Scaling from $300k to $18 Million [Part 1 The Growth Story]

March 07, 2019

Today’s guest has a story so big and honest, I had to break it into two episodes. Michael Kaplan was a financial partner in ZeroRez, a Minnesota based carpet cleaning company. He is super authentic and honest about what it was like to scale a 300 thousand dollar business up to 18 million.

Part one of this interview focuses on how Michael stumbled into the carpet cleaning business and the ups and downs that he and his partners encountered. We discuss the mistakes Michael and his partners made with money and hiring. Both are costly to a business. Michael also leveraged an economic downturn and existing radio budget to work in the business’s favor. It is really an impressive story of a radio campaign changing things overnight.

I ask Michael to tell me about how they handled the sudden growth and what the business did to encourage repeat customers. He answered with brutal and refreshing honesty that I think every business owner should hear. If you really want to know what it’s like in the trenches in a business, today’s episode is an accurate depiction.

What you will learn:

  • Michael’s early experience in startups, law, and how he wound up in the carpet cleaning business.
  • What the purchase of ZeroRez looked like and why it was a bad deal.
  • The mistakes that Michael and his partners made early on.
  • How the 2008 housing crisis worked in ZeroRez’s favor.
  • The radio budget and how it transformed the business.
  • The things Michael thinks made the company successful.
  • The hiring mistakes that ZeroRez made early on and how they corrected them.
  • Why investing in good people can help you fix outgrown SOPs.
  • How Michael shifted his mindset to a value-based one.
  • The cliffhanger for part two.


Michael’s story is a great example of what it takes to build a company. It takes balls and you can’t just be passive. Part two of this interview has some great nuggets about working with partners. Everybody has drama in their business, especially behind closed doors. Having a partner changes how you do anything in a business and part two showcases that.

Links and Resources:

GEXP Collaborative
Red Hook Investments
Michael’s email

About Michael:

Michael Kaplan spent most of his 20s thinking he would go into some sort of law practice. However, he found himself partnering with a friend to purchase ZeroRez. After a few stumbles and lucky economic breaks, Michael and his partners were able to scale the carpet cleaning business to 18 million dollars. He currently works with Red Hook Investments, a firm that specializes in turnarounds, private equity, and cash infusions. Tune in for the second part of this interview to hear Michael’s complete story.

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