The Gentleman of Trash
4 months ago · 55:23
Our guest is Joshua Allen, a San Diego entrepreneur who we like to call “The Gentleman of Trash”. His business is trash, but he doesn’t do any of the disposal. He’s a middleman. In true Opt Out fashion, this business started as a side hustle. After going to college on a football scholarship, Josh jumped into trash brokering. He’s a seasoned real estate investor, and also survived some serious health scares that forced him to emerge with a new plan on work/life balance.
I get out of the hospital Five days later and I just rethink about my entire business because at this point I’m 33 and I’m going to have heart surgery in the next
whatever one to five years. In my mind.
This episode of The opt out life podcast from the outdoor media network was recorded here in San Diego is the opt out life story of Joshua Ellen.
Welcome to the opt out life podcast. The no BS guide to living the modern good life hosted by subversive millionaires. Dana Robertson and Nate broaden the opt out like podcast explains exactly how creative hustlers are turning sidekicks into real income and taking back control of their time from their studio in sunny San Diego, the outdoor life welcomes guests who are solo printers, entrepreneurs, travelers, and creatives who are proof that you can choose a lifestyle over money but still make money to if you feel like you’ve been chasing your tail running the rat race or stuck in a system that’s rigged against you we’d like to offer
For you an alternative here on the opt out life podcast.
Most of us do our best to ignore the systems that underlie our daily existence. We know the city provides water. We know the power company provides the power. And most of us assume that the trash disposal is run by some local government authority. We thought so too, until we interviewed today’s guest, Joshua Allen, a San Diego entrepreneur who we like to call the gentlemen of trash. The business of trash is actually a competitive one that has lots of players before you dismiss it as a dirty business. You should know this about Josh Allen, he doesn’t do any of the disposal himself. He set himself up as the middleman brokering trash removal. Instead of doing the dirty work in true opt out fashion. This business started as a side hustle. After going to college on a football scholarship and returning home to work in construction and real estate. Josh jumped into trash brokering after a buddy of his button at home course that explained the ins and outs of the business. It turns out that his background in real estate and the
Dealing with homeowner association was a perfect set of skills and relationships to start helping people save money on trash disposal and making a nice margin for him. So fast forward a few years. And Joshua’s global disposal reduction services is an industry leader. The What does one do once they found a great opt out path to business and a rolling and some profits. Here’s the other thing we love about this story. Because the answer is you invest in real estate. That’s what Josh has done. He’s purchased rental properties as well as multiple commercial buildings using creative financing strategies and the leverage of is growing businesses along the way. Well done. Mr. Allen. You’ll also be surprised to hear that Josh has some serious health scares concluding two strokes in his early 30s that forced him to emerge with a new plan on work life balance and how to run as companies so drag your candid the curb and get ready for a dirty story. Here comes the trash man
popped out alive in the early morning this time.
We are joined by a friend from down the road Mr. Josh Allen and he is
know what tagline should we use athlete trash man real estate mogul
take it out for sure.
No Let’s get the quick athletes story actually I don’t think we’ve had anyone on he’s got that quick background so give us a little framework on who you are and how you ended up in San Diego actually well I was born in San Diego. I went to high school in San Diego. I played football and then I took a year off of high school football. And I went and played for Grossmont Junior College. So big junior college here. And then I got a scholarship to Springfield, Missouri, which was a little tiny school. I knew I wasn’t going to the NFL. So I was just looking for a place I could go that would give me money and they threw the ball a lot because I was a receiver. I wanted to catch the ball for the next couple years instead of just block so that’s how I got to Missouri. I met my wife and then we moved right back this
San Diego we contemplated staying there for a little bit but there’s a lot more opportunity out here and I love San Diego. Nice. Well good to have a local but also someone who’s brought another Missouri and to San Diego. Sorry. Thanks for bringing your wife and how many San Diego and make it out to Missouri. Right? Yeah. That’s I was like, Well how did you end up back here? So as you know, it’s like he made the journey to Missouri. I came back home very nice, very nice native son. Well, welcome back, sir. So we’ve got athlete checked off the list. We’re going to talk a lot more about the other two but why would I call you trash man
in 2007 or eight the beginning of 2008 I had a friend come to me he also we knew each other through football he had just got done playing in the NFL and he’s also from San Diego and he said that he had taken a class
on brokering trash it was like a homeschool class like a you know like breaking out like an online course right now it would be an online course but back then it
Like sent you three big falters and you just paid on. You know what I mean? How did you find it was like an infomercial. They were advertising in like entrepreneur. com and magazines. Yeah, right. There was. I mean, this was like the cusp of like, where like certain people were doing online stuff. A lot of people were still doing the old school stuff. And that’s how we got it. So he told me, Hey, I’m doing this thing. And my wife and I had started a real estate brokerage probably three years before that. And then I ran a sales division for the guy who was my high school football coach. So when he told me about brokering trash, I was doing a lot of sales to homeowners associations. I knew it was a good opportunity there on the trash side after I talked to a couple managers so I jumped in with them. There was probably five of us that jumped in all at once and we didn’t know anything about trash that was pretty pathetic the first like five dudes that are just like don’t read you got here that non online course Yeah, offline. I don’t think I’ve ever read all the folders.
