Owned and Operated #65 - Rick Vazza - Adding a Franchise to Your Business

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John Wilson is joined by Rick Vazza, an owner and operator of plumbing companies in the San Diego area. Rick Vazza discusses his journey of purchasing and launching a drain franchise, Zoom Drain in San Diego, as part of his existing plumbing business. He highlights the positive impact it had on his business. Additionally, they look at essential growth strategies involving B2B business development and explore the potential of introducing a restoration service. Later in the episode, Jack Carr joins in, providing useful information on franchise problems, business growth considerations, and the effects on current operations.

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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 #65 Transcript

Today we've got my friend Rick Vazza on. Rick owns a plumbing company out in California and you bought it. Was it two years ago now?

Rick Vazza: Beginning of 2021.

John Wilson: Alright. Yeah, dude. Two and a half years.

What we're talking about today is he did something really interesting. I think, I don't know. Other people doing it where he had an existing plumbing company and he added a new division and that division was a franchise zoom drain and it's been like a really successful thing for you so i'm super excited to talk about that today and like how that worked into your business and how you're thinking about that.

Rick Vazza: Yeah, no, I appreciate you having me on

and I think hopefully too like even talking we were talking about this earlier But like your and jack's previous conversation about launching a division. Maybe he can give like some additional color on that.

Cause that was like a big part of the thought process why I ended up choosing that.

John Wilson: Yeah. A hundred percent. Cause , Jack is three weeks into what you're a year into. When did you launch this new division?

Rick Vazza: I think the exact launch was like January 9th so pretty much beginning of the year. And we were lucky because as you guys are talking about, obviously, I think for most people, we have a plumbing company. So there's a natural amount of lead flow that's specific to drains.

But like for a while, I had been you know, feel like I pounded my head against the wall, like, why are your drains not working? What are we doing wrong with this drain division? admittedly, it was probably like 10 percent of our revenue but we weren't making money on it. venting to like anyone who would listen, I just happened to get connected with who was the owner of the Seattle franchise.

And he was just laughing because he also had big plumbing and HVAC company. And we were dealing with all those same issues, and then we got into Zoom and it's like one of the best decisions we made. So he had a lot of positive things to say about it. And I kick started my exploration down the franchise route and met the team really liked what they had to say and the track record that they'd established at that point.

A lot of people are familiar with Ellen. She's been on all the big podcasts. She's a big time industry veteran. So I think her being a big part of the brand too was awesome. And then obviously as I got to know the other leadership, it was that much more compelling.

John Wilson: Yeah, for sure. Can you tell us a little bit about your primary company and then like size it was and then now zoom and like where they're at now?

Rick Vazza: Yeah. So funny enough, the first time you and I chatted on your podcast if anyone wants to listen to that. We started cause we're a lot different.

John Wilson: That was like the full two years ago.

Rick Vazza: So we were primarily a property management company. I would say like anywhere from 80 to 90 percent property management business. And I went through all the intricacies of the challenges of that makeup and we've gravitated really flipped we're close to 80, 90 percent now on the residential side, which was its own as I'm going through it. I like, I look back, I'm like, Oh my God, we actually made some serious changes here over the course of time. But like the makeup of it was, as a smaller company and, we've talked about this in the chat, it's been so helpful, but your plumbers are just expected to do everything, right?

So it's jack of all trades, they're the customer service person and then they're doing the work and everything like that. So they were doing everything and with that included drains. For those who maybe don't know the intricacies of the plumbing business, it's like with drains.

You have a lot of equipment. And so if you aren't set up to do it properly it's really hard to execute it well, right? You have a mainline machine, you have a kitchen line machine, you have a jetter. That's just the most common stuff that you're using on top of all these other things.

Physical constraint. is the space on a van, right? There's only so much room in there. So you can't store all of that by any means. Half the time guys are going out, it's Oh, I don't have the right equipment. I got to reschedule. You're not charging that much for a drain clearing to begin with.

So now that you've knocked off the efficiency of it, it's just not very practical. So anyways, that was where a lot of the frustrations came and just figuring out there was a better way to do it. There's companies who have their own drain divisions, everything like that.

