Ron Nussbaum

takes his experience from serving in the Marine Corps, and working in many aspects of the construction industry, to solve a major problem he noticed on many of the projects he worked. COMMUNICATION. He is the founder and CEO of NUTTNEST an app to help customers communicate with the contractor on their project rather than trying to ask the subs or workers on the job what is happening, they have a tool to get answers from the right sources. Ron Nussbaum welcome to the show

A little bit about Ron...

Ron Is a Dynamic, results-oriented leader. He is a Conductor of change that never accepts the status quo or an excuse. After serving in the Marine Corps., he went on to add over a decade of experience in the construction industry. Ron has cemented himself as a visionary and a leader in construction. working in many facets from field, sales, leadership, and management. He is the host of Construction Champions Podcast and the Founder/CEO of Nuttnest.

Ron uses his knowledge and experiences to help others grow and change the overall mindset around construction. Pushing the industry into the 21st century and removing the old stigmas and limiting beliefs around construction.

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Ron Nussbaum
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Show Notes

Robert Peterson 0:20
Ron, thank you so much for coming on the show today. Just looking forward to sharing your story in man learning about your transition through entrepreneurship contractor to software dude, like so. Let's let's just get this thing started.

Ron Nussbaum 2:27
Oh, man, it is great to be here. And I'm super excited.

Robert Peterson 2:30
Yeah. So I typically start our show with our guests just sharing their own entrepreneurial journey. What made him make the leap into entrepreneurship and then what impact you're making in the world today?

Ron Nussbaum 2:43
Yeah, absolutely. So I'm in 2002 1007, I joined the Marine Corps. I'm originally from Akron, Ohio. I left Akron, Ohio, and set out on a journey to figure out you know, what was my future going to be like, and the Marine Corps was it a long term solution to that. So I ended up transitioning out and I ended up in Michigan, that's where my wife is originally from, I had no plans on going back to Ohio. I planned on going south. And then what ended up happening, I ended up farther north than I even even started. So during that transition period, I was trying to figure out like, what does this look like, what's the next the next step here. And that led me into residential construction, where I spent just over a decade. And during my time in residential construction, I've done everything from digging the host and running the company. And during that time, I dealt with some escalated customers. And I really dug into why. And communication kept coming up as being the main reason which led me into creating not nest, which is what I do now for time. I'm the founder and CEO network customer communication platform. And we help the construction industry communicate with their homeowners effectively. And during that time. Also, I bought and sold a cleaning company, and I've done all kinds of just different things. I've always been out there trying to figure out what's that best fit? Where can Ron Be the best version of Ron?

Robert Peterson 4:28
Nice. So so let's talk about a little bit deeper about this communication problem. What, what was the root of it? I mean, I love entrepreneurs that figure out a problem and then and then try to figure out a solution and bring that solution to the marketplace. Right? That's, that's really the heart of entrepreneurship. So let's dig into this problem a little bit more. Tell me. Tell me more about challenges. Yeah. And skating with homeowners.

Ron Nussbaum 4:52
Yeah, so you know, what I found was, my homeowners didn't know who to taught to a lot of times they actually had the wrong information, like you have that sales reps number or that general contractor's number that comes out and originally does the bid. And that's who you move forward with. But they don't have the answers to 90% of the questions afterwards, that's somebody in the office or somebody that runs the project. So that foreman or that superintendent, for the homeowner doesn't have they're in front doesn't know how to get a hold of that. So when they have a question, they're left either call on the sales rep, or reaching out to the office, and that just get to the age or the industry standard is, hey, sorry, I'm not the person, let me find out who is and I'll get that to you. And that's where the ball gets dropped. And that's what ends up happening, it's the ball gets dropped, everything goes from zero to 1000. Really quick in construction, I like to say that you can have a nice little fire happening. And within an hour, the whole house can be on fire from a customer perspective, because it stuff just escalates quickly. And it's because there's not clear lines of communication there. And people feel like they're being intentionally left out of loop. And what we do is we just help get people on the same page. And we're really a tool for contractors and builders to just be great at communication. Because I truly believe it's not because they want to be bad. It's because we have no systems and no place to be able to have our communication centrally located, I was just talking with a good buddy of mine that he's doing his own project. And the contractor emailed him, and it went to an email that he typically doesn't use, but that's what the contractor had. Next thing he finds the night before they're supposed to be showing up. They have to go get an Airbnb, they have to make all this stuff happen within about four hours. So they can be prepared just because the message went to the wrong email. And that's we stop that kind of stuff. And all conversation was I told him he should have beyond the nuttiness platform to start his project. Well, let's just say that situation brought him right into the Ford real quick.

