Offering the Best in Tent Washing & Drying Machines
TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
HOW SUCCESS CAN MEAN A CHANGE IN OPERATIONS
In 1997, Becky and I started Teeco Solutions based solely on an idea and a dream. In the beginning, we had nothing, and starting a business from scratch in an existing market was far from easy. Looking back, it’s interesting to evaluate my business decisions — the great and the not-so-great — and one of the most pivotal points in our early years came from the evolution of our pricing. In the beginning, Teeco Solutions consisted of only Becky and me. We were trying our best to be a success, and fewer employees meant more money could stay in the company and more food could stay on our table. In addition, with Becky and I doing things ourselves, budgeting was easier, and there was less to worry about when we evaluated risk. Back in the day, my marketing strategy barely existed, and not many people knew who I was apart from my business. I eventually took out a small ad in the Yellow Pages of the phone book, but I didn’t keep a track record. However, I knew that my best clients were people in need of a small number of tents and accessories, so I started targeting graduation parties. Small tents — 20-by-20, 20-by-30, and 30-by-30 — were my bread and butter in the graduation party scene. Since I was brand-new to the tent-rental world, I knew that first impressions were going to make or break my business. We made it our mission to keep our tents spotless, show up on time, provide great customer service, and provide tent insurance. I knew that referrals were going to make us successful, so I never gave anyone a chance to give us a poor review. The first two years with our tent rental company were profitable for the business because of our reputation, and we were able to put a considerable amount of money back into the company.
More profit and extra cash meant I could purchase more tents and other accessories, and our cost structure went up as we grew in customer size and profit. Suddenly, I had an overhead that I had to meet year-round instead of solely during graduation season, and I had to learn how to maintain a year-round cost model. Once my business started to expand, I started to lose money on my small tent sizes, which had originally been essential to my success! This was an eye-opener for me. Even if I raised my prices as high as the market value would allow, I still wouldn’t make enough money to break even. After taking time to brainstorm solutions to my problem, I realized that I still needed to offer all of my products, including my small tents, but I needed to find other ways to make money doing so. From that point on, I began to offer customer pick-up, and I started to bundle my products. Bundling actually became as convenient for my customers as it was for me, and it allowed me to turn a profit. I also began to give my customers incentive to set up their tents toward the beginning of the week instead of a normal Thursday or Friday. This allowed me to balance the workload of my employees and myself throughout the week. Plus, I could rent out more tents and schedule more setups. Starting a business is not easy. It took me many years, but eventually, I learned how to balance the pricing and profits in my company while also finding my niche in an existing marketplace. With the right attitude and a willingness to welcome change, you too have the ability to become a business success.
– Steve Arendt
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