RG 351 – The Value in Manufacturing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) with Whitney Hill

RG 351 - The Value in Manufacturing Accessory Dwelling

What goes into designing, building, and selling accessory dwelling units (ADUs)? And how did SnapADU become the biggest ADU company in San Diego?

Whitney Hill is the Co-Founder and Head of Business Development & Innovation at SnapADU, a licensed general contractor and San Diego’s biggest accessory dwelling unit construction company. Although Whitney graduated from Yale with a Psychology degree, she found her way to the real estate space, particularly the general contracting niche.

With her prominent supply chain background and expertise in the ADU niche, Whitney and her team have built a highly efficient way to provide cost-effective housing for families, young adults, and other Californians looking for affordable housing.

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Whitney shares how SnapADU differentiates itself from competitors, builds credibility among the community, maintains transparency throughout the sales process, and so much more. Today, we get to learn a bit more about the world of ADUs with Whitney walking us through everything we need to know.


  • Building credibility can help overcome the challenge of price being a deterrent.
  • Trust and controlling expectations go a long way when it comes to general contracting.
  • Paying for a more premium service can save money, time, and effort in the long run.
  • Standardization is one of the most important keys to a scalable business.


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Podcast Transcript

Reed Goossens (00:00):

Good day Good day guys. Now, before we dive into today’s show, I want you to let you know that some of you may be aware that over the past eight years, I have built a substantial multi-family real estate portfolio here in the US worth over half a billion dollars. And in that time, my passive investors have received fantastic double-digit returns. And now you too can invest directly into my deals for as little as $50,000. So if you’re an interested investor, head over to reedgoossens.com to find out more. That’s reedgoossens.com. Now, back into the show,

Whitney Hill (00:41):

Folks who come to us are looking for a balance of value and aesthetic. Um, if you’re going for something like super high end or like very, very modern or specific, um, we’re not your match and it will tell. But we turn people away all the time for that if it’s too custom and we refer ’em to architects that that love that kind of work. Um, so again, you’ve gotta be unafraid to turn away things that are not in your wheelhouse. And if you don’t, it may come back to bite you. And we’ve had that happen where we find ourselves in a project that we can’t deliver on, like earlier in our history. So really defining what you’re good at is, is so important.

Speaker 3 (01:20):

Welcome to investing in the US, a podcast for real estate investors, business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into the US market. Join Reed as he interviews go-getters, risk takers, and the best in the business about their journey towards financial freedom and the sheer joy of creating something from nothing.

Reed Goossens (01:41):

Good day Good day, a ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another cracking edition of investing in the US podcast from Los Angeles. I’m your host, Reed Goossens. Good as always, Debbie with us on the show now. I’m glad that you’ve all tuned into it. Learn from my incredible guests and each and every one of them are the cream of the crop here in the United States when it comes to real estate investing, business investing and entrepreneurship. Each show I try and tease out their incredible stories of how they have successfully created their businesses here in the us, how they’ve created financial freedom, massive amounts of cash flow, and ultimately created extraordinary lives for themselves and their families. Life by design, as I like to say. Hopefully these guests will inspire all of my cracking listeners, which are you guys to get off the couch and go and take massive amounts of action.

Reed Goossens (02:27):

If these guys can do it, so can you. Now, as you know, I’m all about sharing the knowledge with my loyal listeners, which is you guys, and there’s absolutely no BS on this show, just straight into the nuts and bolts. Now, if you do like this show, the easiest way to give back is to give us a review on iTunes, and you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter by searching at Reed Goossens. You can find the show wherever you podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google Play. But you can also find these episodes up on my YouTube channel. So head over to reedgoossens, click on the video link, and it’ll take you to the video recordings of these podcasts where you can see my ugly mug, but the beautiful faces of my guests each and every week. All right, enough outta me. Let’s get cracking in into today’s show.

