Fast-Growing Nevada PROs Offer a Strategy for Success

A happy workforce, expanded inventory and community involvement build on the Quick Space brand in Reno, Nevada.

Fast-Growing Nevada PROs Offer a Strategy for Success

Rob Heaton, director of operations, is shown with a Rich Specialty Trailers restroom trailer delivered to Nevada’s Governor’s Mansion for a special event.

Interested in Business & Technology ?

Get Business & Technology articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Business & Technology + Get Alerts

Dynamic change in the business landscape around Reno-Sparks, Nevada, has helped Quick Space transition from a small storage-container provider into a broader site services company with a focus on tapping into customer needs for fast and flexible response.

In recent years, the company, founded in 1995 as Rapidspace, has doubled its portable restroom inventory and quadrupled its number of unit services to accommodate customer demands for cleanliness. It has also doubled its truck fleet over the past two years.

In addition to restrooms and containers, the company now offers mobile offices, portable buildings, restroom and shower trailers, storage vans, fencing, and more. It has grown to 60 employees, with one-fourth of them added in the last year.

Several key business moves helped boost profitability for Quick Space, and PROs everywhere may benefit from the company’s strategies.

CUSTOMERS WANT MORE

Part of the explanation for the growth is being in the Reno area, says Rob Heaton, the Quick Space director of operations. It’s been a high-growth region, in part because of the success of a huge — 107,000-acre — industrial complex east of Reno. The Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, or TRIC, is home to many of Quick Space’s customers. And some of those customers require more than the usual amount of service, and providing that has been a huge factor in the company’s growth, Heaton says.

“Over the last year, we have really focused on what we call high-density customers,” Heaton says. “These are customers who may or may not have a high number of units, but more importantly, those units need to be serviced on higher intervals.

“The whole industry is based on a model where every portable restroom is serviced once per week. That’s a tried-and-true, solid business, but what we found was that a lot of our growth has occurred through customers who need more than that,” Heaton continues. “They need everything from twice a day service to three times a week.

“They need units to have wheels and casters installed on them so they can move them around in their warehouses. They need units that have sling equipment installed on them so they can raise and lower the units with a crane from the top of the platforms to the ground level.

“We’ve done a really good job of working with our customers and their construction crews with sticking to what we do best — which is servicing their units — and letting them do what they do, so they have more of everything from crane time to construction space to work on their construction projects,” Heaton says.

LOGISTICS A KEY

Heaton, 40, has education and work experience well-suited to coordinating site services with the customer’s work, whatever it happens to be. He grew up in Carson City, Nevada, and graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, where he studied logistics and supply chain operations as well as economics. Heaton worked in logistics for several local companies, including some fast-growing ones, but never in site services.

“I’ve done a little bit of all operations in logistics, from traditional trucks and trailers to international logistics for the Department of Defense and oil and gas,” he explains. “But at the end of the day, a widget is kind of a widget, so logistics and supply chain principles apply to just about any industry sector.

“Any sort of routing business has a lot to do with your route efficiencies,” Heaton continues. “There’s a very fine line between making a profit and being overpriced and not having customers.”

With Quick Space, having the right inventory is also a key to growth. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work for this company.

“We have restrooms that can go on the roof. We have restrooms that are stored inside of buildings that are multiple hundreds of square feet that they have to roll around and bring out to us,” Heaton says. “We have trailer-mounted units that can be pulled behind vehicles that people can take to beaches or campgrounds or to mobile road crews that are moving 100 yards at a time — lots of different things.”

EQUIPMENT LIST

The Quick Space truck fleet includes two Internationals with 1,200-gallon waste and 800-gallon freshwater stainless steel tanks built out by Robinson Vacuum Tanks and Imperial Industries with Fruitland and Masport pumps, as well as eight Dodge 5500s with 600-gallon waste and 400 gallon freshwater steel tanks (two are slide-in units) built out by Satellite Industries, Imperial Industries, and TOICO Industries, all carrying Conde pumps (Westmoor).

The high-volume trucks are predominantly used for the high-density customers. “What we’ve found is that those smaller trucks, even though they have a lower capacity, in this region and this geography, give about a 10-hour route day, which is a very efficient day,” Heaton says.

