Sheila Owens and her son Brandon were handed the unique opportunity of taking over an existing business – kind of. They both worked for a drug & alcohol testing company in Cortez – Sheila for eight years and her son for seven. They enjoyed their jobs and the relationships they had with clients all over the country.
BUT… the company they worked for was closing their doors with only two months’ notice to the employees. As they were calling their clients to notify them that the business was closing, they also had the opportunity to say, “We’re opening our own business to provide the same service under a new name. We received an overwhelmingly positive response,” Sheila explained.
The companies they serve are mostly Department of Transportation clients who must have a random drug and alcohol testing program in place to stay in compliance with DOT safety procedures. However, more and more Non-DOT companies are choosing to enter into drug and alcohol testing programs and they manage those as well. Their former employer closed on March 31 and they opened their new business, Covenant Drug & Alcohol Testing, LLC on April First. Sheila laughs, “We were really brave to open on April Fool’s Day, but we didn’t have a choice!”
She can’t rave enough about what a huge asset Advisor Joe Keck was to them. They had never owned a business and didn’t know the first thing about a business plan, but they had an already existing customer base of 250 clients who transferred over with them
Sheila said, “Joe Keck came to our office and asked us lots of questions and took lots of notes. He asked more questions and helped us write reports.” They worked together on spreadsheets and documents needed to get a loan through the Region 9 Economic Development Alliance. As a brand new business, they needed new equipment and expensive customized programs and QuickBooks. They wanted to rent the same building since that’s where clients were used to finding them.
“Many times, we would work all day in our existing jobs, then work all night compiling the information Joe told us we needed for the loan. He broke it down into manageable sections. We’d get a few things done, then he’d give us more homework. We were on a very tight deadline due to the Region 9 meeting schedule,” Sheila shared. She explained how usually writing a business plan can take months and they had just nine days to get it done.
“Joe Keck was an amazing asset. Without him, we wouldn’t have known where to start. He held our hands through the entire process.” Keck was familiar with the Region 9 application and encouraged them to provide more detailed information in sections he knew were important.
Sheila can’t say enough about how much she appreciated the help from Joe Keck. “He was very encouraging and made himself available at all times to keep the process going. He checked in with us afterwards and congratulated us on our success.”