April 15, 2022

Episode #27: Todd Krause – The Cleaning Authority

Todd Krause was born and raised in southeastern Wisconsin, approximately midway between Madison and Milwaukee. He spent 34 years in the corporate world successfully managing finance and operations for numerous alternative investment, hedge fund, private equity, venture capital, and administration businesses. These businesses ranged in size from start-up to $34B. During these years, he set up companies and operations for many clients and even successfully founded and grew his own administration firm from a start-up to a firm servicing $2B of client assets.

He is the owner of the Silversun Group comprised of Silversun Cleaning LLC dba The Cleaning Authority, the Silversun Real Estate Group operating in three cities in three states, and Silversun Management Co. Following the acquisition of The Cleaning Authority business, he has worked to establish a solid foundation under the business to support future growth. To date, the business has grown 57% since he acquired the business in September 2020. His focus on cultivating the culture and the diversity of the staff working for The Cleaning Authority resulted in his nomination and selection for the award of Franchisee of the Year from the International Franchise Association, an organization with 1,400+ member franchise companies. He received this award at the end of February 2022.

Todd offers cleaning services through The Cleaning Authority to communities on the northeast side of Indianapolis. You can learn more at TheCleaningAuthority.com/fishers and you can book your service by calling 317-770-3360.

Transcript

hello this is coach tim campsall and i’m your host for the self-made is a myth make a difference together show where we’re talking with successful business owners to hear their stories of the journey to building their business and because we know that achieving success in business is not something that we can do on our own we recognize the folks that helped us to excel and i’m excited today to have a fellow business owner from indiana my guest has been incredibly successful in life and business despite being chronically ill and we’ll have him explain that to us here in a minute he’s an avid reader consuming one to two books a week wow and enjoys outdoor activities and he’s most proud of recently winning franchise of the year award for cultivating diversity and inclusion in his company and we will be sure to be asking him about that as well it’s my pleasure to welcome todd to the show today hey todd great to have you on thank you tim great to be here all right well why don’t we start with having you introduce yourself and uh tell us a little bit of your personal story wherever you’re born where do you live about your family and some of your hobbies

well actually i’m a transplant to indiana i was born in southeastern wisconsin outside of a little town called fort atkinson wisconsin it’s about halfway between milwaukee and madison if you are so inclined to try to find it on the map when i was first born my parents actually rented this old kind of run down farmhouse south of helenville wisconsin for the first three four years of my life and then we eventually around age four moved to the house that they built on the lower hebron road about eight miles east of fort atkinson wisconsin so what really happened is i was born into a family of business owners and entrepreneurs i didn’t really realize that there was a situation until later because it just seems so natural everybody around me was some sort of a business owner some sort of an entrepreneur i just assumed that was the way of the world so you actually start to grow up you start to meet people whose parents work in offices and do other things and you start to realize oh there’s a whole different life out there in my case my parents owned businesses hauling bulk milk so i was born both into a trucking business and the milk industry the part of the milk industry they were in was getting the milk from the farms to the local dairy so it’d be processed and turned into everything you see on the store shelves ranging from butter to milk to cream to ice cream and so forth and so on so our conversations around the dinner table were a combination of what the business needed and then joking about recent events and by the way how is it going at school and it was just it was a part of the fabric of life right i never knew that a business day ended at five o’clock it was just something that you took care of throughout the day because it there’s always something that popped up and something that needed attention sure yeah in my case as i grew up and i realized i didn’t have the stamina i was always really fatigued i couldn’t keep up with my peers i could never hit the ball as hard or throw it as far or run as fast as they did i didn’t i never knew why for a very very long time looking back that really was the beginning and early indications of the problems that i live with today so i gravitated toward the sciences specifically chemistry and physics i bumped into three other friends in grade school who also were nerdy and like the sciences we none of us quite fit in with the mainstream crowd but it did make us the four musketeers which was pretty cool i’m telling you back in those days in the late 60s and the 70s if you weren’t digging around in the books and dusted them off in the back corners of the library those books told you how to make things like rocket fuel and gunpowder which was pretty exciting and and we put all of that stuff to the test as young budding scientists they’ll have all the fingers and all the toes

