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Page 1

MARCH 2020

I N SI DE

p8 4 Ways to Compete

Effectively in 2020

p24 Szeremi Sweeping Service, LLC -

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MA R C H 2 0 2 0 N O R T H A M E R I C AN SWEEPER 3


March 2020 | VOLUME 15 | ISSUE 3

CONTENTS

Introducing...

The Starfire S-4c Simply Adding to a Time-Proven Sweeper. Choose the S-4c for the following enhancements:

F E AT U R E S 8

4 Ways to Compete Effectively in 2020

12

In the News

• • • •

22

Helping Employees Find Meaning in the Workplace

No CDL Required. Call for a DEMO Today!

24

Szeremi Sweeping Service, LLC - Simply Cleaner!

800.482.2302 | www.stewart-amos.com

30

Index of Advertisers/Classifieds

CEO & PUBLISHER Gideon W. Smith

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Melissa Kennelly

SENIOR EDITOR Katherine Nolan

EDITORIAL MANAGER Heidi Karpinich

ADVERTISING Tracy Rodean

CIRCULATION Noah Aiden

Phoenix Global Media Inc. P.O. Box 235, Stockton New Jersey 08559 866-418-4400 phone 973-532-0319 fax sales@nasweeper.com North American Sweeper Magazine is published by Phoenix Global Media Inc. Copyright 2020 by Phoenix Global Media Inc. All rights reserved.

Variable height dumping from 16" up to 11' Left or right hopper dump (select at time of purchase) Tight 16'9" turning radius Longer running 36-gallon fuel tank

SUBSCRIPTIONS $15.00 per year, or by eligible request. POSTMASTER: Please send changes to North American Sweeper Magazine P.O. Box 235, Stockton New Jersey 08559

Opinions expressed in editorial submissions contributed to North American Sweeper Magazine are those of the individual authors exclusively and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of North American Sweeper Magazine, its staff, its advertisers, or its readership. North American Sweeper Magazine assumes no liability or responsibility toward independently contributed editorial submissions or any typographical errors, mistakes, misprints, or missing information within advertising copy.

4 NO R TH AMERIC AN S WE E P E R MA R C H 2020

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MA R C H 2 0 2 0 N O R T H A M E R I C AN SWEEPER 7


BUSINESS CORNER

I N D U S T RY N E W S

A S S O C I AT I O N I N S I D E R

INDEX SPOTLIGHT In this first quarter of 2020, many commercial sweeping businesses throughout the industry are strategizing for growth. To that end, some savvy owners of growing sweeping services are looking toward making the kinds of upgrades and other improvements that have helped their biggest competitors succeed. Naturally, bringing your services up to the standards of companies that dominate the market makes sense, if you plan to go head-to-head with them competing for new customers through 2020 and beyond.

Some kinds of changes can be expected to yield

business cultural changes. These are, after all, key

greater results than others, of course. Especially for

areas of improvement that the largest and/or fastest-

smaller businesses, implementing one or two key

growing companies in the power sweeping industry

improvements can make a significant difference in

have been working on as part of their strategies to

competitiveness. For medium-sized businesses, scaling

accelerate and sustain their growth this year.

up your number and breadth of changes across your

Among the changes launched last year or planned

company can be the ideal formula for accelerated

for implementation this year by some of the most

growth.

successful players in the business, here are four key

Changes you may look to adopt from larger

kinds of improvements a smaller sweeping service

companies to facilitate your own business’s

business can make, to compete more effectively with

growth may include field services advancements,

these larger competitors in your local and regional

administrative technology innovations, and internal

market:

8 NO R TH AMERIC AN S WE E P E R MA R C H 2020

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1. IMPROVE YOUR TALENT RETENTION PROGRAM. Retaining good employees is the single most commonly reported problem for business owners throughout the commercial sweeping industry from coast to coast. Last year, virtually all the companies we featured as Spotlight

Southeastern US, has even put in place a monthly contest to run through 2020 in which each month the highestperforming employee company-wide puts his/her name in a drawing, and at the end of the year, in a ceremonious event a name will be drawn for one of those employees to win big prizes, one of which is a

businesses emphasized their internal culturebuilding, teamappreciation, and other employee retention programs. In addition to strong compensation packages, including health insurance and vacation pay, employers

HR service for employment marketing, screening, and onboarding can be exceedingly beneficial toward achieving long-term retention goals.

