Owned and Operated #63 - Recruiting Top Talent Plumbers with Aizik Zimerman

Plumbing, Marketing, Private Equity.
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In today's episode, we welcome Aizik Zimerman, a home service entrepreneur who owns a fast-growing plumbing company called J Blanton in Chicago. The conversation covers topics such as the success of their businesses, the use of marketing and recruitment strategies, the influence of private equity on the market, and how tailoring their businesses around marketing has led to success. John and Aizik exchange insights about their recruitment processes and the role that competitive pay and a healthy work culture play in attracting and retaining top talent. Finally, they get into the importance of digital marketing and owning digital real estate.

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John Wilson: @WilsonCompanies on Twitter
Jack Carr: @TheHVACJack on Twitter

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John Wilson, CEO of Wilson Companies

Jack Carr, CEO of Rapid HVAC

Owned and Operated Episode 63 Transcript

Welcome. Thanks for coming on the show, man. Aizik's a good friend of mine.

I think we met like what, two years ago, you came out to Akron. You were like, Hey, I think I want to do the home service thing. And then you did the rounds through a few other home service guys. And now you own a super fast growing plumbing company in Chicago called J Blanton.

Aizik Zimmerman: It's all thanks to you.

You're the one that introduced me to this and got me sucked in. And now, here I am two years later, look what you did to my life.

John Wilson: Yeah. You're welcome.

No, that's awesome. So for the listener when did you buy Jay Blanton?

Aizik Zimmerman: I bought the company 13 months ago now. So it's been a, it's been a full year. Okay, it's been a full year now. Yep. .Yeah, so background for everyone. We're J Blanton plumbing We are one of the largest residential plumbing companies in Chicago now. We do all types of residential plumbing, anything a homeowner needs, we got it covered.

And we're, yeah, a premium plumbing company here. So yeah it's just a residential service and replacement, no construction, no

John Wilson: commercial. All winners. Exactly. All, winners, no construction, no commercial. Just winners.

Your story has been funny. Not really funny, but like fun to follow and I'm like excited cause obviously you and I like talk pretty frequently and I'm excited to be able to get you on camera stuck with me for a little while and we're going to be able to dive into some stuff cause you're coming from out of industry and you bring like a very creative aspect to a lot of the stuff that you've done and that we talk about that. I don't think anybody else that I know of is looking at stuff the way you're looking at in marketing and recruitment. it's, unique and I love it. Like I'm all, for it. So I'm excited that we're going to dive deeper.

Aizik Zimmerman: I appreciate you saying that. Yeah. I like to say we are not a plumbing company. We're a direct to consumer sales and marketing business. And I had a lot of passion around sales, marketing, recruitment, just growth in general. So we've been super, super focused on growth. When I bought the business 2022, we did 6 million right before I bought it.

This year will end. Right now we're at about 11 to 12 run rate. And the goal is to do 15 to 20 next year. So a lot of stuff has gone well in the last year to double in size. But it's been yeah, it's been interesting. It's been dynamic.

John Wilson: Yeah I, think the first place I want to start is, doubling in a year, walk me through the big stuff.

Like when I'm thinking about that, the big stuff like starts with marketing and recruitment that's where this starts off. So how are you like when, you take over, I think when most people buy these plumbing companies, there's like captive demand that's already not being achieved in, some way. So like maybe not maximize schedule, maybe not dispatching for profits. Maybe they're not talking to their customers. So like how much of your doubling in a year do you think was latent demand that was sitting inside that business versus "Hey, we unlocked a bunch of stuff."

Aizik Zimmerman: That's a really interesting point. I actually think we were a relatively run business in the scheme of plumbing. It's like being a tallest midget. We were relatively Modernized already. I actually don't think we had that much pent up demand like I think we were doing decent with the leads we had.

Yeah, I think the two biggest things.. I think the biggest overarching thing that doubled us in the first year was honestly just being growth minded like before I bought the business it had gone from three to six million over the course of two or three years, which is pretty good still. But I think the old owner you know, he was an amazing salesman.

He was an amazing technician, but he I think very much ran it as a lifestyle business. So he sucked all the money out of the business, all the excess money and would try to save money in various ways to the benefit of his pocket on an individual day basis. So I think just completely not having that mentality.

Like we're bottom line minded, but we're, insanely growth focused. We want to try and build a 200 million, 500 million, 1 billion company over a 20 year timeframe. It's also very ultra longterm. And so I think making trade offs every day that don't maximize dollars in that day has helped a lot.

