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Tate HackertSeptember 22, 20226 min read

RV Roadtrip: California/Nevada Recap

PayDay Are We There Yet?!


The First Leg: Southern California → Las Vegas, NV

It’s been a busy couple weeks, but before I get into it, let’s crunch some numbers.

So far, we’ve visited two states. Multiple cities. Several payroll partners, small businesses, and employees. We’ve directly helped dozens of workers gain access to their earned wages through ZayZoon–all while collecting feedback from the people who rely on us to decrease their financial stress. Beyond that, we’ve attended two big industry events, talked shop on the Group Chat podcast and to top it all off, we even had time for a team surf outing.

Surf’s up!

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. Though we’re only two weeks into the PayDay Are We There Yet?! tour, we’ve already learned so many invaluable lessons–about our customers, the logistics of planning and executing a cross-country RV tour, about ZayZooner Tanner Hiltz, who shares driver duties with me but can’t operate a scooter to save his life.  

Tanner walking his scooter

You can read all about these lessons (and more) below👇

September 6th | SDP Payroll | Ontario, CA

Before our first stop in Ontario, I was invited to speak on the Group Chat podcast in LA. For context, Tanner put me onto the Group Chat podcast months ago, but he's been an avid listener for the past three years, and luckily so. When the RV tour was announced, Tanner connected with co-host Dee Murthy to amplify my voice and vision. I chopped it up with Dee on the topic of predatory lending, something that’s close to my heart, and a big reason why I started ZayZoon in the first place.  We also talked about the pros and cons of distributed work. You can check out the podcast right here.

Talking shop with Dee Murthy of Group Chat

Next, we caught up with one of our partners, SDP Payroll, in Ontario. SDP is a long-time partner and they’re committed to delivering the best possible payroll solution to their customers—just one reason why they work with us to offer earned wage access. I held an informal training session with the SDP team and Emmi Banner, our Senior Product Marketing Manager, followed up with a teaser of a new product we have that will help put even more money in the jeans of our customers… but I can’t say too much about that right now. 

Enjoying Savage Tacos With SDP

It should come as no surprise to learn that SDP were awesome hosts. Personally, it’s invigorating to work with organizations that are dedicated to fostering an incredible culture for their team and a focus of improving financial health and wellness of their customers, and SDP is doing just that.

Renita Bess, CEO and President of SDP Payroll, and me posing for the cam

After a successful stop in Ontario, we hit up one of our customers, McDonald’s, in Riverside to chat with employees and help with ZayZoon signups. We also gave away more than 100 large fries to customers who came through the door.

Susanna Kuang, Marketing at ZayZoon and a McDonald’s team member in Riverside, CA

September 12th | NAPEO | Palm Springs, CA

For the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations annual conference, me and Tanner were joined by Shane Edrington, our VP of Sales; Jennifer Kush, our Business Development Executive; and Sean Pitcher, a Senior Product Manager at ZayZoon

To start the conference right, we hosted a morning coffee and smoothie mixer for attendees. Ultimately, our objective as a company is to help employees break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. Understanding exactly what their needs are and how we can help is central to fulfilling that objective.

Getting caffeinated for the big day

Beyond getting the opportunity to meet plenty of new people, we also connected with some familiar faces from Vensure, one of our partners. 

Shane and some friends from Vensure posing in front of the Wage Wagon

Screen Shot 2022-09-22 at 2.16.35 PM

All in all, the event was tons of fun. Already looking forward to NAPEO 2023.



September 14th | HR Tech | Las Vegas, NV

On our way to Vegas, I might have messed up just a little bit… 

Tanner was filling up the tank and noticed there was no gas cap. Turns out, I’d left it at our last refuel site…

6.5 hours away.


On the floor, HR Tech

Thankfully, we were able to grab one from a local parts shop and make it to Vegas in one piece—and just in time for my panel, Paying Workers Any Day, Any Time, at HR Tech Conference. I was joined by leaders from Visa, ADP, and DailyPay, for an in-depth look at how employers can improve retention by offering earned wage access to employees.

Post-panel chit-chat with fellow panelists and attendees

After walking the floor at HR Tech, we dropped by a McDonald’s in North Vegas. We partnered with this particular franchisee about a month ago, so they’re still new. They have three locations in Las Vegas and employ around 130 people. We had less than expected uptake at this particular location, so we wanted to see if there was anything we could do to help with adoption.

Thanks to some help from Jeremy Lowe (one of our many CS gurus), we were able to fix a technical issue that was preventing employees from using the app. We were also able to help them get signed on.

Finally, to round up our trip to Las Vegas, we hosted a community event to show Advanstaff some love for all the awesome work they’re doing. We brought in tacos for the team, played cornhole, and got to have product discovery discussions with employers and payroll folks.

Advanstaff Versus ZayZoon: The Moment of Truth

Lessons Learned

My biggest takeaways so far? Check them out here 👇

1. The employees we service in California and Nevada are for the most part Hispanic. Although we have a Spanish app option and support, ZayZoon needs to do a better job with our marketing efforts 🇲🇽
2. I was surprised at the range of financial literacy among McDonald's staff. Not because I was expecting people to not know their finances, but because of how novel their approaches were. There were multiple employees who kept their own excel spreadsheets of their budgets, had different accounts for different bill categories, and other tips I found myself writing down for my own use! 💰
3. Hands-on support is a major unlock. Being onsite and helping employees sign up can TRIPLE conversion, while surfacing areas of improvement for our UX 🤝
4. We're still early. 85% of people we chat with have no idea what Earned Wage Access is. It's why I'm so excited for the future—companies like ZayZoon, DailyPay, Inc. and Payflow (YC S21) are bringing EWA awareness to the world 🌎

Well, that just about sums up these first two weeks on the road. That’s 350 memorable miles done, another 2350 left to go. 

Be sure to tune in two weeks from now for another update from our PayDay Are We There Yet?! Tour.

Next Stop: Phoenix


Tate Hackert

Tate is the brain behind ZayZoon, developing the idea of providing access to funds before payday, in 2013. He feels gratified knowing “we get to improve the financial health of people each and every day.” One of his favourite ZayZoon experiences involves a business trip to Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania where he helped film a Holiday Inn Express testimonial video. Wearing a ZayZoon shirt at the local Walmart, someone saw Tate and exclaimed, “Hey, ZayZoon! I use that!"