathy, owner of Fetch Multimedia, opened her business in 2013 and has been an active contributor in the growth of the Mister Quik brand.
Full Transcription:
Ray: Well, hello everyone, this is Ray Hilbert. I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith, and this is the program where if you’ve been a regular listener, you know that this is where we get the opportunity to travel the country and we talk with some of America’s most amazing Christ followers who have started businesses, run companies and organizations, and kind of the analogy we like to use here at Bottom Line Faith is this is the program where we lift the hood and we tinker around in the engine of Christian leadership in the marketplace. So we would like to welcome you to the show. Well I got to tell you gang, I am really excited to be bringing today’s program to you for a couple of reasons: one reason is we spend a lot of time on the road from coast to coast, we go out to interview guests, but I have the fortune today to actually be seated in my hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, and we have the pleasure today of introducing to you an amazing Christ follower who loves Jesus a whole bunch in running his amazing company. His name is Brad Huff, and Brad is the president of Mr. Quik Home Services, serving homes and families throughout Central Indiana. Brad, welcome to Bottom Line Faith.
Brad: Yes, thanks Ray, I appreciate you for having me on.
Ray: Well I’ll tell you what Brad, I’m looking forward to our conversation because you and I’ve had breakfast and lunch and gotten to know each other a little bit and every time I’ve had time with you I just walked away just encouraged. You are an encourager of people and I know you are very serious about living out your faith, not only at home but certainly in and through your business. Is that right?
Brad: Yes, absolutely. It’s serious to me. It’s something I think God wants us to do, I think it’s something we’re called to do. I don’t see a breakdown anywhere from the Scriptures that says, “Hey, we need to live this was at home, this way at work,” you know. I just blend them all in one and really try my best. I don’t succeed at all times but I do my best to follow Christ at all times and live as he would want us to live in every situation.
Ray: Absolutely. And so we’re going to get into learning more about your company, and your business, and your background, and your career, and so forth in just a few moments. But why don’t you take just a couple of moments and just kind of help us understand how it is that you came to be a follower of Christ. You know, tell us a little bit about your childhood and upbringing, but how did you become a Christian?
Brad: Yeah, so I was raised in a small farm town south-west of Indianapolis, called Monrovia. You know worked, did farm jobs growing up and wasn’t raised in a Christian home, but at the same time, was raised very, I’ll say by Christian principles, even though I may not have been in a directly Christian home, at Church on weekends. But I lived on my own, the way I wanted to live, up until I was about twenty-four years old and when I was twenty-four, my best friend died in an auto accident. And at that time, I think most twenty-four-year-olds, you’re Invincible, you don’t think about death, you don’t think about this life ending. So that woke me up and it really sent me on a journey to just search. Like what is it really? My ultimate question was what is truth? Like what is, where is the truth, and in the afterlife, and there’s all these different belief systems, all these different worldviews. And so I went down a path of reading, some I dismissed very quickly, others I dabbled in a little more, and then a few authors really, really impacted me and C.S. Lewis being one, Dr. Ravi Zacharias being another, and Lee Strobel through his book, “Case through Christ.” And those three authors really let me down a path of looking at Christianity and looking at it as this is real. Christ did come here as God incarnate, he did die, and he did raise on the third day physically, and he’s giving me a chance to accept him and to live that life. And so when I was about twenty-four, twenty-five years old when that happened, and I started down a new path at that point. And the rest is history, I guess.
Ray: That’s really interesting to me in that you, that was really kind of a really bad thing that caused something really great to happen, right? We hear that a lot, you know, people ask, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” But in this case, it’s an example of how something that was apparently bad lead you ultimately to find your savior.
Brad: Yeah, absolutely, and it’s something that this particular friend of mine and myself had talked about, you know. Never expected it to come fruition that early for him, but it was it was a bad time in my life, it was a tough time in my life. But as Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures and shouts to us in our pains.” So it was a wake-up call and it was something that definitely led me to the truth, to him, and down the right path and ultimately leads to something good, even though at the time it was very painful.
Ray: I appreciate you giving us that background and just giving us some context of what ended up being a part of your faith journey. So let’s talk then a little bit about Mr. Quik Home Services. What is it that your business does, and kind of give us a picture of the scope and realm of the business.
Brad: Yes, so Mr. Quik Home Services is a home service provider. We do heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing repair work for homeowners around the central Indiana area. So you know, a customer may have a drain that’s not working, or may have a heater that’s not working, or an air conditioner is not working; they give us a call, we send a technician out, and he gets them going, gets them fixed, and that’s what we do each and every day. Not really interesting, pretty run-of-the-mill kind of boring stuff, but we try our best to make it fun and to serve customers in a really, as good of a manner as we possibly can.
