I have been fortunate to interview several visionaries in our industry over the past year. This interview with Ricky Regalado was different. He is such a visionary that he inspired me to do greater things in this amazing industry. Take the time to listen to this one all the way through and then listen again. You will not be disappointed.
The first portion of the interview covers Ricky's upbringing and deep family ties. This is where you start to feel the deep sense of connection that he has to the blue collar workforce in America. In the second portion of the interview, we shift gears and talk about the cleaning industry and where it's going. We covered the integral values of hard work, grit, and perseverance that founded our country and is not being taught like it used to. In the final portion of the interview, Ricky shares his vision for the cleaning industry and how we can be a part of rebuilding America.
Here are a few notes and quotes that stand out from this interview.
"If we were going to make this work, there wasn't enough time to have a social life because we had a vision. At some point, we'll be working on this business and not in it."
"Love it or hate it, you don't get a 10x return on a blue collar business. You get a 10x on a technology company or an invention."
"A trend isn't a short amount of time. That's a risk, a high risk and can turn around on you as fast as it went up."
Where does this generation learn grit and develop a backbone? We learned it from our baby-boomer parents and grandparents, who watched their parents and grandparents survive the Great Depression. We learned it from our immigrant parents who scrapped for everything they had. We learned it from our single moms who had no other way but up.
This industry is so poised to keep growing. We're foolish not to capitalize. Ricky is getting letters from private equity firms all the time offering to buy his company. These firms see the marketplace and see commercial cleaning as recession proof and pandemic proof. For the first 5 years, Ricky didn't like being known as a cleaning service owner. It wasn't glamorous. Now, he shouts his business with confidence and excitement. It generates responses like. "Ooh, I need a cleaning company."
There have been 30,000 new cleaning companies formed from 2006 to 2018. That number nearly doubled in 2020 to 52,000 and 2021 is likely more than 2020.
"I feel like they need to know what it is to walk in the shoes of a cleaning technician before any other thing cause then they'll get that humility." Ricky requires every employee of the company at every level must spend their first 30 days in the field cleaning. "The greatest generals started with basic training."
Ricky's Business Growth (Year to Year)
2012 $80k Coverall
2013 $250k Coverall
2014 $600k Coverall
2015 $800k Coverall Sold, $0 Rozalado
2016 $1.8M Rozalado
2017 $2.4M Rozalado
2018 $4.8M Rozalado
2019 $6M Rozalado
2020 $9M Rozalado
2021 $10M++ Rozalado
Ricky's Vision for our Industry
Rozalado is currently at the top 1% in our industry. 9% of the general labor (blue collar) workforce comes from cleaning & maintenance industry! Think of it this way. 9 of every 100 blue collar workers in the US are working for cleaning & maintenance companies. That is mind-blowing. Ricky believes very deeply that he can make a sizeable impact on the American labor force by strengthening cleaning companies. It goes back to the way of life he grew up in. All Ricky knew was blue collar and now he is able to raise the standard of living for the very people he represents through the most unlikely of businesses.
"We are a piece to the foundation of America... is our industry. I just want to do everything I can to impact it so that when people say blue collar, they think of money versus grind, dirty, and not much money.Right now, you think of white collar you think of suits, sit at a desk, technology... you kill it. Blue collar is the foundation of America. If we lose the trade industry or services, America is going to shudder. You can't live on high-rise and luxury and smart buildings and this and that. You still need the grit and the blue collar."
You can connect with Ricky Regalado through his technology company Route, listen to his podcast Cleaning & Cocktails, and grow your cleaning business with his Janitorial Store.
Did you like this interview with Ricky Regalado? Check out my interview with the T-Bag Company Founder, entitled "Respectful, Reliable, Responsible with Damon Washington". Damon is a Smart Cleaning School Podcast sponsor and you can purchase any of his T-Bag products at a 10% discount through the Smart Cleaning School Resources Page.
"Helping cleaning professionals make the impact they were meant to make."