‘Bolt-On’ Services Create New Revenue Streams

Ohio contractor keeps adding services to his company’s offerings to boost customer satisfaction

‘Bolt-On’ Services Create New Revenue Streams

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Anyone who wants to grow their business and diversify their services could benefit from a small bit of advice from Chuck Lang Jr., the owner of Chuck’s Septic Tank, Sewer & Drain Cleaning, as well as several other complementary companies: Listen to your customers.

“If they say they want something, I think maybe I can help them out by doing it,” Lang says, explaining how he’s grown his Grove City, Ohio-based companies into multimillion-dollar-a-year ventures. “Then when I do end up helping them out, they suggest that maybe I should try doing something else.”

By doing so, Lang keeps generating new revenue streams and is more attractive to other customers who prefer one-stop shops over hiring multiple contractors. As an example of what he calls “bolt-on” services, Lang points to the concrete saw-cutting service one of his companies, CST Utilities, added several years ago. He decided to take the plunge after he kept hearing customers complain about how hard it was to find anyone to do concrete saw-cutting.

“So they asked us to start cutting their concrete,” he says.

As a result, the company now owns concrete saws made by Stihl and Diamond Products.

A similar thing happened with trench-shoring units and the steel plates his customers need to cover up excavations for safety purposes.

“Too often I had five or six guys standing around, waiting for steel plates to be delivered to job sites,” Lang says. “So I decided I’m not going pay overtime just because some company can’t get the plates to us on time. By buying our own plates, I saved about $120,000 a year that I was paying for idle labor and plate rentals.”

Waiting around for items like trench shoring and metal plates also made CST Utilities look bad to its customers, he adds.

“If that happens often enough, the next time they might not call us, just because the plate-rental center couldn’t get the plates to us in time,” he says. “You end up losing, say, a $40,000 job because of a $400 plate rental.”

Of course, expanding services also requires taking financial risks. But as Lang points out, there’s a lot of truth to the old adage about spending money to make money.

“You can’t stay stagnant,” he says. “You have to stay ahead of the game. If something new comes out, you have to figure it out — you get left behind if you don’t. If you keep doing just the same thing, soon you’re not there anymore. You’ve got to keep offering new services to keep accommodating your customers.”

Check out these additional stories about Lang’s businesses, Drain Cleaning Company Jumps on Opportunities and Workhorse Jetters Drive Productivity for Ohio Pumping Company, as well as this video profile, Inspection Equipment Aids Company’s Customer-First Philosophy.


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