The Dangers of Economic Hostages

In this, The Faces of Business, Andrew Deutsch, CEO, EcoTek Soft Wash & Junk Bros, Founder, Fangled International, talks about the dangers of economic hostages and how they might be hurting your business progress. Economic hostages are people staying in a business only because of current and future compensation.

In this, The Faces of Business, Andrew Deutsch, CEO, EcoTek Soft Wash & Junk Bros, Founder, Fangled International, talks about the dangers of economic hostages and how they might be hurting your business progress. Economic hostages are people staying in a business only because of current and future compensation.

Damon and Andrew are striving to answer the question: “When people stay in your business for the money only, how does this affect your business results?”

Andrew is a leader with a proven track record of revenue growth and broad-based expertise in developing and executing innovative and effective growth strategies. He draws upon his sales, marketing, and leadership experience in his current role as the CEO of EcoTek Soft Wash and Junk Bros.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

Andrew is an innovative, effective change leader who leverages his passion and unwavering commitment to excellence. He navigates the complex waters of business to realize positive results by welcoming and guiding the contributions of others. Andrew inspires key stakeholders to collaborate and build value propositions and comprehensive business strategy roadmaps to strengthen the brand’s influence and grow sales.

Andrew has seen the cost of economic hostages firsthand and shares his views and experience.

Damon begins the show by warmly greeting Andrew. He asks the guest to talk about the services EcoTek offers. Andrew introduces EcoTek, saying it renders exterior cleaning services, including house washing, roof cleaning, and gutter cleaning. They also have a decluttering business called The Junk Bros and a holiday lighting division that designs and installs holiday lights for customers.

Do you want to know if your business is ready for your exit or what you should do to prepare? Learn this and more with our business exit assessment here.

Damon shifts the course of this conversation to the dangers of economic hostages.

Andrew discusses the concept of economic hostages, where a financial benefit prevents people from making the right decision for themselves. Since the company store charged so much, workers were always in debt and unable to leave until they paid it off.

Andrew provides several modern-day examples, such as companies holding bonuses until January to retain employees, stock options requiring employees to stay to receive them, and pensions requiring employees to stay fully vested. However, he argues that this practice is counterproductive to the productivity and culture of the business, and it could become a dead anchor to the rest of the culture of the business.

Get the most value for your business by understanding the process and preparing for the sale with information here on our Selling a Business page.

Damon asks Andrew about the latter’s background, what drew him to the Eco tech group, and what challenges and enjoyable experiences he has had while working there.

While talking about some of the fun things, Andrew revealed that he enjoys working at the EcoTek group because everyone is on board for growth, and he can build a brilliant culture and coach an incredible sales team.

Since Andrew has a background in construction and building, it is helpful for his work in the home services industry. He notices that the marketing in the construction industry is often geared towards men, but he recognizes that women are often the ones at home when the service provider shows up.

Similarly, Andrew discusses how stereotypical high testosterone marketing in the construction industry may not effectively attract all customers, especially families. He emphasizes creating a brand that speaks to families by focusing on safety, quality, and skillset through social media campaigns. The industry’s traditional marketing, which often features muscular men with hammers or power washers, may not appeal to those uninterested.

All Andrew does is get his brand to speak to the family—the humans.

The guest draws a powerful analogy between a business and a music shop. “Opening up a music store only selling what you’d like to listen to,” he continues, “is probably not going to do much business.”

Andrew talks about the challenges home services brands face, emphasizing the importance of understanding and increasing density within a specific area rather than expanding too quickly. He also stresses the significance of treating every sale as a potential referral and ensuring exceptional customer service, as personal referrals are still the most effective way of growing a business.

The home-service guru cites an example of how he resolved a customer issue and turned a negative review into a positive one by personally reaching out to the customer and providing excellent service.

As the CEO, Andrew discusses the challenges facing the home services industry, including understanding and maximizing density within a specific area and the importance of personal referrals. Additionally, he talks about the challenge of maintaining revenue during off-season months and how his team has come up with new ideas for additional services.

Damon keeps the ball rolling. He and Andrew discuss the dangers of economic hostages, including the example of company stores and how January bonus checks lead to quitting season. They also mention stock options as a lure for employees to stay in big companies.

Andrew has a piercing approach to economic hostages and their various forms, such as bonus checks, stock options, and health insurance. He talks about how health insurance can be a form of economic hostage and can prevent employees from leaving even if they are unhappy. Andrew also shares an example of an employer who threatened an employee with losing their health insurance and bonus if their production did not increase, creating a “bad culture [and] disgruntled employees.”

Besides an economic one, Andrew also sheds light on calorie hostage. He relates it to a company owner who provided free meals to employees in the cafeteria. The real motive was to keep them captive and prevent them from leaving for lunch and potentially not returning to work. This is an example of a calorie hostage.

Agreeing with the guest, Damon cites the example of his daughter’s first job out of college, which was lured in by promises of outdoor activities and company events. However, the company’s culture turned out to be terrible, and within six months, his daughter was sick of it. Despite staying in that position for a year, she often came home in tears due to the bad culture. This highlights the importance of the perks and the company’s overall culture and work environment.