so it was really when i went into marquette university i pursued physics i had this idea it was a touch [ __ ] and feel it science i didn’t realize it was pretty much a pure mathematical science so i never stuck with it if i had gone into engineering i probably would have stuck with it so after trying physics for part of the first freshman year i became undecided with my major then i fell back on spanish which i had done throughout my high school years and then ultimately switched to the business school and finished with a finance degree and that’s how what really launched me into what i do today wonderful so todd is there a funny story that your family likes to tell about you that you’d be willing to share with us today oh sure when we were young family trips were typically camping trips anywhere from three four days to a week because one summer we went up to northern wisconsin mcclintock county area to a small campground up there piled everything into the back of our 1967 chevy impala hooked up the trailer filled that up and off we went i was somewhere in the eight to nine ish area which would have meant my brother was five to six we drive the seven hours from our house up there get there and we can’t find a campground so dad being the typical male says i know where it is i can find it we drive around come back we see the same oak tree he says he’s sure he knows where to turn next time so we do that three four times and by then the whole family’s protest day and just saying would you stop and ask for directions we’ve got directions we found the campground pull in so mom and dad start unpacking and setting up everything i go down to the river to take a look at it my brother comes up behind me gives me a shove i’m in the river i am soaking wet head to toes shoes and all we’ve been there 10 minutes already we’re changing clothes nice this was a summer that was just unusually cold up in northern wisconsin it would freeze at night but it would get warm enough to actually go swimming during the afternoon the temperatures were just that varied and it was just that cold of a summer so we were in winter coats in the morning and by 10 o’clock we were shutting them and by one two o’clock in the afternoon we were swimming that’s right when i was from i was catching the crayfish and collecting the can clams and putting them in a little bucket which i kept next to the tent so every morning i come out and look in this bucket and there’s nothing in my bucket i was sure mom and dad were dumping them out and putting them all back in the river when i went to bed at night they swore they weren’t doing that finally about the third or fourth night and i’m pretty deep into not believing them at this point we hear a noise out there and we peek out the tent window and sure enough the raccoons are helping themselves to the meal we were providing every night they didn’t even have to work for it yeah it was very nice all nice and neat and collected together in a little bucket all he had to do was come get it yeah so okay mom and dad were right they weren’t dumping it back into into the river every night when i went to bed they were feeding that wildlife that’s awesome so todd tell us how the business came about at what point did you have the confidence that you could run your own business well part of the confidence started with just growing up in a family it always ran businesses yeah and then what added to that is probably the side of the finance world i ended up working in which was more the operational accounting and finance for the hedge fund the alternative investment world private equity it involved a lot of actually setting up and creating businesses and companies for our customers and clients yeah it involves creating operations for them along the way in 2002 when i joined anchor asset management they wanted to spin out the back office and create an operations support company for so guess who got nominated me being their chief financial officer slash chief operations officer by the way you go with the operational company so i did actually have one prior to that but most recently what got me into the franchise that i have is when my job ended on march 6th 2020 i did what i always do and i always take a multi-pronged approach at trying to figure out what my next opportunity in life is going to be i look in the corporate world for corporate opportunities i look in the broker world for things that are operating that can be purchased and then i look and i say well okay what could i maybe start it wasn’t long after march 6 2020 that i actually stumbled across this cleaning authority office in fishers indiana that was available for sale so as we were the country was plunging deep into coved i was starting the due diligence process trying to decide if i wanted to buy this office

we did actually move forward the numbers the financials were just incredibly attractive who wouldn’t want it but coming out of the finance world my wife’s initial reaction was a cleaning business you’ve got to be kidding why would you want a cleaning business i want but look at this why wouldn’t you want this look at the information and the numbers yeah and we went ahead and we did buy it we were originally projected to close on a transaction in july but it got delayed until september because of covet everything just was bogged down moved a little slower but it got done yeah awesome well tell us a little bit more about the company todd

it was right around four and a half coming up and five years old when i purchased it so my close date ended up finally being monday september 21st 2000