Robert Peterson 7:21
Well, and the bigger challenge is sometimes your your you're on site, and the homeowners, you know, still close by and they're asking, you know, people on the site, you know, hey, what's happening? Oh, what are we doing today? You know, and of course, the the workers on site are typically the ones that have the, the full picture, right? They just have the picture of their piece of the project and the thing that they're working on, and they're not aware of all of the complexities of of a full project.

Ron Nussbaum 7:53
Yeah, absolutely. And we get so expectations is a big thing that I talked about, because that's that's what we have to set, especially one around communication. And what we do is we make that really easy, because that's that station is here we we have invested in utilizing nuttin. So this is where all of our communications go through. So homeowner, you download the app. And this is where we're talking about everything within your project, documents, pictures, all that stuff comes into a collective place. So the homeowner has expectations. They know, oh, this is where I'm going to go communicate. And we build channels in there. So if that customer has a question about scheduling, they're reaching out to the person that's in charge of that schedule. They're not reaching out to say, the office manager who probably doesn't know or say the operations may, instead of reach out to somebody that don't know, they reach out to somebody who knows, they get their question answered. And then that customer is empowered to ask questions before people show up to the jobsite. 35% of time on job sites. And construction is wasted because of communication. And a lot of that comes from customers not being empowered to ask questions before the guys show up. Because what do they say? They say, Ah, he probably don't know, I'll just wait for the guys to get out here. And I'll talk to him. And unfortunately, a lot of times, that's too late. These are conversations that should happen before guys on site, but the homeowner is just they're not comfortable to reach out because they don't know if they're talking to the right person or not.

Robert Peterson 9:34
When it gives you a chance to really like the way you're talking to empower the homeowner. So not only here's the tool and you know, you're asking the question of the right person. So obviously you're going to increase the homeowners satisfaction level because now they don't feel like they're in the darker in the gray zone and, and they're they're able to put their questions out there and get get their questions answered by the person that should be answering them.

Ron Nussbaum 10:04
Yeah, absolutely it is that we take those concerns, and we just do away with them. And then everybody starts working together because now that contractor knows that homeowner knows like, this is where everything's at. So it becomes easy to have these communications. It's not like sending out emails and text messages and phone calls. WhatsApp, I mean, guys that just use Facebook Messenger as well. So we take all that stuff out. And we start to create all this information and get it in one place. And then we organize it per project. So then that contractor can go in and be like, here's what's being said on this specific project. And it just makes it easy, because it's no longer all this different stuff happening. It's in one place it's organized isn't my goal is truly to be a tool in the tool belt to help contractors and builders be great at communication.

Robert Peterson 11:03
Nice. So as Ron transitions from the guy digging the hole, the guy putting up the walls, to what made you jump into the tech space.

Ron Nussbaum 11:18
So this is a journey I went down and I've been trying to move over in for a couple years before it actually ended up happening. And 2021 I got accepted into the tenants incubator, one of 100 companies that they move forward with, but they had over 23,000 companies apply. So getting in there, beaten that door down getting accepted. And now we made it to market that got me introduced to Jared Yellin from Project 10k, who's a non technical tech founder as well, like I'm not, I'm not a technical guy. Like I like to say like when this when I first had this ID, I just put rather haphazard at best PowerPoint presentation of what I thought this should look like. Now, it looks a lot better than what that original PowerPoint looked like. But that is where it came from. And I just started beating the doors down in, you know, I found a passion in serving the industry, instead of working in the industry like that. I really, I really aligned with helping the construction industry with what's the number one customer complaint, and I felt I could really have a huge impact. So I decided this is what I wanted to do. We built the product out, we went live in January, February, somewhere in there. Some would say we're probably not completely live at this point in time. But we all were throughout the United States. But we're that transition was I just felt it like it was something that this is what I wanted to go do. And then you know, it was kind of position, you know, when something's right, God will make it right. So I was kind of put in a position where I wanted to kind of I was put in a position where it was like here, you're either gonna continue doing this or that one of the two. And I made the choice to do this and go all in and they say Burn, burn the ships do whatever like this, we made the decision like, this was the future for myself and my family. And we needed to take this shot, we needed to step up to the plate and be willing to hit a grand slam. And that's what led to doing this now for time.

