The Sharpest Tool™

Idan Shpizear Part 1 | How to 12x Your Revenue in Two Years

Idan Shpizear is a speaker, thought leader, and the founder of 911 Restoration Franchise. He shares how to generate consistent leads and build a culture where everyone - team and clients included - feels supported.

Josh Smith (00:03):

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the sharpest tool where we take this thing out of marketing with everything that we bring to the table. My name is Josh Smith. I am your host and the vice president of marketing for the home services division here at scorpion. I'm really excited today because I have the pleasure of talking with Aidan Speiser. Who's the founder and CEO of nine 11 restoration, a disaster restoration franchise ranked among the top franchises in the United States by entrepreneur. In addition to running one of the fastest growing franchises in the country, he's a sought after speaker, a thought leader in business and marketing innovations, a firm believer in personal development's role in business success and the founder of get out of the truck, an online community that supports business owners in the home services industry, uh, Don big, big 20, 21. Welcome to the sharpest tool. Glad to have you man.

Idan Shpizear (00:57):

Happy to be here. Excited.

Josh Smith (00:59):

Yeah, we got a lot that we want to cover, man. You're a wealth of information, so I'm excited to dive right in. So why don't you get us started kicking us off here. Tell us a bit about your background, how you got into home services and how you ultimately started your business. If I'm not mistaken, the probably a good place to start. You immigrated to the us from Israel, right?

Idan Shpizear (01:16):

Yes. Yes. So as you hear my accent, yes, I'm originally from Israel. I moved here a kind of chasing the American dream. You know, I heard that money grows on the trees. Every house come with the pool, you get to a foreign guy and everything happens the way you want it to be. So I came to America, they really speak the language, came here with the literal money and a good friend. And then because of what we did in the Israeli army, we met an Israeli guy that was nice enough to hire us for his carpet cleaning company. So we bought a Volvo 1978 for about $800. We got a carpeting machine and this is how we started our journey here in the United States. Wow.

Josh Smith (01:58):

What was the difference? Like what was kind of that wake up call? Just like, I mean, it, obviously it wasn't all roses and candy corns and unicorns here. Like what was life like back in Israel versus what you experienced once you came over?

Idan Shpizear (02:11):

Oh, so easily. It's completed. First of all, I grew up in the sidebar of Israel, so it was agriculture, most of my youth. So I lived in a small farm. 48 families really was working in the field with my parents and our, um, some of our employees. So it was very small, very limited in a sense of access to information, access to money. Yeah. It's very different mentality. Right. Also. So coming to America, suddenly you're going from a small farm. Then I went to the army, you know, working with the smaller team, being a special ed unit and then coming here to LA and it's suddenly like, whoa, what's going on prior. Israel is about now there's about eight, 9 million people. Only in California. We have 42 million million people. How big of a difference. Yeah,

Josh Smith (03:03):

Yeah, yeah. You know, so it sounded like your family owned the farm yet some employee. So it seems like the business ownership might be flowing through your veins a little bit. You experienced it growing up, is that right?

Idan Shpizear (03:14):

Yes. Yes. We weren't. My dad was, most of the time was independent. Yeah. So cucumbers, tomatoes, all that. Yes.

Josh Smith (03:22):

Awesome. And so tell me a bit about how the opportunity to become a business owner came about. So you came here, got a job, somebody based off what you did in the Israeli army, how did it all of a sudden transition into becoming a business owner?

Idan Shpizear (03:36):

Our mind? I mean, even when we work at the carpet, any company, we're a beagle and saving. We save every dollar, everything. I mean, we live with five guys in one bedroom, apartments are big on saving, right. And every opportunity that we had, you know, we bought a better machine or, you know, a better equipment. So we end up owning our own equipment just for the cleaning part. And then when we discovered the restoration role, right. And we'll get back to it, that's why I decided to open a company. We also, we started investing our money and buying floors and humidifiers right. By the second year kind of, or by the end of the first year we already had about 20 blowers and a few humidifiers, and then we already bought a van. Right. So now we become more of independent while we working for a company.

Josh Smith (04:22):

Yeah. Eventually you got to the point where you bought your boss's company out, correct?

