The Small Business Safari

How Seasonal Businesses Can Propel You up to the Mountain Top | Matthew Efird

November 14, 2023 Chris Lalomia, Alan Wyatt, Matthew Efird Season 4 Episode 120
The Small Business Safari
How Seasonal Businesses Can Propel You up to the Mountain Top | Matthew Efird
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Matthew left the corporate world with intention. He had a good job and a good boss, but wanted to be a good steward of his time and provide a legacy for his family. So he jumped into not only one business but two. He bought into the Mosquito Joe Franchise system while simultaneously starting a Christmas light installation company called Lighting Pros. While doing this, Mathew was able to crack the code on these industries' BIGGEST problems. One, getting consistent revenue annually and two, retaining employees for the long term. Listen to this episode, he proves, nice guys CAN WIN! Did you know our amazing voices can go beyond just the microphone? Yes, we have video! Subscribe to our YouTube channel here!

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Matthew’s Links:

•  Socials | @lawswhiskey | @officialmosquitojoe

•  Website | https://mosquitojoe.com/ 

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GOLD NUGGETS:

(00:00) - Christmas Memories and Small Business Adventures

(03:19) - Engagement, Achievements, and Trivia

(11:37) - Legacy and Opportunity in Entrepreneurship

(19:09) - Starting a Franchise

(32:36) - Marketing Christmas Lights for Commercial Business

(43:53) - Building a Strong Company Culture

(53:08) - Franchising and Football Chats

(01:04:31) - Quiet Time for Productivity 

(01:15:18) - Marriage, Parenting, and DIY Lessons

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Books Mentioned:

Creative Followership - Jimmy Collins

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Previous guests on The Small Business Safari include Amy Lyle, Ben Alexander, Joseph Sission, Jonathan Ellis, Brad Dell, Chris Hanks, C.T. Emerson, Chad Brown, Tracy Moore, Wayne Sherger, David Raymond, Paul Redman, Gabby Meteor, Ryan Dement, Barbara Heil Sonneck, Bryan John, Tom Defore, Rusty Clifton, Duane Johns, Beth Miller, Jason Sleeman, Andy Suggs, Chris Michel, Jon Ostenson, Tommy Breedlove, Rocky Lalvani, Amanda Griffey, Spencer Powell, Joe Perrone, David Lupberger, Duane C. Barney, Dave Moerman, Jim Ryerson, Al Mishkoff, Scott Specker, Mike Claudio and more!

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If You Loved This Episode Try These!

Essential Tips for Recruiting in Home Services Businesses | Tina McKenna

If It’s 4th and 1 Against the IRS, Make Sure You Have Your CPA and Payroll Team Onboard! | Charles Read

How Justin Hatcher 3X His Ticket Size in Home Services

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Have any questions or comments? Connect with me here!

Chris Lalomia:

going back to the Christmas vacation Chevy chase thing, we've all been there. I don't know about you, but growing up in Michigan with a father who when one light goes out, they all go out, I mean Christmas set up in my house, which was my mother, was a Christmas freak we had. At one point we had 17 trees up, wow 17, you kidding? Wow, not full Christmas trees, but different sizes, styles. Yeah, wow, my mom was a Christmas freak, and so Christmas set up started for us the week after Thanksgiving.

Matthew Efird:

Oh yeah.

Chris Lalomia:

And we'd have it all set up and this is, of course, you know today's world. Now you're setting it up, you know, the day after Halloween, but we would start then and then we'd always do the real Christmas tree. I'd have to work the Christmas tree lot for the with my dad.

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, yeah.

Chris Lalomia:

And then we'd have to string the lights, and I was the oldest and so I'd take the brunt of it. And back in those days, man, those lights right One goes out, they all go out and he just would start screaming and gun yelling at me. And if I didn't put the light in the right spot and then he did tell me I broke the light bulb, I'm like I did touch the thing, but it was like it was trauma for me. Yeah, Sitting it all up, but which is why I probably would hire lighting pros today, Because right now I stick three spotlights in my car.

Alan Wyatt:

Yeah, the spotlights are good. I'm not big on heights.

Chris Lalomia:

Welcome to the Small Business Safari where I help guide you to avoid those traps, pitfalls and dangers that lurk when navigating the wild world of small business ownership. I'll share those gold nuggets of information and invite guests to help accelerate your ascent to that mountaintop of success. It's a jungle out there and I want to help you traverse through the levels of owning your own business that can get you bogged down and distract you from any of your own personal and professional goals. So strap in Adventure Team and let's take a ride through the safari and get you to the mountaintop. Oh boy, we're doing it again. Alan, here we go, we are getting back on, but we're doing it in person again. It's my favorite and it's your favorite. In person, here we go, we're doing it. But this morning in training we had our operations manager who came out to see me speak in Vegas, and of course he didn't do that, but he came out to Vegas. But he brings it back because he's due to the 60th birthday, but he brings it back to training, right? So I have my 19 technicians and the five project managers Our whole teams in there were 35 strong in the room and he leads with telling everything that was happening in Vegas and showing pictures. And then he leads into you need to always protect yourself and protect your customer in the house. And so I said, guys, where else can you hear and see Vegas with butts and protect yourself? I said this is just not a handyman remodeling company, my friend, you get to listen to it all here.

Alan Wyatt:

So did he put some pictures of Big Daddy up on the screen?

Chris Lalomia:

I did not make the screen, thank God, but the new girls on the street did Really, oh yeah, with butts flying. Yeah, it was incredible. But so he goes there and old Ron from West Virginia has done it again. I mean, I was like, so I got up there at the end and said so, ron, I forgot to tell you one thing what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas especially when I'm out there with you. Ok, buddy, so we had some fun, but how about that you can rock rock show in Vegas, show girls. He'd never been out there and couldn't believe in broad daylight these girls would be out there with nothing on except there are feathers on their heads.

Alan Wyatt:

I am guessing that your staff was much more engaged in that in that particular meeting than most of them.

Chris Lalomia:

I would say engaged in the meetings. Probably, I would say once again Can we go back to the previous slide Right, yeah, right. And now for safety. Can we go back? Can?

Matthew Efird:

we start over again.

Chris Lalomia:

So that was awesome, but I got something big this year. What All right? Is this a medical thing? This is no. This won't be the medical things that I'm working through. I do not have gout, I just have high uric acid Gout light With it.

Matthew Efird:

I think the thing out light is the problem.

Alan Wyatt:

The chickens have come home to lose.

Chris Lalomia:

They're big daddy, I don't know how that could happen. Pop me another beer.

Alan Wyatt:

It's your Caligula-like lifestyle.

Chris Lalomia:

It is unfortunately probably. The lobster, the dancing girls, the cigars all that I could either stop all that or I could take a pill. Which door should I go through? I know which door you're going through. That's right. I'm not stopping this thing. This boat's a rolling baby. We got a rolling. The train has left the station. The train has left the station. That train has definitely left the station. I don't know how many years it's going to take to rehabilitate me, but that's going to be a long one. But no, I got some great news on my son. We'd always talk about my daughter. Once again, she did it to me on Halloween, completely making fun of me and then posting it all over, sending it to all her friends and then putting it on social media, only to find out that I went viral in her Instagram.

Alan Wyatt:

And if a listener wants to see it, they can just email Chris at the trusted toolbox and get yes.

Chris Lalomia:

If you want to see me looking like an alien, send it on. And, chris, at the trusted toolboxcom, let me know you're listening and I'll share the video with you, since it's pretty much out there. The most viral thing I've ever done was something I never did.

Alan Wyatt:

With all the tick-tocking you've done. Your daughter crushes you with just making fun of you on Halloween. Right, yeah, I think we've got a theme here, don't we? Brilliant.

Chris Lalomia:

Yeah, I think she's on it. But I got some great news on my son, who we don't really talk about much. He is a senior at Georgia, two-time national, go Dawgs. Thank you, go Dawgs, and I knew Matthew would enjoy that, as a dog himself. But he just found out he took the LSAT score and he had a target score, and so his target score was not perfect, which is admirable, but he had a target score to get the 80th percentile and he got there on the first test.

Alan Wyatt:

Hey, that is fantastic.

Chris Lalomia:

Congratulations 160. He got, yes, fantastic Two that is, and you guys know his journey. That was, he is. That's amazing. I mean I've never gotten so many text messages from him in five minutes in my life, that's so cool. So Paul, he should be. I mean well done. I know I'm excited for him, so it's exciting.

Alan Wyatt:

You want to take a minute and readjust your microphone there? Is he going to be a double dog there?

Matthew Efird:

He does not want to be a double dog.

Chris Lalomia:

Although I did look up. I did look up how much cheaper it is. He stayed. Yeah, I was like yeah, so right now his number one is Wake Forest.

Alan Wyatt:

Okay, going out of state. Why wouldn't he want to go to Georgia Law? My nephew went to Georgia Law and he's the man in Savannah.