And all five of you are like, let’s partner up be the trash guys. So that’s I mean, that’s the story. It’s really, it’s not that exciting. It should give people a lot of hope. Because that’s a really bad start. I don’t know the story, but I’m going to be a prophet here. You got five guys in a partnership. It had to have gotten challenging at some point, 100% I got challenging right now. I’m the only owner so far I bought all those guys out. I started I think in 2011, and by 2012, I had bought them out. Surprisingly, we’re all really good friends. I mean, I’ve talked to one of them. We don’t talk that much. We’re still friends. Three of them. I talk to every week. Cool. Yeah, I see. I see him all the time. So it was a I’m gonna say it was a success story on the friendship side. Good because a lot of times you see where there’s like a bad breakup there. Yeah, I mean a lot. A lot of catalyst was I was doing a ton of the work I had quit my job. I was working full time in the company. Most of the sales were coming from me and I was
becoming really good at this. I think the turning point for me individually was I think we kind of partnered up and started the company and maybe October that February or March and went to something called the waist Expo, which was like a
trade show for everything. Yeah, right.
And it was in Dallas. And it’s huge. It’s I mean, it takes two days to walk to the convention center. And when I got there, I was by myself. And I could not believe how many ways people were making money, interest interest. It was shocking to me. I mean, anything you could think of people selling equipment, people fixing equipment, people doing things with landfills, people consulting people, software guys like you name it, someone was making money and trash and the haulers were there and they had I mean there was probably in in the convention hall is probably 20 trash trucks. I mean, it was huge. So I came back pretty fired up thinking Gosh, I you know, I can make a future in this kind of this company.
These could go somewhere. Now, our revenue was horrible back then. But slowly but surely, I started picking up more accounts. They were picking up a couple accounts here and there through partners, partners. Yep. And then one of them left to go work for a nonprofit. And he’s still with that nonprofit. And he negotiated a pretty good buyout. I bought him out. I’m trying to think
I think they let me do that just because I had put so much time and effort into the company and I was I kind of had money to do it. And then right after that, another guy came and he was starting a bottled water company called generosity, water. It’s still still going and he was focusing almost time there. So I bought him out. And then the last partner Jr. talked to him yesterday and still super good friends. He was good.
Going to join the company full time we had it all figured out how he was going to do it. And then he ended up getting married. She got pregnant right away. And he was about to leave a really good job and come over and do it. And it just was a lot of risk. At that point. He didn’t do it. So I ended up with it myself. When I was first introduced to your story. I was intrigued by this. I mean, I could have been the person reading watching the infomercial like how do you make money brokering trash? This is interesting, because I think it makes sense that trash is a big industry. There’s some trash, there’s some trash, trash everywhere. My perception of it is, though, that it’s handled by the city, the state, whatever, I didn’t really know that there are much private enterprise involved in trash. So as you’re jumping into this back in Oh, wait, and you say didn’t really know anything. Walk us through a little bit what you figured out in those early months. And then I think quickly transition to like, how does this work, man, I’m curious, yeah, trashes the answer you just gave is pretty much everyone’s answer. And the reason it’s like that is trashes really complicated in
That every municipality, every region is really different. Some cities do handle the trash. Sometimes they handle the residential trash but not the commercial trash. Some markets are completely open market la just franchised before they franchise they had over 100 open market haulers competing for business in LA. You know when you think about haulers driving down a residential street to pick up trash, those trucks are huge. Right now, a lot of those trucks are picking up three streams here in California. So you get trash recycle. And organics or green waste. That’s three gigantic trucks driving down your street if you have three different haulers on that street now that’s nine trucks driving down your street and it could be on different trash days. You got trash cans out every day that week, it seems like and it’s a huge mess. So cities or franchise and basically have menu pricing. All the trash is getting picked up on the same day in every neighborhood. It’s kind of a cleaner system, which is why cities do that. When we first started we focused on the
Open Market accounts, open market trashes. You know, you can go to anyone you can get it out, there’s no price restrictions like to an individual, go to a homeowner and say we want to pick up your trash and we’re going to cut the rate of what you’re paying right now. 100%. So here in San Diego, it’s county that’s open market. So if you’re going to city city of San Diego is picked up by the city, San Diego Coronado has a franchise agreement period beaches are franchising and by franchise agreement that one supplier that wins the bid and they read a deal with them. And then the residents are sort of stuck. And whether it’s good or bad theory, the city cuts a good deal for everybody. In theory, the City Council good deal for everyone, for everyone. It’s fixed pricing, everyone knows what they’re getting. And it’s kind of a cleaner system and cities get revenue from it. So a lot of times cities will get to my inbox plus 10% of gross receipts or something like that. So that helps them put money back in the funds to fix up the streets are getting torn up and the problems the open market so the county, the County, San Diego sometimes
Cities are making money on that in different ways. But for the most part, the open market, it’s Think of it like a cable bill. So you guys, you sign up for cable and 85 bucks and all sudden you look at your bill and a year and it’s 165 bucks. You don’t know how that happen trashes kind of the same way. You get, you know, price increase price increase price increase, you know, we see accounts that were started out at $300, and are now 1500 dollars. So there’s usually there’s usually margins that you can play with in the open market accounts. And then even if the pricing is right, a lot of times counts are getting over service. So the hollers are picking them up five or six times a week. And maybe they only need to get picked up twice. Or maybe some bands need to get picked up five or six times and other bands need to get picked up twice, which it doesn’t sound like a lot when you’re looking at these smaller accounts. But when you get in these bigger accounts, you got people that are spending 5000 a month but they should only be spending 2000 You know, that’s $35,000 in savings. In fact, that’s that was kind of our big right away.
I think within
within the first five or six months I got an account in downtown San Diego and I found a it was like a $40,000 credit they had been getting billed for a band that wasn’t there and then we saved them like 2000 bucks a month and back then that was when the market we were just starting out the real estate market had crashed so we would go in and our pitch was Hey will come in for free will do all the work we get half of whatever we save you so I’m going to get $1,000 a month for 36 months and we got half the credit which was like 20 grand and I had 10,000 maybe 10 hours 15 hours in that project nice yeah it seemed like a when I wish they were all that easy.