are striving to add value to their talent retention programs with team-building and/ or culture-building events and activities. Some of the most successful programs include; monthly meetings for sharing information and brainstorming solutions to common problems workers are experiencing, annual company picnics and/or dinners. Sponsored industry certification training. Awards ceremonies with trophies and other rewards are often included. Sponsored attendance at industry conventions is offered by some for field management employees. Smaller growing companies are having birthday cake mini-celebrations for each employee, get-togethers at owners’ homes or clubs, pool parties and barbeques. Several employers have set up inviting breakrooms/hang-out spaces for staff to decompress after work, complete with a stocked fridge, big-screen TVs, and comfortable furniture. One of the country’s large and fastest-growing regional companies, operating now in locations throughout the

new pickup truck. All the larger pavement sweeping companies also emphasized their recruiting and onboarding practices as instrumental components of their employee retention programs. They are screening with greater

scrutiny than many smaller operators. Some have in-house or outside HR specialists managing some or all routine tasks and issues requiring skilled HR professionals throughout the employee’s term of employment, even though the exit interview. For smaller businesses struggling in this area, hiring an outside HR service for employment marketing, screening, and onboarding can be exceedingly beneficial toward achieving long-term retention goals.

2.

CENTRALIZED YOUR SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATIVE PLATFORMS.

New field services software options for growing businesses can help small operators obtain the same levels of advanced integrated tech platform advantages as the big industry players. Options to help growing pavement sweeping business operators obtain the same levels of advanced integrated tech platform advantages as the big industry players include adopting GPS tracking, at minimum. GPS in conjunction

continued on page 10

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MA R C H 2 0 2 0 N O R T H A M E R I C AN SWEEPER 9


BUSINESS CORNER

with camera technology is becoming more common across

• CSO Certification Training for Construction Site Sweeping

the industry, even for smaller operators. But, those with

• NAPSA Training on Sweeper Industry Best Practices 2020

I Nbudget D U SforT it,Rhave Y N E W Sthat GPS plus remote the reported

monitoring service has been paying off remarkably well

• Certification Sweeper Management (CSM) Training Course Note that all sweeping services operators should

in areas of management from quality validations, to

appreciate the need to protect themselves, their employees

payroll efficiencies, to inventory controls, to equipment

and their businesses legally, by ensuring operational

maintenance, to customer service quality.

adherence to established sweeping industry standards for

One major and rapidly-growing regional company has even developed its own proprietary special software system

workers to obey.

Amore SSO C I AT Iabout O N certifi I N Scation I D Ecourses R for drivers For information and managers, contact

with integrated field and billing systems and QA functionality.

...all sweeping services operators

To bring a smaller

should appreciate the need to protect themselves, INDEX

this S Pstandard O T L IofGeffi Hciency T business platforms can

Sweeping Association, Lebanon, OH. Phone: 888-757-0130, Website:

operator’s systems up to that only such centralized

the North American Power

their employees and their

deliver, shop some of the wide array of field services

businesses legally...

operating platforms now

powersweeping.org.

4.

SEEK FUNDING FOR GROWTH.

If you’ve bootstrapped to fund your startup, and your company has since

available at affordable rates. The best include systems setup

grown to a size and has been financially performing to a

and testing, comprehensive user and admin training, and

degree that makes your business appropriately positioned

ongoing 24/7 HelpDesk support.

to appeal to lenders or to venture capital investors, now may

3.

be the time to start turning your attention in that direction

Across the board, the most successful commercial pavement

alternative class of funding through investors and dedicated

sweeping services we talked to last year emphasized their

funds that invest directly in private businesses.

EARN STAFF AND BUSINESS INDUSTRY CERTIFICATIONS.

advanced training for drivers. All recognize the importance

to fund your growth. Private equity is another option. It’s an

One new US commercial pavement sweeping company,

of having the best-trained personnel in their competitive

SCA, has undergone spectacular growth over the past

market. All expressed great pride in their field staff ’s

three years through acquisitions of smaller businesses.

comparatively high level of training. Several key North

The company has grown from nothing in 2017 to a total of

American Power Sweeping Association (NAPSA) individual

nearly 40 locations and 1,000 employees, throughout half

and company certification training programs are being used

the US. It is now the biggest self-performing pavement

as both competency and brand builders.

sweeping business in the country, and its owner has

NAPSA certification is recognized throughout the U.S. power sweeping competitive market as validation offering greater peace of mind to industrial and commercial

aggressive growth plans for the coming periods of 2020. All of this was achieved through private equity funding. For fledgling operators not yet in a position to pursue such

customers. NAPSA is designated as an ANSI Standards Writer.

growth funding, organic growth through sales and smaller

NAPSA certification courses include:

acquisitions of local competitors’ operations is the staple

• Certified Sweeper Operator (CSO) Training Course

1 0 NORTH AMERIC AN S WE E P E R MA R C H 2020

method for expansion. But, even in your earliest startup

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phase, it’s not too early to seek consultation with your local

2) upgrade and update your systems as needed to stay current

SBA office and your usual lender, to obtain information on the

with competitors, 3) seek professional advice as needed to

appropriate commercial lenders for your particular needs, and to

update your employment practices as needed to reduce

become educated on your full range of growth funding options

employee attrition, and 4) reach out early for guidance on

going forward.

internal and external growth investment for your business.