Chris Lalomia:

Well, I know, but I mean, you look at it his way. He's got four years there, yeah, and he'd like to see another city. And at this point he did me right by going there and with the Georgia In-State tuition that we have, which is unlike anybody else in the nation, and Hope, yeah.

Matthew Efird:

And he got the ZEL yeah.

Chris Lalomia:

Wow, yeah, good friend. Yeah, I mean, talk about paying nothing. And then we bought a house up there, yeah, and so he's living rent free, so he was kind of the free one. It's the other one that cost me a lot of money, the one that will remain nameless, who is all over Instagram. Go ahead and look her up. Yeah, yeah, all right, but who do we have at studio? We've been waiting for this one for a long time. I'm excited to talk to him. This is Matthew Eford of Mosquito Joe's and Lighting Pros. He is all over the board. I have known Matthew now for three years yeah, three years, yeah and met him through the CEO Master Rang group that I'm part of, and have been more and more impressed with him every time you talk to this guy. He is just a wealth of knowledge. He is a student of the game. He's a student of business. Can you imagine where he'll be when he's our age? He'll be way past me. I just hope I can ride behind his boat. Everyone's fine. Yeah, just watch for the gout light.

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, I'll definitely be watching out for that gout light.

Chris Lalomia:

Yeah, you watch out. So if I'm in the back and I ski behind your boat, big guy, just remember, especially if you, by the time you're my age and I'm my age plus that 20 more. Yeah, big daddy's not ski, yeah.

Alan Wyatt:

Daddy's not good at the Gazintas either.

Chris Lalomia:

No, yeah, you can ride in the boat All right, thanks, all right, I'm going to ride in the boat, love it. So, matthew, thanks for coming on the show. Yeah, of course, and we're excited to get into this. So let's talk about Matthew a little bit, or do you want to talk about?

Alan Wyatt:

No, I was just going to know, Matthew drives a Ram. So we've got all three trucks, represented all three US trucks. There we go We've got my Ford, his Ram and your loner Chevy.

Chris Lalomia:

Still loner Chevy. Still loner Chevy because I can't get a flipping part for my truck that's under warranty because of the stupid strike which.

Matthew Efird:

I've heard it's supposed to be coming to an end.

Alan Wyatt:

Coming to an end, I hope by the end of this podcast, maybe you should think about buying a vehicle that doesn't need so many extra parts. There you go.

Chris Lalomia:

Just a thought.

Matthew Efird:

Well, I tell you what I am doing now, or you drive it like it has extra parts.

Chris Lalomia:

So similar to how my lifestyle goes. There's probably a reason that the trainee went on this one.

Alan Wyatt:

A little bit of trivia on. Dodge Ram. Can you name the top three states where Dodge Rams sell? They're actually the three states that Dodge Ram sells more than Ford and Chevy. Texas no Wyoming, yes, wow.

Chris Lalomia:

Indiana, no Montana.

Alan Wyatt:

No, utah, no, we're running out of time. But you see, it's Wyoming Nevada and Alaska.

Matthew Efird:

And I'm thinking you know the Alaskans?

Alan Wyatt:

Yeah, they don't mess around with their truck, yeah.

Chris Lalomia:

That's solid. No, how about that? Well, there we go, we've got all three cut a little, go a little bit trivia. There we go. I love that. Hmm, all right, can we talk about Matthew? Or we want to talk more about his truck? I will, so we could do it like truck smart list, where they bring in a Hidden guest. Well, I kept this one from you a little bit and thought that I was onto something. And of course we're out of something because we're taking Bateman and the boys down anyway, because we're on their heels and they are, they're scared. In fact, hey, he's just hit me up on an email saying hey, guy, can you just take it easy? You know, you know you're started. He can do our podcast listenership.

Alan Wyatt:

Yeah, yeah, that's wondering where the leak is, and it's a, it's a small business safari there it is. Yeah, you knew it.

Chris Lalomia:

No, so I brought Matthew in and so in, Alan walks in, he goes hey, we've met. I'm like I'm thinking to myself Of course you have, because I'm here. I mean, everybody meets through me, I'm the connector. He goes no, we met somewhere else. I'm like, do what he goes. Yeah, and I really like him. I'm like, oh, this is gonna be a lot of fun.

Alan Wyatt:

And it's gonna be more fun because he came bearing gifts and that's one of the many, many reasons I like to just have in studio guests. So there is a nice bottle of brown and Laws whiskey, laws, whiskey. Tell us a story about laws, yeah.

Matthew Efird:

I was in a conference through neighborly on mosquito Joe brand and had a conference out in Denver. I got to talk to one of the guys in the restaurant and looking for something local to try and this is a Denver distillery and Try to loved it, found some here and definitely want to bring it share with y'all.

Chris Lalomia:

So that's awesome. Thank you so much for bringing it and I know if you guys want to figure out where we get this whiskey. It was laws whiskey Denver. Colorado should be a sponsor. Maybe we'll hit them up, maybe we will. All right, matthew, we got to get into the story because it is a fascinating story that probably we're working with a lot of listeners. So You're born and raised in Georgia, yep, up in the mountains of Georgia mountains of Georgia.

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, so I was actually born in Texas. Matter of fact, my dad was in residency there and then moved to Blairsville, georgia, when I was one, so grew up in Georgia and Played football my freshman year just outside of Nashville, tennessee and Cumberland University. It's a D2 school. They are famous for having the highest score ever scored on them in football. What was that? The? Georgia Tech Cumberland score George Tech Cumberland 212 to nothing. It's quite impressive, I knew. I knew that name.

Chris Lalomia:

Oh, my god Way before your time way before. They're gonna fat that up.

Alan Wyatt:

There's, there's more to that story, because it wasn't Cumberland's football team.

Matthew Efird:

It was like so their baseball team the year before had a riff with Georgia Tech and they had hired some semi-professional baseball players and Cumberland beat Georgia Tech pretty badly, and so Georgia Tech caught wind that they had hired players, got very mad, and when Cumberland came down the next year to play them in Football, cumberland George Tech did the same thing. They hired additional players to come on and play and Cumberland could barely fill the team and there were no first downs in the game, absolutely zero first down Cumberland scored every single or, excuse me, george Tech scored every single drive. Cumberland did not score a first down and Cumberland score. George Tech scored every single time they touched the ball.

Chris Lalomia:

All right, so you came out of Blairsville to go play football play football and then it was a.

Matthew Efird:

It was a job. It's great opportunity, loved it but but I didn't want that to be my college career. So transfer to Georgia and this one go dogs, love the dogs and Found love of the business school there. I see how I met Chris Hanks was through the business school there. He was still there at that time.

Chris Lalomia:

Oh, wow, okay.

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, so he was a professor of mine.

Chris Lalomia:

And if you haven't listened to that Hanks episode, I just I just yeah, it is a great primed him with some bourbon and dude. He took off like a rock.

Alan Wyatt:

So yeah, yeah, like some candles, burn some incense pour bourbon and listen to that episode.

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, if you could see him in class he was. He was next level, just an incredible individual but but really helped spark my interest in getting back into Entrepreneurship. So when I was in high school my brother and I had a mowing business and we grew it to a couple of crews and we were running and having a great time. And then went to college and didn't want to do it anymore, so sold the equipment and left the remit and then took Hanks entrepreneurship class, took several different business classes through Terry and Didn't know where I was going to go after school. My wife's a year younger and I am in school and so I took a job at a pharmacy management company. The owner and I went to church together and Started in sales. I did sales all through college at different jobs at odds and ends and and love that route, did that for several years but was traveling 40 plus weeks a year and I saw them at the time. It felt like they were starting to make decisions that it was hey, they had they'd broken the eight figure mark as a business, which was really exciting to be a part of that. They go from about three million to ten million miles there and they had an amazing product and it was just me connecting the dots, so it wasn't any magical that I did. But I really had an emphasis on what am I gonna do as we try to start a family, and we since have but what am I gonna do for my sons or my daughters? Now we only have sons, but what can I do to hand off to them because this business I'm working for them, investing a lot of time in? They're paying me and I appreciate that, but I can see the incoming that they're going to sell. They're gonna pat me on the back, they're gonna say thanks for the time, and I didn't want to be in that position, and so we started looking at opportunities and found mosquito Joe.

Chris Lalomia:

So when you were there, was it? Was it pain, or was it more about opportunity and pleasure? What? What drove you to that move?

Matthew Efird:

Opportunity and pleasure. Yeah yeah, it was more just the. I had a great boss that I worked with, worked with one owner very closely good friend of mine. The travel was a bit much, especially trying to start a family at that time, young, married. I enjoy travel, but not without my wife and so really looking to be able to kind of be more local.

Alan Wyatt:

Say Chris, go ahead say it, that'll change that.

Chris Lalomia:

Well, yeah, in fact that never changed. That was for me right the bat. I was traveling the first three years, or first the first five years I was an engineer and then eventually worked for in consulting in the first three years, my daughter's life. I traveled 40 weeks out of the week here, and how many weeks out of the year do you travel now?

