Ep. #1041 - Saving Money on Employee Benefits
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey is on the hunt for insights about saving money on employee benefits. So he invites Glenn Fisher, CEO of NavMD, to swing by the studio for a chat. Join their conversation to learn how you can provide excellent employee benefits without breaking the bank.
Covered In This Episode
Discover the right tactics when it comes to saving money on employee benefits. And explore what you can do with the extra money you save along the way!
Matt and Glenn are here to discuss the process and strategies with you. Aside from these points, they also highlight the valuable benefits that help you attract and retain talent.
Take care of your team without the extra cost. Tune in to this Startup Hustle episode.
- Glenn and his backstory (01:58)
- About saving money to make money (06:09)
- The blueprint for fixing health benefits started with data (10:56)
- What makes the platform valuable, and how does it work? (13:26)
- Checking which benefits your employees actually use (17:02)
- What is the one thing that people save money on (23:24)
- The most valuable benefits that help with employee retention (25:02)
- What has been the most challenging part? (26:38)
- Why is Kansas City an amazing place to lead businesses? (32:28)
- Getting a loan with a bank is difficult (33:57)
- How much it costs to pay for employee health benefits (38:08)
The pinnacle of a great business is selling more and spending less.– Matt DeCoursey
Employers are expected to deliver world-class benefits today to hire and retain the best people.– Glenn Fisher
The expense benefits, typically number two or three on your list of highest-cost benefits, are controllable. By getting access to the data, we can easily identify strategies and solutions to drive better plan performance and deliver money back to the employer.– Glenn Fisher
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 00:01
And we’re back! Back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here to have another conversation that I’m hoping helps your business grow. In regards to helping your business grow, you have to have the right people at your company. There is so much to talk about: how do you get them in the boat? Well, having great employer benefits or employee benefits is a great way to get started. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. Before I introduce who I’m having today’s conversation with, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult, and Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And has the platform to help you manage that team. Go to FullScale.io to learn more. That would be my company if you didn’t already know that. We love talking to Startup Hustle guests, and I’m hoping to hear from you. With me today is Glenn Fisher, and Glenn’s the CEO of NavMD. You can go to NavMD, that’s N-a-v-M-D.com, and learn more about Glenn’s business. There’s also a link for that in the show notes. That is where, I think, you should probably start. Go ahead and check that out. And please ignore my extra background noise that I always tell people we shouldn’t hear in the recording studio. So, Glenn, maybe that’s your cue for me to say welcome to Startup Hustle.
Glenn Fisher 01:18
Yeah, thanks a lot, man. I appreciate you having me on the show.
Matt DeCoursey 01:20
Yeah, I’m glad you made it in. And, you know, let’s just go ahead and get right into this conversation with a little bit of your backstory.
Glenn Fisher 01:29
Yeah, my backstory is I’ve been a serial entrepreneur since I was a little kid. I’ve always found a knack for it. And I feel pretty blessed about the opportunities; to hear about problems and to figure out a way to solve those problems. You know, it just snowed, and I saw an opportunity to go door-to-door and start shoveling some driveways for, you know, older people for eight hours a day. That’s how I started. My entrepreneurial career is mowing lawns and shoveling driveways. And it’s just grown from that.
Matt DeCoursey 02:11
I just published a reel on the Startup Hustle Instagram about my first startup journey that was recurring. And I used to paint address numbers on curves, you know, the white bottle, absolutely door-to-door. It took 50 years. Well, what did we get? Well, the pricing changed over time. Yeah. And we got better at it over time. But yeah, people really enjoyed that story. It’s actually our most popular video on all of our social platforms. So yeah, check out the Startup Hustle podcast. It’s all over. But yeah, entrepreneurship starts early for so many of us, you know, and that’s why I did the lawn. Knowing that I had a fear of it snowing but didn’t because I hate the cold. The warm weather guide didn’t want to miss the opportunity to go back-to-back. And I felt like painting curves at least occurred during sunny weather. So we talked about any good business, any software product, anything that gets big or makes money or has a lot of promise that solves a problem. So what’s the problem that NavMD solves?
