OAKLAND — After a bad experience as an employee, Niv Goldman decided the best way to maintain his professional ethics was to take matters into his own hands. “While working as a salesperson for a large attic cleaning company, I kept getting complaints from unhappy clients,” he recounts. “I tried to work with the company owner to rectify the issue—I didn’t feel right setting expectations higher than what I knew we could provide. Eventually, I knew I had to move on. Instead of going to work for another company and ending up in the same situation, I decided to get my contractor’s license and start my own attic cleaning business.”
Knowing he’d need help getting his new business off the ground, Niv enlisted the help of his wife, Morgan, and her parents, all of whom continue to take an active role in the company today. Niv also decided he should focus on a specific aspect of the industry. “Most attic cleaning companies do a little bit of everything, including air duct cleaning and rodent exclusion. Rather than spread ourselves thin, we decided to focus on a niche—that way, we’d be able to ensure the highest quality. We ultimately chose to specialize in rodent exclusion.”
Today, as owner of Alley Cat, Niv says his favorite parts of his job are problem-solving and innovating. “I’m always thinking about how I can improve the experiences of both our customers and our employees. I like addressing problems and finding the best solutions. I also like innovating and developing new products that increase the efficiency of our work.”
A resident of Oakland (where he lives with Morgan and their daughter), Niv spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “I swim three times a week and practice daily meditation,” he details. “I also enjoy spending time with my family. Morgan and I like taking our daughter to places like The Oakland Zoo and Children’s Fairyland.”
In his life and career, Niv espouses the virtue of the Golden Rule. “I strive to treat others the way I’d like to be treated,” he affirms. “Whether I’m dealing with a customer, an employee or a contractor, I treat them with the same respect I would hope to receive. It doesn’t matter which sphere you apply this philosophy to—if you do, you’ll have good relationships.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Niv says he’d keep innovating. “Even after I retire, I’ll keep working on ideas and products that make the world a better place. If that were tomorrow, I’d probably buy a house near the beach. Somewhere that’s quiet and has a lot of nature around…a good environment for spiritual living.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What was your first job?
A: I was a pizza delivery driver. I was promoted to branch manager within a year, so that gives you an idea of my work ethic.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Dyafa in Oakland.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Costa Rica.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Read a book.
Q: Pancakes or waffles?
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