Paul Giannamore: We are in Puerto Rico with Chris Eby. Chris, I am super excited to have you.
Chris Eby: I'm glad to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
Paul Giannamore: Ever since you and I met, I thought, “This is a guy I need to get on The Buzz. He’s so full of life and experience.” You are one of the OGs of the door-to-door space, but you're not always doing door-to-door. You've built some traditional businesses and you've done a lot of stuff. Talk to us a little bit about how you got your start in the space.
Chris Eby: In a million years, I didn't think I would be here. I don't know if anybody wakes up one morning and says, “I want to be in the pest control industry.” I finished up school and I had aspirations of becoming an attorney. At that time, with everything that had gone with Enron and WorldCom, Sarbanes-Oxley rules and regulations had come out.
As I was talking with some corporate attorneys, they said, “This is going to be the new thing that we're going to need a lot of attorneys for. Why don't you go to school and get your law degree?” I had moved to Nashville and wanted to go to law school, but I had a family member that said, “I've been in the pest control industry for a minute. They had just sold their company so I want to start my own, but I have no idea how to run a business.”
I had a lot of experience with family companies previously, running those companies. He came to me and said, “Will you run it?” I said, “Absolutely. Why not?” The more attorneys I talked to, they’re like, “I don’t think you want to be an attorney.” I threw caution to the wind and started up HomeShield Pest Control. I was able to bring some of my financial background to the company and look at building not just a pest control company but a fundamentally sound company.
Paul Giannamore: You sold the natural operation to Anticimex in 2021. It was a business that was growing rapidly, it was extremely profitable, and you got a great team. How big was your team?
Chris Eby: We had about 32 employees.
Paul Giannamore: You had done door-to-door historically, but you'd scaled off. By the time you sold it, it was effectively a traditional business that has been around for almost fifteen years. When you got into the space, were you selling on the doors? Were you managing it? What were you doing?
Chris Eby: When I first started, we needed help on the operations. I didn't start the company all by myself. I did have some other partners, which exited over the years. I was focused on operations. As the sales team and the partners that I had that were over sales had left the company, I needed to take that role on myself.
I always think of a company as a car. I love cars. The sales team is the engine of that car. They're going to determine how fast we get there. I wanted to have more experience doing that myself and being in charge of revving up that engine. In my third year, I went all-in with sales. It helped give me more of a feel of the day-to-day, what these door-knocking reps go through.
Paul Giannamore: You effectively took the back door into the front door. Everyone else effectively starts on the doors. All these guys that start these businesses go out, they’re sales reps, they learn that and they finally decided, “I'm going to open up a business.” That wasn't you. You didn't come from the doors. You got into operations and decided, “I’ll learn how to sell.” What was that like?
Chris Eby: It was scary because that was the missing piece I didn't have. I had some big shoes to fill because a lot of the salespeople working on our team were successful. I match them up against anybody in the industry, especially at that time. That was one of my biggest mistakes. I was trying to duplicate them. “What was I going to do to make that sell?” Instead of trying to figure out, “What was this person doing to make their sell?” Until I got that figured out, I wasn't that good.
Paul Giannamore: What do you mean by that? You were watching what these guys were doing and you’re trying to clone them?
Chris Eby: I was trying to clone what they were doing and it wasn't working because I was always too nervous trying to figure out, “What would this person say? What would this person do?” What it came down to is, “What was I going to say and what was I going to do to be effective with this?” That was one of the biggest things I had to learn, but it also helped me be able to relate to sales reps down the road. That's one of the things that helped us be successful. I could not only talk the talk, but I was able to walk the walk.
Paul Giannamore: How long did you knock doors yourself?
Chris Eby: I knocked for a full summer, and then from that point forward, because all my other partners had exited that point, it fell upon my shoulders to do the operations and the sales. After that first full year of selling, I was only doing it part-time because I still had all the other responsibilities of the company.
Paul Giannamore: You were doing recruiting.
Chris Eby: I was doing recruiting, I was doing termite treatments, knocking on doors. I was in charge of everything else that every other pest control owner deals with.