the prior owner had built it up from scratch it bought the territory and then he’d actually added some zip codes to it which gave us the 14 zip codes that we operate in for the cleaning authority there is an older office on the northwest corner of indianapolis and in my office services the northeast corner of indianapolis they were they were doing about a million eight a million nine in revenue annual revenue at the time i bought it they had 30 or so cleaners working there and a couple of managers i walked in and that’s what i inherited when they handed the keys to me yeah so what i said to my managers is i said is it possible to double the size of this office i said let’s find out i didn’t really know what was possible but i kind of threw it out there as a goal i didn’t hang any time frames around it either

that’s what we started off doing with this goal of can we double the size of this business as we got into 2021 and then we hit the spring season things started to really take off for the cleaning business around the christmas new year’s holiday things tend to slow down slightly a lot of people taking vacation a lot of people traveling to see family and going i don’t need my house clean this week come back next time and not a lot of people looking to sign up they’re thinking holidays right but things really took off in 2021 we grew 38 percent cumulatively since i’ve taken over we’ve grown just under 60 percent that’s awesome when our top line revenues now have us pegged at somewhere between 2.7 and 3 million dollars annually nice i’ve grown the management team from two to five so that’s also like once oh excuse me that award you got well what happened is i looked around and i realized that everybody working there was latino which i learned when i asked them what’s the difference between hispanic and latino they all said they prefer to be called latino okay they weren’t so they didn’t quite feel comfortable being called hispanic they didn’t give me a clear explanation so i said okay fine thank you i’m happy to call you latino and they’re primarily women the work can be done by anybody culturally and when you look at the gender differences and the society roles that they give to men and women men tend to not want to do cleaning sure but they can do it just as well and they can do a good job and make good money at it if they want to so i looked around and there were four flags hanging on the wall in the conference room slash break room and a couple of them happened to be near the sink and the coffee maker and were becoming stained and i just said we can’t do this we are disrespecting these people’s countries and their cultures that that is just this is unacceptable so we took those flags down we carefully laundered them and then i said then i started saying by the way where are all these people really from there’s a tendency for us to or caucasian or just assume they’re all mexican and that’s wrong they’re they come from many different countries right well they speak spanish they all have a slightly different vocabulary and different accent that you can start to pick up on over time found out we were way short on flags so i started acquiring the flags that we needed and we’re up to people working there from 12 different countries oh wow initially i hung the flags on the wall up and down the main hallway while i searched for flag poles flag bases mounting equipment i finally found the bases the mounting equipment and the finials those little fancy tops online but i couldn’t find flagpoles i wanted i had a company on the south side of town manufacture flag poles out of aluminum stock for me so every flag is displayed on a seven foot pole we lined them up in the front office with the us flag and there’s now 14 flags there plus mine because i identify as german american and then i went one step further and put a seven foot flag pole in the country flag by each manager’s desk above it i hung a banner and i have borrowed from what is the wording on the license plates in quebec or says jeremy sobien it says i remember when we visited montreal i started asking people why do your license plates say that what does it mean to you and the answer that we consistently got back from them was i remember my culture my heritage my history and my language oh i love that yeah so i borrowed from that put it in spanish and had it worded so it translates as we remember our culture our heritage our history and our language yeah one day was talking with corporate and i offhandedly made the comment yeah our front entrance way looks like the united nations and the person stopping oh you’ve got to send me photographs so i went and took a bunch of photographs over entrance boy and all the flags sent them to corporate and they said well tell us a little bit about it so i briefly told him about him i told him about my managers erica’s my general manager is actually a doc a child caught up in that mess she has to fill out reams of paperwork every two years to stay in this country and legally work because our government can’t figure out what to do with these people miriam and her family officially received asylum because they’re from venezuela and they literally walked away from everything they owned to come here wow a year ago in february threw a big party for her didn’t tell her i was doing it had a gigantic eight-foot banner printed up with a birthday cake gun and cake and everything on it and candles and congratulations to the family and bought cakes and just put them in the break room for when everyone came back so it was me and walks by the break room has windows you can see from the hallway and i had the lights turned off so she’s kind of looking and i’m looking and then she stops and looks again and everything’s there and congratulate her when the cleaners came back so that night she sent me a picture of that banner posted above their sofa at home with the whole family sitting on the sofa that’s cool but what i didn’t know was that corporate took it one step further and nominated me with the international franchise association to receive this award and i have been selected this is an organization that’s global there are more than 1400 franchise companies that are members of this this is huge wow so i get this i’m reading email a few months back at about 5 30 in a wednesday night and chief operating officer from the authority brands was asking for a call the next morning at 4 8 45 well when somebody at the top of the organization in our world ask for a call at 8 45 in the morning it’s rarely good news at this point i’m going through this mental checklist and going oh god what did we do wrong what did we screw up what did we forget to do i i couldn’t come up with anything yeah so then then my mind switches to the other checklist like okay what happened that we did wrong we bro what did we break what did we forget to do that my managers didn’t tell me right i’m going down that checklist i had nothing i came up with nothing thank god i didn’t look at that call invitation i noticed that there were actually four senior people for corporate on the call or i wouldn’t have panicked and hyperventilated all night long i only looked at it minutes before to figure out what the login information was so i had about all of about five minutes to hyperventilate we get on the call they use microsoft teams is their software of choice and i’m excited i’m going here it comes here it comes here’s the bad news and they’re congratulating me and it takes my brain a while to just go what what you’re congratulating me i didn’t do something wrong we didn’t break something right wait a minute back up back up congratulating me for what when they’re like oh for diversity and inclusion and stuff i didn’t go but i didn’t do anything and just that just it made no sense to me i didn’t do anything right in my mind all i did is what you’re supposed to do treat your fellow human being with dignity and respect yeah and i’m not even sure in my mind that i did a real good job of that

