Today we'd like to introduce you to Tanner Smith.
Hi Tanner, we're thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
Wait?!? A carpet cleaner with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a Master's degree in Business Administration? Growing up, I knew I wanted to be an engineer. In college, I was good at math and liked chemistry, so I majored in Chemical Engineering at BYU. I did some pretty awesome stuff in school, like working in a tissue engineering lab to grow hearts. Yes, we successfully learned how to decellularize a porcine heart and then worked on growing autologous cells back onto the extracellular matrix. Pretty neat stuff. However, as I neared graduation, I learned that there were other engineers who understood quantum mechanics and thermodynamics much faster than I did. Although I got good grades, I felt like I had to work harder in school than my peers. I did enjoy working and leading the teams. So, I pursued a job in a Leadership Development Program and moved my wife and 1-year-old to the middle of the country to make Gerber baby food at Nestle in Arkansas.
Soon after arriving in the corporate world, I felt the need to pursue something where I could create a culture and positive environment in a company. The opportunity came to move back to Florida to be closer to family and work for my father-in-law opening a Zerorez franchise. I moved my wife and now two kids back to my home state of Florida where I opened Zerorez carpet and tile cleaning franchise. Like many great companies, we started out in my garage. It was just me and a van to show the wonderful people of Orlando what makes Zerorez different and how we are changing the carpet cleaning industry with patented technology and service unparalleled to anyone else. We opened shop fall 2019, and just 6 months later, the global pandemic hit us. We adapted and pushed through all the while building trust with our customers and community. During this time, I also went back to school and earned my MBA from the University of Florida.
Three years later, we have moved out of my house and into a warehouse and now have 4 vans and 5 other technicians. We all work together to grow as we become the most trusted provider in our industry. We live and act by the core values of trustworthiness, service, and improvement both at work and in our personal lives. This has made the biggest impact as we serve our customers and deep clean their living surfaces. I thoroughly enjoy the complexity and challenge of running a business grateful I have good mentor and great customers and employees and a phenomenal wife who supports me.
I'm sure you wouldn't say it's been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Yes. I think it has been as smooth as ice, so I've learned to ice skate, otherwise, I would be falling down on my face at every curve.
Starting a company is hard. Building a company is harder. Building a successful company is hardest. Building a successful company with a great culture and an average google rating of 4.9 and over 500 reviews is impossible -to do alone. Add baby #3, an MBA, and a global pandemic all in the 1st year and yes, there were times I wanted to quit and go back to a cushy corporate job sitting in an air-conditioned office with free coffee and candy every day making Chemical Engineering money. But thanks to my dedicated wife, and a passion for building and creating things, we have pushed through the struggles. When we couldn't push through, we learned to get out and climb over them and came out with new perspectives and appreciation for all that we have.
Challenges such as unsatisfied customers, broken equipment, hiring, and labor issues, increasing wages, and prices of supplies and products all pose significant challenges. Nevertheless, great technicians make it possible. My first full-time hire Jimmy is still with me and has taught me a lot about this industry. My Father-in-law and owner in Jacksonville have had a successful Zerorez franchise for 18 years, and overcoming many challenges has helped me.
There have been struggles behind, and there will be struggles ahead, but I believe the struggles and growing pains make you stronger and more resilient to overcome even bigger challenges that lie ahead.
As you know, we're big fans of Zerorez of Orlando. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about the brand?
Zerorez spelled forwards, or backward-it's the right way to clean. The technology to clean was invented almost 2 decades ago because spots would come back after cleaning the carpets. Zerorez has a patented cleaning system where we use high pH water (here's where the chemical engineering comes in) that has been filtered, softened, and raised to a high pH with an electrolysis process to clean without leaving behind a residue. We increase the pH because it cleans better, but we don't add any soaps or detergents to the water, so when we leave the floors are clean without a sticky residue, and rapid re-soiling doesn't occur.
In addition to our process, we have the best people. Go check some our google reviews, and you'll see why. I hire based on content of character, not on experience. Trustworthiness is at the foundation of all that we do at Zerorez. We are definitely known and recommended based on our customer service.
In addition to great customer experience, we clean:
- Pet (and kid) issues
- Area rugs,
- Granite countertops,
- Air ducts,
- Commercial carpet and offices
I'm definitely most proud of our culture here where we do what it takes to leave a positive experience with a customer. Whether that's flowers on Mother's Day or handwritten thank you cards. People won't remember what we said, but they will remember how we made them feel. We strive to leave every customer's home where they say, "I can't wait for Zerorez to come back again!"
Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one's life and career. Any advice?
Build relationships. I learned in college that relationships are more important than grades. Positive relationships will be the driver of success in any business. The "go-getter" is not as effective as the "Go-Giver" Focus on genuinely helping others, and opportunities will come.
- Website: www.orlandozerorez.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zerorezorlando/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zerorezorlando/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1QW5p7EFp0ef4UJxhoSEMA
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/zerorez-carpet-cleaning-orlando-apopka
- Other: https://g.page/r/CYsl__jNUHbyEAg/review