Glenn Fisher 03:11
Yeah, so as I’ve mentioned, for 30-plus years, I’ve been a serial entrepreneur, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with 1000s and 1000s of employees, and about 166 million Americans get their health coverage from their employer. So every year, I would meet with my benefit advisor, and it was time for renewal. And guess what? Our rates are going to be 10%, 15%, and 20%. In 2023 alone, they estimate that healthcare costs are going to go up 10% for all employers. So that particular deal, it is, it tells you that, hey, this problem most CEOs and entrepreneurs think that this problem is uncontrollable, so, you know, like we always look at our expenses, or expenses, and we work to improve the cost structure of our expenses. And most of them just put that aside and say it’s uncontrollable. Let’s just take our medicine and go on to the next year. And what they do is my rates are going up. I’m gonna adjust my plan and give my employees crappier coverage. They’re gonna pay more for that crappier coverage, and then I’m going to take a hit to my bottom line. And that’s the routine each year when it comes to employee benefits with most employers out there. So what I learned after setting out to buy a company in 2018, when I found NavMD, I was like, wow, this is it. We can zero in on what’s happening with a health plan and provide actionable insights. But what I realized is that actionable insights are only actionable if somebody’s doing something about it. So we have to make it really easy for employers to see how these insights can deliver better plan performance and how they can take control of their health plans and realize that it is not an uncontrollable expense. It’s actually controllable by partnering with the right people and implementing the right strategies and solutions.
Matt DeCoursey 05:29
It never ceases to amaze me how many entrepreneurs don’t seem to understand that saving money is making money? Oh, yeah, I see a lot of people there, your rep. Yeah, we all want revenue growth. But here’s the thing, if you’re spending 10 more dollars on increasing your revenue by however many dollars, like, you lower your costs, that’s one less thing to do. The ultimate pinnacle of a great business is selling more and spending less. And there are so many different things. And I agree with you. I don’t think that there are these runaway costs. I’ve sat down once a quarter and gone through a lot of stuff. I mean, it’s out of the line of employee benefits. But I’m talking about subscriptions, just weird stuff that’s out there. And you know, I got 300 employees. So sometimes these things just kind of pop up, and they sit there. And I mean, I literally encourage people to look at these expenses. They’re like, Oh, it’s $20 a month notes on this $240 a year? Well, as it relates to health benefits, that is typically the number two or three expenses for an employer. And guess what happens? When you decrease your cost of employee benefits, your profits go up, and guess what happens? Then your enterprise value goes up. So a typical employer of 1000 employees is probably spending $8 million a year. With just getting access to the data and implementing and doing a complete review of the data, we are able to deliver about 1.2 million back to that employer. We’re just reviewing the claims data and refiling a portion of those claims. Interesting. Interesting, so that’s within the same policy. Right? It’s not even changing because that’s one of the things that, you know, we did a few years ago because we were seeking cost savings. I didn’t know NavMD existed at the time, right? But we went through, and you know, we’re like, had gone through a broker. And we’re looking at it, and you know, we kind of went out and shot for some stuff. And we’re like, you know, this has got to be cheaper somewhere. But it was a real pain in the ass to switch and move over to another platform. I mean, finding existing savings with where we’re at would have been good.
Glenn Fisher 07:45
Yeah, I think the key there is to find what I call the next-generation advisor, the guy that is really completely vested in taking a fresh look at how things are being done within an employer within that benefits package. Because if you have that kind of guy, he’s going to take a fresh look and go okay, well, you’re, you’re basically paying a premium now. And you’re, and you’re, and you’re fully insured. Employers that have more than 50 employees should take a different approach to that. And typically, look at more of a self-funded model with a big backstop that protects you from having that catastrophic loss.
Matt DeCoursey 08:36
That’s what we do now. And that’s mainly, you know, hundreds of employees in the Philippines, actually, which is a country that has nationalized health care. Yeah. So technically, for me to employ a person there, the law is that cost be like $15 a month, and then $15 a month. And that is actually like health care. Now, we provide a level of HMO that enhances that and boosts that up because that general level is pretty basic. Like, you can go have a baby, that you’re going to do it in a room with a bunch of other people, I just had a baby, or the age at which you know, hey, that’s not the end of the world. Now. You trust me. You’ll be alright. And that’s certainly not how I had a kid here. I feel like that was probably pretty expensive for my healthcare plan. But for sure, yeah, we definitely got to a point where, you know, we just basically self-funded it and, you know, pay those expenses and have a backstop there. And that was, that’s the first time I’d ever done that. But we continue to kind of look at how we can improve that. And, you know, I’ve realized that there are so many employees and talented people that are like, this is the whole premise of this episode if you want to have the best people, you have to have the best offer, and at the same time, you have to run your business within the financial constraints that make sense for the business. So I think what happens with it is that I’ve noticed with a lot of plans or offerings that if you got X amount of that in the budget, maybe you understand some inflationary stuff without, but your coverage can kind of get worse over the years. And if you and your employees definitely notice that, you know, I can, and I’m old enough to remember when they actually have, like, no deductible plans that don’t even exist now that I’m aware of, you’d be surprised.