Alan Wyatt:

without your wife.

Chris Lalomia:

Less than 40. There's gonna be a huge difference. Me and Matthew I mean similar story and I think that's one of the big things I that's why I wanted to pick that up. Yeah, for a lot of people, they start a business because of pain. Yeah, you know, you got a boss hole, you got a job you hate, you got a lifestyle. You can't stand your miserable SOB, you don't even like yourself, and you start that business on a pain. Yeah, and I just got done explaining to guys, especially in sales and math. You notice this people buy more on avoidance of pain than it is for seeking pleasure. Yeah, you'll pay more for it and but you are in your case, you were thoughtful about it and you you'll. You'll show this as we get talking to the podcast. I think that's a huge nugget for a lot of people is that you don't always have to run away from something. You need to find out where you want to run to before you start running. So, hmm, is that in your book? Did? you write about your book I did my friends. Yeah, I stay on brand. In fact, I just got asked are you gonna write when you're gonna? When are you gonna write your second version too?

Alan Wyatt:

I'm like Well, we learned from one of our recent guests that yeah, yes, for yeah, yeah, yeah, and really the fourth one's good and the other ones were garbage. So yeah, so maybe it by.

Chris Lalomia:

Yeah, I got three more shots. We'll see about writing the book. But yeah, I mean I think that's a big point for everybody and you're right. Thanks, alan, for bringing up my book. It's from the zoo to the world. You're a guide to entrepreneurial freedom, wealth. Go out and pick it up on Amazon.

Alan Wyatt:

Thank you and I know I actually read it.

Chris Lalomia:

I know I do appreciate that. So back to Matthew. So you, you had a boss you love working for, you had a company like being part of. Yeah, the only detraction really was I want to start a family, don't want to be away from my family that long Would everybody can appreciate. But that wasn't the pain part. It was that, no, I wanted. I want to establish a legacy.

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, it's definitely the legacy piece and it was definitely. Am I being a good steward of my time? That's? That's really kind of a word. I'm not. I say this. I'm not been a big word guy for the year, but that's probably the word that I've said the most over the last decade of stewardship that I want to be a good steward of my time and and I love the company that I worked with. I love the owner One of the owners that I got to work very closely with, the the customers that they had the type of service that they were doing. They were, they had found a niche to serve Royal America and they were helping small hospitals.

Alan Wyatt:

Let me ask you this when you make a commitment to being a good steward of your time, does that mean that you are trying to use your time more wisely, or are you kind of taking the other approach and cutting out the things that are less wise? And I'm looking at you, chris.

Matthew Efird:

I think those two things go hand in hand. Yeah, no, I think those two things go hand in hand. And and it was a lot for me it was trying to spend it, spend it more wisely, and so I really wanted to be able to hand over some kind of legacy to to my future children. At that time we did not have children. We have four boys now. Then it was the desire to be able to hand something off to them, instead of just me having a job for a career, because you can't hand over a job. That was really a big driver for me.

Chris Lalomia:

That is, that's next level thinking right there, and that's definitely not. I was thinking when I was 20 something years old, and I'm sure a lot of us. I was gonna make a lot of money Legacy kids and they'll come eventually. Well, whatever. No, I think that's, that's huge and again same. You'll see that common thread, I think, as we keep talking about what you done. So you evaluated a number of different. I mean, what did you? What did you do? Did you look at franchises only? Did you look at?

Matthew Efird:

No, look at looked at Home services business, looked at restaurants, looked at acquiring businesses, looked at starting from scratch and I kept finding mosquito Joe listed as a Fast-growing franchise. That was outdoors. So I had the experience in landscaping and I tried the service and once I tried it I was sold. Then I started calling. I called about a hundred owners around the country.

Chris Lalomia:

I called about a hundred owners.

Matthew Efird:

It was a bunch and, and it was more of hey, I'm looking at doing this, I've got this opportunity. The North George area was open and I, as an area developer, it was. We had made some wise investments as a family and saved and we were looking to to be able to invest in something, and so mosquito Joe came up and and made those calls. One of the things that we found and making those calls was what do you do with your staff in the offseason? And and nobody really had a good solution. And one guy in Texas said I just bought a Christmas business, a Christmas life's business, and I'm gonna try it and see if my employees like it. He said I don't think it's really gonna work. He said I'm just kind of like if my employees leave, they leave or just retrain new employees next year, for whatever reason. That just that did not sit well with me, and so we started both businesses simultaneously and it's been just an amazing rod for for us to be able to offer year-round employment.

Chris Lalomia:

That is amazing that you started two for one. So one's a franchise. They give you the systems, the process, the guarantee. You went in 100 people looking into it, eyes wide open. The other one starting from scratch, yeah, so the only I think If he would have called me, my advice would have been so anti, I'm like all right. So what else do you? Look at Restaurants, okay, well, good, so you didn't pick the worst thing ever, you just picked the second stuff. Yeah, there you go. Home services, home services, yeah, yeah. So here we go, because it's going to and I love the guy who says I'll just retrain people every year. Oh yeah, that's exactly that Exactly so.

Alan Wyatt:

I mean it's a very successful franchise. What are they telling people in Discovery Day when they're like what?

Matthew Efird:

are you saying? They're saying send your employees to Amazon, FedEx and then get them back in the spring.

Chris Lalomia:

Oh, so we deliver packages in the off season.

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, so get them to find another seasonal business. But what we found in talking with owners is your good employees. They go to another seasonal business and then they stay. They get picked up. The good ones do, and then the ones that you're like I mean, you're a decent employee, or maybe you haven't been an A player but you're a B player and maybe we can work with you they're the ones that always come back, and so for us, it was really trying to seek a way to invest in our staff, and that's a big thing for me. Is it investing in people? I care a lot about people and people around me, but what it's done for our business is the higher quality staff that I get, the better service we provide, which means I have less turnover of customers, I have lower cost of acquisition because I have more referrals, I have less training and, just across the board, it's made both businesses better and more profitable.

Chris Lalomia:

So when you decided to do this, you cut cold turkey. Obviously, the wife is on board with you. Did she have a job? Did you guys have an income?

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, so she was school teacher, okay, and she did that until our first son was born.

Chris Lalomia:

Okay, yeah. So you guys I mean you talk about a double dip, huge thing. You have to go get trained. You got to go discover day. Come back, do the training, get started, get going. So were you actually out there doing the sprays in the beginning?

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, yeah. So it was out especially early on. I mean answering the phones, doing sprays, and then it was. We hired a couple of staff that one of them's still with us, which is really cool and they went in the field and I went in the office full time. There you go, and so that was kind of my more my route. I would jump in the field when needed during peak seasons for mosquitoes. Brain days are really delay your week and so we we double up routes and things of that nature. So that was kind of the emphasis, but it was more getting the office and then training the office staff, creating the systems in the office for our local franchise location and then you still have a bit of a gap in your annual calendar, don't you Like?

Alan Wyatt:

right after the holidays.

Matthew Efird:

No. So for us we have. We have about two weeks of of of dead time. For us, Two weeks, and instead of 12, we have two. And so, because of the way that we do lights and the way that we've booked our schedule here in Georgia, we're able to employ people every year, every, every, all year long, except for two weeks, and then one of those weeks or both weeks we get about bonuses based off of attendance and different metrics that we do.

Chris Lalomia:

So let's go back to this. So we sorry, I'm sorry, that is a big poor Chris, that's right, you want a bigger glass, I got, I got light.

Alan Wyatt:

I got light Mini-gout I got.

Chris Lalomia:

I got pills for that, don't worry about it. All the pills, I got them all. I got them all. So let's go back to this. So again, mosquito spray so dead of the summer, it's hotter than hell. You got to put on a suit. You got to go out there. You walk in somebody's backyard and spray this thing when it's 110 degrees here in Georgia in the summer. So you're out there doing that. But going back to it, would you recommend to somebody that they stay out of that, stay in the office and just do all that? Or do they have to go out there, feel it, touch it, do that job and then go back in the office?

Matthew Efird:

I loved being in the field because it gave me more clout with all of our technicians.

Chris Lalomia:

So okay, so one of those things like you can't, you can't BS me, because I've done it, guys, and they're like hey, the boss man's out there doing it and I have, and I know that there's within the mosquito franchise organization there's several successful owners who've never been in the field.

Matthew Efird:

It was something for me. I wanted the experience because I wanted to be able to help train our office staff of the way to talk to customers, to best support our technicians in the field. Yeah, and if I didn't know what the technicians in the field were doing, it's really hard to train our office staff of the right things to say or not say and the things that help coach our in our customers on that. We've got to know that experience.

Chris Lalomia:

I think you got to get bit by a dog once in the field, yeah, get a dog.

Matthew Efird:

To say to you.

