Corporate America Employee Finds Success in Entrepreneurship
Trailer Sales of Manatee, Manatee County
“I was looking for small businesses to purchase and one of the things that struck me about this business was that it was kind of a one-person show and I’m reasonably handy so I figured I could run the business, maintain the trailers, fix them when they break and ultimately look to hire one to two staff and then maybe I wouldn’t have to work 60 hours a week,” he said.
Grech found Trailer Sales of Manatee, an established business that rents out heavy equipment and construction industry trailers on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, and also sells parts and trailer.
While the business looked good on paper, Grech would need bank financing to get the deal done. That’s when his lender, Cadence Bank, connected him with the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida, and business consultant, Simplice Essou.
“To purchase the business and the real estate was a pretty sizeable loan and in working with my lender, they had worked with the SBDC at USF in the past,” Grech said. “They recommended Simplice to me specifically to help with my business plan. It seemed as if the business plan and three-year projections were a very, very large component of my getting approved for the loan.
While the COVID-19 pandemic moved the Florida SBDC at USF’s consulting services online, Grech and Essou met two to three times per week via Teams to build the business plan and the 36-month projections, until the finished product was ready to be submitted to the bank. “His education and his expertise was unbelievable,” Grech said.
“Since Simplice and I worked together building out the business plan and the bank funding was approved, we went to closing which was in April, and per the strategies that he and I outlined, I was able to add to the trailer fleet and made slight adjustments to the pricing. We’ve also started to put some of the parts online for online sales through the more common marketplaces,” he added.
In just a few months of business, Grech says the business is now averaging, “on a month-to-month basis year over year, up anywhere from 20 to 25 percent over last year.”
Grech has plans to continue to add to the fleet of trailers and build its online marketplace of trailer components, and says he’s looking forward to having the Florida SBDC at USF and Essou by his side as the business grows. He is still marveling at the fact the services are offered at no cost to entrepreneurs.
“I’m still astonished because everything costs something, right?,” he said. “Not only was it a free service to lean on but he brought incredible perspective and value and quite frankly, I don’t think I would’ve been approved for the loan if I hadn’t had that business plan put together that he and I worked so hard on.”