GROWING ALONG WITH THE BIG BOYS IN 2020

As you can gather, there’s no magic bullet for growing your small to medium-sized power sweeping business in a highly competitive market in which a much larger, better organized, and better financially positioned operator is dominating the local area. That’s nothing new. What is new is the advanced tech, training, and talent-retention means for increasing competitive effectiveness that are generally available today for both large and small companies alike, as discussed above.

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customers, technologies that help utterly streamlining your operating efficiency. Growth also means focus on the basics — meticulous organization that inspires employees’ confidence, strong customer engagement, and impeccable quality management. So, the takeaway here amounts to 1) follow sweeping industry business management best practices (see the NAPSA course listed above),

Because swept is not always clean, call TYMCO. Our Regenerative Air Sweepers blast into pavement cracks with up to a 250 mph controlled jet of air, forcing up even the finest sand and particulates into a totally enclosed system — never exhausting dirty air as do vacuum sweepers. All with only a few moving parts, reducing maintenance cost and downtime.

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IN THE NEWS

A S S O C I AT I O N I N S I D E R

NASCAR, ELGIN SWEEPER RENEW INDEX SPOTLIGHT NASCAR GREEN PARTNERSHIP Unfavorable Weather No Match for ‘Official Sweeper of NASCAR Green’

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 27, 2020) NASCAR and Elgin

vice president and general manager, Elgin Sweeper. “We

Sweeper announced today a multi-year partnership renewal,

are immensely proud of the fact that NASCAR continues to

continuing the designation of the leading manufacturer of

rely on Elgin Sweeper to be present at the tracks every race

street sweepers, special industrial, and airport applications as

season to shorten rain delays and cautionary events.”

the “Official Sweeper of NASCAR Green®.”

As the “Official Sweeper of NASCAR Green,” Elgin Sweeper administers a team of 17 trained, NASCAR-certified driver operators throughout the 36-week race season to help support the NASCAR Toyota Tundra Track Drying Team in drying rain-soaked tracks while saving jet fuel and reducing the sport’s overall carbon footprint. In addition to its drying efforts, the revolutionary Crosswind Specialty Track Sweeper assists in maintaining safe racing surfaces for competitors. Designed by Elgin Sweeper exclusively for steep-banked racetracks in need of routine maintenance, race event sweeping and emergency response cleaning, the Crosswind Specialty Track Sweeper has passed the most rigorous tilt tests required. Used for high-speed sweeping during NASCAR races across the country, the machine effectively removes track debris and oil absorbent material and assists in drying wet track areas. “Throughout our partnership, Elgin Sweeper has consistently proven to be reliable, dependable, and uniquely capable of maintaining green flag racing conditions,” said Scott Miller, senior vice president, competition, NASCAR. “Elgin Sweeper has assisted our sport in putting on numerous events after unfavorable odds and we’re happy to have them remain a

“Considering our dealers’ dedication to – and passion

part of our weekend stable.”

for – NASCAR Green’s goal of protecting the environment

Elgin Sweeper’s exclusively designed Shared Power

through sustainable practices, and our own involvement in

technology, the EcoInfused platform, diverts the formerly

the NASCAR culture for more than a decade, it was a logical

wasted energy from the sweeper’s chassis engine back to the

progression to renew our partnership,” said Mike Higgins,

power of the sweeper itself, which helps reduce the carbon continued on page 16

1 4 NORTH AMERIC AN S WE E P E R MA R C H 2020

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A S S O C I AT I O N I N S I D E R

IN THE NEWS

Sweeper, or on Elgin Sweeper’s entire line of street sweepers, please visit www.elginsweeper.com. NASCAR fans can follow along with the Track Sweeper throughout the 2020 NASCAR season by visiting Elgin Sweeper’s Facebook page.

INDEX

SPOTLIGHT

About NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 16 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities.

footprint during NASCAR Cup Series™ race weekends. The Elgin Sweeper made its NASCAR debut in 2001 at Kansas Speedway. The sweeper picks up 50 gallons of water per minute while saving roughly one gallon of diesel fuel per hour. The sweeper’s 10-foot sweep path covers the width of 1.5 race cars, helping officials get cars back on the track in record time. For more information on the Elgin Crosswind Specialty Track

About Elgin Sweeper Sold and serviced through a network of more than 100 dealer locations worldwide, Elgin Sweeper products are the sweepers of choice for a variety of general street maintenance, special industrial and airport applications. With more than 100 years of experience, Elgin Sweeper offers municipalities, contractors and industries the most sweeper options in the country, using the latest sweeping technologies – mechanical, pure vacuum, regenerative air, alternative fuel and waterless dust control. Elgin Sweeper is a subsidiary of Federal Signal Corporation’s Environmental Solutions Group. For more information, visit www.elginsweeper.com.

