On today’s show, I have entrepreneur Ricky Regalado. Ricky is a local entrepreneur to my area and it’s been a pleasure to have him on the show. We talk about his journey into developing into an entrepreneur; what it was like in his home life that gave him the roots that he needed to become successful, how to stay relevant in his industry, an amazing app that he’s building who is definitely not a tech guy but challenging himself to build it and taking ownership of everything that you do to really own your life.
Enjoy the show,
All of my experiences and responsibilities have helped develop my skills and talents in order to become a “Jack of all Trades.” This allows me to offer a variety of different skill sets and a wealth of knowledge on many different types of products and industries. Networking has become a very big part of my life, and I engage in it on a daily basis, no matter where I am. I find it easy to talk about trends, products, business, passions and everyday life issues. It becomes second nature to me, which I believe is such a valuable asset to my company and my teams. I am husband to a beautiful wife Marley and father to our new baby boy Nico and Roscoe, our old English bulldog.
Angelo: Ricky, Ricky, how are you brother?
Ricky: I’m doing great man. How are you?
Angelo: I’m doing great. Ricky Regalado is here with us today guys of RozaRoute, not route which I made the mistake of saying before we got on, and he also is the owner of Rozalado Services, and he also is a partner in a company called Stokkup. It’s a united cloud system for decorated apparel. So you are partner in that as well?
Ricky: Yes I am.
Angelo: I guess you could say that Ricky suffers very similar to me, I’m an ADD kind of mentality and has to have a bunch of different things going on, or he feels like he is not doing anything. He’s got amazing different stories to talk about today. One of the things I really love about Ricky is he is local to my area that I grew up in, and I just have a certain amount of appreciation and love for anybody that has grown up around a certain area, and what I would like to think came out of it much better than a lot of other people that we know. Thank you for being here with us.
Ricky: Appreciate it man, thank you for having me.
Angelo: Awesome. Tell me a little bit about you growing up around here and your journey to becoming an entrepreneur.
Ricky: I definitely owe a lot of it to my parents. I’ve seen the struggle like everybody else would say; your parents struggle you see the struggle and you try to figure out how to make a better world for yourself and your family. My mom is a very strong and independent woman, and from day one as I saw her in how she used to say, a man’s world in the sales and the manufacturing industry she would always tell me just always come prepared, show up to work, whether at school, whether it’s college, whether it’s you move on to a career, just come prepared and things will work themselves out.
My father just worked his ass off, never made more than a minimum wage, worked 16, 18 hour days, doesn’t speak English, didn’t really have much other than us as a family to live for in his eyes. That’s what he would always tell me up until now my baby boy being born, that’s his next reason to stay alive. He always messes with us, but they are the ones who truly showed me it doesn’t matter where you grow up, like you were talking about, our area that we live it’s not the greatest area, but to me it has a lot of hard working people. I am in the blue collar industry so coming from blue collar, area really shine light on that and I appreciate that.
Angelo: Preparation from your mother, hard work from your father, so when did you decide that you were going to go in business for yourself, or like how as that coming up? Because obviously in school it’s not like this is—when you grow up you are not writing this usually in the blanks.
Ricky: They don’t have an entrepreneurship school, right? Even now they are still probably just starting to put that in now to the academics. First of all I thought I was going to be an NBA player- that fell short. I was going a sports agent- that fell short. To be honest with you I didn’t take college as serious as I should have which is probably one of the regrets that I have as far as the classes that I took, the people that I surrounded myself. I really just winged it.
But coming out of college I started in the mortgage banking industry which is a good thing I think, because it literally—cold calling, sales, bunch of knows in my life I started off within the career. So it really got me a good foundation of experience that I needed to have. I left that, tried to find careers, thought I would always work in a corporate structure. I thought my ideal situation was corporate structure, meetings, sales force, lunches- just a structured environment, didn’t end up liking that.
Everything I did I owned, and I started to realize that after my 6th job, my family would always start [inaudible 00:05:09] what else are you going to do? You did mortgages, real estate, hospitality sales, the list goes on, how many jobs are you going to have, right into this opportunity to buy a cleaning franchise from my cousin and we never turned back. I realized trying to own something and people not respecting decisions or opinions that I had told me, you know what, make your own opinions, make your own decisions, and that’s where we are today.