No, it could have figured out okay, let's just go build out our own truck and do all of that. But That takes time. That takes knowledge. One of the real benefits that I viewed for the franchise, it was like accelerating that pain process, right? Like rather than go lose a bunch of money, figuring out the wrong way why not just figure out a playbook that, works and, you can see the track record of the companies that are doing it and you're like, Hey, they aren't that different than us.

If they can do it, we can do it,

John Wilson: Yeah. And I think zoom is interesting. I think we did an episode where I talked about zoom, because I think it's interesting and referenced your business and it's unique because you can do it as an add on. I don't know of any other franchise that's just yeah, dude, tack me on like you got plumbing and HVAC we'll fit right in.

Rick Vazza: Yeah. And they're smart of the way they set it up. Definitely, they're great partners. And I think that's, what's like also awesome. Everyone says this, but they want their franchisees to win, so they're not going to like. Beat me up over.

And in fairness, like I do play by the rules. You know, If it's drain related, I make sure it's on that business. I'm not trying to play games of Hey, let's avoid the royalty and like that type of stuff. But if it's not drain related yeah, it's staying on our plumbing company.

And I've heard of other people where they've talked to companies that are like, no, you've got to convert everything over. And they're like I already built this business. Why am I now paying you a royalty on the back of it? That type of thing. So I really liked that part of it.

I felt like they were fair players and, they've been like accommodating. I try to be very engaged in the group and, I want them to win and succeed and, they've taken good care of me because of that.

John Wilson: Yeah. Alright so you launched Zoom in January of this year. Can you give us an idea of like where it's at now?

Rick Vazza: So a little bit of news for you. 'cause I know I maybe dropped a plug in this in our chat and I actually have been traveling like all of October. It's been crazy. So I've been terrible with communication. . But I also actually acquired the rights to Zoom Drain Detroit .

John Wilson: Oh man.

Rick Vazza: Metro Detroit. Yeah. So just 40 minutes outside of Detroit. It's a nice area called Clarkston in Oakland County. Some nice, beautiful lake houses. So actually there's a franchisee there that was looking to get out. He was a little over a year in and I took over that business.

And so we've just started that actually the beginning of October, which has been helpful in getting like that off the ground or not the ground, but just reinvigorating with some energy and different thought processes. They have a couple of good guys over there, I was excited to be able to come in and help them.

And then we can take off a lot of the back office end on the San Diego side.

John Wilson: I don't remember reading that at all. That's crazy.

Rick Vazza: I haven't, I don't think I've ever broadcasted that. It's been so recent and yeah, it's a bit of a whirlwind right now.

John Wilson: Yeah, that's crazy. All right. So we're going to dive into that. But like how big is the one that you launched back in January?

Rick Vazza: So we have three full time plumbers now as well as two really good apprentices who are both ready for vans.

That's also one of the exciting things about the model. Like the guys can, you know how long it takes to get a plumber. I mean, you gotta, train them on so many different things. So the cool thing is just the repetition of being in the field and seeing the same thing over and over.

Honestly, what's been great, zoom has just really nice processes and sparse training.

You can really get someone van ready pretty quickly. So at this point we've been pretty reliant on the plumbing company referring over leads. And now, frankly, following a lot of your guys playbook, I have literally 10 interviews tomorrow that I'm really excited about.

Like we're building out the sales team that you guys have been talking about. So we're going to kickstart our turbocharge

I should say, like a lot of the marketing efforts around it. But from that, , we've been pretty successful just getting going and your vans are going to be anywhere from, your standard numbers, but 30 to 60, 000 is common where they're selling and servicing the work.

John Wilson: Yeah. And is that common for the franchise? Is that like normal performance?

Rick Vazza: Yeah. So what's interesting is like, it's a nice spread because what they did is smart. This is also why I liked the franchise the franchise or I should say, so like they spent a lot of time going pretty slow, getting things dialed in and they have some of the original crew, I think it was like five to seven franchisees who have these longer track records. The headquarters in Philadelphia. So they have the longest, that's like the corporate store. You have a lot of the data from them and then there's been like the next waves and then they signed on with one of those like franchise accelerators, it's really helped blow it up from there.