Idan Shpizear (04:26):

Yes, yes. Yeah. So what ended up happening is once we discovered the restoration world, right. The water more than fire, okay. This is the type of business that we want to be in. Right. And really what triggered that is seeing the customer experience. Right? So the first call that we got to a flooded house, we didn't know anything about [inaudible] or any of it. And we're putting that and we extracting the water and I think we charged $400 for the water extraction of $600. And we were so happy. This was like a huge joke for us while we extracting the water, there was a restoration company came in and was suddenly we seen them carrying Boulerice and you really fire as in breaking the walls and pulling the carpet, like, okay, what's going on here? It was like another world that we don't even know about.

Idan Shpizear (05:10):

One, one of the things that really hit me then was I'm spending so much time with the homeowner. Right. Kind of working with them with like stress and all that worry of what's going to happen. And I'm seeing the restoration company comedy and not really caring about the customer. The only thing that they're worried about are they going to be in and out as best as they can. So I said, okay, why the customer experience is not where it's supposed to be. Right. They need to understand that he's going to go through that. He's going through a disaster. And the only thing that they care about is in and out. And then I discovered that they charge about $15,000 and then

Josh Smith (05:46):

There's something there. Yeah. So, so you ended up buying your boss's company, you wanted to provide this experience. So you expanded out services there. And, uh, tell me a bit about 9 1, 1 restoration as it stands today. I mean, you've been hugely successful.

Idan Shpizear (06:02):

Yeah. So today we have over a hundred franchisees around the us and we're recovering almost two third of the United States. We have a few offices in Canada on our way. I mean, kind of building the company. We also started a marketing company where we kind of doing a marketing for ourselves today. I started also a software company dealt also with real estate investment. Yeah. But my main business is nine one restoration. Right. My passion is where, uh, working with the franchisees and I really see them growing

Josh Smith (06:34):

A bit about the growth that you experienced. Cause I know it was pretty substantial within the first kind of three years when you really started getting the thing turning, tell me a little bit about that growth and what you think were some of those catalyst moments, those, those key decisions that you made that ultimately led to that success.

Idan Shpizear (06:50):

So where, where are we are their first growth? Right? So when we took over the company, we average about $250,000 a year in sales. Right. And my thought is like, okay, I'm not, I need to grow a lot faster. Right. I was, most of my time was very focused on, on strategy sales. How can I scale the business? Then I was sitting and eating dinner somewhere and I'm hearing two guys talking about Google Edwards. Now this was around 2003, 2004. And I'm like, okay, Google Edwards, you put an ads on Google and people will click and call you. I'm like, okay, this is something that I have to try. I went back home that night and I spent about six, seven hours on the computer trying to figure out what's Google is all about right that night. I set up the first ad online and day after in the morning, I got a first phone call and then every day we got a phone call. So we grew our business from $250,000 a year to $3 million a year in about two years. So this was our first crazy growth that we experienced. Wow.

Josh Smith (07:47):

Well, yeah, you do, you attribute a lot of that to ad-words to, to running like digital advertising or were there other things at play that

Idan Shpizear (07:56):

It's all about digital advertising? Yeah. I mean, we are the stand then the importance of customer experience, right. We knew that every customer is going through an emotional disaster. Every customer is important and we're very conscious of the emotional journey of the client. Right? So if we work with a manager of a building, we, we, we didn't think about what we need. We always thought about how can I help do better, right. How can I help him get to where he wants to get and what we saw that as much as I can help more people, everything just come back to you. Right? So that was always in the back of our mind, Hey, this is where it be. The first start, the idea of us as a company, we want to build a culture that we are really nurturing our team, our franchisees, and our clients, and really helping them go through this journey. And that's been the core of everything that we do.

Josh Smith (08:45):

Everything that you do. Is there a particular kind of disaster you like to work with the most?

Idan Shpizear (08:51):

I mean really any type of,

Josh Smith (08:55):

Yeah, definitely. And you eventually get to the point where you start franchising. Right. So, uh, tell me a bit about the decision to do that. Why that made the most sense and how you went about it.

Idan Shpizear (09:05):

So when Katrina happened 2005, I went out there at that time. We had a lot of trucks and equipment and we have project managers. So I flew out there with a few guys and first of all, it was devastating to see what people, I mean, the suffering and the confusion. It was just terrible. But every night, most of the restoration company kind of stayed in one area, right. So I get to interact and meet a lot of other restoration companies owner. And what I notice is that most of the guys that I made are averaging about, you know, 400 to $800,000 in revenue. And they've been in business now for, you know, five years to 20 years. And I'm like, okay, what's going on here? I'm been in this country now for three, four years maybe. And I'm not over the $3 million in revenue, barely speak the language.