Paul Giannamore: When we think about door-to-door businesses, we think about those big sales teams being recruited from the Utah-Idaho area schools, sending folks all over the place. Here you are, a guy that wasn't a sales rep, you're an operations guy, you're running a business, and you decide, “I'm going to go out and learn how to do this.” On top of that, if I remember correctly, you recruited non-LSD guys from Tennessee. You were going to Tennessee schools saying, “Do you want to get into pest?”
Chris Eby: It was a little different because if you recruit in the Western United States, summer sales programs are fairly prevalent through every university campus you go to. You didn't have to convince the reps that this was a legitimate summer job. That was one of the problems that we ran into recruiting locally but quickly, we learned that there are as many leaders in Tennessee as there were in Utah or Idaho. They just needed to be given the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership. We found that that was an incredible opportunity for us. We were able to keep our expenses down because we weren't trying to compete with 15, 25, 30 different pest control companies that are recruiting in the western states.
Paul Giannamore: If I understand you correctly, you go out to a school in Tennessee and they're like, “What's pest control? It's a summer job and I do what? How do I get paid? Am I getting commission?” Unlike a Utah school where there's a subculture, which everyone knows what it is.
Chris Eby: A lot of people were concerned that this was a commission-only job. That was an obstacle that we needed to overcome. However, one of the things that they wanted more than a paycheck is an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skills. That was one of the biggest ways in which we were able to position this. Not just the financial benefits, but all of the other benefits that they were going to get that they could add to their resume. Such as opportunities to run meetings, demonstrate leadership opportunities, help with routing, and then all the other skills that you deal with on a day-to-day basis with door knocking.
Paul Giannamore: What's the trick for a guy like me who's not from the LSD community? I’m like, “I'm not a Utah guy. I don't know any of this stuff, but I've got a pest control business and I want to crank up my sales.” Do I go out and knock doors for summer myself first? What suggestions do you have?
Chris Eby: A person that will go out and knock doors and do it all summer long, the person that starts doing that at the beginning of summer is not the same person that ends up at the end of the summer. There's a fundamental change that happens in people in their confidence, in their ability to share an idea quickly and effectively, and also in their ability to size up people quickly and understand what their needs are.
If you want to be able to ramp up sales, create greater route density, and be able to also get greater respect from the people within your sales culture within your company, there's no better thing that you can do than go knock doors because it is such a scary thing. I don't care who you are, you will garner that respect from everybody else within your organization because it's the hardest thing you can do.
Paul Giannamore: With your business being a unique setup, you not being a massive door-to-door company, do you train technicians who might not be sales guys how to knock doors while they’re out on their route?
Chris Eby: Everybody's in marketing. From your technician to your CEO, we're all in marketing. That was one of the things that we discovered as our biggest success. We were spending so much time training our technicians. We didn't always expect them to be the closer, but what we did expect them and train them on what to do is to find opportunities throughout their day. In essence, demonstrate what we could do and provide excellence for that customer. That was a lot of fun.
What I would do is I would say, “Mr. Technician, as you go throughout your day, I want you to at least find two people that you could talk to. This time of year, through February and March, one of the things that’s going to be happening is ants. We know ants are going to be a huge issue. We're going to train you on how to find ants and we're going to make you good at it because if you're going and treating Miss Jones’s house and you find ants, I guarantee you that the neighbors are having the same problem.”
It's as simple as saying, “Miss Jones, thank you for letting me come to your service today. I appreciate it. I was able to find these ants that were around this masonry area within the yard. I treated those for you. Do you know of any other neighbors that were complaining about ants this time of year because they do get to be bad?” “Miss Smith, I was talking with her...” “Great. Do you mind if I go talk to her and let her know that we're servicing your home?” “Not at all.”
They go pop down to Miss Smith and say, “Miss Smith, we're treating Miss Jones’s house. She's having a horrible problem with ants. She thought that you might be suffering the same thing because you had mentioned it to her. I'd love to be able to take care of that for you today.” They could try to close it or if not, they could come back to the office, hand that off to a salesperson, and say, “I talked with Miss Smith. Just introduced the service. Can you follow up with her and get it closed?”
Paul Giannamore: That technician would get some referral.