Companies provide snacks and beverages to their employees to keep them working longer and discourage them from leaving. The Silicon Valley mindset of working 12-14 hours a day is encouraged by this practice. The motive is to get more work done without paying overtime, and it is cheaper to provide snacks and beverages than to pay for overtime.

Andrew maintains the fine line between treating employees well and using perks and benefits to manipulate them. He says that companies in the vending space provide free snacks and drinks to keep employees working longer hours and that some companies offer such perks to hold employees captive.

Damon discusses his meeting with a client to adjust their bonus structure. They want to pay bonuses every month rather than annually to retain employees. Andrew shares a personal story of a company waiting for a January hire that didn’t work out and warns against being sneaky, greedy, and treating employees as property. Instead, he suggests viewing them as valuable assets and team members.

The EcoTek CEO talks about responsible leadership at great length. He believes good leaders should not use economic hostage theory to retain employees. It indicates a narcissistic leader with other business-damaging traits. Employees should be treated as intellectual assets, not property.

A leader who uses such tactics usually deals with different problems preventing the company from reaching the next level or being a place anyone would want to work. Leaders should create a positive work environment that values and respects their employees’ time and contributions. It is crucial to avoid manipulating employees for personal gain. A good leader should foster a healthy work-life balance, encourage open communication, and build a strong company culture.

Andrew also guides the audience in creating voracious advocates for their brands. He narrates that once, he went to Home Depot with one of his sales guys to get materials for a demonstration. While there, they talked to a woman at the pro desk who had no idea about the dangers of power washing on decks and homes. Andrew educated her on what they do, and she advocated for the EcoTek brand, asking for their cards to pass out to customers who could use their services.

Damon concludes the conversation by thanking Andrew for his time and expressing his pleasure in talking with him. He terms this Livestream as a wake-up call for greedy business owners. Similarly, he emphasizes the importance of creating a positive work environment and paying a fair wage to retain good employees.

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people, company, work, business, employees, paying, health insurance, brand, hostages, services, bonus, sales, months, culture, economic, talking, day, house, ceo, position


Andrew Deutsch, Damon Pistulka


Damon Pistulka  00:01

All right, everyone, welcome once again in the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And yes, I just came out of a laugh Athan with our guests today, Andrew Deutsch. And we’re going to be talking about the dangers of economic hostages. Andrew, welcome.



Thanks for having me back home. And it’s good to see you.


Damon Pistulka  00:19

Oh, this is great. So Andrew is currently the CEO of the Eco tech group. We’re gonna have him tell talk a little bit about that. And then after that, let’s have you defined what is an economic hostage after you tell us about what you’re doing now? Yeah, the


Andrew Deutsch  00:37

Ecotech group is a home services brand, actually series of brands. So we’ve we brought together a exterior cleaning, house wash, roof cleaning gutter, highly high lower pressure, economic, ergonomically and ecologically better. So many people destroy their biggest competitor. And that division is folks with power washers, who just pretend they’re Zorro and scratches ease into their siding instead of cleaning it. And then we also have a division. And by the way, in that division, we do roofs, we do gutters, and we also clean our dryer vents to keep houses from burning down.

And then we have another division called the junk rose, which which is a decluttering. Business we are crews go out and completely remove all the junk from people’s houses they’ve been wishing had been removed 25 years ago. And lastly, in the offseason, we have a holiday lighting division. So people can contract us to design install, and then at the end of the season, so you don’t have to climb the ladder. We do it for you. We take it all right back now and store it for you till next year.


Damon Pistulka  01:43

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. And those are those are pretty, pretty valuable services. And I just wonder, does junk bros have a psychologist on staff that can convince my better half that we really don’t need to keep that stuff that’s been sitting there for 10 years and not been used? It’s usually


Andrew Deutsch  02:00

the other way around Dave and your wife, by the way, called me about an hour. And I told her you’re out of our service area. But all that so far from your college dorm room?


Damon Pistulka  02:12

It’s gotta go. No, it doesn’t. It has history. It has history. Well, awesome. Awesome. That’s so much fun. So we’ll talk about a little bit more about that. Because I want to understand some of the stuff you’ve learned in in Ecotec as you’ve been going around there. But let’s talk about economic hostages. And what you mean by that to start with,


Andrew Deutsch  02:32

it’s, it’s when you set up a system, where a financial benefit prevents people from making the right decision for themselves. And it goes back to I mean, the days of the company store. So for people who don’t know what that is, back in the days of mining and other other types of situations, in the secluded areas, companies would set up a store that charged people so much, that by the time you got your paycheck, you were already in debt more than what you received, which meant that you could never leave until you finally caught up, you’re dead.

So in an extreme form, that’s the original sort of idea of what an economic hostages But now, there’s a lot of examples that, that people think is business owners make a lot of sense. But in the long run, when you really dig into the total effect, not what it means in the moment what it means down the road. Is not clever, and and can actually hurt your business. So I mean, how many how many sales guys do you know that around, I don’t know, September are done.

They don’t like where they’re working anymore. There’s all these job offers out there. But they don’t go anywhere because they’re being held hostage by the bonuses getting paid in January, January, January, we I always refer to witness quitting season. If I know that I’m going to be adding staff to my team, I wait till January to start throwing the resumes out there. Why? Because all these guys just got their bonus and they quit.