Reed Goossens (03:15):

Today the show are the pleasure of chatting with Whitney Hill. Now Whitney is the co-founder and head of business development at Snap adu, a general contracting firm that specializes in building accessible dwelling units here in southern California. The company designs, permits and builds over 50, 80 years a year, and Whitney gained her experience with a decade of working and consulting management for Bain and Company and also has operation management experience from an industrial supplier distribution. Before even getting involved in Snap adu, she was named the San Diego Business Journal’s Top 40 business leaders under 40 in 2022. And Whitney earned her bachelor’s degree, uh, in psychology from Yale and has an MBA from nyu. So really talented individual. Really awesome to have her on the show today to share her incredible knowledge and insight with us in the real estate industry here about 80 years. But nothing me. Let’s get her out here. Goodday Whitney, welcome to the show. How you doing today?

Whitney Hill (04:05):

Hey, you’re doing great. Thanks so much for having me here.

Reed Goossens (04:07):

My pleasure. Now before we get into the meat and potatoes of what you do, remind the clock and tell me how you made your first of a dollar as a kid

Whitney Hill (04:13):

. Way back when, uh, it would’ve been a babysitting job, which I was not cut out to do, but figured, you know, I had, I had to do that tour as an 11 year old. So, um, made the attempt that the child was not having it . We ended up having to call my mom for help. It was me and my cousin doing this, so we had to call in reinforcements, but that still was my first dollar made as a kid.

Reed Goossens (04:35):

Awesome. And, and, and walk us through the journey of your background. I mentioned psychology from Yale and you know, NYU got some very, very top Ivy League schools here. So, and now in construction, to to look like a a 180. How, how did that all come about

Whitney Hill (04:52):

? As I look back now, it seems that the path for me was always do it. I thought I should do and then make the left turn when I found out what I wanted to do. So when I started out, um, an undergraduate, I started out as an economics major because that seems like closest to business and there wasn’t a business degree, um, at Yale. So I started on econ, it was way too dry and I took the left to psychology, um, specifically behavioral psychology, which is really just the other side of the coin of economics. So I was able to focus on, um, decision theory and framing and how you can, um, impact people’s decisions. So that was fascinating to me and came easily. And then same thing when I went to start a career, um, I did what I should do. I took the very solid operational management job that was, you know, not so glamorous , it was working in a warehouse.

Whitney Hill (05:38):

I wore steel toed boots to work. I was managing a team of 15 forklift drivers as a 22 year old. Um, and it was trialed by fire, getting that management experience that again I thought I needed and I did need. And at the same time I was able to earn that MBA that you spoke about, um, from nyu. I did that actually, um, while working full-time. I was able to do it, um, weekends and and summer sessions. So wow, all of that was kind of, you know, taking the medicine that maybe didn’t taste so great. So then I took a left and uh, decided to switch gears into consulting, got to work for Banyon Company, um, actually while I was living abroad in Denmark. So I got to work throughout the Nordics and saw over a dozen companies in just two years, getting to work as a frontline consultant before going into an internal role at Ban and Company when I, um, had my children.

Whitney Hill (06:21):

So then I was working just on supply chain and helping develop that product at Bain, but again, had this feeling that I was not quite doing what I wanted to be doing . So I started listening to podcasts about real estate. Um, started to dip my toe in the water while working part-time, um, and trying to figure out if I can make that work. But took the plunge and left Bain about five years ago now and started out in a small multi-family thinking I was going to do some, some acquisitions that way. Got involved in some syndications actually to learn more about that space and ended up invested in one of yours . Um, and during that path, I actually, um, came across somebody who was local at the time. I was living in New Jersey, outside of, um, New York, and he was looking for a financing partner and I figured it was a good way to learn more about just my local market.

Whitney Hill (07:02):

So I started investing in some fix and flips with him and we were doubling the square footage of Cape Cods that were in commuter towns to New York City and could be sold for, you know, five x is what we bought them for, um, if we did it right, . So I learned a lot about contracting during that because we started to try to scale this and we’re like, how can we, you know, if we’re gonna do these, um, you know, six a year or something, what’s that look like? So I started to learn construction management at that time because I realized that, um, we were lacking that. Um, so I kind of started to roll my sleeves and again, this is not foreign to me. I’m, I worked in a warehouse and like wasn’t, you know, afraid of that world even though I didn’t know a whole lot about it.