Idan Shpizear (09:51):

I don't really know the trade as good as you guys, but I were able to grow that fast. So what's going on here? What I notice is most of the guys are super passionate about the trade itself, so they can spend hours talking to me about how the setting up the truck, which equipment, how they're setting up the blowers, the deals that they're getting. And I'm there. And I'm passionate about generating leads and scales and culture and strategies. And I'm saying, okay, if I'm able now, because of the relationship and everything that we build in the team that I have, if I'm able to help them grow their business and they can teach me more about how to get better in doing the actual trade. Right? So it's exactly made the equipment and how to do everything a lot better. How can we work together now? I didn't know anything about franchising. Then my thought is how can I create a win-win situation? So I came back from Katrina and then I spoke with my lawyer and says, okay, can we work a service agreement between me and them? Right? So I'm going to teach them the strategies, sales, and marketing. They're going to help me with, how can we get better in, in doing the actual trade? And my lawyer told me it's like it, Dan Jace is a franchise.

Idan Shpizear (11:01):

What is a franchise? So I went through about six months of really learning everything that I can about franchise find the right partners, going through the headache of creating the disclosures and agreements and all the processes in place and all that. So the idea of a franchise for me initially, was how can I get now? You know, a group of 300 business owners thinking about the same idea of be the fresh start, right? Bringing that into their communities while we all went together. So that's really what triggered the idea of franchise. I love

Josh Smith (11:36):

That, you know, you've obviously been wildly successful in being able to generate leads. And I know for like, you're describing a lot of restoration companies, that's, that's a challenge a little bit because there's a, there's often an excuse levied out there that, uh, it's, it's always just weather driven. So if there's no storm, then we get leads. Right. Um, what have you found success with in terms of how you've run your marketing and your advertising to ultimately generate, you know, whatever level of consistent leads that you've been able to do?

Idan Shpizear (12:07):

There's always three source of leads that we're going after. One is online lead generation, right? Social media, Google Edwards, and anything else, right? The idea is to be there when customer needs you. Right? So that is something that is, can be great about our business because when somebody needs you, you just need to make sure that you're there and you're getting to their house as fast as you can, right. Answering the phone. Right. So people don't really shop around a lot when their house is flooded or there's fire or mode. Like they want somebody to come into their house and do it now. So this is one area that we're focusing a lot on and we create a lot of tools to measure and make sure that we are providing high level of services, but also we're able to control and manage it. Right, right.

Idan Shpizear (12:48):

Because the return on investments and all that, the third part is you have to work your local market. You need to get out there and build relationship, right? If it's insurance agents, plumber, whoever it is in Europe market, you have to get out there and build your business. And the third part depends on the areas. It depends on the size of your business. You want to create accounts with national clients, right? So for example, if you work with a retailer that has, you know, a thousand stores across the U S you want to try and get on their list. So as long as these three sources are working, right, one of them is going to be better than the one slower. And then they're going to shift around, depending on the weather, it depends on the time of the year and all that. But you need to make sure that you have at least three source of leads flow into

Josh Smith (13:35):

That's awesome. And that level of thinking really kind of propelled you to the, get out of the truck book and building that community a little bit. Right. So tell me a little bit about what get out of the truck means and how you came to start that,

Idan Shpizear (13:51):

You know, track is, you know, I'm seeing a lot of great guys and I really mean it. Great guys. It's some people in the, in the home service industry, right? So I know people that been in, you know, as a plumber, as a roofer contractor has now been in this business for 20 years, 30 years now. And they still in the truck, they're really great in working with their client. They're doing an amazing work, but the, if they implement, if they're adding to their business, a few disciplines, right, they're gonna be able to get out of the truck and start really living the life that they want to live. Right. Everybody go into the business saying, okay, I'm going to build this business. I'm going to get it to a million dollar or five or 10 or whatever it is, right. I'm going to have a team.