Glenn Fisher 10:16
So that’s, you hit the nail on the head when you said, you know, employers are expected to deliver world-class benefits today to hire and retain the best people. So the typical approach, as I mentioned earlier, is, let’s adjust the plan and give them a crappier plan, the employees will pay more for that crappier plan, and then the employer will take a hit to their bottom line. But it does not have to be that way. And working with the next generation advisor, they are implementing plans that have zero contribution, zero deductible, and zero copays. Shine solar is a perfect example of that. They have over 320 employees. And when we start started providing them data a few years back, they had 75, or 80 employees, and they basically contribute, taking control of their health plan, as one of the main reasons they were able to grow because they were able to take the money they were using for that health plan, and invest it in more people just saving money as making money.
Matt DeCoursey 11:27
Exactly. And that’s that, you go back to even like Ben Franklin, you know, with the good old penny saved is a penny earned. But I’m telling you, man, I go through this with people all the time. And I’ve advised so many businesses and considered investing in some of them. And, you know, it’s amazing because I find that a lot of entrepreneurs, you know, they’ll spend $10 to create $1 of revenue or to make, you know, or something. And, and, you know, they look at why learn this or as the founder of Gigaba, because it was an appointment setting platform, you actually use it to schedule this, this podcast episode. And you know, that the efficiency that was created, I was like, Oh, my God, people are just gonna go crazy for this. And the number one thing was like, Well, how do I get it? How do I fill my appointments more like they need to access the sales? I realized if we had focused our solution towards that, we probably could have sold something instead for $15. a month. $150 a month? Yeah. Because, you know, people are willing to spend 10 times more at the same time, like saving a couple bucks here and there will make the difference. I love the growth, the growth example, because I think that businesses need to regularly review that.
Glenn Fisher 12:45
And oh, yeah.
Matt DeCoursey 12:46
I have a question. So you keep talking about the data. So there’s NavMD. Is that the main driver of what makes the platform valuable? Let’s talk about that. Like, how does it work?
Glenn Fisher 12:59
Yeah, great question. So the blueprint for fixing health benefits starts with data. You have to understand what’s happening today to create clarity and focus on what you should do to fix your benefits. So the first part of getting access to the data is building that foundation. So that foundation is bringing in all the data sources into one source of truth. That’s the medical, pharmacy, dental, vision, biometrics, and all the data sources. And then, once you have the data in the database, we enrich the data. So it tells a better story. So typically, if you’re looking at Raw claims data, you have to do a lot, you have to spend a lot of time to understand what that’s saying. What we do is group those claims and episodes of care. So we can truly know what’s happening within a population. And we assign a risk level to every single member. So we can manage that population and determine if it’s getting riskier or less risky down to the member. And the third piece of that is we have all the claims data. So $325 billion a year of claims get paid that shouldn’t have it’s a thing called Auto adjudication. 80% of claims get paid through the auto adjudication process. When that happens, errors happen. We review those claims, we flag the ones that could potentially be paid incorrectly, and then we have people reach out to the members and refile those claims. We deliver 5% Back to the plan, and a good portion of that goes back to the members. The other thing we do in the foundational piece of our program is 100 million people In America qualify for free or discounted care. But when they go to the hospital, the hospital doesn’t say, Hey, Matt, maybe you qualify for free or discounted care for the situation that you just came in. They never bring that up to 3000 hospitals that are nonprofit 1100 for-profit hospitals provide for your discounted care based on income and family income. We’ve scanned all that data, flagged the ones that could potentially qualify for that free or discounted care, and then met with the employee and the member to determine if they qualify. And if they do file financial assistance for that deal and get the money back to the plan and to the member. That’s what we do as a foundational piece, just right out of the gate. And then the real magic happens when we optimize the plan, figure out what strategies we should be implementing, and what solutions we could bring in. And then we track the success of all of that because I’m sure when you’ve bought benefits in the past, your broker would come in, and he would say, man, we got to try these gym memberships, we got to bring in gym memberships. So that’s actually why the question doesn’t work.