Robert Peterson 13:54
Nice. So let's talk about the power of a mastermind and the power of mentors in in helping you make these this transition.

Ron Nussbaum 14:06
Yeah, so I think everybody should have a coach, everybody should have a mentor personally, business wise, I tried to surround myself with people that have poured me up that are consistently challenging me and pushing me to another level. And I've gotten around the right people. So I like to say I spent a lot of time trying to get the wrong people on my boss. And when I finally realized I was trying to get the wrong people on the bus, it allowed me to go find the right people to get them on the bus. And once they got on that bus, you know they're helping navigate it. They're helping take me where I need to go. And my growth in the last 18 months has been the most powerful thing throughout my entire life so far. If you would ask me 18 months ago Oh, where I would be at impair, I would have never thought some of the stuff that I'm doing even being on here doing this interview, like this stuff was way out of my wheelhouse, but I made it my wheelhouse, and I've started to actually enjoy it. But it's because I got around the right people that stretched me and pushed me for all the right reasons. Instead of the wrong reasons, I was actually talking to Jared, my partner about I think, three months ago, and we were I was talking about growth because like I have, I have to become the man, the guy that can run $100 million company, like, that's what I have to get to. And that's where I'm going and I understand this journey. And we're where I was to where I am now, I've grown so much, but for the first time, in my entire life, it's been easy. It has been not I don't want to say like it's just easy like because everything's hard. Like light, it just everything's hot, I run a tech startup, what my grow like it's, it's been easier than it's ever been before, and it's been not as stressful. 

Ron Nussbaum 17:06
I think that's because I finally just got alignment with what I wanted to do, I got the right people on the bus and around me that were coaching me and mentoring me and leading me to where I want to go, I finally got alignment on all of that got the right people around. And it makes it a lot easier. Because when you have the wrong people around, you're not just fighting the growth, you're fighting them and you're fighting the alignment of where you're even trying to go. Because if you have somebody that's trying to mold you into something that you're not exactly wanting to be molded into, it causes friction, and that friction makes everything 10 times harder. And you just feel like it's it's such a struggle. And now I feel like I'm free to grow. Like I have the right people around me and they're going to, they're going to check me when I need to be checked in. They're going to encourage me when I need to be encouraged and they're going to guide me in the right directions because they've been there. I think that's a that's a critical thing is finding some people that have been there. Like there's so many coaches out there, there's so many mentors that you can find the right ones for you. And I truly believe people don't think about that enough. I'm on. On my podcast, I interview a lot of coaches. And one of the reasons I do that is to expose the construction industry to it. Because I think a lot of people get tunnel vision and they think this is my only option. This guy right here this system when you need to go out and you need to find out what one you work best with and what one makes the most sense i i Comment on posts all the time in these groups where people like recommend, what who recommend some coaches, you need to go out and do some research and find people that find somebody you work well with not just go out and get a coach to get a coach and that this is that's what coaches will tell you as well. The good coaches will sit there and tell you, you need to make sure you find somebody that you have alignment with because that coach or that mentor, they want to work with people that they have alignment with they feel they can have an impact that is going to be greater than anything that you somebody could individually do.

Robert Peterson 19:41
Absolutely. So you mentioned your podcast, let's talk about the impact your podcast has had on you and then on your business.