Ray: And so when was the business started? Did you start the company? Did you buy the company? Help us understand the early days.
Brad: Yes, so I wasn’t much of a student in high school or college, so throughout high school I always had summer jobs, nights, weekends; I worked as an electrician for family friends, so did that from about my sophomore, junior, senior years. And by the time I was a senior, I kind of had a good idea of what I was doing on the electrical side. I decided to give college a try and made it almost a semester and I decided that wasn’t for me. So I left that and I called the family friend up and said, “Hey are you still doing the electrical work?” And he was, and so he and I went to work for another company for a year and then we decided we were going to go back out and start our own business. And we did that, started our own business and started in electrical work again, and in June of 2000, we did that for about three years. He had some medical issues and so he had to leave the business, and so there I was twenty-three years old. We had a business with about twenty employees, and I was left with the keys to this business that I had no idea what I was doing. So I had to figure it out very quickly because I had no other option.
Ray: What’s kind of an interesting thought about that whole journey is it doesn’t sound like you had formal business training. You were a practitioner, you were an electrician, right? So what gave you the confidence to think you could pull it off?
Brad: Yeah, maybe it wasn’t confidence. Maybe stupidity, you know. It wasn’t something I was ready for, wasn’t something, looking back now, I think, man it was pure ignorance. Like I really had no idea what I was doing. I have no idea what anything meant, what numbers meant, I had no idea how to manage, I had no idea how to do accounting, I had no idea how to run anything. But there I was with it and so, really it was, you know, I’ve heard people talk about no options, to where you know if you want something really bad, just give yourself an option. I did have drive, I’ve always been a motivated individual, kind of motivated. I don’t think I’m motivated; I’m just motivated to be the best I can be, and so that’s where I was at at the time, and I didn’t have any other options. So this was my livelihood at stake, and so I had no option but to make this thing work. So made a lot of mistakes, a lot of mistakes and I’ve learned a lot of what not to do in just about every realm of business, and you just, you know, kind of go through the maze and you figure it out and get better each day. And that was kind of the name of the game; each day just get a little better than you were the previous day. I had a lot of mentors that I had worked with. I reached out to a lot of people. That was one thing I was never afraid to do, was to reach out to people who I knew who were having business success and would just reach out to him and say, “Hey will you help?” And you know not all would, but the ones who would I still think about to this day, and very thankful that they were willing to help.
Ray: I appreciate that and recently we had a chance here at Bottom Line Faith to interview David Green, who’s the Founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby. And one of the comments that he shared in our interview with him was, there are times when he feels very nostalgic about those early days. How about for you; do you ever have any nostalgic feelings for those early days? Or are you just really glad that they’re past you now?
Brad: I think both and. My experience is each kind of level of business, success has its own challenges. And I remember Zig Ziglar saying one time, money is not everything, but it rates reasonably close to oxygen. And so having that money to, I mean back then, there was literally, you know, payroll is Friday and Thursday morning I come into the office and there’s nothing. There’s no money, there’s no line of credit, there are no investors, there’s nothing, and so you have to figure out today how you’re going to make payroll tomorrow. And that’s a different kind of stress than some of the stress as you get, as you get a little bit bigger and a little bit more successful. So I will say, you know, maybe some of the hunger. It’s a little bit easier to get when you have nothing and you have to make this work, versus okay, we have a little something and you know we don’t have to be so now, now, now about it. We have a little bit of breathing room here; so I think that’s some of what I miss, you know, that hunger, that, “Hey this has to happen today.” I’m a very impatient person, so just naturally that kind of stuff just kind of came, but each level I have found presents a different challenge.
Ray: Let’s just kind of stay parked here just for a moment in this whole vain of startups, and new ideas, and not knowing what we’re doing, all those things, right? Would you say to someone that’s listening to this conversation right now and maybe they’ve got an idea that they want to start a new business or maybe split off, start a new product line if they’ve got a business, whatever the case may be. What advice or what words of encouragement would you have to that person who’s kind of feeling like what you just described, saying, “I’ve got nothing. I really don’t know what to do.” What would you say to them?