So the company thinks in this particular in this particular instance of holding that hostage, they go well wait a minute, if we move the bonuses out until January, these guys are going to stay with the company we’ve got great employee retention, what a great idea what they actually get most of the time our sales folks who are just phoning it in the absolute minimum so that they can get by, get their bonus and move on to something better.

So another another is stock options in a company or shares in a company or anything similar to that to where even profit sharing programs where you’re not eligible to get your profit sharing until March of the year after and if you’re not there anymore, you’re no longer eligible for it. You can’t get it.

So you stick around you phoned it in knowing that you’re going to leave but you want to make sure you get that check in really, you know, when when company pension switch to the 401 ks with matching funds that are invested over a period of time, yet another form are knowing knowing that if you stick around for another six months, you’re going to be fully vested with all the money that the company put in.

Do you or don’t you make that decision based on the dollars? So all of those are examples of, of, of way, the ways that companies hold people for that purpose. And in the end of the day, it’s probably counteractive to the actual productivity and the culture of the business. Yeah, it could be to their detriment. Yeah, sure. Deadwood becomes a dead anchor to the rest of the culture of the business.


Damon Pistulka  05:42

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And that’s, it’s a good point. So we’re going to talk about economic hostages in just a moment. I got several questions I want to ask about that. And, and some other options in your mind. But let’s talk a little bit about your background. I mean, you you’ve been you’ve been in the marketing and leadership space quite a while helping companies grow. So what really drew you into the Eco tech group? And what are some of the things that you’ve you’ve really had fun with? Or challenges that that have got lit your fire? While you while you’ve been there?


Andrew Deutsch  06:16

You know, my career, we’ve known each other for a while now. Yeah. Two to three years now. Yeah, leasing seems seems like a millennia. Okay. You know, it, my career began in global trade, most of most of my adult life I was I was helping American companies set up distribution, sales, joint ventures and business in other countries. So I was very much involved in really understanding the true value as it relates to the culture where we’re at selling. So that was sort of the beginning of my experience.

And then after many, many years on the road, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was flying, what 300,000 miles a year 45 Something countries every year, I was unhealthy, and decided to make a shift. But at the same time was like, You know what, I learned so much, that now I can, I can put it into other things that that are using using that.

So I started to do business development and creative work in looking for how companies can expand their markets. And I worked as an employee and also of setting going back into the consulting world, really finding where companies get stuck, understanding where that true value proposition was, and leveraging that to create strategic marketing plans that lead to the tactics that grew the business.

So over the last, I don’t know, six, seven major projects, private equity group buys a company that’s failing, after they bought it, how to get in and restructure that company to make that happen, and multiple projects over the years, and then an opportunity popped up, to truly just take over an entire business that is already successful, but looking to next level, in a way that the current ownership needed help to do.

So they made me an offer to come in and partner with the owner, completely rebrand, restructure and, and redefine the value proposition to the company, re revamp the entire operations of the business and make it significantly more profitable. And the challenge there was super exciting. It’s probably, you know, at my, at my age, it may be the last major project that I do before I just do retirement consulting and helping folks out from there.


Damon Pistulka  08:32

Nice, nice. So what have been some of the fun things that you got to do?


Andrew Deutsch  08:38

The greatest part was was really getting getting to start somewhere where everybody was on board for growth. My history has always been walking into these companies that are distressed with employees that that are on the edge. So my first month that almost any position I’ve ever taken has been surrounded by people saying this isn’t what we do. And my role was to say, well, if what you do was working, why’d they bring me here? Yeah, yeah. What what? Why did they need an outside set of eyes.

So it’s an interesting, interesting thing about this business is it entails all the work that I had done in the past in the chemical chemical industry. It entails really looking at the value proposition for for what the market is in an area that I’ve not worked in, which is home services. I have a background of personally in construction and building and other things. So all of those interests that I have sort of played into it.

And then the next part was really building a culture from a culture that was already good into a brilliant culture where folks can thrive and elevate to greater positions. So I get the opportunity to coach an incredible sales team that’s ready to learn and wants to grow, restructure and build an incredible marketing strategy that’s already been being implemented, and showing the signs of life that we’re on the right track, come up with creative campaigns. And there’s just been some really, really cool stuff going on.

I mean, I think the biggest learning if you look in the construction industry, and we’ve done quite a bit of focus, reading and what’s going on, if you look at the brands on the road, you see that the plumbing vehicles going down the street, the power wash, guys, it’s all high testosterone marketing. And at the end of the day, who’s usually at home when the guy shows up


Damon Pistulka  10:34

is a great boy.


Andrew Deutsch  10:36

There’s a great point there’s there’s there might be a female or a male house with with children in the house, who’s not interested in the guy with the big muscles holding the hammer on the on the carpenters truck or holding the you know. So how do you take the testosterone out of the marketing out of the brand out of the thing and create a brand that truly is enticing to a family.

And this is something that we started to do with with the branding. And as we’ve interviewed and talk to homeowners, the idea in the industry, they joke, they call it the chuck on their truck, you know that the guy with the you know, the old days with a cigarette pack rolled up in his Yeah, today, who still got the breath of the brewery head yesterday, come into the house to do whatever he’s going to do.

