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Dec. 31, 2022

Ep 314: Maximizing Your Commercial Property's NOI Through Commercial Bill Negotiation With Tammi Stroud

Ep 314: Maximizing Your Commercial Property's NOI Through Commercial Bill Negotiation With Tammi Stroud
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Lower your monthly bills or your clients using bill negotiations.


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0:00 Hey, welcome to today's episode. I am your host, Mr. Daniel Martinez. I have a special guest today. I always like talking to other business professionals and we had today I will not hold back from it. We have Miss Tammy Stroud, I said that correctly? 0:16 You did you got it. 0:18 I always have problems with names. And I'm always like 0:24 oh, I can't hear you anymore. You have problems with microphones too, not just names. Oh, can you hear me now? I can hear? Yep, I can hear you now. 0:33 Okay. See? Okay, so I always bear I always try and verify the name because I want to like butcher somebody's name. And like, 0:41 that's pretty. Yeah, I get it. Now. Mine's Easy, easy. 0:45 So tell us a little about yourself and what business you do, because I've only met one of the person that does what you do. And I was like, totally blown away, because it's something so niche that people don't even think about every day. So can you tell us about your own business? And what exactly do you do? 1:04 Yeah, so we, you know, our team does a little bit of everything, we've got a bill negotiation business. So in the last year and a half, we purchase and have been have had the pleasure of running a bill negotiation business, we have teams of auditors and negotiators that negotiate household and commercial, you know, business client bills down for them. So existing bill existing services with the existing provider, we have people that call and say, Hey, Tammy is paying more than her neighbor, can she get a you know, a discount to these bills. So, it's one of these really cool services that people don't realize, hey, that exists. And then they think through it, and yeah, you know, that's a, that's something that everybody can use, right? Everybody can put some money back in their pocket and, and pay less for their recurring household subscriptions and bills. So it's 1:55 really cool. 100% how long you've been doing this? 1:58 We've been doing this for about a year and a half. And it's been a very interesting year and a half during inflation to have a business like this. So it's felt really good. 2:07 Oh, wow. I thought I thought you guys are on, because we actually met. I didn't meet you. But did I meet you? 2:13 You met Nick? Yeah. Another team member. 2:17 Okay. So I met Nick, I didn't meet you. But I met Nick. Last April. I remember when this April, it was this April about eight months ago. Yeah. Yeah. It's kind of how we connected. And it's been an interesting. Interesting, I didn't I didn't realize a year and a half. I was very young. 2:33 So company's been around for about five years. We purchased the company last August. Yep. 2:38 Okay, you purchase the company? Let's talk about that. Yeah. Okay. So, I have never purchased a company, what are the basic steps to purchase the company because a lot of people would want to know, I want to know that that's a status shift. I want to know that 2:52 good diligence, right? We want to make sure it's making money and there's no you know, strange things going on underneath with the legal and whatnot. You know, we found the company. And you know, I'll tell the story more later, too. But we, we found the company because we were looking to provide more value to our customers, we are my partners, our team, we all come from retail energy backgrounds, right? So in markets where you can choose your energy supplier and that's what we've been doing in the market, you know, it was going crazy. Electricity is a commodity you start asking yourself how do we continue to help how do we continue to provide value and so you know, one of the questions was, hey, can we help with other household bills what would we do there? Maybe we can do Bill negotiation we found V and you know, we we looked for a partnership these happen to be for sale and here we are so not just a partnership we're actually we're doing this 3:47 well what was like the time process from when you found it? So when you took over I know it was like that due diligence period, submit an LOI all the basic stuff like that and then when you actually take over What's that process look like? 4:01 You know, it was it was not a terrible process three or four months really until we all kind of had our seat and we're moving forward with the with the wheel. 4:10 Okay, was it through direct somehow direct Yeah, 4:14 direct. 4:15 How did you find it direct? 4:18 We were looking for a bill negotiation partner. And so we reached out and said, Hey, we want to partner with you guys provide the service to our customers and then throughout the discussion realized, hey, they they're actually for sale. Sounds like a really cool model. I mean, if we would do a partnership we would definitely want to maybe run this thing and here we are. We're right we that's what we're doing. 4:39 So one thing I've learned and this is because we're in real estate is that everything is for sale, eventually. 4:45 Everything was a price is that what you're telling me? Everything? 