In today’s installment, we have our guest Todd Pigott back for part two of his interview with the host Dan Barrett.
In this captivating conversation, Todd shares his journey to massive success across multiple businesses, including a facilities management company and a lending arm. Discover how he overcame the challenge of intense competition in the cleaning industry and built a company with 1000 employees.
Todd also reveals his secrets for attracting and retaining top talent, from conducting rigorous interviews to assessing values over a plate of chicken wings. You definitely don’t want to miss this episode packed with valuable insights and actionable tips for taking your real estate investing game to the next level.
Tune in now!
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You're listening to the REI marketing nerds podcast, the leading resource for real estate investors who want to dominate their market online. Dan Barrett is the founder of AdWords nerds, a high tech digital agency focusing exclusively on helping real estate investors like you get more leads and deals online, outsmart your competition and live a freer, more awesome life. And now, your host, Dan Barrett.
0:41 Hey guys, welcome back. You're listening to the second part of last week's episode. Let's jump back in. I think I want to dig in just a little bit to the the cleaning company that facilities kind of management company, you start with your like roof vacuum cleaner, whatever. My mom's vacuum cleaner. Yeah, I hope at some point you bought your poor mother like a new vacuum cleaner. I did. Man I told that thing into the ground. Running extension cord. It was so free. I gave it back to her. She looked at me. She says Are you kidding me? About I said no, no, Mom, I can't do that. I went out and got her when I used to think for a year.
1:20 Oh my god, I love that so much. I said, Alright, so the thing that strikes me about that, right? You said she grew this company became really successful, right? You got 1000 employees, which just makes me break out in hives to think about like, that's a lot, right. So if a lot a lot, but the thing that strikes me about that is that cleaning a building, sort of by definition is not a business. It's got a built in moat, right? Like you're not a software company where you're like, we've got this advantage, and no one else can get. Anybody can come and compete with you to clean the building. Right? So why do you think or what do you attribute the success of your company to you? It sort of strikes me as this business model where you're always going to have competition because it's hard to differentiate. So how did you get around that and what do you think was the cause of your growth?
2:11 I'm gonna I have a simple answer for that. So, you know, a lot of people try to brand themselves as a market disrupter. In other words, you got some special sauce, right? You know, you you got a special intellectual property or a special sauce. I think market market disruptors are are outstanding. Uber is a market disrupter. So they came in and disrupted that market because they had a new, a new thing, a new piece of intellectual property IP. But what happens if you're just doing the same Jane as everybody else? How do you differentiate yourself? Because I had a facilities maintenance company and every Tom Dick and Harry is doing the same thing. So how, how is it that I'm going to make a path to success in an industry that is widely already saturated? Right, man, two things as scary me so far. And I know this is gonna sound really passe, I'm telling you, man, two things.
Number one, I operate with a huge amount of character and integrity. Always do what you say you're gonna do. When you say you're gonna do it. Always do the freakin right thing when people aren't watching. Always. I have three kids and a wife is really pretty simple. I always, always do the right thing. I treat I so if you're just if your character integrity is their number one, you've already wiped out a portion of your competition already. Look people in the eye, shake their hand, do the right thing. And always be truthful about it. So my cleaning business was just I had master keys to target. i We never sold we never lie. We never cheated. Number two, man. This has been my biggest success secret. I eat, I eat really well. I eat vegetables and I eat meats. I set my alarm early, and I wake up and I exercise.
And I go out every single day I eat my lunch at my desk that comes from a refrigerator is right behind me. So every single day, if you wake up early than your competition, and you get some exercise and you eat right, and come to work and grind, every minute of that day, eat your lunch at your desk, you will move farther than your competition because most just being honest, man, most Americans are pretty lazy right now. So if you want to go shopping and fart around for long lunches, take an hour and a half and float around in the afternoon and all this kind of crap. You know your path to success is not going to be there. If you're willing to get up at 615 and get some fitness in and eat right in the morning like cottage cheese and fruit and then to have a decent lunch but eat it at your desk and you're willing to grind all day long and put in a 10 to 12 hour day You're gonna be fine. You're going to outstrip your competition in a large way.