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MA R C H 2 0 2 0 N O RT H A M E RI C A N SWEEPER 17


IN THE NEWS

A S S O C I AT I O N I N S I D E R

JAMIL YOUNG PROMOTED TO PRESIDENT INDEX SPOTLIGHT OF NEW FONTAINE MODIFICATION MEDIUM AND HEAVY TRUCK OPERATIONS DIVISION Fontaine combines fleet and vocational services in its modification centers Charlotte, N.C. (Feb. 20, 2020)

convenience and minimize delivery costs. The company provides

Building on five years of solid business

engineering solutions to meet customers’ unique requirements and

growth, Fontaine Modification has

specific applications while adhering to all federal motor vehicle

combined its vocational and fleet services

safety standards. Some of the services offered include:

business units into a single division,

• Sit-down dual drive conversions • Low entry stand-up conversions • Cab lowering • Steering conversions • Paint services • Custom engineering and design • Alternative fuel system packaging and installation • Electric drivetrain packaging and installation • Pre-delivery inspections • Installation of virtually any truck equipment, such as communications systems, auxiliary power units, PTOs, blowers, wet kits, safety systems, aero kits, and chassis equipment. The Fontaine Modification Medium and Heavy Truck Operations Division will be based at the company’s location in Statesville, North Carolina.

Medium and Heavy Truck Operations. Jamil Young was named president of the new division. As part of the business redesign, all Fontaine production facilities nationwide will now offer both vocational truck modifications and on-highway truck fleet services, making them more nimble and responsive to customer needs. Fontaine medium and heavy modification centers are located near OEM truck plants in Charlotte and Statesville, North Carolina; Chillicothe, Ohio; Garland and Laredo, Texas; and Dublin, Virginia. The reorganization divides the day-to-day operations of Fontaine’s existing business between Young and Pat Griffin, recently appointed president of Fontaine’s Light Duty Truck and EV Solutions Division, allowing Fontaine Modification Group President Paul Kokalis to focus on acquisitions and the company’s growth as an engineering, new product development and contract manufacturing force in the industry. “Jamil has done an excellent job driving growth over the last six years as president of Fontaine Fleet Services,” says Kokalis.  “I have the utmost confidence in his ability to lead all of our medium and heavy truck business into the future.” Young has served as president of Fontaine Modification Fleet Services since 2014. He joined the company in 2009 and was previously vice president and general manager of southern region operations. He also has held the positions of senior operations manager and general manager of Fontaine’s Garland, Texas, modification center. Young has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from FAMU/FSU College of Engineering. As North America’s most comprehensive provider of postproduction truck modification services, Fontaine has ship-through agreements with the leading truck OEMs to maximize customer

1 8 NORTH AMERIC AN S WE E P E R MA R C H 2020

About Fontaine Modification - With over 40 years of experience, Fontaine Modification is North America’s most comprehensive provider of post-production truck services for original equipment manufacturers, dealers, and fleets. Fontaine has modification centers in Charlotte and Statesville, North Carolina; Avon Lake, Chillicothe and Springfield, Ohio; Garland and Laredo, Texas; Dublin, Virginia; and Mineral Wells, West Virginia. The company headquarters and new product development center are located in Charlotte. Fontaine Modification Medium and Heavy Truck Operations offers a full range of design, engineering and production services for vocational and on-highway trucks. Fontaine Modification Light Duty Truck and EV Solutions provides electrification packaging, integration and installation solutions as well as a full spectrum of light duty vehicle modifications. Fontaine Modification is a Marmon Holdings / Berkshire Hathaway company.  For more information about Fontaine Modification, call 800.366.8246 or visit www.fontainemodification.com.

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MA R C H 2 0 2 0 N O RT H A M E RI C A N SWEEPER 19


IN THE NEWS

A S S O C I AT I O N I N S I D E R

THE 1-800-SWEEPER’S NATIONAL PAVEMENT NDEX SMAINTENANCE POTLIGHT LEADERSHIP IACADEMY GRADUATES ITS FIRST CLASS The National Pavement Maintenance Leadership

feedback we have received from the participants of the

Academy graduated its first class of 17 in Stone Mountain,

inaugural class has been very positive and motivating.

GA on November 6, 2019. The Leadership Academy

Their testimonials of how it has changed them

is designed to help leaders in the pavement industry

professional but also personally is priceless”.

succeed through effective management training.