Chris Lalomia:

Yeah, Come on now. Now you can go.

Matthew Efird:

Hey boss, man, you can do that. Yeah, I can't watch that, I'll jump that fence.

Chris Lalomia:

Yeah, and I have that's before the go away symptoms. But yeah, no, I mean you got to be out there doing that, I think. I think it's a slower way to grow for a lot of people. I know you because when I did that as well, I envy guys who'd never have gone in the field and just sat there and now I'm a book guy, know how to make the phone ring. I can do it. Yeah, you can scale quicker. But for me, experientially, I needed to have that because it also helped me when we do training where I can say I can walk the walk and talk the talk. You know I've done it both. I mean you want to cut some crown, let's go. You know, you want to hang some rock? I can do that too. And just, I think having that I think it does throw a little clout your way with the team, especially in home services. Yeah, no, I totally agree. But did you find it? Did you? Do you envy people who didn't have to do that? When you talk to these other mosquito Joe guys who are very I?

Matthew Efird:

don't, I don't, I don't A lot of them it's they're second, third, fourth career and it's just an investment for them and I'm just in a different stage of my life, yeah, and so I enjoy to work and enjoy what we do, and I enjoy being able to be out and get to know customers and get to know our staff. So I truly enjoy doing that.

Alan Wyatt:

I think that's 100% the healthiest way to do business. Do you think I mean? Well, of course.

Chris Lalomia:

I did it.

Alan Wyatt:

No, no, I mean yeah, From your, from your employee standpoint. You're 100% right. When a customer calls in and has an issue, yeah, there you can, you can smell it. There's a stink on a customer, on a, on a business where the ownership is just there to make money. Yeah, Cause you're at that point. If they're just there to make money, then you're just a mark.

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, no, I totally agree At that point.

Alan Wyatt:

Yeah, whereas you're 100% invested in it.

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, you've seen everything and that was the thing that made it so easy for us to do Christmas lights. I mean, if, if I would have been so removed from the business, it would have been really easy to say hey guys, good luck, find something to do this winter, go go ship packages, go do something. We're bringing you back in the spring. Because I'd been in the field and done the work and rubbed quote unquote rubbed shoulders with the, the technicians that we had. It was more like I care about you and I care about your family and I care about your kids and I know that you have bills, just like I have bills all year long. I want to be able to invest in you better and also our next hire, I want it to be a better quality person, because what we found is, when I put a job out for a seasonal job, when I, the recruits that we get in for that are people who are just looking for a job immediately and that's not always the best employees, but I'll put a job out for year round employment we get higher caliber employees. We get higher caliber candidates because it's actually a career move for them. It's something that they can see. I have a young family or I'm making a move in my career. I want something different. I want to go from a seasonal job or I bounce them seasonal to a permanent full time employee that is able to provide me year round hours. It's a big deal for us.

Chris Lalomia:

The hard part for me is when I started the trusted toolbox, I was singularly focused on handyman and then growing it eventually into remodeling business. But the thing that just kills me with what he did was he went mosquito jose. Here's the franchise. So I'm using my brain for this for now, and then I go to shift gears because you just don't. And Ellen, you hit on it. You're like well, isn't there a big gap between spraying for mosquitoes in Georgia and then doing lights? The answer is no, they're already light. They're putting lights up before October 1.

Alan Wyatt:

I was thinking of the gap after Christmas, before the mosquitoes start.

Matthew Efird:

Well, they got to go back and take them out on the right, and so we spend the entire month of January and the first week of February taking lights down. And when do you start spraying? And then we start spraying middle of February.

Chris Lalomia:

So it works in the Southeast with what we've gotten, how it works. But how did you find a way to compartmentalize? Go back to the Gerber thing with the e-myth. You got to be able to compartmentalize if you want to be able to be successful. But you're doing big picture thinking, manager and technician a little bit, and then you've got to switch and do it for another business altogether. How are we able to pull that off Year one?

Matthew Efird:

That's a great question. I mean, year one we didn't do a lot. We didn't do a lot in lights. We really didn't do a lot in lights our first year, okay, and it was a lot more headaches and a lot more issues. That's why we created the franchise. So we have lighting pros franchise, which is our Christmas lights franchise, and it's really with the intention of helping establish seasonal businesses feel the need that they have in the off season for revenue and for staff.

Chris Lalomia:

Beautiful. So the first year you were really more focused on Mosquito Joe's Right, and so you had to-.

Matthew Efird:

And then figuring out the first. But I'd been installing lights for my wife for almost 10 years, so I knew some of the light industry and I love to learn, and so I'm pretty handy when it comes to that.

Chris Lalomia:

Go back to the lighting thing, and this is where I was still thinking. I'm looking at his logo and it just hit me. I think the best logo out there would have to be the Chevy Chase.

Matthew Efird:

You know things all over them, you know, you've got Christmas Vacation Lighting Company.

Chris Lalomia:

That's right, that would be the one. I think that would be killer. So you say you were doing so was the Eiffel House the place that everybody went for Christmas light viewing?

Matthew Efird:

It wasn't that big. No no, but every year we did add, every year we were adding to it and just as my skill set grew and so as we learn, you know there's some accreditation that you can get in the Christmas light industry, and so we went through some of those our second year in business and so that actually helped us.

Chris Lalomia:

Holy cow, there's a Christmas light. Accreditation company yeah Group. So that was good.

Matthew Efird:

That was good additional training, but really for me it was the networking and it was getting in touch with other French, other Christmas lights owners and saying, hey, because I did the same thing, mosquito Joe, those hundred calls that I made, it was a lot of hey. What would you do in my position? What are things that you would do differently in your first year or two of business versus what you are doing right now and that really, really helped us? Is the listener going?

Alan Wyatt:

to hear that, uh, angel just got its wings. That's what it was. What criteria do you need to qualify for to get accredited by the Christmas light association. So there's.

Matthew Efird:

there's a training course that they do. It's an in-person course, is a few days and they take you through all the book work and then all of the installation work and then they're actually walking you through. Here's a way to properly do this. You're not going to burn down a home.

Chris Lalomia:

Wow, yeah, actually, think about it for just a minute. Going back to the Christmas vacation, chevy Chase thing, we've all been there. I don't know about you, but growing up in Michigan with the father who, when one light goes out, they all go out, and I mean Christmas, christmas set up in my house, which was my mother, was a Christmas freak. Uh, at one point we had 17 trees up. Wow, are you kidding? Wow, not full Christmas trees, but different sizes, different styles, yeah, wow. My mom was a Christmas freak, and so Christmas setup started for us the week after Thanksgiving.

Matthew Efird:

Oh yeah.

Chris Lalomia:

And we have it all set up and this is, of course, today's world. Now we're setting it up the day after Halloween, but we would start then, and then we'd always do the real Christmas tree. I'd have to work the Christmas tree a lot for my dad. And then we'd have to string the lights, and I was the oldest and so I'd take the brunt of it. And back in those days, man, those lights right One goes out, they all go out and he just would start screaming and yelling at me. And if I didn't put the light in the right spot and then he did tell me I broke the light bulb, I'm like I did touch the thing, but it was trauma for me Was setting it all up, but which is why I probably would hire lighting pros today, because right now I stick three spotlights in my car.

Alan Wyatt:

Yeah, the spotlights are good.

Chris Lalomia:

I'm not big on the heights. Yeah, anymore now. Yeah, all right. So you developed this. How many years have you had mosquito jose? So we started in 2017. So 17,. Here we're on 23 lists. So six in. You start lighting pros, and that was the name right off the bat. You had the business plan built for that as well. You go dropping all that stuff, doing all this and today, six years into it, with lighting pros, what's the mix of business we are?

Matthew Efird:

almost 50-50 in our mix of business. Our Christmas lights businesses is doubled every year. That is amazing and we are on pace to do that again this year.

Alan Wyatt:

And what percentage of your customers do both.

Matthew Efird:

So we took a turn in our business in 2020, 2019, 2020 time and started focusing more on the commercial side, just because it took less staff. It took more time, but took less staff to do the work, and so our mix of business is about 90% commercial, oh okay, 10% residential, wow. And so when you talk about people putting up lights like today, well, we've been putting up lights since October. Yeah, because we do complexes and shopping centers and big resorts and things of that nature, so we have a handful We've really been respectful of. Mosquito joe is very protective of their brand, which I completely understand. We're very protective of our lighting pros brand, and so there have been some owners that have tried to say hey, we run your local mosquito joe and we also do yard cleanup, and it's co-bingling of the brands which mosquito joe cannot protect the secondary brand and so we have not done that. We just genuinely said I like to sleep at night and so I like to do things above board, and we've not gone after our mosquito joe customers because of the franchise agreement within mosquito joe.

Alan Wyatt:

So how does the marketing work? So do you have completely separate people selling mosquito joes that are selling the Christmas?