So how did you take to this and why did you take to it like just make some business cards like trash broker and start cold calling and and then how did you also set up the relationships like you don’t have trucks your broker? Yes, you’ve got to have kind of both the other people paying people fulfilling Yeah, when you’re starting off you got nothing right.
I ran a sales division for the guy who is my school football coach. And I focused on homeowners associations, right? So I knew that market. So right away when we started doing the trash thing, I went right to the homeowners associations to the property managers and said, Hey, can we take a look at the trash, this is how it works. We get half of whatever we save you. We only get paid if you guys like the recommendations we make and you actually implement them and we actually save you money. So when we first started, we weren’t even we weren’t even paying anyone’s bill, we really wasn’t brokering it was consulting, they would cut us a check. They would cut the trash company and track for 2000 and cut the check for 1000 bucks or 500 bucks or 200 bucks. Hey, let’s break in here. We’ve just got a chock full of opt out themes, the things that we just hear repeatedly from our guests. We’ve got a side gig that somebody started when they did an online or at home learning course we got a side gig that scales up and gets big. We’ve got someone who leveraged what they learned from their job and the
network and knowledge they had from that job to pivot into business working for themselves. And this great story of when the curtains lift at a trade show, and you realize there’s a real business here. So let’s talk about some of those themes. Well, to go with the trade show, one first is trying to think of my favorite, but I think they’re all three. Great, so I’ll go with the one you just said last. It’s cool that he, you know, he gets a little momentum in this thing. He starts it on a whim after a buddy just kind of suggested off an online course, as you recounted, but you can imagine you’re a few months into something. And to have the audacity will say, to go to the big Expo in the industry to even go out there and look for it and then book a flight and go do this. This wasn’t necessarily going to be his career yet, but it’s a pivotal moment and I’ve had this happen to me and other industries, and I know we’ve heard other people talk about it too, but you can imagine a young Josh Allen landing there and going and just wide eyed being walking up and down the aisles of this exhibit hall with trash trucks and software and everything in between. He was blown away by
All the ways that people were making money in this industry, I think at what it’s what really like crystallized it for him as the path that he was going to go down. So I love that. And I hope that people can take that back to whatever it is their side hustle might be. Or if they ever end up in a situation in the future, like think in your mind. Yes, we encourage you to look for local meetups to go interact with people. But look for those big industry conferences to because they can be eye opening. They can lead to relationships and whole new ideas and how you might enter the business or monetize the business. And that’s what happened for Josh. Alright, the next one that I love is taking something you know, from a job which would include the knowledge and in some cases that relationships you have from that job and using that because we have so many people that they feel stuck there like we love your podcast, like your materials, and I don’t know what to do for a side gig. And there’s a sense that people have that side gigs are mysterious, you get lucky you find something unique that no one’s doing. There’s all these myths but I feel like half the people that are doing a side
gig or leveraging the talent they learned at a job relationships or a network they also got from that it’s very true. And that’s exactly what he did, right? He’d been working with property management companies, homeowners associations, and he was a sales guy. And he knew the real estate world as we’re going to learn. He learned that world a little bit from growing up in a house hold that was in construction and real estate, which I can’t wait to get to tube. But yeah, it wasn’t intentional. I think that’s what we want to key in on and illustrate is that, you know, he was just going from thing to thing chasing a an opportunity. And it’s almost sounds like he was lucky that that was his background. But, but that kind of makes the point to right. It’s like he ended up leveraging some skills that he was just doing kind of happenstance to make one business work in a bigger way in a new industry. If you can think about how and why that happened, then you can better position yourself to have these lucky things happen to you. The last thing and I’ll do a little shameless plug for what we’re working on is he’s
not the only guest that has come on and said that their pivotal moment was some home learning course, sometimes really cheesy once. And in fact, you were just telling me that you needed to learn something, and you paid like $20 for a little online course. And it wasn’t even 20 pages. But the information provided was transformative. And so we’re working on some stuff along those lines. But it’s not the only thing. What I want to point out is whether it’s one of our courses that we think will help people getting an online course through some other medium, some other platform that can be somebody moment of transformation because you’re learning something you didn’t know you could make money at. So let’s hear a little bit more about how Josh shaped this business and got some quick wins. And then we’re going to fast forward to a crazy personal story that he had happened him in his early 30s and that’s how we got started about 2012 we had a property management company come to us a manager and that a big community like 3000 homes.
They were all paying individually, but everyone had the same holler. And they were having problems. They’re having service problems. Neighbors, one neighbor was paying 35 bucks and other neighbor was paying 55 bucks, you know, a hydraulic line with break and there’d be a mess in the road. And they didn’t know who to call. So they came to us and say, you know, Hey, can you help. And so we created a new program where we build all the individual residents, we,
I think we, it was, this was a while this was maybe 2012, 2000,
the end of 2011. So let’s say we got the service down from an average of $42 to it was like $15 and 50 cents, I think. And then we charge like 20 bucks, you know, $21, we cleaned their cans every year, we picked up bulk items curbside, we broke it out those separate services. We picked up a waste, curbside
like a day, unwanted clothing curbside just to make it more convenient for people let’s go so they consolidated everything basically under you.
