From Retired to Retirement Gig
Mike Plowman was no stranger to the trash pickup industry. He previously built and owned a very successful trash pickup business and sold it with the plan to save the profit for retirement. But the business closure clearly left a void in the community.
After many requests from friends, neighbors and community members, Mike and his wife, Christy, decided to get back in the trash business and open Boomerang Sanitation, headquartered in Douglasville. That’s when they were referred to the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (UGA SBDC).
Securing the Funds
The largest hurdle for them was the structure of the loan,” said Daniel McCoy, senior business consultant at UGA SBDC at Kennesaw State University. “Because they had funds in the bank from the previous business sale that they were trying to keep separate from the new business, they were facing roadblocks to qualify for funding. When they reached out to the UGA SBDC for assistance, I worked with them to get the correct rate structure and find the right lender.”
“We were small, and only had a year under our belts, so a lot of banks wouldn’t even look at us,” said Christy Plowman. “Daniel took the time to figure out who we were, not just what we did, and he was able to get us on board with Iberia Bank, now First Horizon, which is where we’ve gotten most of our funding.”
Because they owned their commercial building, they were able to refinance and do a line of credit to allow for the needed cashflow to purchase the trucks and trash cans to launch the new business.
The Plowmans found McCoy to be an invaluable partner during the process. He helped them formulate a business plan, establish paperwork to show their business was working and ultimately secure the funding they needed.
“Daniel is the one that pointed us in the right direction. I’ve done this before, but the first time was just by trial and error. We didn’t have someone to help guide us. When we found the University of Georgia SBDC, it was really the catalyst we needed.”MIKE PLOWMAN, BOOMERANG SANITATION
Commitment to Service
For the Plowmans, Boomerang is more than just a trash business. They are working to change the image of the trash industry by making customer service their number one priority and by investing in their community.
“We do things a little differently than the industry standard,” said Christy Plowman. “We communicate with customers on a regular basis and let them know what is happening if we have any kind of interruption of service. They’ve grown to appreciate that.”
Word of their high level of customer service has spread thanks, in part, to social media.
“Daniel encouraged us to use social media to promote our business,” said Christy Plowman. “I didn’t realize what a value that could be. Facebook, Nextdoor and other apps have really helped us grow. We haven’t paid for advertising since our first year.”
The Plowmans’ commitment to their community is extended through a partnership with one of their customers who runs a homeless camp in Douglas County.
“We have an opportunity in this industry to employ folks that can’t work anywhere else, and we want to give them a leg up. She will recommend employees to us that are looking to turn their lives around and we’re so glad we have been able to work with her,” said Christy Plowman. “We feel like if we can help give someone a second chance, we want to be a part of that.”
Business Sees Tremendous Growth
Since starting their business in 2018, their growth has been tremendous. They ended their first year with 424 customers and by the end of 2022, they totaled 8,800 customers.
“We have more than doubled our customer base every year we have been in business so far. You can grow a business right out of business, and it would have been very easy for us to run ourselves out of business. But with Daniel’s guidance, we’ve been able to maintain the service we’ve started off with as we have grown.”MIKE PLOWMAN, BOOMERANG SANITATION
Going forward, the Plowmans plan to continue to work with McCoy and the UGA SBDC.
“We are looking at expanding our geographic service area and with that we would need another truck and driver,” said Mike Plowman. “We plan to lean on Daniel and the UGA SBDC to help us make those decisions.”
“Daniel has been such an asset to us. Using his vast knowledge of all different kinds of business was like buying a book on how to do things right in your business.”CHRISTY PLOWMAN, BOOMERANG SANITATION
For More Information: University of Georgia SBDC | (706) 542-2762
Photo Credit: Boomerang Sanitation