And to pre know through the what we can do with social media to to have fun and get customers to recognize the safety factor, the quality, the skill set, and a brand that speaks to a family. You know, it’s a very different approach than anyone else in the industry. And it works. Just because I think it looks cool to see you know, a guy holding up a power washing gun with flames coming out of it doesn’t mean that that’s going to get to attract the market space with people who are looking to have their own plane.


Damon Pistulka  12:01

Yeah, yeah, you’re right, getting your brand to speak to the family, because you don’t care if your power washer will spit flames out of it, you just want to make sure it’s gonna get done, and it’s gonna be clean and look great. And, and you’re not going to screw with your dog, or the kids or the shrubs and all that kind of stuff that you run into that that go wrong.


Andrew Deutsch  12:22

And at the end of the day, I’ve been preaching this for many, many years. If you believe that you are your brand, start over. It’s It’s the art, you know, or you are your customer. Either way, you know the brand, the brand has to speak to what the customer wants, not what you want. Opening up a music store only selling what you’d like to listen to is probably not going to do much business.


Damon Pistulka  12:51

Yeah, yeah. That’s, that’s a great, that’s a great example. I liked that example. So you know, music store only saw what you like, you’re only going to sell to you. And that’s not going to pay the bills longer,


Andrew Deutsch  13:03

especially since I already own the home. So there’s nobody else to buy us.


Damon Pistulka  13:07

Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Good. Well, yeah, that’s, that’s really cool. Because you’re in a place now where you can really that really fuels your passion, because you’ve got people around you that want to grow just as badly as you do.


Andrew Deutsch  13:20

Absolutely. I’ve really got the one of the best teams that I’ve ever worked with in my entire career right now.


Damon Pistulka  13:27

Oh, my goodness, that’s got to be just a thrill.


Andrew Deutsch  13:29

It really is in there, and they’re committed and they’re, they’re really off to a good start. And the ability to provide and listen to feedback from folks that are that are in the game to win. It is a very different experience than the old consulting where you’re, you’re wondering for the first month if it’s ever going to happen, because nobody’s on board with what you’re talking about.


Damon Pistulka  13:51

Yeah. So yeah, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. So let’s get back to talking about the economic hostages because you get get me excited about growing businesses and that kind of stuff. And and I will ask you one thing one more, because you guys are putting it putting the business in this home services business on the growth path. I’ve had some some other guests in the past talking about home services, what are some of the real challenges you see to grow on these home services brands,


Andrew Deutsch  14:22

but when you when you’re building, most of the guys in the home services industry fall on the death sort of tactics? So they go Okay, I gotta I gotta get my Google up. I’ve got to get people to my website. I’ve got to get leads I got to, but they don’t really understand the actual density.

You know, I’ll give you an example. I know of another power washing company who’s a friend of our company. He does a an extremely impressive amount of sales within a seven square mile or seven miles of his of his office. Nothing beyond that. He does all of his business. There’s other guys in our business that do The same level of business, but they cover three states.

Yeah. Guess which one’s more profitable? Yes. Yeah, the guys who don’t travel for every every mile with a crew in a car, or in a truck is an expense. So, so understanding and really being able to slice dice and dig down to understand every street, every house, every every neighborhood, in terms of this potential, and the culture of that neighborhood, to increase your density within your space.

So many of these guys are like, well, you know, I, I’m only an hour away from the next city will open up a branch office there and will grow without ever really harvesting all the density in their own space. And the other is, no matter how much money you spend on marketing, nothing, nothing will grow your business better than going back to the old fangled way. Every touch is a voracious advocate for your brand.

So every sale that you make, should be treated as theater in a way that when you leave that property, the experience of having the house washed is enough to want to call 10 of your friends and go, Holy crap, can you imagine what Ecotech could do for you? Because that personal referral, all the digital age, nothing is better than a personal referral. You got to call these guys you got to do business with these guys.

They’re amazing. Even even when there’s an issue, you missed a spot. Well, we’ll be back tomorrow and straighten that out for you. Thank you so much. Just Just recently, we had a customer that called and she was upset because our policy is because our time is so valuable. We need to get a deposit before we schedule an appointment. And someone new to the company who wasn’t wasn’t necessarily thinking at the moment, said to the person, I need you to pause and the person said, Tell me when you’re coming.

And I’ll give you the deposit. And the person wrote a bad Google review. That was she screw you I’m not doing business with you wrote a bad Google review. I as the CEO reached out to the customer and said, Hey, this is a policy I put in place. Because when we have bookings that don’t have deposits, we show up, we don’t do the work, we lose money.

I’m so sorry that this happened because the person really didn’t didn’t follow procedure. I want to make it right. And I have my crew out there on Monday morning to get this straightened out. While the consumer was amazed on the Sunday, they got a phone call from the CEO of a company, book book, the call, my crew went out and did regular job to the customer, it was the supreme because we always do the Supreme.

