Q&A with The Trusted Toolbox owner and founder Chris Lalomia
Q:Before The Trusted Toolbox, what was your profession?
A:My last job in the corporate zoo was as SVP over Credit reporting, prior to that I had built a career in a leading business consultancy focused on bank mergers and commercial operations processes
Q:How did the Trusted Toolbox get started?
A:I was working many hours and started to outsource job for my home maintenance and recognized the bad communication, poor accountability and uneven quality from the service I received. I recognized a need that could be serviced with a more professional approach focused on consistency and quality and an easy way to communicate.
Q:What is the most rewarding part of owning the business?
A:I love being able to see people come together and solve problems and see my employees thrive doing what they do best. Watching people perform and create solutions to problems is the most rewarding part. I like to be able to use my ‘whole mind’ and be involved in a number of activities and decisions and take accountability for results or lack of results.
Q:We noticed that you do a lot of networking, is this something that you enjoy.
A:I enjoy networking because I get to meet many people who are interested in entrepreneurship and running businesses. I like interacting with people as a natural extrovert, I actually GET more energy while I network and find that it helps propel me through some of the mundane humdrum tasks that still need to be completed when running a business.
Q:You have some new projects getting started, one being “The Home Service Institute” can you tell us about that.
A:I recognized a need to align Business owners WANTS with employees NEEDS. A compelling customer service training program focused on in-home service providers when working with customers who are often anxious, uninformed and weary of how the transaction will be completed. The training speaks directly to the skilled trade technicians to help them achieve their NEEDS – which are an easy transaction that allows them to demonstrate their artistry and in turn get rewarded monetarily for their work. We demonstrate that by following this program of GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE through stories will help them achieve more and helps align the business owner WANTS – Treat the customers like we would to achieve profitable transactions and REPEAT Customers.
Q:Can you tell us about your new book, From The Zoo To The Wild?
A:My journey was long and winding, and after being in business for over 13 years, I have realized that I had a lot of ‘gold nuggets’ of information that I learned through achievement and more importantly temporary failures that turned into actions. I wanted to give back to people who may be thinking of making that SCARY leap in the wild world of entrepreneurship and not having the safety net of a company with a salary, benefits etc. I take the reader through the moment I realized I was going to make the LEAP, then the process I went through to plan for the leap, and then the realization that I was in a RETAIL business for the first time in my life, we then move into the beginning stages of the business and then how I refined my early years learning and process to Achieve Operational excellence, and then finally we talk about how you need to work and train and inspire skilled trades to allow them to realize their NEEDS and feel fulfilled.
Q:What was your inspiration for writing this book?
A:It started out with me joking “One day when I write my book…” then I started a haphazard journaling schedule, which turned into me getting up to about 50 pages of small type, and I realized, I might have something here. I wanted to help others be a resource that would be PART of their arsenal, but knowing that I was not going to give them anything revolutionary, but rather share ‘nuggets’ of information that might fit into and and help shape their overall plan and journey. TAKE THE LEAP!
Q:Tell us a little something about yourself? What are some of the other Hobbies that you enjoy?
A:I have enjoyed, good food, wine, golf, family and spending time with friends, when socializing, is where I get my most energy and enjoyment.
Q:Where do you want to see your business in five years?
A:I see The Trusted Toolbox as a leader in the home services industry in Atlanta in the Handyman/Remodeling/HVAC/Plumbing/Electric areas, I also see our sister company, The home service institute as an industry expert providing customer service training to the skilled trades.
Q:What is one of the craziest calls that you have been on?
A:I showed up at a lady’s house who was in a panic, her long time dog, had to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes, and she lived in a town-home. She could not leave a door open for him, because the stairs were too much for the dog to handle, and did NOT want a pee pad in the house. I immediately came up with a solution to make a hole in the outside wall in the dining room which provided first level access and a gentle slope to allow the dog to go to the bathroom, we put the dog door in and all was good….. until 3 months later and she called me to let me know the dog passed, but at least the house smelled good. 😊