Matt DeCoursey 16:22
There’s a lot I feel I’m sitting here listening, and I’m thinking about, there’s, there are benefits that because man, I’ve gone through this whole gamut with a rapidly growing company and like God, you know, and we’re constantly talking about gym memberships, or this or that or whatever. And then, you know, some of it, I feel like employers probably spend a lot of money on junk. Yeah, basically, things you don’t need to track. My question is, is there an examination of that? Because you may, we’ve talked about, we’ve used the 300 320 person company, that seems like a good thing to roll with now. Like, it’s one of the things that you’ll look at is like, okay, so you’re paying for an I plan, but there are only 30 people here that actually use it.
Glenn Fisher 17:05
Right? Yeah, that’s called utilization. And yeah, we definitely provide that type of feedback on those particular things. I think, you know, probably a better example of, of, like, what’s working like, you know, obviously, those wellness type programs, and gym memberships are, are not have been overused over the years, and not tracked. And it’s really hard to see the ROI. So we focus on strategies and solutions that we can measure. The most influential part of a health plan is pharmacy costs. So on a $10 million plan, 3 million of it is typically pharmacy costs. And when you look at the portion of pharmacy costs that are those specialty medications, the ones you see on TV like you’re watching, the chiefs game and commercials have really happy people and bright colors, and they’re so happy on their medications. Those are the specialty medications. And when we review those, we can basically eliminate 80 to 90% of those costs by buying them differently. And when that happens, we deliver eight to 12% back to the plan, which is a $10 million plan. That’s a pretty good number. I mean, that’s a million bucks back to the plan. And what can you do with that million bucks? You can hire more people, you can build a building, and buy a piece of equipment, those are all things that are controllable, but employers don’t think it is.
Matt DeCoursey 18:40
So everyone’s looking for the silver bullet solution in so many cases, and it usually doesn’t exist. There’s usually this collective element. You almost kind of built a Lego Castle of sorts. And that’s what I’m, that’s what I’m sensing here with what NavMD does is like 3% here, 1% here, 9% there, but as the thing, I mean, you start adding a lot of these things up, you do wait for 30%, 40% or whatever. And I think that’s the key. It’s like you look at so many different solutions and options. It’s well, for example, the client climate change is a big thing. People like, oh, we’ll solve it with solar No, it’s got to have like nine different things that’ll work in nine different ways. And it’s just like a whole lot of, I don’t know if that was an appropriate example or not, but there’s this silver bullet solution like the one site like here, and it’s just one shot, and it’s over. Usually, I find that the best solutions are collective. Ryan and people look at it. You know, one of the reasons a lot of people don’t, don’t accomplish what they want, or achieve their goals is that they look at these things as a singular action. Yeah, when the real accomplishment is really that step-by-step, you know, I don’t approve of harming elephants, but they say you need to eat the elephant one bite at a time and maybe start with the tail. It’s just little steps, and you can reverse engineer your own success by figuring out where you want us to go backward. And you’ll find that it’s not like, like, the norm that the layman’s example is the most popular goal is to buy a house like that’s a big one for people everywhere. Sure. And bet you that’s not a singular action, like how many different things need to occur. So if you want to, you know, accomplish it, you have to figure out what those are. And you got to just get one check mark at a time. And next thing you know, you’ve got, like, 80 check marks, right. Okay, I’m where I need to be.
Glenn Fisher 20:27
Yeah, and that’s, that’s a great point. Because you know what fixing benefits, it starts with data. But you create a three to five-year plan, which we call a risk management plan as a result of what the data says. And it’s one bite at a time. You can’t accomplish everything at once. But each year, you can tackle one or two issues and track those to make sure that you’re delivering the return on investment to the plan to truly improve plant performance and deliver better benefits to employees.