And I'm sure, through that process, there's people who will come on and, probably come out and things like that. I think when you go through that type of rapid growth that happens. But the original crews have, pretty consistent track records at this point.

John Wilson: Yeah, I talked to them. I like the French. I love the drain business. Like it's an awesome business. And I talked to them maybe a year ago and the corporate store was huge. It was like 15 million drains or something. It was gigantic.


Yeah. They're doing a good job.

Rick Vazza: And even, they'll admit like still have so much untapped potential.

What they've done a good job with them. Like we're not there yet cause we're not big enough, they've also followed playbook that a lot of the plumbing companies are running where they have, their service division, their install division, their lining division.

In their case, they're even getting into like grease pumping and septic. So there's, multiple channels that you can take it, which I'm really excited about. Cause you know, pretty much all of those fall into our realm as well. But we're right now just doing the service piece for the most part.

John Wilson: Yeah. That's a huge value add. So what was the investment from an equipment standpoint? Cause you had to have had some of it when, cause you had the company already or like how did that work?

Rick Vazza: I think we've done this and it's been a pretty good playbook.

Honestly I'm very fortunate that I was set up this way because what we were able to do is I did outfit I think the first two vans, I did get fully stocked just cause like I wanted to go all in with the system and figure out okay, here's exactly what it is, but we had pretty early on enough demand for like that third van.

And so we ran like the whited out van. We had a trailer jetter. So like that van, we just set up with the trailer jetter and then we used the equipment that we already had. So we actually have two of those vans and two of the trailer jetters. So the playbook that we're running now is like, so when we fully go into that fourth band, we'll just get the second, white it out one going.

And then once I have like true capacity, where I know that thing's fully running all the time, we'll step into the next fan and we're just going to keep doing it that way because that's one of the bigger costs. The fully. Lease vehicle. These things are damn expensive. If I can get away with Hey, not having those payments it definitely helps the numbers,

John Wilson: Oh, for sure. Yeah. We were outfitting two new jet trucks right now. And they're a buck 20 a piece.

Rick Vazza: Yeah, I think ours was like 150, but the first ones we financed with equipment, and the third one, we didn't do equipment just because to your point, we had enough at that point where I was like, all right, I get it.

I know what we need. Let's just make sure we do it with ours and it's saved on costs, but yeah, fully with equipment plans, I think we're like a buck 50 and yeah, that was probably 120 without it.

John Wilson: Yeah, so we've been meaning to do this for like two years and we didn't cause it was a buck 50 a year ago because of vehicle shortages.

So it only got down to 120, so we're doing two at a time right now and it's, yeah, two big box trucks. We're putting the captive jetters inside and it'll be our third ones cause we have four or five jets on the road right now. And yeah, it's a ton of money.

Rick Vazza: You'll like this story. So it was funny because the first one I ever got delivered, it was like, I said January 9th. So it was like right after Christmas. I was joking. It's like a nice Christmas present to myself. They shipped it out from Philly and they had to, drive it across the country.

The guy who's driving it gets there like early. It was like a Saturday morning, like super early. I'd go meet him. Uh, he pulls off, looks like he hasn't slept. He's an like, eastern European guy with a thick accent. He's Hey man you don't mind, like what's this thing going for?

And I was joking, it's like a buck 50. He's I knew it. I knew I was driving a sports car across the country. He starts dying laughing. I was like, you're right, man. It's a little different, but yeah.

John Wilson: That's what I think of every time I look at our septic trucks. Those things are 250 a piece. And it's bro, that's a Lambo. I got five Lambos in my parking lot right now.

Rick Vazza: One of the guys at my networking group made fun of me because I drive a terror, it's like an old Hyundai 2012 car. And he's You drive like a 8, 000 car and you've got like a million dollars for the vehicle.

Yeah. What are you doing? I was like I prefer the million dollars of vehicles to buy myself the Raptor.