Chris Eby: Absolutely. If you are a traditional door-knocking company, so much time and effort are spent on celebrating those sales reps. “Why aren’t we treating the technicians the same way? Why don't we celebrate their successes and give them those same incentives? It's cheaper to pay that technician than that sales rep.” My whole point is that I don't care where that is coming from. It's better if that lead comes from the technician. I want to get that guy excited about it the next time. We had a lot of incentives. Every month, we’re doing different programs for the technicians and usually, it was focusing on a different service.
Paul Giannamore: I know you have a trucking business, multiple pest control companies. You're heavily involved in real estate and you probably got another half dozen businesses somewhere laying around. It seems like you get super excited about pest control for some reason. You love that business. You love your other pest control business. What's day-to-day like for you throughout the year? I know it changes, but what are you up to?
Chris Eby: A lot of my time is spent talking and recruiting sales reps. A lot of my time also is looking at additional ways to continue to innovate. The pest control industry is the most competitive home service that's out there. In fact, there are more pest control companies that will come to service my home than there are pizza delivery companies that will deliver pizza to my house.
I need to find ways that I can continue to innovate time and time again. A lot of my time is also looking at ways that we can continue to do those value-adds. Also looking for ways that we can continue to grow and market the company without having door-to-door sales reps. I want those door-to-door sales reps to be the icing on the cake.
Paul Giannamore: Give me an example of one way that you feel like you've innovated versus some of your competitors.
Chris Eby: Before it became a popular thing, we were bundling services. We were taking and bundling our termite, mosquito, and general pest control services all into one. I don't know of another pest control company that was door-knocking that did it before we were. I feel that that was one of the bigger mistakes I made back in 2010. When we were rolling these out, we were making our sales reps only sell bundles. That didn't go over so well and that was a hard pitch. However, learning from that mistake, what we decided to do was create different packages that people could choose from and offer those. That was extremely successful.
Paul Giannamore: Chris, you not being one of the stereotypical Utah-based door-to-door businesses, how has the pest control business, in general, but more specifically, the door-to-door space, evolved over the last fifteen years or so in your mind?
Chris Eby: When we first started, our pay scale was much more manageable. Whereas today, it's absolutely uncontrollable as far as I'm concerned. It's also unsustainable.
Paul Giannamore: You have to pay reps.
Chris Eby: What I see and feel is that we should be taking a Moneyball approach. In other words, within this marketplace, we're competing to get the top reps out there. We're wanting to go out there and pay these millions of dollars in contracts, so to speak, to get the right players. I don't necessarily think that's the right way to do it. I don't care how we get a customer. I just want the customers. If it's baseball, it's about getting runs. We want runs. Do you care how you get the run?
What I've been focusing on and what we have looked at with our companies is getting customers into the complex by paying the lowest amount of money. That's where we've tried to continue to innovate. We're looking in non-traditional places because if I go out and recruit in Utah, I'm competing with five other companies before I've even showed up there.
Why not talk with a rep, get him or her as excited about coming and selling, and I don't have to pay that same amount to that rep that's already talked to five other companies and already run up the pay scale? To me, that doesn't make sense. I would rather go get 2 or 3 of these reps and ultimately, they're going to cost me the same as that one.
Paul Giannamore: Is there any difference between an LDS kid versus some guy in Hendersonville, Tennessee who's never left the area, not Mormon? You always hear, “These guys go on missions so they're battle-hardened.” A lot of guys are like, “I can take any kid who's got the right attitude and wants to get out there and get down to business. I can turn them into a great sales guy.”
Chris Eby: I could get technical with the whole culture. In my mind, it's becoming a flattened playfield anyway. Within the church, there's less percentage-wise going to missions. I don't think that you're going to get any higher-quality rep from an LDS person versus a non-LDS person. In fact, on several occasions, I find that we're getting some higher-quality reps. With these reps that we're recruiting locally, their expectations are much different. If they're trained right and trained properly, then our local reps are not leaving as much. We don't have that turnover attrition rate within the sales reps.
Paul Giannamore: What about a female rep versus a male rep?
