R&S Sweeping Company, Royersford PA – Business is Brooming!

This is an all-American success story of a local entrepreneur, Scott Bardman, who bought his first commercial sweeper truck in 1999. He kept his day job and took on sweeping jobs at night and on weekends for his first four years in business. After those years of working full-time during the day and sweeping nearly full-time on his off-hours, he then quit his job and went full-time in his pavement sweeping business. His wife at that time also ran that first truck for a while, and as work built up with home builders and contractors in the area, he hired someone to run the second truck, a Tennant sweeper.

Bardman had not done any sales — and still has not done any sales to this day in March 2023. From the start, he simply handed out business cards on job sites, and, over the years his performance quality has done the rest to build a thriving sweeping business.

How to Grow a Great Business Without Marketing or Sales

When asked how much money he has had to spend on marketing over the years to grow his business from zero to a dozen quarter-of-a-million-dollar-sweeper trucks servicing his local market, his answer is none. Again, he merely says he did a good job on the work sites and drew more work from people who saw that performance. By continuing to build a strong reputation for quality, he was building a large loyal clientele entirely by word of mouth.

R&S has grown entirely organically by professionals telling others on job sites about his service quality: “I had been operating a sweeper for a local construction company. I knew a lot of people through that. I saw an opportunity as many housing developments began going up in my area. So, I got my own sweeper, and that’s how I started the business.

I had gone to tech school for auto mechanics. We maintained the trucks ourselves. We still do most repairs ourselves and send out some engine work. Nick (Nick Bardman, Scott’s nephew) does all of that now. He has another employee, Gabe Chiodo (Scott’s son-in-law), with him in the shop. “We do bushings, bearings, and any other necessary maintenance in the winter months, so we’re fresh for the Spring.”

R&S Sweeping Equipment

R&S has 12 trucks, all Elgin Broom Bears, except one Tymco 600 used mainly for saw cutting. When asked about other field fleet vehicles, like water trucks, support pickup trucks, etc., Scott said, “I did have a 4,000-gallon water truck, but we never got a lot of work for it. We used it for filling trucks, but then we put up a permanent water tank in the shop for water all year round. We have a pickup truck and a parts-running car as well. We have been acquiring 1-2 sweepers every year to keep the fleet up to date.”

Continuing Growth at R&S, Royersford PA

“Most of our work is road construction now, milling and paving,” Scott explains. “About 20-25 percent is concrete or blacktop plants, quarries, and housing developments. Most of that is on a recurring schedule. We currently have 10 drivers, and I like to keep a spare truck.” The company bills anywhere from 350 to over 500 hours a week during the busy season.

R&S Management Team

Scott oversees the business, but Nick has taken a larger role in management over the last two years. Nick runs the shop and is second in command of the company. Each year, Nick increases his share of ownership. Scott said he will be retiring soon and Nick is preparing to take over full management of the company.

Fern, Scott’s daughter-in-law, is the Office Manager. She is currently working about two days per week during the winter season and more during the warm-weather months. Her duties include billing, receivables, payables, and payroll.

Most of the incoming phone calls go to Scott or Nick on their cell phones. But all other admin responsibilities are Fern’s. Nick handles scheduling new jobs and dispatching as well as training for new drivers. Nate Stout, who has been with the company a long time, also trains new employees.

Process Improvement Initiative at R&S

The R&S Sweeping Company leadership team, under the direction of Scott Bardman, has developed a new employee handbook, which they are just rolling out to the staff this week. Fern explained, “It’s a big move for us. When Nick and I developed the handbook we made sure to explain the reason behind company safety policies, such as pre- and post-trip inspections (bearings, belts, tires, lights, etc.). We also felt it was important to highlight all of the employee benefits we offer. Now, with the handbook, each person can easily understand the company’s daily expectations and know exactly what they receive in return for their hard work.”

That’s an exemplary achievement by the R&S management group. It’s a critical organizational tool for a growing company and it advances the company’s employer brand in their market. That’s an ideal way to help move the company forward under its next generation of leadership.
R&S Marketing and Branding in 2023

The shop is on Scott’s property where his home is located, so there is no signage by the road. All the drivers wear tee shirts, sweatshirts, hats, vests, and other work apparel with the company logo prominently displayed. All the sweeper trucks and other field vehicles display the logo as well. R&S is continuing to add their catchy slogan — “R&S Sweeping: Don’t Stress! We will sweep up your mess!” to outgoing job slips and other company forms.