my mind no job was just fair to middle in that best right

and so i get off the call and eric is sitting right next to me because we share the front office and she runs down the hall to the other manager’s office they’re down there cheering my brain’s still trying to process this i got an award for something but then all of a sudden they’re using this this word shin gone and i just stopped goes what does that mean well it turns out if you in this latino culture if you apply that to a man it’s complementary kind of in the badass sort of way yeah if you apply that a woman it’s it’s not so complementary it means aggressive or assertive and with negative overtones so i can see it’s interesting the sexual and gender differences that still exist in the latino world

i wasn’t trusting this i wasn’t believing that so i sent an email and i said the same thing i just said to you that well i didn’t do anything awards are for people who run into burning buildings to save children they’re for pilots who make sure everyone gets safely off of airplanes that crash in the potomac river they’re for medics who dodge bullets to pull wounded soldiers off of the front line it’s referred to the first responders who ran into the twin towers as they were collapsing those people get awards not me well i didn’t hear back from corporate till the end of the day but i started checking with people in my life like my therapist and my personal trainer whose opinions i respected and they all said oh yeah that’s a word worthy and corporate finally responded and said it is a word leave us what you do really is special and is award-worthy so instead of having an aha moment i had more of an uh oh moment you know what that means if just doing what you’re supposed to do and treating people with dignity and respect is worth an award that has to mean that we as a world as a society we don’t do enough of that right yes yes and it’s just it’s kind of bittersweet and i’m happy to be acknowledged but i’m saddened that we as a society don’t do a better job of treating our neighbors well yeah well what i love about that is that you’re setting an example for others to follow and those who are listening to this now have a challenge to step up and and do what uh what we just should be doing so awesome todd thanks for sharing that um tell me about a um so we know that business success doesn’t happen in isolation so tell us about one of the biggest challenges you’ve had um in the last few years as a business owner and and who’s somebody that came alongside you to help you through that challenge

i’ve had help from so many people along the way even back when i owned my own administration company from 2002 to 2006.