Like in 2019, the Leadership Academy once again has the support of 1-800-SWEEPER vendor partners. United Rotary Brush will once again be the Gold Sponsor of the program and Schwarze Industries the Silver Sponsor. Both sponsors will also be sending participants to the NPMLA class this year. United Rotary Brush says “United Rotary Brush is excited to support the 1-800 Sweeper Leadership Academy (NPMLA). We believe continued education and support of leadership programs is essential for the ongoing growth of the overall industry.  As we continue to see business growth in the sweeping industry and companies that are passed on from generation to generation, it is essential to those succession plans to

Demands in our industry are constantly changing and the

have well established and trained leaders to expand the

Leadership Academy provides essential tools to ensure

industry. As a national network supporting and growing

success. The classes cover the essentials of becoming

within the industry, 1-800 Sweeper is a brand focused on

an effective leader; such as effective communication,

the success of their partners and we believe supporting

fundamentals of leadership, conflict management,

that endeavor for the leaders of tomorrow is crucial to

problem solving, motivating and accountability. Led by

industry success”.

nationally recognized executive coach John Lankford of

David Heigl, VP of Sales & Marketing for Schwarze

Premier Executive Forums, the Leadership Academy is a

Industries states, “ Great leadership is the foundation

first-class program.

of a successful business. That’s why Schwarze sponsors

This leadership training is instrumental for not only

the National Pavement Maintenance Leadership

yourself, as owners, but for key personnel in your

Academy. John Lankford’s curriculum trains leaders to

organization. A second class is scheduled to kick off in

set expectations and hold employees accountable. The

April of 2020 and already has 26 students enrolled. “We

result is greater performance and profitability. In the end,

feel providing a program like this offers our Partners

Schwarze grows as our customers grow”.

an avenue of growth from within their company” says Ben Steyer, Executive Director of 1-800-SWEEPER. “The

2 0 NORTH AMERIC AN S WE E P E R MA R C H 2020

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Mark Powell: Used Sales Manager

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MA R C H 2 0 2 0 N O RT H A M E RI C A N SWEEPER 21


HELPING EMPLOYEES Meaning in FINDthe Workplace T

his year, a Pew Research survey found that people

Connecting the day-to-day work to higher, more meaningful values is the key. How could you do this in your organization?

who find their job “meaningful” tend to be more

satisfied with their lives, regardless of income or education

In a team or one-on-one meetings, invite your employees

level. It’s no secret to businesses that happy employees are

to think about how the goods and services they provide

often better employees, but data on life satisfaction gets at

affect customers. For example, a client to whom you provide

something deeper. Finding “meaning” in your job correlates

sweeping services wants a clean parking lot, but you are also

with satisfaction, which is more than just happiness. What

giving them peace of mind by maintaining their property

does it mean to find one’s job

while they are away. When your

meaningful? Here we look to some

employees do power washing for

expert sources to help you as a leader create a more meaningful workplace and hopefully find personal significance in your work as well. THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN ORGANIZATION

Having a meaningful job often means seeing some sort of higher purpose

Having a meaningful job often means seeing some sort of higher purpose in one’s work. All of us

in one’s work.

need income for practical reasons, but those who feel most fulfilled by their jobs see themselves as contributing to a bigger

a small, local business, they are helping that business present a facility in which they can take pride, promoting a positive image to the community. You might even consider inviting some loyal customers to share these perspectives with employees. When your team understands the impact of their work goes beyond the simple delivery of services, they will start to see their

jobs, and their contributions to those jobs, as meaningful.

picture, to goals greater than themselves. In an excellent

MEANING AT A PERSONAL LEVEL: SEEING THE SERVICE

article for Forbes called “The Why of Work,” leadership experts

Another way to help employees see the significance in their

David and Wendy Ulrich discuss the creation of meaning in

work is to remind them how their job connects to people in

the workplace. They explain: “leaders are in a great position

their lives. Business writer John Coleman explains that all work

to articulate the values a company is trying to enact and to

has an element of service to it, service that matters deeply

shape the story of how today’s work connects with those

to our loved ones. He explains, “Who are you working for?

values.”

Identify that person or group of people. When the hours are

2 2 NORTH AMERIC AN S WE E P E R MA R C H 2020

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difficult or the tasks are unglamorous, remember that your

quality work can be felt beyond one’s immediate role. When

work is an act of service for those you care about in your

employees see themselves contributing to a larger cause and

personal life. Keeping this front of mind will help you tie more

how they see themselves serving others, you are on the road

purpose into your work, even when accomplishing the most

to creating personal meaning in your culture

tedious of tasks.”

All of us at NiteHawk wish you success in your business.

