Adding a variety of coordinated services can boost your business.
When Todd Fitch and his wife, Kristin, purchased a San Francisco-area fencing company in 2006, they did not originally envision owning a company that offers a diverse line of services. Ten years later, Hanson & Fitch Temporary Site Service provides not only fencing, but also barricades, portable restrooms and debris boxes.
“These are all services that fit well together and the client can make one call — instead of several — to get what they need,” Fitch says.
Making the decision to branch out is not always simple. It takes a lot of time and planning to decide whether the potential new business is worth the investment of new equipment.
Fitch says the company’s different services complement each other well. “If you have a construction site and need a portable restroom, you’ll probably need fencing too, and debris boxes too,” he says. “We can coordinate delivery and save on fuel costs since one truck may be able to deliver everything.”
Jay Baker, owner of 28 Rentals LLC in Clinton, Oklahoma, agrees offering services that fit well together — such as his dumpster, portable shower and portable restroom rental offerings — works well.
“Being able to offer multiple services helps with customers since they see it as being more convenient,” he says.
Offering different product sizes helps too, Baker says. For example, 28 Rentals offers smaller portable disposal containers in addition to the standard size.
After focusing on fencing for three years, Hanson & Fitch added portable restrooms in 2009, and then began using its vacuum trucks to collect cooking oil in 2011. That business line saw impressive growth and Hanson & Fitch sold it two years ago. They recently moved into debris box rental.
Fitch says expanding into new areas is not always an exact science. “It took us 10 years to figure out what customers want in our stable of services.”
Baker was in the right place at the right time when it came time to add to his company’s line of products. He also only purchases new equipment when he knows it can generate enough income to cover the payments.
“We’ve been fortunate that both times — with the portable restrooms and the dumpsters — I had a friend who had the equipment, but didn’t have a demand for it; but I figured I could use them,” Baker says. “We also have the advantage that people hear about us and then reach out when they need services.”
Hanson & Fitch has employees that focus on its different offerings. “The guy serving the portable restrooms is not the same guy working with the debris boxes,” says Fitch, adding that there is some overlap such as the drivers who deliver the different products.
Dundon Plumbing and Heating in Orwell, Vermont, offers a variety of services including portable restrooms, plumbing and heating services and water treatment. Owner Chris Dundon says offering specialized service is key in differentiating itself from other companies.
“Customer service is everything. You need to offer great service,” he says. “We have employees who focus on different areas so our customers get the best possible service.”
Baker says 28 Rentals also looks to separate itself from other companies through its customer service.
“That’s what it comes down to. People will go with you not just because you can offer more than one thing, but because you provide great service in everything you do,” he says. “That great service puts you out in front.”