This month’s INSURENEX MovingUp Client Spotlight is on Ray Estorga, owner and founder of Under The Sea, Inc.
Ray Estorga is an entrepreneur who came to the realization that he could be his own boss, like many entrepreneurs do, believing that he could provide superior services to his clients. “It all began as a hobby” says Ray, who always had an interest in aquariums and tropical fish; his interest grew when he found a job working for an Aquarian business. He learned quickly and became a licensed contractor. In 1988 he took the leap of faith and founded his company Under The Sea, Inc. Twenty-six years later, Under the Sea, Inc. has been proudly servicing the Greater Los Angeles and Ventura county areas specializing in all aspects of water features and decorative concrete, from setting up indoor aquariums to creating exterior landscapes, fountains and koi ponds for commercial and residential properties. Today, Ray prides himself with an A-list of clients that include brand name hotels like The W and national chain stores such as North Face and Quick Silver. Under The Sea, Inc. has been featured in various magazines and journals including the Pasadena Star and Los Angeles Business Journal.
Ray shared that his motivation during the first years of starting his business still inspires him today, “I really enjoy what I do. It’s my passion,” he says. His passion drives him to stay on top of the latest trends in his industry, participating in various workshops, classes, and educational seminars. He’s developed relationships with experts in the field that through the years have become his mentors. Like most start-ups, one of the hardships that Ray encountered was access to capital to expand and take on bigger projects. Focused on growth, his business continued to flourish until the economic slowdown. When new client orders became more difficult to come by, Ray took on consulting projects with general contractors, landscape architects, designers, pool builders and other water feature companies. It required him to expand his skills to keep up with the latest technology, methodology and application techniques “I’m never satisfied, I always want to know more,” Ray explains.
So what makes Under the Sea, Inc. different from others in the business? Among a list of values, the proud owner declared, is their willingness to go the extra mile, “we specialize in what other companies fail to fulfill for their clients: providing ongoing support. We not only install the beautiful features, we also repair them and service them. That is what we do different. For example, if you have a pool guy, he will build it and walk away but if something happens to your pool, you have to call someone else to fix it. We are a one-in-all service; we have all the licenses.” For Ray, seeing his client’s smile when the job is done, whether it’s a new project or a service call, is what makes it all worthwhile “Client satisfaction is my gratification” he adds.
When Ray is not on a client project, his favorite past time is spending time with his wife and three children, who he acknowledges are “All grown up.” He enjoys outdoor activities such as boating and fishing. He participates in races like the Spartan Run in Malibu and goes to the gym every day. Ray grew up in Los Angeles and has one sister. A family man indeed, he said of his family “we’re very tight knit, we try to spend as much time together especially during the holidays; we enjoy having dinner together; despite how busy we get at times, we strive to share family nights,” said Ray.One of his favorite quotes is “I have good news and I have bad news.
The bad news is that nothing lasts forever and the good news is nothing lasts forever.” Explaining this quote, he says, prepares you for the unknown, a common theme for entrepreneurs. Looking to the future, Ray sees nothing but success and intends to continue to expand, “…and that’s it!” he says with a smile.
We asked Ray what advice he had for fellow entrepreneurs and he had this to say“Don’t give up on your dreams. Make it through the tough times. You’ve got to work hard. Whether you’re in the business or starting a business, you’re going to go through tough situations where you will want to give up, but remain focused and remember your goals. Seek out mentors that will give you sound advice and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
On how INSURENEX has been resourceful to him and his company, he was generous to share this with us “INSURENEX has been a valuable asset to my business. I always call them for anything I need and they always give me sound advice. Everyone is always willing to go above and beyond. They give me the facts and they will research. I want the facts and that’s what they give me, but I also get their seasoned opinion. I get both. I know they look out for my business.”
We salute Ray Estorga and Under The Sea, Inc. for Moving Up in Life; we’re proud to be the one-point of contact for all their business and personal insurance needs!