Stay humble and never put your ego in the business process. It’s important to stay objective and grounded when making business decisions.

 

Bertrand Patriarca is the co-founder and chief executive officer of WashOS, Inc. where he oversees the company’s vision and growth strategies. There he manages investor relations in addition to leading business development. He developed his entrepreneurial background as founder and CEO of TOUCHVIBES, a business-to-business web marketing agency, in 2009. At TOUCHVIBES, he was in charge of company development and management, strategic planning and business development. After three years, Bertrand sold the agency to French media group CCM Benchmark for a successful exit of $8.5M.

Previously, Bertrand was also the founder and CEO of 80-20.com, an exclusive, ad-free platform designed to support a collective of top professionals and market leaders focused on idea-sharing and intelligent marketing collaboration.

Bertrand began his career as a business developer in IT and software at SkyRecon Systems. After a short time in the industry, he progressed to international business development positions that enabled him to utilize his expertise in multicultural relationships in business development strategies.

Where did the idea for Washos come from?

I moved to LA from Paris in 2014 and was struck by the intensity of southern California’s car culture. Unlike Paris, people drive all the time and really love their cars. Driving on the PCH one weekend, I saw several car clubs on drives, vintage cars on display and customized motorcycles cruising by. A light bulb went off and suddenly it struck me… all of those cars and motorcycles on the road may create a lot of traffic by they also create an opportunity. I started considering the market and found there are over 17 million registered cars on the road in both Los Angeles and Orange County.

Convenience is number one for most people, especially millennials and city dwellers who put a high premium on their time. Who wants to spend their valuable weekends fighting traffic to get to a carwash and then sit around waiting? From grocery shopping to having laundry and even an app for having your car refueled in the parking lot while you’re at work, all aspects of our world are moving into an on-demand space. It’s time the auto-detailing sector catches up.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I start my days with my 3-year-old son. I wake him up, help him to get ready and drive him to school. This time spent with him is important for me- it keeps me focused and grounded and reminds me why we all work so hard!

The first thing I do when I get to the office is define my goals for the day which helps me to prioritize my tasks. I then spend 5 minutes with each manager and member of my executive team to set the pace of the day. After I’ve defined my objectives for the day, I read my emails and organize them by priority.

It’s important to periodically take a break to refocus and ensure you are still on track to achieve your goals so I always try to save 45 minutes of the day, typically during lunch, to pause, distance myself from the frenzy of the work and realign. I end the day by reviewing all my unread messages and uncompleted tasks and then I make my to-do list for the next day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

As is the case with most entrepreneurs, I have several new ideas daily. But I know that only 5% of them are relevant and viable. I always write down these ideas, sleep on it and I only start sharing if the idea survived analysis the next morning. To become a project or a concrete action, I believe any good and valuable idea must have the same characteristics: be data-backed, bring some measurable improvements and be executable with a minimum viable product (MVP) in less than a week. I apply the same process for any idea that is submitted to me.

What’s one trend that excites you?

All the transportation and mobility trends are really thrilling me. Whether its city transportation, energy efficient automotive solutions, mass transit, driving habits and automotive ownerships, connected cars, etc., there are many exciting innovations and developments occurring in the transportation sector. With innovators and entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, many ideas that once seemed futuristic, out of reach and perhaps even a little crazy are now starting to take form and come to life. It’s really exciting and it’s going to change our perception and habits in driving.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

My rule is to always challenge a conviction until you are 100% sure it’s the best way to move forward.

What advice would you give your younger self?

You can never be over-prepared. Aim to never leave space for interpretation or chance- be clear. Never let an opportunity pass you by, do whatever it takes to make things work.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

You can build a loyal, quality and reliable workforce with contracted 1099 workers if you invest in them with training, skills development and compassion.

When we started, we struggled to find the best balance between growth and quality. We were onboarding workers who had worked at other auto washes and we found we were often dealing with unreliable technicians who didn’t always produce the quality of work we strived to offer. We weren’t able to scale at the pace we needed to sustain. That’s when we started to train our own people and the idea for WashOS Academies came about. We began investing in our workforce- we established mandatory paid training sessions before detailers could book their first job, negotiated deals with major suppliers and providers to lower the cost of the equipment and set up a credit system so the technicians could own their own tools and get started earning right away. This enabled us to build a strong and reliable network of detailers, offer superior quality and dependability to our customers and scale at a quicker pace.

We have many high-earning detailers who have been on with us since the beginning. We don’t look at as training people to become professional detailers- we’re also helping our technicians build careers. Detailers feel involved and elevated thanks to a progression system based on their involvement and their client satisfaction ratings. We recognize the value of our people and we reward their hard work and they grow with us.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Stay humble and never put your ego in the business process. It’s important to stay objective and grounded when making business decisions.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Washos is a marketplace connecting skilled workers to clients. By focusing on the quality, we put the light on our workers and empower them to make sure they deliver the best service possible. Our strategy has always been to put our people at the center of our processes.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I had the chance to sell my first company which I founded in France. The integration of my startup into the group that bought us was not very satisfying and led to an inefficient and counterproductive relationship. I eventually left the group eventually and look at it as a life lesson to ensure compatibility and each groups’ ethos syncs.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Recently I spent $100 to support a Kickstarter project of a Washos employee to fund shooting a tv show pilot he is passionate about creating. Now it will become reality. I love being able to contribute- I understand how money can have the ability to turn ideas into reality.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Slack has now become the cornerstone of our whole company and allows us have everything centralized and streamlined. However, it’s become so addictive and unavoidable, I definitely spend too much time working now!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I read “The Art Of War once a year. Everything in the book is relevant and genius and each time I read it I take away something new. It can apply to so many different functions and businesses.

What is your favorite quote?

It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela

Connect:

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