And then just being willing to experiment and try new things. So when I came in, we changed out all of our marketing agencies we were working with. I think upgrading those partners alone drove a lot of demand. And then I think recruitment has been the biggest winner that we've had. We try to be the number one recruiter in our market.

So we're in Chicago. I think Chicago is the best market for plumbing and for home services, honestly, for a whole bunch of reasons. And we try to treat our recruitment like recruiting all star basketball players because our technicians are highly skilled, highly trained engineers who deserve to make a lot of money, can produce a lot of money for the company.

And so I approach it in a very mathematical way where I look at someone's potential earnings to our business. And I then back into what I think would be good pay for them. And it just happens to be that I think your company can have very healthy margins and pay more than the average operators paying.

And so the Jeff Bezos quote, "your margin is my opportunity." Like I look at what a lot of other companies are doing in my mind, underpaying technicians and salesmen, and I'm able to offer more from a pay standpoint, which starts a conversation. And then I think just the ambitious culture we have helps close it.

And what we're starting to find out is we have a snowball effect of the recruitment. We keep getting new people from companies and those are really good companies and they're bringing more people. I look at our talent level today and it's so much higher.

John Wilson: That's been, like our last few months.

And you've shaped the way I've looked at recruiting too over the past couple months, it's helped as we've designed our process, but like killers wanna be around killers, right?

Aizik Zimmerman: A hundred percent.

John Wilson: And when you, can walk a candidate through a really well designed recruitment process, and you can like, get them up to close, which is hiring and like they see because you walked them through this process that like, hey, when you're here, like you're not carrying the weight for your peers, like you are around other killers and honestly, you're the killer where you are, your numbers are number three here. Like you're not the killer.

Aizik Zimmerman: A hundred.

John Wilson: Yeah. And I think that has like our step. We've seen it. I know you've seen it is like the step change has been real.

And I also think just as you start doing it, you start to realize what's out there. And it has reset my expectations for my own staff. Cause like I used to think this performance was really good. And then I interviewed 20 people who did 20 percent better. Yeah. And I'm like, Oh my God like what the heck?

There's ballers out there.

Aizik Zimmerman: I love that you say that. Yeah, we, feel the exact same way. It's, actually crazy how I talk to a couple of technicians almost every day that we're trying to hire. And it's remarkable how much of them do care who's around them and what a big sales pitch that is.

How many top people we talked to other companies that it is competitive and motivating for them to find out like your numbers are, would not be the best here. And I actually have five other people that look like you. And then even internally, as we bring on these new people, I've heard from people that are inside of our company now saying "Hey, I don't want to get left behind."

I see the people that are coming in here and I know I have to ante up to be at that level. And I also love what you said about redefining expectations. Like what I thought was successful a year ago is literally 180 now from also seeing the potential of other people. So I look back at what I thought our strategy was, what I thought recruitment looks like and everything is complete 180.

I used to think we were going to, and this is where you and I just path diverges a little bit. Because you're, my introduction to this industry was you and Rich Jordan, people who were rolling up these home service companies, I thought that's what I would do. And our strategy within the span of one year has totally 180, where we've gone from wanting to purchase other brands, maybe even be multi trade.

And now a little bit uniquely, we're solely focused on residential plumbing and drain, trying to be single brand. We want to be like a racehorse of blinders. That actually has helped with recruiting too. Like when I talk to technicians now, I say look, a lot of them, the company they're at plumbing is not the main focus.

It's actually an afterthought typically to HVAC. Yeah. And so when I sit down with someone, I could say, look I've got other killers here. I'm in this for 20 years and I only care about plumbing and drain. That's my only focus and we wanna be the best at that. And that pitch does resonate with technicians.

John Wilson: Yeah. agree. don't know if we've talked about this, you and I may have talked about this, but obviously acquiring a bunch of companies is a part of how we got to where we are, but you don't get a lot of the muscle strength that we needed to get.

So like we're learning stuff at the same time and at the same pace maybe, slightly faster because we have occasionally more resources and stuff, but like then companies that are often a lot smaller than us because we never had to flex that muscle, right? We never had to strengthen it.

So like marketing and recruitment has been a big learning over the past year as we've stopped focusing on deals completely and started focusing completely on organic because our path to a hundred million is organic, like no deals. Like we'll, probably do a little revenue tuck ins for phone numbers.

