Welcome back to another episode of the Service Legend Podcast. I have a real treat for you guys today. Victor Ranker, welcome to the podcast.
Thanks for having me on, man. I’m excited. I’ve been looking forward to this.
So yeah, man, most of you know that are here in the group that are following us for years now know that we’ve previously worked with concrete coding companies and painting companies and just the relationships and different connections that I’ve had this year. We really inspire to go into HVAC garage doors and a couple of other things. And so we want to bring Victor in here to really showcase what’s possible in the HVAC world. And obviously you were just saying low ticket. And I’m like, Dude, concrete coatings is low ticket compared to HVAC, but we’ll dive into that here in a bit. For those of you that don’t know Victor, he is just absolutely crushing it. Guys, I only bring people on here that I would look up to I think are doing amazing things, not just in the financial side of the business, but also just in terms of culture being amazing fathers and and wives and all these different things. When we talk about being a legend and Victor was raised in Southern California, started changing oil for $7 an hour to making seven figures within seven years, started with the base.
The best in HVAC created an even better process and started my own his own company in 2018. Absolute Airflow, which is an amazing company that I can see, and they’re on track to do just tens or eight eight figures and beyond over the next couple of years. And probably more than that, I imagine, with what you have going on. And look, a personal branding was the next step which helped him create an identity and culture where winners could call home, which is I love that. And really competition is his biggest driver and I love this last part. The noise just adds fuel to the fire man. So excited to dive into this, whether it’s the good, the bad, the ugly, the struggles of starting a company and really dial in in the company really, really quickly. If we could just start with Victor, who you were before Absolut. Right. Just give us a little bit like origin story a little bit and kind of how you got started up to absolute cool.
I’ll give you a little bit. So, you know, I’ve been coming up March 3rd will be officially eight years in the HVAC space. Before that, I knew nothing about HVAC at all. I was doing concrete work, so I was a I doing masonry work, doing concrete doing like stack steel and stuff like that labor pretty much. And I was kind of thinking, like while I was doing that, like, Hey, I want to become a general contractor or something along those lines, right? I was working with my hands every day, making cash under the table, just real dirty work. And at that point I got an I had a buddy of mine that came to start doing day laboring with me, and his name is Dylan. Dylan came with me and he worked for us for a couple of days and he’s like, Hey, dude, I got this, this. I went I went on Craigslist and I found this company that’s going to give me paid training and I’m going to become an HVAC tech. And I kind of said like, Yeah, right, dude. Like, whatever, I’ll see you fucking next week when you need work. And Dylan went to go apply and and he got lucky just like I did. It was a great company out here in Southern California called Service Champions, which is known for taking guys from nothing and making them into technicians. Right. So most companies, they want to go recruit, service champions doesn’t recruit, they build.
Right? Right. So Dylan got the opportunity first, and I still remember it was February 2015 and he comes over to my house for a Super Bowl party. It was the I think it was the fuck. And there was a Seahawks Patriots and that was a Russell Wilson game. I still want my money back on that. And he’s dude, he shows me his paycheck and I’m like, Dude, you made that much money. He’s like, Yeah, bro. Like, I’m making that much money. And I’m like, Dude, I got to do whatever the hell that guy’s doing. And so I went and applied, went through a couple of interviews there, got an opportunity. Thank God they gave me the opportunity. They wanted to make me an installer because I’m big, I’m good with my hands. I already had like construction background and I was like, Now just give me an opportunity to be a technician. I’ll prove myself right. And I still remember going through training at that time. I’m driving a 1992 Honda Accord. The window doesn’t roll up, so I’m driving to work and the interviews are getting rain splattered in my face because it’s February and, you know, driving there and I got the job. And I remember going through training and just being broke, a shit like me and my girl, we had just had our daughter.
She was about six months, so five or six months old at the time. We’re living in a room in a house like rented, like just a rundown place, just cheap rent, right? So we had a place to stay, but we didn’t have money. And I still remember being like the guy there in training. I would steal a cup of noodles out of the break room and shit wherever I could get some food, right? Yeah. And so I went through that and I still remember the first day they showed me the pay plan, and that’s when I realized I’m like, Oh fuck, I’m going to be rich. Like. And at that point, rich to me was like, Dude, if I can make like 80 grand a year, 60 grand a year like that was rich to me, you know? And they showed me the pay plan. And the second I saw it, I knew. And it kind of correlated like in my mind, like you said, my back story doing. Oil changes because I remember being at the oil change place, and this is in Cleveland, Ohio, and I think it was probably 2012 ish, 2013, something like that. I was there doing oil changes for $6 an hour or 675. And and I remember the only way to get out of the oil pit was to learn how to merchandise, how to sell upgrades like transmission flushes and batteries and whatever the hell you wanted to sell.
Right. And I remember that transition. It was the same thing. Like, all I’m doing is merchandising, but they’re going to pay me a hell of a lot more money. Like they’re if I sold a bunch of stuff at the oil change place, I might get $8 an hour. This one’s going to pay me like a significant amount of money every time I sell something. So, you know, I decided, Hey, look, I’m going to go all in. And I went all in on it. And in March 2015, it took me, I think it was like 8 to 10 weeks of training, making minimum wage. Right. Starving for, you know, and going through the training. It’s hard. Like you’re just trying to survive, trying to get through it. But during the training, I knew that I was going to be better than everybody. I knew it. I knew it at my fucking core because I worked harder than everybody. I studied harder. I spent all my time to beat these guys. I started doing ride alongs with these guys and I’m like, Dude, you can’t even do the simple process. Like because they had a dialed in process. All you to do is follow the process and it spit out coins. These guys wouldn’t follow the process, right? And they would. They would complain all day like, I can’t figure out why I’m not making any money.