Matt DeCoursey 21:05
I wanted to take a moment and pause because I want to point out NavMD is here in my hometown of Kansas City, and we’ve decided to come into 2023 in a lightweight way we have in the past few years by bringing our hometown founders and so welcome without and you know, a few months ago, I got to welcome five of Kansas City’s Inc, 5000 founders to the show and say we have another amazing Kansas City-based company here in the studio. And that was a cool series. If you want to go back and learn more about what’s going on in our hometown, we’ve had listeners in 194 countries this Friday. We know there were that many countries, by the way. Wow. Yeah, I was like, wow. And sometimes I’m like, Who are these people? So thank you to everyone. But we always like to bring it back locally. So I forgot to the point that out earlier. And then also, you know, this month, we’re featuring Kansas City’s top startups. If you listen to the show regularly, you know we virtually travel to a new city every month. So this month, you’ll be hearing more from Kansas City’s top startups. And I just wanted to the point that out. And also, remind you that today’s episode, Startup Hustle, is brought to you by FullScale.io. Hire developers. They make it quick and easy. That’s the whole problem we solve, Glenn. So, you know, there’s back to the, you know, saving money and offering great benefits, as we’ve talked about, I think we’ve thrown a lot of stuff out there. Let’s try to be hyper-specific here. Like what’s the number one thing that people save money on? I don’t know if we clearly defined that.
Glenn Fisher 22:38
Oh, yeah, it is.
Matt DeCoursey 22:40
Okay, so probably mentioned it, but I don’t know if we put a number one next to it.
Glenn Fisher 22:44
So I’ll name three. Yeah, one, three, in our $25 billion a year of claims are paid that shouldn’t have, okay, it’s easy to review those claims, refile those claims and deliver 5%. Second, lots of people go to the hospital that gets their insurance from their employer. Many, I call it the blue-collar rating, teachers, and city workers, qualify for free or discounted care. And this can go up to about 130 to 140,000 in household income. So it’s a big number, it’s not, hey, you’re making $20,000 a year, you qualify for free or discounted care at that number. But we’re talking bigger numbers. That’s the second thing. The third thing is a pharmacy. It is a no-brainer to look at and rethink the way that employees buy pharmacies. And these are, these are things that don’t affect the employee. Many are done behind the scenes with the employer and the benefits advisor to fix these problems.
Matt DeCoursey 23:52
So what is this? Maybe just as opinion doesn’t necessarily have to be fully data back. But you’re as an employer sitting there, and you’re like, What do I need to put in this plan? What should I maybe omit? Like, what do you think? What are the most valuable benefits that are going to attract or keep employees around? What are the most popular things? What am I going to get the best ROI on for offering that to my employee base?
Glenn Fisher 24:22
Yeah, there are a lot of studies, and there’s been a lot of research done on that. That is probably a question geared toward a benefits adviser more so than me, but I can tell you that you got to have medical, you got to have dental, and most employers have had the vision and some of the other disabilities, short-term long term, those are kind of, you know, blocking and tackling. And then there are other things like pet insurance and other things that some companies evaluate. As it relates to those things, that’s not the area I focus on. I’m really trying to empower benefit advisors to think differently and be more innovative. And I’m, I’m trying to let employers know that, hey, this number two expense on your, on your profit and loss statement is 100% controllable, and we can help you fix it. Not only can we help you fix it, but we guarantee whatever you spend on Analytics, you will get a return, and the average return is 135. To one, that means Chris, his wife’s company. They have, I think, a couple 100 employees, and they’re going to spend $2,100 to get access to the data, and they need to understand what’s happening with their plans. And they should expect about 135 to one return.
Matt DeCoursey 25:55
And by the way, Chris is our sales director here at Full Scale. So yeah, he’s just to put some clarity there. So I mean, that’s, that’s a great return. Yeah, it’s yeah, it’s really amazing the things that people innovate in this data-driven world that’s out there. Let’s shift for a second because we, you know, we talked a lot about the employee benefits, and let’s talk about us as entrepreneurs a little bit. What’s been the more challenging part of you? So you acquired NavMD and 2018? Is that correct? Yes. Okay, so what has been the most challenging thing getting from 2018? To what is now 2023?
Glenn Fisher 26:34
Yeah, so I would say, let’s see, this is 2023, 2022. The best word I would use to describe it was grind. Prior to that, the words got worse. I acquired a company that has been around since 22,005. And the founder was based in Tennessee.