When you’re you’re still a middleman though you didn’t need don’t. trucks. You don’t need to be running a waste business. Correct and trash typically, especially residential trash, even commercial trash a little bit different, but they pay in advance. So people are used to paying in advance. So before they were paying two months at a time upfront, so they were paying 95 bucks and we just had them come in and start doing the same thing paying us in advance. So we collect the money in advance, we know exactly who wanted service for the next two months, we paid a holler and we made our margins I’ll tell you I’ll get into a quick story because this is a pivotal for me when I was 33. I’m 38 right now turn 39 this year when I was 33 striving to a sales meeting I love work by the way I told my son today he was like gosh I’d be awesome I was telling him was going on a podcast he’s like what’s it called it’s an opt out live
and then he said something about like that’d be asked me never have to work again it’s like this he’s maybe said I’d never have to work again the Kim and I was like I told him like I love work. I don’t know you’re talking about I’m like I would no matter what I mean. I’ve been
doing what I love to do every day. But when I was 33 driving to a sales meeting and was actually meeting a guy who was kind of doing Salesforce part time, and it was a big meeting and talking to a friend on the phone about fantasy football, I was laughing and had a stroke.
I mean, whole left side of my body also, and I couldn’t talk. Luckily, I was driving right foot right hand, you know, and I was going slow. I just, I was up in like UTC little area and I just turned on this road wasn’t crowded, and I knew something was wrong immediately. I couldn’t. I wasn’t really thinking straight, you’re kind of foggy when it happens. I pulled over really quick and kind of stopped in the middle of this, like, entrance to this apartment complex. And I was trying to tell my friend Hey, I’m having a stroke. But I couldn’t even talk to you. So you knew you’re having a stroke? Yeah, I think I I think I told him I was like having a seizure. But I knew what was happening. I just I mean, it was really foggy, like you’re almost like you’re just not thinking clearly. You know what I mean?
mean half your brain shutting down. So it’s just everything’s not connecting. So I opened the door and this guy who was like a gardener came over and he helped me call 911 by the time they got there I was probably like 95% recovered. You know, I was little numbness in my face in my arm, but I could talk. And
so I get in the ambulance go to the hospital. I’m freaking out. I mean, I my entire life. I’ve been super fit well over way right now. But my,
you know, up until then. I was I mean playing flag football of time and indoor soccer and just going out and doing whatever I wanted to do. I get to the hospital right away. They do a CAT scan. And when they did the CAT scan, they got like, you know, they’re looking at my brain because at a stroke, but they did down into my chest for the CAT scan and they saw some stuff in my brain. But the right away, Rick, hey, you have a huge aneurysm in your aorta. We think there’s a problem and then I spent the next section
Five days in the hospital just doing every test you can possibly think of and then basically at one point they were saying that okay before you leave here you’re going to have to have brain surgery and heart surgery I know which I was freaking out i remember i told some of the guys I work with the best people and I’ll get to that in a minute but some of the guys that was working with came in to see me everyone’s scared because you know I’m young and shouldn’t happen yeah you said that heart monitors road people like talking to you like they might not see you again bro and I’m in the stroke Ward at this point I’ve got moved from like the hospital the ambulance took me today Kaiser which is what I have this is two or three days later and I give the guys my company credit card I’m like a go to BestBuy Give me the best pair of noise cancelling headphones you can find and bring them back to me. I mean, there was like the guy next to me was like snoring the stroke word. I’m by far the youngest guy in their stroke or by 20 or 30 years and I just I’m a very low stress person. Like in general. I don’t. I don’t.
Don’t get that stressed. I was really stressed just trying to figure out what in the world’s wrong. I got three kids, I’m married, I had just bought my last partner out of the business. So everything was kind of in my, you know,
was my responsibility. So at the end of the day, what they said is, hey, you’re going to have to have open heart surgery. This is a really huge surgery, what we’re going to do is monitor your aneurism, it’s small enough that we can let it grow for another, you know, hopefully, four or five years and have to do the surgery later I had something so my aneurysm is right outside your aorta. My order was set up by customer valve which basically you’re bound supposed to have, like three little pedals and open and close and let the blood out and shut it off. Let the bug out. Well, mine two of them were welded together so it was never actually shutting so but it was kind of leaking out all the time and they think maybe that had something to do with the may order like a big like kind of racquetball size bubble in your order. So long story short, I
Good at the hospital Five days later, and I was rethink about my entire business because at this point I’m 33 and I’m going to have heart surgery in the next one to five years is in my mind is going to happen. So at that point we were making pretty good money. We had just started making pretty good money where I could afford to hire someone to come in and help me manage the company. So I did, I brought someone in and just had her systematized everything. She had an MBA, she was super sharp, she came in and just tell me break everything down to the simplest possible you know, I was like picking out what the logo should look like, or what color green we should use on the shirts or who we should use to get the shirts just stuff that I shouldn’t be messing with, you know,
so from then on out. I’ve really made it a priority to only hire really, really good people and I’m I’m happy to overpay if I find a good person I will keep them on board no matter what or try.
Keep them out. You can’t make everyone happy, and you want what’s best for everyone. I was never going to be a person that was going to have a job and keep it for the rest of my life. Because I was destined to go do my own thing. I wanted to do it since I was a kid. So I understand that. And I’m not trying to make everyone stay forever, but I am trying to keep them as long as possible and keep them happy. And if they do have an entrepreneurial spirit, let’s work on that together, you know, how can we partner on that and grow this company and in that type of way that’s going to satisfy you. So you’ve found ways that by doing this, you’re giving yourself more freedom, right? 1,000%. So really quickly, I realized, gosh, like I have people that are awesome. They’re better than me at half this stuff. I’m just going to leave it up to them and my life within I mean, really quickly, within 12 months, became a lot more relaxed. You know, I could I could leave for four months or three months and come back and the company would still be running we’d be making more money you know, there was processes in place to kind of handle all that. I mean, not that it doesn’t
Every once in a while, there’s still something I have to deal with, or I feel like I should have to deal with. But it runs without me right now. Which is awesome. Cool. Yeah.
Cool. I hope some listeners out there realize they could do this without having to wait until they have a stroke. Yeah.
