A good reputation is often a key component to a successful business. Central Sweeping Services, Orlando, FL, continues to prosper because of its reputation for quality and reliable services, and Doug Swatkowski, owner and president, gives his late father all of the credit.
Ray Swatkowski moved to Florida in the late 1960s. After owning a waste management company in Wisconsin, Ray Swatkowski purchased Millers Parking Lot Maintenance, a sweeping company with one unit in 1967. Some of his clients were Disneyworld, where he swept underground, and Kennedy Space Center.
“My dad started in the parking lot business and did construction sweeping, too,” Swatkowski says. “Around ‘85 we ventured into large street sweeping, and it really boomed from there. Then in the early ‘90s we really hit it off in the large street sweeping — that’s the bulk of our business today.”
Toward the end of his career, Ray Swatkowski wanted to stop offering parking lot maintenance services and focus on large sweeping projects; however, parking lot maintenance services continue to be a significant asset to Central Sweeping.
Swatkowski started working with his father in the late 1980s, and in 1997 he made a deal with his father to purchase Central Sweeping. Since then Central Sweeping has found continued success.
Currently, Central Sweeping has 44 employees with nearly 75% of the employees having been with the company for 8 to 10 years. The service area consists of the entire state of Florida for main interstate and primary road maintenance while staying local for parking lot maintenance. Central Sweeping has 25 large and small sweepers with several specialized units of support equipment. Roughly 80% of the units are Schwarze with the other 20% a combination of Elgin, Tymco, and Wayne units.
Central Sweeping is the only certified sweeper in Florida in the North American Power Sweeping Association, and the company is also a member of National Asphalt Pavement Association and Florida Transportation Builders’ Association. Swatkowski says being a member of the different organizations has helped Central Sweeping get the bid 5% of the time.
Quality work, customer service, and reliability
With more than 40 years of service, the reputation of quality work continues to play a significant role in the day to day operations of Central Sweeping. Brian Oxtal, director of operations, spends his morning organizing upcoming jobs. He relies on the Internet and Central Sweeping’s reputation to get new parking lot jobs and monitors every day what street jobs he will bid and what he won’t bid.
“The day-to-day operations of the construction industry is mainly reputation and word of mouth,” Oxtal says. “It’s a consistent thing; every day I know what time certain people are calling.”
One way that Central Sweeping ensures quality work is by using a GPS tracking system. “We use a GPS system that monitors the trucks when they are sweeping, their speed, their location,” Swatkowski says. “It’s live so you can see where they are at from my phone. We get an alert if they go over 70 mph on the interstate work. It’s a great tool for us.” By monitoring the work of his crew with the GPS, Swatkowski is able to inform clients when their lot was swept. The GPS system is also valuable in accident situations to help determine the location and speed of a sweeper at the time of an accident.
Quality of work is accompanied with a reputation for great customer service. “We’ve been awarded jobs this last year that I have never seen happen before,” Oxtal says. “On one contract we were the third bidder and ended up getting the contract. Then, for a major university we were seventh from the lowest bidder and we still got that contract.”
Central Sweeping’s reliability is known not only to its clients but also to its competitors. “There are companies that we have to bail out,” Oxtal says. “They’ll do a project and something goes wrong. They don’t have the backup equipment or the support so we will go and bail them out for the contractor. We want to have a healthy relationship and help our industry succeed.”