Aizik Zimmerman: Which is hilarious to hear you say cause that is actually a big departure for you too.

John Wilson: Totally. Like I was shocked when I realized it like six to nine months ago that this isn't gonna to be how we get there. And I think for a bunch of reasons, one is like distraction, honestly, like so much of it's distraction.

If I think about what happens in my day and like how I can optimize my day and how we can create the smoothest path to scale, if I'm buying a company, I don't know the quality of customer. And it has to be less than mine. Otherwise, they'd be bigger than me and they're not.

So their, customer quality is low, their team quality is likely lower than mine because their recruiting process is way less stringent. Their marketing process is way less robust than mine. So are those customers even good to call? Is there anything I can drive value wise out of that list? So You end up with this like messy.

Aizik Zimmerman: Think about all the effort you've put into.

John Wilson: Totally.

Aizik Zimmerman: Your employees, your place, your processes. So I like to say the company that I'd be interested in buying is five times bigger than me, costs more money than I ever could afford.

And that's what would excite me because I look at everything that's even our size or lower totally. And the distraction, like for me to, for us, let's say we're 12 billion right now. To buy even a 4 million company, I can add one salesman who's in my brand, my processes, my people, and he can deliver that whole company sales.

Yeah. So I look at some of the processes, like I was trying to chase after six months ago and I'm like thank God. I didn't buy that company. That three million dollar company.

Like I've thought about this a lot even for you, like your deal making is also like what got you started though.

Like it's what to your point, like resources up to let you do what you're doing now.

John Wilson: Yeah. So I think it's stages and I don't regret any part of our journey. Like I don't regret it at all. We would not be here without acquisitions, but we are in some cases weaker than companies smaller than us because we never had to get good at generating lead flow.

Now we're probably a lot better than them at generating lead flow, but that's because we have the resources to build a big old team around it and figure it out. But like somebody that had to market their way up to my size is until about four months ago would have been way stronger at marketing than me.

Cause we didn't have to do that. We just, used LSA PPC and it got us there.

Aizik Zimmerman: They're doing the same everyone else is doing in small increments.

John Wilson: Pretty much. And same with recruitment, like our biggest recruitment was buying a company. Hey, you want to recruit somebody?

Here's 20 new people. But yeah we, don't see our path to a hundred million as deals at all. We see it. On our wall, plastered up there is Hey, we're going to get to a hundred million. Here's how we're going to get there. And one of them is building meaningful moat through marketing and recruitment because that is how we see our path.

And it's not like buying everybody in sight. It's we're going to do better than you at these two things.

Aizik Zimmerman: Selling yourself to customers and selling yourself to technicians. Yeah. It's the game.

John Wilson: So like what walk me through how you're thinking about recruitment like you sit down you got your coffee You got your new beard you're recruiting man.

Sell me on it. Like I'm a million a half dollar plumber And I'm like, maybe Jay Blanton maybe

Aizik Zimmerman: I'd tell you, you can make more money here and have more fun. So you have to look at your career. Where do you want to spend 20 years, the next 20 years? And I can promise you, I can deliver on each of the value propositions you look for as a salesman or a technician.

Our pay is top 1%. We have lots of leads. We treat our people fairly. We're young and ambitious. My average employees in their thirties. So if you want to be around the best and we want to have the best and we want people to be here for a super long time, we're investing our space. We just forex our physical office space.

We're putting a CrossFit gym in the warehouse. So we're going to have the perks pay and stability that if you're a technician, that's where you want to work. Our recruitment spans basically two aspects. We do this stuff that everyone does, which is like beyond indeed and try to get people to apply to your posts.

But the thing that we've done a lot of, and that has had success and we're continuing to tweak it, and it's a thing we believe in a lot is we've tried to have an outbound sales methodology to recruiting. So having full time recruiters on staff who go places where plumbers go. So let's take plumbing supply houses.

Go to a plumbing supply house, set up a table, give out chips, give out drinks and raffle stuff off in exchange for contact information or raffle TVs or raffle pro presses. And just try to build a network of people that we can then invite to happy hours and just stay in contact with them. We've built a lot of really good relationships, doing that.