Whitney Hill (07:35):

During that process, I realized I was kind of excited about, about construction and moved out to the West coast, like you mentioned, kind of in the meantime and started to hear about accessory dwelling units, um, ADUs or Granny Flats as they’re called. And so I started to look for a way to enter that space, um, to have a, a business that was taking advantage of an exciting new niche. Um, and that was when I had my ear to the ground at the right time and came across someone, um, who was already at Contractor Art here looking for a partner. And our skillsets just merged really nicely and that was about three years ago. And, um, we’ve scaled Snap ADU to where we’re at to one of the leading builders of stick build construction ADUs in the country.

Reed Goossens (08:09):

That’s awesome. That’s, uh, one Wow. A lot of experience. Cause I’ve got a lot of questions there cuz I could imagine coming from a supply chain background and just knowing a little bit of ADU construction myself because of my structural engineering background is, did that help, you know, in terms of getting it all in in bulk and being able to produce a product that is more cost efficient because of your supply chain background?

Whitney Hill (08:32):

Yes. Where it came, um, where it came into play was when we first started to see covid shutting down supply chains. Um, we realized that we needed to streamline our product offering. So that was when we took design in-house. We started limiting the different types of window sizes, door sizes, shower sizes that we would put into our plans. So anything that we were designing for clients needed to conform to those standards. Cause we knew we could get those materials in a decent amount of lead time and at some, you know, measure predictable cost. And if you’re just working with, um, architecture firms, a lot of times that part of the equation is not in their mind cuz they’re not having to go build this thing. So that was where it really came into play. Um, at the size that we’re at, we’re still subcontracting out all of our trades. We don’t buy our own materials. So we, we hold our license, we do subcontract out, but we have superintendents on our staff. Mm-hmm. So that was kind of the, the extent that we could manage our own supply chain.

Reed Goossens (09:21):

Mm-hmm. Cause I’ve seen a big movement, uh, just cause I live in Los Angeles and I have entertained the idea of putting an ADU on the back of my property. Uh, these literally like manufactured housing, but but sexy, right? Not, not just like a a crappy box that’s come out , , you know, it’s, it’s, it looks like oh this I could live here. Like it’s really quite eyecatching and non Instagram. You see all these things and you click one out and then all of a sudden you’re getting bombarded with all these adu. Uh, so is there any plans to do that? Because it sounds like you’re still build in situ, you’re still building on site. Is there any plans to sort of nearly like, again back to the supply chain and the warehousing background to bring it to sort of bring it in a box and then truck it to site and put it with a forklift or crane and off you go?

Whitney Hill (10:04):

Yes, we’ve explored this model several times already in our three year history. So when we first met up, my partner and I were looking at how to penalize could we, um, build in two foot or four foot sections that would enable us to do more. But what we found is with a lot of these sites, there’s just not the setup that you would need to crane stuff in. If you are in one of those situations, one of these more regional or national modular companies is going to beat you on price. Mm-hmm. . So we actually developed our niche in the higher end part of this market given my partner’s custom home background. Um, and also just my understanding of sales and marketing. So we, we’ve been able to pretty quickly establish ourselves as the leading builder of these larger detached units. Our average contract size is $450,000 and most of our units are 750 square feet or larger.

Whitney Hill (10:50):

Um, a lot of them will be as big as 1200 square feet with the garage. Um, so these really are, you know, small custom homes. Yeah. So to your point though about the boxes, like that’s definitely what we’re trying to avoid cuz if we don’t have something eyecatching, we really have no differentiation against the modular companies and we’ll be, we’ll be shy about that. Like if you are looking for a much smaller unit and you can fit the crane access in there, you don’t really care what it looks like cause it’s gonna be a rental. We tell people like that might be a better option for you. Mm-hmm. So our, our better space is the larger units. We also do a lot of um, stacked units. Um, cuz you can add two detached units on multi-family properties including like duplexes. So that’s a very common thing for us to do as well.

Reed Goossens (11:29):

I asked you about the green room before we got started, you know, given my background just a little bit of knowledge in the sort of the, the California state ADUs have been this sort of poster child of like, this is howwe’re gonna afford this way, we’re gonna fix affordable housing and blah blah blah, blah, blah. Like in my mind that’s one tool . Uh, was there any any, you know, feel good to get into the ADU space around that? I know you now you do high-end stuff, but was there any sort of in the e early iterations of trying to like maybe we could do, you know, to help those folks, you know, increase density and be it a cost efficient blah blah blah, blah, blah?