Brad: I think starting, I think is the biggest key. So whether that means, you know, you’re in a job now and you want to start your own business, start it. Start it; I’m not suggesting you quit your other job. You have nights, you have weekends, so get after it and start. I think I read a book early on, I think it was called “Action Trumps Everything.” A study professor at Harvard study on entrepreneurs talked about how some individuals are planers. They want “I” dotted, every “T” crossed before they’ll start. I’m kind of the exact opposite nature where I get an idea and I just start but you fail quicker, you learn quicker, for my experience, and I think you just get to that end goal, even though it may not be what you originally intended. I think you do get to that end goal a little bit quicker, if you just start, get going. You’re never going to, I mean, if we asked Tim Cook of Apple today, “Hey, do you have it all figured out?” “No, I don’t know what I’m doing; but I’m doing it each and every day, and I’m doing the best I can.” So, I’m speaking in a little bit for him there, but I think that’s how I feel a lot of times. But you just start, you just go, you do the best you can and just fall forward and fail fast.
Ray: So if I’ve been tracking you, you know, hitting the rewind button back to the early days, you were fairly new in the business, a fairly young company, had a partner that had medical issues, I’m assuming may have prevented full participation in certain aspects of the business, correctly?
Brad: Yes, absolutely.
Ray: And twenty-some employees, about there.
Brad: Yes.
Ray: And if I followed, somewhere in that time frame is when you came to be a follower of Christ.
Brad: It was in that time frame, yes. I don’t have the Paul conversion story. I don’t have this one moment where I just woke up and I said I’m a follower of Christ. For me, it was it was over a period of months, maybe even years and I slowly came to that point. But it was in that general timeframe, yes.
Ray: Yeah, and I know this from earlier conversations that you and I have had over sharing a meal; you genuinely view your company, Mr. Quik Home Services as a platform for Christian ministry to share your faith. To be a ministry is that correct?
Brad: Yeah, absolutely. In the early days of business, my goal was to kind of, hey I want to get this business built up to the point where I can go and do full-time ministry. And then one day just through prayer, God told me, “Hey, this is your ministry. Get to work. There’s people there who need to hear My message and will never hear it if you don’t share it with them.”
Ray: I really appreciate you sharing that because so often we can buy into the lie that ministry is out there somewhere, instead of really prayerfully contemplating and considering the people and the platform that God’s already given us. And this, for those of us who are in business, it’s right here.
Brad: Yes.
Ray: It’s customers, it’s employees, it’s vendors. In some cases, it’s competitors even, right? Because we have a chance to mingle with them in the marketplace. So let’s talk a little bit about that. Give us maybe a best practice or two, a specific way that you really try to intentionally model and live out your Christian faith in and through your business. What’s that look like?
Brad: You know, it may look a little different every day, but, you know, we’re in the retail industry where we’re dealing directly with consumers. So the goal to make every customer happy, we don’t always succeed in doing that, but just in treating them, trying to go the 51%, just trying to go above and beyond. Even when, you know, the whole notion that the customer is always right; I don’t think we believe that, but you can still react to the situation, or you can respond to the situation. We just try to choose to respond and then walk away in a manner that three years down the road, we look back and feel good about how we handled the situation.
Ray: Yeah, so being in the retail and business of serving homeowners, consumer’s right? I’ve got to believe there are times when they post things on social media, you know, reviews make negate comments about your business, about your company. I would assume that sometimes they’ve had a bad experience because you are human beings in your team as well, but how have you handled the times when there have just been unfair, and untrue criticisms?
Brad: Yeah, absolutely. It’s, I think the more you experience it, the better you kind of get at it, but early on, I would respond offensively. I would want to hey, let’s talk to this person, do all those things. I think just over time, you know, there’s going to be a certain percentage of people who it doesn’t matter what you do, they’re just going to be upset, and there’s a certain percentage of people who are just going to take advantage of you. In our company we have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if a customer is not happy for any reason, we will refund their money. And you get that, you get some that are unjust, but we’re the ones that said it, so we get the money back. But, the other online reviews, that’s a tough thing, and I think you just do it on a case-by-case situation. I also think we all have strengths, we all have weaknesses, and I’m a firm believer in going all in on my strengths and not really worry about my weaknesses. So once we got to a certain level, and I could afford to get the right person to respond to those; I have a full-time person now, that’s a big part of her job on a daily basis is handling those and communicating with those customers and doing whatever it takes to make them happy.
Ray: And it’s just something in today with technology and social media is just, it’s the Wild West, right? You just can’t control those things, and sometimes it’s just going to happen; I get that. So, Brad, let’s just kind of review back, eighteen years in business?
Brad: Yep.
Ray: Congratulations, first of all; that is fantastic. Take us to the darkest time. Take us to the hardest moment of business ownership; what was it, what were you going through, how did your faith impact how you handled that? I’m just, I want to hear about that.
Brad: Yeah, absolutely. We grew very rapidly, and growth can be a good thing and also be a very challenging thing.
Ray: Especially for cash flow.
