Thomas Granson was the youngest fire captain at the Kokomo Fire Department, Kokomo, Indiana. Aside from his firefighting career, TJ Granson also ran a successful business named TJ Granson’s Painting and Epoxy. Upon seeing that the business was rapidly growing, he realized that he needed more people to keep the business running. His crew was all well-equipped with skills and knowledge in different areas of construction. With the love for what he does, he expanded his business and changed the name to Granson Contracting Incorporated.
Where did the idea for Granson Contracting come from?
This idea came from wanting to expand. The business name was Tj’s Painting & Epoxy at the time. That name limited us to customers believing we just did painting and epoxy. My crew was getting more experienced at polished concrete, remodeling homes, wood floor installations, tile floor coverings, etc. I was also good at writing contracts and estimating various construction jobs— I could estimate just about anything residential whether it is framing, roofing, siding, windows, tile, wood floors, drywall, bathrooms, kitchens, etc. I was also very good with customers. I could sell jobs very well, and I always guaranteed customers satisfaction. Granson Contracting Inc. did 2 things: It opened up more jobs for my crew, and it also opened up opportunities for me to sub-contract jobs to other companies that would work side by side with our crew and I would be the lead contractor. I would then send these sub-contract companies a 1099 for their work that they were paid for. Granson Contracting Inc. was about growing, expanding, and providing customers with great quality work for a reasonable price.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up at 545 and start waking up all 5 children. I read once that children respond better to a gentle massage rather than yelling “WAKE UP!” So, I’ll walk to each room and one by one gently massage their cheeks or arms. And it actually works! I then start breakfast. I usually try to do a different breakfast each day. The kids do showers at night and they’re pretty good at getting dressed but I’ll check outfits, shoes, socks, teeth brushed, hair, etc. I drop off 5 kids at 3 different schools, so it takes a little over an hour to get every kid dropped off. Once I drop everyone off, I’ll run any errands that need done. I’ll then head home. Once I get home, my day varies depending on what’s happening in life. Often I’ll be doing some type of home update or renovation, so I’ll do that until school pick up. If I don’t have that going on I’ll usually go on a jog with my dog. I like to run and clear my mind. No matter what it is, I’ll stop at 1:45. School pick up starts at 2:15 and it takes over an hour to pick up all kids. This is the typical weekday schedule. Weekends my wife is usually home and we try to have fun on Saturday. Beach day, swimming, park, bike rides, park, etc. Sunday we go to 2 different churches. We love praise and worship so we’ll go to City Hope in Malbis, AL and then we’ll go to Christ the King in Daphne, AL. We say prayers every night and I usually get my solitude and hop in the hot tub to relax and often pray the rosary. That’s pretty much my schedule! I do a lot of things, and I’d like to believe everything makes my day productive.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Great question! Ideas come to life in multiple ways. I have so many ideas, so I have to focus on one item or idea at a time. I like to finish an idea before starting another. Sometimes, my ideas are extravagant, like starting a new business. I’ve had an idea for a business for a long time, so that’s the type of idea that I’ll focus on one thing at a time like finding a good commercial lot, or maybe saving enough money to buy one major item. This type of extravagant idea just develops over time. Smaller ideas I’m able to finish completely. Stuff like building a deck, a cabinet, leveling my yard, landscaping, or even just organizing my tools. Ideas can be small or big, but I don’t allow myself to start organizing my tools, start landscaping, start building a deck and just never finish any idea. As with all ideas, if the cost isn’t affordable, I’ll wait until I can efficiently accomplish the idea without causing financial burdens.
What’s one trend that excites you?
There’s a lot! I can’t just mention one thing, so maybe it would be a fishing tackle, fishing gear, and especially fishing clothing. I love Salt Life and Fintech fishing clothing, especially the hats and shirts. I love fishing tackle that’s new or trendy. Right now, there’s artificial Surf Fishing bait called Fish Bites and I love trying new and different baits. Surf Fishing is by far my favorite hobby. I absolutely love fishing right off the beach. I do well in catching all types of fish, and people walking the beach love stopping and talking to fishermen. I’m a social guy, so I love meeting new people from all over the world as well. Super cool!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I love reading and watching videos. To be an entrepreneur, it’s always good to learn different things and innovative ways to do things better, more efficiently, faster, and more cost effective. I watch a lot of videos and read a lot at night before falling asleep and it’s usually to learn how to do something better.
For instance, I’ve been watching videos lately on landscaping. There’s a new way to install the border which is to outline, dig out, and mix concrete mortar to pour into where the stone or whatever you’re using for border goes. The concrete mortar keeps the stone in place and keeps weeds from growing up through the cracks. I watch stuff like Bitcoin and stock market as well. Just a little.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Find solitude and simplicity in my everyday life. It’s so important to have patience and be led by grace through God— I call it trying to walk in the light and steps of Jesus. I’ll never obtain anything close, but that solitude and simplicity is very important.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Fantastic question! The first thing that came to mind is life in other planets. Our universe is all so much bigger than our minds can fathom. Planets that are millions of light years away is just crazy. God’s creation is unbelievable! And, how about traveling faster than the speed of light? Time is based on the speed of light. What happens when someone travels faster than the speed of light? Time travel theory? I also research apparitions, especially with the Virgin Mary the Queen/Mother of Heaven. Her apparitions are very intriguing to me. The messages she’s given to people like Saint Lucia of Fatima is incredible. Most people, when I speak of these things, find it hard to believe. I believe in these things as truth.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I treat everyone as I expect to be treated. Provide everyone with full customer satisfaction. Be kind to everyone even if that person isn’t kind. Those few sentences will produce clientele and customers coming back.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
When you give a price, stick to that price. I charge more money only in rare circumstances, but if you have to charge more, thoroughly explain and physically show everything— the labor, materials, etc.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest failure as an entrepreneur was being too nice. Don’t get it wrong, being nice is good, but there’s always a limitation to everything. When it’s about business, think business. Customers would request free work to be done and I would often say yes. I overcame this by listening to my wife who would say every service is a fee. She would say this when I would at times lose money that directly affected our family.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
People accumulate so much stuff and many people don’t know how to organize. If someone started a business to help declutter, organize, and clean, people would pay a lot of money for that service— everything from homes, closets, pantries, barns, garages, sheds, storage areas, storage units, even tool boxes. The business idea would have to be an hourly rate, but people should physically see progress every hour. There would be dirty jobs, sometimes disgusting. So you’d charge more per hour for these types of jobs. This business would also have additional fees that customers would know up front like with waste disposal. It’s also a business someone could do by themselves and not need additional help unless items were too heavy to move.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I surprised my wife and took her to a date night. Quality time is her love language, and that $100 makes a difference in our communication and marriage. It doesn’t take a lot to make someone happy, especially your loved ones.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
These days, I’m into YouTube. YouTube is incredible for helping people learn how to DIY. Many videos show start to finish process, and this really help people save money. Excel is great for businesses to breakdown item by item, or maybe spreadsheets as well. Voice command is great for hands free texting. GPS is great for all the obvious reasons.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Bible is one book that I would recommend people to read. People are falling away from Gods word, and as a whole we need to read the Bible more. There are so many great lessons and teachings to learn and gain wisdom from this book! In these challenging times, when we feel that everything’s falling apart, when we feel that everything just doesn’t make sense anymore, read the bible and “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
What is your favorite quote?
“Keep your faith”
Life is hard. And at times, it’s very challenging to keep a strong faith. However, if you’re able to keep this faith in troubling times, there’s a light at the end of darkness— beautifully bright!
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.