Cement Works NW Inc. has been working the Seattle and surrounding areas, installing both commercial and volume residential flatwork for over 30 years. It is a family run and operated business that Bobby Godwin shares with his wife and daughter. Bobby’s business is contracted with multiple builders, including companies like DR Horton, Toll Brothers, Polygon, Tarragon, Pulte, and many others. They specialize in a variety of different finishes. If it’s concrete, you name it, they’ve done it.
We got on a call with Bobby Godwin to dive deeper into where his success derives from.
Tell us a bit about yourself and Cement Works NW Inc.
Cement Works NW Inc is based in Kent, Washington. Well we basically started with a guy and a truck like most startups in this industry. Now let’s fast forward. Now we employ over 20 dependable-skilled concrete flatworkers. If you could imagine managing that many people and personalities, it would probably seem challenging, wouldn’t it? In my case, honestly, it couldn’t be easier. I’m extremely proud of my workforce. We all get along and operate as a team. Most of our employees are, and have been, long term. We do like to keep them happy. That sure makes my job easier.
While it would be even easier if we were all working in the same place, we don’t have that luxury. Our masons are split into six different crews, each headed a different direction, and a different jobsite, every day. Every truck is equipped with all our supplies and tools necessary for any concrete installation and each equipped with an Automile GPS. I realized we needed a tool to help manage my vehicles and crews, maintenance, payroll expenses, that kinda thing, and thought Automile might be handy. Early one morning, it came in really handy. But I’ll get to that.
What does your typical day look like as the owner?
As I stated earlier, we have had several large home builder accounts for many years. So we basically install concrete flatwork in many of the new neighborhoods under construction . We may have as many as 35 different job sites under construction at the same time. My job is to schedule all concrete installations needed everyday and check on progress. And of course, everything in between.
How do you market and grow your business?
I don’t have to search for work. It usually lands in my lap if I’m doing my job like I’m supposed to. That takes a lot of pressure off. Just keep up with production and hire the right man power to get it done. I don’t advertise outside of word-of-mouth, and that seems to be working well for me. As long as I keep doing my job the work keeps coming my way. I don’t have to add to my work load right through advertising. My goal right now is to ensure everyone is happy, from my employees to my customers, if I can keep them happy then I am in a good place.
Great to hear that you are growing your business with 100% WOM marketing. What challenges were you running into that led you to invest in a service like Automile?
The biggest thing was really just not knowing where my trucks were at at all times. They are expensive, so I wanted to have the peace of mind.
What ROI are you seeing by investing in a GPS vehicle tracking technology like Automile?
The main reason I installed the Automile equipment was to track the daily activities and location of the trucks and crews. That helps a lot with my planning and improves efficiency. There are also other obvious reasons for Automile. Recently, I actually had an incident where one of my trucks was stolen and I was able to find it specifically because of Automile. I had received a 5am frantic phone call from one of my employees back in April. He said that he had left my truck running at the convenience store, and when he came out the truck was gone. “Huh?” It was actually my sixth and newest truck, valued at over $60,000 plus the equipment. I thought he was joking at first, due to a joke he played the previous day. So I waited for the “just kidding boss” that never came. I just thought, “Oh great! And I have a busy schedule, I really don’t need to deal with this today.”
So I instructed him to call the police and meanwhile I checked my Automile app and supplied the exact location of my now parked truck to my employee, which he gave to the arriving officer. The stolen truck was parked near my office about two miles away. It had not driven very far. Within 15 minutes of that frantic phone call, there were officers standing in front of my still gorgeous truck. That was amazing. This potentially terrible experience barely put a dent in my day. Thankfully the only item missing from the truck were the keys. Not a big deal. I had an extra set minutes away at my office. All thanks to the Automile GPS. I contacted Automile shortly after to let them know that one of their products had saved the day. As an owner myself, I know the call was much appreciated.
One last question Bobby. What is a best practice you have that you would like to share with the broader, small business community?
Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it. That’s about it. Well, that, and Finish it like you’re doing it for yourself. And that’s kinda what I try to instill in my own men as if it were their own jobs. How would you want it? That’s how I approach it, it’s pretty simple.
Thank you Bobby. What an inspiring story! We appreciate you sharing it with us.