From its roots as a small, regional HVAC provider eight years ago, Simply Group CEO Lawrence Krimker says his firm continues to grow with the sustainability sector. Today, Simply Group comprises a half-dozen companies with more than $1.45 billion in assets under management, including a significant sustainability-based lending arm.
“We are always looking for opportunities to better serve our customers,” Krimker told SustainableBiz in an exchange of emails which focused on the company’s Simply Group Financial business, but also touched on its other operations. “For this, we focus on growth driven by acquisition of businesses that strengthen our customer experience.
“Over the years, we’ve accelerated our strategic acquisitions with companies like Home Capital Group’s point-of-sale retail lending portfolio, SNAP Financial Group, and Dealnet Capital to further strengthen our position. These acquisitions have certainly been the cornerstone of our progressive growth.”
Financing that supports sustainable products
The financial business is designed to offer a suite of flexible alternatives to people who want to upgrade their homes with more sustainable systems and products.
“Our solutions broaden Canadians’ product choices, giving them an opportunity to purchase high-quality, eco-friendly home improvement options that are long-lasting and reduce their carbon footprint,” Krimker wrote. “Our solutions support the full scope of the home improvement – from windows, doors, and roofing, to kitchens, HVAC and even hot tubs.”
He said Simply Group’s 240-month amortization is a first in the non-bank, home improvement lending market. As with any consumer financing program, stretching out the payments allows consumers to make more significant purchases, and to acquire higher-quality systems and products.
Krimker said there are generally two types of consumers taking advantage of the so-called green loans.
“Our customers include both proactive shoppers and reactive shoppers,” ,” he explained. “Most of our proactive shoppers already understand the importance of high efficiency products in their homes – both for the environmental and long-term cost benefits.
“This group is actively looking for solutions that help reduce carbon footprint at a low cost of operation.
“Our other customer segment is in the market because they need a replacement. While they are filling an immediate need, we make it easier for them to afford better products.”
From window cleaning to the Simply Group
Krimker says his ambition and drive are a result of his upbringing as the son of a single mom, who emigrated to Canada and relied on multiple jobs and subsidized housing.
He started his first business at age 16 years, then graduated high school and attended the Schulich School of Business on a full scholarship. During that time, he launched a window-cleaning business which grossed $2 million in sales with over 34,000 customers, 80 employees, and three locations.
Krimker sold that firm and then launched Simply Green Home Services in 2013.
In addition to the home services and financing branches, Simply Group also includes retail services, new construction services, Sandpiper Energy Solutions, Simply Metering Solutions, and Simply LED Lighting Solutions among its portfolio.
Being on the inside of the industry, before branching into financing, allowed Krimker to establish connections and a larger platform to reach consumers. Simply Group has worked with over 200,000 customers across Canada.
‘Going green’ is not a choice
“We believe that our valuable networks and trusted partnerships have driven our recent growth. To our robust network of builders, we are more than just a financing company,” Krimker wrote. “To them, we are also a trusted partner helping them increase their sales and revenue. We have very strong relationships with our retail partners, who bring our solutions to 180 stores nationally.
“We’ve developed a digital marketing platform that reaches Canadians from cost-to-coast. And we have a network of two thousand dealers across Canada, who support our financing solutions.”
His business philosophy, Krimker says, is a simple recognition of one increasingly important fact.
“I strongly believe that ‘going green’ is not a choice, it is the need-of-the-hour. If we want to save our planet, we need to transition towards sustainable property upgrades that increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprints,” he said. His businesses are aligned to facilitate that change. “By removing unnecessary barriers and making sustainable home improvement affordable, we are making it easier for our customers to contribute towards a greener world.”