Brad: Absolutely, and we struggled. We put some people in place, some management in place that maybe they weren’t in the right roles in the company. And they caused us some problems, and that led to some lawsuits against our company, and it was about a two-year ordeal, and I don’t think-
Ray: Was the company at risk, was it that serious?
Brad: Yeah, absolutely. It was a real tough time to go through, and it was. I won’t say it was 100% unjust. There was some justice to it; there was some things we were doing wrong, and maybe not communicating properly, and things of that nature, but the biggest piece of it was unjust, and then the media picked it up, which that’s another story, we could do another whole podcast. But the media picks it up, and what they were reporting wasn’t accurate. And then you get competitors jumping on board, and then you get the online stuff, what you just referenced a few minutes ago, and it really just spiraled out of control. And we dealt with that for a couple years and, you know, I remember kind of the, I would say, the deepest, darkest moment of that, for me, and I remember like it was yesterday. I was with my wife, and just a flood of emotions just comes out and you just really, like I just like, “God where are you? Why?” And Lewis again, C.S. Lewis spoke to me; his writings really spoke to me,
during this time, and in one of those books, he’s got the conversation where he says, “Sometimes I go to the door and that God’s inside of and I knocked and sometimes I just wonder why is no one answering?” And it’s truly what I felt like, “God why are you not answering?” And so we went through that and I remember that like it was yesterday. And that was kind of the climax of that.
And you know, there’s no immediate answers, but you just wake up, you get back on your knees, and that’s really where I spent most of that time, was on my knees in prayer and with God. And you know I just work through it the best I can, through prayer and God slowly revealed himself to me through that again, much like my friend’s death looking back on that. We’re now five, six years removed from that, were in such a better place, both from how we operate, to how we serve our customers, to how we serve our team members, to all those things. It’s just been phenomenal to watch that. The success kind of turnaround and at the lowest moment of that, you know, I’ve, over the years through prayer I really tried to learn how to hear and listen to God more. And I’ll never forget, I was praying one morning, and God tells me a Scripture to go to, which I’d never experienced before in my life. And I wasn’t familiar with the Scripture, so I go to the Scripture and it’s about Elisha when he’s at a city and the well is bad, and He tells him to go get some salt and throw salt in the well. And he says God says the well’s good, and it’s clean, and it’ll be good forever now. And I really do believe God sent me to that Scripture. I think that was him telling me the well is good; move forward, you’re fine now, and I really hold on to that Scripture and it’s something that means a lot to me.
Ray: I love it. It’s amazing how just those promptings, right, the Holy Spirit speaking to us, but I love the fact you obeyed; you went, and he had a special word just for you that day.
Brad: Yeah absolutely. You know, that’s something I’ve really tried to get better at. Someone told me one time they said, we all have for lack of better terms “Voices in our heads,” right? We talk to ourselves. He told me, he said, “That most of the time we think that is us, but it could be God.” And he said, “Why don’t you try flipping that and think that’s probably is God, but it could be you?”
Ray: Very good, very good. Well, let me ask you this, so we’ve kind of talked about that lowest point, and so forth, and learned a little bit about when you first began to see your business as a ministry in the mission field. As you look back over the course of your career and your pathway, what’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you, who was it, and how does it impact you today?
Brad: Yeah, that’s a good question. I think just quickly thinking about this, I’ve always, as I alluded to earlier, I’ve always sort of sought out mentors and there’s been a God-ordained mentor in my life, that the story of how we met, is quite clear that God meant him to come into my life. But he had told me one time, he said, “You know, just whatever you do, just do it. Just do it with God, and don’t worry about the results. Just do it with God. And that’s been very impactful to me, it’s helped me to have more of an eternal viewpoint on things versus a temporal viewpoint on things. So I may do things in my business that look crazy to outsiders or even to myself but, if I’m doing it with God, I think I’m doing it for the right reasons, and having that eternal perspective on it.
Ray: Absolutely. And so how is your faith tested in business? Are there times when it’s, maybe you’re tempted or times when you’re uncertain about what God would have you do? What’s that like for you?
Brad: Yeah, absolutely. Temptations come in every shape, and I think when we think they aren’t coming is probably when we’re most vulnerable for them, and I think the more success, the more business success, maybe the more susceptible we are to some of those temptations and I think, for myself, I think I can tend to think, “Look at what I’ve done.” And so now I’ve already just disconnected from what I just said. I’m no longer doing these things with God. I’m now patting myself on the back, looking at my own greatness and it’s, no. “I can do this without you, Brad. I don’t need you.” So, I think, yeah, the temptations do come and you just surrounded yourself with the right people, start your morning on your knees, get plugged in, connected to God, and just do the best you can to protect yourself from those things.