As a leader, you can create opportunities to include employees’ families and loved ones in the company, perhaps through an employee appreciation event or holiday party. Incentives which could benefit employees’ families such as scholarships, vacations, or even smaller items like movie or sports tickets will remind them of the ties between their work and their personal lives. Be mindful as well of the employees who are flying solo: the independent people on your team can also find these personal connections in their work. For example, you can invite your teams to consider how coworkers are affected by the quality of their jobs— in most organizations, everyone’s tasks have some level

Works Cited Coleman, John. 29 Dec 2019. To find meaning in your work, change how you think about it. Harvard Business Review. Duncan, Rodger Dean. 11 Sep 2008. The why of work: purpose and meaning do matter. Forbes. Available at https://www. forbes.com/sites/rodgerdeanduncan/2018/09/11/the-why-ofwork-purpose-and-meaning-really-do-matter/#2171d9e968e1.  Van Kessel, Patrick. 5 Feb 2020. How Americans feel about the satisfactions and stresses of modern life. Pew Research Center. Available at https://www.pewresearch.org/facttank/2020/02/05/how-americans-feel-about-the-satisfactionsand-stresses-of-modern-life/.

of interconnection. Doing one’s job well eases stress and difficulty for others in the company, just as the effects of poor

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MA R C H 2 0 2 0 N O RT H A M E RI C A N SWEEPER 23


SPOTLIGHT

INDEX

The Szeremi Sweeping Service in Sacramento, CA is an American success story. From the business’s humble beginning with a used sweeper truck bought at auction at a low price to running over two dozen top-quality sweeper trucks, now providing commercial street and parking lot cleaning services for construction and municipal customers in Northern California. The company has received over 1,500 testimonials from exceptionally satisfied customers, possibly an industry-wide record for a sweeping service of its size and time in operation.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN FOR SZEREMI

customers in the field. I got more insight into what we’re

Bryan tells the story of the company’s humble beginnings.

doing in the business.

I started working for my uncle Ken at Gold River Sweeping

When I left Gold River in 2001, I had bought a sweeper from

Service in Sacramento in 1998. I worked for Gold River for

an auction pretty cheap. Sweepers were a lot cheaper than

three years until 2001, when I went out on my own. So,

to acquire. I just started out doing my work for supplemental

working for my uncle got me into the industry. Eventually, I

income while I continued working for my uncle. Back then,

managed his business, worked as shop labor, foreman, did

there weren’t the California regulations that there are now.

repairs. I had just graduated from high school when I went

Trying to get started today would be a different story,

to work for him as an operator and mechanic, and then that

especially at $250,000 for a sweeper truck. I got into it at the

position morphed into more responsibilities, doing more

right time. Originally, people looked us up and called my

scheduling, dispatching, working one-on-one with

house line. That’s how the ball got rolling.

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SZEREMI’S GROWTH IN SACRAMENTO

Growth has been consistent but not forced. I don’t bite off any more than we can chew. We forecast based on workflows coming down the pipe. Sometimes we’d have more work than needed. Or, we might only need all the trucks a couple of months and the rest of the year would be looking to keep the trucks busy. The last five years have been great. Organic growth coming through the door has been very steady.

day. The quality of service comes down to our employees. Our

A lot of one- and two-truck sweeping businesses have gone out

employees are what make this company. We owe everything to

of business, which has increased our business. But, over recent

our employees. We’re like a coach. We have a good solid team.

years, there’s always a lot of work out there for everybody. With

Having a good, solid workforce is the key to our success.

that, there’s hasn’t’ been a big increase in demand. Housing and

SZEREMI BUSINESS MODEL

commercial work have been pretty steady, pretty even across the

Our business is solely commercial construction sweeping. We

board. There have been no big jumps in demand. Overall, the last

don’t do a lot of parking lots. We just focus on big jobs on big

five years have been very steady.

projects. We’re a signatory company. So, parking lots are not

ACCOUNTING FOR SZEREMI’S STRONG GROWTH

what we’re tuned into. Our services are a little more expensive.

The quality of our equipment, the staff takes pride in their

So, we just don’t do much in parking lots.

job, our ability to make changes on the fly to facilitate our

Of course, there are always different applications for the trucks,

customers’ needs. We show up. We do the job. We excel in

going forward. But, our construction and commercial channels

making sure customers are satisfied with our services each

keep us going. We know commercial construction services. We continued on page 26

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everything in Operations. If I’m not around, Andrea oversees the operations. We do 95 percent of our repairs in-house. We have two mechanics that work in-house, and two mechanically inclined drivers, and myself. So, most of our mechanical work is done by the two mechanics in our shop. Our mechanic shop foreman makes all the decisions. He and I are identical in our thinking on how to manage repairs. We don’t do internal engine work. Everything else, we do ourselves. Managers Plus is the field services management software we use. It allows our drivers the opportunity in the field to report know how to channel our energy toward it and how to succeed at it. Stick with what you know you’ll succeed at it — that’s our main focus.

a problem immediately when the problem shows itself. Our shop mechanics can then address it when they receive the information from the driver in the field. The driver can turn in that data and it turns into a repair order. Then, an email