John Wilson: Yeah, man. Those are better.

All right. So you launched pretty quick and I think just to give the listener some perspective here, I've been in the plumbing business for a long time.

We have a pretty large drain business and like you started from no drains and five guys, three leads in nine months, that's fast. Like I have six , in my business. So that feels fast. That feels good.

Rick Vazza: . Yeah, no I'm proud of it. They've been very supportive and I feel like we just have so much more to do too. And it, sometimes I can beat myself up on it cause I'm like the person that was always like, what are we doing wrong? Yeah, there's definitely a lot that I'm proud of.

John Wilson: Yeah. That's amazing, man.

So like when Jack launched his business, obviously lead flow is the big thing, right? How did you drive enough demand in your new drain business that you were able to move that fast.

Rick Vazza: Honestly, we, sometimes better to be lucky than good. Like we got really lucky early on. San Diego doesn't get a ton of rain traditionally, and we had one of the rainiest seasons we've had this like launch year. January and February, I swear we were jetting all the overflow and stuff that was happening. There was a lot of backups going on from all the flooding. And then all that rain caused a lot of roots to grow. So I feel like the spillover of that was that we did have a lot of roots that we had to jet out. We like definitely got very lucky with the like just happened chance of timing

This is probably helpful information. I mentioned like with our plumbing company, we're going a lot more toward pure residential and you know what we call COD customers.

They're obviously still great customers with drains, but I've actually found them be harder. And it's a little frustrating. We get upset. I know everyone deals with this in every market, but right, you have the people who do the gimmicky, like 40 drain specials. And it's yeah, look, we live in San Diego.

No one's, capable of sending a capable license and insured plumber to go clear your drain for 40. But they do it because they want to get their foot in the door and then blow up the price on, the drain repair. So we don't do that model. Our model is like, Hey, we make money even on a cable.

Obviously we want to do a jetter cause it's, more thorough cleaning. But we don't really play that game.

And Hey, what's up Jack?

John Wilson: We're diving into their pricing model on drains and we're talking about launching a new service inside his core business. So dude, you should be living, just soak it up, take a bunch of notes.

Yeah. It's good.

Your core model is you're driving full value out of those drain cleanings.

Rick Vazza: We want to profitably operate. If the kind of the typical options that are being built is, Hey, replace the pipe, repair the spot repair.

Provide the jetting and do the cable. Like we just want to give the customer the options. Here's what you can do, but understand, yeah, you have a bandaid option. So that's more of our model.

So what we found is that can be really challenging with the residential customers. There's just a little bit more education that gets needed there. Ironically, what has been really good and a big driver of our early success with zoom is that property management base that we've worked with.

It's funny. Yeah. Because while they're very challenging to deal with on the repair side, they're going to beat you up on a faucet replacement or, something's going wrong with the shower, they want that stuff really cheap. They understand, Hey, this drains backing up. This is impacting, potentially hundreds of residents. You got to get this cleared and they know it's going to cost more. And typically the other important thing is they've often already budgeted for it. Like when they do their plumbing budget, a lot of times there's already a line item in the expected expenses for that jetting.

So what I tell our team is we just got to make sure that line item comes to us because we're providing really good service for them. So it's been an interesting thing where it's like that has actually been beneficial toward that business. And it's just a little harder on the pure plumbing business.

John Wilson: I would imagine a big part of the problem with property management is like payment terms. Were you able to get down to COD or is it same deal?

Rick Vazza: No, it's the same deal, which has also been a blessing in like building it off of the back of plumbing. Cause like we already had a stable business that was going.

So then I could carry that without it being, really challenging. And that definitely helped a lot.

John Wilson: All right. So any restaurants in there? Because I feel like restaurants. . Yeah. Restaurants have been such a big part of our drain business over the years. And now even more so with grease.

But even when all we were doing was drain cleaning. We've had a McDonald's account for decades. That's been awesome. We've been a good partner to them. They've been a good partner to us.