And you should have wrote an article about that. It was just an entrepreneur. com. But yeah, I mean, everyone should be looking at their business as, hey, how would I make this run without me right now? How do I take myself out of the equation? What does it look like? And you may not want to take yourself out of the equation. I don’t want to give up the parts I do right now. I love it. But I could take myself out of the equation. And that’s I think the key to the optimal life if you know Yeah, you do have an option. Yeah, you build a life in a business that now you can take six months off to recover from heart surgery because you know, you’re gonna have to write and I did I think it was a year later I ended up having another
stroke. Well, I was working out. We had a trainer come to the office, and we do all these workouts together. And it was during one of those workouts. I had another stroke. And then within six months, I had my surgery. And it was awesome. I got to I couldn’t wait to get back to work. Manson around the house was the worst. The worst thing I could possibly think of. But it was great thinking, gosh, I’m going to get to leave and not have to deal with all the crap. In fact, I had just bought another company that also dealt in the recycling market. They broker light bulbs, batteries, electronics, and I’m the majority owner but one of my best friends and business partner bought 25% of that company and he runs it and still I mean I go out there
a couple times a month now I talked to him every day. I see him almost every day but as far as having to deal with that i mean he runs the whole thing and just kills it it’s great we’ve kind of had this run of guests who have come on I think Adam from knock around told a similar story where you know, you start off as a hungry
entrepreneur, you grow business a bit, you hit a lull, something happens, and you figure out that you need to, you know, let go and hire good people and put them in places and put them in place and systematized. I mean, we’re hearing that over and over. We have another guest who comes on and helps entrepreneurs do that. So yeah, it’s a different version of the opt out life. It’s a more mature version of the opt out life. He reminds me kind of where I came up to like a lot of empowering and incentivizing young, hungry employees, having an entrepreneurial atmosphere, letting them take the reins a little bit, and then if you’re at the top, you still have the ultimate responsibility. Yeah, yeah, you can end up in a really good place and it’s different than side gigging. And it’s different than having a small business. And if you build that machine, we’ve had a whole round of people, I think, that have proven that that can be a really good place to be. Yeah, I mean, for a lot of entrepreneurs, they are the reason for the business, right? You’re the reason but when you hit a certain point in the business, you also become the worst enemy to your own growth and success. And you’re right knock around. It was a great story of those really.
Honest story about like, Hey, I was doing everything right and you just said the exact same thing you can they’re smart people and to grow that business and get the life that you want and not become a slave to your own business a victim of your own success, right? You’ve got to be pretty deliberate about stepping out of that yeah it sounds like for almost everyone it’s hard to do that step by step without having a low on the business or personal situation kind of force it yeah catalyst right. Hopefully the catalyst can be hearing stories like this for someone versus something more serious okay Dana. Crazy personal health story, maybe the craziest we’ve heard here on the optimal life so far, and a scary one for someone who’s in their 30s I mean, I’m around the age he was when this happened to wake up in the stroke ward of the hospital and to be told that you’re going to be having multiple surgeries now or over the course of the next few years would be pretty scary, especially for a young family man with a business I can’t imagine you know how he felt in those moments and I don’t
If you ever thought he’d get to the point where he is now in a much better place, so I don’t know I don’t want to dwell too much on the health scare part that’s something that can happen to any of us. It’s a nice reminder that tomorrow is not guaranteed and things might not always be the same as they are. And this is I mean this is a former college athletes I mean, this guy was probably pretty invincible when this happens. So interesting more to think about how this affected him perhaps personally and then also with his business, right? Like, what are this force him to do business wise? Yeah, brought him to a point of crisis that sometimes requires the business start to fail. I mean, when we were talking with the knock around founder he’s like a couple years of down revenue and you are forced into the same existential crisis and we see this as a pattern of the business success that sometimes success becomes something that keeps business owners from the out that life in fact I look back sometimes and be like, why was living the opt out life when it was me and three people and now you know, I’ve got a team and I’m showing up
earlier and working later, and they’ve got to kind of reengage the mission, the passion to get the opt out life to remember why they were doing this anyway, which was to have freedom of time to be doing what they want, when they want. And so yeah, this physical crisis pushed him to really re evaluate that, and he’s been rebuilding his company with that goal. Yeah, I liked what he said about taking that moment to realize that, you know, this business is going to have to run without me one way or another, he makes some key hires. And that’s been something that’s carried forward for him. I think we’ve visited his office a few times, you can tell there’s a good vibe in there, there’s some smart people working for him. And, and he also explicitly states in our conversation here that he could take off for a couple months and the business would even notice it. So that is a great place to be in. That’s a great place to get to that’s very opt out. But it’s a function of the work he’s done in the in the years since having this health crisis. And it’s not easy to find good people. It’s not easy to create these systems and sometimes it’s a
expensive to like, there’s all these reasons that like, Oh, this is a great idea I should replace myself, I should create systems, not easy to do just as hard as starting from scratch. So, you know, these businesses reach inflection points where they’re suffering a bit because of the weight of the growth. And you have to, like, kind of flesh them out a little bit with talent and processes to make it work. So another good story of a run of stories we’ve had here on the podcast to illustrate that. And it’s an important part of getting the opt out life even when you’ve got a business that’s got 10, 2040
