Answer the Door

Be ready to take advantage and build your business when opportunity knocks

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I really like both profiles in this month’s issue. They both represent entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to adapt to the market and carve out a profitable niche.

Mississippi-based B Clean is a full-service industrial cleaning company. It has grown to a multimillion-dollar-a-year company on the back of the local chicken-processing industry — a market most companies will never serve at all. About 60 percent of the company’s annual revenue is generated by cleaning pipelines and tanks in roughly 15 poultry-processing plants. The company also does work for related industries, such as feed mills and chicken hatcheries.

The entrepreneurial spirit that fostered the company and led to its unique market position has been a key to its success. Owner Alex Hodge was a Mississippi Highway Patrol officer who drove feed trucks on his days off. He bought a pressure washer when someone from a local chicken-processing company approached him about getting into the truck-washing business. When that same company needed a contractor to clean stopped-up drains, he invested in a small vacuum truck. A combination truck followed soon after, and B Clean was on its way.

When opportunity presents itself, Hodge and his team take advantage. It’s an approach that has served the company well, and it’s a great example to other companies looking to make their mark.

This month’s cover story shines a light on American Rooter Plumbing. Owners Bradd and Sarah Conn took a chance on their dream in 2012. After entering the drain cleaning and plumbing trade in his home area of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, Bradd Conn moved east to Omaha where the larger metro area offered greater opportunity. He worked for other companies, gaining skill and experience, and finally decided to take the entrepreneurial leap. 

With only $5,000 in his bank account, he traded his pickup for a service van and went to work, focusing solely on drains in the beginning. He soon learned there were customers ready to give his new company some business. Six years later, the company is cleaning up in the sewer and drain market, in addition to providing a full range of plumbing services.

Both stories are interesting in how the owners took advantage of opportunities and built businesses around them. It’s the American dream, and it’s alive and well in the sewer and drain industry. For Hodge, opportunity knocked. Conn chased down his opportunity. But both took advantage when they saw opportunity. I really like that about this industry.

If you have knowledge and the drive, and you do good work, you can make it in this industry. We cover small business, big companies, and some that started as one-man shops and grew into industry leaders. The opportunity is there. I hope you’re taking advantage.

Enjoy this month’s issue.


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