Get To Know Brandon Grass
My First Job
I was born in Abbotsford BC and lived there till I was 12 at that time my parents divorced and I relocated to Coquitlam to live with my dad and stepmom where we would form a blended family. I would spend every second weekend with my mom and stepdad in Langley, travelling in hours of traffic which my mom seemed to never complain about.
Attending school was always a struggle for me, and in my early teens, I remember my dad having a frank conversation with me that if I wasn’t going to apply myself at school then I needed to work. (little did I know that conversation would set the tone for changing my entire life) My dad was a senior manager for Safeway and unknown to me spent all his spare time in seeking out the hardest boss he could come across to hopefully get through to me.
I was hired on as a Baker in one of the busiest Safeway stores in the province. This particular location was responsible for fulfilling orders to 3 other Safeway stores that were too small of an operation to have an in house bakery. So We baked the goods, filled the order and shipped them the products hot and fresh daily for the store opening at 8:00 am. Well, that meant I started work at 3:00 am, what 15-year-old teenager would ever imagine waking up to WORK at 3:00 am. I worked there for 4 years alongside this nasty boss whom I slowly won over based on my commitment to always showing up and working my absolute hardest. Alex knew he could count on me to always give 110%. Alex became one of my life’s earliest role models next to my parents in shaping my life and moulding me into the man I am today.
Struggles - Lots Of Jobs - No Real Focus
At 19 I left home and moved out with my girlfriend at that time and we rented a cozy 1 bedroom apartment in Langley on the south side of the railroad tracks. It’s all we could barely afford. We had purchased a set of wooden couches that I assumed and watched tv on her 21” computer monitor.
After leaving the Bakery I spent some time doing residential and commercial electrical work as an apprentice, installing car stereos and alarms in cars, boats and motorhomes and working as a pizza boy at my favourite pizza place in the world Me & Eds Pizza. I worked two and three jobs to help us get ahead so we weren’t living paycheque to paycheque. Always looking for another opportunity I found a posting on Craigslist Jobs that sounded very interesting.
A local restaurant 5 minutes from our home was looking for a night time cleaner. The ad stated work your own hours and make a guaranteed $1500/month in income no matter how quickly you finish. I respond to the ad immediately and set an appointment that night with the company owner. The owner Ken of that cleaning company would turn out to be one of my biggest role models and not only impact my life in so many positive ways but would ultimately change the course of my entire life.
I landed the job and while it was cleaning in the middle of the night I started work at 12am and finished around 2 am I was still able to work my pizza shift from 4:00 pm - 12:00 am and quit the electrical job. I can vividly remember my mother saying you quit a TRADE a red seal trade, for a pizza job and a part-time cleaning job, Have you lost your mind! (Love my mom who has only wanted the best for me and I do see her side looking back, but I assure you as your read on all things work out)
Mr Clean Has Nothing On Me
With the growth of Ken's cleaning company offered exciting new challenges and opportunities for me. I was now cleaning full time and responsible for cleaning 3 different restaurants per night. From my strong work ethic and hustle to get the job done and ensure there were no complaints,
I was offered a supervisor position. I made a deal with Ken to clean one location per night and I would oversee and do the training on any new cleaning contract he was able to secure. Well little did I know that Ken's business would explode and I had no time to clean myself I was a full-time trainer, manager, quality assurance person who was doing a ton of work for what I thought was a lot of money at the time.
Then all of a sudden a manager came to me one day and said, why don’t you open up your own business and do things on your own, you seem to be able to keep us very happy. She was also the one to refer me to an online design website that did designs for a very low cost. So I decided to take her advice after a lot of pushing and parading from my mom and got the design done. I came up with a name and a bit of branding and Cleaning Concepts Ltd was formed.
I literally had ZERO business experience, looking back on this time in my life I'm sure outsiders thought I was nuts. The next step for me was to find clients that needed restaurant cleaning services, or that were unhappy with there current cleaning services.
My mom would explain to me what a cold call was, and how she used cold calling to build her highly successful insurance company in the early 1980s. I can remember being very puzzled as I had never heard the term before, but my mom was proof that this cold calling idea may just work, why? well, my mom now almost 40 years in the insurance business manages one of the largest commercial portfolios in Canada.
So there I go I remember how awful, gut-wrenching and how faint I felt picking up the Langley Times yellow pages, and listing of my first set of restaurant prospects to cold call. I am sure they were some of the worst cold calls ever made. But somehow I was able to stumble through them. Remember during all of this, I have no sales experience whatsoever, I literally was winging the entire thing!
As I was making my calls, I finally found someone I was able to speak to. A manager who ran a White-spot in Langley was experiencing some bad service from her current company and was looking to change who the service provider was.
