1-800-SWEEPER News

1-800-SWEEPER Celebrating 10 Years of Growth and Accomplishments

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It’s been nearly 10 years since 1-800-SWEEPER burst onto the power sweeping industry scene in August of 2011. Armed with a vision, a powerful vanity phone number and the support of 22 sweeping company owners, Mike Lucht began what remains to be the only co-op organization in the sweeping industry. Headquartered in Toledo, OH, 1-800-SWEEPER now boasts 40 buying group Vendor Partners and 55 Member Partners representing market coverage of over 95 area codes across the United States accounting for 18 of the top 20 metro markets and 50% of the country’s population. “When we launched the organization, there was no play book to guide us and we weren’t sure how it was going to be received in order to attract enough like-mind company owners to make it work,” says Lucht, President of the organization. “It’s been a work in progress, and we’ve made some great strides over the last 10 years, while building many strong relationships along the way. No one expected it was going to be easy, but the challenge has been an extremely rewarding experience.”  But make it work they did, and 1-800-SWEEPER is proud of their accomplishments and the contributions they have made to the businesses represented in the group and the power sweeping industry in general.

Launching the 1800sweeper.com website in October 2011 was the first step in getting the start-up organization off the ground and introducing the brand.  What began as a service directory of sweeping companies across the country quickly grew into something much more. Today, 700 pages later, it is not only a market resource for service contractor information, but also provides educational content on the sweeping industry as a whole; including the various types of equipment recommended for specific job applications, the different services each Partner company offers, as well as employment opportunity postings resulting in the creation of the highest revenue producing website in the industry. The value of the service requests over the past ten years has been very impressive. Partners have received over 32,000 leads conservatively valued at over $20,000,000.  With a 24/7 Call Center and the development of the 800 App, service requests can be easily responded to on an immediate basis. “Getting the service requests to our Partners the quickest way possible was important. It has been documented that the quicker the response the greater the chance is of securing the business. We believe providing a timely response and quality service is one of the reasons why clients choose us” says Ben Steyer, Executive Director of 1-800-SWEEPER.

There have been many other milestones and achievements along the way. The organization’s slogan is “More Than a Number!”, and that, it certainly is! Not only do they have the #1 website and vanity number in the power sweeping industry, but they have also created a successful co-op buying group for their Partners. Leveraging the combined buying power of the group is an integral part of the organization’s foundation. The co-op enables Partners to take advantage of exclusive discounts on the purchase of equipment and supplies needed to run and grow their business, as well as earning rebates in return. Andy Williams, Business Development Rep for 1-800-SWEEPER, says “We strive to have vendors in the group that our Partners find beneficial. Vendor Partner agreements with Schwarze, ELGIN, Keystone Plastics, NAPA and many more are instrumental to our Partners and their growth.” The original intent and goal of the organization’s business model was to have all Partners’ membership fees covered by the savings and rebates they receive from the buying group and numerous Partners are doing just that! We bring a lot more to the table than just service leads, which are designed to be provided FREE.”     

Another attractive benefit of being a 1-800-SWEEPER Partner is the annual Sweeper Summit. “We’ve all gone to industry trade shows that are predominately geared toward paving contractors. So, we decided it was time to create our own, just for the power sweeping industry. The educational content of the conference has been well received, and the addition of the outdoor, hands-on Equipment Expo was the icing on the cake. It’s a lot of work planning the event, but it’s been well worth it in the end.” says Carolyn Bell, Director of Marketing for 1-800-SWEEPER. “The Sweeper Summit began in 2012 as a small Partner meeting in Detroit with 20 people. Today the event is a full-blown industry specific conference with over 200 attendees and outdoor equipment displays – attendance grows every year and attendees love the outdoor venue. It’s been a great addition!”   

While these last 10 years have been a growing and maturation period for the organization, and the whole industry for that matter, Mike Lucht feels they have found their footing, “Our executive team is ready to take on the challenges ahead, in the years to come. We have introduced many new programs to our Partners and the sweeping industry over the years; the Sweeper Sim – our sweeper operator training simulator, the National Pavement Maintenance Leadership Academy (NPMLA), the 800 Foundation; which recently raised over $60,000 for the Veterans Matter organization, along with the other innovations mentioned earlier. We will continue to evolve and move forward, bringing new ideas and innovations to the industry. We’ve only revealed the tip of the iceberg.”

 

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Construction in Focus Reports on 1-800-SWEEPER’s Commitment to Giving Back

Last year, Business in Focus reported on the organization’s history, growth, and success. This year, we caught up again with Founder and President, Mike Lucht, to learn about 1-800-SWEEPER’s commitment to giving back.

Commitment to Giving Back

1-800-SWEEPER raised $65,492 for Veterans Matter in 2020. Veterans Matter is a Toledo, Ohio-based non-profit that brings private sector resources and Veterans Affairs (VA) resources together to house veterans in VA-supported housing as quickly as possible. The non-profit’s innovative, cloud-based rapid resource response, carried out in partnership with the VA’s homeless veteran’s program, allows veterans to access housing in a matter of minutes, rather than the standard thirty-day to sixty-day waiting period. Basically, donations are used to pay deposits directly to a landlord to get veterans and their families housed right away.

To raise money for Veterans Matter, the 1-800-SWEEPER team asked for pledges from Partners as well as from individuals and organizations outside of the 1-800-SWEEPER umbrella. Partners like Lucht “reached out to friends, family, customers,” anyone who might be willing to help a veteran in need. “I went through my phone list and sent many text messages and sent off the flyer that we created and just broadcasted it to anybody and everybody because there is no exclusion here—everybody can participate in a campaign such as that, so it wasn’t specific to people in our industry,” Lucht says.

