Dustin Marx

Co-Founder of IFM Restoration

Dustin Marx is a serial entrepreneur, strategist, human capital thought leader and expert at building and developing high-performing teams.

He is the Co-Founder and CEO of IFM Restoration, a technology-driven marketplace serving the Single-Family Rental and Multifamily sectors. With a first-to-market business model and progressive workplace culture, IFM is disrupting the industry and delivering hassle-free experiences to clients, contractors and residents across the country.

Having traveled to 70 countries, Dustin credits his passion for building teams and investing in people to his broad international cultural experiences. Dustin believes a key to success is personal development and wellness. As a fitness enthusiast who frequently competes in Ironman triathlons and marathons, Dustin combines his competitive drive and team-building ethos into his leadership style.

Where did the idea for IFM Restoration come from?

My co-founder Danny Feldman and I were consulting for a small mom-and-pop contractor. And in that complicated journey, we saw the challenges they experienced as far as organization, demand generation and the challenges to grow cash flow. And what we also heard them say was how critical it was to find really good tradespeople. But conversely, they would refer to the tradespeople as an adversarial resource. And so we saw that as a kind of two-part marketplace. And we said, what happens if you just treated the contractor as the primary customer? They thought it was kind of contrarian and we realized we’re better operators than consultants. So we said we’re going to launch IFM.

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

I start off very early, around 4 am, and work out first thing. I’ve found I’m much more productive in the morning. So to help myself with my productivity, I journal on a weekly basis and set my key objectives for the week. Then every day I will review the outcomes that I want for that day and how they align with what I want from the week and anything I may have missed on the prior day. I get to the office by 6:30- that’s focus time. Then typically by 8 or 9 o’clock, I take on those actions I need to do. I typically try to be proactive before noon and then reactive after noon. And then I’m asleep before 9 pretty much every day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

This is still a work in progress for me. I’ll share the idea with a few different people in my network just to validate the quality of the idea. From there, I’ll create some reasons why it’s important. Then I’ll speak with the key stakeholders in the execution of this idea.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The single-family rental necessity right now, in relation to a housing shortage. It’s estimated that there’s going to be 13 million additional households by 2030 in the US. That trend, plus Millennials wanting to move out of multifamily units, but not necessarily wanting to buy a house. That’s something really significant for us.

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

I love to learn. Just have a real passion for it. Whether that’s listening to podcasts or reading books. I have a goal this year to read 20 business books to help me become a better professional.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Progress, not perfection.

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

With my reports, it’s how fast I want us to move. It is oftentimes way too quick for what people’s comfort level is.

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

Self-improvement. Continuous learning. And along with that, take an honest inventory of your strengths and weaknesses.

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

Talk to experts who have been there and done that. I try to replicate a lot of their journey and use their stories to help guide my decisions.

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

Picking people to work with. I have failed so many times in making the wrong hire or choosing the wrong partner. I continue to modify my interview, but I’m also willing to acknowledge a mistake and move on.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A CFO group, similar to EO or Vistage, that is dedicated to the development of CFOs.

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

I bought a walker for my father. He’s fighting cancer, and mobility is something that’s really critical.

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

The entire Google suite. We’re a Google shop. Everything from Docs to Numbers all the way up to AI is really helpful.

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

The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack. It simplifies business and helps keep employees focused on critical elements to make sure you are able to have a very strong business. It’s very atypical to the venture high-burn-type company philosophy.

What is your favorite quote?

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”—Mark Twain

Key Learnings:

  • Look for a marketplace and don’t be afraid of being contrarian.
  • Proactive before noon and then reactive after noon.
  • Progress, not perfection.
  • Focus on self-improvement and continuous learning. Be able to take an honest inventory of your strengths and weaknesses.