But what we've lucked out on, I think the last month and a half, and I think there's now creating a snowball is again, like the more better people you get, the more better people they bring and the network effects start to become very, strong. So the best people we're getting now are people who are referred by our current technicians, and it's by far and away the best recruitment tool because the best salesman, best technicians typically are happy where they are, and you have to dislodge them and dislodging them is very much relationship based. Some of these recruitment, they basically have long sales cycles, like some of our best people we brought on.

And in some cases had a year long sales cycles to dislodge them. So you plant the seed in their head, you cultivate it and wait for a moment to strike.

John Wilson: So how many interviews are you getting a week from each funnel?

Aizik Zimmerman: So indeed we purposely restrict them on interviews we do because it was getting overwhelming. we, at this point have three, one hour slots, three days a week. So we try to do about nine interviews a week right now and through a combination of Indeed and through our proprietary sources.

It's easier to get people through Indeed because those people are looking for jobs. The proprietary sources is more hit or miss. It's not as reliable that you're going to get a steady stream, but when you do get somebody, we found them to be better quality. I also forgot to say one other thing too on recruitment.

Honestly, one of the biggest sales pitches I have too. Is being like you and like an owner operated company. And so being able to, a lot of the companies that I am recruiting against now are actually private equity owned. They've recently been bought out. And actually that's one of the easiest things for me to sell against because I can say that I'm sitting in the room with you.

I'm the decision maker and we're building this thing versus some person who's in another state we've never met. And that for sure makes people nervous. They see they're not pretty in tune with what goes on in companies. And a lot of the companies that we're recruiting from now, the original founders gone who recruited a lot of the technicians who built a lot of the culture.

And so now yeah, it's getting easier. And that's what I think is such a tailwind for owner operated home service businesses too because you have the tailwinds on demand. People doing less stuff in their home boomer companies retiring. Yeah. And then you have technicians looking for a more permanent place.

So I think, yeah, the tailwinds on recruitment are, they just keep getting better, honestly.

John Wilson: That's the same experience we're having. The tailwinds on PE, like I've tweeted about this a little bit, I think it's been absolutely real. So one I had no idea what it was like to hire real killers until probably about a year ago, like in the field. And like the questions they ask are fascinating. What they want to know is fascinating. And it's such a different interview experience that like, once you go through it, you're like this person's going to get hired and I'm going to make him a dumb ass offer because they want to understand how you drive lead flow like minutely because it affects them.

They want to understand how opportunities are divvied up. They want to understand the back end of the office. They want to meet the dispatcher because that's the partner in their career. it's a totally different experience.

Aizik Zimmerman: And that's a very good point too, if you're a commission based employee, you're on paper numbers can be whatever someone offers you, but it is the quality and quantity of lead flow that matters as much or more than what your percentage commission is.

John Wilson: Totally. Are you going to feed me? So yeah, one, the questions are wild and two the, tailwind of PE coming in, that has easily been one of the easiest recruitment methods for us.

So we're getting all these candidates now that are like, they don't want to be in PE. They don't want to deal with it. They're just like, look, man, I've got an HVAC guy recently and he flips millions of dollars of systems a year, to give perspective, average HVAC guy probably flips 200, 000.

So this is insane. Like this is some baller level. This is recruiting LeBron James, right? We're the largest non PE backed in Northeast Ohio, potentially Ohio and me being able to just sit across the room from him and just be like, yeah there's, me, dude, like we're building together.

Cause they all want to build that's half of what everybody says is I'm here to build I want to do this . And then they bring their friends and they just continue bringing their friends.

Aizik Zimmerman: That guy knows other awesome people.

John Wilson: We got him from an awesome person.

We got him from a 4 million a year salesperson. So like we got him from a game changer. Who's yeah, dude, this place is sick. It is not PE owned. Yeah, we have expectations. Yeah, we're here. But dude, everybody's a killer here. You should, do this.

It's been wild. Like recruiting is getting easier. The more and more we do it, which I think is fun.

Aizik Zimmerman: What I found too into this idea of just being generous with employees.

Honestly, like that's one of the things that helps recruiting too.

And we've honestly have had a lot of technicians like our company's been in business for decades. I've had a lot of technicians boomerang back because they see the generosity more and they see a change in pay and in treatment. And it's actually interesting to me how many people this business has lost over the years.

That were actually unbelievable that were lost for comparatively like silly reasons.

John Wilson: Silly reasons like pay?

Aizik Zimmerman: In a lot of the cases I won't speak too much, but just trying to, I don't know, finagle different paying schemes that maybe weren't to the benefit of the employee.