Matthew Efird:

lights. Okay, and then within our office staff we have a software system that we've worked with and a quoting position that we've got that we actually are able to utilize our existing office staff for mosquito joe, that they transitioned slowly throughout the year, and late summer we transitioned some of our staff from mosquito joe to Christmas lights and then this time of year we transitioned all of our staff over to Christmas lights, to fan phones.

Chris Lalomia:

Well, alan brought this up and that was let's dive into the marketing part of this, then we'll come back to how to scale at this point In the marketing side almost all commercial do you have people going out and soliciting cold calling, pulling handles? Are you, as they say, in the cold calling business?

Matthew Efird:

I do some of that just cause I enjoy doing that. But then we have kind of our marketing system that we've developed over the years. Well, it's part of our franchise brand that is somewhat direct mail, a lot of digital and then redirect ads. We've got some geofencing that we do. That really helps us on a lot of our big projects, so that's something that's really really good. That's a $2 word Geofencing he dropped man.

Chris Lalomia:

He dropped such an industry lingo term on us right now.

Matthew Efird:

Just he was just talking to Elon Musk.

Chris Lalomia:

Right, you know geofencing. All right, what the hell is geofencing?

Matthew Efird:

So that's where we do. Our paid SEO ads are established around. So we have an opportunity to work with Rich Carlton and we geofence around their property and so we haven't done that a lot because they get a lot of international clients and so being here in Georgia doesn't really help us a lot, but what we do is we redirect them ads because they've already seen our fabulous display, which really helps us, and so for us the kind of the marketing mix, commercial early feeds your residential back in.

Chris Lalomia:

Yeah, and so, talking with Matthew, he wants to do more of the commercial Again. I think that's genius, because anybody who works in residential and home services, as we do, realize that people are fricking nuts and I don't have to deal with many nutballs and it's not really their money, so it's not as emotional, and that's really what it comes down to. And it becomes an ROI right. Now let's talk about how you really market it. That's where I really this is genius.

Matthew Efird:

So this is the way that we market this to. We do about three dozen Chick-fil-A's here in Georgia and the emphasis is about bringing more customers to their property and they stay longer because of the lines. So as they stay longer, they spend more, and we see that consistently over and over and over with different businesses, places of business, which is George George.

Alan Wyatt:

They actually can measure that, yeah, he has.

Chris Lalomia:

So I saw the presentation. You gotta talk about this because this guy is mind blowing. Think about this in your own business. I don't care what you do, but this when he did this to me, I sat there in the back and I was like, oh my God, this is flipping awesome.

Matthew Efird:

So there was an AB test between two different longhorns that was, one of them installed lights and one of them did not, and the one that installed lights saw an 8% bump in year of year sales 8% bump year over year.

Chris Lalomia:

year over year, that's 12 months. He's talking about installing lights and showing them and presenting them for just two months. Two months, 8% over 12 on a two month and a small investment in the case of, again, if I'm running a franchise and I'm running a commercial outfit and I got a restaurant, God love you if you're doing that.

Matthew Efird:

Oh my.

Chris Lalomia:

God and you're listening to this podcast. I'm gonna still tell you you're the hardest damn business in the world. Okay, but you did it, so you put lights in and you get 8% over the year. That means that those two months went nuts. I think that's genius. And after you said that, I heard this about a year ago I was out and I was sitting in a restaurant and I started looking around and I was like, yeah, I feel more homey, more festive, more.

Matthew Efird:

But you feel more at home. You gather, more there's more cocktails are shared, more appetizers are bought, more desserts are bought, because you stay longer and you're more willing to go there and go through the experience. So a lot of our restaurants that have drive-thrus we do a lot of emphasis on the drive-thrus, especially during COVID, because a lot of our specifically Chick-fil-A's were drive-thru only, and so we were creating this incredible experience in the drive-thru lane that they were able to serve their guests as they came through, and so the Chick-fil-A lines were just ridiculous.

Alan Wyatt:

Do you do the Chick-fil-A's around here? Yeah, the one on the Petrie Parkway, yeah, so I've noticed how good that looked.

Chris Lalomia:

All right, so for our listeners in our 15 continents. We're still here in Atlanta, and so one of Allen's local Chick-fil-A's. He noticed how cool the drive-thru was.

Alan Wyatt:

Yeah, no, no, no. It made me just drink a lot more of the peppermint milkshakes there you go.

Chris Lalomia:

You know what you went there going, I'm just gonna get a number one.

Matthew Efird:

And then you fall in the lights and you say and then boom, I gotta have a peppermint milkshake.

Chris Lalomia:

I gotta have a peppermint milkshake Because these lights are trancing me, so do your lights have like a code that they're like.

Matthew Efird:

I wish we could figure that out.

Chris Lalomia:

That would be, you know, by this franchise guys if you want to get into a franchise, he will figure this out. So I gotta tell you this story.

Alan Wyatt:

That Chick-fil-A. My middle son went to grad school in Europe and he got himself a Portuguese girlfriend sweetest girl you've ever met and she finally came and visited us last year and one of the things that she wanted to do was ride in a truck and go to a drive-thru. There you go, and so we went to your. Chick-fil-a because of. And then we went and we got our peppermint milkshakes and went and looked at Christmas lights oh, that's awesome.

Chris Lalomia:

Yeah Right, that's such a. The Germans think they have everything figured out about Christmas and the way it all started. But no wait, that Chick-fil-A's gotta figure it out and I guarantee you, if you buy into Christmas light, lighting pros, look it up, lighting pros, he will, I'm confident of this. Matthew will crack that code. We can call it AI, cause that's the cool thing now and but he'll be able to strobe light your ass. So when you're going through your next thing, you know you're like I don't want a number one, I want two number ones.

Matthew Efird:

Two number ones and two peppermint milkshakes.

Chris Lalomia:

So when I drive out of there, yes, I want two I want up side, upside.

Alan Wyatt:

I want charity Upside, yes.

Chris Lalomia:

But I think genius again about being able to do it. I'm just the marketing part of that. When I heard that story is you know cause I listened to your story about that I went back and took that to mine. I'm like and that is all about the customer experience. You are helping that business owner again. I'd love you if you're running a restaurant. If you're doing that, you're helping them with his major pain point and that is how do I increase sales? How do I, you know, serve a great product? I can do the product I can. I'll make great. I mean, I was a chef when I started my business, or maybe you bought into one, but now you're helping them figure out how to get more customers.

Matthew Efird:

And we do a lot of medical offices, dental practices, chiropractic offices. It just is bringing focus to your business. Yeah, and so all night long, I mean, people were taking pictures in front of your business, free marketing for you.

Chris Lalomia:

So I've been at the doctor a few times, Lili what?

Alan Wyatt:

I was gonna say does that make you want a little more elective surgery?

Chris Lalomia:

I mean maybe I do I perhaps colonoscopy?

Alan Wyatt:

Hey, doc, throw me some lights. Hey, I feel it better.

Chris Lalomia:

Hey, all right, feeling better. This is awesome. All right, so let's go back. One of the things I wanted to talk about with you is what was the hardest part of getting six years into this? I mean again, guys, you're gonna look him up. I know you are wildly successful. Of course we all are wildly successfully outside looking in. I'm wildly successful after 16 years. You just didn't want to see me the first 15 years, of course Matthew has, but what was the hardest part of scaling? We're looking back on it now, six years into it. That's a great question.

Matthew Efird:

I think two great questions.

Alan Wyatt:

One of the things that Chris is having a moment. Let's just let him dance. Okay, now we're back.

Matthew Efird:

One of the issues that we've had in scaling especially specifically for our Christmas lights business, because of the rate at which we're scaling is we had a hard time a couple of years ago bringing on new crew leads and we've developed a system, our say, of training to get them onboarded and to try to be strategic in the way that we bring them on, instead of just you know there's the delegate versus dump Do we just dump things on them and say, hey, I hope you're gonna figure this out and as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, I can go figure it out because that's what I enjoy to do, but somebody who I'm paying 20, 25, $30 an hour, that's not their mindset. And so really helping them lay out a process and a system that makes them successful. So that's probably been the biggest issue that we've had in scaling is as you bring on it in our industry, a new crew. There's a lot of value in that, but there's a lot of work that has to be done to invest in the crew lead, because the success of that crew rises and falls on the crew lead.

Alan Wyatt:

So with the growth that you've had, are you worried at all about being able to staff it? I mean, it's a tough market for everybody to find good people and you're hiring people, that even though it's year-round, there's still kind of a seasonality about it and half the year you're on a roof and the other half you're outside getting hot. Yeah, I mean so.

Matthew Efird:

Yes and no. Yes, and that we definitely have staffing struggles no, and that this year we're fully hired and this is the first year that we've actually turned away help, which is really a huge blessing to be in. What do you attribute that to? Our culture. We've really invested a lot over the last three years in building a culture of our team and investing in our team, and so, as soon as you get on.

Alan Wyatt:

When you say culture, what do you mean? Because I mean it could mean so many different things.