Rick Vazza: Yeah. Restaurants are the ones I'm probably the most excited about. So we get a lot of chains. We do a ton of work for Domino's.

That's also something from a growth level standpoint I'm really excited about. Like, I tell the guys this is kind of like a cherry on top. But stuff that I can't do, I know the franchisor's working on, but it'll be awesome when they can turn on the national sales accounts and go out to all the franchised restaurants and say, Hey, we are franchisees all around the country.

Let's sign an agreement that we can take on your drain cleaning. And then they just come to us and be like, Hey, surprise. We finally won this great contract. That's going to be freaking sweet. So obviously that's down the road. We're not there yet. So I tell the guys like, Hey, we just got to execute on, what we can do locally, but like that will come eventually.

And that's going to be cool. But one thing that we're doing now, and we've got a few big accounts that are doing this and it makes sense from their business. Like it's a good win. So we do a preventative maintenance plan, especially for these high end fancy restaurants. Where we're going out there once a month, we're doing a visual inspection, we're checking all the water flow, and then Zoom has a cool, it's like a Drano equivalent, but it's like way more eco friendly and, doesn't destroy your pipes.

So we'll drop that into all of the different drains for them every month. And then they'll get a discount on like their regular quarterly or semi annual, however frequently they're doing it. Jetting plan too. And now that we have enough success stories with that, I'm like, guys, we got to rip this through the whole area. It's a win for them, a win for us. It's a great business and they're not there when you're doing it. It's great.

John Wilson: So how are you thinking about, this is something I've thought about before and I've probably lost focus on it because we've reset our focus to residential. So like we do have a lot of commercial accounts, especially in drains, like grease traps. But yeah, if you can drive grease pumping and if you can drive a quarterly like drain jetting through a restaurant and you have enough of a team, which you do.

Like you could hire biz dev people, full commission people to go sell contracts. Are you thinking about that?, yeah, hell yeah dude, walk me through it.

Rick Vazza: Yeah. And admittedly this is one of the things I'm most excited about and it's playing off of like your guys play with too.

For right now, we've had the biz dev person going for a couple of months. And one of the challenges that they run into with the way we had it going was just , the thing everyone runs into is the gatekeeper, right? And a lot of times they're showing up to restaurants.

John Wilson: That's always what I wonder with restaurants is if you're walking into a chain, Cassandra at Starbucks isn't going to control who does their grease pumping, right? Exactly. And they also aren't going to know who controls who does their grease pumping.

Rick Vazza: 100%. So this is part of who I'm interviewing tomorrow, as I mentioned, but I think what's going to be a more practical approach.

Is I want to have an outside caller start by like, all right, we have a list, right? We're ripping calls through that list. And then ideally they're going to be able to schedule some actual in person meetings for the biz dev. And if they can start filling up their calendar with the meetings, and then we can come in with some collateral, tell them some of the success stories of what we've already been doing for other people.

I think it makes it more compelling. And then also that person can then follow up so after the meeting, cause there's, you gotta have that, those extra touch points. And that's hard, I think, to put on just the biz dev person's shoulders. Cause I'd prefer them just doing meetings. So then we can have that follow up call, be like, Hey, I know you met with so and so, they told me a good conversation, want to make sure you got your rw9, coi, get those things all in order.

And then ideally we'll, put them in an email campaign, give them some follow ups there too. I think there's a lot we can do with it that I'm excited about.

John Wilson: No, that's a good idea. That's a really good idea.

Jack Carr: How are you driving the Top of Funnel? Did you guys already talk about that?

Rick Vazza: Mostly in the beginning stages.

John Wilson: Not enough. Not enough, Jack.

Rick Vazza: .And truly we weren't doing enough admittedly. Top of Funnel was primarily us piggybacking off of the plumbing company. And then just letting those leads kind of naturally come. Now we're starting all the traditional stuff, right? Your Google your traditional digital stuff.

But I don't think that works. We're not big enough with Google yet. Like you need way more reviews than we have so far. And I frankly think it's like so saturated anyways. With drains, and John, I'm sure you run this, but like with LSA, it's kind of weird because you have like your eight options to pick from, and if you're only doing drains, you can only pick three of them, and then you don't.