SZEREMI DAILY OPERATIONS

notification goes back to the driver, and the driver knows that

We have jobs that we’ve bid on, and we get jobs that I go out

the shop is doing what they need to do.

and do the sales to obtain. My drivers do the sales, too. They will

That program also logs all our hours, miles, oil changes,

stop by jobs and drop off cards. And, a lot of our business has

anything we want to maintains on the machine. It’s an

always be driven by word of mouth. In fact, finding work for us

inventory control system too, tracking each part that is

is predominately through word of mouth. We do advertising;

associated with a truck and the cost associated with it.

a small amount comes from that. But, we’re a word-of-mouth

We can look it up and know if we

service. Our customer base varies from

have the part in inventory or not,

day today. We’re an on-call service, like

and schedule repairs and dispatch

an ambulance service, 24/7.

equipment accordingly when

We do about 170 jobs per week.

needed. Drivers know they’re being

That’s about average per week

listened to, so it’s a good system for

during peak season. Some of those are 4 or 8-hour jobs. They’re

maintaining communications between the drivers and the

not all for one customer. We work for everybody. Because we’re

repair shop.

not with just one customer, when one slows down it doesn’t affect us as much. So, when one construction project goes

SZEREMI BUILDS COMPETITOR RELATIONSHIPS AND HELPS INDUSTRY SAFETY

down, we’re not out there scrambling.

We also do a lot of consultation for other sweeping services

My wife Andrea is a big part of the company. Andrea is a

vendors and help them get repairs done. If they need a

key component in how it all works. She’s behind the scenes

sensor, for example, or some other help, we’ll help. That builds

managing all the accounts receivables, payables, payroll,

relationships. Even after we’ve sold machines to people, we’ll

including the certified payroll services required on job sites. She

help them get the part, source it out, tell them where to get it.

manages the insurance paperwork, driver paperwork inside the

We try to keep open lines of communication with our

trucks, maintains the accounting ledger, does the QuickBooks

competitors. I believe it’s key. There’s a little bit of respect

accounting. She also helps with our mechanics, entering all the

there, and we can talk about problems our industry is facing

parts and part numbers and costs, and does other data entry.

and affecting our business as well as theirs. When my driver

She wears a lot of hats behind the scenes. Carrel works with her

might face a safety issue, we can share information. That

helping with the office work.

helps keep safety consistent for everyone. If we can all work

Donald, our Dispatcher, oversees dispatching drivers and call-intakes for drivers. It falls to me if he’s not here. I oversee

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together to get the whole industry doing safe work, it turns into a safer industry for everybody.

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...drivers do self-checks and drivers who come the next day follow-up on the quality of the previous day’s work.

other. That’s how we built the culture. A BIT OF BRYAN SZEREMI’S MARKETING AND BRANDING

The trucks stand out. The blue color on the trucks is something we implemented in 2014, with Schwarze. They powder-coated the trucks. Nescon builds the X-Broom mechanical sweeper we use. They did the same thing with the blue and the white

COMPANY CULTURE AT SZEREMI

and the chrome. Schwarze calls the color the “Szeremi Blue.” I

We’re a very flexible company. We know we must respect our

give it to Schwarze. They listen to our requests. Both of those

driver’s needs as much as they need to respect our needs. We

manufacturers are listening. I give it to both companies for

take care of our employees to the best of our abilities. At the end

listening. I’d like to them for listening to our needs and trying to

of the year, we do a dinner to help show our appreciation for our

implement what’s most cost-effective for us and them.

guys. We give gifts. We try on all birthdays to make sure we give

QUALITY MANAGEMENT FOR SZEREMI CUSTOMERS

gift cards or other gifts. Our guys aren’t just a number; they’re

We use a cloud-based dispatching system. Our drivers have

family. It’s about just being human. We treat them the way we

the opportunity to take before and after pictures of the job

want to be treated.

site. They can then upload the photos into the cloud and send

We’re a tight-knit group, a specialty group. If there’s good and

them to customers. That gives our customers documentation

bad, we address both. We try to do as much as possible with our

of conditions. That validates our quality, and it’s good for our

crew. This morning, for example, we got everybody in early for a

customers. They have that photo documentation for their

pre-season drivers’ meeting, to address what everybody needs.

benefit with regulatory agencies.

