Sam Horn on the challenges and harsh realities experienced in turning his building business into a profitable construction company

Interview with
Sam Horn
Sam Horn on the challenges and harsh realities experienced in turning his building business into a profitable construction company

How to take your business from passion to profit.

So, you have a passion for your job and want to create a business out of it. Is your enthusiasm enough to make it work? Or do you need a bit of commercial nowse as well; some level of business acumen that will guide your keenness towards a positive and profitable outcome? The answer is in today’s podcast as we talk to Sam Horn of who, as a young carpenter decided his love of building was all he needed to make a career from it.

Excellent intentions and skill for the job meant that Sam Horn was a good keen man in his pursuit to create a high-end quality home build and renovation business … and he was going great guns there for a while. Business was booming as was Sam Horn Building’s reputation.

The proverbial s*** hit the fan three years down the track when Sam made a visit to his accountant and the books said he was $130,000 in the red. It’s pretty gutting to hear that your business is failing. Would you sack your staff and triple your work load? Listen up to hear how Sam Horn reacted and you will understand how dedication to his business has transmuted to a 100% commitment to his team:

“I hate having the boys out of work …”

This attitude created part of the problem though, as Sam’s guarantee to keep his boys busy meant he was taking on too many jobs, spreading himself too thin, underquoting and not staying on top of his bookwork. To avoid these mistakes Sam has good advice to anyone starting out:

  • Understand where you want your business to be, where and what is the dream?
  • Don’t be a jack of all trades: narrow it down and specialise
  • Undertake a business course at the outset and consider a business coach such as Anthony Kirby ( of  if you need help along the way. (Check out our podcast on Anthony, episode #30)
  • Be honest when you are asked to quote for a job and you feel it’s not appropriate for your business, or has no chance of being accepted (beware “Price shoppers”) Don’t waste your time on these
  • Be prepared for your business to become your life!

Sam would rather “be on the tools” so he recommends purchasing a software programme to free up time and keep tabs on every cent that goes out and comes in. He uses  (connected to Zero) which takes care of estimates, quoting, job management, materials and labour. This investment alone has taken Sam’s new home build quote time from ten days to two hours; value you cannot deny.

And how does he inspire his team to stay motivated and on track? Nothing beats a few beersies on a Friday or working hard alongside your apprentice to show how it’s done. Communication is always key: set goals, share vision and:

“Continue to learn … read about new tools, new products so you know your industry … and keep talking to the professionals who know how to help.”

Sam Horn, S H B,


Sam sees his business as becoming one of the ‘powerhouses’ (great play on words!) of custom build homes in the very near future as he now indisputably has the balance of passion and business nowse right on the ball.

Check him out on Facebook or at or

And by the way, if you need more help in moving your business from chaos to control visit me, Craig Oliver at:

Or read the show notes from our other amazingly informative, inspirational and gritty podcasts at:

So many insights, tips and ideas to be had! Just look back, listen and learn, because learning how to balance passion with professional wisdom might be the best thing you can do.


Go on, smash through the glass ceiling and grow your business into something remarkable



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