March 18, 2018
What is the whole point to all of this? Why does this business exist? Is there an underlying purpose or goal? If you’ve read my brief profile on the home page, you might be left with the question of why I would walk away from life as a Financial Advisor to ultra-high net worth individuals, one that afforded a more than comfortable income in return, to start from scratch with a completely unrelated business? Rule #1 of marketing is to be compellingly concise. So there is no venue other than this blog to actually lay out the answer to those questions. So here it goes.
My educational foundation is in finance. When I became a Certified Financial Planner I got exposure to how countless families earn their living, their understanding of how money works, and their strategies for leveraging the value of every dollar. What many don’t understand is that $1 in one person’s pocket is not necessarily worth the same as $1 in somebody else’s pocket. It looks the same. It feels the same. It spits out the same four quarters in a change machine. But it’s not the same. I’ll try to explain how this is while ultimately bringing it back to Cheronimo.
Products and services can have wildly different values. Look up the cost of a watch. Something that tells you what time it is and that you wear on your wrist. Believe it or not you can find one that satisfies these criteria for under $4. And then there’s the $440,000 Rolex. Now, this is an extreme example, but what’s the market value of the $4 watch after two years? $1 maybe? I’m sure there’s somebody out there that will pay you something for it, but most people don’t buy a $4 watch as an investment with the expectation of resale value. Contrast that with the Rolex. What’s the value of the $440,000 Rolex after two years? Possibly less, but it could easily be worth more. With the exception of the occasional pretentious douchebag, those that buy a Rolex do so because they recognize its investment value. Instead of being a depreciating asset guaranteed to lose value immediately after purchase, a Rolex can be resold for considerable value at a later date. So instead of being viewed as an “expense”, a Rolex purchaser views this cash outlay as an “investment.”
Expense versus Investment
This is perhaps the greatest differentiator between the financially independent or those on their way to becoming so, and those working their asses off but coming up short. The financially independent, contrary to what some may believe, scrutinize the expenditure of every $1. But they do so with an eye toward all of the other costs of ownership, with the largest secondary cost being time. And time is money. The time to use it, maintain it, clean it, or repair it all adds up. After factoring in these costs, what is the value of this item after a year, two years, five years, etc.? Now how does that compare against non-ownership options, whether that’s renting, leasing, or outsourcing whatever it is that requires the item?
The value that non-ownership provides is in keeping your hard-earned money in your bank account longer. The more money that you keep in your possession, the greater access that you have to higher interest-earning outlets for the cash. And the power of cash earning interest, and then that interest earning interest (compound interest), is powerful beyond the scope of this blog post. It is at the core of what distinguishes an expense from an investment. An expense strips you of the potential for compound interest. So unless the item is like a Rolex that maintains or grows in value organically, it is not an investment. And the goal should be to maximize investments and minimize expenses. Which brings us to Cheronimo.
I lost interest in helping the already financially independent increase their wealth. It is an admirable profession, but not one that fulfilled my desire to have a broader impact on this world. I want to put people on the path to financial independence, not cater to those already on it. I want to do that in a more tangible way. And I want to do that in a more responsible way than it’s currently being done.
Homeownership is the single greatest investment most people will make in their lives, and it is approached by many as a source of countless expenses. A lawn requires maintaining, which requires spending money on special equipment. Clearing snow so that you can get to work in the morning requires spending money on special equipment. Keeping carpets clean requires spending money on special equipment. Washing the exterior of the house, or a fence, or a deck, or the driveway requires spending money on special equipment. Cleaning out the gutters. Building a new deck. Trimming a tree or some hedges. Fixing a light or a ceiling fan on a vaulted ceiling. Tilling a garden. Winterizing the sprinkler system. So many homeowners buy all of the equipment needed to carry out these chores without realizing that there is a more financially strategic option. Many others avoid buying a home altogether because they know that they can’t afford to buy all of the equipment they think is needed to go along with the home.
With Cheronimo I want to change this whole dynamic. By and large, none of the equipment available through Cheronimo should ever be purchased, except by those using it for professional purposes. The average homeowner will use the equipment so infrequently throughout the year, and none of them are Rolexes or fine wine. They are all depreciating assets with not insignificant secondary time costs from cleaning, maintaining, repairing, etc. Renting this equipment when needed is a much more appropriate financial decision. Even lawn care equipment. Think about it. The average homeowner only spends 15 hours out of the entire year maintaining their lawn. That is less than 0.2% of the year. Cheronimo’s average do-it-yourself lawn mowing customer spends less than $8 to rent the equipment when needed (lawn mower, string trimmer, leaf blower). Instead of spending a bunch of money purchasing all of that equipment, that $8 or so only leaves their bank account when the cost is incurred. Money not spent to purchase the equipment is allowed to remain in their bank or investment account earning interest upon interest. And there are no secondary costs.
