To the Point Home Services Podcast

The Home Services Podcast That Gives Back

Episode 55: How an Ex-Con Built a $10M Service Company

February 2, 2021

Episode 55: How an Ex-Con Built a $10M Service Company

Published: February 2, 2021
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Mario Campirano’s story isn’t just about becoming successful as the owner of a $10 million-dollar service company, it’s about overcoming circumstances that often destroy lives. Mario was born and raised in North Hollywood, surrounded by substance abuse, gangs, and violence throughout every waking hour of his childhood. His father was an alcoholic, and being on the streets was usually the better option if his dad was home. Male role models were scarce, and the older brothers of Mario’s friends who were making money and living fast running around with drugs and gangs held the most exciting prospect of a future as far as Mario could see. In Mario’s world, living to see your 18th birthday was the only realistic goal a teenage boy could have. It was a fast world in which overdose, life prison sentences, and death were all too common.

Mario naturally fell into the lifestyle; involved with the local gangs and with a serious addiction to PCP. His world of drugs, frequent jail time, and violence eventually caught up to him, and Mario was sentenced to 5 years in the state penitentiary at the age of 18. That’s where he really discovered what his world and friends were. In the 5 years he spent incarcerated, the only letters he only received were from his mother. At the beginning, Mario maintained his hard exterior, earning a reputation as a ‘rider’ and continuing to walk the walk of a hardened criminal. He even spent time in the Shoe, or “SHU” (special housing unit), which most people will recognize as solitary confinement for his behavior in prison.

Getting Clean and Starting Fresh

During his incarceration, Mario became determined to turn his life around. He worked hard to become clean, avoiding the temptation to continue his lifestyle. After being released, it wasn’t any easier. He had parole back at his parents’ house, in the epicenter of all of the people and circumstances that had got him to where he was in the first place. Luckily, Mario met his current wife, Roxy, who he credits with supporting him greatly during this transitional period. After meeting her a few weeks after being released and dating for a while, he moved in with Roxy in Los Angeles. This gave Mario an escape from the dark world that wanted to pull him back in and gave him the opportunity to start to learn how to live a healthy, productive life.

Digging Deep to Climb Up High

Mario was having a tough time adjusting to his new environment. It was quiet; no police sirens, helicopters, and no one running from the police. He knew he needed to find work, and with the help of Roxy, got started right away looking for a job. Roxy was flipping through the phonebook, and Mario was scouting local placement agencies until finally Mario got in with an organization that specialized in finding skilled labor and trades work. His first project was down the street from his house; digging a trench at a park for a group of electricians.

Mario dug about a thousand-foot trench in a few weeks, by himself. The electricians were all white, and gave him the nickname “The Mexican Trencher”. While perhaps a bit insensitive, it was really a show of respect for the hard work Mario had done. Growing up, Mario hadn’t been around white people, and earning their respect gave him some hope that he could belong in his new community. Upon seeing Mario’s results, the owner was so impressed he hired Mario on full-time. It was only a few years later that young Mario was running two 10-man crews by himself, regularly earning bonuses for finishing way ahead of schedule.

A Knack for Sales

One day, walking into a Food-4-Less, Mario ran into his friend, Jose, who was a plumber. They chopped it up, and he found out Jose had recently changed jobs to a new company in Los Angeles. Jose told him they paid good, and he had to check them out. 3 weeks later, he ran into Jose again, and Jose once again encouraged him to try and get a job there.

Mario decided to shoot his shot. He took a 2-week vacation from work, sat down with the owner, and was hired as electrician No. 7 the same day. After a few days, however, he was ready to throw in the towel. He didn’t think he could do it. The owner told him he needed to be patient, and sat down with him and gave him one on one sales/customer service training. He begged Mario to just give it one more week. Mario obliged, and before long, he was making sales left and right. His first check was for $17,000, and he couldn’t believe it! In his first year, Mario was the #1 service tech, generating a million dollars in sales. The second was more of the same, generating 1.3 million in sales. When people asked Mario how he did it, his answer was “the necessity is fuckin’ real, and the hustle is fuckin’ real”. When you know you have kids on the way, bills to pay, and a family to feed, you can’t let negative thoughts get in your way. He was on a mission to prove he could do it.

A Million Dollar Headache

The success was getting to Mario’s head, and he had become a diva. His boss sent him packing, calling Mario a “million dollar headache”. Mario figured he could do things on his own, and got a lot of opportunities with other service companies because of his success. But every time, his record would come back to bite him and they wouldn’t hire him once they found out. He went back, humbled, and begged for his job back. Mario finally understood his weaknesses, and the owner gave him a second chance.

Mario focused on himself spiritually and mentally, and got better as a person. After some time, Mario went out on his own and in 2002, Mario opened up his own shop, “Try Me Electric”. Eventually, he acquired the very company that he had worked for, and is still the proud owner Express Electrical Services.

In 2011, Mario was hitting his stride. He started looking for organizations to join, wanting to learn how to create the perfect service company. He joined Nexstar, and Nexstar helped Mario really learn. When he joined Nexstar, Mario was only doing $400,000/year. Now, he’s pushing out of the 10 million dollar zone offering only residential electrical service work.

Second Chances

As owner of Express Electrical Services, Mario takes to heart the lessons his life has taught him. He strongly believes in second chances, and even has a successful in-house drug rehab program for drugs and alcohol. He imparts his sales values to his team, preaching that you can have sales success while maintaining your integrity. Mario always sold things the right way, and feels that commission doesn’t have to mean pushing products on your customers that they don’t need. As he puts it, there are things the customer believes they need, and there are other things they don’t know they need. There is always something in a home that can be fixed or improved!

Mario has created a culture of caring, second chances, and great customer service. With no intentions of slowing down, he has a plan in place to grow 25% this year. He’s humbled and thankful coming from nothing, routinely leading outreach programs to help others in need. He has a heart and the skillset for education, and always tries his best to help those who are in similar situations that he once was. If you’d like to get in touch with Mario, simply reach out to the podcast on our Facebook page, Instagram, or anywhere else you can find us!