SBJ: You’ve recorded growth in revenue but also added $20 million in rental fleet inventory in the last three years. What has been key to that growth?
Steve Wohnoutka: The main thing is that three years ago we did a transition. We had been primarily a homeowner do-it-yourself market. We had quite a bit of commercial, smaller commercial accounts, but we really weren’t equipped with fleet service equipment or personnel to service the heavy construction industry. So, we made a decision and fundamental change. We added heavier delivery vehicles, service trucks, added more mechanics and salesmen. We basically equipped ourselves to deal with the heavy construction industry. That’s a big market. We really equipped ourselves to go after a whole different market sector.
SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Wohnoutka: Our key challenges became labor, staffing and human resources. They’re difficult to get now. We went after this expansion requiring a lot of new people at the very time the job market became impossible. Another thing was the COVID-19 pandemic erupted the very week that we were making our transition. Following that, the manufacturers scaled back and shuttered factories. The supply chain issues that we’ve been talking about for the last three years, they really manifested at the very same time that we were trying to launch our new market sector. Those are always challenges, but especially now getting inventory, getting construction equipment, getting semitrucks, and we’ve managed this growth in spite of that.
SBJ: What has it enabled your company to do?
Wohnoutka: Ironically, the key thing has enabled us to attract talent, salesmen and mechanics from our competitors because they see us taking off and they see us now as a noncorporate place to work that’s a substantial size company. It has allowed us to attract talent that we previously wouldn’t have attracted, which allowed us to grow more.
SBJ: Is your fast growth sustainable?
Wohnoutka: Not without expanding our geographic footprint. We control probably more than our fair share of the local market. Now we’re in southwest Missouri and Wichita, Kansas. Eventually you’ve got to go after more customers. In order to sustain our level of growth, we’ll have to branch out into other markets in the near future.
SBJ: Since you’ve expanded into another market, have your goals changed?
Wohnoutka: Our goals have remained the same since day one, when we started in 2005. My brother and I are co-owners of the business. My dad was a contractor, and we grew up in the construction industry. We were actually both in law enforcement in the past. When we were in law enforcement, we both did some spec houses and property development on the side. When we started the rental company, our goal was still to participate, because we like building things. Our goal was to participate and assist others in building and construction projects. That’s really been the goal all along.
Adrianna Norris became a first-time business owner with the opening of Finley River Chiropractic; PaPPo’s Pizzeria & Pub launched its newest location; and Huey Magoo’s opened its second store in the Ozarks.