They’re giving me the shitty calls. I’m like, Dude, just give me the damn thing. I’ll go in there and pitch it. And I still remember riding with guys the first time, and I remember we were getting ready to leave this call and I was with this guy named Jason, and Jason is like writing up his notes. He’s in his truck and I’m like, Hey, are you going to present any options to this customer? He’s like, No, no, they’re not interested in anything. I’m like, Dude, can I just go in there and try? So I wrote out my options like they told me in training, right? I just did it how they recommended to do it. And I went in there and I sold like 1200 bucks or 500 bucks. Wasn’t anything crazy, right? And I go in and I come back out. I’m like, Dude, I sold it. And he’s like, What the hell? Why did you do that? I already told Dispatch, We’re leaving. And I’m like, Do what the fuck is wrong? I’m like, How about you leave me here? I’ll do the repairs and I’ll get paid because I need money, bro. Yeah. And I’m like, Okay, if this is my competition, this is supposed to be the trainer, right? Like, this is the guy that’s supposed to be look up to.
So I’m like, Okay, then that’s my competition. Everyone’s fucked. And that’s what happened, man. I got in the field that gave me the opportunity and I finally hit the field in June 2015 was my first day in the field, and that first month I ended up being the top turnover technician in air Time 500. So I won an award my very first month in the field, being the number one in the country. And I knew that day that I was like, okay, I can do this shit and I could do it at a high level. And I just kept studying and learning and acting as if, right, like, I would just, I like I do with any roommate. I walk into the room like I own it and that’s how I did it. Like everything, I pretend like I was the best. I still remember my first call I ever ran and they had everything besides for the duct work. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, I’m so glad they sent me out today. And the lady is like, Why? I’m like, Well, I’m actually our ductwork specialist, but we’re so booked up on the tuneup to have me come running it. And I notice, like, when I see this, it just makes me go crazy to see ducts like this. And they’re like, What do you mean? And I’m like, going through all this shit and boom, my very first call, I got a sale, right? And I’m like, Okay, this is great.
It’s just it’s a cat and mouse game, like any kind of sale. So figured it out pretty quickly. And you know, I won’t dive into too much of my background. Like after when I got back from Cleveland, some of the other sales stuff I was doing before construction, I did a lot of phone sales and stuff, so I understood the give and take on it and how to do it. But yeah, so I started making money, moved up really fast and, and they, they saw it right away. They’re like, okay, this guy’s special. But like, they had like, parameters. You had to hit parameters to be able to move up. And I just kept fucking crushing them. But they’ve never had anybody move up. Every single month they were hitting the numbers like you had to hit. So like, they’re trying to slow me down, but I’m like, Dude, my my thing says if I hit these numbers, I get to move up, I get to go to the next level. They’re like, Yeah, you’re right. But like, we can’t do that. Everyone’s going to get pissed. And I’m like, I don’t give a fuck. Like, I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to fucking win. And, you know, that’s been my mentality since I’ve been since a little kid, man.
Like, I don’t, I don’t like to lose. And I think that’s what kind of got me where I am. So I worked there for a couple of years. I worked my way up to being one of the top selling techs of the country and won some awards for that. And then I got recruited. I got recruited by another local competitor and he paid me a lot of money. I still remember I went to breakfast with a guy I never met him before and he’s like, Hey, come to breakfast with me. So I go through breakfast and he goes and shows me his office and I’m like, okay, whatever. And he’s like, And I go to leave and and he’s like, Oh, so let me know when you’re ready. I’m like, You never made me an offer. And he’s like, Well, how about this? He’s like, Call your wife, pack your bags. You’re going to fly out to Hawaii and come hang out with me for a week in Hawaii. I’m like, Dude, I’ve never been like, I didn’t grow up with money. I’ve never been to Hawaii. I’m like, I’m going, let’s go. So I called service champions. I took my vacation and I’m like, even a week vacation. And so I took my vacation. I flew out to flew out to Hawaii, put me up in a presidential suite on the north shore of Kauai, gave me his Range Rover to drive around.
And I’m like, Dude, like, holy shit. Like what? What is going on? Like, I didn’t realize how valuable, like, these sales guys were. Like, the top guys were, right? So it gives me a significant amount of money, pretty much gives me the keys to the business and says, Hey, you know, I live in Hawaii, I need you to be out there doing it. So I was the service manager, the sales manager or the salesman. So I’ll be there every day from Monday through Saturday, and I would be there at seven in the morning for meetings. I’d run the service meeting, then I’d run the sales meeting and then I’d get everything kind of dispatch and then I’d go start running calls and I’d run calls till like ten or 11:00 at night sometimes. But I had sold a lot. And I, you know, and at that point I got to go from a I went from service champions where everything is like done a certain way, like every nook and cranny, like they have every process dialed in. You have like the customers they have are the best customers because they’re like, you know, they’ve been doing business with them for 20 years and they buy everything you recommend to. Now I’m going to this other company where the customers fucking hate them. Customers don’t like them. The reviews are bad.
They’re a big box store. So like, I started selling and I’m like, okay. And a lot of people that leave service champions always come back because they’re just they can’t adapt to these different type of customers. So I’m like, okay, well, I’m not going back because I don’t I don’t fucking go backwards. So I had to make a decision to learn how to sell these calls. So I started running the big box sales call. So like, imagine Ryan, you’re going through you’re going through Lowe’s, right? And you were going there to get a fucking light bulb. And then he said, Hey, you want an estimate for an air conditioner that I’m in your house an hour later and I got a fucking sell it, dude. And I had a 65% closed rate on these things. And I was closing and I’d closed not just like ten grand. I’m talking 25, 30, 40,000 jobs. And I learned how to sell them. And I created a process and I dialed it in and I said, okay, I’m going to become the best at selling these things and I don’t care what it is. So what I did is and through my whole career is I built a process for every type of call. And then I gameplan before I go into every call and how I’m going to run it, what I’m going to ask for or things I’m going to do.