4:47 Everything Everything has everything has a price. And if you bring if you make the right price, it will sell now. 4:55 Yeah, yep. So always that right It was really good timing. So the previous owner was looking really to kind of back out of, you know, corporate America in general, she had young children and, you know, it kind of kicked around, or I want to keep doing this. And, you know, for some people, the fun is in getting the business going, right, starting a new business off the ground. And so, you know, continuing to run and existing business, sometimes people just step back from that and move on. And that's what she did. And lucky for us, because we've been, we've been really enjoying it. And we've been doing very well. And it feels very good to be able to offer a service like this. While so many people are struggling with, you know, lots of things, right, gas has gone crazy. Electricity has gone crazy. Inflation is just through the roof. 5:45 So let's, let's talk about that. So you're in the negotiating build business? How do you help customers? Exactly? Like, I know, like me, personally, I've been I signed up for the bill got signed up, and I just haven't negotiated anything else. Do you negotiate like standing bills that are right there just find find some type of like giveaway or discount thing that's going on right now and try and match it or something? 6:11 That's a really good question. So when you, you know, customer sends us a bill, right? We take their existing service. So let's say, their home internet, you know, their cell phone bill, we call the provider and you know, we go through our we've got tons of metadata, right, we've called and all of these providers, so many times, we've got, you know, bulk customers, lots of customers come in to us for help on with certain services, certain providers, and we go through our records to take a look at what other customers are paying, you know, specific to that market or that area. If there's anything that the provider has issued lately, with, you know, new customer discounts, any anything that they're promoting that we can call and say, Hey, this is going on, and we'd like to get that we'd like to have that same discount, we'll whatever it might be whatever they can do for the customer. 7:01 So what it really is, is you're a data company. 7:05 Yeah, that's a lot of it. Right? I mean, that's the the power in it is that, you know, anyone can call them negotiate their bill. And that was my first thought was, you know, why wouldn't I just call and do this myself? What Not everyone has time, you know, it's call and then what do you say, hey, I want a discount, you know, do you have that data? No, you know, we do. And so yeah, that's, that's a big part of it. Customers are wanting to know why. Why would we turn this over? Time and knowledge? That's why 7:34 No, I think it's really important that you have the data. I think the data has been like, it's one of the things that I've been doing in pivotal and like business, especially with it like right now, all of these businesses, there's just the data, the data was what separates everybody else. And I've never like even this this conversation. We're putting yourself as a data company, but your data company, because you have the information that gives you the ability to negotiate better upperhand 8:02 yep, that's exactly right. Yeah. It's that's it's critical to us to be able to write that's, that's a lot of our competitive advantage is having that information. 8:12 Do you have a dog? What's your dog? 8:17 Yes. The joys of working from home. 8:22 Oh, man. Okay. I wasn't sure if it was my son. 8:24 I think is it yours or mine? Yeah. Right. Yes, it's one. 8:30 Okay. So everybody listening that's, that's Tamizh done. So, negotiating deals, let's say well, what type of bills can you negotiate? Because I think this is where like, like, who's your customer avatar? And will you really help because for me, like, I think of like, most of them, some of my clients may be businesses, they might have rentals. They might have commercial building, they might have their own personal residence, their own personal stuff like that. So insurance, car insurance, health insurance, Gas Electric. What niches are we talking about here? 9:07 You know anything that is a recurring you don't want to say a subscription but any kind of recurring health business bill is what we we you know 9:28 go ahead, take care of it. 9:30 Put him up yeah. Just a minute. Oh, thanks Daniel. It's it's never a dull moment working from home and So it's interesting. 10:05 Yeah, it happens. It happens. Oh, it was, it was like there's like a little bit at first I'm like, okay. 10:12 Yeah, I'm sorry. We had so it's also the week before Christmas. And so the Amazon delivery guys here 19 times a day and yeah, it's been a it's interesting. Yeah. 10:22 So I'm gonna, I'm gonna rephrase the question against the bigger you start from that point? 10:26 Yeah, sure. So just about what types of bills we we negotiate and handle. So anything that's not at this point, nothing credit base, anything that's not credit base, so not credit card bills, home mortgages, you know, car payments, those things but internet phone, cable security, even, you know, home water delivery, for businesses, you know, your you know, recurring uniform subscriptions, or, you know, cleaning fees, you know, alarm systems, electricity, right. So in markets where electricity is deregulated, and we can find supply options. Same thing for natural gas, you know, home natural gas, business gas, we negotiate those, and we have other ways of providing value on some of these that is it specifically on the negotiation side, so on, you know, on your electric bill, where we have partnerships with community solar providers, where we can, you know, get you signed up with a community solar provider to offset some of your usage at a discount, we're able to do that. So we we've really been growing the business by adding new bill negotiation types right credits coming soon, we're gonna have really cool credit options. And we've added insurance so you can send us you know, your, your auto, your home, your and your renters and your general enrollment policies. And we can get you quotes back right from from providers with the same coverage or better for less, which has been really cool. We've got things like medical bill negotiation coming very soon, in the first quarter of next year. And so now, you know, the main categories, we get a ton of cell phone bills, internet bills, you know, cable TV, satellite bills, those kinds of recurring things that you think of, you know, typically writing that check each month for your house or your business, keep everything going. 