Portable restrooms and hand-wash stations are from Satellite Industries. The company also carries flushing and ADA units and a shower trailer from Satellite Industries, as well as a variety of restroom trailers from JAG Mobile Solutions, Rich Specialty Trailers and Satellite Industries. Quick Space uses Walex Products chemicals, and fencing is supplied by Cafence Depot.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Heaton says Quick Space relies on three characteristics to grow in the marketplace. He refers to them as the “three uniques:”

  • Speed of delivery, and speed of response to customers. “It’s right there in our name,” Heaton says.
  • Inventory depth. “We made a commitment to having inventory available so that we can deliver quickly.”
  • Community engagement. From supporting youth sports and University of Nevada, Reno athletics to contributing to the Reno Rodeo or the Boys & Girls Club, Quick Space tries to be visible in the community.

One way that Quick Space engages the community is by donating a portion of all portable restroom revenue to a fund that directly benefits building trades programs at local schools. Quick Space also helps sponsor community events, such as Reno Street Food and WinterWonderGrass Tahoe, a music festival at Squaw Valley Ski Resort, Olympic Valley, California. Some of the events that Quick Space helps sponsor would be natural customers for a portable restroom operator.

“In some cases, we do treat them as customers, and in some cases, we do complete charitable events,” Heaton says. “In some cases, it’s a little bit of both: They pay for a portion of it and we may give them additional equipment or services free of charge, so they don’t have to take on the whole burden.”

Quick Space finds participating in local events is an effective form of marketing. “Rather than us putting a ton of money into direct marketing, we found that community engagement marketing has gotten our brands and our image out there. People see that we have newer and higher-quality equipment and that we’re very responsive.”

REMEMBER CORE VALUES

Quick Space is guided by a set of core values Heaton says are reviewed at all levels in the company on a weekly basis and once a month at safety meetings. The core values are:

  • Take care of others.
  • Honest communication.
  • Flexibility.
  • Respect.
  • Trustworthy.

The core values come from the company’s owner, Scott Offerdahl. He lives in Phoenix and owns other companies, but he has become more and more involved in the daily operations of Quick Space as it has grown. “He’s our visionary,” Heaton says. “A few years ago, when he started to get reinvested in the day-to-day operations of the company, he wanted to re-establish the core values.”

Heaton says the core values are reflected in the company’s hiring practices and culture. Going back to the example of a restroom for a mobile highway crew, Heaton says, “Rather than them having to pay for us to pick up and deliver this thing multiple times in a week, we can either offer them a mobile unit or we can work with our customers to move with them as they move along their projects.”

Finding the right mix of equipment and service in each situation is crucial, Heaton says.

“It goes back to our core value of flexibility,” Heaton says. “We’ve been hiring folks who can think ‘beyond’ a little bit and make those decisions. That’s where we’ve really focused on customer service that’s more than just a nice voice on the phone.”

Quality customer service is another factor in the company’s growth, Heaton explains.

“Most of it is directly related to our customers and finding out what their needs are,” he says. “To get something to them first thing tomorrow, we bring a guy in early rather than just putting them on a calendar schedule for the first block available. We’re still small enough to maintain that relationship with the customer base, but we’re large enough to have the inventory and rolling assets to get the products to them.”


The benefit of sports sponsorships

Quick Space puts a high value on community engagement, and it often takes the form of sponsoring local sports. The company supports everything from University of Nevada, Reno athletics to the Reno Rodeo to Little League baseball and Pop Warner football teams.

It also supports the Reno Aces minor league baseball team and the Reno 1868 FC, a team in the United Soccer League. In both those cases, Quick Space has a customer relationship with the team as well as a charitable relationship. That’s true of the local university as well, where technicians run a regular seasonal service route during the fall sports season.

“Sports fits with our core values and family atmosphere,” says Rob Heaton, director of operations. “Our employee base tends to be younger and family-oriented.” Heaton and his wife, April, have three boys, so he has plenty of opportunities to sponsor youth sports teams. And there’s a positive marketing advantage to being involved with youth sports programs, he says.

“You have a local contractor who goes down to his kids’ baseball game. If he sees there is a nice portable restroom, the next time he starts a new job maybe he gives us a call,” Heaton says.



Discussion

Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.