1-800-SWEEPER Foundation

The 1-800-SWEEPER Foundation is another way that the organization gives back. The brainchild of Lucht, the organization launched the foundation in 2016 to serve Partner companies’ local communities throughout the United States. “We earn our money in the communities that we live in, and we try to identify the needs within the communities of our Partners that on occasion might need a little boost,” Lucht says. “We are all privately owned small businesses that have a commitment to give back.”

Funds go to a variety of needs including qualified environmental and community beautification projects, local Wounded Warriors programs, and natural disaster relief. For example, the foundation donated a substantial sum to help rebuild Gatlinburg, Tennessee after a wildfire ravaged the Smokey Mountain community. In addition, $10,000 of the $65,492 raised for Veterans Matter came from the 1-800-SWEEPER Foundation.

As 1-800-SWEEPER celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, the team is eager to keep moving forward as they look back over a decade of supporting local communities and successfully bringing the industry together. “We’ve accomplished some things that I think most people in this industry never thought would ever happen in terms of creating a successful cooperative,” Lucht says.

If you’d like to donate to the 1-800-SWEEPER Foundation, please visit www.toledocf.org/1800sweeper.

 

To read the full article, click here

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1-800-SWEEPER’s Past, Present, and Future

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Though 1-800-SWEEPER has become an industry giant, it wasn’t always that way. What started as an option to make it easier for regional customers to reach Progressive Sweeping has grown into a national organization that provides lead generation, support, education, and networking for other contractors in the power sweeping industry. But how did it grow into this industry resource? We took the opportunity to speak with Michael Lucht, President of 1-800-SWEEPER to get the dirt on how the organization was developed, how it helps professionals in the sweeping industry, and the challenges it has faced along the way.

Early History and Concept

Founded in 1978, Progressive Sweeping was working on expanding its market in 1984 when area codes were being decentralized. Given the growing number of phone numbers with different area codes that were fed into their office, they knew that as populations grew and the number of area codes was continually expanded, they would need to find a better option for current and prospective clients to connect with them. The first attempt to get the 1-800-SWEEPER number was stifled because, even though the number was domiciled with and available from the company’s phone carrier at the time, it was designated as a national account number with a $40k minimum expense in long-distance calling fees required before they would release the number! However, soon thereafter, upon reading a Wall Street Journal article announcing the de-regulation of 800-vanity numbers that allowed for portability, Mr. Lucht got back in touch with his phone company and was able to secure 1-800-SWEEPER for his business. However, as time moved forward, Mr. Lucht started to think about what he could do to leverage his company’s 800 number. Because his company was regional, he began to consider how he could expand the use of the number to help other companies in the industry. After a year of contemplation and planning, he introduced the co-operative concept to a dozen fellow contractors during an NPE West meeting in Las Vegas in November 2010 that would evolve into becoming the first nationally recognized brand and only co-op buying group in the power sweeping industry. But his initial concept of creating a marketing/lead generation and purchasing co-op has since grown significantly to include a range of other benefits for member companies, including relationships with over 40 vendors in the buying cooperative, education, training and hiring tools, and the Sweeper Summit & Equipment Expo.

“It was my vision but, of course, it took a lot of people to commit to getting involved, and we launched the business in July 2011. I believe we had 21 companies committed to the organization at that time.”

For full article from North American Sweeper Magazine click here.

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2021 Virtual Mid-Year Meeting

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As the pandemic is still affecting the in-person meeting and trade show schedules for most of us, the 1-800-SWEEPER Mid-Year meeting planned for Dallas, TX was once again moved to a virtual format. When life gives you lemons…. make lemonade! And that’s just what 1-800-SWEEPER did for their annual Mid-Year Meeting, the pre-curser to the organization’s premiere event, the 2021 Sweeper Summit & Equipment Expo which will take place in-person in November at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas.

The meeting was supported by Gold Sponsor Schwarze Industries and was held on June 9th & 10th in two, 2-hour sessions. Other vendor sponsors included Silver Sponsors Elgin, Go Canvas and Keystone Plastics and Bronze Sponsors Kimball Midwest, Baldwin Filters and Liquitube.

The agenda consisted of an update on the activities and new programs rolled out by 1-800-SWEEPER, including 2 new initiatives: The Mentor Program and a Business Ownership Transition Planning Program. Vendor presentations were made by Schwarze Industries, Go Canvas, Keystone Plastics and Elgin. The highlight of the meeting was the presentation by 1-800-SWEEPER Partner, Mark Carter of Peloton Sweeping, titled Beast Mode Hiring. Mark gave an informative 75-minute presentation on guerrilla marketing tactics and hiring practices, that are very beneficial and timely in today’s hiring climate.

We’d like to thank our 30 Partner companies for taking the time to participate in the 2-day event! Ben Steyer, Executive Director of 1-800-SWEEPER says “Our Partners have so much experience running successful sweeping businesses, sharing that experience with other Partners is the cornerstone of our organization and what makes us so successful. We are very proud of the engagement that our Partners have shown through our virtual events over the past year and are excited for November when we can all get back together in person at the Sweeper Summit & Equipment Expo!” All participating Partners will receive a custom Yeti Slim Beverage Cooler as a thank you for their support of the 1-800-SWEEPER brand and making the organization a collective group of industry professionals, second to none!

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The Perfect Storm: How Jake’s Sweeping Tornados is Sweeping Up San Francisco Bay

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How does taking over a friend’s side hustle turned into a wildly successful business? Growing up in a family full of entrepreneurs, is it any wonder that Darren Estrada of Jake’s Sweeping Tornados had the entrepreneurial spirit at a young age? After selling a prior business, Mr. Estrada was looking for a new opportunity when a close friend mentioned wanting to get out of a side business. In early 2000, Jake’s Sweeping Tornados was born, purchased its first truck, and started working a few existing contracts.  Read More…

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