Interview with A&R Solar Cleaning Ower Robert Riis

by | Jul 2, 2024 | Business

Questions: Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business

Answer: A&R Solar Cleaning, we clean solar panels and are located in Deltona, FL. Although cleaning solar panels is our primary service, we also offer other services such as pressure washing, soft washing and gutter cleaning, basically anything to keep the exterior of your home clean.

Questions: Kindly give us a brief description of yourself

Answer: My name is Robert Riis and I own A&R Solar Cleaning. I graduated from Daytona State, worked a few different jobs over the years as a teenager and then landed a job in 1995 at an Anheuser Busch distributor where I was employed for over 20 years before starting my business.

Questions: What inspired you to start a new business venture? How did the idea for your business come about?

Answer: I was honestly tired of working/living the corporate life, 70-80 hours a week and what felt like never seeing my family.

Questions: What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Answer: Work hard, be honest and don’t give up, the first couple of years are the toughest.

Questions: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Answer: Be confident about whatever it is you’re selling, know your product or service. Be honest about everything you’re trying to sell and do what you tell a customer you going to do, if you can’t do these three things, to me you will fail in the first year or less of business.

Questions: How many hours do you work a day on average?

Answer: Lol, 6 ish.

Questions: To what do you most attribute your success?

Answer: Being in the beer business for over 20 years I learned a ton about sales and customer service. When I left I was the sales manager for 23 grocery stores.

Questions: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Answer: For me it is online presence, working my Google business page at least two to three times a week and Google Ads. This year I really wanted to really step it up a few notches, so I stared working with Carbon Silk out of DeLand where they built my website and managed some SEO services for me.

Questions: Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?

Answer: Fortunately/Unfortunately I had my 401K that I cashed in on to start my business with and leaned on that a little for the first couple of years.

Questions: What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

Answer: Work hard, be honest and give superb customer service, I believe that’s truly all people are looking for anymore.

Questions: Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

Answer: I’m 52 so I would love to have a couple people doing to work where I do the estimates and help out where needed.

Questions: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Answer: Ever since starting my business I really admire ANY small business and try to give my business to them, believe me when I tell you they appreciate it more.

Questions: How important have good employees been to your success?

Answer: I don’t have any right now but good employees are vital, bad employees can drive your business right into the ground, I’ve seen it.

Questions: How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

Answer: Depends on what the idea is, if it’s a marketing idea (an ad), at least 90-120 days. If it’s a work process I’ll know within a few jobs if something’s going to work or not.

Questions: What motivates you?

Answer: Failure

Questions: What are your ideals?

Answer: A well running business with minimal obstacles.

Questions: How do you generate new ideas?

Answer: I’m the kind of person who can overanalyze everything and always come up with new ideas, now whether there good or not is another story, Lol.

Questions: How do you define success?

Answer: Happiness, no matter what stage you are in your business.

Questions: How do you build a successful customer base?

Answer: Again, honesty and integrity! Be honest with your customers, do what you say you’re going to do, and do it at a fair price, people will keep calling you.

Questions: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Answer: More time with my family.

Questions: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Answer: Seeing my calendar each day knowing that I’m booked out anywhere from 2 – 6 weeks, I must be doing something right.

Questions: What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

Answer: There are pros and cons to both, I’ve been on both sides so a person has to pick which is better for them and their families, unfortunately, those who have never and will never start their own business will never know.

Questions: What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?

Answer: I’m an owner operator so right now there isn’t one, just honesty and integrity within myself.

Questions: In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.

Answer: Rollercoaster

Questions: If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

Answer: Only thing I can think of is starting earlier, besides that, nothing. truly feel that everything I’ve been through and done is what is making my business successful.

Questions: How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

Answer: Oh man for the better for sure. Not working 70 – 80 hours a week and having the time with my family is worth all the ups and downs.

Questions: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?

Answer: Failure

Questions: Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

Answer: Yes, think about this, if you’re paying someone your hard earned money for a product or service what do you want, for that person to be honest, sell you a good product or service and stand behind it, unfortunately customer service seems to have become a long lost art, stand behind your business and be proud!

Questions: If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

Answer: My mom, right or wrong she always gave me great advice.

Questions: Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Answer: Other friends that are successful business owners, I’ve listened to and taken a lot of recommendations from them.

Questions: What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)

Answer: I’m not a big reader but I definitely recommend How to Win Friends and Influence People, Profit First, both great reads and I’m reading Rich Dad Poor Dad now.

Questions: What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?

Answer: Not calling people back when they call for an estimate.

Questions: How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?

Answer: I don’t know if you really want to prevent mistakes, you learn from them and they make you better, just make sure you make things right with your customer no matter what it takes.

Questions: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

Answer: Mountain Biking and golfing, my son wrestles in High School and competes in JiuJitsu so I spend a lot of time with him also.

Questions: What makes you happy?

Answer: Spending time with my wife and floating in the pool with a beer, Lol.

Questions: What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

Answer: There are and were many, long hours at first, working weekends, being broke just to make it but all have been worth it.

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