Whitney Hill (12:04):

Oh, a hundred percent. And you know, I don’t think we have the mentality that we think we’re gonna alone solve the housing crisis, right. But for every single one of the homeowners stories, we’re making a huge difference in their life. Um, and we love the intergenerational stuff. About 60% of our jobs are for families. Whether it’s grandma coming to live near grandkids that are, you know, brand new or it’s young couple who can’t afford the housing market out here. Cuz it’s nuts and it’s just, it’s great to see people take advantage of these large lots that would otherwise just sit there taking water , adding a, a nice unit for their family. Now maybe they rent it later and it’s such a versatile solution. So yeah, we definitely feel good about what we’re doing. But you’re right that it is just one of the tools in the tool belt as far as addressing housing affordability.

Reed Goossens (12:45):

Right, right. Talk to me a little bit more about the high end, you know, direction. Uh, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting to me because as I hear that as a, as a obviously another business owner, there’s gotta be better margins, right? Those better margins and more profitability. Um, how have you been able to differentiate yourself and, you know, getting on some really awesome accolades I mentioned earlier the top, uh, top 40 under 40 in in San Diego. What have you done to sort of brand yourself in a way that that that attracts that higher end? So it is not, you don’t just got lost in the masses with all these other, um, manufactured housing type of, you know, ADU companies that are out there.

Whitney Hill (13:23):

Yes. And you’re hitting on such an important problem cuz we’re also competing against a lot of venture capital that is in that more modular space or even just the design and feasibility companies that then try to sell the lead to builders like us. So we’re competing against some big dogs in that space. And so what we’ve done to differentiate ourselves is to become an information leader because we are design permit build at this point. We have a lot more feedback coming to us from the build process itself where I might fly through permitting. Turns out every inspector asks for this in the field. So we’re able to unearth all of those extra costs much earlier in the process for our clients and offer price predictability because of that. So over time we’ve gotten better at our estimating, we’ve gotten better at our feasibility process to have an entire, um, additional work section to our scope of work.

Whitney Hill (14:07):

Like sure you’re gonna build this unit and there’s gonna be this foundation and this basic site work, but what are the 15 other things that no one else is telling you about? And that, that it’s a double-edged sword cuz you’re almost always selling the highest price out of everything else they’re hearing. But as you start building that credibility on the web, I mean if you Google adu builder, you’re gonna find us. If you Google electrical panel upgrade for an ADU, it’s gonna be us. If you google a septic system and an ADU, it’s not au um, you, you’ll find us above the city pages a lot of times in our region. If you’re Googling like pow ADU U regulations, you’ll find us. So once you establish that credibility, you really can, uh, convince folks more easily that this is the path you get more homeowners telling folks.

Whitney Hill (14:45):

Like it was exactly like they said they really took charge of it and that was such a, you know, burden off my shoulders. Um, so all that was vital. But the other part that’s important was putting our pricing out there. So we deter a lot of folks who just aren’t realistic about what the price point’s going to be for a semi custom stick-built unit. Um, so we put our pricing out there very early and that was a relief. You know, it made it much easier during the sales conversations. We have nothing to hide. Transparency is a core value for us. So all of that was, was vital to our success. And then most recently with all the inflation craziness that started happening around a year ago, we ended up having to offer a six month price lock for our construction prices. So once we got through feasibility mapped at all the utilities and everything, we were locking their prices, we are locking the prices while we get things permitted because that timeline is so long, folks weren’t willing to pull the trigger not knowing how much prices might move. So because of our expertise, we’ve been able to take that risk in-house and feel good enough about our estimating that we’ll cover our costs and be okay locking that for six months. And we honestly, we usually will hold it more cuz if somebody gets stuck in permitting, we know it’s, you know, they can’t do anything either. Mm-hmm. . So we do our best to hold that price for them.

Reed Goossens (15:54):

That’s interesting cuz I, again, based on my experience, ground up doing multi-family ground up construction here in, in the south,the, um, the southwest, I should say that six months seems like a long time for, for, for your subs to hold, you know, pricing. So what do you do? Is it just because you’ve got great relationships with them?

