CEO, Simply Group
Lawrence Krimker has become one of North America’s most accomplished business leaders. As Chief Executive Officer of Simply Group, he has managed to revolutionize the residential and commercial energy sector, successfully disrupting and transforming an industry that had grown complacent. Through strategic acquisitions, innovative business tactics, and the creation of a specialty financing model that has made high-efficiency energy appliances more affordable for homeowners and businesses, Lawrence has amassed over $1.45 billion in assets for his companies and has helped hundreds of thousands of Canadians reduce their carbon footprint.
Simply Group provides innovative financing solutions for residential, commercial, and industrial projects throughout Canada. This interview features Lawrence Krimker, CEO, of Simply Group. Lawrence Krimker has become one of North America’s most accomplished business leaders. As he has managed to revolutionize the residential and commercial energy sector, successfully disrupting and transforming an industry that had grown complacent. Simply Group was born from Lawrence’s vision to change the way Canadians think about home comfort. In this exclusive Q/A Lawrences discusses what sets Simply Group apart from other companies in the same industry and shares the main aspects that have contributed to the company’s growing success. In this interview, he also describes his entrepreneurship journey and how innovation played a role in it.
Q1: What are some of the top home improvement projects you predict for this year?
The pandemic has been a long haul, and as Canadians spend another winter indoors, privacy is becoming increasingly valuable. Sanctuary spaces like kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms are expected to continue to dominate the home improvement market this year. Homeowners are also expected to invest in more permanent home-office solutions, “side-hustle” spaces and flex spaces, that can adapt to the family’s ever-changing work and learn from home needs. Minor improvement projects are also expected to center around technology and functionality, like adding or relocating new fast-charging outlets and upgrading other smart home technologies.
Q2. What made you launch Simply Group? What was your motivation behind founding it?
When I launched Simply Group in 2013, the industry was stagnant. I wanted to bring innovation and creative solutions to the way Canadians thought about home comfort, especially regarding sustainability and efficiency. Our services quickly expanded, however, as we recognized new gaps in the market, specifically surrounding financing. Despite the desire to invest in their homes, the price tags of home improvement were a hurdle, and Canadians were being underserved by the restrictions of our major banks. We are now proud to be Canada’s non-bank consumer lender of choice, making improvements like high-efficiency energy equipment more accessible and affordable for everyday Canadians.
Q3. The COVID-19 pandemic left no industry unscathed. How has the home-improvement industry responded to the pandemic and what other factors are driving change in the industry?
The home-improvement industry has been quite resilient to the pandemic. In fact, we saw approximately a 30 percent increase in home renovation loan applications in the second quarter of 2021, compared to the first, indicating that Canadians are continuing to invest in home renovation projects.
As Canadians spent more time at home, they zeroed in on what they really wanted out of their homes and became acutely aware of the areas that needed some TLC. The pandemic also created new needs, like home offices, gyms, and improved air-filtration systems for safety. This has kept the industry busy and is expected to continue this year. In fact, one survey of Canadian homeowners found that 55 percent reported that they already have or would like to do a home improvement project in the next year.
This year, Canada’s highly competitive real estate market is expected to impact the industry as well. Many Canadians find themselves priced out of buying a new home, and investing in improving their current one, instead. In fact, 58 percent of surveyed Canadian homeowners reported renovating to improve their quality of life, rather than for resale purposes. This includes outfitting homes with accessibility and safety features like roll-in showers, grab bars, and non-slip flooring. This is largely driven by the baby boomer generation and the increasing popularity of multi-generational homes.
The Climate Crisis is also propelling the industry forward. After a series of natural disasters in Western Canada this year, the importance and urgency of investing in sustainability hit close to home. This year, functional landscape architecture is expected to take off, create flood and fire barriers, as well as restore proper drainage systems in urban environments.
Q4. What are the major things that Simply Group exclusively focuses on when it comes to revolutionizing the home improvement financing industry?
We are making sustainable home modernization affordable and accessible. Many Canadians don’t have the disposable income to invest in high-efficiency home improvement products. We have innovative financing solutions that offer repayment flexibility to help Canadians upgrade to energy-efficient solutions in a responsible, cost-effective way. In fact, we were first to market with a 240-month amortization solution that offers Canadians greater flexibility and affordability. Customer service is also at the heart of everything we do. We have developed a robust infrastructure to drive exceptional application approval rates and streamline the application process to reduce wait times.
Q5. Could you please illustrate the term “sustainable systems and products”? What, according to you, is “eco-friendly” home improvement?
Our “sustainable systems” are where our financing solutions and energy-efficient products meet. We have created a system that enables Canadians to purchase environmentally sustainable home comfort equipment and upgrades, while sustaining healthy finances, by providing flexible and affordable loans.
Eco-friendly home improvement is about maximizing energy efficiency by using the most up-to-date technology. This includes windows, doors, roofing, kitchens, HVAC, and more. Generally, these upgrades come with steeper price tags – and that’s where we come in. We offer greater affordability to Canadians through innovative payment options.
Q6. Could you please share your views regarding the significance of high-efficiency products in people’s homes and solutions to curb carbon footprint?
Addressing the climate crisis requires a collective effort, with contributions small and large in every home. For many people, the barrier to going green is the sacrifices to routine or lifestyle that might come with it. Making your home more energy-efficient allows homeowners to make an impact without having to make any changes to their lives. We have over 500,000 customers across Canada who have adopted our sustainable solutions, collectively reducing tens of millions of lbs. of Carbon Dioxide emissions per year. We are optimistic that this number will continue to grow each year.
Q7. Is the future ‘green’? What are your thoughts?
I strongly believe that the future is green. More and more Canadians, many of them adolescents and young adults, are lobbying for the long-term health of our air, water, and soil, and are keenly aware of the state of the earth, with greater media coverage. In order to help save ourselves and our planet, we need to do our part by changing the way we live our everyday lives. Investing in green home systems that increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprints makes going green easier. At Simply Group, we make sustainable home improvement affordable, so more Canadians can contribute to a greener planet.