if it wasn’t the accountants or the lawyers who were stepping up and helping us it was other people in the financial world who were helping us we started that out of nothing but we really did build an airplane in the air because once they spun out the back office anchor asset management collapsed because of they had mostly a foreign investor base and foreign investor base got nervous with what was happening in the u.s and wanted to take all their money and bring it home so anchor collapsed and wasn’t there to support us 2004 was a magical year 2005 was difficult the storm clouds were forming on the horizon but in the meantime i’d engaged a roberta schwartz and she had a communications business and kind of a consulting practice so she was helping advise me and she had actually suggested a guy named robert who i hired to help stabilize operations but it didn’t work that way we were being marginalized at the time we didn’t have the technology we needed and in those days technology was just hugely hugely expensive right everybody wanted online web delivery statements portals today that stuff was relatively cheap but back then it wasn’t yeah uh my partner john ended up pushing me out in april of 2006 out of my own company but when i sat down and calmed down and calmer had prevailed i said you know the handwriting’s already on the wall the company’s already failing because we can’t keep up with what the competition can deliver this has nothing to do with the quality of our work or our delivery or anything it’s just we couldn’t run fast enough to keep up with the competition right and then roberto really did help me pick up the pieces in my life and move forward then most recently again when i was between opportunities i encountered other business coaches i encountered just people who are willing to share their time and talk with me daily kind of guide me as i got into and finally decided to purchase the cleaning authority office yeah from about march through the third week of september i really was lost i didn’t really know what life looked like or where it was going and i was not accustomed to sitting on my hands yeah especially being locked down coveted you can’t go anywhere can’t talk to anybody if you do it’s just for the barest of essentials put the mask on run in buy what you need run out go home yeah because everybody was afraid of coved and the government was making us sit home yeah that was just such a difficult time but it weren’t for a few of the local business consultants who are willing to literally donate their time

and in one case i engaged the consultants for about 400 a month which was supposed to buy me around three to four hours of his time every month but when i was hitting a real low point he offered to talk to me for 15-20 minutes every single day so at about 4 30 every day we’d get on the call and he’d he’d do what he could to boost my spirits and keep me moving forward yeah once i identified this opportunity i had something to sink my teeth into and i could i could see a future opening up yeah so that’s been true throughout my life that when a door closed there was always a window of opportunity somewhere that opened up for me um that’s great there was always somebody who was guiding me to that window and helping yeah fantastic so todd as you um think about all the different learnings you’ve had over the years as as a business owner what’s your biggest learning that uh that would help other people by you uh sharing that with us oh i would have to say that there really are a number of things when you’re a business owner you just have to get used to hurting cats and you’re trying whether it’s your managers your staff your customers you name it you’re hurting cats and they all want to go scurrying off into their own own direction you’re trying to generally get them moving in roughly the same direction you just have to be happy if they all go roughly the same direction if you can’t get comfortable with that and you can’t go home at the end of the day and just say to yourself i did my best today i will try again tomorrow you will just if you can’t do that you’re just going to drive yourself crazy but while you’re busy hurting these cats you have to keep watching for and listening for patterns and trends and things that change with the people around you and things that change with the business and the customers because as soon as something changes it’s usually a sign or a signal that you need to look into it more thoroughly okay what’s going on is this a good thing or is this something that needs attention yeah and so you end up really listening to the hum of the business it’s something that my father always said with the truck he said he could always tell how the trucks were running by the hum of the engine and the vibration of the floorboards he didn’t have to look down at the instrument panel to know if we he was developing a problem wow so it’s it’s really