Whitney Hill (16:12):

A lot of our subs aren’t, so some will but uhhuh times we’re having to eat it. Um, so we, but we budget that end of our prices, we gotcha bank on how much it’s gonna likely increase over that time and we bake it into the numbers. But as far as the subcontractors, yes. So, you know, maybe 70% of them would hold it that long. We do have, um, fixed pricing. We don’t do a lot of bids. And what that means is we again, have these pretty conforming units, like they’re all configured differently, but it’s gonna have the same bath stats, it’s gonna have the same types of windows, types of doors, types of appliances. So if you can commit to that, then we can get to a place where we’re not having to bid every single project out. We can just do the takeoffs ourselves and they know it’s gonna conform.

Whitney Hill (16:52):

So we have a price list with them and it’s able to cut out that entire step for them. Which for a lot of the smaller subcontractors, for some of these trades, it’s huge for them. They don’t have to sit there at night like doing the bids. So that’s a win. And we’ve also just taken the mentality with, with our subs that, you know, we don’t want an glen dime. You like we, we are actually totally fine paying a little bit more than maybe we would because it’s less hassle, it’s predictable. We’re gonna give you four or five jobs a month. So that’s gone a long way in, in helping us, um, have more predictability on that side too.

Reed Goossens (17:24):

For those of you who are interested in staying up to date with all the latest happenings in my business, or to learn more about passively investing directly into my multi-family value add deals, then head over to reedgoossens.com And sign up for my monthly newsletter. By signing up, you’ll automatically be notified about my new up and coming investment opportunities. You’ll be able to stay up to date with all the latest real estate news here in the United States and much, much more. So head over to reedgoossens.com and sign up today. Now back into the show.

Reed Goossens (17:59):

Speaking of that, cause I think it’s, it’s a great point you bring up and, and something you mentioned earlier about learning the construction industry, right? And something I, we all want to see the cheapest price, right? But there comes, what’s the, there’s that triangle, like you want it cheap, but it gets fast and doesn’t do the high quality. You can’t get all three of ’em at once. Yes. But you hit an nail on the head. Like I I, we just got back from Greenville, South Carolina where we had, uh, a had brought my GC from Texas into South Carolina because I couldn’t find anyone that I trusted and I’d done, you know, the deal that you’ve invested in, uh, the Lila, he was our GC on that deal and I brought him all the way to South Carolina because it was like, I’m gonna pay a little bit more baby.

Reed Goossens (18:36):

The but, but I’m also then gonna have the time and the energy trying to build out a team or relationships with GCs in a new market. Or I can trust this guy who’s who I’ve done, you know, 15 million worth over the last six or seven years. I think they’re, but, but he’s gotta cost me a little bit more. But I know the quality and which I’m gonna get. And I think that’s so important that so many people look past when you’re in this space or in this industry, in particularly in the construction management world, which a lot of people who listen to this show don’t really care too hoots about. Um, but that’s what makes or breaks any business is the control of expectations and then the control of making sure your vendors or your subs, you know, doing a good job. They’re gonna represent you and your company in good light. So you’re not having to spend, you know, a hundred hours at the coalface just grinding it out with your subs because you know, you’re trying to nickel and diamond trying to save every single penny. So I think there’s, there’s such a, an important lesson there that sounded maybe like you’ve come to the realization, unlike a lot of people take a long time to come to that realization. You’ve seemed to come to that pretty quickly to understand that there’s quality over quantity. Um, goes a long way

Whitney Hill (19:39):

For sure. And I think in an emerging space like ADUs in California, there’s also so much uncertainty in how different rules will get applied that a lot of our clients now see the value in having an advocate that understands what’s going on. Um, because until you have as many at bats as we have with permitting these, we didn’t know what to push back on originally. But now if we see something that’s, that’s outta whack where let’s say the city is requiring, we just had one the other week where a city was asking us to do a bunch of ada improvements for mm-hmm. , um, like a curb that wasn’t compliant, but we went back to the source. Um, and there was, you know, protection against, uh, nonconforming existing situations like that where we, you know, didn’t have to do that. But had we not known or or cared to push back on that, that was gonna be like $20,000 cause it was right of way work that’s super expensive. So if you don’t have an advocate in those situations, that’s also where you can end up paying way way more than you should. So that’s the other hard part of like selling a more, I guess you could say a more premium service is, is sort of what we offer, but like you may end up saving money both in the time the hassle and potential advocacy that you’re gonna need if something weird comes up with the city.