Ron Nussbaum 19:50
So I mean the podcast has been absolutely amazing. So construction champions podcast, I release two episodes a week I originally started that one, but we've had such a tremendous launch. So yeah, it's really been going well, people love it. We're raising the bar and the construction industry and changing the mindset around it. And that's the conversations we're having. We're talking about, what does it take to be a champion in the construction business, or just in the construction world in general. And it's truly designed to have an impact and a lasting one, because every time we have one of these conversations, and we record it, and I upload it online, and Leslie, delete the internet, it's going to be there in perpetuity, which, for me is amazing to think that five years, 10 years from now, somebody might be struggling with something that we have a conversation about today. And they look it up, and they get the answers, and they can move on. And they have a better business, they have a better personal life, they have a better family life because of a conversation that was had. And that's why I started the podcast. And you know, I kicked that egg down the road for a good six, eight months before I committed. And finally one day, actually, I was out in Arizona at a conference. And they're like, why, you know, if you're, if you're not doing something, why aren't you doing it? And I was like, damn, I don't have a good answer to that. I came home and I recorded the first episode. And I said, next week, we're going to be live and I uploaded it. And there we go. And I sent out some messages to some people, I knew what to say no, you know, like I always say, All right, I'll get some of these, get some guys that I know would do it, just because it's me. And we started rolling. And then I started getting messages. And then I started having other guys as well reach out to me. And it's just been amazing. And everybody wants to get on there. Because long term, it's having a lasting impact. And actually, we just brought on sponsors and partnerships as well. So people that align with exactly what we talk about what I aligned with is adding value to the construction industry. And I always say that, if we're working to other that contractor builder, we have to be creating a win for them for a win for their customer. And that only makes sense. Because if we can't do that to other than there's no reason why we should have a partnership or anything because it's all about creating that win for that contractor in that builder. So we're bringing on some sponsorships and partners that truly believe in the same thing and want to have that impact. And it's been amazing. It's the conversations that I get to have are just mind blowing, you're on here, you do this. So you understand like you bring people on and you're like, Hey, man, like that was gold. And the goal is just get it out in front of as many people as you possibly can. And I believe that as long as you're doing stuff with the right intentions, no wrong can come from it. Like that's just take action and do it for the right reasons. And you know, you might have some problems and some hiccups, but you're you're not doing it with malice in your heart. So nothing wrong. Nothing bad can come from that.

Robert Peterson 23:34
Absolutely. So, obviously, you've had some great success in multiple businesses. What's your biggest challenge run?

Ron Nussbaum 23:43
Currently right now? Yeah. So it would just be name recognition go to market like getting out there in penetrating the construction software space, which is dominated by big tech and Silicon Valley. I'm not that you know, I'm not backed by $10 million. I'm not from Silicon Valley. I'm Rod news farm. I bootstrap this to get it to where it's at. And you know, getting go to market and getting out in front of our users and starting to get some name recognition. That's an uphill battle. Is anybody out there that's ever started a startup can imagine like it's it's a hard it's a hard way to go at it. But you know, I chose that hot I understood that. And every day we get better.

Robert Peterson 24:35
Like it Yeah, it's uh, I mean, I think every business suffers from how do I get myself out there right. None of us are our Coca Cola or Home Depot and and don't have our name on every street corner we also don't have a giant warehouse to four miles from every house in the US right. So either Good day,

Ron Nussbaum 24:55
and one day you know, Coca Cola didn't didn't know one You know, what we have found is that 90% of our users use no other technology. So we'll really position ourself as being a way to help the construction industry transition into using software and technology. And that makes it you know, a little bit more of an uphill battle, because now you're bringing on people that aren't necessarily have been open to technology and software. But we built a solution that's super easy to use. So it's once we get them in front of it. And we start to show like, if you can use Facebook, you can utilize nuttiness like, it's nothing. I mean, I'm a non technical guy. So you can imagine what our software is like, it's easy, it's user friendly. There's ones that bill, like I said, out in Silicon Valley by people have never won the boots like this was designed to be able to be used out in the field. And a lot of times, what I hear is, I thought I was going to have questions, but it's literally just does what you say it's going to do. And that's the goal is to just be great, we want to be great at what we say like I don't have any desire to be like a project management tool or listen, do scheduling an invoice. Like I just want to be good at the communication aspect, because that's what everything else sucks at. Like, it's always the afterthought of every software, it's always the afterthought, but it's the number one customer complaint. So it's like, why, why don't we just focus on like being really, really good at that for our customers, and then their customers will be really, really happy with them. And that we're continuing to create refers that will create continued work. And that's, that's how we're going out there and doing it. And just working on building an empire.