Matthew Efird:

So we do one of the things that we do, no big question. All right, hey, that's a great question.

Chris Lalomia:

Okay, all right, two to one.

Alan Wyatt:

No, I'm not going to take that one, because I had to ask for it.

Chris Lalomia:

That's a great question. You actually didn't ask it big, but okay, let's go back to you All that great question.

Matthew Efird:

We started doing something a few years ago where we do an all staff day once a month, because from mosquito Joe we're spread all throughout North Georgia and then during Christmas lights we bring all of our mosquito Joe guys in and then we also bring in additional seasonal folks work with us and they come from all over North torch area and so we pay everybody to come in for the day and we do five things. We do a company update, so we want to be transparent in how the company's doing, how we're doing as an organization year over year, and this year we also do a culture celebration, and so we have our core values that we talk about every single week. And then we pick every single employee for the last 30 days, when our last meeting was, and we find something that they exemplified that core value and then we celebrate that in that meeting and it's hey, here's, here's Mike, and here's the way that he worked, with integrity, because integrity is one of our things. You do the right thing every time. Matter of cost. Here's something that Mike did he messed up on a job. He went back, he fixed it, he told us, he told the homeowner great job, mike, and the more that we've celebrated that, the more that culture has risen to the top. And so so we, we do the culture celebration, we do a professional development, which is how can we better ourselves as technicians, how can we better ourselves as office staff? How can we continue to get better at our craft and what we do? And then we do a personal development how can we just be better as individuals? So one of the things that we say is when I, when, anytime we hire somebody new, I say you're going to work for us for a season and I want that season to be as long as it can be, but I know that you're going to move on to something else and God bless you when you go. But I want you to be better when you've worked here. And so we're going to invest in you as a person because we believe that the better that you become, the better that you are able to serve our customers, which means the better our businesses as a whole. And then, lastly, we eat and have fun, so we play game. Amen to that one, amen to that one. He can drink. So we, we, we, chris, chris grows up for a while.

Chris Lalomia:

So, no, no, I'm writing all my stuff down. Come on, it's gold. So we have talked about this. You have a culture in your company, whether you picked it or not, amen, and you have got to figure it out. And Matthew's very intentional on what he's doing to put his culture in force. And it's so hard with a distributed workforce. I don't care if you're doing computer programming and you got. You got computer programmers all over the world. You've got to find a way to build your culture. What you have and this is so big, I don't this isn't home services. This is everybody. Yeah.

Matthew Efird:

I love that, yeah, so we I mean we typically have younger guys that work with us, guys and gals, and so they, they love Ricky Bobby. So our slogan is if you ain't first, you're last, which is feedback, integrity, respect, share, growth and teamwork. And so we talk about that every single week and it's been something that we try to live that out, and I try to, first and foremost, as the leader one of the things that the Chris used to say in classes bottlenecks are always at the tops of Peter Drucker quote. Yeah, and that's something that I've really taken a heart, as I am the rate limiting step for for growth with them, my organization, but then also my management team. They are the rate limiting growth step for their, their team, and so I need to invest in them to help them grow and expand so that way they can be more successful. And first again feedback integrity, feedback, integrity respect, shared growth and teamwork.

Chris Lalomia:

That's first. I got it I figured that out, but but I want to know who dressed up as Ricky Bobby in the team meeting. Oh man, we haven't done that yet.

Matthew Efird:

You've got to do that too, but I'm probably going to. I can only say what I'll do with my hands, and so that always they like.

Chris Lalomia:

We go together like tuna, fish and cigarettes.

Matthew Efird:

That's right. Shake and bake baby Shake and bake, let's go. Let's say, we first last.

Chris Lalomia:

So one of the big things that you just did that I think is key is you have to talk to your employees in the manner they want to be talked to and know that they're part of something bigger. Yeah, so he says here, here, you're part of something bigger. This is what we do, and that's Matthew and spades, especially when it comes to purpose and leadership. But you got to talk to them on their level and you hit Ricky Bobby and so you might, you might hate Will Ferrell, you might hate that show, but guess what? Those guys, those ladies, they dig it and even if they hate it completely, they still dig the concept. Because we all talk about that, because I know somebody who absolutely hates Will Ferrell and shake and bake, but yet when we do that, she actually has to join in with us. That's right. That's the wife. But that but I know it rings with these guys because you've got to talk their language and to build the culture. You can say words like integrity and I have the same word in my culture and that's integrity and I was told by a business coach that that doesn't work. I'm like, yeah, here's my definition of integrity Do the right thing when nobody's watching, because you were always on your own and you said do the right thing no matter the cost. That changes the word integrity, because we all have it right. You're all listening to this podcast and you're trying to better yourself and think about things and we all have it right Because if you don't have it you're dead. I mean, to me you are. But when you define it for these kinds of guys and the people that we're talking about working with, that really makes a difference and hammering that with them is a huge. I love that.

Matthew Efird:

That's great, and by celebrating it every month, we're showing them different examples of how someone lived out integrity, how someone lived out respect. So respect is treat others the way you want to be treated. The golden rule share growth is be better today than you were yesterday. Teamworks enjoy serving customers and coworkers, so you call it everybody in that room. Yeah.

Chris Lalomia:

That's awesome how many people you have in that room.

Matthew Efird:

We get 25.

Chris Lalomia:

Yeah, that's a long call out. I can't do that. That's why I sit in the back.

Alan Wyatt:

You don't know everybody's name.

Matthew Efird:

I do I do Come on.

Chris Lalomia:

I was just talking about this.

Matthew Efird:

I'm not the one that always does it. So our management team pulls out, so the employees that they're over, they pull that. That rises up to me, as I'm not the one or make sure that's clear I'm not the one that sees everything from that perspective.

Chris Lalomia:

See, it's okay that one of us is busy growing his family and building a faith-based family and one of us is out there making goat legs. Speaking of which, I just booked my next Vegas trip. But we're going back to it. So in the La La Mía suite, we don't know we're going to stay yet I got my flight booked. I'm going out there for the going to Vegas. Vegas is where the Super Bowl is going to be this year, really. Yeah, I think that's right, I read that Right. But we're going out there for the divisional playoffs.

Matthew Efird:

Oh, cool yeah, so are you planning on being in it?

Chris Lalomia:

You talking about my Lions or my Falcons? Either Lions, yes, falcons, never, never, no, I mean. Oh, in fact, that was my Halloween costume last night was I had my Lions jersey underneath a pimp daddy hat and I flashed everybody. There you go. And I said and I put it out on Facebook. I said caption this phrase or who am I? And you went. You're a closet Lions fan.

Matthew Efird:

I'm like my entire life, my friend my entire.

Chris Lalomia:

I literally owned no Hanlulu blue for years, but but I actually know how to support a loser, yeah. So where did Hanlulu blue come from? Why do they call it that? That's a great question. I don't know the answer to that. I don't have to go to two. You know what?

Matthew Efird:

Hey, I just gave it to you.

Chris Lalomia:

Oh my God, he's suckered me into that. I will tell you the problem with the Lions still, I'm going to go back to it and this is a great leadership lesson. It's ownership and leadership. It started at the top and the Fords did a great, great disservice to our city by owning that company that, that team it was. It's been horrible. And, by the way, if you ever go to Dearborn, michigan, which is where my mother's from and I grew up just 30 miles west of there, is when you say you work there, you work for the Fords. You didn't say you work for the Ford Motor Company. You said you work for Ford's Because that's the culture and the family that they had, wow, and this is in the 80s and 90s, wow, yeah, and I'm sure I'm back to tie this all back together. But when they own the team, they have done a horrible job. They finally have relinquished enough where they're actually allowing people to make and smart people to make good decisions. So, manager, on down to the yellow. So that's a, that's another you like. Jeragoff yes, I do. Yeah, I tell you what I think. I think he could be a Super Bowl winning quarterback again. I tell you who I really like Dan Campbell. Yeah, he's perfect for Detroit. Yeah, he is Detroit. I mean, if you were so, alan loves to hate that he went to school in Michigan because he grew up in Oregon, but he knows that Detroit's really the I mean the CEP center of the world. It was Actually I just got them to tell the kids that he was. It was no, there's a great special. Here's another nugget for you If you go out there and Google Aerial America, they do all the states and then they do a bunch of things. You can do any state you want. I've listened to the Georgia. I've watched the Georgia one, michigan one, the state of Washington one, because I lived out there too. It is fascinating how much they go through the history of the state. There's stuff in Georgia that literally is two hours from us. I've never been to. Wow, I know who I am in Atlanta. I've been here since 2001,. 22 years now, and I fancy myself kind of a historian guy. I love that stuff and I have never been all these places. I'm like, oh my God, I got to do it so bad. Anyway, do I like golf? I do like him. Do I think the lines get the Super Bowl? I'm not sure yet because I'm still. I'm so, I'm so chated. But I love Dan Campbell because this phrase you don't have to come hunting for us, we'll be on the front porch. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Think about that in business. Isn't that a great line? Yeah, I mean as we're in business, I mean it's not well for me, it's very adversarial in business. I mean, I like to go to battle every day and solve problems. I have a feeling that Matthew goes a little bit differently into battle. It's been tell is way different than mine, but obviously wildly successful. So let's get back to some more lessons that we can learn, all from Matthew. All right, so you got the lighting pros. You've now franchised the idea. How many franchises do you have? We have three locations.