12:27 So I have a propane, I see somebody have propane, propane deliveries, like, every, like two months or something like that. Yep. That's, 12:35 that's for rural customers. Yeah. So it's, there's no natural gas, but there's propane. And yeah, those can be those can be negotiated with the local provider. 12:44 Okay, so for everybody listening. I mean, we talked, I mean, a lot of my clients are real estate based. So if you're an individual cell phone, electric, water bills, all that stuff could be if you're an individual, if you're an entity, the rentals, your rental properties, your rental property bills, it could be your renters, phone bills, because now you can help your renters save more money to make sure they pay you on time. Like this can go a lot of different ways down the line to help you and your clients, not just yourself as a service, but your customers that you service as a service. Yeah, absolutely. Which is the whole the whole, the whole cool thing about it. What's like the average turnaround time for like, negotiated bills, like five business days, 10, business days, 15 business days, I know it's very different five business 13:27 days. Yeah. Once we get the information, so when you submit your information, as long as we get that bill copy, we can start moving really quickly. We have, you know, the negotiators, we have specialists, right? So they know certain certain team members are really versed with certain suppliers or partners, providers. And so it gets assigned immediately to a negotiator, you get a notification directly from that negotiator, hey, I've got your stuff. I'm going to be calling here in the next few days, 24 hours, FYI. And I'm taking care of this, they asked if you know if there's any information that was missing from the bill, and if they have any questions, and then they get to it. It's pretty awesome. 14:12 I think it's pretty awesome. Because if you have like, if you have like a skilled provider that understands that business, they can go straight, right right to it because they didn't negotiate that built that business or working with that company all the time. 14:24 Yeah, they've got a good working relationship, they know who to go to, you know, what to say? What's been, you know, what's worked in the past, what they've been able to negotiate in the past and, you know, they take a lot of pride in, you know, get $1 more, right, like, Man, I got huge savings for this customer can I get $1 more next time? You know, it's almost like, you know, it's competition. We really like to watch these bills and, and the savings, you know, that comes through for especially, you know, commercial business owners have so much you know, there's bigger bills, right and so we're able to also audit Business of no bills on top of the negotiation. So, you know, if you're a business, and you send your stuff into us, we also, you know, we call we negotiate your existing services and get you discounts, which is awesome. But we also take a look at the existing charges once you've been paying. And then we get to work talking to your providers, hey, you know, this rate codes wrong, this tax codes wrong, you know, we've been paid wrong, we can request refunds on any wrong charges up to 36 months in arrears, which is awesome, right big cheque come straight to you. And we find errors and 80% of those bills on the audit 80% of you, you were paying too much on on rate codes or some classification. 15:41 Let's think a little bit on this and commercial because in the commercial space, they have their noi, which, which is what they're valued at, if they can negotiate their bills lower, that means they get a higher valuation, which a couple $100 Here and there can turn into 1000s, based off the application of commercial buildings. So you're seeing a commercial that can go three years retroactive, all like electric water, like regular bills for our commercial buildings. 16:08 Yeah. So anything that you know, we can we call it utility bill audits, so electric gas, water, and cable, telephone, cell phone, internet, anything that's considered you know, utility that way, even in markets where electricity isn't deregulated, or natural gas is deregulated? We can audit those electric and gas bills. 16:29 Is that Is there a standard? Like your audit you do for everything? Or is it like just on commercial properties? 16:34 Yeah, it's for commercial bills, right. So because businesses have more complex rate codes and tax classifications, and sometimes there are some minimums. So if it's a very small office or a small bill, and it's, you know, just a general, you know, small commercial code, typically, we can't do much with those, especially the bigger the businesses, right, or the more bills, if you've got multiple locations. Those, you know, like I said, over 80% of the time, we're finding errors where we can get refunds back 36 months. 17:08 80% is a very large number. That's a very large number. So commercial buildings, I think that's a huge, I'm gonna I'm gonna title this for commercial because I think that's a huge opportunity for everybody to increase your NOI and makes more money whenever you want to sell or refinance and get some money out of the business is not your opportunity to create large amounts of wealth just by hiring vb. So let's talk about this. I know the answer this, but what does it cost? Tammy? Like? What am I what am I? What Why, what am I going to put up for you to save me money? 17:44 So that's a great question. Pretty simple, right? So we are first of all, completely contingency based, we don't save you any money, we don't find your refund, we don't charge you a penny. And if we do, if we are able to negotiate savings from the bill or find savings in the audit, our fee is 50% of the savings. And so we only charge that fee, once we find the savings. And once you get the savings, so you're never out of pocket. So you know if they save Tammy, let's call it 50 bucks next month on her her internet bill, when I get my bill, it will be 50 bucks lower, and I'll pay $25. So I'm $25 richer, and everything's great, right? I don't even pay the $25 fee until I've already received a $50 credit. 