Chris Eby: I wish as an industry, we could absolutely get more female reps because when you're knocking on a door, if you have a female rep that’s standing in front of that homeowner, lots of times, it's another female. Already, they're going to be more trusting of that other female than if I show up, I’m Santa Claus’s evil twin brother, I'm a big fat guy, I'm bald-head, and I'm scary. That puts off people right from the get-go. Versus if a female rep is there, most other females aren't going to be scared of another female and quite frankly, males don't want to tell a female though. It buys them more time and more time means more closes.
Paul Giannamore: When you're in the local markets of Tennessee, for example, and you're recruiting at school, what folks are you targeting age-wise?
Chris Eby: A lot of them are college age, but we've had our most success with non-traditionally aged door knockers, meaning that 30-plus, we've seen our most successful reps. My two top reps in 2021 were both over the age of 30.
Paul Giannamore: When you're recruiting, how many of these applicants are women versus men, in general? I'm talking about school-aged, older.
Chris Eby: It's 90% male, unfortunately. I wish we could change that. One of the things that I would like to continue to innovate is how we're recruiting. Right now, we feel that we have a good formula for recruiting sales reps and it's a lot of fun, but it does continue to be male-dominated.
Paul Giannamore: If I'm a guy, I own a pest control business, I want to experiment door-to-door, and I said, “Chris, I want to try to get five guys out this summer.” I've never done it. Maybe we did some cloverleafing with our techs, but I want to try to do something. How would I start something like that? What would you do if you were in my spot?
Chris Eby: First and foremost, I would go out there and do it on my own or I'd hire somebody to come within the organization that has been successful doing it. Here's the reason why, you'll never have the respect of your door-knocking team unless their leader has done it and been successful doing it. I have to take the time, go out there, and do it. Even if I'm just going out a couple of days a week and doing it, but then doing it consistently, it is one of the most mentally challenging things that you'll ever do.
Having a set schedule where you know that you're mentally preparing to go out there and do it, is maybe the best way to start with that. Unless you have someone that has had some experience, you know of someone that you could hire to come and do that, then you have all the added expense of that. Once you have someone within your organization that has been successful, I would start with college-aged kids because they tend to be willing to take more risks. An older person, when it comes to a fully commissioned job, once they have their kids and their spouse, they're not willing to take as many risks. That can be a little bit more difficult, so I would start with college-aged kids.
Paul Giannamore: What about from the customer-facing perspective? No one wants your eye at their door. Like these young kids, with the Jonas Brothers, they come up with surveys knocking on the door.
Chris Eby: If they're too young, they're not going to be able to get the respect of the homeowner. They're trying to convince you, “You need our service.” They need to have at least some years. You and I know that at least most people are open-minded if someone sounds professional, if they sound like an expert, if they have that confidence, which usually doesn't come with someone super young. You have to have a little bit of experience. If someone is confident enough to be able to do it, they can go out and be successful.
That's the number one thing that I find that makes someone successful in this job. In lots of ways, it almost doesn't matter what you say. It's how you say it. If I have the confidence, there'll be willing buyers out there. If I was wanting to get going, those are the things. Number one, I would start with myself more than likely. Keep costs down, I'm going to get the experience, I'll be able to garner the respect of my team, and I'll be a lot more relatable to the sales reps later on.
Paul Giannamore: You were talking about you trying to clone these other guys. When you went out there, did you have anyone to learn from? I'm thinking about, I'm an owner, do I just go out there and start knocking doors and say, “I'm Paul. Do you want pest control?” How did you do it? Did somebody teach you or did you do trial and error?
Chris Eby: I was with some other people so I heard what they were saying. The reason why I didn't tell you is because it won't matter. There are companies out there that have wholesales manuals and what they call the pitch. There are people that go out and memorize these pitches, and it's duplicated over and over again.
However, the best people in the industry don't use just that written pitch. There are subtle changes that they will make and they will do what works for them and what is successful for them. The most successful people I have heard, although their pitch is relatively the same, find ways to cater their discussion with that potential customer at the door. I was having a conversation with somebody. It's my true feeling that more sales are made on the back porch than on the front porch.