Angelo: When did you buy it?
Ricky: 2012 we bought a franchise called Kabro, real fast learned that’s not for me. Two months in I realized they are a sales marketing company which I already have sales and marketing, but I don’t regret it, it gave us our foundation. It let us understand what the cleaning industry was about, career in cleaning, structure, sales, bidding, quoting, the entire foundation of a business, I respect that part of franchise because they do give you that. But they don’t show you how to grow a business or work out of business. You are working inside their franchise.
Probably six months later we sold all our accounts, created the Rozalado brand. The name Rozalado comes from; my last name is Regalado, my cousin’s last name is Pedroza, I had a day to think of an LLC, so I was like, you know what Roza-Lado, this is boom, unique, nobody expects that name to be associates with cleaning or maintenance.
Fast forward, it’s still a family business to this day, we have 250 employees now. I’d say probably about 20 to 25 are family, whether it’s cousins, aunts, uncles, my wife’s brother, my wife’s uncle, my wife’s mom. My wife’s dad is about to retire and come work with us. So family is still never going to change. It’s funny because we also promote the fact that we want other families working. We have my best friend Dominic Amoroso, his uncle Sal, his nephew is Dominic—somebody that just moved from Italy is going to come work with us.
Ricky: We have like little groups of families, we want to promote that.
Angelo: I love it. For you now, your role is CEO of Rozalado Services, so what’s a typical day like for you? I know that we are going to talk more about RozaRoute. What’s a typical day for managing that?
Ricky: Typical day is—just imagine when you say CEO and Founder, everybody is always like, “oh, you are a big huncho, you’ve got so many decisions you’ve got to make”. But I built such a great foundation and a team around me, they literally handle the day to day operations. My number one drive and goal is sales. I switch my business cards, I’m sales director, that’s it. I’m not CEO—yes I am on paper, but Chief Executive Officer is being done by everybody in the office.
So I literally day and day out wake up, go on sales calls, go on walk-throughs, meet new business relationships, go to networking events, talk about the business. By talking about the business everything comes at me left and right; you just say what you do somebody is hearing, somebody is listening and opportunities reveal themselves.
Angelo: I love it. For you then what would you say your superpower is?
Ricky: Super power is, I’d say motivating people. I have a way of bringing the best out of everybody. People gravitate to us in our office, it’s 3,000 square feet, but every time somebody walks in that office they are like, ‘I want to be a part of this culture’. I feel that’s for motivation, just showing people like, it’s not a glamorous industry that we are in, but we are creating jobs, we are allowing families to stay with each other, we are giving people extra income—they may have a full time job, come here for a couple of hours a day, make that extra income to be able to go on vacations and give their kids what they want.
It’s just being able to motivate them to know that they can do more than what most people probably tell them they can do, and we are that support system.
Angelo: If you look at me with the cleaning and maintenance world it’s not the sexiest, but when you think about this too and I tell my staff this; your first judgments before actually talking to somebody is most likely the layout of the place and how clean it is.
Angelo: You will make a decision about that—I mean, I still tell other people at the gym, I’m like, if there is one chance that there is no [inaudible 00:09:49] to other people you shouldn’t sign up here. Because it’s those little things that you are just like, fuck, they can’t even take care of that, so it’s not maybe glamorous but I think it’s definitely one of those things that makes or breaks a company.
Ricky: Other than food, people need cleaning, every office, every store, every hair salon, every restaurant. If you have people that need to eat then you have people that need to be in a cleanliness environment. There’s statistics and numbers that say people that work in a cleaner environment than a dirtier environment are more productive, I’ve got to believe that’s true- it’s got to be. Like you said, when you walk in that first impression, not to be ironic that I own a cleaning company, but I do, my wife walks in, looks up, vents, “that vent’s dirty, how does everything else look?”.
Angelo: For sure.
Ricky: Definitely a first impression.
Angelo: There’s a book, I think it’s called the Magic of Tidying up. It’s a Japanese based philosophy about having a clean space actually allows more room for brain function.
Ricky: I got to read the book.
Angelo: There’s a lot of studies to it. I think I got it in one of these piles. I will grab it to you before we leave. But it’s a real thing having so much congestion and uncleanliness really messes with people’s brains and stuff like that.