Where the current equipment rental industry falls short, however, is in making non-ownership convenient. If you’re a small car kind of person, how do you transport a table saw on a rolling stand, or a 17’ a-frame ladder, or scaffolding, or a snow blower? If you can’t quite manipulate a 100+ pound miter saw and stand or ladder into and out of the vehicle, what do you do? And if you only need the item for 30 minutes (like with lawn mowing equipment or a snow blower), spending that same amount of time driving to pick it up and return it is a bit annoying. Cheronimo solves this by providing free delivery and pickup. How exactly we are going to do this at enough of a profit to be able to stay in business will be our little secret. I’ll just say that it’ll largely be by not being greedy. And being very creative.
What I’ve left out in this long blog post thus far is the larger goal beyond helping individuals: helping communities. It is easy to underappreciate the impact gas-powered versions of all of this equipment has on our environment. Most people don’t realize that gas-powered lawn mowers, by themselves, account for roughly 5% of our air pollution. Layer on top of that gas-powered snow blowers, string trimmers, leaf blowers, edgers, pressure washers, chain saws, etc. It is not enough to ask individual homeowners to carry the burden of addressing that problem. It also appears too much to ask of our government to do anything about it. So I’ll give it a try. I can wake up every day proud of at least trying. As best as I can, where there is a non-gas-powered equipment option that will perform up to our customer’s expectations, I will choose that as Cheronimo’s representative in the equipment lineup. Technology is not quite there yet in some categories (like with the Tiller), but as soon as it is I will be the first to welcome it.
So…..there’s the long story of why Cheronimo came to be and what fuels our drive to deliver service to our customers. I love the challenge of gaining each customer one at a time, and maintaining those relationships forever. It is rewarding beyond words, and I appreciate every customer that has joined me on this journey.
January 15, 2018
As alluded to in a previous post, when launching a new endeavor there never seems to be a lack of examples to point to that show how much you need to improve your game. Example A: a gentleman calls to inquire about whether my company has any steam cleaners for rent. At the time, we did not. It had been on my wish list, but I hadn't finished researching which particular model would be the best fit for this business. I apologized for not being able to meet his needs, and let him carry on with his day.
What a stupid response. Here's why that's a lost opportunity..........what would it have hurt to ask him when he needed it? I was so motivated to finish my product research after that call that I actually had our current stud of a steam cleaner in stock within two weeks. Would he have waited two weeks? Who knows. But the fact that he might have means I let an opportunity to build a relationship slip by without even trying. It boils down to a subtle shift in mindset: disappointment versus curiosity. Instead of being disappointed in not being able to immediately fulfill someone's needs, you've gotta get curious about how you actually could. Now instead of me letting him down, the ball is back in his court. That's being in the game instead of a spectator.
It reminds me of a story told to me by a Lieutenant Colonel that I served under in my last tour of duty in the Marine Corps. It served as his motto for life in general, and it drives me nuts when I fail to live up to it myself. He was a linebacker for his high school football team. An extremely confident one. You could say he was the star of the team, at least on the defensive side of the ball. The first game of the season finished up. His team got the win; he made some pretty awesome plays; let the praise and adulation spill forth. Or so it was in his mind. He shows up to practice the next day expecting high fives and a red carpet roll-out and instead he gets summoned to the coaches office. The coaches have spliced up video from the game to show every play in which he was on the field. They show all of the plays in which the ball came to his side of the field. He was like a shark with a whiff of blood. He crushed players, knocked passes down, forced fumbles. He was a one-man wrecking crew. As he watched himself, he smirked and bobbed his head to confirm to the coaches that he knew how awesome he was. And then the coaches played video of every play in which the ball went to the opposite side of the field. He just stood there on the field. Barely moved a muscle. The coaches tore into him and threatened to bench him the rest of the season, regardless of his talent, unless he learned this one lesson. Whether the ball comes your way or not, do something! In his case, just find a guy on the other team and blow him up. There were plenty of spots on the bench to watch the game from, they reminded him, if that's what he wanted to do. But if he is going to be on the field, he needs to play the game whether the ball comes his way or not. You just never know what might happen.
That's a mindset that goes a long way in every aspect of life.
To always being curious!
November 21, 2017
One of these years I am going to say, "Man, this year is going by at exactly the pace I expected it to." Apparently that will be next year, at the earliest.
Well, since my home got a grand total of zero trick-or-treaters on Halloween, I guess that means I got the trick. That's fine. Thanksgiving is pulling up to the driveway, and that holiday is hands down the best of the year. No contest, undebatable, unanimous amongst every breathing soul walking this earth. Yes, Christmas does a pretty good job of showing up uninvited during this holiday. But some of those deals......I mean......our ancestors understand when a deal is too good to pass up.
So, in that vein.....since this is my favorite holiday and I'm feeling festive and inspired to continue getting the word out about this business I am building, here is my treat to you:
50% OFF ANY BOOKING NOW THROUGH 11/30/2017! Promo Code = THXGIVEN
Seriously. Any booking. Do-it-Yourself or Full Service. 15 minutes or 4 hours. For you or as a gift to someone else. Just book an appointment between now and 11/30/2017, enter that promo code during the booking process, and the service will be half price. Book online at www.cheronimo.com.
