We sat down with DOZR customer Derek Smith to chat about his experience with DOZR and the recent growth his business has experienced. Here's what he had to say. This blog was originally posted on July 4, 2017.
DOZR: What kind of business do you run?
Derek: My business has two components: trucking and snow removal. On the trucking side, I move around materials at a carpet mill using a shunt truck. I’ve been doing that for about 26 years now. More recently I started getting into snow removal, which has been for the last four years.
You’ve been in business for quite a while now, how has that journey been?
Looking back 15-20 years ago, there’s no way I could do snow removal on top of my shunt truck work. Back then I’d work twelve hour days, six days a week.
One thing that slowed the business down quite a bit was a motorcycle accident I was involved in about 11 years ago. It took me out of commission for about eight weeks and my dad actually came out of retirement to come take over at that time. During that time, I had to scale my business back.
Nowadays, the carpet mill is run much smarter, so I’m only running the shunt truck for the normal 40-hour work week. That change in hours allowed me, and kind of forced me, to think about ways to expand my business.
How did you end up getting into the snow removal business?
A few years ago at the carpet mill where I run the shunt truck, the company hired on to do the snow removal stopped showing up which meant I couldn’t do my job. After a while I asked if they'd give me the snow contract. I ended up getting it, and that’s how it all started.
That first year I used my pickup truck, and the lot is big so it took a while. I ended up working a lot of extra hours on top of what I was already working running the shunt truck. The next year I knew I needed an upgrade so I rented a tractor for the season. The following year I discovered DOZR and decided to rent through the platform. Then just this past year, I decided to purchase a tractor through DOZR–the same tractor I was renting the year previous.
Since then, I’ve added one snow removal contract, and funny enough it came through DOZR. Long story short, we worked out the details and I’ve had that contract ever since.
Looking at your business today, what kind of goals do you have?
My bigger business goals today are in the snow removal space. Right now it’s just me, but I’d really like to expand, get a few more contracts, and have a number of tractors out there with employees in them.
"In my mind the goals are limitless.
I just want to grow my business bigger and bigger, and partnering with DOZR is the best thing for me to do that."
How does DOZR fit into those plans and business goals?
In the past, I’ve used DOZR strictly as a renter, but with my recent tractor purchase I’ll now be able to earn rental income through the summer months.
Everything so far with my business is right on track. I’ve been able to eliminate my rental costs through the winter, and DOZR’s already helped me get my tractor rented out through my entire 7-month off-season. Having that extra income coming in during my offseason will be huge.
What’s the plan moving forward to help you reach those goals?
This year I’m going to let everything sink in since it was such a big investment for me. Assuming everything runs smoothly, I’d like to be able to add something like one tractor a year and continue to grow my business that way.
In order for that to happen, I need to add a couple more snow removal contracts each year, but since partnering with DOZR, I’m confident that can happen.
Is there anything that you would do differently business-wise now as a result of partnering with DOZR?
My whole business perspective has changed. DOZR has turned on this light that’s opened my eyes to see the growth that is possible. Everything’s come together over the past couple years, from renting a tractor through DOZR, to getting that extra work, to investing in new equipment, and now being able to earn extra income during my off-season.
DOZR has got my mind racing with excitement. Hopefully in four years time we can sit down again and do this again when I have five tractors!
Sounds good. 2021, let’s make it happen.
Yeah, I’m in.
What kind of benefits have you experienced since partnering with DOZR these past few years?
I’d say there are two main benefits:
I’ve got more money in my pockets
I’ve got less headaches
Partnering with DOZR has helped me make double the money that I was making before. Not only by eliminating rental costs and the addition of rental income for the summer months, but the extra work I got introduced to.
I’ve also had fewer headaches to deal with. When I would rent from other companies previously I’d deal with machines breaking down constantly and having to use my pickup truck as a backup. I’ve never had that issue with DOZR. They actually have guys come service the machine every few weeks to prevent any issues from popping up unexpectedly.
Do you have any advice for similar companies to yours thinking about partnering with DOZR?
Tim Forestell is Co-Founder and Chief Client Officer at DOZR – North America’s trusted source for heavy equipment rentals. Tim oversees and leads the organization’s customer success strategy and experience including contracts, insurance and logistics. Prior to DOZR, Tim was the VP of Operations for Forestell Designed Landscapes. Tim’s team at DOZR is responsible for designing, orchestrating, and improving customer experiences across a complex range of customer interactions.
DOZR’s vision was created when co-founders Tim, Kevin and Erin were discussing a recurring concern within the construction industry while on a vacation booked through the sharing economy. They wanted to make their idle equipment work for them during the off season. DOZR was founded officially in late 2015. Tim continues to grow and challenge industry standards by creating efficient opportunities for the customer rental process. Tim holds a BHSc from the University of Western Ontario.