Angelo: How does a guy go from mortgages, wanting to be in the NBA, wanting to be a sports agent, now running a cleaning crew go into the technology space?
Ricky: I’m getting lucky. Day by day I get lucky by the people I’m around. I always had a passion for technology, I read Inc. all the time, I read Wired, I read Fast Company. It’s so interesting how technology can change industries, classic, archaic, old industries can be changed by technology and it’s going to happen. Whether you want to jump on or not your industry is going to be disrupted by technology, so I said, why not try to create something myself, first to be involved with technology.
So our business, already we are a technology based cleaning and maintenance company. By that I mean QuickBooks, we live by this app called Sweat, we operate by it, pay checks, we pay people by it. Everything we do is technology. On top of that I took the plunge and said I’m going to create an app myself, why, there’s thousands of apps out there but for our industry there wasn’t some of the stuff that I wanted to do, so I just said, screw up, let’s do it.
Angelo: How does that even happen? How do you even make an app? I mean, that’s way past my pay grade.
Ricky: Still trying to figure that out.
Angelo: Help me understand.
Ricky: This happened about a year ago. I was reached out to by, it’s called Enormous DC, so they are a national minority supplier diversity council. What they do is they just—you know, I’m a certified minority business owner, has its advantages. We meet rewards and points for corporate companies or government contracts to say, ‘hey, we need to get a certain percentage to a minority business owner’.
So they were creating inaugural co-work for a small business owner minority that has an idea of disrupting their industry with some kind of technology. So at that moment I had an idea. I was talking to my partners, I was talking to my wife, I’m like, babe, why can’t we track people’s footsteps in an office? Why can’t we figure out how long they are taking in real time and then use that to two things; calculate better estimating, and then also just have data behind all these stuff?
Because my rebuttal right now in our industry is if you said, “Rick, my bathroom in the gym wasn’t clean last night”, my rebuttal right now is, let me check with the cleaner to see what happened. He said, she said comes back, I tell you, you know what, I’m sorry, I’ll give you a credit. That’s just not good enough for me. I was like, dude there’s got be something that is more concrete or just more information that I can give them to—maybe what if I’m not wrong? What if they are wrong?
I teamed up with a couple of people, I said three main features I want to do is building a walkthrough better, creating a better work flow in real time and then empowering employees with a client portal, cleaner-like portal. To touch I-knows, right? The walkthrough builder, I’m going to use your gym as an example for everything.
Ricky: Let’s say I’m going to walk in and say, you know what Angelo, I want to walk through—what are your hot points- bathrooms, floors, vents, front entrance glass, got it. Those are now sections for me. So in those sections I’m going to hit some tasks, those tasks are what need to be done in that section. That walk through was done in real time. So then I actually push that data to back in the office—now the office I could shoot them a quick message and say, hey, just got done with this walkthrough, develop a work flow for me, scope of work, which I’m sure you have rehearsed stuff members right now, mop the floor, sweep this, throw this garbage out.
I’m not reinventing that by no means, but what we want to do is do that in real time or it’s not on a piece of notebook, it’s not on a clipboard, it’s not in my notes section of my app, it’s in an app that is speaking to the backend so then that can be pushed, a work flow can be created, the sections that I touched on before are going to allow these cleaners to start and end in your sections. If they go to the bathrooms they start, they end, time-stamped. Go to the floors, start, end, it’s time-stamped.
I’ve got data now, so when you come back to me and say, “you know, this place doesn’t look clean” I can go back and say, “to tell you the truth we were there for an hour and 15 minutes. You know what, on average though we were there two hours, so they rushed. Let me give you back 45 minutes rightfully so”. I can’t do that until now, that’s what RozaRoute is doing.
Last part which is very dear to me is I did a study with our employees, as much as I build culture, as much as I feel like I’m creating this great environment for all of them, 72% came back and said, “I don’t a face, I don’t have purpose, I don’t have an image, I come in after 6:00pm, nobody knows my name, they don’t know who I am, I don’t even know the other employees I work with for Rozalado”.