employees. Well, in the opt out life, we talked a lot about real estate whenever we can. And our discussion now it’s going to move into some pretty cool discussions about real estate how to get into real estate through SBA loans. And we’re a little bit of great advice from Joshua’s dad and you still have the real estate broker trades still have the real estate brokerage my wife friends that I only get involved if we’re doing a deal we try to invest in real estate as much as we possibly can. And I’m not a big stock market person
either way. Yeah, we can definitely talk about
that you want to talk about real estate Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s do it. We actually don’t have that many guests as much as we think real estate to keep pillar to the opt out life. A lot of people that have focused on their side gigs and businesses and haven’t got into real estate yet. So it’s exciting when something’s intimidating and exciting. And there’s a lot of misinformation misconception. I think about people trying to get into it. I mean, you knew the industry pretty well. Obviously, from owning a brokerage. You saw the sales side, you saw deals went down, you had a pulse on the market. So you’ve got kind of the technical chops to know what’s going on. But you just said you’re not a big stock market guy. Why do you believe that? And then, you know, what was your first real estate deal as a personal investment? Well, my family, my grandpa, my uncle, my dad, even one of my brothers right now, they were all contractors in San Diego and not big companies. Like they would do spec homes. sometimes they’d get some partners together and they build apartments and they keep them in my my parents would manage them. So when I was a kid, I mean, I grew up on job sites. I remember my
Dad building, you know, 27 unit. And then you built a 40 unit. I would be on the job site as a kid just doing little little side things. And then I can remember this is before cell phones and answering machines. And I mean, literally by our phone in our house, we would have a sheet that had all the apartments that we had for rent on it. And if someone called an I picked up and I rented the apartment, I got like 20 bucks, you know,
it was like, really small time. I mean, I remember that sheet sitting there and there’ll be like four units on it or five units and I’d go through the whole thing we got a one bedroom one bath in this area on this address your kid or a kid Yeah, no, no, yeah, it opens it opens up you can rent like October 1, and then at the end they say Thank you, ma’am. Because my voice was
but you made some allowance money there. Yeah. Yeah, you know,
I didn’t realize it but I was learning a lot you know my parents back then. I mean, I can remember mom going in cleaning the units to
turn them over my dad going in and painting them. I mean, they it was when they just had a 15 1020.
And then my dad, he’s a smart guy. He’s took the opt out life he’s already done that he has probably and it’s not a time it’s maybe 100 units in San Diego. But he started a long time ago he retired I think the year I went to college, he was like 42 Let’s stop doing construction he would always explain to me He’s like, hey look constructions really hard work. I’m really not making that much money on the construction side where we’re making money is on keeping these apartments and he would like walk me through the numbers and show me how it all worked. And I remember he would sit down on he used to do the same thing you like had like he would always write in capital letters and like, you know, Title One side title the other side go through and show me all the numbers. So I grew up knowing Hey, when I get back to San Diego when I was at college, or I always thought a real estate as my retirement. Yeah, yeah. Now when you had your brokerage you also had it
Job though. So the when you started the brokerage Are you kind of like hustling will the sales Hoa sales job and yeah there’s a little there’s a little story to that too so I when I first came back from college I had a degree in Public Administration and a minor in government I came back but I went to work for my dad’s brother in he had a construction company and I did that for about a year and I remember we built a house and my younger brother had got his real estate license we built the house and I was on the site job site every day building this thing didn’t pay not a ton of money I mean worked our butt off it was out in her more which is like he said you know yeah county hot I mean there’s bad cold on during the winter it was took us like seven or eight months and he made my brother made more money than me selling the house. Then I made building the house and I immediately like told my wife and my ego, your real estate license. I’m gonna go my real estate license and we’re going to start our own brokerage. So back then. I don’t think you can do it now. But
If you had a college degree, you could get your broker’s license right away and have to wait two years. Okay? So you built out to the house? Yep. for yourself, for your family, myself. Yeah, split the lot. And then global disposal was doing well, kind of along that same time, I just bought my partners out. And so I was paying rent down in Mission Valley and I could get an SBA loan. So I bought a building out in the mesa. It was like a industrials on a little industrial strip. It was a circle, and it was a good SBA 10% downs. And data bank carries a split loan with government guaranteed 80% and another 10, right. Yeah, it was a really low interest rate. I think it was a 25 year fixed like it’s crazy was like, and to get these you’ve got to have a business that uses 51% of the space. Correct. But you needed all of it. No, no, I use it. So I was using about 60% there was already a render in there. I just I kept them cool. They moved out and I ended up burning it’s someone else and that was when there was kind of a time period
We’re residential real estate. It really jumped and then dropped and commercial real estate hadn’t moved that much good timing. It was good timing. And I and I knew it. You know, I was doing the math and like, gosh, I’m paying, you know, $3,000 a month Mission Valley for for nothing for two little offices I think I had like six or seven employees back then. So it’s kind of getting cramped and I was, you know, good app to expand again and it ended up I was paying like 20, $500
a month after I collected the rent and paid the venue and the bill and I own the building right. Then the market jumped up a little bit. The building did pretty good. I mean, it probably almost doubled in price pretty quickly within two years. And then I got really lucky the city of La Mesa zoned it for marijuana manufacturing and growing and when they did it, it was like a strip of like, you know, 50 industrial buildings. It wasn’t a lot so I just had guys knocking on my door
first I was turning them down. I was like, I don’t want to sell it. I love this building.