Alan Wyatt:

I already have three I already have three Bringing the concept of franchises. No small deal it is not no.

Matthew Efird:

So one of the things that we did was we took our experience as a franchisee and tried to model our franchise or around things that I wished the mosquito Joe franchise did, and so we tried to develop things that would benefit our franchisees well, while also providing success for the franchise, or as well, because we're not doing this for free, obviously, but it's trying to marry that instead of I'm going to squeeze as much value out of every franchisee as I can, and it's more along the lines of when you're successful, I'm successful, which is ultimately what a franchise should be Now.

Alan Wyatt:

how much of the franchising piece have you outsourced, In terms of what?

Matthew Efird:

Well, so I didn't do any of the legal, any of the financials.

Alan Wyatt:

Is that what you're saying? Well, and then there's the finding, the franchisees. There's the franchisee support. I mean, are they getting the same people that are supporting your personal business with mosquito Joe's and?

Matthew Efird:

no. So some of that we brought on additional team that's fully, solely focused on that. This solely focused on a franchise. And then personally I'm doing the client development right now and we're building out of client development team kind of goes back to the initial of the technicians is. I didn't just run into the franchise, the consultant route, because I wanted to be able to understand kind of more of our culture, what we're doing and also the way to sell this appropriately, instead of just hey, who's got enough money to sign the check to buy the franchise?

Alan Wyatt:

Well, and it's a similar thing. You build a culture as a franchise, or yeah, and there's. So there's just a litany of franchises where they just basically gave a franchise to whoever would check and then the horse is out of the barn and you know whereas, if you're careful about it, you can actually develop the same kind of culture that you have within your own business within a franchise system, even though you're not. Actually you can't manage them.

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, and that 100%, 100% agree. Yeah, great point. Chris has had his family, oh light. So I'll start this being hard and like bad now, with some of the harshness in the I'm not putting my finger up, alan, because I'm got light.

Chris Lalomia:

I'm putting my finger up because you're talking too much and it's not about me this time.

Alan Wyatt:

I guess we need to get back to franchise. Point out which finger you're holding. Yeah well, that was.

Chris Lalomia:

I did not tell Alan he was number one. No, I was politely, I was trying to let him know that I love this topic, but I don't think we want to go all the way. As the Franchising topic with lighting pros, I think we want to invite Matthew back. So if you're interested in that, lighting pros, pop. You just want another bottle of liquor. Hell, yeah, I mean, yeah, I mean, I mean. We got to monetize this sucker some way. There you go. At least I can get drunk and keep my gut like symptoms up. There you go, by the way, you just prop your feet up and it all goes away. Really, old man, shit. All right, here we go back to you. Matthew, matthew, how can people find you out there online?

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, so Fond me on LinkedIn Matthew Warren Eford. Also, matthew at the lighting pros, calm, it's my email, my cell phone six, seven, eight, eight, eight, oh, seven, nine, four, one zero, happy to talk to anybody. We love what we do Really started out in this as a passion to serve our employees and I still have that passion. But I'm finding this deep passion of serving other business owners that are struggling in us in a seasonal business, so it's really really been very fulfilling as an opportunity to continue to give back, which has been exciting dude, this guy is so deep I I've always enjoyed being with him.

Chris Lalomia:

I, in fact, I can't ever see him Playing football and getting completely mean, and mad.

Matthew Efird:

That was an issue I had. Honestly, I was big and I was strong. I'm sorry, I'm sorry I didn't have this issue. I broke your collar bone, I'm sorry. Played offensive line and so you weren't mean and mad. I took the perspective of my job is to protect my quarterback and so that helped me to get in the mentality. But I played with guys that were like I'm gonna take your head off and and I respect that, but it was just not me so.

Chris Lalomia:

So my football career was the other side. Yeah, my dad. He still, to this day, asked that question how could you go out there? I said I just flipped a switch, I'm Ricky Bobby.

Alan Wyatt:

No, not Ricky, you were a water boy, bobby, I was.

Chris Lalomia:

Clearly, mentally I pretty close. But no, I was uh, yeah, I mean I was. I went out there and I was six, two, two, forty. I play in high school ball. Oh, that was college, in high school, it's like six, one, two hundred. I always had the small man and set mentality. I was. I watched some of the VHS tapes, there you go, that's over, and I was like, oh, I did that, oh yeah, oh okay, I. I didn't remember. I mean I was just. Yeah, it was one of those things. I love playing football. I loved, I love sports. So it's a different mentality, right, and look at, here we are, we're talking and there we are. Two different mentalities, however, to Successful businessmen. That's right. One of us just took a lot longer to get there, all right. But, Matthew, we're happy to have you here, but we can't leave you go without you Answering our famous four questions at the end of each one. And this guy is well read. Alan, are you ready? What is a book you would recommend to our audience?

Matthew Efird:

There's several. The one, the one that I would probably land on our say this the book that I've given out the most over the last 12 months. It's about Jimmy Collins, called creative followership. I've given it to all of my staff and and it felt really odd first giving it to them he's the only non-Kathy CEO of Chick-fil-A and he wrote about his experience being the right-hand man to Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, and and he wrote about what he learned about being the person who's next in command but not in command. And it is a Amazing book, just about Such a flicking gold nugget. I mean.

Chris Lalomia:

We're all not gonna be on a bash and we've talked about Chick-fil-A. If you've listened to this podcast for a while, alan actually turned me on to the book and I read to his book Alan's been to the Headquarters. I know you've been to the headquarters. We do their lights and you do their lights. That's what I was gonna bring up. Little humble brag. Matthew says you know what I really don't like to kill people. This way. Boom, boom, boom, bam. Follow this. Yeah, see, I'll be over there going dance, dance, dance. How about me? Now we're gonna say about that but no, he doesn't do that, all right, so that's a great book. That is one that has not been recommended and any of our partners, and that is classic and I'm gonna put that on the list too great but great.

Matthew Efird:

But I mean I've got so warming.

Chris Lalomia:

Well, you know what, bring you back, because you're too close and you bring good bourbon, so we're bringing you back. All right, what's the favorite feature of your house? I?

Matthew Efird:

Love. As you walk in our front door to the left is my office. I built built-in bookshelves there and I've got a lot of books because I enjoy reading. I've also got a lot of picture of my boys and my wife and it's just a sweet space for me. I have my quiet time there in the morning, but I also work there a lot of days. And then across, if you turn to the right, there is what we call our cozy room and it was just used to be a dining room. We converted it into kind of a catch-all and I built a kind of a daybed sitting area with bookshelves on it and it used to be really pretty. And my oldest son is six, so we have six, three and a one-year-old at home. We have four boys, with three at home and it's got markers on it and it's called cut up, but I love it and so it's just a sweet place for us as a family to congregate and to be this could be a potential gold nugget from you.

Alan Wyatt:

But talk about your quiet time in the morning.

Matthew Efird:

How much time do you just it's typically about an hour of me in the morning, so I read, I pray, and then it's just more of Getting my mind, giving myself some time, some margin to think, and so a lot of you don't give yourself that hour.

Alan Wyatt:

Does it impact that?

Matthew Efird:

day much, and so I find myself being more proactive when I do that. I'm more proactive during the day and I respond more graciously to my staff. I'm more measured in the way that I respond to my wife, to my sons and also to my employees, as well as our customers. I Can be more proactive instead of just reactive. If I wake up and it's immediate start, I don't have a time to kind of start my day. Man, I'm just so much more reactive doggy, that's discipline, discipline, discipline.

Chris Lalomia:

Right there, and you don't know it until you feel it. I went to a conference and said all you had to do is meditate five minutes a day and you would have a heart attack. So I did twice and so far so here I am. I only got like, and I'm only on four other blood pressure medications and doing it. Guys, listen to that one because that one if you're still hanging with us right now Listen to this one, because this is gold shit to right here. It's going down. Just, he says an hour. Even if you just took five minutes, oh, I guarantee you you will be more measured throughout the day. For me right now it's working out the morning and if I don't get that work out in the morning, yeah, I am absolutely shorter with everybody and I can get short and a heartbeat, as Ellen knows, but that's, I think that's gold right there talking about that, Early to bed, early to rise makes man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Matthew Efird:

Yeah, we're really taking over that Ben Franklin quote. Took that hard a few years ago. Started waking up earlier, going to bed earlier. It keeps me out of trouble and allows me to be productive for my business, for myself, from my marriage and for our boys.

