Staying Busy with BZ & Son’s Sweeping and Washing

Now entering its third and fourth generations, BZ & Son’s Sweeping and Washing Inc. is a Texas company solidly based on the premise of service. Started in 1986 by Bob Stumpf and his wife Zuella, it’s now being managed by the second generation, his son, Bob Stumpf Jr., and his wife Connie, along with their sons and grandsons. This change of ownership took place as Bob Jr. retired from an honorable 22-year Navy career, as the family settled in Paris, Texas.

As Bob Sr.’s health began to fail, he called his son, who was overseas in Spain with the Navy. After a discussion, Bob Jr. and Connie decided that it was time to leave the Navy behind to set sail on another adventure, running and expanding the sweeping business that he’d learned running sweeper trucks on hot summer days in high school. He’d enjoyed the experience in the past and felt it was an industry he was at least somewhat familiar with, so he retired from the Navy in 2003 to start taking over the business. Starting with only two trucks and still working out of his dad’s house with a two-bay garage for maintenance, which was handled by a mechanic friend of his, he quickly added a third truck.

Returning to Paris with Connie and his son Zach, the company saw another change a few years later when it was incorporated as his son Mike joined the business, along with his three sons, Michael, Nick, and Shane, turning the company into a true multi-generation business. But the change of ownership wasn’t the only change that happened to the company. Seeing the potential for additional services, Bob Jr. and Connie added a wide range of other services to meet the community’s needs.

Expanding Options to Leverage Growth

Among the services that were added to make the business more resilient to various market forces are mowing, landscaping, winter deicing, tree removal, weed abatement, pothole patching, pavement striping, and many other services upon request. Moving into a larger business model, they stepped up to eight sweeper trucks as well as Connie and another employee in the office handling the paperwork. The company also employs a full-time mechanic to keep the trucks running effectively.

Though the company was seeing a constant 6% growth annually, there was a point where it had begun to plateau. As large businesses such as Walmart expanded, so did their sweeping business. Though they started strictly working on sweeping parking lots, their operation has expanded significantly to cover a much larger range of sweeping services as well as other services mentioned above. These services were offered only to their parking lot customers, providing the customer with a one-stop-shop for bundled parking lot maintenance, making it much easier for these companies to get everything done while only paying a single bill. This is part of the reason why the company currently executes approximately 30 contracts monthly. “The buzzword is bundle and it works,” Bob Jr. mentions.

Marketing Matters

When the company was started, it was just Bob Sr. running the small sweep truck in parking lots only, with Zuella managing the office and phones. When Bob Jr. took over the company, he added a mid-grade sweeper to add city sweeping, starting with one little city and then growing from there, establishing the company in that market, and it’s lead to 18 years of successful operations.

To continue growing the company, whenever Bob Jr. wasn’t in the sweeping truck, he was acting as a salesman. He’d knock on the door at a commercial business and had a great 15-second elevator speech ready to go to grab their attention, asking for 15 minutes of their time to sell the service. Though many would initially say he was out of their budget range, he’d convince them to continue the conversation. That has lead to a great amount of referral business, with some business coming off of their website. Bob Jr. mentions the EPA and Clean Water Act as big selling tools for the sweeping business because sweeping is the best maintenance practice to maintain clean drains and natural water sources for municipalities

Keeping Busy in Daily Operations

The company runs practically 24-7, with the night shift sweepers starting between 9:30 and 10:00 P.M., and the city sweepers and day shift starting between 2:00 and 6:00 A.M., depending on which city is involved and what needs to be done. Bob Jr. has formed a good partnership with a solid waste company that provides dumpsters,
Bob Jr. has seen a range of different sweeper trucks over the years, but he’s sold on his brand. “I run various kinds of sweepers from the Tymco 600 to the Tymco 210. Tymco, solely Tymco man here. They are the best sweepers ever made. The IDS company I buy them from has service beyond belief.”