Just Say Yes
Zothex Flooring born from CEO’s desire to deliver better service to clients
CEO Clayton Rodrigues founded Zothex Flooring (Zothex) in 2015 because he wanted to deliver more options and better service to customers. An installer in the flooring industry since 2004, he describes the impetus for starting the company: “On jobs I was always being asked for samples, and whether I had a showroom customers could visit. As an installer, I didn’t have options for them, but one day I decided to say ‘yes.’ I started my own business, and it grew to where we are today in just five years.”
Zothex’s 15 full-time employees and 25 labor crews proudly serve the Sacramento, California, area, tackling a wide variety of projects and offering a full line of flooring products, including name brands in carpet, hardwood, tile, bamboo, stone and laminate, as well as flooring repairs. Zothex caters to the needs of both residential and commercial clients, whether a new home installation, home renovations, new office locations or renovation of office buildings, hotels or large retail spaces. Zothex recently began offering countertop and cabinet installation in addition to flooring services.
The company began with a heavy emphasis on residential work. Rodrigues describes how he would post ads on Craigslist, often up to three times in a single day. Eventually, commercial businesses started to take notice, and he was being called upon by hotels, churches and other commercial facilities to renovate their flooring. He says, “This is how we broke into the commercial world and we just continued growing.”
The Need for Speed
Rodrigues says his labor force is focused on quality first, but also fast turnaround. With large jobs such as apartment buildings and restaurants, where many different subcontractors are involved, his team is faster than those coming in before or after. He says, “We might get pushed back waiting on painters to finish, but we make up that time. We’re good at working under pressure.”
For instance, Zothex participates in an “annual turnover” at an apartment complex in Davis, California, where the team is tasked with replacing the flooring in 100 to 150 units in just two days.
Rodrigues is proud of his company’s growth and its ability to take on bigger and custom jobs, recently completing projects for Element Hotels, Chipotle restaurants, Kimpton Sawyer Hotel and G.J. Gardner Homes.
Many of the company’s jobs require the ability to adjust and adapt. With eight experienced project managers ready to serve customers, Rodrigues says his team specializes in fast turnarounds and last-minute notice. “Our labor force is fast, efficient and can handle change orders on the fly. It’s easy for us to adapt,” he says.
At a Chipotle restaurant, the Zothex crew arrived at the job site to discover that Chipotle’s design team had made changes to the specifications after Zothex had already purchased materials from the original plans. The Zothex team quickly regrouped and was able to procure new materials the same day and complete the job on schedule.
Crews from Zothex recently renovated the flooring of a 10,000-square-foot church. The job involved repairing the subfloor, demolishing the old floor tiles and replacing all flooring in the entire building, from the chapel to the elevators. Rodrigues says, “Our labor force completed that job in three weeks. Our crews have what it takes.”
More than Installation
Zothex takes pride in being more than just a flooring installer. With a retail showroom and design center at the company’s disposal, customers are able to share their vision with design experts, obtain complimentary measurements and receive assistance with choosing the right flooring solution. Zothex also offers design consultation for kitchen cabinets and countertops.
The company even has its own brand of products, a convenience it recently began offering to customers. Rodrigues explains that if a general contractor needs a product, Zothex can offer a wide range of options in an array of colors. Purchasing directly from manufacturers can be expensive and customers often request solutions at a lower cost, he adds. By branding its own products, Zothex is able to negotiate directly with manufacturers, resulting in savings of up to 30% for customers. This opportunity is offered to both residential and commercial clients.
Rodrigues says, “We had a job at a triplex where the general contractor couldn’t decide what material to order. We presented him with choices he was pleased with—offering a design solution and procuring the material directly from our manufacturer at a cost that worked with his budget.”
With Youth on Their Side
Zothex is a young company, with staff and labor crews comprised mostly of millennials. With a focus on using technology to improve the customer experience and service, Rodrigues says the millennial workforce gives his company an advantage: “We’re fast and we’re adept at new technologies.”
He describes the process of responding to bids. According to Rodrigues, it typically takes a couple of weeks to a month to gather the information needed to submit a thorough bid, but his dedicated bid manager is adept at compiling this information in one to two days using digital technology such as iPads, social media, online takeoff systems, video and drones to film aerial views of potential job sites. His team creates a virtual greeting card to give potential customers a bird’s-eye view of their work. Zothex also uses laser measurements to check conditions such as humidity on a job site. “It’s faster and more accurate,” Rodrigues says.
“We want to be light-years ahead of our competitors.”
Rodrigues elaborates on working with a young staff. Before his career in flooring, he worked for Apple alongside many other young people. He observed Apple’s approach with younger generations—offering a more laid back environment—and applied those ideas to the flooring business. “We took a startup-tech approach to our office, offering employees access to a lounge, game room, workspace pods and snacks. The result is our people feel like they’re hanging out and want to spend more time here,” he says.
The end result for Rodrigues has been a hardworking staff and very little turnover. Three employees have left the company in the last five years, and two of those were moving to a different city because of changing life circumstances.
He says, “We wouldn’t be anything without our people. It didn’t take long to figure out that I work for them and not the other way around. They need someone who is supportive and motivates them to do their jobs.”
With speed, adaptability and youth on his side, Rodrigues looks forward to a future of continued growth. He has a significant number of repeat customers but routinely takes on new general contractors as well. He plans to expand further into the commercial arena, adding business in hotel, retail and health care spaces. The long-term goal to is to create a standalone division within the company dedicated solely to commercial work.
He adds, “We are going to continue saying ‘yes’ to our customers, giving them the quality and customer service they’re looking for on the timeline they want it.”