Young says 80% of Dryco's work is from repeat clients.
"We get that work because we do a quality job, but if we let up on quality that's work we're not going to get. And let me tell you it's much easier to keep an existing client than it is to go out there and find a new one," Young says. "You can bust your butt trying to generate 10% new business, but if you just take care of your current customers you can make life a lot easier on yourself, and you can still go after the new customers."
Dryco's biggest accomplishments
Young says Dryco's ability to retain the best employees is one of the main reasons the company has continued to grow.
"We have good employees who are pretty loyal, and we do what we can to make sure we have as little turnover as possible," he says. "We want better people so we'll pay a little bit more, but we expect more, too, from a quality standpoint and from a production standpoint."
Part of Dryco's efforts to retain employees is its benefit plan, which includes a 401(k) that the company usually matches, a bonus program, and full insurance coverage including medical, dental, and vision. From the level of foreman on up Dryco pays for entire family's insurance. After 10 years Dryco pays 50% of family benefits, then 60% in year 12, and 100% after 15 years.
"It's a huge cost for me. If you want to lose control of your profitability just keep adding insurance benefits because they're going through the roof," Young says. "But we take our health care benefits very seriously because we know our employees take it seriously."
Young is proud of the fact that four of the original six people on board when he founded the company are still there. (The two people that are no longer with the Dryco each own their own company.)
"Our employees know we care about them," Young says. "They know by the way we treat them, they know by the way we communicate with them, and they know by the way we pursue work when we don't have any business. We've told them flat out, and this is true since the day we started, that we wanted to have a stable company where we could work, where they could work, and where even their kids could work. That's always been a guiding focus of Dryco."
Young says the nature of the construction industry, especially the seasonal nature of the work, is a topic of constant communication between management and the employees.
"We talk about saving money in the summer to help get them through the winter, and that's not any different than when we started," he says. "When we started we were six people and had the same types of meetings because we all had rent to pay.
"We emphasize that in the summer everyone has to work OT and pitch in and do what they have to do when the work is here," Young says. "Yes, it's a long season and, yes, the days are long, but if we hired more people for our busy times everyone would work fewer hours, which would make it more difficult for them to survive through the slower months. Plus, we'd certainly have to lay people off at the end of the season. We try to make that clear to everyone so they understand that there's value in working such long days and long stretches through the summer.
"It's a culture we talk about, and in a union environment I don't think that exists. We talk about it a lot, work, family, mortgages, and some of my fondest memories at work are watching my employees achieve.
"I can remember the first day one of my guys bought a new truck, a Ford Ranger, and we about shut the company down and declared a holiday that day," Young says. "We have another guy here who's been with us more than 20 years and he owns a couple of investment properties, not huge but duplexes and four-plexes, and that's a great thing. To see one of my guys buy a new truck or a new house, those kinds of things are a big accomplishment for me. That's what I think owning a company is all about."
The best thing that happened
In the early years Young and Rafael Torres, part owner of Dryco, both worked in the field, with Young handling most of scheduling, crew management, bidding and estimating.