Now we're lucky because we have the plumbing company, we can turn all of those on, and if someone calls in for something we don't do, okay let's just shepherd it over properly to the plumbing company. But a lot of the other franchisees don't have that luxury.

John Wilson: Yeah, for sure. But the other luxury you have is you can do two GMBs. Are you running two GMBs?

Rick Vazza: Oh, yeah.

John Wilson: I was like, bro, two LSAs, two MATPACs, like a hundred percent, like half the time. I control several spots on MATPAC and LSAs from our different accounts and it is slick.

Rick Vazza: Yeah, wish I don't think we're in much control.

We have a lot of bigger players in our space, but I envy that and look forward to when we're at least giving them a run for their money.

John Wilson: I think what's been really interesting to me with LSA and Map Pack is you don't have to be the biggest to win. Granted, we are the biggest, but like, you don't have to be the biggest to win.

This is probably like a very long conversation, but like, we started really focusing on our internal LSA and like how we showed up in our LSA ranking and we went from number seven number eight to number one in about two weeks.

Rick Vazza: That's awesome.

John Wilson: Granted number of reviews helped but like We're still doing that on our small accounts.

Like I have accounts with 300 reviews that are doing that. It's not just the main account, right? So You can do that and then Map pack is a big deal like I talked about this a lot but You can optimize your Map pack. We're like, hey, there's a city near me that has a population of I think it's 19, 000 average household income is 95, 000 and when I google plumber that city or drain cleaning that city The MatPak is literally a construction company with one, one star review an electrical company, I think, and like one plumbing company with 10 reviews, like there's no competition.

You could do 10 reviews on a Tuesday, right? There's ways to dominate, even as a smaller player, playing a game that other companies aren't playing. Where you're just putting GMBs in locations where they're not.

Rick Vazza: Yeah. And I know that's something that we've talked about. I'm really excited about it.

We've just expanded that in the plumbing company side. And we're going to pretty much echo that with zoom.

John Wilson: Will zoom let you do that with geographies? Do they care? As long as it's inside your footprint or something?

Rick Vazza: Yeah, as long as it's in my territory. And my territory is pretty large, so I have a lot of room to do that. But like, I think you hit on something too that is interesting. So the Zoom model, and we really do stick with this, even though we have the plumbing company. Their model I could be like slightly off on this, but I'm directionally right. The biggest one, the Philadelphia one we're talking about, they have about 40 percent of their business comes from other plumbers. And so what they've done a really good job with, and this is something we have not done a good job with. And I'm really excited to like figure it out is how we do attract that business.

And everyone's like, oh, why would a plumber do that? Well, it's not like the, you know, obviously the biggest plumbers aren't setting those leads, but it's like people who don't have the ability to go buy the 50, 000 jetter machine. And they want to do the remodels. They don't want to necessarily do drain clearing even new construction guys, who aren't doing that. So there's a lot of plumbers who can do that instead of them just telling their customers, no, we don't do it. We want them to start saying, Oh, actually just call zoom. They'll take care of it. And that's been really successful with their model. And we haven't even scratched the surface of that.

Jack Carr: Yeah, I think we got something in the mail the other day it says we don't steal your customers or something like that from the zoom guys. They have some really interesting mailers and copy on that. It's great. Yeah.

Rick Vazza: Yeah. And it's legit. I tell our guys all the time, like, we want to be true to that.

Like, obviously we have the plumbing company, but if it comes from another plumber, you guys have service. Stanley, we can put a tracking number and we know exactly who it comes from. And if that has to go back to them if we find plumbing work, because I'd rather build that relationship than kick over, lead to our like, what, you know, why do it that way? It doesn't make sense. Yeah.

John Wilson: So like when we bought our drain company we had drain capability prior, but we were doing like one or two guys. But it went up to 14 or 15, like excavation, everybody included. So we added that in and like other plumbers were sending us a ton of work, which was really interesting. And it stopped almost immediately, which like I would expect, no one wants to play with big, bad Wilson.

