All Star Property Services, Interview With Owner Pat McMahon

How did your company All Star Property Services start out?
Our company was started in 2002 by an entrepreneur working out of his home. He purchased a new Tymco 210 and then sold during the day and swept at night. He built what I would call a very successful “lifestyle” business.

Why did you get into the business in the first place?
After spending 30 years in the printing and paper distribution business, I was looking for a change. I spent a year looking to buy a company that was low tech, had little or no inventory and quality customers with A/R under 30 days. Perhaps most importantly, I was looking for an industry that had little threat of extinction. I purchased the company in December of 2008.

What business model do you follow? How many total employees and office locations do you have?
Having spent my entire previous career in a structured environment I felt there was a need for a professionally run sweeping business in the Dallas/Fort Worth market. My research showed that most of the smaller players did not have the professionalism that most of the large commercial real estate companies desired. We have one location, centrally located, to service the DFW market. We have 7 full-time and 4 part-time employees. The part-time employees have all been with us for more than three years. This structure is by design and is key to helping us control costs.

How much growth has happened since 2008?
Our first two years in business 2009 and 2010 were not good. We bought the company at the start of the commercial real estate downturn. 90 days after purchasing the company the largest customer basically went out of business. Since 2011, we have enjoyed modest sales growth each year. Our best growth year was 2015 with a 25% increase over 2014.

Tell me how do you look out for new customers?
We get most of our large contract business through referrals. Most property managers are members of the same organizations and our reputation is well received. We do try to reward our customers who refer business to us with special services and when possible we support their charitable organizations.

How many contracts do you take care of each week?
We have several contracts that have multiple locations and some have more than one type of service. (Example – sweep, porter and pressure wash on one contract) That being said, we service on average 110 locations per week. Frequency of service varies from once per quarter to 7 nights weekly.

Any new services that you’ve added on recently?
Nothing new recently, just fine tuning our core businesses. Sweeping is 65%, pressure washing is 22% and other services make up the balance. We contract out striping services which adds to our sweeping and pressure washing business.

How did you come up with a unique brand identity for your business?
Not sure it’s unique in all markets but we focus on the customer’s needs. We listen better than most and try to present creative options that best serve our customer’s needs and budget. The term is often overused, but we truly do desire to be a partner with the companies that we choose to do business with. That really works well in tough times for both parties.

Tell me about day-to-day operations and the worker’s shifts?
95% of our sweeping is done after 9PM. We only do lot and parking structure sweeping. We have a full-time mechanic that also manages our pressure wash business. We sweep 7 nights per week, most shifts start at 10PM. Due to noise ordinances we have several shifts start at 8PM. We try to have the trucks back at our shop before 7AM to avoid traffic.

What brand of sweeping trucks, equipment, and technology do you utilize?
We have 1 Tymco 210 and 4 NiteHawk Ospreys. All of them are low profile. We do utilize GPS.

How does disposal work in your state of Texas?
We only sweep lots and parking structures so disposal is not an issue. We use our customer’s dumpsters and our own dumpster at our location.

Are there any strategies you take on for handling environmental issues?
None at this time on the sweeping side of our business but the pressure washing segment has multiple challenges.

How much do new technologies work their way into how you run your company?
The only new technology that we are considering is at some point converting to LPG for our sweeper trucks. Our drivers all use the Waze app to avoid construction delays. Since we sweep only at night construction of highways is the major cause of traffic for our crews.