It’s more cost-effective and safer for everybody to listen to each

A lot of our drivers do self-checks and drivers who come to the continued on page 28

BOOTH #C32467

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very minimal downtime in the field. But, some operators don’t maintain their equipment because they can’t afford to, because they don’t charge enough to afford it. Some don’t consider replacement costs to maintain equipment. So, they’re not putting the replacement cost into their rates either. All of that impacts competing operators who price services more appropriately. BRYAN SZEREMI OFFERS ADVICE FOR INDUSTRY NEWCOMERS

Our industry needs some solidarity in pushing some ethics out next day follow-up on the quality of the previous day’s work. The

there for drivers and service. It puts a bad taste in contractors’

guys kind of monitor each other that way. They know they all

mouths about sweeping services in general when service

need to do well. Everyone’s livelihood depends on each other.

from any vendor is poor. So, everyone should be focused on

We call and check in with customers. We ask questions about satisfaction. We do spot-checks. My dispatcher and I put in as

providing good service. For new operators, there’s always so much you could offer in

much time as the drivers do during the season out there with

advice. Understand the industry you’re getting into. Do your

the guys. In addition to doing the office work, customers like

due diligence. Know your customer and your equipment.

seeing owners out in the field, especially running the truck.

Provide a quality service, and you will succeed.

If there are issues, we have more feel for what the drivers are experiencing. That way, it’s not just a driver’s issue. Sometimes, you have to educate your customers on how our industry works. A lot of sweeping services operators

Source www.szeremisweeping.com For more information about Szeremi Sweeping Services in Sacramento CA, visit www.szeremisweeping.com.

won’t try to educate their customers, because they’re afraid of losing them. But, when you educate your customers, you build a good solid foundation for the working relationship. Then, when a problem arises, we know what they need and they understand how the service is supposed to work, and everybody can compromise and is happy. They understand what the trucks can do. CURRENT AND FUTURE CHALLENGES FOR SZEREMI

What we’ve experienced out here with the California carb regulations in place has been challenging. We’re 100 percent carb-compliant. We have all tier- 4 equipment in place. We

BOOTH #S6825

upgrade to new equipment, as needed. I think if the State of California changes the regulations to stricter air quality, and tightens diesel emissions even tighter than they are now, those mandates will come with a cost for our industry. How much that will that affect the bottom line, especially for operators like we are, who’ve already done upgrades, and our ability to pass that on to the customers is a concern. Another concern is that when guys (competitors) don’t know what their rate should be, to be able to absorb their costs, that impacts the bigger operators. The equipment has a life expectancy. We constantly do all servicing early and have

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INDEX 800 Sweeping Network .................................................................... 7 800-Sweeping / 1800Sweeping.com

The ODB Co. ......................................................................................31 800-446-9823 / www.odbco.com

American Striping Co. ....................................................................12 614-237-8884 /americanstriping .com

Schwarze Industries Inc. ......................................................6, 15, 19 800-879-7933 / schwarze.com

Bensink Rotary Broom ...................................................................12 503-580-0183 /bensinkrotarybroom.com

Sharpco Sweeper Shoes ................................................................... 6 313-343-4328/800-372-5007/sharpcosweepershoes.com

Buffalo Turbine .................................................................................28 716-592-2700 / buffaloturbine.com

Skavin’jer Street Sweepers .............................................................25 888-652-2137 / skavinjer.com

Carolina Enviromental Services .....................................................21 800-239-7796 / cesrefuse.com

Stewart-Amos Equipment Co. .......................................................... 4 800-482-2302 / stewart-amos.com

Curbtender Sweepers LLC ...............................................................32 319-266-1721 / curbtendersweepers.com

Street Smart .....................................................................................13 888-653-6800 / streetsmartrental.com

Eagle Eye Tracking ............................................................................. 3 855-338-7225

Superior Tire & Rubber Corp ..........................................................27 800-289-1456 / superiortire.com

Global Sweeping Solutions ............................................................... 2 909-713-1600 / globalsweeper.com

Sweeper Parts Sales........................................................................21 877-695-3060 / SweeperPartsSales.com

KeyStone Street Sweeping Brooms ................................................. 3 800-635-5238 / kpbrush.com

Tymco ................................................................................................11 800-258-9626 / tymco.com

M-B Companies Inc ............................................................................ 4 800-558-58 00 / sales@m-bco.com

United Rotary Brush Corporation ...................................................16 800-851-5108 / united-rotary.com

Nite-Hawk Sweepers ................................................................. 12, 23 800-448-9364 / nitehawksweepers.com

Water Cannon Inc. .................................................................... 15, 17 800-333-9274 / watercannon.com

Nomad ............................................................................................... FC 450-530-9873 / balaisnomad.com

Well Made Manufacturing ...............................................................29 609-323-2655 / wellmademfg.com

Oakmont Capital Services LLC ......................................................... 5 320-844-8800 / www.oakmontfinance.com

World Insurance Associates LLC ....................................................21 845-279-5155 / worldins.net/sales

Pat’s Pump & Blower ......................................................................... 6 800-359-7867 / patspump.com

Xpress Sweeping Inc ........................................................................30 401-523-6116 / xpresssweeping.com

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PHONE: 3 2 NORTH AMERIC AN(319) S WE 266-1721 E P E R MA R C H 2020

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North American Sweeper Magazine March 2020  

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