I was like, dude, damn, that hits hard because I’m over here in the office, things are going great, everybody is loving it, they are rocking the brand, they are posting stuff on social media, they are excited to work for me, but not those people that are remote, that nobody sees their faces, nobody knows who they are. We have this idea over the portal that we are going to allow them to create their own custom screens, tag their picture on there, tag yourself as a housekeeping specialist, carpet specialist, gamify it where you actually get some rewards and efficiency ratings, you are a 92% cleaner, congratulations, you deserve one week free tutor classes for your kid.
Because I have metrics, I don’t have metrics right now. My metrics are, “hey, Angelo just complained, go send an inspector, see what he complained about”. That’s after the fact.
Angelo: It definitely sounds like this is super proactive for you, and then also too, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, from a business perspective like what you charge people, all that kind of stuff, this is like, now probably more efficient for you.
Ricky: Oh yeah. Our target customer for the app is going to be another buildings service contractor, cleaning company, maintenance company. The guys that I have I don’t talk about them because I just love talking about them, I showcase their talents so much as they want it for the field service industry, so painters, plumbers, electricians, they are field service, technicians. We are all technicians, we are not just tradesmen or specialists, we are technicians so want to promote the fact that any technician that is in the field could use this app.
Why? Because they all do a walkthrough, everybody does it. Workflow is your scope—an electrician when they go to a job they have their to-do list, but again, it’s just a list, so nobody is accountable for it. Here you could swipe through, you are engaging with the app, you are accountable what the steps that you have to take in a job, and at the end you’ve got a profile. You could say, “finished 100 jobs, this is my 100th job completed”, you should deserve some kind of recommendation for that.
Right now there is none, I mean, you get a text message from somebody, “hey, good job”. But a monetary reward, it’s not always about monetary, but yeah—the industry has technology, there’s clock-in clock-out apps, there is like I said, payroll apps, there is operational inspection apps, we are not reinventing technology for the industry, we are filling the gap with some of the stuff. Our goal is to change the perception of cleaning. That’s our number 1 goal.
You probably know about cleaning as low minimum wage, very blue collar hardworking job. I could get it done for 12 bucks an hour. Everybody thinks everything can get done 12 bucks, what about my other costs, I got workman’s cost, I got supplies. I don’t like the perception right now, and I’m changing with already how Rozalado operates.
People didn’t realize that it could be fun, entertaining, we have fun when we are doing it, the brand recognition is—people know who we are, they don’t just approach me anymore and say, “oh, Ricky owns a cleaning company”, “now Ricky’s got a bad ass cleaning company that’s actually doing pretty good. I just saw 13 of your men out in the field”. That’s the kind of stuff we are doing. This is not just with technology, it’s with our service.
Angelo: So it comes together?
Ricky: It comes together.
Angelo: For you with the technology aspect, what phases are you in, when’s it launching, what’s that going to be like?
Ricky: It took longer than expected but like we were talking earlier…
Angelo: Doesn’t it always?
Ricky: Yeah, it took longer than expected, we were outsourcing at first but I said, screw it if we are going to do it we are going to do it right. I’m a control freak like yourself where I wanted to see my guys building it right in front of me; I want to change the color- they are going to change it in front of me, I want to change the button- they are going to change it in front of me. We are on month 11 now, but with this team first month that’s how I knew this was going to happen. I knew it could be done but it had to be done in front of me.
So I hired a CTO, this kid Metash, the smartest kid I’ve ever met, this kid Joe another smart kid, had a product. They are both co-founders, I just made them co-founders two days ago because I just felt I can’t do that part. It’s technology, if they have skin in the game, game over, which is already showing itself now, like they live and breathe—they text me freaking 24-hours a day but it’s why, because they know they are a part of everything from now to the future because they founded something.
Big Dan I call him, he’s only 21, the kid is like 6 foot 6. Not your average techie, but he just loves technology, he loves Rozalado, lives and breathes it. This kid Young Min, he’s from South Korea, he’s an intern that we just brought on, just a data analytics freak and he is helping us with our business model. To touch on that part is, we are going to go live hopefully by August 1st. Our business model is simple, the 50-100 bucks per month for subscription dollar per user. Keep it simple.
I need users, so make it very affordable for Angelo’s cleaning company that has four people, 50 bucks you should be able to afford that, right? Then we are going to show you why it’s going to make you better, and then start to show them enough growth. So August 1st is the goal, like I said, we have a lot of the business model, the target customer which is things you should have. If you are building technology you’ve got to have to know who your target customer is, how much is it going to cost to build it? Who is going to build it? Like I said earlier if it’s outsourcing, it’s outsourcing. I prefer in-house.