Like I, I get it. My feelings are not hurt, but it was really interesting when that first happened. Cause I was like, I had forgotten how much of a thing that was.. But then I remembered like when we were a small plumbing company. We had accounts and we had customers.

And what we would do is we didn't have the infrastructure yet to drill drains. We couldn't jet. So anytime we had to do a jet, we actually subbed it out to a local drain company that had everything we needed. So septic pumping, jetting. Camera even for a while. So there was a drain company near us that we were paying like 40 to 50 grand a year in services to full retail, we would mark it up like 10 percent or something.

And they were basically our outside drain cleaning company until we built up enough cashflow to create our own drain cleaning company.

Rick Vazza: Yeah, I love that. That's, what I want to figure out. If we can unlock that, it just adds a whole different channel to it.

John Wilson: Yeah, I think the only downside to that channel is eventually they grow and they compete with you. But that is eventually. Because the company that we sent all those leads to, they used to be five times bigger than us, and we're actually five times larger than them now.

Rick Vazza: I like that, but at the same time, I know you guys are like this, but I don't have any intention of slowing down our plumbing company. So I think that'll keep growing too. And

John Wilson: No, one's going to want to send leads to big, bad Rick, man. It's coming.

Rick Vazza: But yeah, I don't know. I think that's like the gist of where I see it going. So it's like primary big three or, restaurants PM and then other plumbers.

John Wilson: Are you sending this BizDev person to other plumbing companies, or is it just mailers? Or like, how are you thinking about making contact?

Rick Vazza: So funny enough, we had a meeting this morning because think I've been underwhelmed with our results so far. And part of that I think is we've been a little too shotgun and scattered. It's one week we're doing proper management, one week we're doing plumbers, one week we're doing restaurants.

And I was like, let's just focus in for a second, right? Like, where are you having currently the most success? And ironically, actually, for him right now, it's been hotels. And with hotels, the reason for that is most of them have an engineer on site. When he comes in, it's not like their gatekeeper is confused.

They're like, Oh yeah, you need to speak to the engineer. And so then the engineer comes down and talks. We've had at least five or six hotels sign on just since he started doing that, which is cool.

Yeah, and obviously the hotels are a double whammy because a lot of them do have restaurants in there as well.

You're killing two birds with one stone. So I think we're just going to pound that for a while,.

John Wilson: Property management too, has to be such a killer. If you can get into a big apartment complex, like, all of it is drain problems.

Rick Vazza: Yeah, the only hit or miss thing is like, there are some of them that still think they're gonna go do like an 80 drain clearing.

And you're like, yeah, that's not what this costs, and then they're one person where they are able to feed them enough work. Who's just out of one van and is just like comfortable doing that. And those are inevitable. You run into those and you just weed them out. The ones that are like legit and they're actually partners and not just bullies, they've been awesome. Yeah. They've been really good. But anyways, to answer your questions, the thought process is going to be like, all right, let's pound this.

Let's make sure it's working. And then let's just add another one. So I'll add someone else who's now just going to do restaurants. Then we'll add someone else who's just going to do proper management. We'll add someone else who's just going to do plumbers. And I think, I don't know, I'm optimistic that's going to be more successful.

This scattered approach has been, I think it's a little too all over the place. It's hard to track. It's hard to follow up appropriately. So I don't know, we're going to try that out.

John Wilson: What I think would be, like, fascinating, is, if you, let's, I'm going to play this out a couple months.

And you've got these three, four BizDev people, and this B2B BizDev becomes a core strength of what you guys are doing. You knock this out of the park. That kills, and you could keep tacking on. I don't know if this is in the ballpark for you or not, but all I'm thinking about with VisDev and drains is a restoration company.

That's the game if you're already sending biz dev people to other plumbing companies and other property managers, bro, like that is the playbook for restoration too. And now I'm just sitting here like, why aren't I doing that? That's a brilliant idea.

Rick Vazza: We've made a rift on this before, but we're at the point now where restoration is starting to make sense even internally, just from the plumbing company and between the two. Yeah. And this is maybe interesting, like another topic, but like now I'm at the decision tree of okay, we may be launching a third service..