Idan Shpizear (14:29):

I'm going to be able to go on vacation. I'm going to live the life on my own term. And I'm going to give back to the community as well. And what I actually see that most of the people gets back at a certain point, right? At the end thing, it's not easy to be in business for 20 years and still drive the trucks, still carry the equipment, still clean carpet at one point it's exhausting. And if you're exhausted, you know, you're unhappy. And I'm thinking, okay, how it's impacting your family life, how it's impacting the relationship with your wife, with your kids right now, it's impacting the community that you're in. So my thought is if we help these guys right, get out of the truck and really able to build the business that they want. So they have more control, they're more free to find more happiness, the final fulfillment, then that will impact their families that will impact their communities. So that's really what triggered the idea of, can I put something, can I build a resource center with books, eBooks, and videos and tools that hopefully helped a few people get out of the truck? Yeah.

Josh Smith (15:34):

So tell me a bit about that community. How is that going and growing and what kinds of tools are you continually putting tools into the pot? So,

Idan Shpizear (15:43):

Yeah, so we, we just uploaded, I think about 30 new videos, right? And that was a stretch for me, right? So I'm a big believer that as a business owner, you have to evolve and you have to stretch yourself. Right? A lot of my own stretching was creating a video. Now, you know, being in front of the camera, doing what I'm doing with you, you know, I feel very uncomfortable with, but now it's getting easier. It's like anything new that you're kind of pushing yourself to do. So we created videos, eh, we have a few free eBooks, right? About personal growth and how to work on your business and not in your business. We also created a very cool tool that you can create a business plan in five minutes. Right. We asking you some basic questions and we give you some clarity, right? So if you want to reach a million dollars in sales, how many leads do you need to generate?

Idan Shpizear (16:33):

What the average per job was going to be your conversion, right? And then we break it for you per month. So you able to now stay focused on your target because staying focused is a huge thing. A lot of people miss the point on and give you some clarity. Now, the other side of it, we also created a SWAT analysis, right? So as a business owner, what is your strength? What is your weaknesses? Right? So I want you to see it, right, because what I hate to see is people spending, you know, years and years of their life. And I did the same thing, try to get better, trying to improve their weaknesses instead of doubling down on your strengths. So you can really build beautiful business. If you're going to really work on your strength and that will create a differentiation between you and your competition.

Idan Shpizear (17:23):

And what I see a lot of people doing, including myself, is really spending a lot of time trying to get better in an area that they're not, it's not what they supposed to do. They need to build women, find somebody that can help them. And the third tool is a job description tool. So we, I simplified the process of job description. Now look, when I started a business, the first time that I actually created the job description was probably four or five years into the business. Right. And I hired a consultant and he came into my businesses like, okay, I want to see the job description of everybody that works for you. In that time I had about 20 something employees. I'm like job description. Now they know what they're supposed to be like. Okay. So I'm going to interview one by one and I'm going to see what they're telling me that they're supposed to do compared to what you think that they're supposed to do.

Josh Smith (18:15):


Idan Shpizear (18:16):

I love that. Yeah. And that's really opened your eyes, like, okay, I think we need job description. And the job teacher is important because look, especially a lot of small businesses will really relate. We hire a secretary or we hire an inspector. It's like, okay, so your job is to be a secretary. Okay, I'm going to be a secretary. So what you do answer the phone, right? So if you are not defining your expectation of what success looks like, right? How many times you walk into the business and you as a business owner, you are not happy about where the business is going, but your secretary sitting there feeling great, right? I'm answering the phone. Everything's beautiful. There's a disconnect. Right? And she looks at you like, why are you upset? I'm here. I'm working. I'm doing everything that I think I supposed to do. Right? What I find is where you get everybody aligned. When everybody knows your expectation, everybody knows what they need to do. What success look like. That way you celebrate as a team. You know, when you guys are winning, but it's not fine. Then you know, there's misalignment, everybody's pushing to a different direction. So it's very hard to move the business forward. So this is what now I'm saying do job description. It's super simple. And we created a free tool for you.

Josh Smith (19:32):

Yeah. And people do what you ask them to do, right. If you know, that's going to do anything, you don't know what they're going to do. So you talk a bit about alignment, which I think is so, so valid, important. It becomes more challenging to write the larger you get. And as the company evolves and job descriptions of all in the inner workings of the team evolve, you have to sometimes go back to the drawing board, redefine things, read, channel, how things are operating potentially, but that doesn't come from, if you don't have a very clear as a leader, a clear sense of purpose and vision. So I want to ask you a Don, where does your sense of purpose and vision for your company come from and why do you think it's vital for businesses to have both of those things?