getting out there and managing by walking around managing by doing you’re peeking in the corners and looking in the closets and just saying what’s here what’s here what’s going on is everything the way it’s supposed to be yeah it’s not you never order anybody around that’s what people don’t get about management you’re not ordering anybody around you you really only have a limited amount of authority if you can even call that and it’s all grounded in respect so what you’re doing all day long is asking people would you please do this would you please take care of that do you think you could get it done by tomorrow or would you think you could get it done by tuesday you’re always asking yeah that’s how you manage if you’re going to start pulling rank and ordering people around you’re going to find out they stop liking you they stop respecting you your turnover goes up your business stops growing and it’s all because of your behavior and then the more diverse your workforce the the more aware you have to be of the cultural differences right and you have to be ever so careful to try not to offend anybody and to always phrase things in very polite terms i mean even when you’re correcting somebody you’re still being polite it’s just more of a i ask you please don’t do that or please don’t do it that way would you please change how you do it next time yeah that’s what it really comes down to i love that perspective of treating them as yeah you mentioned this earlier too right just treating people like people and being respectful and and polite and you know getting the best out of others by treating them the way that you’d want to be treated yourself you have to because at the end of the day you don’t know everything there is to know you can’t possibly know everything there is to know there’s just too much information out there there’s not enough hours in a day to sit there and learn it all you have to rely on other people to be experts at what they do yeah yeah so speaking of learning you’re you read uh one or two books a week one of my favorite authors jim rohn says we’ll become the average of the five people we spend the most time with so um spending that much time reading you you must have a lot of uh you know thoughts and and on this topic so when you think about that quote from jim does that is that something that’s exciting something that makes you nervous how do you think about that from a business standpoint i said a little of both my life’s in a fairly big transition at the moment not only did we move down here in august of 2018 where i worked really incredibly long hours until my position ended in march and then we went through the covid lockdowns so i’m still very much learning the area and meeting the people yeah so along and my wife passed on july 18th of last year so now i’m learning what it is like to be a widower a single father at this point to run businesses and i’ve had to let go of some relationships that weren’t healthy relationships i’ve discussed it with my therapist who’s confirmed that she her words were those are appropriate boundaries so but at the same time i’ve replacing them with the relationships i developed my managers that they’ve become like family relationships with the other owners of the cleaning authority offices of which there’s more than 230 across the nation i have relationships with my property managers in each of the cities where i do real estate i’ve been developing relationships in my new church and working in to find people in new social groups trying to build an array so that it’s a well-rounded collection of people in my life and that’s not just lopsided with business and then i have i don’t know anybody socially or it’s all friends but i don’t know anybody at work yeah i love that that’s a great great perspective great approach and and uh i i appreciate too that you talking about your therapist because i think you know we all can benefit from having somebody to talk to right and and help us sort through all the you know the different conflicting thoughts that are in our head and right and and you know be able to be able to make some sense of it all and and make good decisions so congratulations i i just love how you’re investing in yourself todd well and she’s part of the team that helps me do what i do just like the doctors who keep me healthy enough so i can function yeah absolutely these are the team that i are wrapped around me every day in my life and make it possible for me to do what i do yeah i love it and it’s like my managers i tell them every day they really are the ones that make the magic happen at that office every day yeah my job as an owner i go in and i it’s my job to ask never-ending annoying questions

sometimes i think they go oh here’s pot again yeah i’m busy and go go bother her yeah

so todd you’ve been been blessed with some incredible people uh in your life who have helped you on your journey if they were all on the show today what would you want to say to them thank you thank you for being there right and that’s what i said to them april 26th last year unfortunately when i inherited the business i also inherited a general manager who i found later found out was stealing from me so and falsifying the records i did get help from corporate um to pull all the system logs and the system files to confirm that before i took action so i terminated him monday morning april 26th i had warned miriam and erica what was going to happen ahead of time and confirmed with them that they would be able to step in and fill the void yeah after i saw him out the door and collected his keys and everything i went back to the conference room and the looks on their faces were just like shocked as if a bomb had gone off in the room so then i handed them the new paperwork and i said i’m promoting you and i’m raising your pay twenty thousand dollars a year each and then putting you on a territory growth plan that as you grow the business you know what your raises will be wow and i said by the way i need your help i’m chronically ill i struggle to function throughout the day i’m heavily medicated anytime you see me that’s what largely enables me to function as well as i do i said i need you to run my business and care about it the way an owner would i said my thank you to you will be that this will become your business i need income for a while but not forever i said you need time to prepare to take over owning and operating this business i said i think that for both of us lines up relatively well and then from there we we took off and here we are today wow writing the legal documents that will transition the business to them over approximately an eight-year period i’m little at a time schooling them in what an owner does it’s what an owner thinks about and focuses on that’s that’s a level above what a manager does yeah i said i can’t dump 200 things into your brain in 10 minutes and go by the way i’m on my way out the door good luck and he said you’re gonna forget it all you’d be lucky if you remember two of those yeah but we’ve got time or it can hand it to you a piece at a time and make sure that it makes sense to you and you understand it yeah now we can hand you some more pieces and gradually everything will be in your hands and it will be yours that’s awesome i love it well todd it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today thank you so much for being on the show thank you tim i enjoyed it awesome for those listening in uh thank you for tuning in to self-made as a myth with your host coach tim camsell be sure to help us spread the movement by liking the show and posting about it on social media to join our movement go to be mad together dot com all right folks that’s a wrap make sure to pay it forward and i’ll see you all next time take care