Wait--what? 2010 is over? I'm still preparing for the summer rush!
This has definitely been the fastest year of my life. At least since I've been paying attention to such things.There were a couple of slow periods, like the last month before our second son, Kolbe, was born, but most of the time we've been sprinting.
I thought about writing a long retrospective, but who has the time? I'm trying to knock this out in the few minutes I have before another couple of moves today. (And I failed -- it's now two days since I started writing this post. Events and jobs happened...) Also, I'm just not as sentimental as I used to be. (It's not productive. Lol). So, here are some quick highlights of 2010 for MTB:
The birth of our son Kolbe Alexander. While it wasn't the first thing in 2010, it's the most significant. I almost can't believe it was this year. He was born on June 7th, a little small, but happy and healthy. He's already crawling, although it's still kind of a "special forces" crawl. This isn't exactly an MTB milestone...but it is. It seems that whenever we have children, the business leaps forward in some way. When Joe was born, so was MTB. When Kolbe was born, I had to (and wanted to) stay home with my wife in order to help out. That meant I had to have a couple of crews run independently of my direct supervision. So, Kolbe was responsible for pushing MTB into a multiple truck/crew operation. A natural progression, I suppose, but a terrifying one I resisted until the last possible moment.
Here's a video of his older brother Joe meeting him for the first time:
Suburban Solutions, we obtained three new trucks. The obvious advantage was that we wouldn't have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to Penske anymore, and we don't have to deal with all of that irritating equipment-swapping that eats up so much time. But more than that, the trucks allowed us to obtain all the required forms of insurance. It was a vicious catch-22: Without all the layers of insurance, I couldn't get trucks. Without the trucks, I couldn't afford to get insurance. I was considering leasing from Penske, but every time I talked to their rep, the security deposit would go up by about $2,000.
In addition to enabling the business to get legal, the trucks also served as fantastic mobile billboards. Brian at Suburban Solutions has a "sign guy" who really "hooked us up," as the kids say.
Multiple crews. I mentioned this above, but I should flesh it out more. In fact, I'm embarrassed that I haven't talked about the guys more. The guys who currently work for, or who have worked for MTB really have built this thing. I took the business as far as I could by myself, but there's only so much one man can do with either a pickup truck or a rented Penske truck. It would be impossible to afford the business if it was just me and a couple of guys. Running two crews is now barely enough. (In fact, I think it isn't -- I'll know more once I see the end of the month numbers, which I'm dreading.) Finding reliable, professional guys who I can trust to take the trucks into DC's daily chaos finally opened my eyes to the possibility of taking this thing too new heights.
A new office. This is a really recent development. "Recent" as in "the last week of the year." It's not something I expected or can really afford at the moment, but here's what happened:
On a recent job, the customer had what is called a "love sack," i.e. a gigantic bean bag shaped roughly like a couch. She needed to just get rid of it. My dilemma: There was no WAY I was going to pass up an acquisition of such raw awesomeness, but I was positive my wife wasn't going to let it anywhere near a public place in our house. I'd been talking to a guy about renting some office space with parking (I was mainly interested in the parking for our growing fleet). The love sack did it for me. I called my future office landlord from the loading dock of the building where I got the love sack.
It might have been an impulsive move, but it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. In just the week or so that I've had the office, I've been able to get more done than in some months. It's more than just the solitude. It's a personal space, a productivity zone where all my vital documents and tools are parked in geosynchronous orbit around me, ready to be used for action.
I'm sure we've hit a few more milestones. In fact, there's no doubt. We've more than doubled last year's revenue (which, honestly, was pretty easy), we've lifted more sleeper sofas than last year, we've made new contacts and new friends, we've pushed ourselves to our physical and mental limits and have only gotten stronger. It's been a good year.
This year, however, is going to make 2010 look like amateur hour. Stay tuned. ;-)