Matt DeCoursey 26:58
And that was a tactful way to avoid swearing a whole bunch, you know, we mark all the episodes explicitly. So Oh, you do, too. Can you? Oh, great. We had to go, “Do you know how hard it is to get through a 45-minute honest, transparent conversation with another entrepreneur and not swear?
Glenn Fisher 27:13
Yeah, no, I’ve been trying. I feel like I’ve accomplished it pretty well.
Matt DeCoursey 27:18
You know, I read this thing that said that people that swear are smarter, and that’s when I realized I might be a hidden genius. Yeah, no, cuz yeah, it’s so anyway that I had to point that out. That was because most people just lay it out there. Are these weird? Fudge? Yeah, yeah, it’s okay. Yeah.
Glenn Fisher 27:39
But, yeah, it’s been a real grind because the application that I acquired was something you had installed on a PC. Yeah, I run a Mac, just like that. I’ve never had the technology on my computer at all. So I rebuilt the entire thing from scratch. And if you know to get to where you want to be, it never happens quickly enough. It’s a lot more expensive than you ever imagined. And I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know. But you know, I’m sure there are some listeners out there that might be thinking about buying a platform and, and, you know, it takes time, a lot of patience. I mean, the first platform I built was in the FinTech space. And we grew that to 2500 people doing two and a half billion a year in consumer finance. And that took a while to build as well on that customer service piece. You know, Warren Buffett’s pretty famously quoted for saying nine women don’t have a baby in a month.
Matt DeCoursey 28:40
And, the first time I ever heard that I was like, wow, that just makes so much sense. I tell people that all the time when it comes to software, and that’s because, you know, I have conversations with people a lot. And they’ll say, well, will it go faster if I put nine people on and actually might go slow? And there’s a lot to be said about that. And, you know, there’s, there’s I’ve learned two things, if only two things as an entrepreneur, it’s one that all businesses have problems, too. All software has bugs. There is no such thing as software that bugs anybody that tells you that they built software, and like I have a bug-free platform, they do not know their own platform. Let me show you some Microsoft Word. This point is like one of the original gangsters of software. It’s like one of the very first things that all of us use. It has 1000s of known bugs and things that it needs to fix. Oh, yeah. And it’s, I mean, it’s so you got to try to minimize that. You got to do that. And I say that. Yeah, I own a company that helps people build software because I realized that’s part of it. And a lot of those bugs occur for reasons that you can’t, you can’t control. It’s not your fault that Google Chrome changed something about it, broke a little piece of your front end, or the ADA us to the server upgrade. And it flicked off a switch that didn’t need it. But now you do. And there’s just weird stuff in there. And so that the caveat with that is if you’re going to build something like, you gotta it’s building software, it’s like having, it’s like having a child. I mean, you have to raise it, you have to have patience with it, but it’s earlier, we just have me on, and you want to talk about crazy decisions. I just got my kids’ puppy for Christmas and then hearing, and then it snowed and was negative 12 for a week here in Kansas City over Christmas, which they don’t want to go outside. Oh, no, my wife, my wife, actually, on Amazon bought a like two-foot long by the one-foot wide box that has grass, right like real grass.
Glenn Fisher 30:51
We did the same thing with our two because this little French Bulldog is six and a half pounds, man, and like, I didn’t want to go outside.
Matt DeCoursey 30:53
But I’m learning though I’m just reminded that software is kind of like raising a puppy. It’s gonna shit on the rug a little bit in the beginning and you want to kind of yet have patience with it and teach it and raise it and, and you know with it, but the more you put into it, and the more you focus and the more you teach it, train it, love it. Exercise patience with it. Oh, yeah, that’s maybe as I’ve gotten older, as an entrepreneur, that’s I spend a lot of conscious time trying to work on that, you know, and many regards. And, you know, the understanding that things don’t always happen instantly. As an entrepreneur, what’s like, as you’ve gained experience and gone down the road, where is there an evolutionary moment or something that you might be way better at now that, like, 15 years ago, I didn’t want a co-founder. Now, I don’t know if I’d start a new business with that one.