Reed Goossens (20:46):

Talk to me about the team that you’ve assembled because I think that’s a really important thing. You know, you mentioned early on you didn’t have design mm-hmm. . So again, based on my background, did you have to bring an architect on board or did you have to bring certain people on board that ha had a skillset that you necessarily didn’t have or your partner didn’t have?

Whitney Hill (21:02):

So you don’t need an architect to design up to a two-story structure in the state of California. That’s right. So we actually brought on a drafting team. Um, if I had to characterize, um, a lot of the folks that we brought on board, um, we are sort of this fun, um, conglomeration of, of misfit toys who are like underappreciated in our in our past roles. Um, so we’ve actually heard folks some from some interesting backgrounds. Um, a couple of our project managers worked in set design in um, like professional stage, uh, productions like at universities. And a lot of that was actually quite similar. They were managing lots of projects at once. So that was a fun pivot for them and we were way better as far as compensation package than they were getting and in kind of the public sector. And same thing with our, with our design team, identifying that talent that’s maybe not untapped still has the like, um, versatility to be able to implement themselves but also have the strategic vision.

Whitney Hill (21:54):

It’s a very specific set of, of, of talent that you need to be looking for at that phase of your growth because you’re really still building a lot of the foundation only now three years in have we fully built out the infrastructure to support the team. And until now it’s been a lot of like testing with tools and developing SOPs and all of that. And you can’t have someone who’s so, um, entrenched in what they’re doing or so far removed from the actual work that they don’t quite get it and will roll up their sleeves and go do it. So we’ve had to kind of figure out what does that that profile look like mm-hmm. And as far as like deciding to bring stuff in house, we usually will experiment with having, um, you know, like a skilled Upwork resource and if we feel like we still don’t have enough control over that, we’ll we’ll bring someone in house. So at this point we have, um, 16 folks that are W2 employees and of course the whole army of subcontracting.

Reed Goossens (22:41):

Congratulations. Congratulations. Uh, one thing particularly on the design side and we’re coming wrap up the show here is architecture firms get hired because of, you know, think of all the, is it Frank, Gary Frank, I can’t remember his name is famous architect, but people get hired to design buildings because of the way they design. Did you find that, are you the designer in-house or do you have someone else doing the actual design work? Because that is so, um, it can be so, you know, like an open box. Like, so you might bring a client comes in and they say, you know, oh, I like this look, but, and then then do 180 degree turnabout because you didn’t have that right. Designer who sort of, I guess, you know, caters to their needs and whims as as you’re going through the design process.

Whitney Hill (23:23):

Yeah. This is tricky. Um, cuz remember we still have to conform to certain amount of standardization. So we’ve really been testing the limits now that we’ve defined like all these processes you can do more. So do we do our own design? Yes, we do. Um, and actually we were selected by the city of Chula Vista, which is one of the larger cities in this area, um, to do their standardized ADU plans. So pretty quickly we were able to establish ourselves as very credible in this space. But again, just because of the sheer number we did, so you might have an architect who does ADUs in addition to the rest of their portfolio, it’s still is not gonna be the same expertise. So we have, I think the fo the folks who come to us are looking for a balance of value and aesthetic.

Whitney Hill (24:01):

Um, if you’re going for something like super high end or like very, very modern or specific, um, we’re not your match and it, we’ll tell you, we turn people away all the time for that if it’s too custom and we refer ’em to architects that, that love that kind of work. Um, so again, you’ve gotta be unafraid to turn away things that are not in your wheelhouse and if you don’t, it may come back to bite you. And we’ve had that happen where we find ourselves in a project that we can’t deliver on like earlier in our history. So really defining what you’re good at is, is so important.

Reed Goossens (24:27):

I completely agree. Um, that’s well said because, and I think that point of standardization versus designed to suit, I think that would’ve been a tricky reliant to toe and I I assume you would in the early days, you would’ve gone probably too far in one direction. Exactly.

Whitney Hill (24:40):

Right, exactly. And it wasn’t repeatable.