And guess what she took down the Google Review wrote a five star praise the company asked for additional services, we’re going back to do her deck I believe the roof and some windows as a second for the same value as the first round and gave our name to the homeowners association where she lives to tell them that we should be the one that they recommend to people. So you know that that’s the key to this, the you know, we’re we’re selling in your neighborhood, we should feel like your neighbor.


Damon Pistulka  18:10

Eggs are Yeah, that’s a great Crow, I’m gonna write that down. Because that is really what service is about is creating, you know, doing the right thing.


Andrew Deutsch  18:24

Let me tell you about tell you about a team that like we’ve got now. So in our industry, one of the issues in our business is that there are months where there’s ice on the ground, and people aren’t getting their house washed, which is part of the part of the reason that we began the holiday lighting business. But we’re also looking for other things to keep our crew active during those months, because those are potential revenue months. And typically they’re not. So I put the challenge out there to the team. I said, Hey, guys, we’re looking for solutions.

What can we do in these offseasons? What are additional things that we should be offering? That we’re fully capable of doing? That don’t add liability to company? Don’t you know that we have to know how to do it right, or we’re not going to do it? And since I put out that challenge, I’ve had five employees who normally have no contribution besides doing great work, come to me with ideas that were brilliant for new services that we’re now contemplating take into.


Damon Pistulka  19:16

That’s awesome. That is incredible when you can do that, because they they’re engaged in the company trying to help and those offseason times, and you’re getting great ideas.


Andrew Deutsch  19:26

Yeah, yeah. That’s the culture that that will take this company way beyond the next level. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  19:33

So cool. So cool. All right. Well, I would love to talk about eat the Eco tech group, and we’re gonna have to check back at you know, give us some time next year, check back and see how things are going because this is exciting time for you. And we’d love to see the progress over time.

But we’re talking today about the dangers of the economic hostages, and you talked about that before and you gave the example of how you know, in the old days when they had company stores you could get your paycheck but you go spend it plus some at the company store. So you had to be back to work to go again. And we were talking about the sales people with the the bonuses paid in January and, and January being quitting season because everybody wants to wait until the bonus checks are cash and done. And you know what?

I can’t tell you how many management leaders cross the board that I know that that’s they’ve done that they wait until it’s it’s usually march to the end of March, everything’s done. And people are looking for new jobs if they weren’t happy last year. So so. And he talked about a couple other ones, too, he talked about stock options. I think that one’s that one’s an interesting one too, because it’s used so much. I mean, when you look at some of these big companies, that’s sometimes that’s the lure for people to stay there.


Andrew Deutsch  20:53

Yeah. And, you know, there’s another one I neglected to bring up, health insurance. Health insurance, if you if if you are completely miserable, where you work, but haven’t yet found another position, you’re going to stick around like crazy, because the day you leave, the Cobra begins, and all of a sudden, you know, a family’s paying 1800 1500 a month to maintain the ability to have health insurance till they find the next position. Yeah, and and I still never quite understand when we decided that that businesses are responsible for the health insurance, I know that it’s an attractive thing to go work for a company.

But it’s another form of economic high surgery if you if you’re working somewhere and I’ve even seen it where where someone actually threatens an employee, if you don’t get your production up, you know, you’ll be gone. And I don’t know what you’re going to do about your health insurance, you’re gonna lose your bonus, you’re gonna lose this event, you better perform more. And they think that they’re doing a good thing. But instead they’re just creating bad culture, disgruntled employees and people who voted in


Damon Pistulka  22:01

law that’s got me thinking now, that really the health insurance piece has got me thinking there. Yeah. Because it is, uh, you know, if you look at two companies side by side, and one company was paying zero for the health insurance, but they were paying a higher wage to compensate for that. That’s actually a better thing than the company that’s not paying for the health that’s paying a lot on the health insurance game, some of the health insurance,


Andrew Deutsch  22:28

it all depends on where you’re at. And of course, the younger your employees are, the less the health insurance matters to them, even though it should. So if you’ve if you’re employing a bunch of 20 year olds, and you tell them, Well, I only pay this but you get health insurance or like I’ve been the doctor in five years get lost. And then they call you Boomer and they walk off





Damon Pistulka  22:53

MO Sorry, sorry, sorry, I’m a Gen X Er, yeah. So it’s like no, I’m not a boomer Gen X are the same thing thought. Just Wait one sec. I have a demanding partner once in a while that, that he’s he’s one year old Westie. Oh, yeah. So the, this is interesting. Now, when you look at this, these are some long standing traditions mean, when you look at stock options, when you look at health insurance, when you look at any of these things that you’ve talked about. So


Andrew Deutsch  23:39

there’s, there’s one more actually that I that’s let’s get it, let’s get it, there was a company back back, and I’m not gonna say it was gonna get sued. There’s a company that was in the warehouse distribution business of a certain electronic product that I was aware of, and the owner, put in a cafeteria. And you all the employees could go there and get their meals at the place.

And he told the employees well, you know, I’m concerned because there aren’t great restaurants nearby. Of course there are. And I’ve decided that I want to provide you with the meals as a courtesy to keep you going. I was in the boardroom, when he told the team putting in the cafeteria, so these people won’t go out and overstay their lunch. I need them at their desk. And, you know, if you’re an employee, you’re the meal that you’re getting for free in this cafeteria within within his facility. Seems like a perk.