And then the question was like, do you do franchise for that? Or do you just do it in house? I think I'm leaning more toward just in house for the restoration particularly. One, like the big restoration franchises that exist are already gobbled up in my market. So that's part of it. But two is I think now having gone through the franchise process and seeing it, I really like but I feel like I already have that kind of playbook that's been laid out for me and I see it.

So I think we could do restoration off of our own balance sheet instead.

John Wilson: Yeah. I think so too. We did it. the hardest thing with launching anything new and that's why I wanted to really focus on it is like getting lead flow, especially if it's a different type of lead flow.

Rick Vazza: Yeah.

John Wilson: Like , we do really well B to C. Emergent situation lead flow, like that's where we thrive. And anything that doesn't look exactly like that, like I'm not great at generating demand. So when we went to go launch Restoration, it took a really long time to ramp up. One, we had the wrong salesperson for the long time.

Now we have an amazing one. He's been with us since January, I think. Changed the game for us. But two, like, how do you get leads? Once your business is ready to grow past your own captive lead source.

Yeah, exactly.

Ours is ready to grow past just Wilson, right? So that business is now about a million dollar business, and they're hungry, they're chomping, they want more, and activating new sales lines has been hard for us.

We're getting there, but we don't have the muscle that you're actively building of this biz dev thing. We're still like direct to consumer marketing.

Yeah, I'm pumped for you. That's sweet. And I think that's going to aid you with restoration too.

Rick Vazza: Yeah, thanks.

I'm very optimistic about it. Hopefully I can report back that things worked out, but I, Everything worked out totally perfect. I think it makes sense.

John Wilson: This was good. I appreciate you coming on today and diving into what it was like to add a franchise and zoom man, I don't know if you're getting sponsored by zoom.

I know jack and I aren't but like zoom is good. I have three or four friends on zoom now and they all just talk good stuff and I loved it. I love the drain business.

Jack Carr: There's actually an opening in Nashville market too, for zoom.

John Wilson: You got to do it. Oh, yeah actually, who should do it is Rick.

Rick Vazza: Yeah., what's interesting now um, just to add a little more color to it. It was like, now that I'm in the network too, and I don't know if you guys follow, but like Brian beers you see his stuff on Twitter at all.

John Wilson: Yep.

Rick Vazza: You know, he talks about how and this is just true, but what's cool about the closed network system with franchise is obviously start to know everyone pretty well. And we're still an emergent brand. So I definitely know a lot of the other franchisees and we're on calls to get everything.

So as people do say Hey, this isn't for me or, just throwing in the towel for whatever reason it may be, there's the opportunity for them to come tap on your shoulder and Hey, is this something that you'd be interested in? I'm really excited to go. I certainly wasn't expecting to do it this fast and to go this far away.

So it's gonna be interesting to be in a whole different time zone and everything. But I think we can replicate

Jack Carr: Did I miss something? Are you buying another one of that?

John Wilson: Yeah, he bought another location in Detroit.

Jack Carr: Oh my goodness. Awesome. .

Rick Vazza: And so I think we're going to be

No, I appreciate it, but yeah, I think we're going to be able to do that. And we're figuring out the playbook for that uh, right now and , I'm pretty excited by the results so far.

John Wilson: Yeah. No, man, that's slick. We're going to dive into that next episode. So if you want to know what it's like to buy a location in a completely different state, very far away from where you currently are, inside a franchise system, that is small tune into the next episode with Rick Vazza.

Thanks for coming on today, man. If people want to tag along where can they find you?

Rick Vazza: Our plumbing company is John Padilla Plumbing in San Diego and Zoom Drain in San Diego. It's obviously something we've been spending a lot of time talking about, But it's Rick Vazza on Twitter.

John Wilson: Nice. Alright man.

Jack Carr: Thanks Rick. Appreciate it.

John Wilson: Thanks for coming on. This was awesome.

Rick Vazza: Thanks guys.

John Wilson: 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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