Taking hard night stances on simple matters being paranoid, like there's a laundry list of reasons that if you just have a bigger picture in mind and maybe don't fly off the handle at things you can I think keep a lot of people more. So being generous has tremendously benefited us.

And we were able to be generous because we have a long term orientation. We're not trying to maximize a day, a month, a year. And a lot of cases we've been overly generous. So what's been an interesting evolution for us too, is reigning in the expectations and cultures from our employees who when we were smaller a year ago, six months ago.

We let more things slide and we actually did it with the idea that we wanted to build enough scale for where we can hold our ground more. It was actually like maybe funny or sad in some ways. Like we had some employees who left our business in the last two months who had been there for a while and they were not good cultural fits and they left because we started holding them to very basic expectations and some of them made a comment that I guess I kind of love, but it's sad.

He said, wow, you would never have held this. Three months ago, but now you're doing it because the power dynamics have shifted from me to you.

John Wilson: Yeah.

Aizik Zimmerman: And I thought that was fascinating because it's something that as an office and management team, we talked about a lot, like we've eaten a lot of punches for nine months.

Yeah. And so now like we know that we pay people a lot. We know that we treat them well. We know that we're overly fair. And so with that come what are basic expectations and we're holding people to them more. Like you need to write good job summaries, you need to take pictures, you need to set up the person who is going to install your work.

So they seem basic on the surface, you need to be in uniform but you'd be surprised even some basic things sometimes can be hard. we have a little bit of a cultural shift too with some legacy employees and I think obviously everyone who runs a home service business runs into this being a field based company with so many jobs going on it's so hard to monitor what people are doing and what we found is like we need to have office positions that are just monitoring jobs, job by job to build and enforce any sort of standards. It's very hard to manage a business with a field employees like this.

John Wilson: Yeah. I just want to touch on your comment on the power dynamics.

Like we've basically experienced the same. I don't think that we've gotten that like aware of a comment, but everyone is aware of it because at this point, so we're interviewing 30 to 35 people a week it is a lot. And I'm personally doing it. It's quite a bit. So we're interviewing a lot of people every week, every Monday we start three to five new employees.

Aizik Zimmerman: Wow.

John Wilson: These are not slouches. These are killers. These are best in market team members and we are constantly upping what our top 10 percent team members are every Monday. So it has shifted and it's the same thing. And I, did a tweet a couple weeks ago about how hard it was to hold employees accountable.

If you don't have a strong recruitment arm, like if you can't recruit, you can't hold people accountable.

Aizik Zimmerman: I love that. I think it's a unbelievable point. I agree. 2000%. Yeah.

Cause if you're facing losing it shifted, a quarter of your sales or half your sales from somebody.

Like they have you in a bind.

John Wilson: Yes and I think the recruitment strength is there now what I wonder is How much of this was me or how much of this was you versus how much of this was like timing, right? If we had designed our process which now Over the past six months has become like a very real Hiring, let's close, like it's a sales process now to hire the 10 steps, right?

And how would that have worked two years ago and would it have worked and will it work again in two years? Like I know it would have been successful, but would it have been this successful? Because a lot of the reason this is working in my mind is PE. Like PE is making this a lot easier cause people do not want to work there.

And they're probably turned off to PE for the rest of their life, unless they have a choice, like no choice. So I don't know what do you think?

Aizik Zimmerman: It's a very interesting point. I wasn't in this game before, it's hard to say, but I think it would maybe not as successful . There's a lot of companies we recruit from than any cycle time.

Just don't treat their employees as well as we do from a pay culture or whatever. And we would get those employees no matter what. Like I have employees that come here whose pay is 50 percent more immediately because that's the value they were driving. So that wouldn't have changed. There are companies that we have recruited from recently, very successfully who I do not think we would have gotten these people two years ago when the founder was involved.

Yeah. I think it was much stronger. There are a couple of companies in this market that I'm in. And were actually very good companies that are now like falling apart at the seams. And I don't think we would have gotten, I don't think I would have recruited away from their founder.

John Wilson: Yeah, there was a Twitter discussion like two months ago, I want to say, and it was Rich jordan was making a comment really similar to this because he has a company that was bought by one of the big consolidators. That's just absolutely exploding. Blowing up at the seams and the company went from 45 people to 10 and in six months. there was a comment in there that was funny and it was probably some XPE guy or current PE guy, but he's no, that's strategic.