Reed Goossens (24:43):

Right. And that’s, that that’s what makes, uh, a scalable business. So with that being said, as we’re coming to the end of the show here, what is the goal for SNAP a to where, where do you wanna see it go? You know, are you just sort of, you step by step putting one foot in front of the other and, and not having, you know, massive goals? Because I could see so many different ways you could take this, everything from, you know, building build for rent communities, which, you know, in, in other states outside of California all the way through to, you know, talking about standardization and doing, uh, a warehouse line of, of panelized units and systems that could help you become more cost efficient.

Whitney Hill (25:13):

Yeah. So many ways to take this. And of course where I was coming from, you always had a five year plan and targets and all this mm-hmm. . And so when we, we were first planning out snap, that was always the lens I came at it from. And honestly, maybe a year and a half ago, Mike, who my, you know, co-founder who grew up in construction and was running, you know, a smaller operation when we met, um, he doesn’t come from the background and at one point he asked me, he was like, Wendy White, why do we have to do, we have to have a goal? Um, because we both have, you know, young children like we’re doing this for, it’s all still finance. Like we don’t have any debt at this point. Like it’s a lifestyle business to some extent too. So we wanna still love what we’re doing.

Whitney Hill (25:46):

So to answer your question, um, we have loose goals about what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to, um, get to a hundred units a year in San Diego. Um, you know, and if we, if we end up hitting that and wanting to go outside of this region, we certainly could, but we’re gonna have to balance that with reality is what do we still wanna be able to do in our day-to-day lives? So we have that luxury since we are just two co-owners. So I’m trying to kind of embrace that in a way and not always worry about having the targets.

Reed Goossens (26:12):

No, that’s, I completely agree with you. Sometimes taking away, well targets are I think is what you want. It’s the goals that are time are sensitive. Right. You know, and that’s where Yes. You know, I could even see you guys could even franchise this to be, uh, something around the country. Sure. You know, like there’s so many ways you could take this, which is, you know, exciting for you guys and it just, I think you gotta look at your core values and what you guys wanted and wanna do and um, you know, does that align with where you wanna take the, the business? And, and, and to your point, I think it’s so important that so many founders let go of where the 10 year goals are because anything can happen in 10 years, right? Totally. I can, you know, you just, you’re just putting one foot in front of the other and seeing how it goes and maybe it’s a year goal, which I like that a hundred units, see where we get to, okay, years time, let’s, let’s reassess and not have to have the pressure of like, you know, we want to be nationwide in five years.

Reed Goossens (26:56):

Like that’s just, some people just don’t want to, you know, don’t need that stress because you’ll be up all night worrying about, uh, the things you can’t control. So. Awesome stuff. Uh, Whitney, at the end of every show, we’d like to dive into the top five investing tips. You ready to get into it?

Whitney Hill (27:08):

Let’s do it.

Reed Goossens (27:10):

Question number one is, uh, what’s been or who’s been the most influential person in your career to date?

Whitney Hill (27:15):

So many. Uh, I’m gonna go back to a, uh, a director at, at Banyan company that I worked for incredible at his job, he, he led the performance improvement practice. And what was notable about him was that even at the highest levels at a leading management consulting firm, he could still hop into your Excel model if he wanted to and go and play with with it himself. He never lost touch with what the day-to-day was of his entire team at any level. And while he wouldn’t of course do that every day, you knew that he could . So the respect there, um, was just unmatched. So I feel that if you’re that personality type, a lot of times you’re told, oh, you’re not big picture enough, you’re in the weeds. But if you can channel that in the right ways, it’s extremely motivating to your team because you have the respect. Cuz you could go in and take over or guide in a way that a lot of managers just lose touch with.

Reed Goossens (28:04):

I love it. I think that’s extremely important and as a CEO or leader, you have to have balance come through the, the hard yards to know when you get to that point, you have employees below you, you can come back and always say, no, I did this when I built the company. And I think you’ll be going through probably a lot of that right now with Snap A to U Um, that’s awesome. Question number two is, what is the daily habit you practice to keep on track towards your goals?