By that same token, always, always do it you're going to do when you say you're going to do it. And so I know that sounds so you know a lot of people to roll their heads and roll their eyes. I'm telling you, I could have made a lot more money, you know, by being a little bit scrupulous or a bit dishonest. We just do the right thing. I had an eye escrow company three years ago, three years ago, our bank accounts off $163,000 We cannot find it. We cannot. So we looked everywhere. It goes on the bank account. We know we can't find out how we have $163,000 deposit in our account. And so so because we reconcile every single month Yeah, CPA, we have an NL CPA, we're gonna salary so we were looking everywhere, we cannot find out where is this trace to? I'm, I'm thinking I did it dawns on me on a Saturday.
You know, really odd I had a transaction that was 163,273 loan on a property, I remember that number. I come down to our office on a Saturday and dig out the red file. And, and this property that had a loan on it. 463,279 I'm making up that number now because I don't really remember it was a very unique number. And our deposit matched escrow and title it sent the money to us in air, it actually belonged to a lender down in Calabasas, California, we cut a check and we sent it to that to that person. That was not our money. It was $163,000 Yeah, I would have loved to have kept that money. But it's not my money. So two things just do the right thing. Yeah, man, you might make a few less dollars, but it sure is a lot better lifestyle.
You know, when you run into somebody at an Applebee's, and they look at you, they look at me they can at least know I did the right thing. And then number two, seriously eat right get some fitness in wake up early, you've beat it 75% of your your competition already there. So how I look at it, because then your question has been asked before, what's your path to success, but flipping and flipping 100 million living a billion, building this company from $17 to 500, employees, grind, man, grind, I don't have a PhD. It's grind 615 In the morning, till seven o'clock at night, six days a week, get your fitness and your diet on target. You know, stay away from excessive alcohol and don't smoke sounds so stupid. But that's really the trick man. And then just do the right thing by people.
And you'll be you'll be able to talk I will tell you, you will be in the top 5% of any industry anywhere if you just stick to those premises. So I don't have a market disrupter. I don't have a unique concept or a unique software. I'm doing the same thing everybody else does. Well, how are you so much better? Because we do the right thing. My CPA does the right thing. It was in house, our staff accountant does the right thing. And our Director of Business Operations does the right thing. And that's how we roll. And so and then we wake up earlier than anybody else. I'm the first one in this office. I'm the last one to leave and lunches at my desk. So grind it away, and you'll get there finding a market disrupter, I think to be very candid with you is really, really tough. Yeah, you got to find that one needle in the haystack.
You know, I'm not smart enough to be the founder of Uber or the next new app that comes out. I just, I just don't have that ability. I just don't. So the only way I got there was to grind and for God's sakes eat right and exercise. Nothing is worse than being overweight and eating junk food and then trying to get through your day, you can feel it coming out of your pores. So try to try to eat right get some exercise, drink lots of water, you're gonna feel so much energized. Try to get to that day. I don't know, I'm not smart enough to be a market disrupter, develop the next app or be the next Uber or be the next Amazon. I'm not that good.
And second of all, there's 100 failures for every one of those successes. I think of you constantly chase that I think you might be in for a very life of unsatisfaction pick what you like to do, man, when you want to be a gardener you want to be me house cleaning buildings, you want to be a flipper, pick what you want to do, but for God's sakes, don't sleep until 930 Don't eat junk food. Get out of every day be the first one out of bed the last one all and for God's sakes do the right thing. You know, and you'll be okay.
9:15 Well let me okay so first of all, I love that I'm a big fan of the the Warren Buffett saying if it's trite it's right you know so the fact that you're taking losses I'll people roll their eyes at this. They want some new kind of thing but the fact of the matter is best advice is not typically new right? You've usually heard it before. But so let me transition this because we've been talking about kind of your past now Warren Buffett you know, simple simple, boring stuff, Dairy Queen, Coca Cola, Walmart, right? But well executed every time right? So basically, so I want to transition that kind of thought process to zinc as it is today. Zinc investing.com.
We talked about zinc financial.com. It's like the lending arm, zinc investing.com The sort of fund. Now the thing that's strikes me about that story. Right is, and it's kind of the same with the facility management company as it must be with zinc in your kind of financial businesses, in that it's one thing for you to have those character traits or those habits. But, for example, if you have 1000 employees, you're not always the one turning the key in the target at night, right? You've got to build a company culture where it's not just you that has the ethics, but your employees have the ethics and the same thing. With the fund that you run or your lending arm, you've got to have people who really internalize your thought processes about vision, your mission. Yeah, so you got to be a magnet. You get into that, like, how do you how do you build a company that reflects those values in that way, because you've done it multiple times now.