18:31 That's amazing. That is amazing. So pretty much you work to produce results. 18:37 That's exactly right. Yep. Which is exactly right, which is a great 18:40 business model. So for everybody out there, there's really no risk to you, it's just the opportunity to save more money, increase your ROI, maybe put some more dollars in your pocket and go on a big expensive vacation at the end of the year, maybe that was sort of comes out to who knows. 18:55 Yeah, use it for something besides bills, I mean, it who wants to be paying more money for their bills for the same service, the neighbor has cheaper, you know, it just doesn't make any sense. It's not good business. 19:05 So to kind of bring everything back together, you work for free till you produce results, you help a lot of different types of people and your data company because you compile the data. So it gives you the upper hand, and you already have the connections at the companies to get the bills, you are usually having to deal with a client, a client, a client signature to show your relationship to and you can go negotiate those bills. That's 19:29 right. That is probably the coolest feature. I really think the coolest feature is that we continue to negotiate your bill right. So you know, I sent them my internet bill last year. First I sent them my internet bill but I called a negotiated myself. Call them said hey, my bills, you know, 100 bucks a month and I think they gave me You know, I think it was $20 off a month for a year is what they gave me was hey, that that's great. I'm happy with that. Then I sent my bill in and said good luck, you know, if you don't save me Any money doesn't cost me any money, right? I'm just gonna get peace of mind. They're gonna say to me, you negotiated the best, the best deal, which is what I expected. But then I got a note back from the negotiator saying they saved me another $450 on my internet bill, which was unbelievable. And, you know, really makes me question my negotiation skills, what am I doing here? You know, but they have the data, right? I mean, they knew what to ask for it and and where I wasn't getting the discount. So 20:28 the biggest underlying factor is the data. Like, that's why I said you're a data company. That's why I didn't even know your data company. So you said that because of data, I think is what separates everything else. Like that gives you the upper hand. You have the cheat sheet, you know that you can cheat? 20:43 That's exactly right. Well, and the cool part is that, you know, my internet bill, they did this for me last year. Great, cool. You've negotiated these savings savings, I wouldn't even have gotten myself. Right. Awesome. And then I got a note a few weeks ago, hey, Tammy, your internet bill, you know, we negotiated that last year and your contracts coming up pretty soon, we're gonna reach out make sure you do not lose your discounts, make sure everything's still you know, intact, which is awesome. Because look, I will never remember when my internet cable TV something, you know, cell phone contract is going to expire. Typically what happens is you get hit that next month with a giant bill. And you're like, what hap Oh, my gosh, what happened? While your contract expired, right. So now you're on a variable rate, you're on a new rate, they hit you with some new fees, you almost always end up having to pay at least one big bill, you know, before you catch it or take a look at it. And they got ahead of it for me. Right. So they're staying ahead of it. They're making sure I don't lose my discounts. It's pretty awesome. I love that. 21:45 So let's talk a little bit about ERC credits, what are those? And how can you can use utilize them? 21:52 Yeah, so for our commercial customers, we've been trying to add a lot of value, right for our business owners, business clients. And we have started doing the employee retention credit audits. And so as part of the Cares Act, right, during the pandemic, the government issued, you know, you could do everyone's familiar with the PPP loans, right, lots of people did the PPP loans, payroll, project, pay paycheck protection. Another piece of that was employee retention, credit, right, lesser known, little more complicated, but basically, for companies that qualify, right, they were affected by the shutdown mandates, or they were, you know, had a big decline in gross receipts or, you know, revenues, the government said, Hey, we will refund up to half of your, your employee payroll taxes that you paid in, is a stimulus. And so that, you know, of course, was for 2020, and 2021. And we can go back three years in arrears. So right now, you know, for businesses that survived the pandemic had w two employees, we can get that information, take a look to see if they qualify for this, this tax credit. You know, we have auditors and CPAs, that go through the information factor of what that employee retention credit refund should be for your business, and then file those documents with the IRS so that you get the check directly. So it has been a really, really big help to a lot of business owners, you know, putting that money back in their pockets, this money, the stimulus money that's sitting there waiting for you to claim it. And so, I mean, it's been, it's been a really big, big hit with us, right? It's been a big, big push with a lot of our business owners getting those in before, you know, it starts to expire next year. Right. So by the end of the first quarter of 2023, we're losing the first quarter of eligibility for 2020 Because it's only three years. Retro. So it's a big one right now. 23:54 Okay, okay. So what are the qualifications, you have to have like a minimum of five employees back in 20/21? Quarter? Because that's one of the year running or later. 