Yeah, in in the actual motive behind the CEO of this this corporation was this is how I keep people captive. They’re not going to go out for lunch. There’s no they’re not going to get drunk at lunch and I can go out and get hired. I mean, he had this attitude of it. And and the reality is, if you’re an employee, it’s a great perk. But at the end of the day, the motive behind it was to hold hostages Of course, in this case, it was calorie hostage. It’s not economic. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  25:04

Yeah, that’s, that’s a great example of it. I mean, I think about other other places that that have, you know, beer Fridays or whatever they have and all the all the, you know, they’re going Axe Throwing every week or whatever they’re doing and all that kind of stuff.

And that’s, it’s all good and dandy if it’s in the right setting, and if it’s in the right culture, but, you know, I still go back to my daughter’s first job out of college was horrible. But they lured her in with we do all these outdoor activities, and we do all this company stuff. And she got into it and the culture was just absolutely crap. Yeah, and and in six months, she was sick of it. And a year, you know, she I think she stayed close to a year or something I don’t remember. But it was just like, it was, you know, coming home and tears kind of thing from it. Yeah, so bad.


Andrew Deutsch  25:56

In the in the vending space, there’s all of these companies that provide on every floor, they’ll have a cooler with beverages. They’ll have snacks, even companies that encourage the employees to take as much as they want. And at the end of the day, What’s the motive, if there’s lots of snacks and food, they’ll stick around longer, they’ll work longer, and they won’t go home.

And that’s where you get this this Silicon Valley, sort of mindset of these 1214 hour days. And you know, because why I can get chips, I can get beef jerky, I can get veggie delight out of the machine for free. The boss is paying for it. What a great guy. And at the same time, there’s a motive behind it of well, this will keep these guys around, we’ll get more out of them. Because they’re salaried. We don’t pay overtime. Yeah, a bag of chips is cheaper than overtime.



Yeah. It’s like the whole farce between behind unlimited vacation, too. That was you know, when people were doing that. So you know, that’s the greatest thing ever. But how much? How many people really took advantage of unlimited vacation? Other than the companies that didn’t have to report it on the balance sheet as an accrued liability?


Andrew Deutsch  27:00

How many people who went on this suppose and unlimited vacation that every minute of what was word? Is my job going to be the one I get back? Yes. And who’s going to be positioning against me in the rat race, kind of kind of cutthroat stuff that happens when you’re not in the office?


Damon Pistulka  27:15

Yeah, it’s an interesting bunch of situations here. So when you look at this, what are some of the things that you can do that incentivize the right people for the right reasons? I mean, because we’ve talked a lot about how this can be negative and how those things, what are some ideas to, to create people that want to stay there for the right reasons? And you the right, people? I guess you said that correctly. But


Andrew Deutsch  27:48

it sounds like it sounds like we’re talking about some crappy reality show? Yeah. Are you here for the right reasons? Yes. I certainly am.

Yeah, no, it, you know, there, I believe that, for example, in the commission, world, and bonus world, they shouldn’t be an annual situation, they should be happening on a regular basis to check through employees, it’s an opportunity to check in and really see what’s going on, get feedback and, and help grow the business. I think that if, you know, in many of these things, you know, and some people are listening to this and going well, you know, the guy was so nice, he gave those people a meal, then it should be out of that mode.

You know, we’re providing meals here for all the employees, if you want to go out, that’s fine. It’s not a required thing to stay in the building and eat your meal. Don’t don’t make it into an obligation make it into a per. It’s wonderful if you work at a place and you come in, and there’s a great delicious cup of coffee for you. That’s not, that’s not the same as we’ve got all this stuff here. But the expectation is, since we have it that you’re going to be working longer.


Damon Pistulka  28:51

Yeah, you’re gonna


Andrew Deutsch  28:52

want people to pay them for their time. Yeah, you know, it’s really goes back to that motivation strategy. Most of there’s a fine line between really treating your employees well, having great stuff in the break room, perks, benefits and otherwise, and using them as levers to manipulate and, and other than, I mean, that’s really at the core. It is.


Damon Pistulka  29:17

Yeah, yeah. You treating them just genuinely treating them well, or using those benefits that you’re providing as the as an anchor.


Andrew Deutsch  29:28

Yep. Let them know that they’re valued. And again, it goes back to voracious advocates for brands, all of your employees should love the brand. So you should treat them in a way that when they go home, if if I’m working for you, and one day decide, hey, I’ve got a better opportunity somewhere else. I should look back and find this before I was not in thank God I got away from that.

Yeah, you know, it’s, you shouldn’t have PTSD when you leave. When you leave a job. Yeah, yeah. Have a fond memory of its, you know, there were people But you dated when you were young that you look back at and that was really a great person just didn’t work out. And there’s other ones that are like, I hope that demon never crosses my path.


Damon Pistulka  30:08

Yeah, yeah, those are good. Those are great examples, you know. And it’s funny because I was literally in a in a meeting this morning with a client, we were talking about their bonus structure and how to get their bonus structure. So it’s, it’s paid every month, it’s lagging a little bit by one month, because they want to want to make sure that we wasn’t something you know that that was just a one time kind of thing.