Robert Peterson 26:55
Nice. So let's talk about referrals and the power of people sharing what you're doing and, and knowing and knowing what you're doing and creating those partnerships, that can be a win, win, win, right win for the customer win for the other business and win for you.

Ron Nussbaum 27:12
Yeah, so partnerships is one of my biggest go to market strategies, leveraging my existing network, as well as people I meet that we have alignment, we have the same beliefs, and it just makes sense to work together because we'd create that win win win outcome. And that, to me, is one of the most powerful things you can do is go do that, and find people that want to do that with you, instead of working against, I think, especially in the construction that Rome, and I think in a lot of different industries, you get, it's just too combative. There's not enough collaboration, and it's all more of like, how do we just figure out to do this on our own and get what get this somewhere. And no one's thinking about that in customer like that win for them. So when I talk about making a win for that contractor, builder, everybody out there, if you'd like think about it from your, for your customer, if you're not in the construction industry, like what is a win for them that you're producing, where you can come to other with somebody and produce for your customer, and not look at it as Oh, this is my competition. This is this. And this is that, you know, if I can get one one or 2% of the residential construction space, like my grandchildren will be taken care of for the rest of their life. So it doesn't take a lot to get in there. And make a huge impact on not just the industry but your family as well. But I think we get too caught up in that, oh, we I need to have the entire pie, I need to go in here and be everything to this customer when what we need to be is we just need to be really, really good at what we do. Because that's what we owe to our customers. So what I owe to contractors and builders, it's just to be really, really good at getting their communication organized, making sure that they're able to communicate with their homeowners and help educate them on what does that look like. And that is what we should all be thinking about when we look at our customers and partnerships and what does that look like? Because you can easily go find somebody that does something better than what you do it because it's not something that you're specialized and it's not like your bread and butter and it's okay to collaborate with them and do something with them, because it's going to be a battle win for your customers.

Robert Peterson 29:52
Absolutely. Well and I think I don't know in this obviously, especially obviously contractors great compete for jobs, right, we bid the job we compete for the job. And that, that competitive mindset doesn't really leave you a lot of openness for collaborations. Unless you're collaborating with subs, right? Obviously, they have an openness to collaborate with a sub, right, I need electrician, I need a plumber, I need these other licensed guys to do these pieces. But another another general, is, is a different story, right.

Ron Nussbaum 30:28
So you know, that's how the industry has been for a lot of years. And I'm starting to see some shift in that with some of these younger guys where they understand like, they want to be really good at what they do. And if they're not good at it, they want to be able to refer it to somebody else. Because they understand they, that's where you get in trouble. Even if you're stopping it out, and you're running the projects, like if it's something you're not really really good at, you can easily get in trouble. So and I've seen guys start to work to other weather, bring in another GC that is really good at that aspect of the job and say, Hey, this is who you need to work with for that. And you know, down the road that gains them more business because that by being by understanding what you're good at, and leaning into it, it just creates an amount of credibility that you can't buy.

Robert Peterson 31:31
Nice. Nice. Alright, so I typically end every episode with my guests sharing their words of wisdom, Ron, for the entrepreneurs listening, what would Ron's words of wisdom be?

Ron Nussbaum 31:44
So my words, words, if I can even get it out here, a wisdom is to lean into yourself, spend some time understanding who you are, lean into it, and then get around the people that pull that out of you. And make you be that, because it's really easy to not be that because a lot of times, it's hard to really lean into yourself and understand that and I'm a firm believer in, there's no better you than you. So like, I'm just out to be the best Ron I can possibly be. I understand who Ron is. And I need to lean into that. And I need to fill the voids with people around me to make up for the areas where I lack.

Robert Peterson 32:35
It's a good thing. I have a bunch of friends around me man. Ron, thank you so much for jumping on the show today. Appreciate you. I know we're gonna jump on another show next week and just look forward to and the great conversations and collaborations that you and I are creating. So thank you.

Ron Nussbaum 32:52
Absolutely, man, I loved it loved the conversation. And yeah, great things are gonna come from what we're doing.