24:06 Yeah, so we don't have a minimum you can if you're an owner, or directly related to someone that owns more than 50% of the business and you don't qualify, but as long as you have, you know, two or more w two employees, and of course, they're not directly related or one of the owners then yeah, their business, you know, would qualify for those employees. Then we take it to the next step and say, okay, great, let's take a look and see if you qualified, you know, based on the mandates, the government mandates like restaurants for example, always qualify because they were shut down right when they reopened and they were required to have limited capacity and all these things so we take a look at that and then we take a look at you know, if you weren't affected by mandate or you know, whether you were not take a look at quarterly gross receipts, right. And how much was your business earning? Did you suffer a decline, you know, due to something going on, uh, Have it during the pandemic those the mandates. You know, if anything on that end, we take into account the the cost of living adjustments, right inflation adjustments so that we can, you know, some some clients will qualify where they otherwise didn't think that they did, because our auditors are able to work these in. And so it's been a it's felt really good to put that money back in the hands of these business owners and let them try to grow their businesses. Right and recover. It was it was really tough on a lot of people. You know, we I think we all felt it. 25:31 It was a little tough for a lot of people for sure. It definitely. And it hit people definitely hit different sectors harder than others. A lot harder. So for sure. I feel bad for all the businesses that were affected, because I did see a lot of you see a lot of like, shuttering businesses that didn't come back from that. Yeah. My question is, so like, if a business went out of business after, let's say, 2021, they could still get that tax credit, even though they had it for a year. 26:04 Yeah, as long as they were operating. And if they paid, you know, employee payroll taxes during 2020 or 2021, then yeah, they could they can get their documents together. And they can claim that credit. 26:15 Okay, that's good to know. Because I mean, I mean, there's still money out, there's money, potentially money out there that you don't even know exists that you could still utilize on something that happened two years ago that might be over in the past, but you can still monetize or gets get back some of the money you might have lost. So 26:31 Exactly, right. Yep. It's important. 26:33 And for everybody out there that did get affected by that. I feel sorry for you. But there's still opportunity out there and opportunities like this to go out there and get some money on the back end. Stuff like some money and hopefully pivoted successfully, but it's difficult times the pool of times, businesses aren't aren't meant that aren't all the time, you know, there. There's always an endpoint sometimes, whether you sell it or close it down or something, there's always the endpoint. Yep. It's true. It's very true. Yeah, I've, I've recently like, come across, I'm like, I'm gonna do this forever. And I'm like, probably not, I don't want to. You know, like, hopefully, hopefully, somebody will take it over or will sell it or something else will happen. 27:20 It evolves. Right. Like us, we, you know, we were retail energy. Now we're, you know, build negotiations, you just, you keep chasing, you know, we're pretty provide value, right? What can we do? How can we provide value? And it's been a, it's been a, it's been a good road? For sure. 27:36 So, is your business 100%? Virtual? 27:42 So, now we Yeah, we're Yeah, virtual. Right. So everything happens online, the collection of the documents, the customer enrollment, you know, we have, we do have offices. So we've got a corporate office, we've got, you know, the negotiators are, of course, in an office, there's there's compliance standards there that have to be met. But for the most part, you know, client interaction, everything happens online. We have on the commercial side, we have commercial service specialists that reach out kind of white glove, walking through business owners through everything. So, you know, even today, I've talked through, you know, there's negotiation, there's audit, there's employee retention, credit, audit, insurance, all these things. So, you know, we have a consultation request form where most of our business owners will just plug that in, right? Hey, I want to talk I want to know what what can help us, you know, we offer energy efficiency products, right, that will reduce usage, or H vac systems and refrigeration units and all those kinds of things. So we've got so many different things to offer the commercial side. And so, you know, we we've got a Calendly link for our commercial team, we send that out, hey, set up a console when it's convenient for you, we'll talk through what might make sense you know, itemize it all and get you reports back on what we can do and what we can save you and and go from there. So while virtual there's a lot of white glove, a lot of you know, interaction. 29:10 Yeah, I was more asked on the side because like, I think I think I'm all for it because all my team is virtual. We do have we do have we do have our office that do people go to the office, but they don't necessarily force people to come to the office. I think it's cool having the ability to have a virtual business. And that's what I really want to talk to you about because I think virtual business is amazing. And I've I'm sure you recognize that to have the scalability of it. It's amazing and working from home because if you work from home if you didn't hear the dog in the beginning the first half of the interview, it has its issues Yeah. So what's what's something you do working from home to like keep you like, in the group because it's, it has its Yes, working home is nice, but it has its own it Choose? 