But to keep that 1212 payments of their bonus on an annual basis if they’re doing well and keep it like that. So it is not waiting for the January timeline. Because we we just recently hired from that same client, someone that was that had the January border situation,


Andrew Deutsch  30:53

in more than one instance, more than one time in my life. I was working with a company that found an amazing sales guy and another company that they were going to hire. And they held the position open. Because the guy was the guy was going to come across in January after he quit. And come January, that’s such a bonus and a promotion decided not to come.

And now they could have hired three or four other qualified people for that position in the four or five months they waited. So no so and so is coming. And at the end, it was a disappointment. So yeah, it really boils down to just don’t be sneaky. Don’t be greedy. Don’t don’t look at your employees as property. Look at them as assets of, of brilliance and ideas and part of your team.


Damon Pistulka  31:42

That is it, isn’t it? Look at your your people as the assets that they really are instead of property. Yeah.



Yeah, because it is, you feel it, you feel it, when you’re in those companies where they’re, they are grinding people out for everything they can get, or if they’re leading and motivating, to get the people to be be able to do what they can, you know, do their best to do different things. And you won’t get to the same place with with the first where you’re trying to grind everything on a people you can. Yeah,


Andrew Deutsch  32:19

keep in mind, you know, Daymond, when, when you’ve got a leader, a CEO, President, whoever’s in charge of what’s going on in a company who uses these tactics to hold people hostage, you’re typically also dealing with somebody that’s got a million other flaws that are damaging that it’s usually someone with massive narcissistic tendencies, who who really shouldn’t be in that position in the first place. Because there’s many, many other problems, seeing people being held.

And this is a consultant coming in people seeing companies that use economic hostage theory as a strategy for retention is usually the tip of the iceberg to all of the other things that are going on in there that are preventing that company can get into the next level, or even being a place anybody would want to work. I remember years ago, I went to visit a company was being interviewed, they were looking for a vice president of sales at the time. And I was supposed to go for an interview on a Friday afternoon at 6pm.

But I thought what a strange time for an interview and the CEO who is going to interview me Well, that’s the only time I have available. So I’m sorry, it’s I walked in and the office was full. And I swear to you, in my creative mind, as I’m walking through the office, I had a vision that all of these people were in the belly of a ship, chained to their desk rowing.

And they all have a look on the face like, don’t do it. Don’t do it. It was the look it was it was going in my head as I’m going through. And I interviewed the CEO who was from another country. And I said, Well, you’ve been in the states now for four or five years. What what are you doing in your free time? Because I work? I work that’s what I do in my free time. I turned down the position. Yeah, knew the guy who took the job. And four months in, he quit. And I asked him why. And he said, God, I felt like I was in a slave ship.

That’s what he actually said to me. And I was like, oh my god, I had that. You know, I had the vision in my head while I was there. And then he asked me why I thought you were the contender. Why didn’t you take the job? I see because it looked like isolation looked like it looked like an abusive environment. Friday night, six o’clock middle of the summer. People want to be out with their families and they’re chained to their desk. That’s not a point.


Damon Pistulka  34:24

Yeah. Yeah. You know, that that is the that is the thing that I hope that more people are realizing is that more time is not necessarily equate to more output. And it just, I’ve seen business owners that get it I had a friend of mine that had a very, very poignant example.

I think he had a roofing company and his roofing company did did really well on a seasonal, right? You know that seasonal game. So summertime summertime, we first took over the roofing company versus owning it and running it, they would work six or seven days a week. Because they were like, man, we got to get all this roofing done, we can because it was in the north, and you know, you only have so much time.

And, and he said, the one year he did an experiment, he said, I’m only going to work five days a week, a maximum of 50 hours every week. And I’m going to see how much we get done. And I can’t remember exactly what it was. But it’s been a while. And I think they got almost the exact same amount done. And he’s like we don’t have people aren’t waking up tired on the Saturday and Sunday or missing a day here or there.

Because we are working Monday through Friday, we have very set hours. And we know we’re going in, we know we’re going home. And he said the quality was better than injury because that’s an injury prone kind of absolutes. He said the injuries went way down. Even minor like oh, I you know, whatever, I’m not going to the doctor kind of injuries, even he said went way down just because of the way they did it.

So. And that’s, we think that office environments aren’t like that. But it’s the same thing. And I think almost worse in some cases. Because if your mind is not there, how are you going to do solid modeling design or analysis or creative work or whatever the heck you are counting, for goodness sake. You know, some of this stuff is very hard coding, coding. That’d be another one. I’d be going oh, man, I don’t want them working 70 hours a week.


Andrew Deutsch  36:43

Yeah. But the owner, the owner, before I came to Ecotec switched up the employees for that very purpose. They work for 10 hour days, every employee, so they have a three day weekend. And this is I mean, they love it. But what’s beautiful is, you know, every crew that we run has a vehicle, right, and there’s there’s equipment on that vehicle to run. So if we want to expand, we’re currently working on a four day week.

So if we add a fifth and a sixth day, no one can work more than four days, what we do is we’ve increased our capacity to work by 50%. And we don’t overwork the team, and we give opportunities for more people to be employed. Which is which is how we’re how we’re managing our expansion.

