Spotlight: All Sweep Inc. Surges Forward by Building and Consolidating

Dave Rossi, President of All Sweep, Inc., in Willoughby, Ohio, is quick to tell you he did not choose to go into the sweeping business.  “It chose me,” he says. One day, more than sixteen years ago, the manager of a shopping center was complaining to Dave “He told me he couldn’t stand the people who were sweeping his lot. I said, ‘Hey, I’ll buy a sweeper.’ And the rest is history.”

From that initial single account, Rossi has built the company into a $7 million business that promises customers a wide range of commercial services; the client base ranges across Ohio and into western Pennsylvania. With the acquisition of Asphalt Specialists LLC two years ago and his establishment of Accurate Ground Cover LLC, a mulch-blowing company, last winter, Rossi now oversees complete maintenance services from sweeping and paving to landscaping, pressure washing and snow and ice control.

Consolidated operations
Even though the trio of companies employs a total of sixty individuals, all operations are run out of one office. Rossi believes the consolidation and exceptional management add value to their services and enable all three companies to be successful at a time when many in the industry are struggling.

“To offset the downturn,” explains Rossi, “we installed our own fuel tanks so we can shop around for the best fuel prices. We built a 600-ton salt storage bin for our snow removal operations. We shrunk our back offices to one with no redundancy in accounting or administrative assistance. And we reduced our inventories so we’re not just a supply house for the supplier.”

In other words, it has all come down to consolidating everything into one 15,000-square-foot facility in Willoughby. “What it takes to run our company has all been combined at our main location, overseen by me. It’s the way we stay competitive and keep everything together.”

Rossi’s attention to detail, both in the work his companies perform and in the oversight of the office functions, have been fine-tuned in this business but were originally developed during two decades in construction. “I know about organizational skills and seamless operations and how work needs to be done.”

His is not just a 9-to-5 weekday commitment. He is in it 24/7, noting that his business operations are “completely electronic, from the sweeping aspect all the way to dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.”

Advancements
A major advancement Rossi has observed in the sweeping industry is that the traditional sweeper is a thing of the past, as the need for far more extensive services has gradually developed. “Ten years ago, you came in, swept and left. Now, all our agreements have covered a range of aspects, such as noticing lights that are out, pavement damage, downed tree limbs. Our people are filling out reports and doing property assessments. Companies like us, with the right management team, can adapt to that. We promote [the fact that] that we’re our customers’ eyes and ears.

“The other advancement is electronic bidding, invoicing, payments—and site reports. All our drivers carry cameras to photograph what they see that might need immediate attention. It’s sent immediately to the customers. And that often ensures that we get the work.”

Bundled services
The three companies’ management teams all cross-sell their services, enabled by their strong knowledge of each other’s business. A related strategy for taking advantage of the downturn is to grow their businesses using “bundled services.”

“In late summer of 2009,” Rossi recalls, “we reintroduced ourselves to our existing customers, let them know about our recent acquisitions and mergers, and told them we can offer more services from one back office at a lower cost. The REITs [real estate investment trusts] are looking for a one-stop service contractor, from painting to paving to sweeping to sign repairs. So we offer bundled services: you agree to work with All Sweep for all the services, and we give discounts based on the services provided.”

It’s the proverbial “win-win” —the customers pay less and get more, and All Sweep and its sister companies sell more services.

The face of the industry
Rossi notes that recently the industry has attracted some companies who jump into the business offering cut-rate prices. “In the past two years,” however, “ninety percent of the accounts we lost have come back to us.” Apparently, the customers’ experiences serve to show them the true value of All Sweep’s services. Sometimes, “too good to be true” is just that.

“We’re a general contractor for the service industry, like a general contractor for construction,” says Rossi. “Our job is to manage problems and solutions for our customers. The most successful relationships we have [with] are those who allow us to do that.”

For more about All Sweep and its sister companies, log on to www.allsweepinc.com, or call 440.951.9354.

 

 

By Anne Biggs

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