10:54 So you have got bought five companies sold one. And obviously we're building this out, it is absolutely mission critical that see, here's the thing, man, it's really easy to, to to make a sandwich. It's easy. Anybody can make a sandwich. It's really easy to manage one Subway sandwich shop, it's easy us wake up, you got one bite one other than the one cash register. So it's easy to make a sandwich, it's easy to do the trade. It's easy to do the trade and have a couple of people report to you. That's easy. That's one subway. How do you get and here's where the scale fails for so many people, how do you get from one subway to 10 subways, to higher subways, that's the execution that drops off exponentially for everybody out there, even people listening to the show, right?
Everybody can go make a sandwich, that's an eight hour anybody can go to work for eight hours a day. And anybody could probably run one subway, it's scaling. That's very hard, you have got to be a magnet to attract good talent. And so how do you do that? I'm back to those things. Do what you say you're going to do? Be it be that successful vision, make sure that your vision is exponentially clear. And attract the right people, you have got to find those people through a recruiter or whatever, to be able to join your team that share those same mantras they have to and so I'm very quick, very quick at terminating people who do not parallely align with those things. I have fired people for stealing a stapler. It's $3. It doesn't matter, your vision, your integrity, your character, and what you want to be does not align with me.
So I fired her over a stapler. I also had a girl here that ran up a $3,500 bill on using the wrong password and login for Fidelity National title to check some property profiles. Because she used the wrong password on our password list. She actually used the one where we got charged. And in two days, she ran up a $3,500 bill. But I kept her and I said no problem. And she was shocked. She has cost me $3,500 No problem because your intent, your intent is not to be disingenuous. Your character integrity is not question, your intent was actually to help the company grow in the same direction as everybody else and do the right thing. So your intent is to do the right thing. But check the program, you just made an error and put in the wrong password.
I can deal with that all day long. If you want to come here to my company, and make a mistake, and it's three or five or $10,000, I can actually get over that really quickly. What I can't get over is somebody who steals a table stapler with intent to steal something for self enrichment that does not align with my values. So I'm very, very careful on who I bring on my team. You've got to share the vision and you got to share the that culture and a very quick terminate. If those values are broken, to get from one subway to 10 subways, you got to have a team and you got to have a team of leaders. It goes like this, you have staff, supervisors, managers, and then you've got your C class or your leaders, I'm gonna say that one more time, you've got staff, then supervision, then management and then leaders are the C class the leaders are really critical.
You've got to attract good solid talent at the upper level that can help you build out those other 10 subways, otherwise you're dead in the water. So those those people you know through recruiter or how LinkedIn however, you got to find them and attract them. And and they're watching to, you know, they're white because they're good. So they have options out there. So they're only going to join a company or a team that shares the same visions and those visions. I gotta be crystal clear. The crystal clear vision is our Tegrity is first our characters first, you know, are we going to do the right thing at all times, we're going to work hard and grind it out. And so that person is absolutely necessary in order to get to the next level.
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15:45 I ended up asking this question of pretty much everyone that comes on the show, which just tells you that this is my selfish preoccupation. But my question is, I'm totally with you. I think I think that's such an inspiring in itself is an inspiring vision of how you build a company, right? You build it values first, build it from the values up, you know, as a business coach of mine once said, you hire lead and fire to the vision of the company. Right? So it really, it really resonates with me. But my question is like when you are hiring, how do you listen for those values? Because Because my experience is typically I'm like a very trusting person. And so if I get on a zoom call, and Todd, you know, I don't know you untied you're like, you look, these are all my values. I'm 100% in I'm like, really? No, no, yeah, it's very hard to tell. Right? So is it just, you got to get them in the door, watch them like a hawk. And just like you said, be able to fire.
16:42 So here's what we do. When we go to retain talent. This is what we do. And I'm letting no secrets out of the bag. Probably no one listens to this podcast. So yeah. Yeah. So what we do, what we do to make sure that we're getting good, clean talent, candidly, is we start looking at their resume, and starting to question their roles in the past, we get them on site, they must do this face to face, we get them in the boardroom. And there's always a three or four panel person. So we have three or four of us talking to this candidate. We tried to get them comfortable enough to have free flowing conversation. And we're trying to look at their historical job functions. Were asking probing questions to see if there's any loopholes or inconsistencies in their past scenarios. Once we have a couple of red flags. We'll have to dig deeper. So number one, number one, we call them in in his personal, we don't email and we don't sell on them. We will fly you in. You will come here and you will sit with us. Yeah. And we always always ask probing questions or their history then number two is we usually take him to get something to eat. If you could pick up on a lot of attributes, but taking somebody to some chicken wings and an ice tea or a beer. That is really fascinating.