And one half of one of those trucks is with the vehicle, the prep of the vehicle to make it appropriate for use with reinforced springs and all the things you have to do the skid that goes in it with all the equipment that we have the chemical trays, everything that’s in it is a huge investment. What other what other business is able to do that when I was in the steel drum industry, what did we do? We added a second shift with all new people, the same equipment, the same fixed costs with additional maintenance, and we were able to double what we can lose as a company without killing our employees.

Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s there are humane solutions. When I say humane, I mean, who ended the management because all of those problems that they don’t realize they’re alleviating, like employee injuries, illness, time off. It turns out that the equipment doesn’t go on strike as often as the employees do when they’re off of work. They just need parts humans, we don’t, you know, we haven’t quite figured out how to make all the parts that we need, what to keep us going beyond.

And the reality is employees that have time to do their family time, do much better jobs when they show up. Yeah, they’re not as stressed. They got to see Billy play baseball, they got to see you know, whatever, they got to enjoy the grandkids, they got to do all these wonderful. Six days, 12 hour days is is great. As long as you add to your benefit beyond the health insurance you also provide you know funeral funeral assistance.


Damon Pistulka  39:00

Yeah, it’s it’s it’s really something to see what that that time to do something different. allows people


Andrew Deutsch  39:08

Yeah, yeah. And employees who are treated well love what they do. What is it the old expression? It’s, it’s never it’s never work. If you love what you’re doing something like that. Yeah. It’s something like


Damon Pistulka  39:21

I like that. Again. I like that. And you know, and when, when, you know, as you said before, if you’re creating, creating voracious advocates for your brand, it’s that they have integrated their work and their life together in a very comfortable way. And when one isn’t overpowering the other, that’s a very, that’s a very comfortable way people call balanced. I don’t call balanced because it’s never balanced. You’re gonna do one more than the other all the time. But if it’s integrated appropriately and you’re happy with where it’s at, that’s that’s the main thing. Yeah.


Andrew Deutsch  39:55

I was I was at Home Depot. Damon. Just two days ago. I was So I went home to Ohio for the weekend and came back on Monday and one of my sales guys grabbed me at the airport. We went to Home Depot to get some some material. We’re going to do a demonstration by we’ve got pieces of that TRex decking. Oh, yeah, we’re gonna hit half of it with a power washer and do the other half with our equipment and show people why DIY is dangerous, went to the pro desk at Home Depot and started talking to the woman there. And she had no idea that there was the power washing really was a danger to people’s decks and homes.

So we gave her a little bit of an education about what we do How We Do you know how the conversation ended? Can you guys give me a stack of your cards because so many people could use your services and I’d love to pass them out for you. Didn’t ask for a commission didn’t ask for a finder’s fee. All she did was become a massive advocate of a voracious advocate for the Eco tech brand. And we’ll probably start seeing calls.


Damon Pistulka  40:52

Yeah, yeah, that’s awesome. Because it’s doing the right thing is what it is you’re helping to educate people on. They have choices or different ways to do it. And there are people that will do it. Technically better.


Andrew Deutsch  41:05

Yep. I told the team on the first day, I said, I don’t know the business yet. I haven’t been here for an hour. But one thing is for sure that I know is fact from here forward. Our goal is to make everyone’s life better one property at a time. That’s what we’re in the business of doing.


Damon Pistulka  41:21

Yeah. Yeah. And if you do that, you won’t go around, as you’re sure. Yep. Good stuff. Well, Andrew, it’s been a pleasure, man, I always love our time together. And you know, talking about the the dangers of economic hostages,

I think it really is a wake up call for owners that are using these incentives or way that they’re paying or just other What are so called benefits to hold people when they really shouldn’t, is something that they might want to reconsider and really think about, what can I do to create a place where people want to be here? You know, with if I’m paying a fair wage, that’s cool. I don’t have to pay the best wage in the world. I just have to pay a fair wage and have a great place to work. And I’m probably going to have better people hanging around.


Andrew Deutsch  42:10

Well, you don’t you don’t have to hold hostages if they want to be there.


Damon Pistulka  42:14

That’s true. That’s true. And you know, it’s a funny example, because I know it was trying to wind down but I just thought of this. There was a guy that was talking about this as a six months ago was talking about two restaurants. It was in Utah, across the street from each other.

One restaurant, couldn’t hire people could not hire people. It was like they were paying top dollar wage, you know, recruiting like crazy, couldn’t do it. The place on the other side had a grid. It was a great place to work and have to worry about hire people. No, I said, we don’t worry about hiring people, and they don’t pay the best. It’s like, It is that simple. If you have a good creative place to work, or people are valued, and they think they can go in and contribute.


Andrew Deutsch  42:58

Yeah, I hear the people in Utah are hungry. So that’s good. Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  43:01

that’s good. Good stuff. Well, Andrew, thanks so much for being here today. And thanks for sharing us, sharing with us your thoughts on the dangers of economic hostages.


Andrew Deutsch  43:11

Thank you so much, David. I had a blast. Yes.


Damon Pistulka  43:13

All right, everyone. We’ll be back again with another episode of the faces of business. Andrew, hang out for a moment. We’ll talk all right.

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