Sales I didn’t know but I knew ALOT about cleaning restaurants, I knew what the usual complaints were, and how to ensure that the cleaning would stay consistent. The old Fake It Till You make it couldn’t be more accurate, here I was outside the restaurant literally pooping my pants I was so nervous I remember my armpits would always get so sweaty from my nerves. I went in met with the manager and it was horrendous. They had just failed a WhiteSpot cleanliness audit and the auditors were coming back in 30 days. So I got home after a long call with my mom and she helped me devise an action plan of what I would promise to do. Met with the manager and was award the trial period of one month. I purchased my first backpack vacuum and began to tear that restaurant apart from top to bottom. They closed at 10:00 pm so I would be there at 9:59 to being cleaning and clean as late as I possibly could without interfering with my managerial job ad I needed that income to survive. Restaurants pay after 30 days of service so the quickest paycheque I’d be seeing would be 30 days from now. So the first month of service was over, and they not only passed the audit but scored the highest rating in over 20 years. Now three months pass and I was balancing cleaning this restaurant 7 days a week as well as Ken's job.
The job ended with Ken months later, as he had found out my business card design online
And I remember the inspiring exit interview he left with me that has struck a chord with me forever. It was who do you think you are starting your own company, you don’t have an MBA like me, you don’t even have a high school education you’ll never figure this out this is a tuff business to be in
So fast forward ten years working tirelessly 364 days per year making thousands of cold calls during the day, interviewing staff, presenting my services, meeting with restaurant managers and chefs. In the night I would be busy training, cleaning kitchens, toilets, dusting and vacuuming. By simply not ever quoting or giving up, I would become one of the top three restaurant cleaning service providers in Canada. Servicing restaurants like Cactus Club Cafe, Joey Restaurant Group, Earls Restaurants, Red Robin Canada and so many more.
During these ten years, I grew into a real live breathing businessman, salesman and entrepreneur. I became obsessed with Self-improvement reading, learning listing to audiobooks and studying the greatest sales trainers in the world like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Tom Hopkins. But there was one that truly resonated with me and that is Grant Cardone. I have every webinar, podcasts, YouTube video that he has ever made. I also made the commitment to join his online Sales Training University Cardone University and have been on it for the past five years. But what's most remarkable is Grant has shown me who I really am, what I am truly capable of and for me to dream bigger, set goals and to work incredibly hard to achieve them.
Becoming A Real Estate Agent
So now you're probably thinking what happened to that business and why are you in real estate now. I became a dad to our son Nixon and with all the growth of my business now servicing 3 provinces including Ontario made the home time very difficult. My son's first year I was home for three months of the calendar year. With all the growth and success came larger contacts that needed more of my time energy and effort. I was out of the province for months at a time. So my mom made the suggestion to go into real estate and as any smart son would do I didn’t ignore that advice. I began to start the process of getting my real estate license. But if you remember I don’t have my High School diploma, and while the Real Estate license guidelines state that you need to have your high school diploma or an English Proficiency Exam grade of at least a level 4. I did not have either, so I took to Google and found a lovely lady that was a retired English teacher that did tutoring for free in downtown Kelowna. So I quickly began to get tutored studied and learnt what I needed to know to try and pass this exam.
I passed the exam with flying colours. Now all I had to do was pass the real estate course and having never studied for a test in my entire life that I wanted to sincerely pass other than the English proficiency one where I was helped along the way. I leaned on my wife who had loads more experience than I with studying and she helped me create cue cards, took care of my son while I locked myself in a room for 6 months and studied. I would clean all night and come home sleep wake up and study all day till it was time to go clean again. I would successfully pass in September of 2016 by the skin of my teeth the passing grade was 65% and I achieved 65%. I was hired on with Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty a local brokerage that was in business in the community for over 30 years. With great training and support, I was able to launch my career in real estate, winding down things with my cleaning company so I could focus full time on real estate. In my first two years at Coldwell Banker, I was responsible for selling over 20 million dollars and joined the ranks of the top 10% of Coldwell Banker agents worldwide as well as the Ultimate Service Survey.
Now with three full years in real estate, life couldn’t be any better. I am having so much fun building a business from the ground up all over again and taking all the hard life lessons and experience I gained from my previous business to leverage that to excel in my future. I am back making cold calls and it feels GREAT so far in 2019 I have made over 55,000 phone calls and helped 30 families make a happy move. In 2020 I have a goal of helping 100 families if you know anyone looking to buy or sell I’d love to help them with their real estate needs.
I am able to spend quality time with the family each and every day, while still working my buns off (bakery reference) and wouldn’t have it any other way.
I hope this hasn’t bored you to death and if you are looking for an ethical, loyal, extremely hard working Kelowna real estate agent I’d love to chat with you and get to know you a little better.
There is honestly not a day that goes by where I don't thank all my lucky stars for allowing me the life experiences and lessons to get me to this point in my life. I am even more excited to see what the future has in store for me not just in my personal life but also in my professional life.
You can read and listen to a few of my interviews by following the links below.