Glenn Fisher 31:48
Yeah, I don’t. I’ve been in Kansas City since 1990. And I have found this place to be an amazing place to lead businesses. And when I first moved here, I moved here because my wife was from here. And I didn’t really know what I was gonna do. And it was just a weird way I got started. And I was at the Kansas City Club drinking a beer with a friend and the guy next to me was cursing on the phone screaming and yelling. And after he hung up, I said, Hey, are you okay? And he goes, I hate fucking death and ball. I went through the trash can. Who’s definitely a trash can? Yeah, trash company. So he tells me he’s got 50 guys on a job making prevailing wage, which at the time was probably 2750 an hour. And they’re standing around waiting for an empty container, completely frustrated. I mean, because he is, you know, the cost structure of his business just went up. So I said, Okay, well, what if I buy a couple trucks? And 40 containers? Would you be my first customer? And he said, Yeah, so I went to the first business bank on the plaza. Pete Rozelle was the guy’s name, and I’ll never forget him. Because in 1990, he gave me a chance like today, you go to a bank and have an idea that they’re, they’re gonna be like, Yeah, buddy. We’re not. We can help you.
Matt DeCoursey 33:17
Trigger warning on that. Don’t get me started on banks and lending, and like, that’s, like, we’ve talked so much about startup financing. And like, you know, Alright, fuck it. Since we already swore and you did it first. You didn’t care. I’ll say it all day, man. I have a six-year-old and an eight-year-old who drop F-bombs. I’m not proud of that, but I can’t stop it. My wife was like, This is your fault. And I’m like, Yeah, I really do. But yeah, I go to all these startup events and, and, and different stuff. And they’re just all these bankers swarming around, and they want you to park your capital or do your business account there. And none of them will give you a loan. No, not, not. If you’re a tech startup, right?
Glenn Fisher 34:00
If you need money, they won’t give it to you. If you don’t need money like I get five or six emails, a tech company, even if you have recurring revenue, you don’t have the traditional assets the right bank wants.
Matt DeCoursey 34:06
Now when you went to go buy containers, or trucks or trash cans, like, Yeah, I literally had a CEO of a bank, and I won’t match, and he likes they can’t do anything with or for you. And he’s like, and I’m frustrated, because but yeah, he can take a semi-truck full of bolts, that if they had to repo, they wouldn’t be able to do anything, like pennies on the dollar. And that would help so that what they were they weren’t looking to accompany. They were looking at the investments we had made because Full Scale has put a couple million dollars into other software startups, and they’re sitting there going, these aren’t publicly traded. I can’t give you $1, and I’m sitting there going, man. Yeah, you know, so yeah, the banking side of things is frustrating. And, you know, maybe that’s an employee benefit that someone could learn to fix in some regards. And it’s not necessarily an entrepreneur level, but it, that’s some of the things you talked about and kind of circling back to employee benefits. And, you know, I’m assuming that you guys work with all American companies and clients, yes. Okay. Right. So but, and man in the healthcare system here, and we’re not going to go down that rabbit hole because we might be here all day, right? That’s, you know, it’s so different, and a lot of different countries and the expectation of what they want, and like you mentioned, like the pharmacy thing, that was actually something, we just added them to all of our employees, because that was a big thing for them. And that’s what they want, and I think when it comes to employee benefits, and what you offer, I think to start by asking your people, what’s important to them, Oh, for sure, is that I’ll take gotcha, I’ll hold the whole entire, like, I do these little like, type form questionnaires that I’ll like, go out and ask like, hey, what’s important to you? And sometimes it’s almost like a true or false? Like, would you rather have a gym membership or a 1% pay raise or something like that? And, you know, well, first off, I find that a lot of the benefits and things that sometimes get suggested are really just better off to maybe pay people a couple more dollars because, like, some of the things are like, you like the gym membership thing, and we’ll pick on that for a minute, like, not everyone goes to the gym, to help healthy people go to the gym, well, how many people are going to sign up for that, and then you’ll end up paying for it. And okay, so we’re recording this in early January, which is the peak season for new gym memberships. And most of those people aren’t going to be there in March. But ask your people what’s important to them and put your finger on the pulse of your business and ask what’s important. And we did that. So some of the things that we did, and we changed over the years, is, and this isn’t common here. But one of the benefits that we offer in the Philippines, and this is kind of a grim subject, but it’s burial assistance, for family, for family, and you God bless and hope that that doesn’t happen. But in some cases, so you know, in foreign countries, it’s more of a nuclear family. So where does that extend up and down the ladder? And that was one that came up. And you know, and then some of it was just like asking people what they’re using and what they don’t. I will tell you I have a big appreciation for what you’re doing with the data because we have a difficult time examining that at all. Yeah, and we have one of the self-funded plans like humanities, and it’s like, now with that, that saved us a tremendous amount of money because it was back to a utilization thing. You’ve also got my head spinning here because I’m like, how many bad claims? Am I paying out? Oh, yeah.