R&S Company Culture

Scott reviews the internal culture of R&S with his characteristic succinctness, “I have a group of high-quality people who have been with me for a long time. Last year I was turning down work every day because I didn’t have enough drivers. Some people can be trained in hours, some in two weeks, and, in a few cases, new employees have not been able to perform quality work despite weeks of training. We’re not just drivers; we’re operators. You have to look behind you and make sure it looks good when you leave.” He notes, “I don’t think I’ve ever hired anyone with experience. They’ve all come from truck driving. I don’t think I’ve ever hired anyone who came from the competition either.”
As to the corporate culture of R&S, Scott keeps things simple: “The refrigerator in the shop is full of beverages. That gets visited regularly, especially on Fridays.“ He said drivers tend to linger and socialize a little at the end of the week. “We have an annual Christmas party. We spare no expense on it, and we give Christmas bonuses. We encourage drivers not to go on vacation during peak season. The bonus acknowledges our appreciation for their dedication to the company. During the year, we also try to find other times to show our appreciation, like taking them out to dinner while we discuss the new handbook.”

Competitive Market Atmospherics

When asked how he gets along with the competition, Scott explained, “We get along fine. I have a local friend in the business and we talk regularly on the phone to check in on each other. There are larger forces in the marketplace who we have had discussions with also.”

Exclusive Mission Vs. Diversification

Scott says he has considered adding diverse revenue channels but has found he prefers to stay in the sweeping lane, “Any time I’ve tried to veer off from street sweeping, I did not like the result. Street sweeping is what we are good at, it’s where we are profitable, so that’s what we will stick to. Our customer base is growing all the time, which shows that what we are doing is working.”

Passing the Reins – Generational Business Transition

Asked what advice he gives Nick for the future, Scott says simply, “He’s learning hands-on, he’s very capable and smart. He learns every day. I tell him to follow his intuition and to do what he thinks is best. He’s learning about trucks. For example, we’re having trouble with a truck’s hydraulics right now. But, we’ll get it figured out.”

He added, “We’re looking for a property because we’re as big as we can get where we are. We need more space. We’ve been looking for two years, but it’s hard to find the right place at the right price. We have the Penn DOT contract for Montgomery County, so we want to stay within the county.”

The Future of R&S and Its Message for the Industry

Scott Bardman said the profit margin of R&S is great year after year. R&S Sweeping makes money and their employees do very well. We’ve heard that kind of ROI report a lot over recent years from operators throughout the country. However, some sweeping business owners in fiercely competitive markets, and even in over-abundant markets, express concerns about profitability, while others have this sense of ease about their businesses’ and the industry’s potential. Why? What accounts for the contrasting perspectives?

One difference stands out as the apparent cause of the exceptionally positive perspective of highly successful commercial pavement sweeping business owners that the financial sustainability of their enterprises appears virtually assured. Notably, the same operators who feel like their business and the sweeping industry are dually packed with potential are those who also talk about quality as the driver of their robust steady growth year over year.

That’s what we hear from Scott Bardman, consistently attributing his company’s growth without selling to an exceptional record of delivering performance quality, prioritizing quality, and a developed reputation for quality.

Reflection on R&S Sweeping Co and Scott Bardman

As he heads into retirement, Scott Bardman is a highly economical interviewee, sticking firmly to essential facts and seeming uninclined to recount many details of his life-long career in business leadership. And, why should he? His story tells itself in the long, steady success he has built over the decades of R&S operation in Pennsylvania. It’s a business that has consistently acquired new sweepers since its inception. You’ll recall that that included buying a second sweeper truck while he was still working full-time at his former construction job before starting to run his own business full-time — possibly an industry record.

Scott Bardman, Owner, R&S Sweeping Company, Royersford, PA has grown a thriving local commercial service business purely on doing the job with a commitment to quality. His company has provided jobs for many local workers to support their families and the local economy of Royersford, and it is positioned to continue doing so for many years to come. We congratulate Scott on this truly outstanding life achievement with R&S by the U.S. American national standard.

CONTACT: Scott Bardman , R&S Sweeping Co. 110 N. Township Line Rd. Royersford, PA 19468 Office: 610-489-5146 Cell: 610-721-8365 https://www.facebook.com/rssweep/ email: rssweep@yahoo.com