Chris Lalomia:

You know I listen that Ben Franklin book too and I remember him being a little promiscuous. So I know I I guess we all listen to different stuff and he also took it.

Alan Wyatt:

He took a naked air bath every day to Chris. You know you can just pick and choose what you want out of every man and at the end I mean you made it to me that's.

Chris Lalomia:

I mean you know how long he lived and with the average lifespan, yeah, twice, yeah, he was like, yeah, he lived two and a half lifetime. Yeah, yeah, I mean amazing. Yeah, all right, and I love the fact that before we got into this, matthew started talking about his young family Growing up and we happened to have a pool in our house and he started asking me questions about that, always inquisitive and always, always proving that old men love to talk about stuff they have. So I think I think we have it back on the podcast his favorite feature will be the pool that he has for his family. I'm gonna tell him All right, that was cool. All right, we got to go into the next one. You ready what's a customer service pet peeve of yours when you're the customer.

Matthew Efird:

That my business is frustrating to you, mmm, that there is nothing. So my wife is is the Mary, my wife is the second best decision I've ever made. First, my relationship with Jesus Christ. But second is, is my wife and and she is so gracious to me she put my shirt, her hand on my shoulder or my arm. It's like that's my time of just. He won't take a breath, but. But I get immediately fired up when somebody gets Frustrated with me. When I asked him to do their job and so the other day was picking up some subs from a restaurant or a sub shop and Was reading off the order, and literally read off the first one, and the girl goes Can't believe, you ordered that, really, I'm not, I'm not kidding, wow. And I just looked at it. I said is there something wrong with that sub? And she goes no, it's just, I have to do so much work to make that sub. And I said you, and so I just I bet this is long, awkward pause. I just looked at her and I'd had my quiet time that morning and I'd had my time, it's all, it's a little more measured. And I said that's the sub I'd like to get, do I? I'm going to go somewhere else and get it. So, chris, what?

Chris Lalomia:

would you have said that scenario All right. So to be to be fair, here's what I think. It's not her fault, it's her boss's fault, oh yeah.

Alan Wyatt:

A hundred percent.

Chris Lalomia:

It is such a culture problem that I would have looked at her Now. That being said, in that case, looking back at it, I measured here. Let me tell you what happened last you didn't have your quiet time.

Alan Wyatt:

So last night got a little gout light going on I did so.

Chris Lalomia:

Last night was Halloween, as we're laying this one down and I took our golf cart out into our neighborhood and I had paid somebody to put the wheels on my golf cart. I didn't do it myself, I would have done it myself. I said you know what, I'm going to pay them to do it. The wheels start coming loose. I am halfway across the sub so I go to our security guys, because we have security here. I'm like do you have a tire lug on? They said no. I said you're driving it to your. You're driving a Chevy Colorado. You have a lug nut. Do we have one? I'm like. And so I said, well, and that's where my wife said you're going to stop now. And I went after. And so I was nice and I got the. I got the everything tightened up when we got back home. So I would tell you hypothetically what I would have said. But let me tell you realistically what I said. And I was a smart ass at a half no, we don't have that. And so I was like hmm, you know what? And at the time I should have said it's not your fault, it's your boss's fault. But at the time I was with two chirping ladies who had just got done making a video of me, one being the daughter and one being the wife, and I was. I was incensed because I was halfway across with my daughter saying well, there you go again, dad. Another golf cart ride where it breaks down, okay, and she's back everybody, okay, too. Better dad, oh my God. So it's always easy to answer how you should have responded and what Matthew said. What would I have done? I mean, I think we all know what I would have done. I would have went yeah, we're done, bye, bye. I don't care what the name of your place is, but I'm not going to say it. It is, but I'm going to go to the next place. Yeah, even if it's worse.

Matthew Efird:

Yeah.

Chris Lalomia:

Yeah, I would have walked right back out.

Matthew Efird:

That's the thing that always bothers me the most is when I have somebody that is I'm relied on their service and that it looks like I'm a disservice to them.

Chris Lalomia:

So when I get that feedback in my business this is why I have the dammit doll at the office, because trash cans, trash cans were taking a lot of beatings at the house when I hear that, when I hear that it was hard to work with your company, that just absolutely incenses me. Yeah, and especially in the consumer business, I mean we deal with a lot of crazy people. But when you hear that you're like we are here to make it easy to work with us, yeah, that's the whole reason we're here. Yeah, we're here to help them with things they can't do. Yeah, and we're working on their number one asset. We're working on their house. Yeah, I mean you're spraying it from a skill so they can enjoy their backyard. Yeah, this is their place, this is their solitude, this is their sanctuary, this is everything. And if you don't think like that, you're missing the boat.

Matthew Efird:

We say every week we're in the customer service business. We just happen to do outdoor pest control and outdoor lighting.

Chris Lalomia:

Yeah.

Matthew Efird:

I mean, our guys can quote that, but every single week we talk about that.

Chris Lalomia:

Yeah, I think that is. It's hard. You know, I've Donald Rensfeld said this and Remy said it when the war was, and I happen to have a lot of guys who served buddies of mine, and so I followed it very closely. I did not serve as they did, but Remy said it the best and he said you know what, in these wars we have to be right all the time. The insurgents will have to be right once, yeah. And with customers they don't have to be right once, yeah, right, and you can't let them come in. Yeah, you've got to build that process, that sanctuary. That's going to say look, I'm coming to help you do something you can't do. Yeah, because, especially in your world, I don't know the chemicals, I don't know how to do it. Yeah Right, in mosquito spray I don't want to put up lights. I literally put in three spotlights every year just because I don't want to put up lights in my house. Yeah, so I don't want to do it. And here I am at this age. You know, in our business you don't have the tools, you don't have the time, you know the skills. Yeah Well, can I? I mean, I have lots of skills, I'm very handy. You mentioned it yourself. But when you hire somebody to do it, you just hope that somebody's going to come in there and act like you and be the face of your company and do it. And that's the most frustrating for me. Yeah, and it's hard, but it's easy to answer on the backside and to pick at you and go. You know what? I would have been so much above what Matthew said. No, I would not have been. I would have been the guy charging out the door, going we're done All right, we're done All right. See ya All right, ready, yep, all right. Matthew's very handy. He's working a lot of stuff, but I want to hear a DIY name air story. I'm talking fires, pestulence bug, so not really a nightmare.

Matthew Efird:

But we like to keep our bedroom colder. This are our boys upstairs on the same floor as us and I like to keep our bedroom cooler, especially in the fall and winter. And so I was moving our thermostat from our the master bedroom out into the hall which I know there's probably some issues with that but I didn't want the temperature sensor to be kicking off. I'm leaving the window open and it's 40 degrees outside. And so I moved that Well, I didn't shut all the power off, which is my fault and tripped one of the the core, the cables, and blew a fuse in our AC unit and thankfully or no, excuse me in our furnace. Thankfully it was just an automotive fuse and I was able to go get one. But my wife said very graciously as I started. She said, whatever you do, please make sure we have heat tonight, because we had a newborn at home. So this is our second. Our third son was home, second home, and I mean he's probably two weeks old and it was supposed to be cooler that night. And I was thinking like I mean, I'm so tired of having the heat on in the bedroom, like let's put it out there to be great, and I'll leave the window open and be fun. And so I go to get everything set up and I go to turn the heat on and it's not coming on. I was like, oh, there's some pressure and trouble. So thankfully I was able to watch some YouTube videos and get it figured out. So not quite a nightmare, but but it was right on the cusp of of being a big issue. And the main reason was because she had told me, make sure we have heat tonight.

Chris Lalomia:

So lesson learned. How many years have you been married?

Matthew Efird:

We have we've been to go 13 years 13,.

Chris Lalomia:

Yeah, close, Alan 31. Yeah, so lesson learned for everybody you think about getting married. First of all, think about it hard. Second of all, do not, when your child is only two weeks old, decide that you're going to do a major rental project. Oh, guess what?

Alan Wyatt:

Yeah, I did.

Chris Lalomia:

How about when she was eight months pregnant and I was demoing the master bath? And that was what? Wow, okay.

Matthew Efird:

With three-year-olds. What were you thinking?

Chris Lalomia:

I not, I'm not thinking at all. I mean, you talk about DIY Some more quiet time. I need more, way more, dude. There's not enough quiet time of the day to get me out of this. All right, everybody, go out there, make it a success, make that mountain. Get over the top, go up it, make it happen. We got to get out of here, but we're bringing Matthew back.

Alan Wyatt:

We're out of here, let's go. Cheers, everybody, cheers.

Christmas Memories and Small Business Adventures
Engagement, Achievements, and Trivia
Legacy and Opportunity in Entrepreneurship
Starting a Franchise
Marketing Christmas Lights for Commercial Businesses
Building a Strong Company Culture
Franchising and Football Chats
Quiet Time for Productivity
Marriage, Parenting, and DIY Lessons