And I had a checklist for every single call, every call. If I was going to tune up, I had a certain checklist. If I was going to a diagnostic, I was going to estimate if I was going to an estimate from a big box store, if I was going to estimate from a current customer didn’t matter where it was, I created a process for all of. And that’s why I was so successful. And I also don’t leave. So like you’re signing a contract today. So like my last month in the field, you know, I think we had like it was like a 90% like signature rate. Some would cancel, but they were 90% of the time. You’re signing the fucking deal. But I have a firm belief that if I’m no one’s going to be no one’s better than me. No one’s going to design a system better than the email is going to work harder. I mean, no one’s going to like. And when I fucking transferred that belief to customers so that by the time they got done, they’re like, Holy fuck, Like a whirlwind happened. I signed this contract and I was like, Well, how come I’m double the price of the other guy? And that’s what I got. Like, I was known for just selling high tickets. Like, I didn’t, I didn’t like discounting. I wanted to sell everything.
If you got approved for 100 grand, I want to sell a hundred grand. Like that was my mentality. And so I did that for about nine months, almost ten months. I worked for that company and I still remember the owner started messing with my little brother. My little brother. I got him a job as a technician and he started fucking with his pay, his hours, all kinds of shit. And I said, Hey, don’t fuck with my brother, dude. And I told them, I said, Oh, fuck my brother. He kept doing it. And then me and my brother went to go. We went to a local pizza shop. Buddy of mine I grew up with, owns a shop, and we start sitting there with drinking two beers into pizza and he’s like, Dude, why don’t you just start your own business? And I’m like, That’s not a bad idea. I’m like five IPAs in, you know what I mean? Like, I can do this. And so I went home that night and I laid on my fucking living room floor and I started writing down names of businesses because I knew I didn’t want to be like Victor’s heating and air or some shit. I had to come up with a name. So I’m like, start, start with A’s and start working through. There’s a local asbestos company called Absolute Abatement or something like that. So I’m like, okay, absolute.
And then it’s like, okay, what’s this? What goes with airflow or absolute, absolute airflow? So I came up with a name and then I went through there and I and I was like, okay, I need a phone number. So I went and got this thing called I forgot what that what the apps call where you can buy like a vanity phone number. So I bought a phone number 833 HVAC man. So now I got an absolute airflow. The name HVAC man, the number got that stuff dialed in. So I’m like, Next day I told my brother Mike, Hey, I’m starting a business. He’s like, What the fuck? And I’ve never ran a business. Never started a business. I didn’t have a contractor’s license. So like five days later I quit my job making well over half a million a year selling air conditioning. So now all of a sudden, I own a business and I’ve got to figure it out. So that was in August 2018. Literally, like I said, entrepreneur or seizure quit my job. And the dumbest thing I did is I was I had just broke the all time company sales record in July and I was supposed to get a $10,000 cash bonus. Well, I was going to wait to quit, right? I was going to wait till I got my bonus. Well, my brother calls me. I’m like, Yeah, we’re going to do this.
Then 10 minutes later, he calls me again. I turned my keys in. I’m like, Dude, what the fuck, bro? Like, we’re supposed to wait, I got to get that money. And, you know, my brother quit, and I was like, You know what? Fuck it. Like, I don’t care. I don’t need the money that bad. So I quit. And yeah, so we started absolute airflow. And the way I started my business is I my whole life I’ve always been really good at communicating and meeting people. And I was I was a part of big part of like a party scene. And I just knew a lot of people. So I went through my phone and I texted everybody that I’ve ever had contact with in my phone. I said, Hey, I started a business, Anybody need anything? And my first customer was a fantasy football league. As a league, I just joined a buddy of mine that I went to high school with, invited me to this league. I don’t know anybody. I was like, Hey, anybody need any A.C.? And he’s like, Yeah, I got my air conditioner is broken. I’m like, Well, you’re getting a new one today. You don’t even know it yet. So had it over there, sold my first job, and then the rest is kind of history, man. I just kept I kept rolling from there.
This is I mean, it’s absolutely amazing, man. I’m just I’m just a fan right here. But, I mean, if you guys are listening to this and you guys are live posting the comments, hashtag live would love to see who’s live. Also, if you’re on the replay, I know we get tons of replay viewers here in the Facebook group post in the comments, hashtag replay. And if you’re on Apple or Spotify, which we get most of our downloads, leave us a review and let us know how we’re doing here. And you can let us know what city you’re in and things like that. But I mean, this is incredible, man. What I love about you, Victor, is your ability to initiate competition. You know, like you’re not waiting around for others to to get going or others to make things happen. You make things happen. And I see that a lot with most entrepreneurs that I look up to is they just have this this innate ability to create stuff, right? Whether it’s ideas, things like this. When you were starting absolute right and it was what was the other year that you started it? It was.
It was 2018.
Yeah. Is 18 because. So you quit the company in August. Talk about that a little bit. Like, was there a lot of fear behind that? Because I know it seems like you have like, like a classic origin story, you know, being a technician or an installer and then starting your own company. Whereas we see it a lot right now, right? Where there’s a lot of entrepreneurs coming in that have no clue about these industries that are starting businesses. And I mean, I mean, look at Lance Bachman, right? Doesn’t have the install the technician experience like you might have but growing these companies. Just talk to us a little bit about the fear or the like, the FOMO, if you will, around being a tech. Mission or salesperson or what have you, and then starting a company.
So, you know, just like most people write, like it’s never a good it’s almost not even good to go. As a technician and sales guy and start a business. It’s it’s it usually doesn’t end up well. Right And and my thing that I was on a different level of salesman so like I knew one thing like I can sell my way out of anything. Like if I needed money, I’ll go sell some shit. Right. Like, that’s just that was innate in me, right? And a lot of guys, they come in as technicians, right? Maybe they were a turnover technician or they turn leads to people and they want to come in and be Superman and fix every unit. And they think that they’re going to start a business and cut cost and save people and I’m going to be a superhero. That’s not how it works, right? Like it’s not how the business works. So a lot of those guys fail, right? So I had the ability because I worked my way as a technician, I worked my way as a as a as a sales guy. But because I had the opportunity to work within the back end of the business and start seeing the call center, seeing like how the operations kind of worked with the second company I was at, it gave me a little bit of idea of what goes on behind the scenes and things I needed to do, but like starting the business, like you also like you want to mimic like the companies that you worked for.