Paul Giannamore: What do you mean by that?
Chris Eby: I like to show people. That's just me, I am an educator at heart. When I show up at someone's door, I don't like just to tell them what we're going to do, I love to show what we're going to do. One of the industry problems is that we have a huge problem with our attrition rates. That's because lots of times, we show up on the door, we give them the sales pitch, we're promising them the moon, and then the reality is much different.
When I can take people around their home, I get to show them and I get to educate them, and then they're more trusting in me. I can demonstrate how I'm going to add value to that house that day. I've made lots of sales by telling people, “Your last pest control company, when was the last time that they did an inspection of your house with you?” Their answer is always never. It sets me up as the expert. Even as a young kid, if I learn how to do those things right and set myself up as the expert, I belong on that porch because I'm going to be able to provide a service to them and demonstrate a service for them that day that they're not going to be able to get anywhere else.
Paul Giannamore: When you think about how things have changed over the years, are these markets more competitive for the guys on the doors? What's the future of all this?
Chris Eby: Everybody sees that. It gets more competitive. It has absolutely grown over the time that I've been in the industry, especially in the southeast markets. One of the other things is that a lot of these sales reps that have been successful in certain companies, their next progression is, “I'm going to open up my own company.”
I don't understand how that will continue to be sustainable in the long run. We have to learn how to separate ourselves from our competitors. The other problem that I'm seeing is legislation. In lots of areas, it's becoming more difficult to get your solicitor permits. A lot of cities are setting up no-knocking. One thing I would love to see as an industry is us coming together and lobbying to make sure that we are continuing to have the right to be able to do what we do as a door-knocking company.
Paul Giannamore: How easy it is to switch over a customer in the field? Let me tell you why I'm asking this question. There's always a debate that door knockers on the one hand are a pain in the ass. They interrupt you while you're having dinner and they steal your customers. On the other hand, they expand the market. There are a lot of people in the neighborhoods that don't use pest control services. There's probably a lot that doesn’t even know it exists. Not until I got into the pest M&A, I thought it was just working in termites. I didn’t know it was a business. When you think about market expansion versus churning and handing customers back and forth, how do you think about the market dynamics? What's going on out there in the field?
Chris Eby: I see that more people are wanting to utilize home services. I see that as a growing trend and I wish I had some numbers. A lot of people are not wanting to have to take the time to do it. I'll speak specifically of my region within the southeast region. You have two choices. Either you do the pest control yourself or you have to hire it out. You don't have an option. There's going to be a bug problem on that house or that dwelling or building.
We do spend a lot of time having to train people on how to switch over from another service to ours because so many people are utilizing the service currently. As far as sustainability of that, are we going to hit some critical mass where we're swapping customers from one person to another? Possibly. As we continue to go through these growth trends with new construction, most people will love to hit, “This is my little honey hole.” Usually, they're referring to brand new neighborhoods.
Most door-knocking companies will target new construction as well. There are a lot of things that different companies are doing to capture those customers before they even have the first door knocker knock on the door. As new construction cycles through and as it will slow down at some point, companies are going to have to start to get a lot more creative. That's where most of the sales reps are going to rush to. They fight over those brand new constructions.
Paul Giannamore: Do you ever think about allied services for the home outside of pest with any of your businesses?
Chris Eby: Yeah, absolutely. That was one of the things that helped us as we introduced a whole new division, where we were offering outline services such as mold and fungus remediation. We were doing moisture control. We're doing mole and live animal removal. What we noticed is we're having to send a lot of those customers outside of our complex. Unfortunately, when you send a customer outside of your complex, the chance of them returning or being captured by that new company can be high. We had a lot of success in keeping those customers and offering those additional services.
Paul Giannamore: Where do you draw the line? You look at it and there's a lot of guys who are like, “I'm doing pest and I do moisture.” Next thing you know, they're doing pools, HVAC, plumbing, carpets, the whole nine yards. Is there a line?
Chris Eby: Yes and no. You do not have to handle everything in-house. In fact, what I would recommend is partnering up with other local companies that do a high-quality job, and set up a referral program and say, “I'm going to refer this customer to you but I want a 10% or 20% referral fee.” The nice thing is that it goes straight to your bottom line. You don’t have to do a lot to get that and you don't have to do anything to do the work itself. What I'd highly recommend starting off is creating some strategic partnerships.