30:01 Yeah. So, you know, my problem has been that there's no separation, right? If you're at the office, and he's kind of packing up at the end of the day, you pack up and you go home, you know, at home, it's, you know, it's after dinnertime, the kids are like, Hey, anybody gonna eat? Anybody got to deal with us? I've really had to, to try to maintain structure, right? So keep a pretty firm calendar structure on you know, this is what I'm going to get in the office and start and get get things going. I tried to, you know, take a little bit of time, at some point in midday a break of some sort not, you know, maybe I'm not just grabbing something to eat, get a workout in something just to break away from it. But, you know, the structure has been key for me, if everything goes sideways, then I'll just sit at my desk for 16 hours. 30:52 But that's that, I think, I think it's the like, overseeing partly Oh, you work for Home? Like, like, you said it perfectly. Because of like, there's no separation, the kids come in, and they can do meetings. And like, all I saw was like, what type of meeting is is the recording is just a meeting and like, well, it's a meeting, like door open. But if it's a recording, I can't have you in the room. 31:14 Yeah, same thing. Same. Yeah, the pandemic was crazy, because the kids are home, right. And everyone's trying to work from home. And that was the time when everyone was trying to figure out how to work from home. It was, it was crazy. Meetings are more forgiving. Now, everyone kind of expects kids and, you know, Amazon delivery guy and all those things. But yeah, you know, it's made, the virtual world has made it really easy for us to find great talent. And I'm sure you're feeling that too, right? You can find great partners. It's not you know, Hey, I gotta find somebody that would be great for this position. And they have to be right here at you know, Houston, or you can go worldwide and find the best talent. It's been very, it's been very cool. Like, meet, meet and work with a lot of really good, interesting people the best. 32:02 Do you have any tips or tricks to find great talent? Because I think that's, that's an underrated question that most business owners don't want to give that secret to, 32:11 you know, it's funny it I find people who, for one reason or another, they're really passionate about what we do, right? So they're talking to us about same thing as us we found these because we were looking for a partner that would do this right. So we were passionate enough about it that we wanted to be partnered with someone doing this and then now we're doing it so we have you know, people come to us that are looking for Hey, how can I help my my clients? How can I kind of do the same thing you are they're they're passionate about helping people and those turn out to be the absolute best partners right best sometimes internal talent, bring them in right work with us partner with us. And that's been that's been very, very cool. Finding subject matter experts and influencers and those kinds of things, you know, around what it is you're doing has been, you know, easier, the whole the whole world is there right for you to take a look at it and check it out. And it's a lot easier to find people that are passionate about saving money or helping businesses than it is to find people who were you know, passionate about retail energy, right? You It's a commodity it's not sexy, no one cares, right? It's you know, it's energy. Having the new the new product, the new service, this has been very cool. It definitely has helped. 33:35 So you probably find virtually like you're using like LinkedIn or how do you find like, how do you find your people people? Like internally? 33:42 It's usually someone we know, someone internally know somebody, right? We work with so we know of someone and I'll tell you, it's, that is a struggle we use. We use like specific corporate head vendors that are you know, versed in, you know, let's say finding finance people or finding you know, someone specific, which is expensive, you know, so if we can find referrals or people who you know, if I've worked with somebody who was really good in the past, and we always try to go that route. 34:14 Okay, that's a very underrated route. I I've been, I told my team that seemed like, Hey, we're looking to hire if you know somebody that would want to be compatible with us. And those those internal referrals are usually good because the people that are understand the business most are your employees, and they're usually going to help they're usually going to sell the business better than you ever could to an employee. 34:39 Right, and they're not going to bring someone else in, it's gonna make their job harder, right or hurt the business. So it's so it's made a lot of sense for us 34:48 to turn on and turn on turnover referrals. Underrated, definitely underrated, underrated, underrated. So, I know we have a link mind do that is to go and do that everything's gonna be the commercial individual. All that's going to be there to go essentially go get negotiate your bills down. Yeah. Very underrated niche. 35:12 Yeah, no, for sure. It's it's definitely underrated. I think that everyone, you know, if you ask anyone, do they would they like to be paying less? Right for their existing bills? The answer is yes. You know, do you have the time to go do that? The answer is most, you know, no, right. Or we would have already I mean, we, I don't have time to call, you know, several times a year or two, every single provider I have, you know, I can probably make the time. But even then, I've already proven I'm not going to be as effective as a professional, you know, someone that that data 35:49 is there. And you, you've been, you've been running this for a year and a half. Is there any like, like epiphanies you hit in your business that like, kind of took us to the next level? Personally, while running it, 36:03 you know, we came out of the gate super gung ho on adding other products and things like I mentioned, you know, audits and those kind of things. And then pretty quickly, you know, realize, hey, we don't want it to get confusing, we don't want to have so many, you know, there's, there's a fine line somewhere between, hey, you need that we can do that, right? But I also don't want to be like the Rolex salesman on the street in New York, like, Hey, do you want a Rolex? Or let me, Oh, do you want something else here? I've got that, you know, just confusing and overwhelming for clients. And so I take a step back on the business business development side and really trying to add services that are in line, right. So if we add the ability to negotiate medical bills, that's not confusing to anyone. It's just can you do my medical biller? gasher. Right. So I'm just trying to try to keep it as simple as is important, I think, a lot of the time. 36:58 So I've been struggling with this myself, because I'm like, I wanted more products and services, because my product list is very small as it is, but I'm like, I'm looking for my product list. So like, I really want to expand into other things. And we'll actually pick that will actually pick up I don't know, I've been struggling with that internal battle myself. 