It turned into like, a really cool area was centrally located in like, 15 minutes from my house. And I didn’t want to do it. So then the numbers just kept getting bigger and bigger. And I was like, gosh, like, at some point, I’m just stupid if I don’t do this, so I took the money. Nice. Yeah. And you 1031 day 1031 exchange it. I looked every day, I had the loop net app on my phone. And I was just driving around San Diego. And I wanted a good area. But at some point, I was willing to take anything. I couldn’t find a building that I thought was a good deal. And I was looking everywhere. And then I saw building at Point Loma over by Liberty station, which is, you know, kind of up and coming area in San Diego. And I drove by ugliest building I’ve ever seen from the outside, no parking, but right across the street was Liberty station, which is I mean, has everything you could ever want in life. And so I called the agent he had an escrow and I said hey, look at this thing falls out. I’ll give you both sides. I’ll let you double our right
Yeah yeah cuz you’re a broker so you’re representing yourself typically and I like doing that because it means I get to take two to 3% of that deal yes sellers pain I get put that in my pocket at the end of the transaction but smart move if there’s demand and all of that you want to motivate that broker to keep you in mind this was a really good deal they had already negotiated down to a number that was really reasonable is like I think it was like 2.125 and he told me that then they guys came back and I think the ass for like you know 70 or $80,000 in repairs and the owner didn’t want to do it and so fell out escrow and they went with me took me a while to close it at a 1031 exchange and
my deal took forever to close I mean we guys they waited literally the last day they were paying me option payments and I mean it was crazy for your by your buyers were my buyers finally drop they were I mean anything they could do to extend the escrow they did. Well they were overpaying so trying to hustle that money to yeah we do offer I get it Yeah.
Absolutely, you know, I just I was kind of in limbo you know, I was in this space where I was like, gosh, I have to move not just by, you know, a great investment but I had to move my entire company which was kind of stressing me yeah where they just sit in the original space just well they were he was paying me option payments for the option to buy my building that’s kind of how I set it up but the option payments were kind of happy so I was I least that building before I bought it the downstairs like 5000 square feet and I went in and fixed it up and I moved my office there and I signed like a two year lease prior to owning the new building prior to own it was it that’s kind of risky and will say yeah, most people would say don’t do that. But it was such a good deal I was going to figure out how to buy it no matter what. And then I was pretty sure these guys were going to close they had sunk enough money in the building between option payments and just doing their due diligence. I I couldn’t see a way they were going to walk away from from that Oh, day. No, we got to talk about real estate this time.
That’s actually two episodes in a row where we got to talk about real estate, which makes me happy. And I hope listeners they’re happy to on a surface level because we believe so wholeheartedly and real estate investing as a good long term wealth play. And also there’s some good short term benefits as well, which we’ve talked about in our educational material, go to opt out life. com or hop on our Facebook group. If you want to talk more real estate, we’ve got a ton of content about that about Dana and I have both done it. But for Josh, his story, cool personal story where he grew up in a house where real estate was the focus in some ways dad worked in construction and he took young Josh aside and said, You know, I’m not making much money on the construction or I’m making money as when we hold on to some of these units. And his dad accumulated dozens and dozens of units and Josh tells us that even today he has about 100 here in San Diego. Oh, who wouldn’t want that life. I wish I had that. A lot of jealousy in the studio as we go through the story.
Not to be outdone with the story that his dad retired at the ripe age of 42 after working in construction and amassing this portfolio so well done, Mr. Allen we would love to have you here to talk more about that but Well think of think of what he paid his dues I mean a lot of people think that you make millions in real estate and they’ll show you that they’re driving a Lamborghini I mean, I just see this in my feed on social all the time that’s not the way to make money in real estate, you’re not going to buy a Lamborghini Your wife is going to be cleaning the toilets while you’re swinging a hammer and your kid is going to be answering the phone and pretending that their management office and trying to figure out what units for rent so there was a lot of hustle on the part of the family and building that real estate Empire was not a snap of the fingers. Yeah, and as you’re mentioning that I have to just do one more quick plug for us because we’ve got a cool YouTube episode that we’re putting out where we show you and I going by one of your more recent four Plex acquisitions here in San Diego. Dana and we talked about the fence that
You put in and we’ve got the garage hack. So if you’re interested in stories like that, go over to our Facebook group. Join the opt out like Facebook group. And we’ll have a video in there. Me and Dana hanging out of his four Plex. Anyway back not as grid has Joshua’s dad for sure. Right? But yeah, I mean I’m swinging a hammer to do the rehab sometimes and, and finding fence, you know, on Craigslist and all that. So, but it was that background that led Josh to kind of look at real estate as his nest egg and he’s done some cool investments. I’m obviously he’s worked in real estate with the brokerage that he and his wife still have, but we hear a little bit about him building a house investing in some vacation rentals. I think we’re going to hear a little bit more about that even after the cut in that he owns near the beach. And also probably the best one is he bought a commercial building where he house to his company for several years. He used SBA financing which is a program that a lot of people don’t realize they can take advantage of, especially if you’re going to be housing your own business in there. I mean low down payments, a few requirements that I think you can get around pretty easily and then your
company is paying the rent down so are paying will lease paying the mortgage down excuse me, not a bad setup. And it’s one of the tried and true ways that I think small business owners get rich. Yeah in fact by the time they sell the business very often they sell the business and they keep that building that’s been paid off and they keep collecting rent on it until they die. Josh has the cool 2018 story of how is building rezone for marijuana manufacturing and then became a very hot property in La Mesa. And he ended up having to sell because the offers were just too good. But then he can utilize a 1031 exchange by another building. He found a really cool place in a trendy or up and coming area here in San Diego. And he’s doing some really cool stuff with that building, kind of making a bit of a co working space and kind of modernizing it and taking advantage of his location. And we’re going to hear a little bit more about that here in a second. But yeah, listen along. I hope you’re getting some good practical advice or things that you can kind of look up and learn a bit a little bit more about on the real estate side from a