Ray: Fantastic. Well, folks one more time, we are speaking with Brad Huff the President of Mr. Quik Home Services. You can learn more about Brad and his company at mrquikhomeservices.com. Brad, it always amazes me how quickly the time goes. So really we just have time for a couple of more questions. So what I’d like to ask you is looking back, what advice would you give to the twenty-year-old you? You know, what would you say to Brad at age twenty?
Brad: Yeah, I think I as I said earlier, I’m an extremely impatient person, and I’ve gained patience as I’ve aged, but when I was younger, I was extremely impatient. Everything had to be now, and so I think the first thing would be, “Hey, be patient. This isn’t a sprint; this is a marathon. So be patient with it.” I would encourage myself because I was so focused on building the business, I think there’s a lot of other things that maybe got hurt. Some of the relationships in my life, some family, and I wish I could have spent more time with some of the family and friends, doing some of that stuff. And probably just learning to listen and hear God more, more clearly, you know. Jesus says to listen to Him, but he also says to act, so to hear and to act. And so if you do hear, act on what you heard, and just have patience in doing it. This thing isn’t going to happen; it’s not going to come to fruition overnight.
Ray: Yeah, absolutely. That’s correct, and so now as you kind of look at this stage in your life, what do you think is maybe that really, the big vision, or what’s left undone, that God is calling you to?
Brad: That’s an interesting question. I love business. I love being able to just pour into our team members’ lives, are our customers’ lives, I love being able to serve those in need who can’t afford our service. I love those things. I think God’s called me to continue on in business, to do some other things. There are other businesses we looked at in expanding into, or purchasing of the businesses, things of that nature. But you’ve got to be careful with that, too. You can’t do too many things at once. So, I’m still honestly noodling through some of that. As the business has grown to become more successful, it has given me more time to do some, I’ll call it mission work. We did a pastor’s conference in Africa last year. We’ve got a few of those we’re doing in different parts of the country this year or different parts of the world, and I think a lot of times we think we need to travel around the world to do these things, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think there’s plenty to do in our own backyard, and I think more of us need to be called to our own backyard. So, yeah, I’m working through some of that, but I think just continue in the service and see where I can be best used is kind of where I’m at today.
Ray: I appreciate that, and I think that’s part of the daily journey, right? That we’re on is day-by-day, is, “Lord, what do you have for us?” Well, Brad, believe it or not, we are at the end of the program. Went fast, didn’t it?
Brad: Absolutely, yeah.
Ray: There’s one question, Brad, that I always end every conversation with and here at Bottom Line Faith we love to call this our 4:23 question. So if you’re a regular listener, you know what’s about to happen. If not, if it’s your first time, I think you’re going to find this really interesting, but this question is based out of Proverbs chapter 4, verse 23, were Solomon writes, “Above all else, guard your heart for it determines the course of your life.” Brad, I just want to paint this picture: it’s towards the tail end of your life. Of course, none of us know when that day is going to be here, but let’s just pretend you can paint this picture out toward the tail end of your life, and you have a chance to gather your family, your friends, those who are most precious to you as you’re about to go into eternity, and you have a chance to pass along one piece of advice. What would be your above all else? So, finish the sentence, Above all else…
Brad: Above all else. Wow, that’s tough. Above all else, I think, God, Jesus. Like, above all else, it just, other things are important, yes, but above all else, just cling to him, trust him, look to him, and I think coming from the deathbed I think that would be very, very impactful. But, that’s where you’re going, you know, this is going to end someday. So I think above all else, search for the truth, find the truth, and trust in it, and have a relationship with Him, and just get to know Him, and spend time with Him.
Ray: That’s the best advice any of us is going to have, is trust in the Lord. So, I just want to say, thank you for taking the time to come by and share your heart with us and your journey. Really appreciate you being a guest here at Bottom Line Faith.
Brad: Yeah, I appreciate you having me on.
Ray: Well, folks we have heard some incredible truth today, and just some encouragement from Brad Huff. He is the President of Mr. Quik Home Services, again, one more time, you can check out their website at mrquikhomeservices.com. Folks, thank you for joining us here at Bottom Line Faith. If you’re not a regular subscriber please consider going to Bottom Line Faith, scrolling down to the bottom of the page there, and you can subscribe whether it’s on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, any of the standard podcast platforms. Lots and lots of interviews there at our site at bottomlinefaith.org. Truth At Work is the host ministry here at Bottom Line Faith; if you’re interested in learning about one of our Round Table groups, around the country, please check us out at truthatwork.org. Until next time, I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith, Ray Hilbert, encouraging you to serve the Lord faithfully in the marketplace every day. God bless and we’ll see you next time.