And I'm like, it is, in no one strategy. To burn 50 million with some gasoline. And I'm, thinking about that because the, current company that's easiest for us to recruit from was this three way acquisition up in Cleveland that is blowing up. And I mentioned this to someone the other day and they're like no that's a part of the strategy.

I'm like no no no you don't understand...

This is not a part of the strategy. This guy just ignited a hundred million dollars. Like they're not excited about this. This isn't Oh yeah, we're doing good. No they went from 80 texts to seven in a year. This isn't like working.

It's absolutely crazy.

Aizik Zimmerman: And why do you think, what do you think for them is caused? What caused the unraveling?

John Wilson: I think. Integration is hard. We've, messed up integration before on like, how do you first introduce, what are the promises that you make or, whatever.

And once you go through that, like first three months of like people getting used to a new owner, like whatever you do in those first three months is held up to a microscope for the end of time. And what happened here was they, I think they said things that I don't know if they meant as promises.

I think they were just like, I don't think they're bad people. I just think they probably never worked with a field team before. So they said things and then like they had to change how that landed. And people took that as a retractment on their word and there's just no recovering like you had barely any trust because you're the brand new owner.

Like you don't walk in with Oh yeah, like this guy's totally going to do it. So you have barely any trust. And if you go in and you botch the little bit of trust you do have, like there is no returning.

Aizik Zimmerman: I'd be curious where their lead volume.

John Wilson: Oh, no. Lead volume is yeah, no, it's through the tank. They can't do anything.

Aizik Zimmerman: That's an interesting point that I don't really have an answer for, but in our market. Yeah. For whatever reason, some of these PE roll ups have bought several companies at once. Yep. They put them together for some reason.

Also their lead volume starts has been tanking. Yes. There are companies that are five times, they're like three times larger than me right now that have as many leads as I do with three times amount of people. Yeah. And people are saying they're pulling back on marketing. They're instead of focusing on plumbing, they're focusing on different trade.

I don't know what's going on with that.

John Wilson: Oh my gosh I heard one today. I was meeting with a wholesaler and he was like, yeah, I just sat down with all these dealers companies just sat down with all these dealers and they're all launching electrical because, they can't do this, and this.

And I'm like, this is hilarious. Thank you for telling me who to recruit from. Cause they apparently don't know how to drive leads in their core competency.

Aizik Zimmerman: That's what makes people skittish first. I think it's a death spiral. Like your, leads start going down on top of that, maybe you botched the integration, you broke a promise. Yep. So then they just keep getting angrier and then they view it as a burning ship.

John Wilson: Yeah. And like in all it takes is losing like a key salesperson. And you're going to lose a key salesperson if you can't feed them, if you don't have leads.

And that's what seems to consistently be happening with all of these companies is they piss off the lead sales guy. They probably changed the commission structure for getting who sells like who's actually providing 30 percent of their revenue. So they take them off. Everybody wants to work with that guy because that guy has single handedly kept them fed for the past five years.

So they all chase him and it makes sense. And yeah I, don't know why they don't know how to drive leads. I'm not really sure. Maybe there's like less skin in the game.

Aizik Zimmerman: I don't know if they're being cheaper on marketing, if they're marketing dollars are like being diverted across more things now.

I don't have an answer for it.

John Wilson: Yeah, so what I'm seeing in our competitors, because most of our competitors, their lead flow is way down. And what I'm seeing is they really just aren't playing the game. It's not like complicated. It's not rocket science, right? They're like not using Google.

Aizik Zimmerman: When your leads are cut in half, that's when there's something weird going on. Everyone always wants more leads. But when your leads are declining at that rate.

John Wilson: The leads at the company I'm thinking of, they've declined well past half. But you know what I wonder is I met somebody that bought a business it was B two C, but it wasn't HVAC or plumbing, and , the business tanked it went downhill . A part of the reason that they bought it was they perceived the business to be recurring, and I wonder if that's what's happening with HVAC, and it was a PE shop that bought it, somebody that knows nothing about this trade, and they were just like, oh, it's recurring I will always get this revenue, that is how that works, And, like when they told me that I was like, are you like an freaking idiot?

I don't even how you got that thought in your brain, but I wonder if that is a part of the problem with HVAC is they bought these highly seasonal. I am seeing it a lot in plumbing, but I'm seeing this most in HVAC and electric where like they bought these businesses and they thought that it was recurring because they had a membership of some type and they thought that meant they didn't have to market and that was it.

