Garrett McCraight was used to doors being slammed in his face. “Every purchaser woke up not knowing they were going to buy a high-end vacuum, but the starting package was $3,695.10,” he says, laughing as he realizes he’s memorized the price down to the penny. “It was guerilla warfare of sales, going all day to catch people at home and knocking on doors until 9 PM, and the harder you worked the luckier you got.” His sales tactic was simple and honest, acknowledging that he respected when people didn’t want to buy. “I said, ‘Cool, let me just show it to you,’” he remembers. “I’d offer to shampoo one room, and they were immediately hooked when I showed them it could sweep, dust, clean mattresses, and buff hardwood floors.”
Selling Kirby vacuums door to door was not for the weak, and Garrett is anything but that. The product was (and still is) top quality, but the pay was a straight commission so he learned how to hustle. “I consider it my college,” he laughs. “I left Michigan with about $500 in my pocket and fell for a Craigslist advertisement out in Los Angeles.” It was a classic bait-and-switch, and Garrett had no idea that he’d be selling vacuums door to door. Still, he went through the training, built up to selling 80 vacuums per month, and five years later was running his own distributorship. Funny story, his supervisor ended up back in MI raving about a young entrepreneur who owned a distributorship, so Garrett heard about himself from his hometown friends!
“Door-to-door salesmen get a bad rap,” he explains. “But people appreciate when you are honest and work hard.” He was selling the dream, working 90 hours per week as a 21-year-old business owner in Burbank, CA. His motivation wasn’t the money, however. “My people were my clients and helping them helped me hit my goals,” he reflects. “People looking for jobs on Craigslist are not in the best situation, so to see them go from nothing to something in 90 days was a gift.” Turnover was high, and Garrett was training and losing 10 to 15 people every week.
“At Kirby, I was responsible for making sure they could put food on their tables,” he says softly. “One of my guys couldn’t do Christmas for his kid so I knocked on doors at 9 PM and in two days we were able to raise the money.” He continues, “I’ve helped people who were about to be homeless get their first car and apartment; they were on Craigslist because they needed a change.” He chokes up when he remembers the awards ceremonies and accolades. “Seeing my guys get awards at sales rallies would make a grown man cry,” he says. “They started out not wanting to sell anything, but were suddenly selling 30 vacuums per month.”
You’ve Gotta Risk it to Get the Biscuit
Garrett remembers a particular incident at Kirby that became a symbol of his success. He and his partner, Nate, had just wrapped up an intense “push month” when their supervisor, Jimmy, told them he wanted to do a promotional video. “‘You’re gonna love it, Babe,’ he used to say in his thick accent,” Garrett remembers, laughing. “Nate warned him I’m not a talker and would need time to prepare.” Instead, he was on the spot for his secret to success. “I froze and spat out, ‘Yagottariskitforthebiscuit’,” Garrett laughs, smacking his forehead with his palm. “Everyone looked really confused and Jimmy was like, ‘What the heck was THAT?’” He continues, chuckling, “I said, ‘Listen, I’m here to sell vacuums not make videos!’” But that was when Garrett realized he could handle something bigger.
“I didn’t know anything about real estate when I got into it,” Garrett remembers. “I knew I wanted an honest job, and the commission was good.” He explains that people need to live somewhere, and even if they’re not buying they are probably looking to rent. He admits, “I had no idea what I was getting into, but if I could sell a $3,000 vacuum I could sell a home to people who actually needed it.”
Garrett has set himself apart with a unique, edgy logo that he admits was a risk. “Kim Morgan got me my first job at Journeys when I was 17, and now she’s my marketing guru,” he says. “She came up with the concept and my broker pushed it, which turned out to be the best idea because now people reach out to me just because they like my logo.” In fact, the team released the new logo on Halloween, as Garrett says, “So if it was a flop I could tell everyone it was a joke!”
Garrett is grateful for the support of Penny Aiken, his operations manager who he says has changed his business and life for the better. “I wouldn’t be able to do this without her - she’s my team,” he says humbly. “She was sculpted by the real estate gods and helps me believe in myself.”
These days Garrett is working toward a different purpose - his family. “My family is everything,” he says. “Samantha and I have been together for five years and with the help of my brother-in-law, we built our house by hand.” The house was finished in July, just in time to welcome baby Ivy (born August 2022) to join sister Dahlia (4). “My goal is to be with my girls as much as possible and real estate helps me get there,” Garrett says. “With McCraight Real Estate powered by Keller Williams, I’m truly building a life by design.”