Paul Giannamore: Is that “keeping it in the complex” so to speak?
Chris Eby: It is, but I would make sure that you have good written non-competes with those companies. Some of those strategic partnerships for us worked out well and some didn't so we had to go find new partners for that exact reason.
Paul Giannamore: You’re saying I own Paul's Plumbing, for example. You and I formed a partnership. I'm not going to do pest, you're not going to do plumbing. We shuttle these back and forth and we pay each other referral fees for those.
Chris Eby: Exactly. I would look for companies to be partners with that don't do pest control service. I might go to XYZ plumbing because I need them to help me with putting in French drain or moisture control. I might partner with XYZ basement company because they do crawl space encapsulations.
Paul Giannamore: Chris, when I think about these strategic partnerships, I've seen a lot of these things work and I've seen a lot of them not work, the whole competitive thing. I've seen guys not do restrictive covenants. Next thing you know, the big HVAC company says, “These pest control guys are making all this money they want to do.” I get that.
When you think about it from a finder fee or referral fee perspective, you can either pay it to the company or you could pay it to the service people. I own Paul's HVAC company. My guys are out in the field, they're in the house, they're changing the HVAC system, and they see, “There's all this termite stuff.” Are they more likely to refer to you, Chris, if they're getting the referral fee?
Chris Eby: Yes. What we would do is go to XYZ plumbing company and we're going to say, “We're going to sign an exclusive agreement with you, and here's what's going to happen. Anytime we have a customer that needs some plumbing work or we have someone who is needing that crawl space or that French drain put in or moisture control, you will be the only company we're sending that to. When you're crawling under that crawl space because you're working on some of the plumbing and you notice that there are mud tubes, we want you to refer that business back to us.” It is helpful to get those exclusive agreements and you're helping each other.
Paul Giannamore: It’s one thing if I'm the owner. Another thing is, how do you make sure that the guys are also crawling?
Chris Eby: We’re paying both the company and paying all the frontline employees as well. One of the things that we found effective is if everybody's interests are aligned. The way we do that is by going to XYZ plumbing company and telling them, “Not only we're going to give you all of our moisture control business for you to do, but we want that being reciprocated. When you have a customer with a pest control issue, we want you to come back to us.”
How do we ensure that happening? When you have a plumber going into a crawl space and they see mud tubes, most of the time, they could care less like, “I don't care, that's not my job.” If we incentivize him by giving him $25 for just passing us the lead, all of a sudden, all of our interests are aligned. $25 for this front-level employee, that's an hour’s worth of his job. It's worth taking ten seconds to send you a lead.
Paul Giannamore: He gets a piece of the action and the company gets the piece of the action, so the plumbing company gets a piece of the action. Where does that lead go?
Chris Eby: Depending on the size of your company, I'm going to have that end up probably going as a lead to one of my full-time salespeople.
Paul Giannamore: Directly from the plumber on the ground.
Chris Eby: I'll tell you the story when I was in the financial services industry, we had a guy who was selling way more than everybody else, generally between 4 to 5 times what everybody was selling. The reason why was because he was able to figure out, “If I go and I sell one financial advisor on my services and my products, he's going to go ahead and sell it to his 100 or 200 clients. All I had to do was make one sell to sell to 200 other people.”
It's the same concept, “If I can get this one plumbing company and educate their employees on our products and services and let them know, ‘I'm going to pay you when you refer it,’ all of a sudden, their employees are my sales reps now, too.” It's an extremely effective and successful way of expanding your services, growing your business at a bare minimum dollar that's not costing you what a sales rep.
Paul Giannamore: How big is your sales force, Chris? That's what I want to know.
Chris Eby: Because we just sold, unfortunately, I don't have a lot of sales reps with me. We're in the process of rebuilding. We have found a great formula to be able to recruit people to come door knock. We're going to be hiring an additional three full-time salespeople this summer.