Well, I didn’t realize like the companies I work for, like we’re not normal, Like they were the two biggest companies in my market. So they had a bunch of shit that you just can’t have when you start out. So like when I started out, I started buying all this extra shit and doing all this stuff that I didn’t really need, right? And because I wanted to be like them. But starting out, you can’t be like that. So I think that was that was one thing. Like if I would have went back, I’d have been like, Dude, I don’t need 30 grand’s worth of parts and materials in my truck right away. Right in cash to right.
Like you don’t leverage debt and financing.
Well, because I started my business, I didn’t have a contractor’s license. So the vendor won’t give you a line. It won’t give you a line of credit. You can’t even buy shit. I had to buy stuff through like I was buying. I had a buddy of mine. His name is Andrew and he’s on social media too, and you’ll probably see this. But he he worked with me before he had started his business a year before me, and I was like, Hey bro, I need to get equipment. I don’t know where to get it. No one will sell it to me. And he’s like, Oh, I’ll help you. Well, it got to the point that I was buying more equipment than him within a month, like and he’s been around for a year and he’s like, What the fuck are you doing, dude? I was like, I’m selling shit. Like, we sold $1,000,000 in the first four months of business. From August to January, we sold a million fucking dollars. And and like I said, I had no business thing and I have no license. I did get my license till January of 2020 19. So, like, I’ve only had my license for four years, so. And this whole time, by the time I got my license, I remember I’m like, I submitted all my paperwork, so I had all the credentials to do it and shit, but it kept getting kicked back because I kept doing something wrong, doing something wrong.
And finally they got me approval. So I remember when I was going in to go take the test. They’re like, What are you going to do when you get your license? I’m like, Well, I’m going to be start operating legally. But I’m like, I already got ten employees. So like, why don’t like, don’t worry about it. And, and so like, I was already a big company by the time I already did this, like by the time I got my license. But thank God it was a blessing because I got my license and like three weeks later I just got my insurance and all that shit set up and I flooded this like $4 million house, like just destroyed this house. And I still remember sitting in my warehouse and I’m like, my brother calls me, my brother is the installer on the job. And he’s like. Vic, there’s water everywhere, and I don’t know how to shut it off. And I was like, What? He’s like, I’m like, Find the fucking shut off. And so he’s running around this house trying to find the shut off of the water. They had broke a sprinkler line or a fire line in the attic. One of those fire sprinklers. Yeah, those things just start gushing water out, destroyed this house.
And I’m sitting in my I still remember sitting in my warehouse and I’m like, I’m crying. I’m calling my insurance people. And I’m like, go fuck. And I’m like, I’m like, I guess I got to change my name to absolute air. Like, we’re going to be changing our name. We’ll figure it out like, I know what we’re going to do here. But it all worked out and we kind of grew. So like going into 2019 was obviously our first year in business. I knew I had to make a splash, like I knew I had to go get the best people I can get. And that’s what I did. I started using social media to leverage, making it seem like I was bigger than I was, but I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. Like I didn’t have any money. I didn’t start the business with money. I was a sales guy. And if you know anything about sales guys, we know how to spend money. We don’t save money. So like, I had a nice I had a brand new fucking amp, I got a brand new AMG Mercedes, I got all this like I got expensive taste and I’m like, Now I got to run a business with my big bills I had to pay. So like I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. And I found out like I probably going to say I don’t want to incriminate myself on here, but I found out ways to get money before I should have got.
It was just little things you got to do. Like like all of a sudden it’s like, do payroll is like, how am I going to clear payroll and boom, fucking magic made something happen, right? And like, there were so many steps along the way as you grow that fast because there’s growing pains, like you get a new business, the distributor doesn’t just give you a big line of credit. They’re like, Here’s 15 grand. I’m like, Bitch, I’m spending 15 grand in a day. Like, I need a bigger one unit credit. Yeah, like, that’s not enough. And so, like, you have to work with them and it’s like, give and take and give and take. So I think that was the hard part is like, if I would have started again, like I would have planned it out, I would have got all these things in a row. I would have got like vendor set up. But you know, that’s I wouldn’t be where I’m at otherwise, right? Yeah. So we worked our way up 2019. We ended up doing $5 Million with a $4.95 Million in revenue, our first calendar year in business. Wow. And along the way, like I grew and I what I did is I went and got the best people I can get.
And the only way to get the best people is start putting stuff in place. So I got I made sure my trucks are wrapped. I made sure I got uniforms, I made sure I got benefits like a lot of people, like I don’t have benefits for my employees. I’m like, Well, you’re never going to get the best guy. So I got benefits. I was only like six months into business. I had full benefits for my staff. Yeah, because I had to get the best guys. I’m like, I can’t I can’t go get the best guy and give him less than what he has. So I win. Got those guys. And that’s what kind of kick started my business and like, Oh, Victor is not fucking around. Yeah. And I was like, And so I went and got all this shit and put it in place. But I’m not making money. Do you like I’m at $5 Million? But I spent all I probably spent 5.5 million because you’re buying trucks and buying, wrapping and all these things. And as a, as a technician who has an entrepreneurial seizure, doesn’t know anything about finance and accounting and all this stuff, I’m just like, fuck spending, spend and spending. But like, I’m not paying attention to the other stuff. The bottom line and I didn’t have any systems or processes. I just knew what I had seen and put it in place.
So, you know, we roll into 2000, 2020, and as you guys know, there was a little thing that happened in 2020 and that was only I was a little thing, right? And I’m like, Dude, I’m rolling it. It was like February 2020. I actually I ended up going to the Super Bowl with Ken Goodrich, which was like crazy because I started posting all the stuff on social media. Ken saw it, and Ken is like, I want to see what’s up with this guy. So he ends up like that trip. You know, Ken might see this, but it changed my whole perspective on life, dude. Like, I get it. So Goodman comes in, they’re like, Hey, I got some exciting news, and my rep comes in. He’s like, We’re going to send you the Super Bowl. You’re going to go with this guy named Ken Goodrich. And I’m like, I know who that is. Like, He’s the dude on the radio, like. And and so we we end up going flying. And we took his private jet out to Miami, and then we’re like, we’re at the Maxim Super Bowl party. And there’s we’re on the fucking we’re on the stage. Like, literally, I had Cuba Gooding Junior passed out at my booth. I was taking shots with Ken Griffey Jr literally, like, no joke and like, dude, he’s like, just cool shit you’ll never get to see in your life, right? And I got to see what the other side of the business was.