18:07 I think then Billy trade and we take them to some food because then they're all they think they're done with the interview. Oh, no, no, no. This is the real interview the interview. This is a real interview. How do you treat the waiter? How do you treat the waitress? Yeah. How do you text your wife on that cell phone. So we're a team of three or four, assessing this person over chicken wings and a beer as well as the border. They think they're all relaxed. They took their jacket, they took off their glasses, they think they're done. We're watching you every minute of the minute. How do you act interact at a restaurant with chicken wings and beer? How do you interact in person or boardroom and then finally we do a full background check. We do full credit review, then we're probably 65 to 75%.
What we got, like we ran out of credit, we ran a full background check, criminal misdemeanor everything. And we've asked them all about their past working history in that board room and we're looking for body language or inconsistencies and storytelling. And then we took them to chicken wings in a beer, which really isn't chicken wings and beer, but I'm just throwing that out there. Right, right. Yeah, we've we've assessed them. We are right about about 80% of the time at that point when we get them in here. And they start working where we're about 95 After 90 days. Yeah. So that's what we do. We don't hire off of the resume. That's just a tool that we get to ask a bunch of questions on to see if you're being truthful and character driven.
And if there's holes in that and that history, and so we don't check references. Oh my gosh, that's the number one thing you should do. No, no, no. Charles Manson has three good references. Everybody has three you can be a San Quentin penitentiary. You've got three people there that are like you that will pick got the phone. So, references don't work because everybody has a good reference I, those don't work for us. I'm against reference checks because everybody could put down a name and a phone number, somebody that likes you. So our biggest cue is interviewing, poking holes in the resume trying to get something to eat and running full background for credit check. That's our that's how we try to attract our talent, because again, to get to 10 sub ways, we have to get the top top. Yeah,
20:24 I love that man. I think I personally am going to clip that portion of the interview. And like just replayed a bunch because I this it's the number one place that I personally mess up as a business owner. And I know that right? I know, it's a weak point. So just having that framework, I think is so valuable. I really want to ask you, because I know we're coming up on time. I don't want to keep you super late. But yeah, you're doing like you said, five businesses, right? We've got zinc income, or zinc investing.com got zinc financial.com, they get these, these two big kind of things are working. That's not even all and we're just we're just dealing with specifically the parts that we think are appealing most real estate investors, you got a lot going on.
I'm, I'm really curious for you now, coming from that that moment when you're in the truck was 17 bucks to your name to now when it comes time for you to set new goals or to think about the stuff that you want to do from here. Is it different for you now it has your focus shifted isn't the same as it ever was. It's just keep growing and get bigger and bigger. Like, I'm really curious how your mind looks at goal setting and ambition at this point in your life. Because you've obviously for most people, I think if they got where you are, they would feel pretty good about just like just seeing their hands off and being like great job, right, like
21:47 I did. So that's so that's so fascinating. How do your goals change? Amazing question. sorum. I'm broken on welfare, and I have $17 in my pocket, my goal is to freakin get enough to fill up my gas tank. So my goals at that time were survival to the next day. So my goals then were just, I need 100 bucks. I'm just trying to get through to Friday. Then I had some goals which I have grown out of, and everybody goes through this phase. You're 21 you're 20 you're 24 Here's your goals. I want a new car. I want a new boat. I want new watches and clothes and all this were like I seriously call crap. You know, I had one of the largest homes in Clovis Fresno, I had a red Lamborghini with custom stitching. And I had a convertible red red Lamborghini I had the diesel pusher motorhome, I had multiple motorcycles, I sold everything, I got everything, I moved to a smaller house.
So I don't don't minimize that if you want that new Rolex watch, you should work for the new Rolex watch. For me in my 20s, I was so broken on welfare, that my goals were very materialistic. But here's what happens as you mature and age, which is where I'm at now. Those things mean a lot less to you. They really they're just stuff, man. And so I have no desire for the Lamborghini I have it got a lot of tickets in it. And I'm out of that phase. And I don't have a lot of I don't have any goals for stuff. But I have some major goals today. And my goals shift again, as you matured age. So my goals today are to build an outstanding company with a good team. I want to build to 100 million a year. And I'm on track to do that. But it's not about monetary or money.