Aizik Zimmerman: They got too, cute with that. And then they found, or they, bought businesses that were peaking. And they were seasonal and they put a few of them together and they start working a little bit. and all of a sudden,

John Wilson: Yeah we're seeing bleeding from everybody.

But three trade shot, like anything with heavy HVAC presence is having a tough time, but we're seeing it across all three of their trades. And I'm still not even sure why.

Aizik Zimmerman: One of the biggest companies now that we're recruiting from that again was in these historically strong companies is predominantly a plumbing company and their leads are way down. If you look at their Google reviews, like they're a three times bigger business than us and they have less leads. We're hearing from their employees. They have less leads than we do on a given day.

John Wilson: That's wild.

Aizik Zimmerman: It makes absolutely no sense.

John Wilson: Yeah. I think what we're going to do is we're going to wrap up this recruitment conversation. I think next we just talk about leads cause I want to dive a little bit deeper into this, how you're thinking about it. Cause I think that like the way you're thinking about it and I don't want to give myself too much credit, but slightly the way I'm thinking about it I think there's a reason that we're winning that

we're growing and some of it is easy stuff and some of it is out of the box.

Aizik Zimmerman: I think you're having even more success at this than me right now and I'm not going to give away like too much about it. I don't think you will either. Cause there's not a good idea to talk about publicly.

John Wilson: All my competitors follow me on Twitter. They actually do.

What's up guys.

Thanks for the technicians. I just got.

Aizik Zimmerman: Yeah. And there's stuff that you just don't want to have the exploited that you're doing. But what I will say is I think. In general, again, like plumbing HVAC so these are some of the oldest, largest industries in America. The average operator doesn't do any digital marketing or does limited.

A step up from that maybe as having an agency and playing like a game that an agency has, which maybe does a certain amount of SEO or Google stuff for you. Yeah. And then I think if you go beyond that, and again, if everything is rooted in like believing that you're actually a marketing company, like I do not believe that I'm a plumbing company, I believe I'm a marketing company.

Yeah. So if you root yourself in that, and then you look at other, what other direct consumer marketing companies do from an SEO standpoint, from a Google standpoint. And you get a lot of that out of the box. I think there's some big things you can do. And I don't even think we're, I think we're at any zero.

I think you're at any like one or two, you've surpassed us in some of the things you've done and we're now starting to do some of those things also. And so I think if you get. Out of the box on the digital space. And you try to own digital real estate, which is where you show up in search rankings and where you show up in Google, like owning that and being creative around that and looking at what other, how other industries have approached.

Maybe like similar topics. Yeah. I think that you could drive a lot of leads and that we've had a bunch of wake at wasted marketing spend stuff that we haven't figured out. Like I've spent 20 percent of my marketing budget the last three or four months on direct mail, that's largely flopped because I don't think we did it.

It's hard. I don't think we did it perfectly. And so figuring out what works, re honing in. Now we're doubling down on Google and SEO, which doesn't sound that genius. Cause like everyone is doing Google and SEO. But I think the deeper and deeper you go.

John Wilson: Yeah, there's a way to do it. there's a new way to do it.

Thanks for coming on today, talking about recruitment.

This was awesome. And I appreciate you just sharing in general. We've reshaped our recruitment process with some help and some inspiration from you. I'm grateful for you sharing.

Aizik Zimmerman: I'm grateful for all the stuff I've learned from you, which has exceeded, I think what I've given you.

John Wilson: All right. Sweet.

Thanks for tuning in everybody.

Aizik if they want to follow along with what you're doing, where can they find you?

Aizik Zimmerman: You could find me on Twitter, Aizik Zimmerman. Aizik spelled A I Z I K. I'm on LinkedIn. I'm not that active on social media, to be honest with you. I'm very heads down building, but feel free to DM me.

John Wilson: All right. Well, thanks for coming on today. Tune in for the next episode with Aizik where we're going to deep dive into marketing.

OaO Outro: Thanks for tuning in to Owned and Operated, the podcast for home service entrepreneurs. If you enjoyed today's episode, please hit the like button and subscribe to the podcast. If you have any questions or topics you'd like us to cover, feel free to reach out. You can find me on Twitter at at Wilson companies.

I'll see you next time.

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