Whitney Hill (28:27):

I would say that I, uh, have fully gotten rid of my paper to-do list and now I exclusively use a sauna no matter what, whether it’s on my phone or whether it’s on the computer. Um, and that’s allowed our whole team to operate in that environment where we have all these wonderful ideas about our growth and we have a holding tank for all those ideas and we can prioritize them. So that’s been really important to us working on the business in addition to just our jobs.

Reed Goossens (28:50):

Love it. I love it. Question number three is, what’s the most influential tool in your business? You might have already mentioned it, but tool meaning could it be a physical tool like a phone or a notebook or it is a piece of software that you just can’t run the business without? What is it?

Whitney Hill (29:03):

Hmm. Really it’s one we’ve adopted more recently. I’m gonna point to Pipedrive. That’s what we moved to for our CR m when we kind of outgrew what was built intoour project management software and the pace of innovation there as far as what you can do with workflow automation, putting in, um, templated emails that, um, integrate any kind of custom fields you might want stage gates that will allow you to have in a very personalized experience for a lead. We’ve really leveraged that technology in the last like six to nine months to automate a lot of our sales flow and accommodate twice the number of leads we did with just the same number of people simply through automation. It’s really changing what we’re doing. That’s awesome.

Reed Goossens (29:38):

Pipe I, yeah, pipe drivers for those people listening is, uh, um, a a, a CRM software that I heard a lot, I’ve heard a lot about. I don’t use that. We um, uh, we don’t use that in our particular business, but it’s, I heard great things about it, so it’s awesome stuff. Question number four is in one sentence, what’s been the biggest failure in your career and what’d you learn from that failure?

Whitney Hill (29:58):

I would say, um, biggest failure was going for too many things all at once. , when I, um, first got into real estate investing, uh, I was investing in, you know, one off fix and flips. I bought a six unit in Columbus, Ohio. I’d never been to Columbus, Ohio. I invested in, um, uh, self storage syndications, like all over the map really fast. Um, I wouldn’t do that again. , I would pick one, one thing, learn it. It really doesn’t even matter what you pick. Like if you pick one thing and get really good at it, you’ll be shocked at how quickly the momentum is gonna build.

Reed Goossens (30:31):

No, I completely agree with that. And it sounds like you’ve found that here with Snap A to u so it’s awesome stuff. Last question to round it out is, where can people reach you to continue the conversation that’ll be in your sphere? Where do they go?

Whitney Hill (30:42):

Reach us @snapadu.com. You have all of our different social media platforms there. I’m reading every message still at this point as we’re in our growth, so, um, reach out to us there.

Reed Goossens (30:51):

Awesome stuff. Well look, Whitney, I wanna thank you so much for jumping on today show. I just wanna reflect some of the things I took away from today’s show. I think your ability to look, have the experience and get your hands dirty early on is testament to you getting on the steel cap boots and the high veers and managing some probably, uh, grumpy old fork drivers, uh, going around the factory floor. But putting yourself out there knowing that you needed some experience and sometimes you need those things in life to push your boundaries in order to help you redefine where you want to go. And a little bit to what you said earlier about trying to do all the things in real estate, well that’s part of throwing spaghetti against the wall and that’s okay, but now you’re here and you’ve arrived at your point and I think Snap 80 is such an awesome, cool name. I love what you’re doing and you know, I can see so many awesome directions that you could take this company and everything from, you know, standardizing panels all the way through to pay potentially even franchising. That’s obviously up to you and your business partner, but it’s uh, it gets the juices flowing here and it just, I love hearing your journey. So to leave anything out,

Whitney Hill (31:48):

That was a beautiful summary. Thank you for that .

Reed Goossens (31:52):

Well look, thank you again for jumping on the show. Enjoy the rest of your week and we’ll catch up very, very soon.

Whitney Hill (31:57):

Likewise. Thank you so much for having me.

Reed Goossens (31:59):

Well, they have another cracking episode jampacked with some incredible advice from Whitney. If you do wanna check out anything that they’re doing, head over to snap adu.com. They’re all over social media, so please don’t forget to follow them. If you do like this show, the easiest way to give back is to give it a fivestar review on iTunes. And I wanna thank you all again for taking some time outta your day to tune in, to continue to grow your financial IQ because it’s what we’re all about here on this show. And we’re gonna do this all again next week. So remember, be bold, be brave, and go give life a crack.