Who no matter what happens with his business. And I think we’ve given it it’s fair do is gonna be all right because of the moves he’s made in real estate. Some of the people I brought in, I mean, I pick their brain every day. There’s another real estate brokerage in there right now. And those guys are awesome. I mean, I pick their brain all the time. And we talked about deals. And then there’s another company in there. That’s a friend of mine, that we actually went to the same high school years younger than me, called pay rent calm, and it’s an awesome startup. And it’s kind of hitting that niche for if you have one to maybe 30 or 4050 rentals. There’s not a big software program out there for you, and you just want something to kind of manage and have your tenants pay rent. It’s really neat domains. Great. And he’s an awesome guy. So he’s been a lot of fun to have in the office. He’s got a real small team, but they’re, they’re killing it. And he’s a firefighter, right? He’s a firefighter firefighter. He’s a, he’s a study he works so as a side gig for him. We gotta get this guy on
90 hours a week. I’m not kidding. It’s on It’s unbelievable. We just had a police officer on Okay. Who who had decided to
As doing a day trading and then he ended up starting like an event for traders and he ended up eventually quitting the police officer gig and giving up the pension and everything going full time and going off on a really successful entrepreneurial career but uh. He was like a lot of fire fighters and police guys have side gigs almost all of them just because the schedule yeah we we can permit for it yeah you end up working a lot hours but yeah the on again off again thing I think leaves it open yeah you should definitely get him on here okay Ryan yeah we just need to bring the mic down to your
which move in and then you got wonder is upstairs right. Yeah wonderous and they are Mike and Laura you guys I know you guys had Laura on I was in that podcast. It was great. She’s She’s awesome. He’s awesome. It could be better tenants but they’re just good friends at this point. Are there exciting people they’re always doing cool stuff they’re always learning something new what other rental properties if any vacation yes I have a two little studios down on the beach and Mission Beach here in San Diego and I Airbnb and home doing
for a little over two years my wife friends one, the upstairs one and I run the other on the little app and then we have someone clean them and turn them over. I’ll tell you I think our experience is a little different than I got friends that rent out Airbnb is that are inland or at their house or a guest house on their property or a nicer home. Our stuff gets rented by people coming to the beach. So you get families, right. Yeah, older couples. We also get a ton of partiers you know we get people like college kids we actually rented to four girls that had just graduated from high school How’d that go
yeah we’re neighbors the probably a complaining about the Rangers well i’ll tell you and I it was frustrating so I usually try to stop by I was gonna say one of the best things you can do is check in with the people even if it’s just a phone call or a text you know did you get in the unit is everything okay you know some we have so many people coming in and
out. Sometimes we forget to do that. And that’s usually when we have a problem. If there’s something small, like, Hey, I’m missing a towel, or, you know, the set of sheets doesn’t fit or something weird. Like, we can solve it, you know, you just got to reach out to us. Surprisingly, you know, I think 80% that people reach out to you if there’s a problem 20% just leave you a bad review. You know, a lot of owners set a minimum age requirement right of like, 2525 is pretty common, actually used to piss me off because I travel a lot too and I’m like, no one rent to me. Some do 30 right. Let’s do you have a 2020, 2525, 25
years or limits it’s probably better I had about three or four experiences just the summer that were bad. I mean, stolen skateboard stuff broken unit leftover stuff you know, just Yeah, all kids under the age of 23 Yeah. Yep. new policy new policy. Her rentals will tell you Airbnb has a rating for you. Or they did I don’t know if they still do it based on how often you accept so we tried it
Except 100% of the time otherwise, you ranking drop otherwise your region otherwise your ranking drops. To be honest with you. I think I’m going to switch my unit to VR Bo, because I’m just having too many problems with Airbnb right now we’ve got a lot of listeners that want to get to where you’re at that one out some real estate don’t yet they’re getting it in their head. You know, they want to either have a side gig that make some good money or grow a business. Yeah, looking back at your experiences, you’re talking to somebody whether they’re younger or older. Doesn’t matter. They Aspire got any good advice? Yeah, I do. I’ll just like my dad two weeks ago, and something he has told me for the last 25 years. He had a mentor kind of he grew up in the real estate market and San Diego there was this guy who was kind of his mentor older guy and one day the guy sat him down my data just bought a property he owned a property that wasn’t cash flowing it was a really good by he had bought it really cheap
but he wasn’t really
Making money on it. And the guy had a property he was selling. There was a real ugly kind of dog property. But the cash flow on it was awesome. And he sat my dad down. He was like, Hey, you need to stop thinking about value, you need to think about cash flow, because you’re young, the only way you’re going to be able to keep building is cash flow. And that’s on the real estate side. But it also is really important for the business side and I get it. There’s a bunch of different ways to build a business and I see a lot of people, you know, it’s a scary thing for me, maybe it’s just my mentality. But when I look at a business, I want to cash flow that business, I want that business to throw off cash so that I can a have some cushion and be reuse that money because I feel like Hey, I know where to use it. You know, I can use it on the real estate side. On the retirement side. On the investment side. You know, one time we bought this other company and we figured out how to we knew we could cash flow that it wasn’t cash flowing at the time, but we knew we could figure out how to do it.
So my advice would be to, you know, if you’re, if you’re trying to start your own thing right now, or you’re, you have a small side gig or company
to focus on cash flow. I mean, the value part obviously is important. And there’s, there’s a lot to be said about bill to sell. That part isn’t just as important. I’m learning that because I, I built some stuff strictly for cash flow and not to sell and, and, you know, it’s I’m having to figure stuff out now. But I think that is what’s put me in a position where I could grow the companies, I own 100% of my company. I don’t have any investors right now.
I’m setting it up to give my employees stock options and opportunity to own part of that company. The other company, I have a couple partners and they’re just friends that I brought in so that we can all kind of do it together, it’s fun. And then on the real estate side, even that 10% down SBA that’s still $100,000 you know, I had to come up with on top of paying for
life you know, like kids school and soccer and
vacations or whatever you’re doing, you know cars. So that’s what I would tell someone starting out is keep your expenses low focus on how that companies actually going to throw off some cash. Because investors love that too. If you are looking for an investment and go from there, I love it. Very good, sir. Thanks for coming on. Absolutely. Alright. Yeah,
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