The catch? I can't think of one. The hardest part for a new business is earning someone's business for the first time. The vast majority just don't know you exist. So this helps get the word out.
Want to buy somebody a carpet cleaning as a gift? Or a gutter cleaning? Or a power washing? Or whatever? Easy. You just enter their address as the service address. You can leave a note during the booking process letting us know the service is a gift to someone else, we'll deliver the service, and then we'll request payment from you afterward.
Whatever you choose to do this Thanksgiving holiday, do it without a belt on! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
September 25, 2017
Launching your own business after 22 years of answering to someone else is an intimidating experience. There are so many reasons NOT to do it that like to scream really loud. Hearing and listening to those softer-spoken voices that proclaim why TO do it can be difficult. That's why celebrating the little things after taking the plunge is so important. It's food for those soft-spoken voices and a stern rebuke to the loud naysayers. We've surpassed 100 total bookings here at Cheronimo, and we couldn't be more inspired by the experience. Personally, I love the interaction with customers. I've been told that, in this line of work, the vast majority of business will come through referrals. And I've definitely experienced that. Although that makes growing the business a slower process, that actually simplifies things greatly. The only way to get referrals is to earn it. There is no marketing trickery. We simply have to offer a compelling solution, and we have to be reliable, professional, responsive, and genuine. Roger that. That's easy when those are core values. So to the fantastic customers of Cheronimo, THANK YOU! You are the lifeblood of this business, and delivering our service to you is an honor.
You know what's also rewarding? Knowing that every minute that we operated over those 100+ bookings represented minutes that gas-powered equipment did not operate. And that resulted in approximately 8,254 pounds of harmful emissions not going into the air that we breathe. Every little bit counts, so we'll absolutely take that. And we're only getting started!
Winter is rapidly approaching. Forecasts for Salt Lake County are for a generous helping of snow this winter. Which means gas-powered plows and gas-powered snow blowers buzzing around our neighborhoods again. If you are tired of shoveling, but don't want to spend several hundred dollars for a snow blower that will take up valuable space in your garage and get less use than a mop, let us be your chore hero. We'll provide you with a high-powered snow blower whenever you might need one. Or we'll gladly take care of the snow-clearing chore for you. And we won't pollute your air while doing it.
Book your appointment online at www.cheronimo.com, call us or text us at (385) 313-8409, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be a pleasure to be of service to you.
July 4, 2017
There is so much to love about this great country. And so much more yet to be discovered. Since freedom is so sacred to all of us, we at Cheronimo want to give you more of it. No more paying several hundred dollars to buy a lawn mower that sits around doing nothing 337 days out of the year, that requires you to clean/sharpen/maintain it, and that breaks down on you right after the warranty expires. Put that responsibility on us. Just rent the thing and regain some of your time and money. Give us a try today! Book online at www.cheronimo.com/availability.
June 27, 2017
So, social media or yapping about ourselves is not really our thing, but apparently blogging is to web search results like debt is to credit scores. The better you want the latter to be, the more of the former you need to embrace. Well roger that then. A blogging we will do.
We're officially launching ourselves out into the world. Well, America technically. Well, Utah. Okay, technically Salt Lake County, Utah. But hey, baby steps. We're a humble company with big aspirations but a patient disposition. We don't really understand what the rush is with startup companies these days. The founders seem more interested in getting to that big payday as soon as possible than they are just enjoying being their own boss, running a company that does good for the world and puts steady food on the table. Some say you've got to move fast to fend off competition. We say that as long as you're doing good for the world, the world will want you around.
So here's what we are going to try to do here at Cheronimo. We think that you should have more than just two options for tackling the lawn mowing chore: hire an overpriced landscaper, or pay hundreds of dollars for a lawn mower and a trimmer that sit around unused 337 days a year. There are actually two cheaper, more convenient options. One of them will take a while longer for us to roll out, but stay tuned on that. Meanwhile, here's a third option: how about we buy the lawnmower and you just rent it from us? Most homeowners can mow their lawn in less time than it takes Fido to select the absolute perfect location to poop anyway, so how about we give you super short-term rental duration options, throw in a trimmer at no extra cost, deliver everything to you for free, and then pick it right back up as soon as you're finished? How does a starting price of $3.75 sound?
Oh, and while we're at it, we are going to use a high quality lawn mower with superior cutting technology that eliminates having to rake up grass clippings, and it is going to be battery-powered, so not a drop of fuel will be burned nor any harmful chemicals emitted into the air that we all breath.
Anyhow, that's enough blogging for us for one day. Give us a try. Check out the rest of our site, and then book online when you're ready. We provide service 7 days per week, any time between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm. And let us know your thoughts and feedback. We want to do good for the world. So let us know if we are achieving that.
June 20, 2017
First customer served is in the books! Saw some awesome teamwork out there. Dad on the trimmer, son on the mower. The mower's self-propel capability was the son's favorite part of the experience. Dad liked the mower's mulching feature. We liked that they only paid $5 instead of $830 like we did for the equipment!