Paul Giannamore: I want to talk about that a little bit. Chris, you are one of the friendliest, most genuine guys I've met in this industry and you're also one of the shrewdest. You are a businessman and you have built a lot of businesses over the years. You got your hands on a lot of stuff. What made you decide in 2021 that it was time to exit one of your businesses, which was HomeShield in Tennessee? What was the driving reason?
Chris Eby: There were a lot of personal reasons that were involved in that. I have family members in the industry. I wanted to spend more time with my family. I was also wanting to take a step back and evaluate. It was going to allow me the capital to expand it to other areas. There's a whole bunch of reasons for that. That was hard because we're having our best years ever. I feel that it has been a good decision for me because of the time that it has allowed me to pursue those other things that I'm passionate about. Maintaining my pest control companies allowed me an opportunity to reevaluate those and be able to plow forward with fresh, new ideas.
Paul Giannamore: What's the future hold for you, Chris?
Chris Eby: I have so many different interests, everywhere from creating an exotic car club to the trucking company. We have some unique opportunities there. As far as the pest control world goes, I'm going to create something that's going to turn the industry on its head. I'm excited about this.
Paul Giannamore: I know you are. It's a good idea.
Chris Eby: I'm hoping so. This is going to be a lot of fun for me and this is going to be my legacy. This is going to be a good long-term play and it's going to be a lot of fun getting it set up. I'm going to be able to incorporate what I feel are a lot of my talents in building something absolutely new.
Paul Giannamore: When are we going to be able to chat about this?
Chris Eby: We're going to be able to chat about it at the end of the summer.
Paul Giannamore: Your next trip back to PR. What special talents do you have?
Chris Eby: I got to tell you a little story. I was working in the Boston area in the financial services industry and my team had won a sales competition. We had won a trip down into Boston and we're doing a scavenger hunt in limousines. What it boiled down to was a bunch of people bar hopping and way drunker than they wanted to be because it was still at work. It was during the workweek. We had an absolute ball doing it.
On our way back home, my boss asked me, “Chris, are you a Chris Farley fan?” I said, “Yeah, absolutely.” He said, “Do you think that you could do a Chris Farley impersonation?” I said, “What do you mean? Like a guy in government cheese living in a van down by the river?” He said, “That's exactly it.” In our next sales meeting, he had me come in and do that skit. Apparently, I must have done well because what he told me next shocked me. He said, “We're having an executive meeting and some of the biggest people within the company will be there. Would you do your skit?”
Paul Giannamore: “Would you come as Chris Farley?”
Chris Eby: I said, “I'm going to get fired.” Throwing caution to the wind once again, I show up, push an executive vice president off the stage to finish my skit, and a star was born. Now, one of my talents is performing Matt Foley and doing that skit that was so famous on Saturday Night Live.
Paul Giannamore: It’s the perfect venue for that.
Chris Eby: Do you want to see it?
Paul Giannamore: I need to see part of it at least.
Chris Eby: It's loud. It might scare your neighbors.
Paul Giannamore: It's fine.
Chris Eby: Do you want me to do this?
Paul Giannamore: Yeah.
Chris Eby: I’ve got to get my fat man on. “How are y'all doing tonight? Do it. Do it. Do it. I'm here to tell you, if you go out there, you're going to find out that you don’t amount to the jack squat. You’re going to end up being this standard diet, a government cheese and living in a van down by the river. I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, ‘How do I get back on the right track?’ What do you want to do with your life? Nothing? That's good for you. You're good at nothing. Let me go get my stuff and I'm going to move in here with you.”
Paul Giannamore: This is comedic gold. I loved it. I should have been a talk show host. I love this kind of stuff. I’ve seen these acts. From now on, I’ve got to bring talent on to the show. Chris, it's awesome seeing you for the second time in less than twelve months in Puerto Rico. It's great to have you back.
Chris Eby: Thank you so much, Paul, for all your help and the Potomac company. I appreciated your hospitality and your willingness to work with me. In fact, you even said I was the worst client ever as far as getting back in contact and everything. The fact that you stuck with me the whole time shows something.
Paul Giannamore: Thanks for coming down.
Chris Eby: Thanks.