Just have the bandwidth to know it’s going to take some time to take off even after it’s launched. You got to be able to a) afford it, because it just doesn’t stop after you build it, you got to maintain it, and just have fun. You got to have fun. We are loving every day of doing this. Some people that I’ve heard that tried to build some technology it burns them out and they get frustrated, and they don’t understand, they get too—I’m very hands off. These guys I meet with them every two weeks.
Let the guys do their job, in my case I’m just the business guy and I’m the pitcher, I’m the promoter and marketer. Let them do that, you do yours, find your strengths, don’t work on your weaknesses.
Angelo: For you now with this company and I’ll ask you this; so they are all working on the technology, how do you plan on infiltrating your industry?
Ricky: Good question. We are going to be in the biggest convention in Dallas for an organization called ISSA. They are like the one biggest show you can be a part of is in ISSA. We’ve got a booth we are invited to—I think we are going to have like five or six startups. Because they know this is coming, they know they have to support companies like us that are creating ideas and innovating, so they have a booth set up for us.
That’s going to be my number one thing for 2018, but I’m applying for an incubator program in Milwaukee. That’s a big help, they give you money, they take some equity but they put you in front of all the investors. Trying out for this show for Sony Television because they want to inspire the Latino community on, hey, Latinos can be CEOs of a tech company, because right now less than 1% are Latinos. That’s going to be an opportunity to not only showcase that Latinos can do that but in the cleaning industry, again, it’s not glamorous.
So when I tell these guys that we are building stuff for this industry, they are like, “man, that’s just not—is that fun? Why don’t you build something for like the sports industry or the banking industry where it’s money, everything is money, money, money?” I’m like, “but dude, there one million cleaning companies in the US, you give me 1%- money”. And fun because, to touch on the industry there are 1 million cleaning companies in the US, there’s 3 and half million cleaning technicians.
It is 175 billion dollar industry by 2020m that’s a crazy statistic right there. But 80% make less than a million, they are all mom and pop shops.
So you have a mom and pop shops sector, you’ve got 5%, 10% of small-medium sized which is where I would fall, then 10% of the beasts, the Aramark,The United Maintenance Services, The ABMs, Sodexo, they are over 100 million dollar companies, but there is no room for the little guys to grow. This technology I’m going to give it in their hands, they are going to go from 500,000 in revenue, working their ass of in the business, not enjoying life to shit, a million dollars in revenue, 1½ million dollars in revenue. They are going to see, “wow, I could build something”.
Angelo: Even if they stayed there their quality of life improved. That’s enough, because there’s one thing that I love about this is, for a lot of small business owners they get so caught up working in the business that they don’t ever have anything to step out of it and—like for me with working with gym owners and stuff like that, they just don’t know how to hold the team accountable or develop a team, because they’ve got into this because they like doing it and they were good at it, and all of a sudden they are doing a lot of it and then they are like almost trapped.
It’s amazing that you have something that—that’s a great way to look at it, it’s like taking them away from this trap that they’ve almost put themselves in.
Ricky: It’s good for the second generation, third generation business owners too because no matter what the kids that are moving up, the sons or daughters my age they know they have to—technology is inevitable, so by telling their dad, their mom, their uncle like, hey, here’s some new tools, let’s incorporate this, stop working so hard, like you said, enjoy life a little bit, hire people that understand this technology and watch how it just becomes a little bit—the rope is a little bit looser. To say, hey we had a bad day today, that’s okay because we are going to have a better day tomorrow, why? Because we have something to project or something to go off that’s telling us that it’s okay.
Angelo: Absolutely, and you mentioned this, and this is one of the things I have in my notes to talk about, it’s giving back to the Latino and Hispanic community, I think that’s where I was. I think I was at the bank in the ATM and I was pulling out money and your picture was there. Why don’t you talk about that? I think that that’s amazing too, because I think it’s really easy to come from a community where you didn’t have much, especially much money or anything like that and then your life just becomes you trying to get it, and then when you are 50 and you already have it then you start giving back. You are doing at the same time. So why don’t you talk about that?