37:18 You gotta be picky, right? It's your brand. So you know, whatever it is, you you partner up with immersion represents got to kind of fit your Moran and carry that same weight. It's tough. It is. 37:30 Yeah, it's a it's an interesting, it's an interesting space. But you got to, you got to weigh your options. And I don't know, it's just about finding your balance, your business balance, per se. 37:44 It's never ending. Never ending. It's constantly evolving. 37:49 What is it quote that is yours or somebody else's that you resonate with? 37:54 Oh, man, you know, my dad gave me a great quote when I was a teenager. You know, and I'll tell a little bit of the story because it's cute. But my dad's a big fisherman. He loves to fish, right? Every day of his life. He's retired now he is this boat, he goes fishing. And, you know, he won this big fishing tournament when I was a kid. And we went to go eat lunch afterward. And we walked in and everyone there, you know, small town I grew up in knows my dad. And they all Hey, stand up, shake his hand. And, you know, a couple of the guys everyone wants to talk about fishing with them. And they said, Hey, man, I just caught, you know, a bunch of big red fish or whatever my dad said me, and that's great. You'll have to take me out sometime and show me where you call them. And we sat down and I said, Dad, you just won this tournament. Why don't you tell them? You know, they're telling you where to find fish, you know? And he said to me, if you're good at something, you don't have to tell everyone else. They'll tell everyone for me. And I sat back and thought about that. And sure enough about you know, half an hour later, a guy walked over to the table and said, Hey, man, you didn't tell me you just won that tournament at all. Someone so just told me you need to take me fishing. And Dad said, Oh, man, I'd love to Yeah, thanks. I appreciate that. And I watched him sit there and be humble about that, right that he was good at something and he didn't Hey, no, I just won this, you know, tournament and he wasn't bragging about it. And that really changed my mindset and a lot of ways right professional and personal. And you know, it's it's, it's been I think it's been an awesome life lesson that I really want my kids to kind of grab on to they're too young. They don't care yet. It's not a cool story to them, but I love it. 39:33 How old your kids 39:35 14 and eight. 39:36 Oh man, my younger I got my three two. 39:41 It never gets easier. Just more expensive. 39:47 That's amazing. The I always think about this, like, like, do you want to like your kids be interested in your business or would they be interested in other things and it's always like that Don't unfortunately, there will be you always want to, like, push the entrepreneurial spirit onto them in some shape or form but you want to be you want to put too much pressure. 40:09 Yeah, we think about that to think about it all the time one of these kids gonna do and Yeah, who knows I see it more in my daughter. I think that my son, I think she, she kind of, you know, has that spirit. She's got that tenacity, you know, there's, there's, there's certain things that make a make an entrepreneur, right, separate them. So I think I'm seeing a little limited eight. 40:33 That's awesome. It's awesome to see. Also see your kids developing, as well as towards adulthood or even like adulthood mannerisms? 40:44 Yeah, I have a 14 year old. I mean, it's, that's crazy. To me. It doesn't seem right. I feel like I should be saying I have a five year old and it you know, it's, it's just crazy. Yeah, he's a little man. And it's, it's, it's alarming. 41:02 Man, I appreciate you coming on. Thanks for giving some beautiful insights into business and some some cool tips. And I hope people out there will take some knowledge on the site, helps it take some action and save some money because it helps in a lot of different ways depending on what niche you're in, whether you're commercial, or the residential, where the individual can help you all and each each different way and doesn't cost you anything. That's the best part. 41:27 Right? Yep, nothing to lose no risk, 41:31 no risk, nothing to lose is only upside, which is the good business to be in. It's exactly the upside. I appreciate you coming on. Thanks for coming on. Where can people find you online besides just feedback calm, but you allow people to follow you on other platforms and produce content. 41:52 So just mind right, you want to go there? And check out you know, our partnership and the services that we're partnered up to provide with you and your teams. We've got, you know, you follow us on Instagram, we're on Facebook, we're you know, just vive J US TV IV on LinkedIn, right across the board. Our parent company is utility rescue. And so you know, those those outlets are all there all the utility rescue LinkedIn and information about our team and kind of the businesses that we're in and what we're doing and how we're trying to help business owners and households. There 42:31 you go. I appreciate your time. Thanks for coming on. Tune in to the next episode. We'll see you there. Hope you enjoyed this episode. Go like, subscribe. We'll see you the next one. Thanks, guys. Thanks, Daniel. Thanks, Tammy.