I’m like, Oh shit. Like, this is a real business and I still have I still remember Ken was like, Dude, you’re fucking wild. And I’m like, And back then I was while I was shit, like, I’m mellow now compared. I was wild, but I was like, Dude, I’m like a kid. And I’m like, Dude, you just gave a fucking poor kid the fucking keys to the castle. Like, this is dope, you know? And so I partied like crazy in Miami in, in February of 2020. And I still remember we’re on the private jet and this is when the coronavirus everybody’s starting to talk about it. We’re drinking. Corona is like, Oh, the corona virus, half joking around. And then I get back to get back to California, get back to reality, and March happens, right? So March is when everything started shutting down. And at this point I end of February, Ken got me so motivated to spend money on marketing that I dumped a shit ton of money into radio. And then COVID happened and nothing rang. Nothing happened. Yeah. And that got employees that want to get paid without having to work, right? Because they’re like, Oh, I don’t have to work.
And then I got people quitting and then Ken’s recruiting my guys. So I’m like, Motherfucker, you just took me on your jet. Now you’re recruiting my guys. And so stuff like that. So I’m going through all this turmoil and I’m like, and I went from like, Do we have this growing, thriving business to all of a sudden everything stopped and I’m answering my own phones and I’m running my own calls and I’m doing all this shit and I’m like, Whatever I got to do to survive, right? And I just, you know, my key employees that I had, I said, listen, trust me, stay with me. We’re going to be all right. And I’m grateful. I’m grateful for some of those guys that did stay with me. And those guys got incentivized, right? Like get taken care of. And and I just said, look at dude, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I can tell you that I’m not going to quit and I’m going to work my way through it. And during COVID, we kept selling and selling and then and then all a sudden summer hit and everybody knows that that was the best summer ever, right? Because everybody was stuck at home. People that didn’t normally have air conditioning were buying air conditioning because they’re not in their office anymore. They’re sweating in their house and they’re having to work from home.
So like, all sudden it took off like crazy, right? So 2020, we end up doing like 12.5 million or something like that. Almost 13 million. Damn. Which is crazy. It’s doubled, right? So double and ending ending 2020. I’m like, Dude, my head is about this big and I can’t do any wrong. Right? Like, I’m fucking I got the Midas touch, basically. Like, no matter what I do, I’m going to win. That was my mentality and that was that’s how I lived. And everybody saw it because I told you, I told them what I was going to do. And so end of thousand, 2020, I decided, Hey, I’m going to make an acquisition. I saw this business for sale about an hour and a half away. It was overpriced. My, my, my broker’s like, it’s overpriced. And I’m like, well, you know, I think if I get that thing, I turn it into 10 million, right? And that was my mentality. If I get it, I’m going to turn it into this. So I went through the whole process, bought the business, and that was one of the worst, like hardest things I had to go through because I’m like, I didn’t realize that I had a fire in my own business, Like I was growing and doing everything, but we had no systems and processes dialed in. And then I buy another business and I’m like, Well, let’s throw those same processes over there that aren’t fucking working, right? And so now I got, Fuck, I got a fire here that I got a fire 2 hours away.
And then, you know, I’m trying to, trying to juggle both of them and cash flow and all this shit and this is 2021 and I’m like trying to hold my shit together. And then the summer wasn’t very hot, and I’m like, Och, this isn’t good. And then I was having issues with my, my LSA not working and just like, do my, my lead just weren’t there and like, I got this fucking staff and I got the people and then I’m not getting the leads and I had messed up on the market. I picked the wrong marketing company, as you know. You can do that and it’s a bad choice, right? Yeah. So going into 2021 in the summer, I’m like, Dude, I’m losing my ass. I’m losing hundreds of thousands a month. And I’m like, okay, I got a choice here. This location over here that I just bought is losing the 90,000 a month. I could either keep operating and hope and pray, or I can take it out back and shoot that shit in the head. So I said, okay, I just fucking shut it down. Which you’re not allowed to do, by the way.
That’s the Kevin O’Leary test, right? It’s what he says. Go on the barn and kill the rooster or whatever he says. I don’t know what he says on Shark Tank, but.
Well, the Zba doesn’t like you to shut down businesses you just bought, so that didn’t go over fucking well. So I had to deal with the SBA. And I’m like, at this point, I’m begging everybody. I’m like, You just give me an opportunity. Like, I’m going to fix this shit. Like I always come through. So like, I’m like, Thank God they helped me out a little bit to defer some payments and just things I had to do to adjust. I had to sell trucks, I had to do anything possible to stay in business. I had I had to let go a significant amount of people. And it was the most humbling point in my life. Dude, like this is probably October or November 2021. I got humbled, I got kicked in the dick, and a lot of people were like, They don’t like to talk about their losses. But I lost. I almost lost everything. I remember crying and thinking, I’m losing everything. We’re done. And then I realized that I’m not a bitch. And I said, Now I’m not fucking losing. I’m like, I could have thrown in the towel. A lot of people would have sold their business. There was vultures trying to buy my business because they knew there was something there. And I’m like, No, I’m not doing it. I’m not giving up. So, you know, I at that point I said, okay, I’m going to go and start talking to some of the best people I know and try to get some help, because before I was I would shut everybody off. I wouldn’t talk anybody. I would hold everything internal, even though I had things going on. I had people that would help me. I just wouldn’t externalize it.
I’ve done the same thing, dude. It’s been the same exact thing. This is this is amazing. Guys, sorry to interrupt, but if you guys are listening to this and you’ve started a home service company, you know exactly what Victor is talking about. I mean, it’s just. It’s just resonating with me. Well, go ahead, bro.