Ricky: It’s something that I’m very passionate about, the Latino industry, Latino market, because my father didn’t speak English, so from the get go he was a Debbie downer for the most part. As I was growing up he was big on just find the job, stay there, work there for 35 years and hope to have a career that your mother, sister or my aunt—she worked at Comet she just retired, 40 years.
Ricky: That’s awesome, but I just didn’t look at life like that, I kept seeing how—I went to a catholic high school and I ventured out a lot. I did my own, I signed myself up for basketball, I signed myself up for football. I grew up very fast. Nothing against my parents, but I had to if I wanted to do things other than the norm. I’d signed up to like 36 different colleges- I only got accepted to like 5. It’s alright.
Angelo: It’s okay.
Ricky: I went away. I went away and enjoyed life a little bit. I always came back because, Christmas, birthdays, thanksgiving, anyway to have a gathering of our family that’s what Mexicans do. We get together, we make some great food, we talk shit, we drink beer.
Angelo: I’m there too, Mexican moment, I get it, yeah.
Ricky: Family is huge for us. That’s my motivating factor to say I’m going to help my family grow, I’m going to help my family succeed just in life or we can enjoy each other. We may not have the houses and the cars and that life yet, because I’m going to get that life for us, or we can enjoy those fruits of life. But it’s not just about materialistic things, it’s just knowing that you’ve got there and we got there together, that’s important to us.
Latinos are very family oriented, 80% of my employees are Hispanic, whether Puerto Rican, Mexican, Colombian, Venezuelan, more than 80%. I love it, because when you come into the office there’s hugs, high fives. I got kids, I shouldn’t have that many babies but we have 3 kids and the [inaudible 00:29:31] but dogs come in. That family environment I’ve learned that from the Latino side of me.
Angelo: That’s awesome. What are you doing now? Because I see you going out and speaking and doing all that—what’s some of that stuff like for you?
Ricky: I’m a part of—and I owe a lot of it to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce HCC. They are very big in Chicago, they are influencers, they are very involved in the Hispanic market showcasing the Hispanics in their industry whether it is technology or just business ownership.
I owe a lot to them. They gave me a lot of opportunities, but being a part of that—I was in an incubator program at 1871 and it focused on being Latino tech developer company startup.
We had a competition, Chase was a very advocate of it, so that’s how you got to see me on Chase ATM. I got my 15 minutes of fame there, but it was fun, because it’s a conversation starter. I enjoy speaking, I enjoy being on panels because from sharing my story and speaking to people opportunities come. They would never have come about without putting myself out there, whether it’s a discussion that I should be involved with or not, if you shared the story and somebody takes one ounce of encouragement from that then you did your job. The reason that you were there there is a purpose behind it.
Angelo: I love it. I agree. Like what I said with the podcast is, if one person listens and get something out of it you won, it’s already the victory for this whole thing. That’s beautiful brother. Question for you; what does Alpha Hippie mean to you?
Ricky: It’s just kind of bringing it together both sides of the spectrum, because like you said ADD man, I got that. There is the laid back version of me where I allow people to do their jobs, and I’m very lack a daisy on that part, but then there is the other side of me that—I’m a killer on sales, I’m a killer on new business opportunities, I live for it, I pull over I take pictures of opportunities, with my wife getting pissed at me I pull the phone out I do a quick reply to a quick email when I shouldn’t be. But there’s those two sides, Alpha Hippie there’s two sides to that formation, there’s two sides of me that create them.
Angelo: I love it, very cool. Where could people find you, your app, all of your amazing things?
Ricky: The website for Rozalado Services is rozaladocleaning.com, the app is rozaroute.com. When you Google my name Ricardo Regalado sometimes you’ll see a convicted murderer come up, that’s from the West Coast side of California, that’s not me, but I’ve had that pop up many times.
Angelo: Oh my god.
Ricky: Those two websites is all you need often and you’ll find me.
Angelo: Very cool, and also keep an eye out for the app especially if you are in the industry. Last but not least my favorite question to ask; if you had one word to be remembered by what would it be?
Ricky: I’d say great.
Ricky: Great, plain and simple.
Angelo: I love it. Thank you for making sometime, especially driving over here on a Friday. I really appreciate you man.
Ricky: This was something that I definitely want to be a part of. I appreciate you bringing me on.