Tammi StroudProfile Photo

Tammi Stroud


VP of Business Development at Just VIV, bill negotiation service partnered with Hivemind

Daniel Esteban MartinezProfile Photo

Daniel Esteban Martinez

Host/ Ceo/ Speaker

I have been an entrepreneur since 2018. I come from a regular home just like most people. My dad worked on the roads in the Chicago area for over 30 years. He always taught me to work with my brain, instead of my body. Your body can only take so much abuse. I learned so much from my father. He always pushed me to work smarter and not harder.

I have owned and operated a trucking business for 2 years. I started learning real estate in 2019. Fell into the Data & Skiptracing business in 2020. My partner Anthony & I started Hivemind in 2021.

I have done a ton of different jobs coming up from painting, to door-to-door sales, telemarketing, truck driving, and loading trailers. What I learned most is that I want to stay in the digital business space. The leverage you can have delivering digital products to the marketplace can yield limitless possibilites.

I started The List Guys in 2020. It is a data and skiptracing service. We provide seller and buyers list nationwide. My clients have been getting great results and I am proud to help people killing it.

I started the Hive in 2021 with my partner Anthony Gaona. It is a real estate and business mastermind. It also comes with a all in one CRM, that can host unlimited websites and users.

Starting the Hivemind has been an amazing journey so far. Seeing one of our users make his 6 figure month in June 2021 leveraging our software, I know there will be plenty more to come!