No, sorry. It’s but yeah, so it’s, you know, it’s just part of the deal, man. It’s, it’s a pride thing. It’s an ego thing. And, and I’m and as someone that’s doing it in front of everybody, like I’m putting all my stuff out there on social media and putting all my stuff out there and the good, bad and the ugly, and it’s like, Dude, you’re getting judged by everything. And people don’t realize, like, I’m under a fucking microscope, dude, if I, you know, everybody’s watching everything that I do like I got. And if you look at it, there’s fucking 20,000 people that watch almost every one of my videos. So there’s people watching me all the time just waiting for me to slip. And at that point I’m just like, Dude, I can’t I can’t show weakness. And I said, You know what? Fuck, fuck that. I will show weakness. I’ll do whatever it has to take to save my business. And that’s what I did. So we went to work. Me You know, Michelle Van Beek was a help bill Potty help me, you know, and a couple of other people help me just, like, get my shit together, like start looking at the money, start understanding business. And I started really just diving into the finite. I learned finance, I learned business, I learned how things operate, how things correlate, and how to make money right, and how to keep money, which is the important thing. So yeah, So then we turned the business around, right? And we’re heading into, into last year and I said, I’m going to fucking, I’m going to have a great year.
And we didn’t. We grew last year, but we didn’t grow because we finished the 2021 at, like I want to say like 14.5 or 15.5 million or something like that. So we grew we had grown a couple of million over the year and we went into last year and I said, Look, I don’t care if I grow, I just got to make money. And so we started dialing in the processes, the dialing the processes, and I think we finished last year, like I want to say, 17 million or something like that. But we made money, right? And we turned it around and now we’re now we’re making profits. And now I’m able like, Oh shit. And I’m understanding how everything works. And I had to I had to put myself through business school, like I’ve never been in business school. I know how to sell. And I said, okay, well, I could either keep saying, Hey, I’m going to pawn it off to my employees and other people and go hire somebody, or I could fucking learn it. And I said, I’ve got to learn it. And once I learn it, then I could teach it. And if I could teach it, then I’m going to master it and then I can have an ability to be great. And so yeah. So then last year that’s what we focused on. And then I started doing some acquisitions and now I think I got a partner at 12 different companies nationally and ten different states. So we have a bunch of companies nationally now. And then I also started my, my other stuff I had going on in my sales training and all that stuff.
And a lot of people are like, why is he doing sales training? And that’s like, Dude, I did the sales training because I’m great at sales training. But the true reason I did sales training, it was because I was in debt and the only way for me to get out of debt was to come up with money. And I said, okay, well, I did. I did all this sales training in 2021 for free. Well, obviously I charge money for it, but I didn’t make any money. I took that money and I paid my debts because I’m a fucking man. Right? And I said, okay, I’ve got to pay these people back. So I just every I would work my ass off doing these sales trainings and seminars and all this stuff. And I would take all that money and I put it back into my business. I put it back to whatever I owed. And that’s how I, you know, I had the communication with my with the creditors and stuff like this. What I’m going to do and I like to and I like to be really bluntly honest with everything, because a lot of people see me, they think everything is so easy and it’s not hard for Victor or dude, It’s hard, bro. I’m just a relentless dude. Like, if you ever meet me around me, it’s seven days a week, 355 days a year. I don’t change. I’m always trying to get better. I’m always trying to win. And yeah, so that’s kind of what my story is, man.
It’s been it’s been a crazy ride. I’ve been blessed. I’ve helped a lot of people. I’ve had a lot of fun. You know, I had a conversation the other day. The only thing that I the only regret that I have over the last four years is not enjoying it. And for the guys that are growing their business and they’re in that hypergrowth mode, dude, take a second, man. Just enjoy it because you’re never going to be 3 million again. You’re never going to be 5 million again. You’re never going to be 10 million again. And you’ve got to enjoy every step along the way. And there’s a lot of stuff that I lost in translation. There was a lot of good people that I burned because I was so laser focused. Do like my fucking blinders are like, You’re either with me or you’re not and you’re in my fucking way, you’re getting killed. And I really had to take a step back over the last year just really changed my personality and how I go about business and how I go about interacting with people and and the impact that you have on people by the words that you say and that stuff that I’ve been really working on. But you do when you’re a hyper competitive, hyper focused person, like as far as like winning like I am and sometimes you get those of the wayside. And I think that’s I think that’s been my biggest mistake. My biggest failure is enjoying it and the way I treated people early on in my career.
And this is this is this is amazing, man. I mean, I know for myself, I’m resonating like crazy. And obviously you’re you’re you’re leaps and bounds beyond anything I’ve ever done here. But owning a home service company did 2 million last year. You know, I have those same struggles or those same challenges that I’ve worked through. And a lot of our clients are going through the same exact thing. So this is absolutely amazing. And what I love about you the most, dude, is your ability to be relentless no matter what’s happening. I mean, just hearing you on the Brad Lee podcast, that’s where I actually I think I heard about you. And then and then through Tommy talking about you and then Ishmael and things like that. But I mean, what you’ve done is absolutely incredible. And I’m the same way. I never went to college. I was just good at sales and marketing stuff and I can make. Should happen in service. And we have like 25 employees. I think we hired a couple more just so it’s like maybe 27, 28 that we have going on. And it’s just incredible. Like the culture thing I want to touch on here real quick is I feel like your team members, I mean, when I go to Tommy’s office, I mean, I’m like 5 minutes here and we. And we’re we’re doing some crazy things that we’re talking about. But when I go over there, like, I am so inspired, I’m like, Bro, like, what the fuck? Like, this is possible. Like, people love Tommy. They love coming to work. They love staying after work. They love getting their work done. Being accountable. And I feel like you’ve done a lot of this. Like those same things where, like your team, whether it’s on social media, like they love you, but they love the company, they love the customers. Can you speak on that a little bit in terms of culture influencing people and why people love coming to work for Absolut?