Idan Shpizear (20:11):

Oh, okay. So a huge part of my journey is my personal development. So as you said in the beginning of all of this is personal development is a huge part of, a lot of the success that we're having is because of our ability to evolve as leaders in the company. And then we want the rest of the team to evolve as well. Right? The company will not evolve if the people in the company are not evolving as well. Yeah. So we want to see people grow within the company. So the idea of be the fresh start is really is an attitude is attitude of who we want to be as people. What do we believe in? And when you have that as the core of your company, it's a lot easier to make decision because you are super clear or what is important, right? So we put people before profit.

Idan Shpizear (20:59):

We are the stand that we are here to add value to solve problem. And then profit will come, right? So this is my mine and my partner shift, right? So myriad that we've been working together now for many, many years, we are the stand that we are here to solve problems. We are here to really work with people. So when you have that as a core, that's now become part of the way we are directing the entire organization. If it's the messages or marketing is the way we set up our franchisees, the way we communicate our franchisees, the content that we're creating, the, the communication within the company is all centered around. Are we really being true to our culture? Are we really being the fresh start now? Are we just thinking about ourselves? So that's always our kind of our north star. So it's a lot easier to make the decision that way when you're super clear. Yeah.

Josh Smith (21:51):

I love that.

Idan Shpizear (21:52):

Yeah. I don't want to overthink everything.

Josh Smith (21:53):

Yeah, totally. And it sets the foundation and the direction for the team. It's always something that you can draw yourself back to. And I, you know, I was having a conversation with some of our leaders here too. Just about how there comes a necessary point in shift where you have to stop jumping into any particular situation. Like there's a point where you have to train and you train your people, you give them the job description. You're specific. You're clear on that. But then there comes a point you gotta step back and you gotta be the rudder to the ship. Right. You got to help steer it. And when people veer off course bringing them back. So it's a lot of that because there's so many priorities and everybody seems to get so overwhelmed with all the priorities. If you don't have a clear sense of the direction, and you're not good at bringing people back to the priorities that are going to ultimately impact the bottom line, the most you'll easily get scatterbrained, it'll feel like everything's going crazy. Right?

Idan Shpizear (22:48):

Yeah. No, absolutely. I think at one point, your job as a leader is, as you saying, it's like, make the vision is clear as possible and then cheer everybody up. Right. Really? I mean, the way I see my job description is really supporting my team, right? It's not, it's not about me telling, I mean, at one point here is the vision I trust you as my team. I'll give you the space to really create my goal is for them to own the vision. I want them to feel like this vision is there is that it's not even mine anymore. It's not about it done. How can we all truly be the fresh start? I love that. So that's really what drives us. And then the decision is a lot easier because you know, what is the center? What's the core of everything.

Josh Smith (23:36):

Totally. And you know what, it's very, it's a lot easier to identify. Does this align with that? Or does it not? If it doesn't probably should second guess whether or not we should actually be doing it. Right. Awesome. Well, Don, this has been awesome. I do want to dive into company envision a bit more. So if you're listening right now, definitely stay tuned. We're going to have you done back on the sharpest tool for an episode too, but Don, where can people find out more about you more, about to get out of the truck company and everything that's going on there.

Idan Shpizear (24:04):

And we created a website that's called get out of the truck that life it's that life because I have a more holistic approach, right? I want to see how we impacting your, your personal life, not just the business life, because I think the businesses just extension of who you are, right. That's where it goes. So through that website, you can find our eBooks, the tools, the books there, and through there, you can get into Facebook and LinkedIn and everything else. So I think the best way just to go to

Josh Smith (24:31):

Awesome. Well, Don, this has been great. Really appreciate your time. All the expertise and insight. Thanks for sharing with us. And for everybody listening, wherever you might be listening at, definitely hit that like button and give that subscribe button a little tap. If you're watching us on YouTube ring that bell. So you get more of this awesome content from the sharpest tool. If you're listening on iTunes or any other podcast platforms, definitely drop a review down there for us and let us know how much you love the show. So that way we can continue to get this in front of even more business owners who need to hear what a Don has to say from all of us here at the sharpest tool. We'll talk to you soon.

Idan Shpizear (25:06):


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