Glenn Fisher 37:36
And so I’m sure it’s yeah, that’s, you know, you’re probably spending, I would guess, 2.42 point 5 million a year for benefits for 300 people?
Matt DeCoursey 37:45
Because the cost of providing them is high. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I mean, it’s almost exponential. I mean, what here would cost 50 grand might be, like, 2500 bucks there. And there’s not a huge difference in carrots. The whole it’s no mechanism, exactly right up providing. And then, you know, I think the one thing that, okay, so I’m in this, but I never go to the doctor, man. I literally go like one time a year. And quite honestly, it’s because I have to get my Adderall prescription. Right? Like, they won’t, they won’t renew me on it. And I’m like, That’s okay. That, to me, is like a medical emergency if that runs. Sure, because you don’t want to restore it, you bring up a good point, not use it. So like when we sell funds, it’s like a huge, like a use case thing. And it’s as needed, but I’m not paying this insane premium for people that might not use it. And then there’s also like, in foreign countries, there’s different. They just, they, you know, the number one reason that someone calls in sick at Full Scale is they say high blood pressure. I’ve never had anybody in the United States be like, I think that’s like a blanket excuse for, like, I’m not feeling well, or I have anxiety or something. But they say that, and that’s like, you know, so there’s just a different perspective and Yama, big believer and thinking globally, it helps you locally, and just examining that. But I think you know, as we kind of wrap up with our time here, I want to give the mic back to you for your advice about, I know you said, some of its benefits management. But I know you see a lot of the data and stuff like that like when it, and I’ve changed the topic of this episode from employer benefits to saving money on employee benefits because that makes a lot more sense. We’ve talked about, I mean, I know that there were the three pillars you mentioned, but how do we arrive at these decisions? Like, what’s just some entrepreneurial advice? What have you found that works? Like, I get it. We’ve got billing issues and stuff like that. How do you like talking about the hardest part about having a large number of employees as well? Some of them might be 60. Your needs are different at 60 than they are at 20 and whatever, like, how do we go about getting the right stuff for, like, I don’t know, what’s your closing remarks plan?
Glenn Fisher 40:12
Yeah. So I just swear a whole bunch if you want. I mean, we’re already down there. Yeah. So I think, in 2023, you know, a lot of people are thinking that a recession or harder economic times for businesses are probably out there. And I guess what I’d say is that the expense benefits, which are typically number two or three on your list of highest-cost benefits, are definitely controllable. And by getting access to the data, we can easily identify strategies and solutions to drive better plan performance. And deliver money back to the employer so that they can reinvest in other things or just have a higher enterprise value for their business when they go to sell.
Matt DeCoursey 40:57
Yeah, the growth capital that you need might end. You might be sitting on top of it. I write that all business owners get well. Hopefully, you get to a point where you realize you’re sitting on excess capacity, which is basically, in some cases, you realize, oh, my God, I’ve got an embarrassment of riches here. Look, as a business owner and a startup founder. It’s your job. So whether you have a partner, like no business partners, one co-founder, you’re publicly traded, if you’re running your company, it’s your job to increase your shareholder value. Even if we’re the only shareholder, the enterprise value is a big thing with that. Take time to examine it. And I really want to encourage you to follow my law of 12. Don’t look at expenses and recurring expenses especially. They are made to seem small because they present them on a monthly basis. $50 a month is $600 a year. And if you multiply everything times 12, that’s recurring. Like it’s going to change the way you think about the expenses because, man, those numbers start to look a lot bigger and a lot fatter. And then, honestly, you’re probably spending money on a bunch of shit. You don’t need to know whether it’s employer or employee benefits or not, always take some time and look at that. And then figure out what you cancel, chop off, turn off, quit paying for, and don’t need, and multiply that times 12. And it’s a very gratifying feeling. Glenn, thank you so much for joining me. I’m gonna go to NavMD.com and figure out how to save some money now.
Glenn Fisher 42:19
All right, let’s do it.