I think it’s because I wear my wear my heart on my sleeve. Like, I also I put myself I actually do what I say I’m going to do, right? Like I’ve been in their shoes. I’ve done it Like it’s not something where I’m just telling them to go do something. Like, if I will get in this, I will go out there and like they they’re like, Oh, we can’t sell right now. I’ll go jump in the truck with my guys. And they’re like, Dude, how did you sell that 30,000 system? Like, there’s no weather. There’s nothing. I said, Look, it, it’s not the weather doesn’t matter. I create the weather. I am the weather. Like that’s like, you know, and I just really inspire my guys and, you know, obviously I try to incentivize them and get them involved. But a lot of owners, they they don’t take a hands off approach to let people like I’m very open with my employees about everything that’s going on in the business and how it correlates to them and everything like that. I like to make it like they understand what I’m struggling.
They understand what we’re doing good. I want them to understand where we’re at, and then I try to make them feel all part of it. Right. And a lot of these guys are taking them from from nothing. I got employees that were on fucking food stamps a year ago and now they’re making 200 grand a year. And when you find people like that, you treat them like that and you bring them along and you give them a better life, they’re usually loyal, right? Like I can tell you right now, like if you came to my office today and you went to one of my technicians and said, you know, Victor’s a piece of shit, he’d probably hit you in the mouth, like, and that’s the culture like we built. And that’s awesome. I think people like it. And I’m young, I’m exciting, and we do cool shit. Like, I take my I shut my whole company down to take everybody to Vegas last year. How old are you ready to my. I just turned 34.
Okay. All right. I’m 29, so. Dude, that’s just incredible. Go ahead.
But yeah, so I mean, I think that’s that’s a culture we built and you know, it’s just having respect and being real, like, don’t like, I don’t know how to be anybody besides for myself. So when people meet me, they’re just like, either like me or you don’t. But most people, when they actually meet me in person, they think I’m like real brash. And like when you meet me in person, like I’m the biggest caring person. Like I will give my shirt off my back. I will make sure they’re taken care of. You know, something happens in their life. I’m like, I always tell them, like, Dude, family always comes first. If something happens, don’t even it’s not a question. Go handle that. You need to get off early for your softball games, get off early for the for your kids games or whatever it is. Like just put family first and everything else will fall in place. And I think that’s something that’s resonated with them as well. Is that like, do you like I don’t nothing is work is work, man. Like there’s there’s other things in life that are important.
Yeah, it’s so true. And so before I got into the marketing company or before I started the marketing company, I was a sales and marketing manager for a multimillion dollar painting company that did also did concrete coatings in California. And I grew up in California as well. So dude, I actually was was born in in pretty much raised in like the Temecula area. So like I would have probably seen your trucks when I was when I was back there. But I had the same experience because the company I worked for was in business for 40 years, you know, and they had all these painters and they were doing concrete coding. And that’s where I got my, my start running Facebook ads and the show and things like that for the company. But it was the same thing where like they were set in their ways. They were in business for 40 years. There was no culture, there was no atmosphere of success and positivity. It was like, Go to work, shut up, That’s it. There was not really a lot of branding in place systems or policies, and it was just kind of like a sweatshop, it seemed like. But there was a lot of good things as well. But the culture, the atmosphere, I mean, there was no vision, mission, core value, or like where we’re going, these types of I think.
I think that’s the big thing, man, is like, you know, people are like, how did you grow your business so fast? I said, I sold everybody on a vision, right? And I sold them on where we were going. And I would always tell them, like, I’m like, Look at we’re only ten guys in this room right now, but a year from now we’re going to have 30. And the year after that, we’re going to have 60. We’re going to have this. And when those happened, we’re going to need people to step up to be managers and leaders. And and if you might be a technician now, but a year from now, you might be a salesman because you have ten other technicians underneath you. So a lot of that stuff is what what we preach. And then you’ve got to back it up, right? Like some of them, like I a local competitor, right? He sold everybody on a dream and then he sold his business. And then when he sold his business, he burned all his people. And now all those people are coming to work for me because he sold them on a dream. And that dream got shattered, right? And now they’re now they’re pissed. But he got money. And I just don’t want to be like that. And a lot of people are like, Oh, are you going to sell your business? My business isn’t for sale, and it’ll never be for sale. I think at some point I’ll probably turn into an employee owned business. That’s kind of what I think I’m going to do. I don’t need the money from Absolut. I make money waking up and breathing every day now because I set myself up to where I don’t have to work if I don’t want it.
Yeah, I love that man. And obviously you’re doing events and there’s all types of other things that you’re doing which we can talk about in the next pod. How are you on time? Are you done with 12 here?
You know what? I got like five more minutes.
I got I got a couple of things I want to ask you. As we as we kind of land the plane here is some of the best and the worst advice you’ve ever received. So let’s start with the best advice. Like, what are some of the. Actually, let’s start with the worst advice. What is the worst advice you’ve ever received when it comes to growing your business, whether it’s marketing, admin, hiring, whatever it is? What is the worst advice?
Let’s see. The worst advice is that revenue matters. Like everyone always talks about revenue. Revenue, revenue. Like, yeah, revenue is important. Like, revenue is great, right? If you have your systems and processes dialed in to where that revenue is making you money. But a lot of guys, they you chase the revenue and you don’t look at the margins and stuff like that and that’s where you get in trouble. So I think that, you know, my biggest thing was like revenue matters. Yes. If your margins are right and that’s one thing I always I always try to preach is like, dude, you can sell 10 million, but if your margins are shit, it doesn’t matter. Now, if you sell 10 million and your margins are at 65%, then fuck yeah, let’s do 10 million. If you want to go sell 40 million this year and you’re at 60 60% plus margin, then yeah, that’s great. But if you’re doing it to go hit 30%, don’t even do it. Just slow down. And I think that’s that’s something that it took me a little while to realize, you know, as you start your business, you chase everything. Anybody that wants to do business with you, you’re going to do business with them. And then when you start really figuring out your avatar, your customer, who you want to do business with, like I don’t do commercial, I don’t do mini splits, I don’t do. I only do. I’m like, I’m like fricking In-N-Out Burger, right? Like, I only do a certain things because we’re really good at those things and we can I can predict what’s going to happen every time. If I sell a job and I sell this job, I can predict how it’s going to happen, how long it’s going to take and when it’s going to be done, and what I’m going to get my money. And if I can’t predict it, if there’s too many variables, I won’t do it. So I think that was one of the big.