For me. It's about personal satisfaction to build something that I can be proud of where I contribute to society and my team is well taken care of. I'm also I have new goals that are even outside of that. And so these seem weird, but I am a mountain biker, and I'm a road biker and I have a goal of constantly trying to improve on the next climb on my mountain bike. And the next I did 105 Mile Road bike ride two weeks ago. So my goal is to get through that without Canvas. So my goals have changed. You know, when I was younger, it was about salvation. I just wanted gas money and food money. And then I got into this phase which I think it's kind of natural, especially if you're broke. I want the Corvette I want the Lamborghini I want the motorhome and with the biggest Tallis I want the best shoes, Nike shoes I and everybody goes through that phase. I went through that phase and I actually I Okay, so I go to the carnival.
I got the t shirt at the carnival. I got the t shirt at the carnival now what you realize is all that stuff as really as relatively meaningless. It really is, man. It's just stuff. And so a lot of people that are multimillionaires are very heavy, they don't have some of that stuff because they realize it surely it's just stuff. So it just kind of is it really does kind of become old after a little bit so I don't have a lot of those things. I drive a 2020 yt GMC pickup truck. That's what I drive. And so my goals are no longer monitor monetary per se or material per se. My goals today. As a more mature person is about developing a great company getting to 100 million with great people. And then I have some soft goals of being a better mountain biker and a better road biker. So I think that answers your question that it's, it's, you know, I don't I don't, it's not money at this point anymore.
Look, you can only eat so much steak. And you can only you can only drive one car and your your house how much how much house do you need, and I know that sells, it's just do you really need a 12,000 square foot house, you don't really need that you really don't. And so buying the expensive $300 sunglasses and $300 shoes, does that really make you that much happier? It doesn't for me. So my jeans that I have on today are probably $70 And my shoes are probably I know where I got these, they're 30 bucks. Now my truck is a 2020 white GMC truck out there. And so that's what I that's who I am. And so my goals are to build a great company but not for Putin and not necessarily monetary gain. Because again, you can only spend so much people you know, once you have your house a few other things which I have, the rest of it just becomes stuff that you got to ensure maintain and keep track of. So my goals are different today. It's to build a great company 100 million dollars, take care of my investors, make sure they're rewarded. Well, that's where we want to be. And so and hopefully I'm a better mountain biker and a better road bikers result as well. Well, Todd,
26:19 I'm gonna end it there because I think that is such a cool way to stop it. I know this was a conversation went all over the place, but I know I got a ton out of it. I really appreciate you sharing your expertise. We talked about zinc investing, which again is z i n c investing.com. And we talked about zinc, zinc investing.com Z Z as in Zebra eyes and igloo and as in Nancy seasoned zinc investing.com is our investor portal for investors out there their high net worth they want to they want to invest in real estate but they don't want to own it and manage it and deal with it. Eight to 9% returns consistent, fully secured zinc investing.com Reach out to us if you want 559-326-2509 And of course if you're a real estate investor needs some cash for a construction loan or fix and flip loan Zinke financial.com. Awesome. Well, Todd Piggott, thank you so much for being here, man. I really appreciate it. I know our listeners do too. So thank you so much.
27:19 I hope I changed somebody's life today. Have an amazing afternoon. Thanks for inviting me on here and having me be a part of your show today. That is it. That's it for our interview this week. As always, if you want to know more about the show or more about me you can go over to AdWords nerds.com That is a D wor d s nerds.com. We've got an active blog all the podcast episodes are up there you can get show notes and all that fun stuff. I do all sorts of guides I've got the ultimate guide to PPC for real estate investing over 40,000 words long it took me like six months to write honestly better than pretty much anybody else's paid course I don't want to pat myself too hard on the back my hurt myself but I gotta say it is pretty good. So head over to AdWords nerds calm you can get all that stuff for free. No signup is required. As always. I appreciate you thank you for being here every week. It means a lot to me. And I will be talking to you very soon.
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In this episode, Dan chats with real estate maestro Dave Seymour. You’ll hear about Dave’s amazing journey from firefighter to successful business owner, facing tough times and coming out on top in the real estate world. His story is packed with great lessons and cool insights that will inspire and guide you through the ups
If you do what everyone else is doing, your best case scenario is getting the exact same results as them (probably worse than them, if we’re honest). But if you want to dominate your market, you have to do better. Doing better means innovating. It means marketing where your competition doesn’t market so you close