It’s the biggest thing ever. Like even on the marketing company, like in like in click up, like we know how long does it take to do on page SEO for new website, How long does it take to do backlinks for that website? Like you have to know how long it’s going to take each task, so then you can actually actually figure out what your gross margins are. I love that. Well, that’s.
What that’s why that’s why it’s important to start learning your numbers. Right? And that’s what I teach and I preach now. It’s like, do you understanding how it correlates, like if I do this, what’s going to happen? And if I do this, what’s going to happen? And you’ve got to know what it costs for you. What does it cost for me to run that call? How much is my cost per lead? How much is that the labor burden on that technician every day. Like I got to know this stuff, and if you don’t know it, you’re going to be shooting blind. If you’re shooting blind, you’re never going to hit the target.
Yeah, So so I mean, if you guys are seeing top line revenue out there, I mean, I mean I mean, you hear me say I did 0 to 1.5 with Cardinal, which is really nothing compared to a lot of these other guys. But don’t focus on top line revenue as much. Right. It’s kind of like that same revenue is vanity net profit or EBITA is sanity. And Tommy talks about I mean, he gave me this private equity book. He’s like, Bro, go educate yourself. So I recommend you got to educate yourself on the financial side. And when I first started our businesses to, I was so afraid to look at the bank account and all these different things. The balance sheet know pal And I was just like, didn’t want to look at it. Right? And what I realized is I was hindering the business by my by me not being educated on those things because I’m just like you, where I’m like, dude, like, I’m sales marketing. I have no business acumen relative to some of these guys out there.
The sooner you stop saying that, the sooner you can start to win. And when you when you say, I’m not I’m not a business guy. No, I am. I am a business. That’s that businessman. That’s it. And you’ve got to, like so many guys are like, I’m a sales guy in this. I’m like, No, you need to be a businessman.
You got to evolve like you’ve.
Got, I think. And I think that’s what a lot of people don’t realize. Like, a lot of people are like, Oh, Victor is not an operator. Victor is just like, they don’t know me, do like I am coming to fuck everybody up like everybody is watching this. I’m telling you right now, over the next five years, it’s going to become a fucking joke. I’m going to fuck everybody up. And that’s my mentality. And because the dude I just got kicked out of Rhino X, I just got beat down. Like these guys are trying to push me out of this shit. They’re going to realize really fucking fast that I’m not only do I belong, but I’m going to be on the I’m going to be up there with them. So like, I think that’s one thing is like if someone keeps saying that Victor is not an operator, they’re wrong. Victor is working. Victor is a fucking nightmare. You don’t want to deal with this.
I’m a nightmare, Elliot, too, because, like. Like Andy Elliot is fired up, So I’m going to Andy Elliot’s workout tonight, and then I’m going to his event tomorrow with Brad Lee and Scott. Good luck with that. We’re in Phoenix.
So I just I just did that workout a couple of weeks ago, and he’s a good friend of mine.
Oh, yeah. I’m like I’m like I’m like, dreading it a little bit because I haven’t been in Q four. I kind of added some body percentage.
So I’m like, Have fun, have fun running the hill. So now Andy’s a good dude. Andy He’s he’s going to be speaking at my event again. You know, I was just out of his facility. We’re working on a couple of other partnership stuff on because, you know, I started a supplement company and stuff like that. So I’m working on some special line stuff for for Andy right now. So he’s good people, man. You’re going to learn a lot. Brad’s good people too, so yeah, I think I just enjoy it. Learn. It’s worth it’s worth the ticket out there. Like, I’m going to send a couple of my own guys to that training. It’s like, no matter how good I am, it’s not this one. There’s the one in March, but it’s like, as much as I’m great at sales training, there’s always they always need to hear another voice, another person to beat them in. Like, I think that’s, that’s where I’m at. So yeah, man. Yeah.
I know. You have to go. Just one final thing. We talked about the worst advice. What is the best advice you’ve ever received that you can leave us with?
The best advice is don’t do it alone. Don’t do it alone, man. It’s the longer you stay inside your the longer you stay inside your own head, the longer it’s going to take you to get where you want to go. Man Just go. Don’t be scared to ask questions. So I think. I think that’s the biggest thing. Don’t do it alone. There’s so many people that have already, like I always say, it’s R&D, right? Everything that we do is R&D, Rob and duplicate and everybody’s all the stuff you want to do. Someone else has already done so go figure out how they did it and then how to improve on it, and then someone else is going to come improve on that and on that. So the main thing is just put yourself out there, ask questions if you’ve got time, like Tommy Miller is an open book, right? Talk to Tommy. I’m an open book. Talk to me. Talk to these people that have already done what you want to do or been through the same struggles. The longer you internalize it and not externalize it, the harder it’s going to be in the. And as soon as you externalize it, the faster you’re going to be able to grow.
Man Absolute gold. Look, guys, if you are here live or on the replay and you got value from this podcast and this just this time together posting the comments, hashtag value and gives Victor some love, I’m sure he’ll come back through. If you have questions, he’ll come back through and kind of answer a couple of them. Outside of that, man, I know you’re busy and we have an amazing weekend coming up. Really appreciate your time, man. And we’ll see you guys next week.
Yeah. Follow me on TikTok Instagram Victor Underscore ran Corey High on Instagram.
Tik Tok. Where’s the most accessible ways to get in contact with you?
Instagram or Tik Tok or Facebook? I just see Victor underscore rancourt on any platform you’ll be able to find me. I post a lot of videos on sales, business, all kinds of stuff, so it’s always new content every single day. So go follow me, you’ll enjoy it and you’ll probably learn something every day. Man, That’s. That’s my goal.
I love it, man. All right, guys. See you.
Guys. See you guys. Thank you.